WRAPUP FEB 3–10 2019 Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise #32
In their wrapup, the organizers of the Blues Cruise called LRBC #32 "possibly the Best Blues Cruise Ever." Although I have only one other blues cruise to compare it to, I would have to agree that this cruise was a week to remember for a lifetime and, without a doubt, more fun than is usually possible in a single week.
A huge thank you to Curtis Salgado, who filled in for the late Michael Ledbetter in The Connection (formerly Welch Ledbetter Connection). Despite a series of health issues in recent years, Salgado was on fire–and looked and sounded wonderful.
All cruisers received a Meet the Bands one sheet that had the names of all the band members. Other festivals definitely should consider adding this info to the lineups they publish so all musicians get some credit.
The cruise is likely the only place you will ever get to see people like Tab Benoit and Kenny Wayne Shepherd on the same stage or Deitra Farr flirting with Anson Funderburgh.
I wish the Phantom Blues Band would play more often than just on the cruises. I LOVE them.
The cruise made me question the rumors that there is no blues scene in Boston.
Kilborn Alley is not really for me (yes, I said that out loud), but Kilborn Alley's lead singer Andrew Duncanson was awesome with The Connection.
It is impossible to take a bad photo of Tab Benoit.
A FEW RANDOM CRUISE TIDBITS
No one goes on this cruise for the food or the ports, but the food was more than just edible and there was a ton of it. As for the ports, what ports? Actually, we did get off in Phillipsburg, Sint Maarten–and all we got was cheap beer and I got a nasty rash on my ankle from whoknowswhat. I also lost my sun hat, which flew off and quickly sunk into the water.
The Blues Cruise is not cheap compared to many other cruises, but no other cruise has so many incredible bands playing virtually around the clock everywhere you go.
Shockingly, Oprah Winfrey is the godmother of this particular cruise ship, Holland America's Niew Statendam, which is a music-themed boat.
So...all the photos we care to share are now online and labeled as much as possible. Enjoy!
92 MORE DAYS. The city of Chicago has released the headliners for the 36th annual Chicago Blues Festival JUNE 7–9 in Millennium Park–with the complete lineup to come. I am less enthused than I usually am since it seems to lean heavily toward soul blues on Saturday night, but I am certain there will be plenty of acts more for me at the fest. Here's what we know right now:
June 7:Bobby Rush, Jimmy Johnson Blues Band celebrating Johnson’s 90th birthday and Charlie Musselwhite with Billy Boy Arnold
June 8:Bettye LaVette, Don Bryant and Latimore
June 9:Ruthie Foster and The Connection with Mike Welch and Friends
ONE MORE THING: I really hope that the "and Friends" part of The Connection includes the three musicians that were so wonderful on the Blues Cruise: Kilborn Alley's Andrew Duncanson, Curtis Salgado and Mike Welch's childhood friend, Kit Holliday.
GET INSIDE.Dave Specter's Blues from the Inside Outhas a new podcast online with Billy Boy Arnold. There are currently five others online: Kermit Ruffins, Toronzo Cannon, Sam Lay & Corky Siegel, Billy Branch and Albert Lee. Coming soon: Donald Kinsey.
SMART MOVE. In a move that surprised no one really, Alligator Records recently signed Christone "Kingfish" Ingram and will release his first recording, Kingfish, in May. The new album includes a duet with Buddy Guy on the song, Fresh Out. Kingfish has several dates between March and May with Buddy Guy. He also will be at quite a few blues fests this year so catch him if you can. MORE INFO
SUMMER FUN. One of the highlights of summer in the Chicago metro area (besides Chicago Blues Festival) is FitzGerald's Great American Music Festival. The 38th version of this great fest will be July 3–6. Complete lineup to come so mark your calendar.
