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November 4, 2010

© 2010 Blues Blast Magazine

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Hey Blues Fans,

The Blues Blast Music Award last Thursday were a spectacular gathering of Blues artists at Buddy Guy's Legends. The awards  featured great performances, great awards presentations, and a wonderful mix of musicians, blues professionals, and fans. The winners of the 2010 Blues Blast Music Awards were:

Best Contemporary Blues Recording: Nick Moss / Privileged
Best Traditional Blues Recording: Mississippi Heat / Let's Live It Up
Best Blues Song: The Kilborn Alley Blues Band / "Better Off Now"
Best Blues Band: Tommy Castro Band
Best Male Blues Artist: Magic Slim
Best Female Blues Artist: Shemekia Copeland
Best New Artist Debut Recording: Jackie Scott & The Housewreckers / How Much Woman Can You Stand?
Sean Costello Rising Star Award: The Cash Box Kings
2010 Lifetime Achievement Award: Otis Rush

Unfortunately our photographer for the awards, Marilyn Stringer had a flight cancelled on her way from California and was not able to make the show. Here are a few shots for you taken by volunteer Nate Kieser. From left to right are Blues Legend Eddie Shaw, Jackie Scott, Candye Kane and Laura Chavez.

Some of our sponsors took some great shots too. Lordy from took quite a few good ones of all the fun. Check out these CLICK HERE.

Also sponsor Kim Abbott took some great photos and also posted some great vides clips of the show on YouTube. To see the photos, CLICK HERE. To see the cool videos, CLICK HERE.

We will post more of the photos of the fun as they come in from the fans at the show.

In This Issue

We have five new reviews this week! James "Skyy Dobro" Walker reviews a new CD by Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires. John Mitchell reviews a new CD by Dave Specter. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD from a band in Greece called Small Blues Trap. Steve Jones reviews The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concert DVD. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony reviews a new CD by Aussie Bluesman Claude Hay. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

I Got The Blues... All Because Of You is an eclectic mix of female blues classics and of originals written by G'Jai. This CD will make you reminisce of a time when women reigned supreme in the Blues world.
I Got The Blues All Because Of You
Available at
With some blues classics like "Chirping The Blues", and a link to the present with originals like "Little Lady From Detroit".
"You can't look to the future without embracing your past!"

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 5

Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires - Words Are Like Bullets

Blue Edge Records

10 tracks; 46:06 minutes; Suggested

Styles: Retro and Modern Electric Blues; Rock and Roll; Roots and Retro sounds

My fascination with song writing continues with me yet to make any progress towards the completion of even one. Perhaps I should follow the lead of Steve Gerard of Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires who has cleverly based a song on a pleasant memory of a fun and exciting time in his life – the late teen years.

“Baby Get Your Skirt Up Now” is a rocking and rollicking good-time song which refers to Saturday night dancing at a teen nightspot during the 1960s when girls’ tight, tight skirts down to the knees were in style. In order for a girl to really use her legs on the dance floor she had to hike that skirt up just a little (or a lot). In this song featuring some of their Hottest guitar, piano, and rhythm work, Steve has written about going to "To The Crystal" in Ohio and hearing Terry Knight And The Pack which later, with the addition of Mark Farner, became Grand Funk Railroad.

Throughout the CD, multi-talented Steve Gerard is absolutely deft on a large hollow body electric guitar and looks like a country gentleman in the liner photos. Dave “Elmo” Bailey is an outstanding baritone vocalist who first came to my attention back in 2002 when he was known as “Elmo Bliss” singing in the Chicago area with “Felix [Reyes] and the Cats.”

Another source for song lyrics is an argument or disagreement with a loved one. In a telephone conversation, Gerard told me how “Air of Negativity” is based on an accusation made about him by an offspring. Steve evidently took the charge to heart because his lyrics say, “Oh dear Lord, please rescue me from this air of negativity.” Heavy repetitive organ paced by steady rhythm and pleading guitar make a haunting backdrop to the prayer like vocals passionately emoted by Elmo.

The socially conscious song “Bullets in the Barrel” is the song spawning the CD title "Words Are Like Bullets." Bailey implores the power and potential hurt of words and how wisdom and restraint can prevent unnecessary damage.

