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January 23, 2008           

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News, reviews, live Blues show links AND MUCH MORE at Bottom! - Scroll Down!


Hey Blues Fans,

Springfield, Illinois may seem an unlikely place to be on a snowy Monday night but for more than 22 years this city has been the Monday night hot bed of the Blues thanks to the efforts of the Illinois Central Blues Club and a great little establishment called the Alamo. They have hosted some of the best Blues talent in the business at their perennial "Blue Monday" concert series and this past Monday was no different.

Blue Bella recording artist Bill Lupkin was in town and we could not resist the 60 mile drive (in a snow storm) to catch this Chicago Blues harmonica master for their normal bargain price of $2. Talk about a great value!

Be sure to check their up coming Blue Monday shows in our Blues Society News section below or CLICK HERE to visit their website.  Ben Cox's reviews last Monday's Bill Lupkin performance below. SCROLL DOWN!


Blues Reviews anyone?  We've really got 'em for you this week.  James “Skyy Dobro” Walker reviews Howard and the White Boys' CD Made In Chicago. Ben Cox is doing double duty with both the Bill Lupkin show review and a review of a new CD by Lurrie Bell, Let’s Talk About Love. Bill Porter reviews the new Phillip Walker CD,  Going Back Home. Rob Paullin reviews a CD by Becki Sue and her Big Rockin’ Daddies, Big City Blues and last but not least Chicago Blues Beat editor Lordy writes about a visit to Little Arthur Duncan’s new DVD release event at Rosa’s Blues Lounge in Chicago and also makes it to the Pump Room to tell us about an All Star band called the Bad Idea band.


The International Blues Challenge - Memphis, TN  will be attending the International Blues Challenge (IBC) Thursday January 31 to Saturday Feb 2, 2008 in Memphis. This event is a real Blues lovers dream! The IBC features 160 Blues acts in the clubs on Beale Street in Downtown Memphis for the semi-finals on Thursday and Friday nights with the finals being on Saturday.

We will be reporting all the results as soon as they are in and we will have pictures of the fun too!  If you plan to make it down to Memphis let us know so we can say Hey while you are there. Drop us a line at .

See you  there!

New to the Blues Blast & CLICK HERE to go directly to the list of Live Blues Music. Click a link for more Blues content.   Reviews  Links  Audio Interviews  Photos Videos  Blues Radio   To advertise your blues shows or event for FREE Click HERE!   To see The Blues Blast Archives Click HERE

 Blues Link of the Week


Home page of the Blues Foundation's International Blues Challenge. Visit their site to see all the bands and the schedule of events happening next week! CLICK HERE

For more Blues links  CLICK HERE to visit the Links Page

If you know of a COOL Blues link, please send it to

 Streaming Blues Link of the Week


Lil’ Ed Williams teaching Conan O’Brien how to play the blues.


OK this one is for fun. If you are a regular viewer of Conan O'Brien you may have caught this. It is a piece from 2006 featuring Bluesman Li'l Ed teaching Conan how to play the Blues at the famous Chicago Blues club, B.L.U.E.S. on Halstead. It is scheduled to run tonight again on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. It you miss it you can see the clip on the NBC website anytime. (Thanks to Alligator Records for the heads up on this!)

CAUTION: Be sure to click on the clip titled "Conan and Li'l Ed's Chicago Blues" on the right side of the page when you get there or you will have to see an obligatory commercial then the disgusting bear video instead!  CLICK HERE to check it out.


Check out other great Blues Music Streams Click HERE

 Other IMPORTANT News   Help Save the music! CLICK HERE to Keep Blues Radio Alive!


Featured Events


MARCH 19 to MARCH 23rd
Coral Bay Ball Field – Coral Bay

Tab Benoit
Chubby Carrier & The Bayou Swamp Band
Waylon Thibodeaux
Sean Carney & The Sean Carney Band

For further information contact Steve Simon at 340-693-8120  or go to

6 live Blues shows over 5 days beginning on March 19th and running through March 23rd.


 Quad-Cities "only Blues" venue!

3303 Brady St. Davenport, Iowa  * MAP *  (563) 324-4619

Friday, January 25 5:00 p.m. Jack Wessels Band   9:00 p.m. Creekside Allstars

Sunday, January 27  7:00 p.m. Steady Rolling Blues Band

No Cover Charge!

 Featured Blues Reviews 

Howard & The White Boys
Made In Chicago

Evidence Music Inc.

