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July 9, 2009           

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Hey Blues Fans,

This weekend don't miss a great Blues festival in Nescopeck, PA, The Briggs Farm Blues Fest features Joey Gilmore, Teeny Tucker, Scott Weis Band, Alexis P. Suter Band, Louisiana Red, Tom Larsen, Johnny Drummer, and BC & Company on Friday night. On Saturday check out Lonnie Shields, Nate Myers, V. E. Paul, Dealer In Wares, Mitch Ivanoff, Mark Armstrong and Symphonic Haze. For more information see their ad below or visit their website at

Blues Wanderings

We went to Davenport, Iowa, last weekend to see the IH Mississippi Valley Blues Festival. The weather was great and we got to see some GREAT Blues.  Some of the highlights were performances by Roy Rogers, Magic Slim and Rod Piazza.

We will have a complete review of the festival in next weeks issue with pictures of all the Blues fun!

In this issue - Blues Reviews and MORE!

James Walker reviews a new CD from Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry.  George Fish reviews a new CD by Kelly Carmichael . Steve Jones reviews a new CD by Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo. Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger reviews a new CD from Delmark Records recorded at their 55 Year of Blues Celebration at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago.

Bob Kieser reviews day three of the 2009 Chicago Blues Fest and reviews the Urbana Blues, Brews & BBQ's Festival

Lisa Zimmer send us part two of a two part interview with Slide Guitar Virtuoso, Jeremy Spencer.

Our Blues Video of the Week is a close up of slide master Sonny Landreth's right hand guitar technique.

For info and tickets visit

 Blues Want Ads

 Blues Musicians Place Your Want Ad here for FREE

"workin Blues performers" ONLY can place Want Ads here for FREE.  NO Commercial Ads! 
Buy or sell equipment , musicians wanted, gigs wanted etc. Limit 100 words.

Guitarist Available for gigs

Guitarist Available for gigs or touring. Played with Johnny Clyde Copeland, Luther Tucker, Eddie King. Opened for John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Elvin Bishop. Travelled as Road Mgr. for Shemekia Copeland. Have professional equipment and 40+ years playing professionally. Looking for a touring blues band.  Larry Pendleton  ph. 608-214-7868

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 Barefoot Band, Fertile Soil, Rockin Daddy-Os, Rich McDonough & Rough Grooves, Carlos Johnson.

Admissions is still only $10

For ticket and complete Information visit

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 4

Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry - The Way of Blues

Billie Perry Music

9 songs; Time 46:13; Library Quality

Style: Modern Delta Blues

When a Blues radio DJ from WEFT returned from Mississippi and brought me a copy of Bill “Howl-N-Madd” Perry’s latest (and sixth) CD, I felt like a young Keith Richards. When Keith met Mick Jagger one of the first times, Mick was holding under his arm imported vinyl record albums from Chess Records in Chicago. Keith knew that meant deep blues.

The same is true with Mississippi native Perry; here comes some deep electric and acoustic blues. His records are not impossible for a Northern boy to get, but, like Mick Jagger, some mail ordering is ordinarily needed to secure a copy. Sadly, you won’t find them at the local record outlet (if you can even find a “local record outlet”).

Bill Perry (not to be confused with the late bluesman of the same name who passed away in 2007) is a Mississippi blues guitarist/singer/song writer. Perry was born in Tula, Mississippi, on land where his ancestors had worked as slaves, and he has been playing Soul, Blues and Gospel for over 40 years.

“The Way of Blues” opens with the romping-boogie title track. Atypical of the rest of the album, it’s performed in the droning poly rhythms associated with the North Mississippi hills musicians. According to the liner notes, the entire CD was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Studio 61 in Clarksdale MS, but the first two tracks sound live.

Track two is titled, “The Way of Blues Pt. II,” and it indeed continues the exact same upbeat party begun in track one. I’m not sure why they split the fun into two tracks. Instrumentally, there are Bill on electric guitar and vocals, a second electric guitar, bass, drums, piano, and harp is added in track two. Sample lyrics, “We play the Blues both day and night / we won’t stop – even for a fight / That’s the Way of the Blues.” Together, we get 8:12 minutes of a smile starting, dance inducing, heart pumping ruckus.

Track three finds Perry solo on acoustic guitar singing 12 bar blues, “Give me a shot of whisky / I’ll play the blues all night.” Titled “A Shot of Whisky,” Perry’s voice sounds like he has indeed enjoyed that water-of-life enough to season his vocals, without taking away his ability to hit high notes when desired. His guitar hits right in the gut as he demands no gin, wine, or beer because “hard liquor is quicker.”

And, speaking of “whisky,” the 12 bar, track five claims a “Bluesman’s best friend has always been “‘Jack, Johnny, or Jim’/ whenever you got a problem, you can always depend on one of them.” While not many experts will tell you that the solution to your problems is drinking whisky, Perry sure sounds convincing as he again is solo on acoustic guitar with lots of single note picking.

The last cut is a wonderful, jazzy piano instrumental departure from the first eight. The double tracked pianist is Perry’s son Bill Perry, Jr. with Shy Perry on bass.

