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Issue 7-42, October 17, 2013

Scroll or Page Down! For news, photos, reviews, links & MUCH MORE in this issue!

Cover photo by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

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 In This Issue

Terry Mullins has our feature interview with soul blues legend, Mel Waiters.

We have five Blues music reviews for you. Rainey Wetnight review a new release from Anne Mack. Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony  reviews a new album from Al Lerman. Marty Gunther reviews a new album that features the The Minaret Records Singles from 1967 to 1976. Rex Bartholomew reviews a new release from Detroit Frank Dumont. Mark Thompson reviews a new CD from Mike Zito.  We have the latest in Blues Society news from around the globe. All this and MORE! SCROLL DOWN!!!

 From The Editor's Desk

Hey Blues Fans,

Our good friend Nick Moss is working on a new CD called Time Ain’t Free. This time it is not on any label but is instead an independent project that is being funded by the crowd funding website Kickstarter.

As with all Kickstarter projects, it is an all or nothing affair. If the artists sets a $$$ goal and that goal amount is not reached, then the project is cancelled and none of the fan pledges go to the artist.

So here is the situation, Nick needs your help! He has one week left and is only 40% toward his goal. If you pledge you can ask for a reward. In this case the rewards offered include a free download of one of Nicks previous releases for a $5 pledge all the way up to the band playing at a gig of your choice for a much larger pledge.

Or if you just want to help the band, like I did, you can make a pledge of any amount and ask for no reward other than knowing you have helped a great artist get their next project done!

Check it out in their ad below or CLICK HERE

Wishing you health, happiness and lots of Blues music! 

Bob Kieser

 Blues Wanderings

We made it the the King Biscuit Festival in Helena Arkansas last week to catch an amazing array of great Blues artists. On the main festival stage we caught performance by Sonny Landreth, Anson Funderburgh, Big Joe Maher and James Cotton.

Another great stage of real Blues was the Robert Lockwood stage where a few of the great performers included Gwen White, Mississippi Spoonman and Bobby Rush w/Elvis sideburns! - photos by Robert Hughes

Blues Blast Magazine is offering a fall advertising special. This special pricing will be our lowest pricing of the 2013-2014 season.

This 6-week combo rate of only $350 affordably adds significant impact to your Blues advertising and promotion campaign. It is a great way to kick up the visibility of your new album release, Blues event or music product around the globe!

Blues Blast Magazine is a great way to promote the Blues. More than 26,000 Blues fans read our magazine each week. They are located in all 50 states and in more than 90 countries. We get more than 2,000,000 (That's TWO MILLION) hits and more than 45,000 visitors a month on our website. 

Normal 2013 - 2014 ad rates are $90 per issue for Blues Blast magazine ads and $100 per month for website ads. BUT, for a limited time, you can advertise in six issues of Blues Blast Magazine and on our website for a month and a half for only $350. This is a $690 value! To get this special rate simply reserve and pay for your ad space by December 15, 2013. Ads can be booked to run anytime between now and September 30, 2014 for your 2014 Blues festival, album release or other music related product.

With this special rate, your ad can viewed more than 220,000 times by our readers who want to know about your 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 by December 15, 2013. To get more information email or call 309 267-4425 today! Other ad packages, single ads, short run ads or long term bulk rates available too. Call today for an ad plan that fits your needs.

Tickets for the 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards are on sale now! 

The 2013 Blues Blast Music Awards will be held at Buddy Guy's Legends in Chicago on October 31st.  Tickets are $35. To get your tickets now, CLICK HERE

Artists appearing include 


 Featured Blues Interview - Mel Waiters  

Just by the merits of its name alone, it stands to reason that some of the hottest spots in the nation for southern soul music would include New Orleans, La., Atlanta, Ga., Memphis, Tn., and Jackson, Miss. Heck, Shreveport, Louisiana has even recently branded itself as ‘The Southern Soul Capitol of the South.’

That being the case, it would make sense that one of the hottest names in the realm of southern soul music should hail from one of those locales, right?


Instead of growing up in a place where Tyrone Davis ruled supreme, current southern soul superstar Mel Waiters was brought up where Emilio Navaira is considered to be the king of all things musical – right smack-dab in the heart of the Capitol of Tejano music.

“Yeah, I’m from San Antonio, Texas and the music scene is all about Tejano there. So I pretty much came out of a barrel of Tejano,” he laughed. “But, when I was growing up, we did have Kool & The Gang and the Chi-Lites and groups like that come through here, so we did have a few different things, but the predominant music here has always been Tejano and always will be Tejano.”

