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November 3, 2009           

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Hey Blues Fans,

If you missed the Blues Blast Music Awards, you missed a GREAT show. See pictures of the fun in the article below in this issue.

We are publishing a bit early this week because we are headed to England to check out the state of the Blues in the UK. (Our offices will be closed from November 3rd until November 10th!)

We hope to bring you what's hot in contemporary British Blues in the coming weeks. Stay Tuned!

Blues Wanderings

We made it to Columbia College in Chicago, IL last Wednesday to catch the Homemade Jamz Band. The band is siblings Ryan Perry (age 17) on guitar, Kyle Perry (age 16) on bass and Taya Perry (age 11) on drums. We last saw them in the finals of the 2007 International Blues Challenge where they took second place when their ages were 15, 14 and 8 years old!

These "kids" have come a long way and their music is VERY mature. Once you hear them you will be convinced, their success is due to real talent, not youth. If you get a chance to hear them do not pass it up!

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

James Walker reviews a new CD from Tommy Castro. Eric Steiner reviews a new CD from Boo Boo Davis. Mark Thompson reviews new CDs by Hans Theessink & Terry Evans and both Volumes of the Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue. And an article on the Blues Blast Music Awards with photos by Susan Walker.

Space in Evanston

1245 Chicago Ave, Evanston, IL 847 492-8860


Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Dave Specter

Adventures in Guitar

w/ Billy Flynn


Friday, December 4th, 2009

Hubert Sumlin and The Nighthawks

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 4

Tommy Castro - Hard Believer

Alligator Records

12 songs; 49:55 minutes; Suggested

Style: Soul, Rock and Roll, R & B, Blues

I saw women line up at the front of a sun drenched stage to see Tommy Castro in a tight black T-shirt playing a white Stratocaster guitar. Handsome as a mountain, Castro was a charismatically entertaining guitar hero. Those who may be new to Tommy Castro will not learn about his six string sex from this horn laden Alligator Records debut.

As a guitar fan(atic), it took three or four listens before I truly warmed up to this outing. Great quality is never an issue as Castro is one of the best contemporary singers in the Blues market. And, recording quality is guaranteed whenever Alligator puts out a release. One can count on high caliber studio work, engineering, overall production (this time by legendary John Porter), mixing, and mastering.

A more appropriate title for this set might be "Castro Re-visits Memphis Soul" as many of the tracks pay homage to that classic sound. There is even a convincing cover of Wilson Pickett’s "Ninety-Nine and One Half."

My radio partner Shuffle Shoes and I first played the title track "Hard Believer." A mid tempo, emotional plea to a chosen lover, the song exemplifies the finest the disc has to offer. First, when Castro sings "I believe, I believe...," he can stir feelings in a jade statue. The opening horns, played and arranged by Keith Crossan and Tom Poole, swell up wonderfully to meet the first vocal lines. Throughout, their placement accentuates without overwhelming. Working with the rhythm section of drummer Ronnie Scott and bassist Scot Sutherland, Tony Stead on piano strokes a subtle and steady pattern that is also integral, not superfluous. And, at mid song, we even get a soaring guitar solo to seal the deal. Kudos all around.

During a fast tempo set on our radio show, we played the Castro / Hayes Rock and Roll original, "Make It Back to Memphis." It is the kind of cut that has ’em smiling as they leave the dance floor! For more fun, Tommy puts some clever lyrics into "Monkey’s Paradise," which is another boot scooting workout.

Instructors of Current Events classes can use "Trimmin’ Fat" to add some fun as they illustrate universal circumstances and feelings during this Great Recession. Producer John Porter adds some ear grabbing slide guitar and joins Tommy in a great twin guitar harmony hook that helps open the track. "I didn’t lose my job / Cause I know where it’s at," he sings, and of course it’s been exported, "they do your job in China for ten bucks a day."

"Backup Plan" gives us a little more of Tommy’s guitar work in a number that creates an interesting twist on the back-door-man idea. Co-written with Rick Estrin, Castro sings, "Now don’t misunderstand / I’m no backdoor man / But if things don’t work out, baby / I’ll be your backup plan."

While this CD probably will not win Castro any new converts, his long time avid and marginal fans should find his deeper excursion into the Soul sound interesting and with plenty of satisfying moments.