Every track is a solid winner, but I just wish Perry could record under absolute first class conditions, like those afforded Alligator Records artists.

I know labels like “Broke and Hungry Records” and before them “Fat Possum” have done an admirable job of bringing Southern artists to the forefront, but I still feel it a special treat to own a copy of this album.

Perry is far from obscure; as a singer/song writer his career stretches back to Chicago in the early 1970s. He has written for Lil Johnny Taylor, Ted Taylor, and Cash McCall. He worked for Phil Chess as a studio musician. His career has taken him all over the US and overseas. He toured for five months in China and a year later spent three months in Jakarta, Indonesia. He has played at the Apollo Theater in New York, and the Palladium in Hollywood, California. Bill was one of the first singers to appear on “Soul Train.” He is a regular at The Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale MS and has played often at the Rum Boogie in Memphis TN. Rum Boogie displays one of Bill’s guitars on their wall.

Bill also teaches blues for the Delta Blues Museum Arts and Education Program in Clarksdale MS. Bill accompanied the students to the Chicago Blues Festival in 2006, and also to the B.B. King workshop at Mississippi Valley State University.

Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL
To See James “Skyy Dobro” Walker's CD rating system,

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Interview

A Blues Chat With Slide Guitar Virtuoso - Jeremy Spencer (Part Two)

Interview by Lisa Zimmer

LZ: In 1971, you left Fleetwood Mac, having spent only a few short years with the band- but a very much-acclaimed few years. What are some of your best memories of that time in Fleetwood Mac, performing live, in the studio, or otherwise?

JS: I would say the Chicago session was a highlight for me. I enjoyed recording for the radio shows, too. I don’t know why, I suppose because it was an ‘anything goes’ sort of thing, with an element of the old style vibe of recording onto full track mono tape, with the option of ‘bouncing’ one overdub!

Performing live soon lost its magic for me, though. Thank God, it’s come back to me in my latter years!

LZ: A reunion of sorts, by happenstance, took place in Japan in 1995 when by coincidence, you were in Tokyo at the same time as when [the ‘pop’ incarnation of] Fleetwood Mac was doing a concert date there, and were invited by Fleetwood and McVie to join the band onstage. What was the musical chemistry like performing live with Mick and John after such a long time; and what was the chemistry with the rest of the band’s lineup at that time: Bekka Bramlett, Dave Mason and Billy Burnette? Did you perform the band’s hard core blues of yore, if so, what was the audience’s reaction to the stark contrast of that style which you imparted, to the ‘pop-rock’ that the band had rendered, that night, up until you took the stage.

JS: That incarnation of FM with Bekka, Billy and Dave had a little wider spectrum of material due to the chemistry. Even though they did their pop hits, Dave Mason had his unique contribution and Billy Burnette would sometimes do rockabilly in the style of his Father Dorsey and Uncle Johnny who formed the 50’s band, The Rock and Roll Trio. So they called me up at the end of the show to play on one of Johnny’s songs, Tear it Up. It was something, I must say. Having John and Mick on bass and drums backing you on something like that is like stepping into a souped-up Mercedes!

LZ: In 1995, 1998, and 2000, you did several concerts, more specifically for charity benefits in India. American blues fans might be surprised and intrigued that India has a large blues fan base. What is it about this genre of music that has enthralled Indian music consumers?

JS: I have only heard of blues music being popular there in Hyderabad and apparently in Shillong, which I believe is in Northern India. The interest in the blues in places like Mumbai and Bangalore exists mainly among the rich and educated youth. However, after one concert there, an older Indian woman approached me saying that being a staunch listener of only Hindi music, she was unfamiliar with Western music, but that she loved the bending and sliding of my guitar. There must be some yet undiscovered musical mystery in that observation! Overall, from my experience, I have been happy that the audiences there have appreciated my presentation of the blues.

LZ: Are there many native blues bands in that country; and have you had the opportunity to take in some of those bands’ shows?

JS: I have not had the opportunity to hear any of those bands there, but I think many Indian musicians have it in them to feel and play the blues very well. In Mumbai, I heard some good Indian jazz musicians playing with the feel of the American blacks. Also, the ability to extemporize as in raga music could be a ‘plus’ in capturing that essential spontaneity required to play blues. What I call ‘breathing’ together as you play.

LZ: Over the years, you have lived in various countries, such as Greece, Italy, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, and Brazil. Which of the countries that you have resided in, is your favorite regarding the people, the culture, the overall environment?

JS: Okay, here goes! As far as the people, I would say Ireland, Mexico and Brazil. The culture: Ireland and Mexico, and the overall environment (which I assume you mean the weather) would be Mexico and Italy. That’s putting it pretty basically, because there is at least something I’ve liked about all the places I’ve lived. Even England!

LZ: And of all the countries that you have lived in or visited, which would you say has the most appreciation for the blues?

JS: Norway.

LZ: That’s interesting, in 2005, at the persuading of the its organizer, you played at the Notodden Festival in Norway performing with a stellar group of that Scandinavian country’s musicians; and, shortly after, recorded, with those musicians, your first album in almost 30 years, Precious Little [Bluestown/Blind Pig Records].