But instead of letting the musical climate where he grew up dictate his future path in life, Waiters broke out of the box and did what he found inside his own heart, rather than just listen to what his ears heard. He took the vocal inspiration of Teddy Pendergrass, the lyrical themes of Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, the graciousness of Little Milton, the fevered temperament of Bobby Womack, mixed in a healthy dose of classic 1970s R&B, and has not stopped to look back.

Since first hitting the stage as a teen-ager back in 1974, Waiters has developed a deserved reputation as a tireless performer, racking up hundreds of thousands of road miles in the process. And 2013 has been no exception to that rule.

“This year’s been super. I started off 2013 traveling with the Downhome Blues Extravaganza and that pretty much took me from one end of the map to the other. So the year started off strong and I’ve been pretty busy every weekend since,” he said. “I got a chance to play my first Sunflower Blues and Gospel Festival show (in Clarksdale, Miss.) this summer and it was fantastic. I was well received there and I’m sure they’ll have me back again.”
Waiters’ latest release, Poor Side of Town (Brittney Records), fits comfortably alongside his previous 10 albums, and has found a home in the CD players of blues lovers, as well as those that dig a smoother, contemporary urban twist to their music.

“It’s been good. The single off it, “Who Got the Whiskey” has created quite a bit of excitement, but so far one of the (fan’s) favorite picks off it has been “Pouring Salt.” And the title track has made the playlists at quite a few urban stations, so I’m happy about that,” he said.

One of nine children, Waiters has a background in the radio industry and knows his way around the business from all angles – moving from intern to on-air personality to program director – so he is intimate with just how fickle music lovers can potentially be; with today’s top hit fast becoming yesterday’s old news. That’s one of the reasons that Waiters insists on cutting fresh, new music on a regular basis.

“You’ve got to stay real current with your fan base. And right now, with the music that I’m cutting - which is blues/southern soul/R&B – especially with the R&B part, I’m competing with a lot of the same fans that Mary J. Blige and R. Kelly and some of the other more pop-type R&B stars are playing for,” Waiters said. “So that being the case, it’s in my best interest to stay current and try and keep something on the radio to let the people know that I’m still out there doing it.”

Chances are, with the resume of music that Waiters has crafted since the mid-90s, there’s not much chance in his fans forgetting that he’s ‘still out there.’ Using a basic template of having a good time and enjoying life as much as possible, Waiters’ song-writing style has become as distinctive as his gold-dipped delivery of the finished product on the bandstand. But what’s interesting to note is the fact that a pair of his self-penned smash hits, “Hit it and Quit it” and “Hole in the Wall” were almost destined to never be included on Waiters’ resume.

“Well, I wrote ‘Hit it and Quit it’ for Buddy Ace (known as the Silver Fox of the Blues). Buddy took it to Leon (Haywood, soul singer and owner of Evejim Records) and he liked it. But Buddy passed away that December (1994, from a heart attack on stage) in Waco, Texas and so he didn’t get a chance to record it,” Waiters explained. “So I ended up putting it out myself. I took it to Baton Rouge, to a guy named David Perkins (CEO of Serious Sounds Records) and he took me over to a guy named E. Rodney Jones’ (legendary DJ) house. We sat in the living room and after hearing “Hit it and Quit it” E. Rodney said, ‘I think we got a hit record here.’ And he started playing it and it took off. Then, I was invited to the Jackson Music Awards in Jackson, Mississippi and I met Tommy Couch Jr. (president, Malaco Records) and he invited me to come by. So, four years later, after my contract with Serious Sounds was up, I signed with Malaco Records.”

In short order, Waiters cut two classic albums for Malaco/Waldoxy – 1997’s Woman in Need and Material Things from 1999, which included the chart-topping “Hole in the Wall.”

“I actually wrote that one (“Hole in the Wall”) for Xavier Parker. He came to my studio and I recorded the track and left him in the control room and came back and he was listening to it, but said he couldn’t feel it. So I sang the demo for him,” Waiters said. “And when I sang the demo for him, he said, ‘Man, you need to keep that.’ So I presented it to Malaco and they wanted to re-cut it at their place. They brought in the Muscle Shoals sound and everything - matter of fact, I even went up to Muscle Shoals and did some of the track parts – but everything that they produced there on that particular track just did not have the same feel that I got from the room at my home. So we ended up using the demo as the single. And that ended up being one of my biggest selling records – a demo. I was really trying to hit the blues world with that tune and I think the lyric content got me closer to that than the music did. But it all just kind of meshed together so neat …I was really blessed for that tune to come together like it did.”

Be it soul, blues, pop or country, the ability to write songs that can stand the test of time does not just grow on trees. It’s something that’s either inside you or it isn’t, and in Waiters’ case, it is most certainly inside him.