Following their second CD after the critically acclaimed debut release, "New Sounds from Kansas City," this great album features all original songs by Steve Gerard, Dave Bailey and Patrick Recob.

Radio ready is athe grooving "Find The Answer" with Lee McBee on harp. A nice change up is found in "It Didn't Happen That Way," a slow, jazzy number presented as a four piece combo of piano, Preston Hubbard - double bass, guitar, and sax behind Elmo's solid vocals.

Another killer is the last cut, a bonus track, "Ain't My Problem." Written by Gerard and previously released by Sean Carney’s Blues for a Cure, it’s loaded with standout moments and all-stars. Try three different guitar leads: Sean Carney starts it off, Steve Gerard takes over, and Nick Schnebelen (Trampled Under Foot) ends with the third guitar lead and provides the rich vocals. His Trampled Under Foot brother and sister supply the bass and drums while Gene Walker adds Sax.

Rounding out The National Debonaires are Patrick Recob - bass, Mike “Shinetop, Jr.” Sedovic - keys, and Dwight Ross, Jr. –drums. “Guest” Debonaires are: Mike Clark - sax, Greg “Junior” Demchuk - guitar & harmonica, Preston Hubbard - double Bass, and Lee McBee – harmonica.

Quality productions like this CD should insure that, given time, the New Debonaires will become successful and rich “Old” Debonaires!

Reviewer James "Skyy Dobro" Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ, Master of Ceremonies, and longtime Blues Blast Magazine contributor. His weekly radio show "Friends of the Blues" can be heard 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

Special pricing extended to November 20, 2010

Blues Blast Magazine is offering a Fall Ad special. This is our lowest pricing of the year and offers an affordable & effective way to get the Blues word out! This 6 week combo rate of only $180 allows you to affordably add significant impact to your Blues ad campaign. It is a great way to kick up the visibility of you new CD release or Blues event!

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 17,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 80 countries. We also get more than 1,000,000  (That's ONE MILLION) hits and more than 25,000 visitors a month on our website. Normal 2010 Advertising rates are $45 a week for Blues Blast magazine ads and website ads are $70 per month.

BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise your Blues event or CD in six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and on our website for a month and a half for less that the cost of a small ad in your local newspaper. To get the special rate of $180 simply reserve your ad space by November 20th, 2010.  Ads can be booked to run anytime between now and June 30, 2011.

So for only $180 your ad can be viewed more than 135,000 times by Blues fans who want to know about Blues events and music! Reserve your space today!  Space is limited and will be sold on a first come first served basis.  Ads must be reserved  and paid for before November 20th, 2010. To get more information email or call 309 267-4425 today!

 Blues Society News

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

You can submit a maximum of 175 words or less in a Text or MS Word document format.

Colorado Blues Society - Boulder, CO

The Colorado Blues Society is holding their 1st Annual Holiday Party & Benefit December 11 at the Boulder Outlook (800 28th St. Boulder, Co). Headlining the show will be 2009 IBC winners, JP Soars and the Red Hots. Opening the event will be 16 year old guitar wizard Taylor Marvin, the Colorado Blues Society two-time Youth Showcase performer at the IBCs in 2010 and 2011. Show starts at 6PM. Tickets are $10. In addition to seeing a great show this is for a great cause. We are collecting for the Food Bank, so please bring a can of food (as many as possible!). All net proceeds donated to the Food Bank.

The Golden Gate Blues Society - Redwood City, CA

The GGBS will hold the finals of its International Blues Challenge on Sunday, November 7, at Club Illusions in Palo Alto, California. This fundraiser will help pay expenses to send the winning band to Memphis. The four finalists are The J.C. Smith Band, Twice As Good, Wendy De Witt, and Tip of the Top.

We have a distinguished panel of judges: Barbara Hammerman, veteran judge of International Blues Challenges and 2009 recipient of The Blues Foundation's Keeping the Blues Alive award; Kathleen Lawton, KCSM Blues DJ; and Lee Hildebrand, Journalist for Living Blues and other publications.