A very captivating track on the CD, is ‘’Many Sparrows’’, an instrumental, however, containing intermittent moaning, whining type vocal sounds which accompany and accentuate the sweet yet tangy guitar riffs. The tune’s instrumentation has a simplistic ‘’strolling down by river on a summer day’’ air to it, yet its vocal properties exude intensity. Though absent of words, what is this composition about?

JS: It’s drawn from the words of Jesus, ‘are you not worth more than many sparrows?’ when He was telling us not to worry about tomorrow and trust it to the care of a loving, heavenly Father. I don’t want to read into the song too much, but the moans, in retrospect, could be reflective of the burden of worry, which we all carry sometimes (and the carefree music maybe reflective of the hope, do you think?)

LZ: Another track, ‘’It Hurts Me Too’’, is a tune that was delivered by its predecessors, Elmore James and Tampa Red, in quite a slow tempo in its earlier forms; however, on your rendition you conveyed this song of empathy in an ultra-slow pace. What prompted you to record that song in such an extremely leisurely mode?

JS: Empathy is the word, Liza! I always thought that the song had that poignancy in the lyrics (although I did cut out the harshness in some), and the hook line says it all. I just felt like ‘saying’ it differently, that’s all. Slowing it down helped.

LZ: ‘’Bitter Lemon’’, one of eight self-penned songs on the CD, is a ‘looking at the glass half-full instead of half-empty’ perspective song. Is this type of attitude reflective of your own life?

JS: ‘Bitter Lemon’ came about through hearing a number of people bemoaning their lot in life, blaming everybody but themselves and wearing out their welcome in the process.

LZ: Is there any one major element that sparks your songwriting creativity, or is it a number of various factors?

JS: Songwriting is a talent I should hone more, I think. I get tons of ideas for melodies and riffs and they usually come with a title, a phrase or a theme, but I need prodding to get to work and finish them! As for an element that sparks creativity, it can be various things: a person, a thought or an experience. (A few years ago, for example, I got upset about the media and drug company hype of a bogus flu pandemic and I wrote a song called ‘WHO’s Behind the News Blues’. I don’t think I have the confidence to record that for the general public, though!)

LZ: One of the musical artists who you have great regard for is Mark Knopfler. Have you ever considered, or personally talked with Knopfler about, collaborating on an album with him?

JS: If he would agree to that, I would love to. I don’t know him personally; and although he is about my age, he came on the scene about ten years after Fleetwood Mac.

LZ: A general consensus is that ‘the blues is a feeling‘, however, on a personal level, the blues means a lot of different things, to a lot of different people. What does the blues personally mean to you?

JS: It means more to me these days than it ever did, as it can be a very rewarding and fulfilling way to express emotion, and I have discovered that those emotions can be good, sweet and uplifting -- not always negative. There’s a famous quote, right, ‘The sweetest songs can tell of the saddest thoughts’?

It comes to me more naturally, too, because when I listen back to some of my old stuff, it seems immature and ‘forced’. Of course, I was just learning, and I still am!

LZ: On your website, , there is a short story you wrote entitled, Tom Dear Tom, a very inspirational and compelling piece.

JS: I am so glad you liked it, Liza! Music to my ears!

LZ: There are also several other stories that you have authored which appear on the website. Do you plan to publish all of the stories in book form?

JS: I don’t know; I haven’t had any offers yet! I am happy if they at least get to be read and enjoyed. Did you read ‘I Thought of Emily’? That’s a personal favourite (notice the British spelling!)

LZ: Well thank you very much, Jeremy, for the interesting blues chat; and for sharing with the world, your awe-inspiring slide guitar talent -a precious gift that G-D has given to you.

JS: You’re welcome, Liza and thank you, too. Good, thought provoking questions.

Interviewer Lisa Zimmer is a music journalist based in the San Francisco Bay area. Over the years, she has conducted interviews for print publication, with recording acts such as Bob Weir; Eric Burdon; and Francis Clay (Muddy Waters' band). She has also co-conducted numerous interviews for radio broadcast, with musicians including Tommy Shannon; Chris Layton; Robert Cray; Johnny Winter; and Buddy Guy.

2009 Blues Blast Music Awards Voting Is Open

The Blues Blast Music Awards recognize the best Blues performers and their music. Our nominators included Radio stations, Blues DJ's, Blues Bloggers, Blues Critics, Journalists, Festival Promoters, Managers, Musicians and Blues Societies. They have nominated the BEST in Blues Music today.  To vote now CLICK HERE.

BE AN INFORMED VOTER - If you are not familiar with all of the 2009 nominees,  GLT Blues Radio 24/7 has a created a "listening page" where you can sample the music of the nominees BEFORE you vote. To check out the website and begin listening to these great artists now, CLICK HERE    Voting continues until August 31st. Details of the Awards show on October 29th, 2009 at Buddy Guy's Legends coming soon.