“Well, 50-percent of it is blessing, with the anointment of the song, and the other 50-percent is paying attention to who you’re writing and recording for. If you don’t know who you’re recording for, you’ll never hit the mark. It’s like throwing a dart in the dark,” he said. “When I was DJing, whenever I would go into a club, I would look at my audience and try and figure out who I was playing records for. If there were more adults in the room, I would play for them. If it was a younger group, I’d play for them. But in my field as a singer and song-writer, I know the audience that I’m recording for. And with some of my material I’ve written, I’ve been able to kind of straddle the fence and get some of the younger group, along with some of the older group. My production is more R&B oriented, but my lyrics lean more to the blues side.”

That melding of R&B with soul and the blues has definitely found a home in the hearts of Waiters’ fans, even if some of them can’t just tune into their local radio station and hear his songs in constant rotation.

“I do suffer some – business-wise – from lack of radio airplay, thanks in part to the downsizing of so many formats. That means I almost have to rely solely on my live performances to get my product out to the people as I travel up and down the road,” he said. “I have an amazing (album) distributor out of Maryland and they do manage to get my music out there, but at the same time, airplay is pretty slim. We sure don’t get the massive airplay that a lot of the young pop kids get.”

Given away by the fact that his first love was the drums, Waiters’ songs are buoyed by a heightened sense of rhythm and are tailor-made to groove to, whether on the floor in a packed nightclub or on the front porch of a modest suburban house.

Even though he heard plenty of Tejano music growing up – and also played plenty after breaking into the radio biz as an intern at a Tejano station in San Antonio in his younger days – Waiters didn’t let that stop him from soaking up as many different sounds and styles as he could.

“I’ve always enjoyed so many different genres of music and if you broaden your horizons, your mind can be exposed to so many different kinds of wonderful sounds and that gives you so many things to pull from,” he said. “And when I’m producing things now, I pull from things that I heard back in the day from people like Ashford and Simpson, Lamont Dozier and Gamble and Huff. I put little string lines in from stuff that I heard back then, so being in radio really helped set the tone for the rest of my career. But when you hear a song like “Got my Whiskey” (off Woman in Need) you can kind of hear a Chi-Lites kind of horn movement in it.”

Over the past decade or so, soul music – be it called neo-soul or retro-soul or even old-fashioned soul – has enjoyed something of a resurgence on the pop charts, thanks to the efforts of artists like John Legend, Adelle, Cee-Lo and Frank Ocean. According to Waiters, it was simply just a matter of time before a musical uprising of sorts took place.

“Honestly, I think fans right now want something real once again. We went through an era where the record labels really just focused on sales instead of quality. But now, the fans have forced the hand of these labels and have said, ‘Hey, somewhere, someone out there has got to have some real talent.’ And at this time, if you don’t have a live stage performance happening, along with some kind of decent record, you won’t be around for very long,” he said. “You may have a single that gets out there and makes a little noise, but if you can’t follow up with a great live show, you just can’t hold on. And that’s thanks to the fans. They’ve forced the industry to give them something better than what they had been getting. There was a surge there for a while of the artists singing to backing tracks instead of live musicians, and the record labels forced that down people’s throats until now, there’s a backlash against that. I travel with horns, background singers and a full band. That’s how it was done back in the day with Tyrone Davis and Little Milton and Marvin (Sease) and Bobby (Bland) and ZZ (Hill). They were gentleman and scholars and that was their approach to their craft and that’s how I’m doing it now.”

In the golden age of soul and R&B, a record label was almost known as much for its ‘sound’ as it was for the artists who recorded for the company.

“Back in the day, all the record labels had their own sound and their own production; Arista, BMG, Motown … all of them. And when you heard a Philly International record, you knew that it was Gamble and Huff (Kenneth and Leon, creators of the classic Philadelphia soul sound). And that’s the same way with the Malaco sound. It’s down-home blues from artists like McKinley Mitchell and Dorothy Moore with “Misty Blue” and songs like that.” said Waiters, who is currently putting the wraps on his first live album – Live in Atlanta. “When I came to Malaco, I already had my own style and they allowed me to carry on with what I had been doing, so I was able to keep my own originality. But the Malaco sound is still around today. You can still hear artists like Little Milton and Johnnie (Taylor) on the radio today as you pass through the country. I hope that never changes.”