By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
9 songs; 48:13 minutes; Splendid Contemporary Blues; Blues-Rock

Dear Abby, er, I mean, Skyy,

I need your advice for some party music. Here’s the scene: 10 -15 people, singles and couples, at our house for a Saturday night soirée. Early on, I want to play great music, preferably Blues, but not slow Blues, nor deep music that requires intent contemplation of the lyrics. This should be a lively party with plenty of conversation, laughter, cocktails, and snacks. I need upbeat contemporary music, yet with a familiar sound providing an energetic back drop for the festivities and a good back beat for those dancing. What can you recommend to kick start this event?

Sincerely,    Euell B. Envited


Dear Euell,

Great name, by the way. Your parents must have had quite a sense of humor. Glad you asked as I have the perfect party album, Made In Chicago by Howard & The White Boys. Here is a CD guaranteed to jump start any “soirée” (whatever that is – sounds kinky).

The album blasts off with a cover of ZZ Top’s “She Loves My Automobile.” Lead guitarist (and producer) Rocco Calipari rips several scorching runs while band namesake and founder Howard McCullum on bass joins Jim Christopulos on drums for a popping rhythm. Watch a guest or two play air-piano based on Daryl Coutts keyboards as he coordinates with second guitarist Pete Galanis.

The second song slows the tempo just enough to allow guests to “Walk Away” to refill their drinks. Coutts’ organ beside Calipari’s guitar opens this song, one of two originals in the nine numbers. Show off some shuffling footwork as the soaring guitar fills the bridge.

Be prepared for someone to ask, “What is he saying about barbeque?” during the third number. Explain that, “some folks like steak and potatoes,...but my baby gives me ‘Good Booty and BBQ.’” Leave the rest to their imaginations while Calipari and Galanis trade call-and-response guitar licks.

The only song even close to slow Blues is track seven, “Cold Cold Feeling.” Howard pours out his finest vocals over his gut bottom bass and rhythm keys provided by guest Dave Friebolin. Calipari and Galanis melt guitar strings with emotive leads during two bridges. By this point, the hooch will be happening enough to nuzzle some neighbor nooky during a slow dance.

The fun the musicians are having on this CD should transport over to your astral affair like Scotty beaming you down another scotch. Fun was the intent, witness guitarist Rocco Calipari describing Made In Chicago as “Some of our favorite tunes by other artists, but done in our own way.” As a Blues fan, you’ll enjoy their covers of a steady shuffling “Yonder Wall,” a full-sound production of “I’m In a Phone Booth Baby,” and an up tempo “Black Cat Bone.”

Have a blast,   Skyy

James “Skyy Dobro” Walker  is a noted Blues writer and Blues Blast contributor

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

Lurrie Bell
Let’s Talk About Love

Aria B.G. Records

Review by Ben Cox
Run Time: 45:51

Imagine taking every great guitar player in blues from the South Side of Chicago and wrapping them all up into one person. This is Lurrie Bell. Having lived the blues simply through his namesake of his father (the late harmonica legend Carey Bell) or through his own triumphs and tragedies, Bell is one of the most respected and well rounded blues guitarists walking the Earth today. This is Bell’s first solo effort after the death of his father and his romantic partner Susan Greenberg, to which the album is aptly dedicated. Refusing to give in to critic pressure and tackle his life in an album, Bell instead harnesses his demon around the neck of his red Gibson guitar and spins tales of love and love lost.

Bell let’s us all know immediately where he’s from with the opening track and title track to the album with a firm bitter taste of a Chicago shuffle with varied approach, showing the influence of his father’s approach to blues (giving us something we’ve heard before but not giving it quite the same way as everyone else). Bell stays at home in Chicago with the first of two Willie Dixon covers with “Earthquake & Hurricane” adding in fellow Chicagoan steeped in tradition Billy Branch, rumbling around Bell’s stinging guitar work. Bell shows us he’s not afraid to step out of Chicago when he steps on the Memphis Soul road with the Pops Staples “Why (Am I Treated So Bad)” adding the Sacred Cousins on background vocals to the funky gospel groove. Bell reminds us of a time when Stax Records flourished with such soul, power, and expression. Bell, however, doesn’t stay out of Chicago too long, adding legend Jimmy Johnson on harmonies for the acoustic, fresh-from-the-Delta “Missing You” from the J.B. Lenoir discography. Bell continues to take us all through the many sidewalks and sides of Chicago’s blues music heritage and doesn’t bore us or offer anything stale. One more point of reference is “Chicago Is Loaded With the Blues.” Johnny Iguana’s piano conjures the soul of Otis Spann with out fully copping his style. Producer Matt Skoller adds some brilliant harp work, unsurprisingly reminding us of Lurrie’s late father. And, with a humble nod, showing us he’s comfortable as a musician that makes his band sound good by stepping back, Bell doesn’t take the first solo in the song instead allowing Skoller to pass the tribute on to Carey Bell seamlessly. Bell’s less is more approach and his ability to step back should be a lesson for all new and even some of the current guitarists on the scene today. To me, it demonstrates Lurrie’s attitude and brilliance to a tee, which cannot be ignored; making this disc one of the best of 2007, a definite sleeper. If you like Chicago blues, this is one of a few remaining road maps out there to pick up and enjoy.