Best Contemporary Blues Recording

" At Least I’m Not With You” The Insomniacs

"Love Me Tonight" John Nemeth

“Live at Chan’s Vol 2” Nick Moss

"Clean Getaway" Curtis Salgado

"What Love Will Do" Janiva Magness

"Never going Back" Shemekia Copeland

Best Blues Band

Nick Moss and The Flip Tops

Lil Ed And The Blues Imperials

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Mannish Boys

The Insomniacs

Watermelon Slim and The Workers

Best Traditional Blues Recording

"Chicago Blues: A Living History" Various Artists

"Sweeheart Like You" Guy Davis

"All Original" John Primer

"Lowdown Feelin" Mannish Boys

"Blues Attack" Shirley Johnson

"One Kind Favor" BB King

Best Male Blues Artist

John Primer

Bobby Jones

Nick Moss

Lurrie Bell

John Nemeth

Elvin Bishop

Best Blues Song

“Bad Year Blues” Albert Castiglia

"At Least I'm Not With You" - The Insomniacs

"Mr. Coffee" Chris James & Patrick Rynn

"20 Years of B.B. King" Curtis Salgado

"Let Life Flow" Kenny Neal

"See That My Grave is Kept Clean" BB King

Best Female Blues Artist

Shirley Johnson

Robin Rogers

Diunna Greenleaf

Shemekia Copeland

Eden Brent

Janiva Magness

Best New Artist Debut

"Stop And Think About It" Chris James & Patrick Rynn

"White Sugar" Joanne Shaw Taylor

"Austin To Chicago" Dave Herrero

"2 Man Wrecking Crew" Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm

"Livin It" Guy King

"Mississippi Number One" Eden Brent

Sean Costello Rising Star Award

Eden Brent

Kilborn Alley Blues Band

Joanne Shaw Taylor

Albert Castiglia

Dave Gross

Cedric Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm


A new CD from Michael Packer

Rikers Island Blues

CLICK HERE to buy the CD now

 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.

Washington Blues Society - Seattle, WA

The Washington Blues Society IBC 2010 Competition - WBS will host local competitions to send a band and a solo/duo act to the 2010 International Blues Challenge (IBC). The semi-final band competition will be held Sunday, July 26th at the Highway 99 Blues Club in Seattle. The semi-final solo/duo competition will be held Sunday, August 9th at Seattle’s New Orleans Creole Restaurant. Finalists in each category will compete in the finals on Sunday, August 23rd at the Highway 99 Blues Club. If the WBS receives more than 10 applicants in either category, the Board may select applicants via a lottery at the July 14th Blues Bash at the Red Crane in Shoreline. One winner in each category will represent the WBS in the 2010 IBC in Memphis, January 20-23. Judges will evaluate each act using the Blues Foundation criteria (, and not be affiliated with the WBS Board or any contestant. Contestant applications are due July 13th from, and IBC rules are at More info: Eric Steiner ( 

River City Blues Society- Peoria, IL

The River City Blues Society's Wednesday Blues Series features the best traveling regional and National Blues musicians each Wednesday at 7:00pm. The shows are held at the Dragon's Dome, 3401 Griffin Ave in Pekin, IL. Admission is $4. Shows scheduled are:  July 15 - Nick Moss & The Flip Tops, July 22 - Joanna Conner w/ Donna Herula opening act

Mid-Mississippi Muddy Water Blues Society - Quincy IL

The Blues Society is holding the "Quincy Area Blues Fest" on July 17th & 18th in Quincy's Historic Washington Park in beautiful downtown Quincy. This is the 16th year of the Blues Fest in this park! Two days-8 great Acts, with Friday featuring The Beat Daddys and Eric Sardinas, and Saturday Headliner-BMA Nominee Albert Castiglia. Don't sweat the heat-this park is full of great shade trees, and there's always at least a gentle breeze blowing. If you've never been to Quincy for this Fest-this is the year to support us. Several affordable Hotels within walking distance, great acts and atmosphere, and affordable prices. Details are at 

The Alabama Blues Project - Northport, AL

The Alabama Blues Project's award-winning Summertime Blues Camp gives students the opportunity to take music workshops in their choice of guitar, harmonica, drums or voice with some of the greatest professional musicians in our state, including Shar-Baby and Debbie Bond. Students who show exceptional skills will also be offered intermediate level classes. In addition, the Summertime Blues Camp offers art classes headed by internationally renowned artists including Lonnie Holley and Miz Thang, lessons in songwriting, life skills and blues history. The Blues Camp will also feature some very special guests including B. J. Miller and Dr. Burt!

Blues Camp is 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. from Monday, July 13th to Friday, July 17th. Friday's session will be an Open House Blues Café where the young musicians will showcase their talent with a music performance and art show. Family, friends and the wider community are invited!

The cost for Blues Camp is $200 per student. There are scholarships available for families with a limited budget. Space is limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis. Please contact Cara Smith a.s.a.p. at (205) 752-6263 or to register your child(ren) today. Thank you!