To view a clip of Mel Waiters performing live CLICK HERE

For more info on Mel Waiters visit his website at

Photos by Bob Kieser © 2013 Blues Blast Magazine

Interviewer Terry Mullins is a journalist and former record store owner whose personal taste in music is the sonic equivalent of Attention Deficit Disorder. Works by the Bee Gees, Captain Beefheart, Black Sabbath, Earth, Wind & Fire and Willie Nelson share equal space with Muddy Waters, The Staples Singers and R.L. Burnside in his compact disc collection. He's also been known to spend time hanging out on the street corners of Clarksdale, Miss., eating copious amounts of barbecued delicacies while listening to the wonderful sounds of the blues.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.

 Featured Blues Review 1 of 5

Annie Mack - Baptized in the Blues

Annie Mack Music LLC/BMI

CD: 10 songs; 37:37 Minutes

Styles: Soul-Influenced Blues, Gospel, Rock and Roll, and Americana

At the three-way intersection of gospel, soul and blues stands Minnesota native Annie Mack, who has been “Baptized in the Blues.” Her exciting debut album is an uplifting, eclectic, all original ten-song testimony of how music - and the Lord - can change lives for the better. Mack’s voice has the smoothness of cocoa butter tinged with cinnamon, warm and satisfying on both lead and harmony vocals. Accompanying her are producer Paul O’Sullivan on pedal-steel guitar, guitarists Tom Kochie and Charlie Lacy, Tim Scribner on upright and electric bass, and Miles Johnston on drums. Nine able studio guests add keyboards, horns, and background vocals. Every track is refreshing and original, showcasing Mack and her fellow artists’ keen storytelling ability. This album is so great and so well done, it will propel this Minnesota girl to performing on national and international stages. The following three selections are not only highlights of this CD, but of any blues collection:

Track 02: “Baptized in the Blues”--The title track, containing several notable names, a funky 1970s wah-wah groove, and Stax Records styled Memphis horns details Mack’s backstory of competing in Memphis’s 2011 International Blues Challenge: “Set foot in Memphis; what did I hear? Miss Zeno’s sweet voice filling the air. She looked at me and said, ‘Child, you’ve come to sing the blues. You didn’t choose them, but they sure done chose you.’” Baptism, especially by immersion, is a symbol of resurrection. One thing’s for sure: by being immersed in the blues, Annie’s gained a new perspective and lots of soul!

Track 04: “Call on Jesus”--This scintillating spiritual with a tango beat and Latin guitar lines is a heartfelt warning to those who’ve been seeking pleasure in the wrong places: “You keep chasing after the world; yes, you’re living for the world. Now you’re dying in the world - ain’t nobody else going to save you.” Mack harmonizes with herself poignantly on the chorus and no less than five female singers add background vocals for a real gospel effect.

Track 09: “Walking Dead”--Forget the subjects of the popular TV series; here, our narrator is a different kind of zombie. But, she’s looking for life - - by getting away from a stifling alcoholic partner: “Been coming out in the dead of night, chasing down the blues, chasing out the light. Leaving a trail of tears on a long and dusty road. Sad memories, stench of your deceit on my clothes… So tired of whiskey laced love….” Annie’s voice echoes eerily, as does the chilling background harmony refrain. It’s remarkably reminiscent of a banshee’s wail. This powerful and touching slice of Americana also uses the old-vinyl-record-style snap, crackle hiss and pop as this ballad fades in and, then, out.

For a debut album, this is no novice production. The overall quality is at a level of a veteran and seasoned star. On Annie Mack’s website, she comments, “As a little kid, I fell in love with music. I realized that a lot of times, when I didn’t quite know how to express myself, music was able to convey for me what I couldn’t.” She extends a heartfelt invitation to one and all, genre novice and expert alike, to become fully “Baptized in the Blues”!

Reviewer Rainey Wetnight is a 33 year old female Blues fan. She brings the perspective of a younger blues fan to reviews. A child of 1980s music, she was strongly influenced by her father’s blues music collection.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 2 of 5

Al Lerman - Live At The Acoustic Grill

Self Release


Another in a long line of Canadian blues from Al Lerman, accompanying himself on acoustic guitar and rack harmonica. This CD is a mixture of blues covers and his own compositions that lean more towards the singer-songwriter vein. His voice is serviceable and pleasant enough. If I didn't know better I would say he was a New York City cab driver. I mean that in a good way. His guitar playing consists mostly of strummed chords, as opposed to finger-picking. His rack harmonica playing is a good accompaniment to his guitar playing. He manages to entertain his live audience, as witnessed by the reception he gets. His choice of blues covers could of been more interesting if he went for more of the lesser known and heard tunes, although he commits himself just fine on these well-worn standards. He adds nothing new to these chestnuts, but his renditions stay mostly true to the originals.