We are pleased to announce that the winner will open for the Robert Cray Band at the Fox Theatre in Redwood City on November 12, 2010. For more information visit

Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania - Pittsburgh, PA

The Blues Society of Western Pennsylvania is hosting "Blues Goes Pink" ...The Blues Divas Return Concert to benefit Adagio Health to provide Breast Cancer Screenings. The event will be held Sunday, November 7, 2010 at Cefalo's Restaurant and Nightclub, 428 Washington Avenue, Carnegie, PA from 2 pm- 9 pm.  The lineup will include The Patti Spadaro Band, Katie Simone, Angelica Pietranton, Roseanne Matthews Band, Pamela Bick and the Warehouse Blues Band, Jill Simmons and theCAUSE, Andrea Pearl, Marcy Brown, Angel Blue and the Prophets, Jill West and Blues Attack, Miss Freddye and Blue Faze, Ann Kerstetter, the "Duchess of Duke Street," w/ JT Thompson and Mitch Ivanoff Admission is $12 to public, $10 to blues members from any blues society. For more information call 724-378-8926 or visit

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King will be Big Cities Lounge at 905 E State St in Rockford on Thursday night, November 18th at 8 PM. Tickets ar $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Contact Joe G at 815-218-6359 or for tickets and info. This will sell out fast so get your tickets early!

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 $3 cover. October 25 - Perry Weber & the Devilles.

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 5

Dave Specter – Spectified

Fret 12 Music

13 tracks, 72.25 minutes.

Dave Specter is a well-respected Chicago musician who has been recording since the early 1990s. As well as recording albums in his own name he has also produced for several Chicago players, including Lurrie Bell and Jimmy Johnson, as well as backing many of the great Chicago singers when they are on tour, notably in Europe. He also teaches guitar in Chicago. Dave does not sing himself and in the past has included in his band singers of the calibre of Tad Robinson, but on this all instrumental outing it is his guitar which does the talking.

The core band on this recording is Dave on guitar, longstanding bass player Harlan Terson, Greg Wyser-Pratte on drums and Brother John Kattke on keyboards. Pete Benson is at the keyboard for three tracks and there is some additional percussion by Victor Garcia on two tracks. The splendidly named Bo’ Weavil Brass provide horn arrangements on four tracks. David Hidalgo from Los Lobos plays accordion on one track.

Dave’s music has always been at the interface of blues and jazz, partly because of the clean guitar sound that he always achieves and a real sense of improvisation throughout the recording. There is an excellent rendition of King Curtis’ “Soul Serenade” but otherwise I believe that the material on this CD is largely self composed; however on my advance copy there were no writing credits.

The whole of the CD makes great listening and it is difficult to pick outstanding tracks. Many of the tunes have amusing titles such as “Stick To The Hip” and “Lumpus D’Rumpus”. The material ranges from the borders of jazz through Latin, Soul, Funk and Blues. Opening cut “Stick To The Hip” features an insistent guitar riff above the horns and is definitely on the jazz side of the divide.” Octavate’n” (no, I have no idea what the title means either!) is a similar sort of tune, with slightly tougher guitar. The classic “Soul Serenade” is beautifully performed, building from a quiet opening statement of the theme through solo opportunities for all the main players.

“Blues Call” is a moody Latin piece before “Alley Walk” definitely takes us into the blues and includes some slide guitar. There is also a reprise of the tune at the end of the CD played solo by Dave on acoustic guitar. “Wash Out” is another piece that revolves round an insistent guitar line but also has a fine organ solo. “The Funky Hunky” is an up tempo romp, again featuring the horns. David Hidalgo plays nice accordion on “Rumba And Tonic” to provide a real Cuban feel. “Azulado” is by a short head the longest track at 7.28 and is a slow paced, atmospheric piece with a relaxed Latin feel. “Slick Pick” concentrates on the lower register of notes, both guitar and keys. “See See Rider” does not seem to bear any relation to its more famous cousin “CC Rider” and it is a slow paced blues that brings to mind Ronnie Earl. “Lumpus D’Rumpus” bounces along and bears some resemblance to Freddie King’s “Hideaway”.

This is a fine CD, well played and produced. It should appeal to those who enjoy guitar playing and like a bit of jazz mixed into their blues. Dave also has an interactive website “Blues And Beyond” at the Fret 12 website where he discusses blues issues with other musicians and will respond to questions, the aim being to make blues more accessible to a global audience. That sounds like a very good objective and we should all wish him well with the venture.