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard Thursdays from 7 - 8 pm and Saturdays 8 pm - Midnight on WKCC 91.1 FM and at in Kankakee, IL

To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system, CLICK HERE 

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.


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"workin Blues folks" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE.  NO Commercial Ads! 
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted, help wanted, information wanted etc.
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Streaming Radio Shows - Information needed for magazine article

Blues Blast Magazine seeks information about Blues Radio shows that stream and/or offer podcasts for an article to be published in late November. Great opportunity for international press about your Blues show!

Looking for streamed shows in all states and countries worldwide. Please include contact info and a link to your stream or podcast. Contact:

Vocalist Available for work

Very experienced backing and lead vocalist available for recording and live dates. I have a large range, good ears for harmony, pitch, learn quickly, and show up on time. Available to tour in April 2010. I am also excepting students for voice lessons. Specializing in Blues and R&B and improvisation and general vocal coaching, including theory. Contact Elizabeth Hangan, or 818 383-4754.

Harmonica Ace Seeks Gigs

Pro Blues Vox/Harmonica Ace available for nat'l or internat'l touring gig or full time regional act. Blues, Soul, Rock, Americana. Electric, Acoustic. Frontman, Sideman, Duos. Serious inquiries only. Many yrs gigging exp. Reliable. Stage presence, musicianship. Pro attitude and work ethics.
Peace, Kosher Kidd (cell 860-324-4078)

Speaker Cabinet For Sale

For Immediate Sale: Four Big A** Ball Bustin 'ALTEC 1204 B Speakers W/Cabinets and with Horns, Pull Bars and Roller Wheels' Cost $1,250.00 New + Tax,  but will take $1,000.00 Cash or Cashier's Check for 'All Four (4) Cabinets! Speakers Condition: Other Than Some Minor Bar Scars, Couple O' Beer N' Whiskey Stains, Couple of Cigarette Burns and one (1) defective horn driver; These are sum' Loud A** Mo-Fos with the Right Sound Board!!!! Perfect for Big Clubs, Medium Size Venues and Concerts, Outside Shows, Roller Rinks, Dance Halls and Churches! For Serious Inquires & Cash or Certified Check Buyers Only; Please Contact: "The Original & Real Kenny Wayne" Phone: (972) 790-5172 OR email:

Blues Guitarist Seeks Touring Act

Experienced Blues guitarist looking for national touring act to play with…Played with Johnny Clyde Copeland before his passing. Also played with, jammed with or opened for Elvin Bishop, Albert Collins, John Lee Hooker, Norton Buffalo, Freddy Roulette, Joe Guitar Hughes as well as backed up Shemekia Copeland early in her career. Have reliable gear and good attitude. I just love the blues and want to play and love traveling. Contact me via E-mail at: or phone me at 608-214-7868 and leave message if no answer.

Blues Reviewers wanted

Blues Blast Magazine is looking for reviewers to review new Blues CD's. If you have a background and experience with Blues music and like to write we can provide new CD's for you to review. Person must be willing to write a minimum of one review every other week. Reviewer keeps the CD's for writing the review.  If interested please send a sample of your writing and a short bio of your Blues background to

All ads submitted will be used if space allows. If space is limited, ads will be randomly selected to appear in the Blues Blast. Ads may be edited.  Send your ad submission to

The 2009 Blues Blast Music Awards

The Blues Blast Music Awards was a great evening. A packed house at Buddy Guy's Legends heard the best in Blues Music today. Each artist played 10 minutes for a fast paced show that the crowd seemed to really enjoy.

The winners? Best Contemporary CD was won by The Insomniacs At Least I’m Not With You. Best Traditional CD went to the Chicago Blues: A Living History which included contributions by Lurrie Bell, Billy Boy Arnold, Billy Branch, John Primer, Billy Flynn, Felton Crews, Matthew Skoller and Carlos Johnson.

Albert Castiglia's "Bad Year Blues" won Best Song. Nick Moss & The Flip Tops took home Best Band and Elvin Bishop won Best Male Artist. Robin Rogers won Best Female Artist. Best Debut Recording was won by Chris James & Patrick Rynn for Stop & Think About It. The Sean Costello Rising Star Award went to the Kilborn Alley Blues Band. The 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award went to Koko Taylor

Celebrity presenters included Marie Dixon, Joyce "Cookie" Taylor and Debbie Costello Smith and Glenn Smith.