His self-penned "Charmalene" upholds the southern blues practice of professing love to a woman with an unusual name. Positivity is the theme of the energetic "Move On Up". Al mellows out on the melancholy plea "Don't Leave Me", done up in the singer-songwriter mode. He embellishes Slim Harpo's "Miss You Like The Devil" with a smooth delivery, turning in a good interpretation. Sonny Terry style "whoopin' " harmonica is the sole accompaniment to his vocal on the upbeat "I Love You Baby". "Cocaine", a signature song of folkie icon Dave Van Ronk remains mostly faithful to Van Ronk's version, adding a few new lyrical touches of his own. He renames the venerable bold ditty as "Nobody Loves You When You're Down And Out", as opposed to "knows you". His soulful vocal fits nicely on his original tune "Take A Little Time For Yourself", a great energetic choice for a closing number.

All-in-all a pleasant listening experience, probably more so if you were there. Another bright light trying to keep the acoustic blues tradition alive while adding his own input. Al's voice has that rough and warm quality that suits his choice of songs perfectly. The next time around it would be nice to see more of his own tunes in more of a blues treatment.

Reviewer Greg “Bluesdog” Szalony hails from the New Jersey Delta.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE


 Featured Blues Review 3 of 5

The South Side of Soul Street - The Minaret Singles 1967-1976

Omnivore Recordings

40 songs on 2 CDs – 1 hour 48 minutes

During the mid- to late-1960s, when soul music was king across the South and permeated the airwaves most everywhere else, recording studios in Detroit, Memphis and Muscle Shoals, Alabama, were pumping out hit after hit. But that came to a crashing halt as the ‘70s approached. After race riots and a social revolution across the U.S., soul stars quickly lost their shine and almost all mainstream black music – soul and blues included – disappeared into obscurity, replaced by rock, country and funk. Founded in Nashville in the early ‘60s by Herb Shucker and purchased by Findley Duncan, Minaret Records was a minor player in the soul scene, despite a deal with the distribution arm of the Stax label.

Duncan moved his operation to Valparaiso, Florida, not far from the Alabama border, in 1969, where he established Playground Recording Studio. His timing couldn’t have been worse. Despite having a small roster of outstanding, powerful vocalists and working with musicians including Spooner Oldham and the Memphis Horns, he produced a succession of brilliant, powerful singles, but most of his artists never received traction or acclaim. Even so, Duncan’s dusty discs have always been in high demand by rhythm-and-blues record, and they’ve always commanded high prices in the collectors’ market. Now, thanks to Los Angeles-based Omnivore Recordings, which specializes in preserving the legacy of artists from the past, this treasure trove finally gets the exposure it deserves, accompanied by 20 detailed pages of liner notes, with extensive commentary from Bill Dahl, one of America’s foremost music scholars. Most of the 40 A and B sides included are originals, with a few covers, including the Buddy Miles classic, “Them Changes,” and an odd soul version of “Row, Row, Row (Your Boat).”

One of the artists included in the package is Willie Cobbs, the Alabama-based singer/harmonica player best known for the song “You Don’t Love Me.” His two sides, “I’ll Love Only You” and “Don’t Worry About Me,” were set down years before he recorded his classic. All of the other artists in the set fly below the national radar, although several were well known regionally. The label heavyweight was Big John Hamilton, who’s featured on 16 tracks. Hamilton was a gospel-trained, chitterling circuit veteran from Trenton, S.C., who worked previously with Hank Ballard and the Midnighters and Etta James’ road band. He’d retired from showbiz to raise his family and took a factory job in the mid-‘60s, but was lured back into the business after Minaret conducted a talent search in Augusta, Ga., and gave him the chance to record for himself. His powerful baritone voice is featured on the first four numbers. The first two, “The Train” and “Big Bad John” (not the Jimmy Dean No. 1 country hit), were recorded in Muscle Shoals before the label relocated. The rich arrangements and in-your-face horns on those songs, as well as “I Have No One” and “I Just Want To Thank You,” which follow, set the tone for the entire package, melding a whole lot of soul, a little blues and a touch of country.

Hamilton shares the spotlight with Doris Allen on four duets, delivered in the familiar style of soul favorites Marvin Gaye and Tammy Terrell. They sing parallel leads on a couple of the tunes with some call-and-response, and she demonstrates an impressive set of pipes on two solo cuts, the best of which is “A Shell Of A Woman.” A native of Aiken, S.C., Allen sang regularly with Leroy Lloyd and the Dukes. Lloyd managed both artists when he wasn’t fronting his own group. His ensemble appears here on four tunes, including “Suwanee Strut,” a funky dance number. The Dukes back Count Willie for “I’ve Got To Tell You,” a deep blues based strongly on Al Green’s “God Bless Our Love.” Five more entries from the Minaret stable complete the package, including Genie Brooks, a tenor from Wrens, Ga.; The Double Soul, a duo that included Elmore Morris, who had recorded “Darling, Depend On Me” and “Indeed I Do” for Don Robey’s Peacock label in the ‘50s; Johnny Dynamite, a former gospel singer from nearby Milton, Fla.; Gable Reed, who contributes the slow grinder, “I’m Your Man”; and Willie Gable, who sings “Row, Row, Row” and “Eternally.”