Album is available on every major record outlet or visit Lurrie’s website at

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

Phillip Walker
Going Back Home

Delta Groove Productions

Review by Bill Porter

This is one of the strongest Blues CD's I've heard in a long time. Everything works. The cover photo shows Phillip, with guitar case in hand, near the train yards. The image has a genuine Blues feel. The CD's back cover is a shot of Phillip with his trusty, 1950's cherry red Gibson ES 335 guitar. The entire CD just feels right.

Every track is solid and a lesson in true blues. Aspiring blues guitarists take note: Phillip effortlessly transitions between all styles of blues. If I had to compare some of the sounds on the CD, the first cut, "Lying Woman" evokes images of Albert Collin's vocals, with Albert King's guitar licks, backed by Tower of Power style horns (complete with get-down, baritone sax punch). But wait!  Phillip walker's music cannot be confined to only one niche.

Walker explores and conquers several blues styles, from John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker, Muddy Waters, Hubert Sumlin, Lightnin' Hopkins, Howlin' Wolf and more. It's no wonder that contemporary talents like Robert Cray site Phillip Walker as an influence.

Walker first recorded in 1952 and went on the road in 1953 with Zydeco King Clifton Chenier. This CD is not only about guitar; other cuts feature boogie woogie keyboards, soulful harmonica, gospel vocals and a grooving' rhythm section. There's no rock, disco or fluff.  Tasteful Texas blues guitar with a master's touch, laced with Phillip's savvy vocals, good production and a solid backup band are the threads that make this CD work.

"Going Back Home" has depth, soul, and a sincere quality because it is obviously crafted by a man who has lived, loved and performed the blues for decades.  Highly recommended for your CD collection AND as a performer at the area blues fests.

Reviewer Bill Porter is the front man for the Bill Porter Project an Illinois based Blues band.

Becki Sue and her Big Rockin’ Daddies
Big City Blues

Review by Rob Paullin

If you thought the only music to ever come out of the Pacific Northwest was grunge—and Kenny G—think again. There is a thriving blues scene out in them thar parts, anchored in Seattle’s legendary Pioneer Square (Seriously, Ray Charles emerged from the Seattle scene after one seriously long bus ride from the old South). One of the strongest links in that anchor chain is Becki Sue and Her Big Rockin’ Daddies, with their new release, Big City Blues.

This disk is a nice blend of blues, jazz and even a little 50’s style under-the-lamp-post New York street harmony.  Even though Big City Blues is a well-produced studio mix, one can quickly tell the band is enjoying what they are doing, just as might be expected at a live show. 

The band is anchored by the gritty but professional voice of Tumwater, Washington, native Becki Sue. Backing her up are Jim King on harp and tenor sax, Tom Boyle on a variety of guitars, Jeff Hayes on drums and Les White doing his Bill Black thing on the old fashioned stand-up bass. Big City Blues also features the keyboard work of several guest ticklers.

Here’s a quick look at some of the individual tracks…. 

The disk opens up with the Tom Boyle original, “You’re Killin’ Me,” a good rocking soul rouser.  Next is the 50’s classic, “Farmer John,” sung by Jim King.  I hadn’t heard this one in a couple of decades, not even on the oldies stations, and it brought back some fun memories of my long-ago youth. 

King’s crying harp changes the tempo and sets the tone for the Etta James classic, “The Sun is Shining,” with a Becki Sue vocal that reminds one of Janis Joplin and all her vulnerabilities. 

Tom Boyle compliments himself nicely on guitar with his Muddy Waters style original, “Pardon Me,” which also has some clever lyrics voiced nicely by Becky Sue.

Jumping ahead to cut seven, “Soul Serenade,” we come to a Boots Randolph influenced instrumental featuring the fine tenor sax work of Jim King. “Big City Blues” and “If You Let Me Call You Sweetheart,” are two more originals.  “Blues” is a bit simplistic but holds up well enough thanks to a fine harp solo.  “Sweetheart” is a jazz-style sales pitch to a lover who will not let Becki Sue close the deal.   

“Maybe,” is a pre-Motown soul tear-jerker with a hint of street-corner harmony and some heavy reverb. 