The Arkansas River Blues Society - Little Rock, Arkansas

The Arkansas River Blues Society presents a monthly Blues jam at Juanita’s, 1300 Main Street, Little Rock, Arkansas the first Tuesday of every month, beginning July 7th, at 8 pm. The jam will feature a different house band each month. Unseen Eye, from Hot Springs, has been chosen as the first house band. Admission is $5 for the public and $3 for members of ARBS. Participating musicians are FREE and this is an open jam. For more information contact Babs at 501-920-7783 or check out

Friends Of The Blues Shows - Kankakee IL

The Friends of the Blues 2009 Blues concert Series shows for July.

Saturday, July 11, REBA RUSSELL BAND from Memphis, 8 p.m., River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL 815-933-0610. .

Thursday, July 16, ALBERT CASTIGLIA from Miami, 7 p.m. Early Show, River Bend Bar & Grill, 6070 E. Route 17, Kankakee IL 815-933-0610.

Monday, July 20 – CURTIS & THE MAYFIELDS, 6 p.m. Poolside Polynesian Party, Kankakee Elks Country Club, 2283 Bittersweet Drive, St. Anne IL (815) 937-1228. Wear your Tropical attire and enjoy goodies from the outdoor grill and great music variety from Curtis Battrell, Andy Battrell, Ed Oberlander, and Dick Dale.

Tuesday, July 28 – CHICAGO KINGSNAKES, 7 p.m. Early Show, Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen Club, 2672 Chippewa Drive, Bourbonnais IL (815) 937-0870. Some Great Chicago Blues! 

Central Mississippi Blues Society – Jackson, MS

The CMBS presents Blue Monday at Hal & Mal’s (200 Commerce St., Jackson, MS) every Monday night. Doors open @ 8:00 and music begins @ 8:30. Cover is $5.

The Blue Monday Band is comprised of the “best of the best “ musicians in the Central MS area. Featured artists are King Edward, lead guitar/vocalist and Pat Brown, Abdul Rasheed and Dennis Fountain as vocalists. Other regular band members are Dwight Ross and Rick Lewis (drums), Keith Collins (bass), Johnny Sharpe (keys) and Malcolm Shepherd (CMBS President) on Congas. Most of these musicians appeared in The Last of the Mississippi Jukes.

The Blue Monday Band plays the first set and then the event turns into a jam. For more info see:  or call Peggy Brown @ 601-613-7377

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club will be conducting its Third Annual Blues Challenge during the Old Capitol Blues & Barbeque, August 29, 2009 beginning at noon. Deadline to apply is July 15, 2009. Official rules can be viewed on the ICBC’s website, . The Challenge includes both the band competition and the solo/duo competition on the same day. The winner of the band challenge will receive $1,000 and the winner of the solo/duo challenge will receive $500 in travel monies to represent the Club at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge (IBC) in Memphis, TN January 20-23, 2010. Inquiries regarding this press release should be directed to Mark Edmiston, President of the Illinois Central Blues Club, at (217) 679-0721 or e-mail

BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover - July 13 - Andre Howard Band, July 20 - Texas Groove, July 27 Bill Evans

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 4

Kelly Carmichael - Queen Fareena

Dogstreet Records

11 tracks Total time: 42:18

Kelly Carmichael’s second CD, Queen Fareena, is a rollicking, feel-good romp of traditional blues and rags played old-timey with Carmichael on vocals, guitar and six-string banjo, and accompanied by two assortments of musicians. All tracks are accompanied by the rhythm section of Jean-Paul Gaster, drums, and Johnny “Lawless” Ray Carroll, upright bass, drums and bass having become de rigueur on folk recordings since the mid-1960s, and they add a positive, contemporary touch. The addition of Alexander Mitchell’s fiddle and Brian Simms’s accordion to Carmichael’s guitar and banjo provide an old-timey string band flavor, while the combination of Scott Rich’s trumpet and John McVey’s trombone give their tracks a strong Dixieland-1920s jazz emphasis. This old-timey musical flavor informs the first 10 tracks throughout, while the last track, Blind Boy Fuller’s “Untrue Blues,” is more a traditional guitar blues with trombone and trumpet accompaniment.

Queen Fareena’s 11 tracks are comprised of nine traditional rags and blues, with two Carmichael originals that hew to the lyrical phrasing and musical styles of traditional music. The title track, track 7, Carmichael’s “Queen Fareena,” is a tale of a brothel steamboat filled with “black girls, white girls, high yaller and China girls” that plies the waters “from Chicago to Louisian-ay.” Carmichael plays six-string banjo here, with Brian Simms accompanying him on accordion, and the song is replete with “All aboard!” come-on calls from the ship’s captain, and ends with a calliope fade of Irving Berlin’s “Blues Skies” punctuated by a steamboat whistle. This brothel-steamboat theme is further augmented by Kelly Carmichael’s artwork portrayal of scantily clad women for the inside cover and CD tray of the sleeve jacket.
The other Carmichael original, track 9, “Booker Blues,” is based on a true story of someone he knew, a marijuana dealer named Lightning Booker, who ended up serving ten years in prison. This “old ragweed blues,” played again on banjo, only with horns this time, and with a vocal chorus, begins with a marching-beat drum call and has a few ironic things to say about that ever-popular weed not only having been around for a long time, but also that arresting people for it only overcrowds prisons.