If you’re a product of the ‘60s or love the music of the era, you’ll find this set as comfortable as a pair of well-worn shoes. There’s nothing overpowering great here, but it’s a whole lot of fun and a welcome look into the forgotten past.

Reviewer Marty Gunther has lived a blessed life. His first experience with live music came at the feet of the first generation of blues legends at the Newport Folk Festivals in the 1960s. A former member of the Chicago blues community, he’s a professional journalist and blues harmonica player who co-founded the Nucklebusters, one of the hardest working bands in South Florida.

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 4 of 5

Detroit Frank Dumont – Let Me Be Frank

Self Release

11 tracks / 48:32

The music world is chock full of half-finished albums and projects that got off to a good start but for some reason never got finished. Let Me Be Frank could have been one of those ill-fated efforts, but Detroit Frank Dumont persevered and rolled this album off the assembly line a whopping 22 years after it was started.

Originally hailing from Benton Harbor, Michigan (right across the lake from Chicago), singer and guitarist Frank Dumont has definitely been around the block a few times. He started his career in the early 70s with the Detroit Blues Band, and since then he has lived and gigged all over the globe -- from Hawaii to Amsterdam and everywhere in between. Along the way he has shared the stage with legendary blues figures, including John Lee Hooker, Greg Allman and Buddy Miles.

These days Frank is working out of Colorado Springs with his band, The Drivin’ Wheels, but the genesis of Let Me be Frank predates his work with this group. The first sessions for this album were recorded in 1991 at studios all around the country, including Louisiana, California and Memphis. Dumont held onto these tracks until 2012 when he started recording again, this time in North Carolina, Colorado, Nashville, Memphis, North Hollywood, and Alabama. This guy really gets around! Everything came together late last year when the source material was digitally mastered by Larry and Kevin Nix in Nashville. They did an amazing job of taking all of these sessions and making them come together into a singular entity.

There is plenty of heavy-hitting talent on this disc, and there is no way to include everybody that participated in this review. You will find the pillars of the blues community, the musicians that played in bands with BB King, Freddie King and Buddy Miles.

The first track up is “Key to the Highway,” which was a hit for Little Walter in 1958. This is a rich arrangement with horns, piano and the esteemed Deacon Jones on the Hammond B3. Dumont displays a smooth guitar talent, and his voice is road-worn and wise. I would like to see him perform this song live! After this, Frank belts out nine covers of songs by Freddie King, BB King and Robert Johnson.

Dumont is a Freddie King fan and he growls his way through Freddie King’s “Tore Down,” a classic 8-bar hit that was also covered by Clapton. Benny Turner’s fat bass keeps this rollicking tune moving, and David Maxwell lays down some killer piano that at times is swallowed up in the mix. “Hide Away” is a fun instrumental that lets Frank tear loose on his guitar over a complex arrangement of organ, piano and a passel of horns. The other Freddie King songs on this disc are both performed as instrumentals: “The Stumble,” and “I’ll Be There,” with the latter showing some interesting Hawaiian influences and more than enough harp (not the harmonica kind, either).

BB King is well-represented, with Dumont howling his way through “Every Day I Have the Blues” and “How Blue Can You Get.” While the rock-solid backline of Mighty Mike Doster and Caleph Emphrey Junior keep it real, Victor Wainwright provides some righteous piano work on “How Blue Can You Get.” This is one of the standout tracks on Let Me Be Frank.

Three of the tracks were penned by Robert Johnson: “Kind Hearted Woman,” “Traveling Riverside Blues,” and the inevitable “Crossroads.” In keeping with the original spirit of these songs, these are more bare bones arrangements with harmonica and slide acoustic guitar. Frank was respectful of the source material and did not go very far off the beaten path when reproducing these songs.

The album finishes up with its sole original track, “Blues for Buddy,” a tribute to Dumont’s friend Buddy Miles, who passed on before he could record drum tracks for this project. This instrumental psychedelic blues song is a grand yet casual-sounding jam that includes a few guys that played with Buddy back in the day: Deacon Jones and Jimi Hendrix’s bass player, Billy Cox.

Let Me Be Frank is a sampler of blues styles, with material written by the greats and played with gusto. It is obvious that Detroit Frank Dumont and his friends gave their all for this project, and I hope you can take the time to give it a listen..