Here are some photos by Susan Walker. We will have all the photos of the fun on our website in the next couple weeks.


Lurrie Bell, Robin Rogers



Nick Moss, Nick Moss with Jerry Hundt and Bob Carter receive Best Band Award


Matthew Skoller, Joyce "Cookie" Taylor receiving Lifetime Achievement Award to Koko Taylor from Marie Dixon


 Lightnin' Malcolm, Dean Mueller


Shirley Johnson, Eden Brent


Dave Gross, Kenny Neal with Melvin Smith


John Primer, Guy King, Dave Herrero


Chris James, Carlos Johnson with Billy Branch


Billy Flynn, Billy Boy Arnold, Albert Castiglia


Alex Shakeri, Cedric Burnside


Kilborn Alley Blues Band


Bob Corritore with Chris James and Patrick Rynn, Vyasa Dodson



Debbie Costello Smith & Glenn Smith award Sean Costello Rising Star Award to Andy Duncanson from Kilborn Alley Blues Band


Chicago Blues : A Living History wins Best Traditional CD

 Blues Society News

 Send your Blues Society's BIG news or Press Release to:  

Please submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or Word format ONLY.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

Mississippi Valley Blues Society Presents the 2009/2010 Blues In The Schools Artists-in-Residence series. The series will begin with New Orleans-based blues guitarist and educator Spencer Bohren. He will conduct workshops at schools and free open-to-the-public performances throughout the Quad-Cities during the week of November 9-13. Spencer’s free public performances will be:
Tuesday Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m. at Center for Active Seniors, 1034 W. Kimberly in Davenport, IA)
Wednesday Nov. 11, 7 p.m. at Mojo’s in the River Music Experience, 129 Main Street, Davenport, IA
Friday Nov. 13, 4-5 p.m. at Fairmount Public Library, 3000 N. Fairmount Street, Davenport, IA.
For more info call the MVBS office at 563-32-BLUES.

The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents guitar-slinger Albert Cummings and his band on Saturday November 14 at the Capitol Theater, 330 W. 3rd Street, Davenport. The all-ages show will start at 8:00pm; doors open at 7:00. Advance tickets are $15.00 and can be ordered on-line at Admission at the door will be $15.00 for MVBS members and $20.00 for non-members. For more info call the MVBS office at 563-32-BLUES.

The Diamond State Blues Society - Middletown, DE

Kennyfest ’09 - The Diamond State Blues Society and Full Moon are hosting Kennyfest ’09, a benefit for musician Kenny Jones on November 22, 2009 from noon to 8PM at the Moose Lodge in New Castle, DE. The band line-up includes Johnny Neel, Nothin’ But Trouble, Garry Cogdell & The Complainers, Randy Lippincott, Kombu Combo, Blue Cat Blues, The Witch Doctors, Scott Wells, Barrelhouse Blues, Brian Kendig and other local artists.

One of the highlights of this event will be the raffle of a Fender Squier Stratocaster guitar, autographed by Sonny Landreth, Delbert McClinton, Magic Slim, Walter Trout, Tinsley Ellis, The Nighthawks and many other blues artists. For tickets and more info, go to  or .

The Madison Blues Society - Madison. WI

The Madison Blues Society will hold its 8th Annual Blues Picnic on Saturday, June 19, 2010 from noon to 9:00PM at Madison's Warner Park. We are now accepting submissions for bands to perform through our website The deadline for submissions is December 1, 2009. For Complete submission info CLICK HERE

Information at or  email or call Shari Davis at 333-8665.

The Boston Blues Society - Boston, MA

2009 BOSTON BLUES CHALLENGE - The Boston Blues Society will hold this year’s Blues Challenge at 8 p.m. Nov. 1, 8, and 15 at Johnny D’s Uptown, 17 Holland St., (Davis Square) Somerville, Mass. The first two sessions will be semi-finals of four bands per night; with the finals, consisting of the winning two bands from each semi-final, competing on Nov. 15. The winner will be sponsored by the Boston Blues Society at the 2010 International Blues Challenge in Memphis in January.