The nine traditional songs are an engaging potpourri of material that feature two songs from Mississippi John Hurt and Rev. Gary Davis. Hurt’s “Richland Women Blues” is the opening track, with Carmichael on banjo accompanied by Alexander Mitchell’s fiddle and Brian Simms’s accordion. Hurt is again featured on track 5, the familiar “Salty Dog,” that begins with the contemporary-jazz interplay of Jean-Paul Gaster’s drums and “Lawless” Carroll’s upright bass, then moves effortlessly into a musical accompaniment featuring guitar with the trumpet of Scott Rich and the trombone of John McVey. Their tandem Dixieland-1920s jazz horns are featured on six of the old-timey tracks, with several trumpet solos throughout, and with McVey adding a deep second-voice accompaniment with his trombone.

One of the two Rev. Gary Davis numbers is the vocal on track 2, “She’s Funny That Way,” also featuring Carmichael on banjo with the horns of Rich and McVey, and is a very jazz-like arrangement, with a shift from medium-tempo in the body of the song to a fast-tempo ending, and scat singing from Carmichael. The other Davis track, track 4, is the instrumental “Cincinnati Flow Rag,” again with horns and banjo, and with Kelly Carmichael augmenting this playing with his first-ever playing of a bell kit, a xylophone-like instrument.

Carmichael plays guitar and percussive bones on Queen Fareena’s other instrumental, the ever-popular “Guitar Rag,” track 8, which he adapts from the version by the tune’s co-author, Sylvester Weaver. This instrumental is done as an old-timey string band rag, with Carmichael on guitar accompanied by Alexander Mitchell’s fiddle and Brian Simms’s accordion. Carmichael plays slide guitar on track 3, Robert Johnson’s “Last Fair Deal Goin’ Down,” accompanied by Mitchell’s fiddle, with both guitar and fiddle solos.

Track 6, “Come On Boys Let’s Do That Messin' Around” is adapted from the version by Blind Arthur Blake, and is done as a jazz rag on banjo with horns, and features Carmichael again singing scat. Track 10, “Terrible Operation Blues,” is a humorous double-entendre number from the 1920s adapted from the version by Big Bill Broonzy and Georgia Tom, and again features Carmichael’s banjo with Rich’s and McVey’s horns, and with Carmichael singing the woman’s asides in a falsetto voice.

All 11 tracks on Queen Fareena sound as though all the players really had fun doing them, and altogether, Queen Fareena is a really fun CD to listen to.

Reviewer George Fish lives in Indianapolis, Indiana, home of blues legends Yank Rachell and Leroy Carr, and writes a regular music column, “Blues and More” for the online Bloomington (IN) Alternative. He’s also published in the regional Indiana blues and alternative presses as well as Living Blues and Blues Access, and wrote the notes for Yank Rachell’s Delmark album, Chicago Style. He has also published on blues and pop music for the left-wing press as well, and has appeared in Against the Current and Socialism and Democracy, as well as the online Political Affairs and MRZine.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

12th Annual Prairie Dog Blues Fest

Friday, July 31, 2009

Queenie & The Blue Cats   Curtis Salgado  The Groove Hogs  Ana Popovic  The Swamp Kings

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Perry Weber & The DevillesDave Weld & The Imperial Flames   Jimmy Thackery & The Drivers Johnny Rawls  Lil' Brian & The Zydeco Travelers  Davy Knowles & Back Door Slam  Jon Justice


Festival Website

The only Blues festival held on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River!

 Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin on St. Feriole Island

 Featured Blues Review 3 of 4

Various Artists / 8 Lead Artists - It Ain’t Over

Delmark Records Celebrates 55 Years of Blues at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago

11songs; 67:16 minutes

This is a recording of a celebration of 55 years for Delmark records, founded in 1953 by Bob Koester. Mayor Richard Daley even proclaimed that day, March 7, 2008, to be Delmark Records Day in Chicago. This CD has a bunch of very notable musicians mostly all on the Delmark label, and this was a day to party and celebrate.

Zora Young does the lead song and title track, “(It ain't over) Til the Fat Lady Sings.” Further, Jimmy Johnson, Aaron Moore, the late, great Little Arthur Duncan (nicknamed after Little Walter), Lurrie Bell, Shirley Johnson, Eddie Shaw, and, last but not least, Tail Dragger all front the bands on these 11 songs.

Also, in the background on stage, there’s an array of fantastic musicians -- kind of a Who's Who in Chicago Blues today. The rhythm section, Kenny Smith on drums and Bob Stroger on bass, play almost the entire CD with only a couple exceptions. Later, Marty Binder on drums and Harlan Terson step in. Others helping out are Nick Moss, Dave Spector, and Kevin Shanahan on guitars and Billy Branch and Big D. on harmonica, just to name a few.

All 11 songs are done like an all-star blues jam party, with everyone doing a stellar performance. For example, there’s Jimmy Johnson, vocals and guitar, done in his minor key style, doing “Cold, Cold Feeling (Just like ice around my heart),” written by Jessie Mae Robinson. Another Jimmy Johnson standout is “You Don't Know What Love Is” written by Fenton Robinson. It’s very smooth and soothing music. Jimmy started playing professionally in 1959, cutting his teeth behind greats like Otis Rush, Freddie King, and Magic Sam. Before that he was a welder through the week and a bluesman on the weekends.