The final track is “Backstroke,” an instrumental recorded in one take at Clarksdale, Mississippi’s, famous Studio 61 while the band was in town to perform at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club.

The Big Rockin’ Daddies may not be all that young, especially by Seattle contemporary music standards, but they are clearly having fun, just as you will when you listen to Big City Blues.    CLICK HERE to hear some songs and/or purchase this CD.

Editor's note: This CD also features appearances by special guests Candye Kane, Mitch Woods, Eric "Two Scoops" Moore, Ron Weinstein and Peter Dammann.

Rob Paullin is a former Memphis radio guy . Rob has sampled the blues in Venice, Kyiv and Beijing, among other foreign haunts.  He says Berlin is next on his list.

Bill Lupkin & the Blues Coalition
Live at the Alamo, Springfield IL   January 21, 2008

Performance review by Ben Cox 
Photos by Bob Kieser

While it was blowing snow on a cold, blustery night in the capital city, inside some new blood and some old mixed together and fueled a good blues fire for everyone to keep warm. Bill Lupkin, the journeyman harmonica player of Nick Moss’ Blue Bella label made a stop over to the little hideaway at the Alamo, where since his return to regular touring has made this little place a second home.

Normally, Bill would bring along a few special guests for the trip, and one of them is usually Nick Moss his label boss. However, on the strength of his own record with the Flip Tops, Nick has been a little engaged with non-stop touring in support of one of his biggest records to date. With most Lupkin fans expecting an equally-complementing guitar to Lupkin’s lush harmonica pyrotechnics along with the solid backbeat of his rhythm section of Bill’s brother Steve Lupkin and drummer Bob Carter. Needless to say, the guitar chair would be hard to fill, especially with the shoes of Nick Moss not there. A young man, virtually unknown to the folks in Illinois by the name of Jeremy Vasquez would rise to the occasion.

Lupkin demonstrating solid leadership featured several songs off of his latest release “Hard Pill to Swallow” as well as serving us the old medicine from his past works with Chicago legends and his past releases with finesse. Lupkin made it look so easy, and with the small crowd seemingly had everyone tapping their feet. The cold temperatures kept in a small but devout crowd who enjoyed Lupkin’s straight-ahead style and then there was the featured performance of his bandmates Vazquez and Bob Carter.

Vazquez gave the crowd a knee jerk reaction, ripping into solo after solo and as Lupkin introduced him, “He’s a young guy and he kicks our ass every night.” Vazquez did just that serving up vocals and some solid band leading on four B.B. King numbers from B.B.’s back catalog: “Help the Poor,” “You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now,” and “Woke Up This Morning,” and the standard “Three O’Clock Blues.” On “Lost” Vazquez was tossed a shot glass from the crowd and gave some stinging metal on glass slide guitar work.

Not to be out done, the solid backbeat of Bob Carter also offered up some pure, crooning vocals that were equally as powerful on two blues ballads which kept the energy going. Though the crowd dwindled in 20-30 person range most of the night because of the sleet and snow falling outside, those who were there can go back and tell there friends when it gets warm and Bill Lupkin’s in town, you better get on down and see this testament to the idea that Chicago Blues ain’t dead!

Ben Cox is a Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist.

 Chicago Blues Update

Live Blues reviews by Chicago Blues editor Lordy

Blues Beat: Chicago (Photos by August Lord)

Little Arthur Duncan’s DVD release party at Rosa’s Lounge

I went to Little Arthur Duncan’s DVD release event at Rosa’s Blues Lounge in Chicago. There were a lot of media and music friends present, and the subsequent reviews of this Delmark release have been great. I want to share a few thoughts on this visit with you. First, Rosa’s, while legendary is still one of the warmest and friendliest blues venues in Chicago. As for the DVD, I will simply tell you to get it. Delmark, which is a legendary Chicago label, recorded Little Arthur Duncan right there at Rosa’s. I could take pictures all night and write volumes about Little Arthur’s music and history, and what a great place Rosa’s is. Instead, just buy the damn DVD and get a first-hand look at real live blues in modern Chicago, including Little Arthur’s own commentary.  (Editor's note: will have a review of this new Delmark DVD release soon)

Secondly, while strategically perched upon a bar stool, I was able to eavesdrop on an interview with the man of the hour. When queried about what it was like to play at the great old Southside venues which are long-since gone, Arthur replied that it was no big deal then. Hold that thought (it was no big deal) as I segue way into my next stop for the night.