To enter, send a music sample (CD or MP3) and a $75 entrance fee (check or Paypal) to: ; or to Boston Blues Society, PO Box 386, Maynard, MA 01754.

Bands from all over New England may compete. The deadline for entries is Oct. 11. The semi-finalists will be announced Oct. 19.

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover.  Nov 9 - Rich Febec Blues Band,  Nov 16 - Kicked to the Curb,  Nov 23 - Frank Herrin & Blues Power, Nov 30 - Steve the Harp Blues Band,  Dec 7 - Eric "Guitar" Davis, Dec 14 - Reverend Raven & the Chain Smoking Alter Boys, Dec 21 - The Suns of Circumstance, Dec 28 - Sally Weisenburg

Musical Instruments Stores

 Sponsor of the

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards

Visit their Stores at the following locations

4400 E. New York Street
Aurora, IL 60504


1432 Butterfield Rd.
Downers Grove, IL

or online at

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 4

Boo Boo Davis - Ain’t Gotta Dime

Black & Tan Records

Quality: Highly Recommended

Style: Powerful, Post-War Electric Blues

Time: 65:40

Boo Boo Davis’ sixth CD on Black & Tan Records, Ain’t Gotta Dime, is his best yet. That’s saying something, because his prior outings on this small label based in the Netherlands have garnered international critical acclaim. Drew, Mississippi – named after Boo Boo’s birthplace – was listed at the #4 spot in the influential British MOJO magazine’s Top Blues Releases of 2006, and magazines throughout Europe have embraced this Mississippi bluesman by way of East St. Louis. Boo Boo is part of one of St. Louis’ blues legacy families: for 18 years, Boo Boo and his father and brothers held court every weekend at Tabby’s Red Room in East St. Louis. Back then, he played the lard can as a drum, and later, he picked up the harmonica.

Ain’t Gotta Dime was recorded during a two-day break in Boo Boo’s Summer 2009 tour at Studio Silverster in Utrecht. Returning with Boo Boo from last year’s The Name of The Game CD are Jan Mittendorp on guitar and John Gerritse on drums, and this trio takes the quiet, canal-filled medieval university town straight on down to the Mississippi Delta.

The CD opens with an over-the-top, psychedelic blues scorcher, “Silvermine,” followed by a slow blues ballad “Ten Thousand Dollars.” His emotional, grinding “Cryin’ Blues” is a slow simmering workout for Boo Boo’s harp, and Mittendorp’s driving slide guitar powers “Cake Lady” for an exciting five-minute ride.

Sample Boo Boo online at, and check out his other CDs on Black & Tan Records: The Name of the Game, Drew, Mississippi Can Man, East St. Louis, and The Snake. Don’t wait for Boo Boo to play near you: check out this video clip posted on the streaming service, captured live at BB’s Blues and Soups in downtown St. Louis: Your local public television station may offer through the MHz Networks program feed; if it doesn’t please ask for this program (surely, live music from BB’s Blues and Soups is better than the latest info-mercial!).

Reviewer Eric Steiner is the President of the Washington Blues Society, a proud recipient of a Keeping the Blues Alive Award from the Blues Foundation. Please contact Eric at  or visit for more information on the Washington Blues Society

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 4

Hans Theessink & Terry Evans - Visions

Blue Groove

13 tracks/54:33

This release features two veteran musicians on a collection of classic tunes and a handful of originals. They share the vocal leads and their guitars provide most of the musical accompaniment. Phil Bloch adds percussion on eight tracks while Richard Thompson adds his electric guitar on two songs.

Theessink (pronounced Tay-sink) has been playing the blues for more than 40 years across the European continent, establishing himself as a first-rate guitarist in the country blues style. His powerful baritone voice easily conveys the resignation and despair in the song lyrics, especially on "Dark End of the Street".

Terry Evans used to sing back-up for Ry Cooder before starting his solo career. His supple voice can range from tenor to bass with the gritty edge of the best soul singers or the fervent passion of the lead singer in the gospel choir. Evans has a fluid guitar style that forms the center of many of the arrangements.