Track 5 finds the late, great Little Arthur Duncan singing and playing harmonica on “Pretty Girls Everywhere” while guitar aces Nick Moss and Nick Kreher share the guitar parts. This may be the last recording by Little Arthur before he passed away a short time later.

Lurrie Bell, a son of the late harmonica wizard Carey Bell, sings and plays guitar on “Don't You Lie to Me,” a Hudson Whittaker (“Tampa Red”) song. He also sits in on his 6-string on five other songs, playing great throughout this album.

This very collectible package was recorded, mixed and mastered at Riverside Studio, Chicago by Steve Wagner, Eric Butkus, and Legend’s soundman Dave Katzman. The design is by the beautiful and very talented Moonshine Kate Moss of Moonshine Design. There’s also fabulous photography on the cover.

Reviewer Tom "THE ENERGIZER" Schlesinger is a seasoned Blues lover and fan for many years. He’s a veteran of many a Blues Festival and The Ultimate and The Legendary Blues Cruises in the Caribbean.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Blues Video of the Week

Sonny Landreth
Right Hand Guitar Technique

This week we feature a a close up video of Sonny Landreth's right hand guitar technique.

If you are into slide guitar, this man does some AMAZING right hand picking using a thumb flat-pick and all four fingers.  Check out his right hand picking technique during the solo about 45 seconds into the video, WOW!  

Just when you think he couldn't be any better, at a minute and 25 seconds in he does some right hand picking combinations that boggle the mind of us mere mortals.  Unbelievable! It will definitely make you want to hear this great artist live.

To see this cool video on our website, click the play button below.


For other videos on our website CLICK HERE.

 Live Blues Music Review 1 0f 2

The 26th Chicago Blues Fest - Day Three June 14,2009

The Chicago Blues fest is one of the largest Blues fests in the world. It is the only festival we take the time to report on in detail for each of the 3 days. Each day has more than 25 world class performers, as many as most other entire festival lineups.

We started off day three by seeing a performance by the Lee Boys.  The Lee Boys are one of America's finest African-American sacred steel ensembles. This family group consists of three brothers, Alvin Lee (guitar), Derrick Lee and Keith Lee (vocals) along with their three nephews, Roosevelt Collier (pedal steel guitar), Alvin Cordy Jr. (7-string bass) and Earl Walker (drums).

We headed onward to hear a few songs by Tre' And The BluesKnights w/ Lady Kat.

Next we caught Lou Pride and the Blues Disciples. He had a great band and showed why he is regarded as one great Blues and soul singer.

We also heard Ben Payton as a duet followed by Big Jack Johnson on the small stage.

Next up on the Jukejoint stage was Blues legend David "Honeyboy" Edwards.  Honeyboy was just a week shy of his 94th birthday. We never get tired of hearing Honeyboy. As the last of the original Delta Bluresmen, (He was there the night Robert Johnson was killed) Edwards plays some real deal Blues!

Later we heard Ernest Lane and the Kings of Rhythm and Grady Johnson before heading over to the main stage for the nights headliners.

On day three the Chicago Blues Fest main stage started off with Johnny Drummer and the Starlighters. Drummer is a very well known Chicago Blues man and he put on a great show for the crowd.

Next up was another set by Big Jack Johnson which the crowd LOVED! His set on the big stage was another rare treat for Blues fans.

On the bill next was Jeremy Spencer. Jeremy is well known as one of the members of the legendary Fleetwood Mac. This evening he gave a great performance showing the crowd his chops on slide guitar. He got some help on second guitar by Chicago's own Dave Herrero. Herrero was recently nominated by Blues Blast Magazine for Best New Artist Debut Recording for his "Austin to Chicago" CD.

The final act of the 2009 Chicago Blues Fest was Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings. This was our first time seeing this great performer but we hope it won't be the last. We had heard many good things about her so our expectations were very high and she lived up to them and much more. Put this act on you list to see soon.

The 2009 fest was another fine effort by Barry Dollins and all the Chicago folks. See you again next year at the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival.

Review and photos by Blues Blast Editor Bob Kieser.

 Live Blues Music Review 2 0f 2

Urbana Blues, Brews & BBQ's Festival - June 27 & 27,2009

The second year of the Urbana Blues, Brews and BBQ festival took place in the heat of 90 degree plus days. But the weather wasn't the only thing that was hot as we saw some scorching Blues too.

About 5,000 fans on Friday night saw the fest kick off with the Delta Kings. They brought their best Delta Blues to a crowd of Blues lovers.

Next up was a band from Gary, Indians, The Kinsey Report. With Donald Kinsey on guitar and vocals, Kenneth Kinsey on bass, Ralph Kinsey,on drums and Nick Byrd on guitar the band played a 90 minute set of great Blues.

Friday's headliner was slide master Sonny Landreth. We never pass up the opportunity to see this fantastic performer. He is one hell of a player. If you want to see some really cool close ups of Sonny's right hand guitar style check out the video of Sonny in our Blues Video of the Week in this issue (Or CLICK HERE).