SOUTH SIDE SIMMERING.I was unaware of Jazzin' In Bronzeville (probably because it says Jazzin') until just this week when I saw that Low-reen and the Maxwell St. Market Blues Band will be the featured band on Friday, June 14. Another blues band, Coffy Brookclausell and Band will appear Friday, April 26. Neither event is on the Third Friday of the month, despite information on the ticket site that says concerts are on the third Friday every month. All events will be at Corpus Christi Hall (4910 South King Dr.), which appears to be part of the Corpus Christi Catholic Church. And, according to something I read that I hope is correct, concerts will be in the outdoor courtyard during the summer months. TICKETS PAGE
MORE SOUTH SIDE BLUES. According to a poster I saw today, the blues is back on the South Chicago–at a place called the Empowerment Zone II at 7421 S. South Chicago Ave. The upcoming schedule is a good one: MAR 2 | Shorty Mack
APR 6 | Mz Peachez
MAY 4 | Sherman "Moody" Thomas
What is confusing (and maybe problematic for the promoters) is the use of Checkerboard Lounge Chicago 2019 as the headline since it is definitely not the Checkerboard. And, the music starts at 4pm Sharp (not my words). What kind of blues joint is that?
The music will be good, though, so if you want to go, here's what you need to know:
$10 donation; BYOB; Free street parking TICKET INFO: 773.440.7327
THE #$%^@&! GRAMMYS. There was good news and bad news as usual from the Grammys. THE GOOD NEWS: Even though I was hoping Elvin Bishop would win, I am happy that Buddy Guy won his 8th Grammy for his latest CD, The Blues is Alive and Well, in the Traditional Blues Category. I was also happy to hear that Voices of Mississippi won the Best Historical Album Grammy. THE BAD NEWS: It seems like someone's idea of a bad joke that Fantastic Negrito has won two years in a row in the Contemporary Blues Album category. REALLY? How is this possible when he was up against actual contemporary blues artists like Danielle Nicole and Victor Wainwright and the Train?
TOO MANY GOODBYES R.I.P. Jim Judy. Thanks to Paul Petraitis for letting me know about the passing in January of harmonica player/singer Jim Judy at the age of 73. According to Petraitis, Judy was "one of the first white guys playing regularly on Maxwell Street in 1963. A gruff hustler with a heart of gold, he last gigged with Elmore James Jr. and had an uncanny ability to make up blues lyrics on the spot including whoever was there or what was on his mind, just like his idol Sonny Boy II could." PHOTO: Unknown photographer, photo courtesy of Paul Petraitis
ANOTHER PASSING.While I was out cruising, another local musician passed. Willie D. Freeman, a prominent West Side soul blues singer, died after a long illness. He was 75. For more info about Willie D, read Bonni McKeown's nice tribute in the Austin Weekly News.
A SAD GOODBYE.I also learned recently that Ted McKenna, a renowned drummer from Scotland who mostly played with rock bands, but also had played with both Rory Gallagher and Amos Garrett, died Jan. 19 at the age of 68, after a hemorrhage during a routine hernia operation. LEARN MORE
No, Vanessa Collier will not be here to celebrate (we wish!), but Marty Sammon will–and you have two great options to celebrate with Marty:
SAT, MAR 2 @ BLU 26 MARTY GRAS! with Marty Sammon & Friends, featuring Eddie Taylor Jr.
Additional performances by Anthony Moser, Tim Austin and Shane The Washboard Man - plus live burlesque!
Food and drinks available TICKETS bluesfling.com
TUES, MAR 5 @ FitzGerald's, Berwyn BLUESDAY TUESDAY MARDI GRAS PARTY
with Tom Marker + Marty Sammon Band with Peaches Staten
PONDER THIS ONE I ain't never loved but three men in my life
I ain't never loved but three men in my life
My father, my brother and the man that wrecked my life.
–Down Hearted Blues
LAST CALL! DEADLINE TO ENTER:MON, MAR 4 @ Midnight
3.15.19 @ City Winery
Eilen Jewell with special guest Jordie Lane Eilen and her husband and bandmate, Jason Beek, passionately study American music. For their latest album. Down Hearted Blues, they present 12 vintage gems, written by the likes of Willie Dixon, Memphis Minnie and a few more obscure writers. Sounds like my kind of recording.
EMAIL SUBJECT: Eilen Jewell is Down Hearted BODY OF EMAIL: Your name, email address & phone
YOU (SHOULD) KNOW THE SIMPLE RULES NOTE: ONLY subscribers of Chicago Blues News can enter the contest. You can enter ONCE A DAY until the deadline. The drawing is a random drawing of all the entries. Winners will be notified via email and must respond within 24 hours or another winner will be chosen.