Tracks like "Going Back Home" and "Glory of Love" feature Theesink’s expert guitar picking and booming vocals that command attention. The duo turns in a refreshing version of "Talk to Your Daughter", the two guitars propelling the track along. Evans tears into another warhorse, "Don’t Let the Green Grass Fool You", his energetic vocal riding the steady rhythm from the guitars. Even better is the closing track, "Come to the River", an Evan’s original. He takes listeners to church with a stirring performance that builds in intensity, urged on by Theessink’s backing vocal and acoustic slide guitar. "Let the Four Winds Blow" features Thompson’s lead guitar dancing around the vocal lines.

Visions is a superbly crafted project that allows the combined talent of Theessink and Evans to shine throughout the recording. Using the simple guitar & vocal format, they manage to inject life into every track, even the well-worn classics. Be sure to give this compelling gem a serious listen.

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

Review courtesy of Crossroads Blues Society.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 4

Live at Ground Zero - Vol. 1 & 2

3rd Annual Delta Groove All-Star Blues Revue

Various artists

Vol. 1 11 tracks/67:07

Vol. 2 10 tracks/64:23

For the last few years, the Delta Groove label has thrown a big party the weekend after the Blues Music Awards ceremony. Held at the internationally famous Ground Zero club in Clarksdale, MI last year, the event features the stellar roster of musicians that record for the label, many of whom were nominated for various awards. With over twelve hours of music performed in one day, these discs feature two hours worth of highlights that showcase the amazing talent that label head Randy Chortkoff has put together.

The first disc opens with a Tex-Mex version of "I’m Gonna Be a Wheel Someday" with Kid Ramos on guitar and featuring Jesus Cuevas on accordion and lead vocal. Next up is the label’s hot discovery, The Insomniacs, with the humorous "At Least I’m Not With You". The group’s swinging approach is a refreshing change and their second contribution, "Description Blues", serves notice that they are equally adept on slow blues numbers, with Alex Shakeri displaying his impressive keyboard talents. The Mannish Boys get three tracks, each with a different leader. Johnny Dyer settles in to a deep groove on "Everything’s Gonna Be Alright", his hard-driving harp matching the intensity of his singing. Finis Tasby picks up the pace and nails the vocal on "Lonesome Bedroom Blues". Kirk "Eli" Fletcher burns through a rousing instrumental version of "Lucille".

Several highlights include a storming "Street Walking Woman" from guitarist Phillip Walker, who plays with passion and skill rarely found in seventy year-old musicians. Junior Watson tears it up on guitar on "Wolfpack" and Mike Zito almost matches Watson’s performance on "Dirty Blonde". The Jackie Payne/Steve Edmonson Band sports a two piece horn section and inject plenty of soul into their interpretation of "She’s Nineteen Years Old". The energy level gets ratcheted up several levels on the closing track as Jason Ricci and New Blood play "Shake Your Hips" as if their lives hung in the balance. Shawn Starski is magnificent, his guitar solo setting the stage for Jason to unleash one of his patented mind-melting harmonica solos.

Vol. 2 continues the magic with the Insomniacs opening with the up-tempo "Stick Around" with lead singer Vyasa Dodson staking his claim for consideration as a guitar slinger. The band gets some audience participation on "Broke and Lonely", with more fine guitar work from Dodson. Not to be outdone, Kid Ramos leads the Mannish Boys on the instrumental showcase "Johnny Cochino", his guitar steadily building the intensity level until the band suddenly shifts tempo and Ramos continues to squeeze razor-sharp licks from his instrument. Veteran singer Bobby Jones gets his opportunity to shine on "Mary Jane", with Chortkoff on harmonica. Phillip Walker turns in another impressive performance on "Lay You Down" and you wonder why this marvelous musician isn’t better known. Ricci and New Blood slow things down on the soulful "I’m a New Man", a track that serves a subtle tribute to Lou Reed. Starski delivers a flowing guitar solo that sets the stage for Ricci to deliver another demonstration of his prodigious skill and technique on the harmonica. The party ends with Los Fabulocos rockin’ the house on "Burnin’ the Chicken", with Ramos doing some chicken-picking licks on his baritone guitar.

Both discs are a lot of fun and serve as a testimonial to the amazing amount of musical talent on the Delta Groove label. More importantly, it makes me want to spare no expense to make sure that I am at their party next year. .

Reviewer Mark Thompson is president of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

Review courtesy of Crossroads Blues Society.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Live Blues Calendar

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