On Friday with the show started oput with a hometown Urbana Band called the Impalas. Lead by guitarist Bruce Rummenie  (Bruiser & The Virtues), the band played a pleasing mix of Blues and a bit of soul too.

Next up was Philadelphia, PA singer Gina Sicilia. Gina did a great job showing the crowd why she was nominated for a Blues Blast Music Award last year. She played cuts from her latest CD "Hey Sugar". This is one GREAT Blues singer. Look for her if she comes anywhere near your location. You want to see this gal!

Next up was Steady Rollin Bob Margolin. As guitarist for the legendary Muddy Waters, Bob has picked up a few chops over the years and they were on full display for this show. His band included more of noteable such as Willie "Big Eyes" Smith on drums and bass legend Bob Stroeger.

Chicago Bluesman Eddy The Chief Clearwater was up next. He put on quite a show for the crowd.

In the heat of the day the next act was 96 year old Pinetop Perkins. Pinetop still has quite a bit of his Blues piano magic left and the heat didn't slow him down one bit.

After playing drums with Bob Margolin, Willie Smith came back to the satge fronting The Willie "Big Eyes" Smith Band. Out front on harmonica and vocals it is clear that this real deal Blues legend is more than a drummer for others.

The headliner of the night was Buckwheat Zydeco on Saturday. His Cajun zydeco music infected the crowd and had the place jumpin and dancing.

This was one GREAT festival. Check them out next year!

Review and photos by Blues Blast Editor Bob Kieser.

Blues Blast Magazine - Summer Advertising SALE!

Blues Blast Magazine is running an advertising special for Blues festivals and new CD releases during July through October. Are you a promoter or a Blues Society having a festival anytime during July through October? Is your band's CD being released in the coming months?

If so we are offering a great deal to get the Blues word out for you. Your ad can be seen each week by 12,000 Blues fans in all 50 states and in 60 countries for a very low price of $30 a week. (Four Week minimum!)

So for the low price of $120 your ad will be seen nearly 50,000 times by real Blues fans. How is that for a deal? You want more you say? OK then we recommend our combo rate where for an additional $20, your ad will also run at the same time on our website at Our website gets 10,000 visitors and more than 800,000 hits each month.

The sale prices are good for ad space reserved through July 31st, 2009. Available advertising space is limited and is offered on a first come, first served basis so contact us today at to start getting the Blues word out about your Blues event or CD!

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 4

Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo - It Ain’t Easy


11 tracks/43:56

What’s the Hoodoo all about? It’s all about three young guys from Madison, Wisconsin who play some roadhouse style blues-rock-funk that will make your toes tap and hips shake! Aaron Williams leads the band on vocals and guitar, Eric Schackelford also sings and plays the drums and “Z” plays bass and provides some vocals, too. They are a tight little trio backed up occasionally by some of their friends and they deliver some hot and steamy blues.

I first listened to this CD while traveling home from the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival late Saturday night/Sunday morning after three days of blues music. I left Davenport and I was barely across the bridge to Moline from Bettendorf when I put the CD in to play. I was tired but happy after the festival but needed something to get the blood pumping at midnight. The opening chords of “Hypnotize” told me this was not going to be a CD for the faint of heart. They continued to pump out some intense music in the second track, “Seven Days” and by the next song (the title track) I felt like I’d had a couple of cups of Joe in me!

The driving guitar and beat are the hallmark of these rocking blues lads. Williams’ guitar licks are sweltering and the groove backing it makes your heart pump quickly. These guys are also quite unique vocally, with a punky, often nasal tone to their songs. They sometimes reminded me of how Jim Morrison delivered some of his Doors vocals. The title track brings in some nice background vocals to add depth to the song and they use them well on other tracks, too.

“Living on Love” introduces us to the softer side of Williams and band. Acoustic guitar and some laid back vocals are complimented nicely with the addition of Cadillac Joe Anderson on Hammond B3 organ. The song flows into a strong river of blended vocals, organ and guitar picking. This is the only down-tempo track on the CD, and it nicely shows that the guys have some variety in what they can deliver.

The guys lay out some funk on “Porterhouse 650”, with some rapping lines that talk about both their steaks and their women. “Drinking Blues” gives us some rockabilly licks with Aaron screaming out the chorus line “I’ve drinking blues!” with the band echoing his “problem.” It’s non-stop action; the remaining tracks are equally hot and are just as much fun as the others!

The guitar work by Williams is sweet as it motors thorough each tune in a hot charging, rev-ed up style. By the time the album finished I was almost halfway home and wide awake, so I queued it up for another play. I have listened to the CD a few times now and I appreciate it more and more with each subsequent play. It is an excellent set of original tunes in a cool carney-circus graphics laden package featuring tattoo art of a buxom tattooed lady on the back cover that makes the packaging as roadhouse as the sound within it. If you want your blues hot, sweaty, and rocking then this is a CD for you! 

Reviewer Steve Jones is Secretary of the Crossroads Blues Society in Rockford. IL

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

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