Rex Bartholomew is a Los Angeles-based writer and musician; his blog can be found at

For other reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE

 Featured Blues Review 5 of 5

Mike Zito & the Wheel - Gone to Texas

Ruf Records

13 tracks/62:10

Mike Zito has been on a roll the last few years. In 2010, the title song from his Pearl River recording, co-written with Cyril Neville, won the Blues Music Award for Song of the Year. Next, he joined Neville and guitarist Devon Allman, drummer Yonrico Scott and Charlie Wooten on bass to form Royal Southern Brotherhood, a band that has been tearing up the festival circuit ever since. The group is nominated for a 2013 Blues Blast Music Award for Blues Rock Album and garnered a Blues Music Award nomination in the same category.

Now the talented artist adds even more fuel to the fire with a new release featuring his latest band of hand-picked musicians, The Wheel. Scot Sutherland has played with some of the best in the blues world, including six years on bass with the Tommy Castro Band. His rock-solid playing earned him a Blues Music Award nomination for Bass Player of the Year. Saxophonist Jimmy Carpenter was a long-time member of Jimmy Thackery’s band. He also has been a featured member of New Orleans legend Walter “Wolfman” Washington’s band. The man with the beat, drummer Rob Lee, is another New Orleans resident who has backed Johnny Sansone and Mia Borders. A veteran of Delbert McClinton’s band, Lewis Stephens, handles the keyboards while Susan Cowsill adds backing vocals.

This disc finds Zito honoring the state of Texas, where he fled to from his St. Louis home in search of love, redemption and escape from the addictions that had taken over his life. The title track delves deep into the Zito’s psyche as he looks for a new beginning, well-aware that he has reached the point-of-no-return and thankful for the healing power of love. “Rainbow Bridge” has the singer traveling through Louisiana, propelled by Sonny Landreth’s sizzling slide guitar licks.

Sutherland and Lee lay down a thundering groove worthy of Led Zeppelin on “Don’t Think Cause You’re Pretty” that Zito attacks on slide guitar while his raw vocal issues a warning to women trying to get by on looks alone. The pace immediately downshifts for the cautionary acoustic country blues “Death Row”, a harrowing depiction of where the singer might have ended up had he not found salvation.

On “Take It Easy”, Zito pleads for patience as he attempts to build a relationship. Carpenter flavors “I Never Knew a Hurricane” with a seductive tenor sax solo as Zito pours out his anguish over a broken heart.

Other highlights are “Subtraction Blues”, sporting a choogling rhythm and clever lyrics from the leader about a woman that has his mind messed up. Stephens gives the Hammond organ a ride on the funky workout “Don’t Break a Leg” and Zito trades lead vocals with Delbert McClinton on “The Road Never Ends”, a unruly rocker with some scorching slide guitar from Zito. He gives another unvarnished look at the world of an addict on “Hell on Me”, singing and playing like a man possessed. The downward spiral continues on “Voices in Dallas” with Zito high and alone, talking to an empty room. Carpenter’s baritone sax and Cowsill’s hypnotic vocal contributions amplify the bone-chilling mood. “Wings of Freedom” has Zito celebrating his salvation while praying that those he left behind will find their own escape route from dependency.

This is Mike Zito’s celebration of his new life – and his frank, unerring confession of what his life once was. Collectively, the program reaches out to you with genuine passion, intent on letting us share in the details of every step of his journey. The veteran band matches Zito’s energy every step of the way. Musically, it isn’t always blues, but Zito drills deep into the facts of life, the core of the blues tradition. This one comes highly recommended!.

Mark Thompson lives in Florida, where he is enjoying life without snow. He is a member of the Board of Directors for the Suncoast Blues Society and the past president of the Crossroads Blues Society of Northern Illinois. Music has been a huge part of his life for the past fifty years - just ask his wife!

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South Skunk Blues Society - Newton, IA

South Skunk Blues Society and Lizard King Blues Society bring Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials bring their signature houserockin' boogie and scorching blues back to the Elks Lodge in Grinnell, IA for a pre-Thanksgiving bash on November 15th.

Joining them are Jefferson County Green Band, a very fine rock n' roll/jamband outfit who made an appearance in October 2012 at the Elks. This is the 4th year that Lil Ed has come to play in Grinnell and the crowds each year just keep getting bigger. Due to the popularity of the show it has become a standing room only (you might want to consider purchasing tickets in advance and showing up early).

Advance tickets are now available at The advance tickets are $20 and tickets at the door will be $25. If you bring a minimum of two canned goods per person to the door, you can get in for the advance ticket price. Canned goods will be donated to help restock the MICA Food Bank.