Reviewer John Mitchell is a blues enthusiast based in the UK.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Review 3 of 5

Small Blues Trap - Red Snakes & Cave Rats


13 tracks/53:49

In these uncertain times, listeners and musicians all over the world are reminded almost daily what it means to have the blues. Memphis, Chicago and New Orleans all lay claim to being the home of the blues but the music has spread throughout the world, far beyond the Mississippi Delta area that nurtured the origins of the genre.

Small Blues Trap is a quartet based out of several villages in the central Greece countryside. The band was formed in 2004 and consists Paul Karapiperis on lead vocals, harmonica, slide steel guitar and keyboards, Panagiotis Daras on lead and rhythm guitar. Lefteris Besios on bass and Stathis Evageliou on drums. Their lengthy list of influences is a “who’s who” of important blues innovators. The list also includes Tom Waits and Captain Beefheart, which isn’t surprising once you hear Karapiperis sing. His deep, thick, raspy voice certainly brings to mind both of these better-known singers.

Musically, Small Blues Trap uses blues as a foundation on this all-original set list, mixing in some rock and a few jazz influences to create a unique approach that avoids the pitfall of trying to sound like a traditional blues band. They may use a standard boogie guitar riff on “It Took Me a Long Time” but the cut gets a boost from Karapiperis, who whips off a lightning-quick harp solo before Daras lays down a equally fine guitar solo. “It’s True” uses a shuffle beat as the band describes their love for blues music despite being so far from the land where it started. Daras shines on lead guitar on “The World is Painted Blue Again”, his clean tone dominating the proceedings. The title track is a darker track with an arrangement that emphasizes Daras on acoustic guitar. Musically interesting, the cut loses impact due to an obtuse lyrical narrative.

On “Seven plus…”, the group sounds uncannily like Dire Straits, with Daras recreating Mark Knopfler’s guitar sound to perfection while Karapiperis uses his harp to add variety to the track. They deliver another tribute on “Roy B.”, dedicated to the late Roy Buchanan. This moody song stops short of maudlin sentiments but misses capturing the essence of Buchanan’s legacy. “Strange Melody” has a slow, languid pace heated up by more fine guitar work from Daras. The band switches to an acoustic approach on “Surely My Body Gets the Message” and makes it clear that they understand the roots of the music. After a lengthy intro, “Buy a Dog” gets a strong beat Evageliou on a tale of warning for a cheating woman.

Small Blues Trap favors moderate to slow tempos, so there aren’t a lot of fireworks on this recording. And the tonal quality of Karapiperis’ vocals may not be to everyone’s liking. On the positive side, the band has established a hybrid sound that gains traction with repeated listens. Daras stands out on numerous tracks for his guitar work but all the members make solid musical contributions. Check them out on their website or at You might find yourself liking the way these Greeks interpret the blues.

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

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 5

Live in Vancouver - The Mississippi Sheiks Tribute Concert DVD

Black Hen Music

14 tracks

Steve Dawson produced and recorded a critically acclaimed Mississippi Sheiks tribute on CD in fall of 2009. He wanted to create a live experience in Vancouver with the same artists and over two days this past March he did two shows, the second of which resulted in this DVD. What he got was truly spectacular. There was a true chemistry developed between the artists and the result goes down in the annals of great live musical event. The bluesy, folksy, down home approach of the artists is truly authentic and real. The introductory and background material presented gives us some history and places the music and efforts in perspective. If I had any criticism it would be that they need to take these shows on the road for all to see and hear!

I think this album/DVD warrants a full accounting of the performances, so here we go! After introductory material Jim Byrnes with string backup reads original Sheiks liner notes and some history of the family. Canadian singer Oh Susanna does the first song, “Things About Comin’ My Way”. Her warm and sultry tones and easy approach to song and Dawson’s solo slide really sell this one. The gospel men the Sojourners’ “Sweet Maggie” rendition is ebullient and upbeat; Dawson’s pedal steel is beautiful and Daniel Lapp delivers a nice little trumpet solo in support of this fine trio. The great Geoff Geoff Muldaur is up next with “Poor Boy”. His banjo and singing are right out of the Delta. Backed up by some nice mandolin and strings, we get the feeling we are on a warm porch in Mississippi on a summer afternoon. Dawson gives us “Gulf Coast Bay” next, playing his lap guitar and droning out a haunting and traditional melody oh so well with some excellent B3 licks by Wayne Horvitz and Lapp on trumpet.