The Bad Idea Band had a gig at the Pump Room Tap in Southwest suburban Worth, Illinois. The ensemble on this night was particularly interesting, because at least five of them fronted their own accomplished bands. Ray “The Flame” Sukash had C.C.Copeland on keys, bass and vocals and Rodney Brown (Hot Rod) on sax and vocals. Biscuit Miller played bass and sang. Jim Anderson (The Kingsnakes) was on guitar and vocals and Deb Seitz (Seitz & Sounds) joined in the vocals. Myron Robinson sang and drummed, and the band’s friend Harry took a turn at the keyboard. Know that a great time was had by all.

The Pump Room Tap is a shot and a beer place on 111th Street. The players are all true Chicago blues musicians, making tomorrow’s history. Given the awesome talent that night, I would bet there was at least one or two future Little Arthur Duncans playing. I would also bet that when asked, the players that night would say it was no big deal. My point, as usual is that you should have been there. Great venues and great players still exist and they are tomorrow’s legends. Go out and hear some live blues music and be a part of history.






 CLICK HERE to visit Lordy's website at

To see a Chicago Area list of upcoming events CLICK HERE

If you know of a Chicago Blues event or news, please send it to

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“solid blues.. good shuffles.. good harp tone.. vocals have a lot of personality…the whole band plays with a lot of verve and good energy..” Bruce Iglauer Alligator Records and Artist Management

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Coast to Coast  Booking  by - Handlebar Productions
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 Blues Society News

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

Reno Blues Society - Reno, NV

Mardi Gras 2008 - Mardi Gras will be celebrated on Feb 2nd, 2008 at the Holiday Inn on 6th St from 7-12. Doors open at 7, music starts at 7:30 with Blue Haven. The headliner is Mark St. Mary Blues & Zydeco Band. They will play 2 sets beginning at 9. Tix are $15.00 in advance $20.00 at the door. Costume party as always.

The Columbus Blues Alliance - Columbus Ohio

The 13th Annual Traditional Acoustic Blues Festival, Saturday February 23, 2008 featuring Honeyboy Edwards, Moreland & Arbuckle, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, Cliff Starbuck & Colin John, Sonny Moorman, and more  Live acoustic music from 3pm – Midnight  Go to our website for all the information!

Illinois Central Blues Club Springfield, IL -  Blue Mondays

Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:30pm $2 cover

Jan 28 - Jim Suhler & Monkey Beat from Texas      February 4 - Deak Harp Blues Band     Feb 11 - The Groove Daddies      Feb 18 - The Sofa Kings
Feb 25 - The Todd Wolfe Blues Project originally from PA - guitarist for Sheryl Crow 1993-1998


 Blues Want Ads

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Blues Drummer Wanted 

Milwaukee blues band; Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin Altar Boys is looking for a full time drummer for local and road work.

Band includes Madison Slim on harmonica and vocals. Need drummer that can play all traditional beats, from Muddy Waters to Slim Harpo, Junior Wells, Billy Boy Arnold, Eddie Taylor etc...

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Gigs Wanted

Green Bay area Improv/Blues/Rock needs gigs. Must have wheelchair access to the stage and bathrooms. Please check out our site at;  If you want unique improv's with lots of energy, Hire this Act!! Jeffrey Smith  Ph. 920-989-2543

Equipment Wanted

2x12" Tuck Away Cabinet for a '62 Gibson GA 300 RVT amplifier. Contact Bob at


Musicians Wanted

Blues guy seeks to join a band, Can sing and play. By Kankakee, IL area. Have played professionally. Just moved here from Florida. 2nd guitar ok. I have a strat and a deluxe reverb. Anyone out there need help?  Craig - 219-992-9455


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Advertise in the Blues Blast in 2008!

With the new year, Blues festival promoters and Blues societies begin work planning a great 2008 Blues season for all. Festival committees are hard at work booking Blues performers, planning their advertising budgets and getting ready to put on the next great Blues show.

For those of you doing the planning for these great Blues events, remember that the Blues Blast &'s website are great ways to promote ANY Blues event or product. In fact we believe we just might have THE best Blues advertising vehicle anywhere to promote YOUR event!

For less than the cost of  one small display ad in your local newspaper, you can advertise your festival, club show, new CD or any Blues product to a VERY targeted Blues audience. We promise great results getting the Blues word out for you.

Blues fans WANT to know about your Blues event of product. Call Bob at (309) 267-4425 or send an email to for a confidential quote today! covers Blues all over the US - NOT just in Illinois! also offers paid/sponsored advertising for Festivals and Club Owners, Recording Companies and Performers selling their own music or performances. We can put your Blues advertisement on our homepage at:  either as a sponsored event or as a featured event, product, recording or merchandise .

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