Also on Friday November 22nd at Speakeasy in Newton the Speakeasy brings JJ Express with Travlin' Tom Robinson, 9 start time with no cover charge! For more info visit

Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA

Zydeco musician and Grammy winner Terrance Simien will be in the Quad Cities the week of November 4 as part of the MVBS Blues in the Schools artists-in-residence series for the 2013-2014 school year. This is the first time he has visited our area as an educator, and the Education Committee is excited by his Creole for Kidz & The History of Zydeco program. Terrance will be visiting 10 schools and presenting 4 open-to-the-public performances: Tues. Nov. 5, 11:45-12:45 p.m. at Black Hawk College, the Hawk’s Nest, 6600 34th Ave., Moline IL, Wed. Nov. 6, 11:30-12:30 p.m. at CASI, 1034 W. Kimberly, Davenport IA, Thurs. Nov. 7, 7:00-9:00 p.m. at River Music Experience, Community Stage, 2nd and Main Streets, Davenport IA and Fri. Nov. 8, 9:00 p.m. at The Muddy Waters, 1708 State St., Bettendorf IA. FOr more info visit or call (563) 322-5837 

West Michigan Blues Society - Grand Rapids, Mi

West Michigan Blues Society presents Joanne Shaw Taylor Thursday October 24, 2013. Special early show - Doors at 7:00 PM Music at 8:00 PM at Tip Top Deluxe, 760 Butterworth Ave. SW Grand Rapids, Mi.616-272-3910

Tickets available though or at the door for $10.00 More Info at

River City Blues Society - Peoria, IL

River City Blues Society presents Dave Weld and The Imperial Flames, 7:30pm Friday October 25th at Goodfellas 1414 N. 8th St. Pekin, Illinois Admission: $6.00 for the general public or $4.00 for RCBS Members. For more info visit: or call 309-648-8510

Illinois Central Blues Club - Springfield, IL

The Illinois Central Blues Club presents "Blue Monday" every Monday night for the last 25 years - BLUE MONDAY SHOWS - Held at the Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 every Monday 8:00pm $3 cover. October 21st - R.J. Mischo, October 28th - The Blues Deacons. More info available at  

Crossroads Blues Society - Rockford, IL

The Crossroads Blues Society brings Michael “Hawkeye” Herman and his Blues in the Schools program to Rockford Area Schools and for an evening show at the Hope and Anchor English Pub in Loves Park.

Michael "Hawkeye" Herman educates students by incorporating blues music into the school curriculum. He traces the influence of blues music on American popular music; jazz, bluegrass, classical, country, rock, and rap/hip-hop, and its impact on American and world culture. For 35 years, “Hawkeye” Herman has brought "The Blues Had a Baby" program to over 500 schools (elementary to college level), in 30 states and 10 foreign nations. He engages students by using his vocal and guitar skills to teach and encourage student participation via sing-along/response and by keeping time/tempo.

Among his many achievements, Herman is the co-founder of the Rogue Valley Blues Festival, Ashland, OR. The free show open to the public is at Hope and Anchor English Pub 5040 North 2nd St, Loves Park, IL Phone:(815) 633-2552. The show starts at 6:30pm
For more information about these presentations please contact: Steve Jones - Crossroads Blues Society 779-537-4006 To find out about the event, go to

Blues Society of Central PA – Harrisburg, PA

The Blues Society of Central PA proudly presents a night of ”Women of the Blues” on Saturday, October 26, 2013 at Champions Sports Bar 300 N. Second St, Highspire, PA. from 7 PM – midnight featuring The Ann Kerstetter Band, Miss T & The Mosquitoes and our headliner act , The Deanna Bogart Band. Admission is $15.00 Watch for info at 

The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, W.V

The West Virginia Blues Society will hold its 7th Annual Blues Competition on October 19, 2013 at Pullman Plaza Hotel, Grande Ballroom, Huntington, WV. Bands, solo/duo and a youth division blues acts will compete for cash prizes and WVBS sponsorship to the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge held in Memphis, Tennessee January 2014.

For more info visit or contact Jack Rice at 304-389-1438 or e-mail:

Friends Of The Blues - Watseka, IL

Now in their seventh season, The Friends of the Blues present 7 pm early shows: Tues, Oct 22, Kilborn Alley Blues Band - - Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen's Club, Thur, Nov 7, Terry Quiett Band -Bradley Bourbonnais Sportsmen's Club, Tues, Dec 10, the return of the Ori Naftaly Band from Israel! - Moose Lodge in Bradley IL sponsored by Mr. Vacuum, Bradley IL More information visit us at or email  

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