Colin James does “Keep On Tryin’” and is backed by John Hammond on harp; well done! New York born guitar player Bob Brozman plays some mean slide National steel guitar on “Church Bell Blues” as he wails and moans out the lyrics to this old classic. He’s been beating those steel boxes oh so well since he was six years old! Van Dyke Parks on piano leads us through “It’s Backfirin’ Now”, telling us the story of an old car’s maladies. The Lapp trumpet solo and backup is excellent again here. Robin Holcomb’s haunting vocals’ flutter in a gritty yet sweet manner and please the listener with “I’ve Got Blood in My Eyes for You”. Byrnes in “Tell Me What the Cats Are Fighting About” with Hammond squeaking out some high notes on harp is just marvelous.

Alvin Youngblood Hart is next up with “Livin’ In A Strain” with lap steel in hand, or more accurately, on his lap I guess. He gives us a very down home performance and Dawson fills in with some nice slide work of his own. “Kind Treatment” is sung by John Hammond, who also plays acoustic guitar and harp. It’s another of the many tracks that makes us feel like we could shut our eyes and be instantly transported to a front porch in Mississippi. Dave Alvin and Christy McWilson on “Who’s Been Here” give us a beautiful duet. Brozman on guitar, Dawson on banjo and Lapp on fiddle give good solos in support. The DVD ends with a jamboree of all the artists doing “Sitting On Top Of The World”. It’s a great finale to a truly great body of music presented by the accumulated artists.
If I had to choose the 2009 CD or the 2010 DVD I’d have to pick the DVD, but both are super. The electricity and interplay between the artists is a beautiful thing to hear and see. Any fan of blues and folk music must have this as part of their collection!!

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

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

2007 Blewzzy Award Best CD Winner & Blues Blast Magazine Best Song Nominee Release Second CD
Steve Gerard & The National Debonaires
Words Are Like Bullets
Order at  plus CD Baby and iTunes

 Featured Blues Review 5 of 5

Claude Hay - Deep Fried Satisfied

Self Release


Australian Claude Hay brings the one- man band into the present. This is blues in as much as his main accompaniment is slashing slide guitar and many of the songs are about his personal concerns and problems. He reflects on problems of our current times, which is what blues has always done. The music here owes more to The White Stripes, The Black Keys and Ellen Mcllwaine than the blues. At least on record what he does is play all instruments with overdubbing. He doesn’t use the guitar-foot percussion approach usually associated with one-man bands. The execution and production is such that it’s seamless. If I didn’t know any better I would think he’s backed by different capable musicians, although most of the backup sounds are percussion. The slithering slide and subject matter lend a freshness to this recording.

His concerns are of a personal nature. “I hear a pizza calling” is the refrain heard in “Get Me Some” about his addiction to New York City pizza that he underscores with jumpy acoustic slide. It’s a breezy tune that includes a Parliament-Funkadelic outro with ‘chinky guitar’ and funky thumped bass. He professes his love for junk food in “Deep Fried Satisfied”. “Heading Home” at first sounds like a longing for his lady, but turns out to be about missing his cat back home. Dissatisfaction with consumerism is expressed in “How Can You Live With Yourself’ and “Don’t Give Me That”. In the former he berates the manufacturer of his bum computer printer. He exclaims “Don’t give me that s**t” on the ladder to an unscrupulous used car salesman, like there was any other kind. “On Hold” is a rant against those crazy machines that torment our daily lives by keeping us in phone limbo. Claude comes off as a loony R.L. Burnside on his remake of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” that features speed-freak slide guitar. His late mother is lamented on the chant-like “Miss You So”.

“Don’t Forget” and many of the others could easily be mistaken for tracks from The Black Keys or The White Stripes. Middle Eastern flourishes adorn parts of some songs. Sitar is listed in the liner notes, but I’m hard-pressed to identify it. My ears hear either electric or acoustic slide guitar. My guess is that what I perceive as acoustic guitar is a treated sitar. This cd won’t have much appeal to blues purists, but music lovers and fans of alternative rock will find much to like here in this brave and original offering. Eccentricity is a grand elixir for the soul.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony is from the New Jersey Delta. He is the proprietor of Bluesdog’s Doghouse at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

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