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November 22, 2007
© 2007 IllinoisBlues.com
News, reviews, live Blues show links AND MUCH MORE at Bottom! - Scroll Down!
Hey Blues fans,
IllinoisBlues.com made it out to California for a much needed break last week to hear some great Blues.
We stopped at Cozy's on Thursday, one of the Los Angeles ares's most noted Blues clubs to see what was going on. We got to hear a great LA Blues act The Forty Fours.
Here is a photo of front man Guitarist Johnny"Lightnin' Boy"Main, Bassist Dug Mug Swanson , Drummer Jason Lozano and Tex Nakamura on Harmonica. The did a great set and fun was had by all.
This group was one of the finalists in the International Blues Challenge in 2005. To hear a sample of what we heard, visit the Forty Four's myspace. CLICK HERE to check them out.
Stay tuned next week as we tell you more of the story of our visit to see the state of today's West Coast Blues.
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So you thought the Blues season was over? No Way! This week brings the Klakson Blues Festival in Vilvoorde, Vlaams Brabant, Belgium, and the Baby Blues Showcase in St. Louis, Missouri.
Also be sure to check our Blues Society News section and our Blues Fans & Friends section below (Scroll Down) for upcoming live Blues performances by Andrew "Jr Boy" Jones, Bill Lupkin and the Chicago Coalition and others in areas around the US. Also check the IllinoisBlues.com Live Blues show listings for a show near you! CLICK HERE
Support Live Blues near you by attending one of these events!
Blues Link of the Week
This list is the radio airplay list of Blues from the Roots Music Association. If you want to add some new artists and CDs to your Blues collection this Christmas or Hanukah, check this list to see the most popular songs on Blues radio around the country. Now you will be ready to shop for all your Blues pals after the Turkey wears off on Friday!
For more Blues links CLICK HERE to visit the IllinoisBlues.com Links Page
If you know of a COOL Blues link, please send it to
Streaming Blues Link of the Week
The American Blues Network
According to their website, the American Blues Network is a format designed to appeal to the 25-65 year old male and female and it features the industry's best Blues talent. The American Blues Network is the only 24-hour blues format via satellite.
To go right to the Blues stream and listen, CLICK HERE
Other IMPORTANT News Help Save the music! CLICK HERE to Keep Blues Radio Alive!
Featured Blues Reviews
James “Skyy Dobro” Walker , noted Blues writer and Blues Blast contributor reviews a new DVD by Willie King - Down In The Woods
DVD: Down In the Woods
Visible World Films
By James “Skyy Dobro” Walker
Length 1:04:39 plus extra 40 minutes; Essential
Everyone knows that the Blues came from the South and was born of slavery’s and sharecropping’s poverty and hard times. This documentary film helps viewers understand that the Blues never left the South and neither did the poverty and inequalities.
Dutch film-makers Saskia Rietmeijer and Bart Drolenga of Visible World Films came to America with the intention of producing a documentary about African American arts and culture in the deep South. Then they met an incredible humanitarian who happens to be today’s most important living bluesman, Alabama’s Willie King. Scrapping their original plans, they decided instead to create a DVD about Willie's life and times. He lives in an old trailer in Old Memphis, a small and mostly African-American community in rural Alabama.
Born on a cotton plantation in 1943 the son of poor sharecroppers, Willie was drawn to the blues at an early age. He made his first guitar out of bailing wire when he was seven and has been playing ever since. Cotton picker, moon shiner, juke joint owner, civil rights activist, and social worker, Willie has done them all and now is one of the most popular blues musicians around.
The DVD is an illuminating voyage into Willie King's life and his many humanitarian activities. Featuring live performances of King’s “Rural Blues” (he calls his music the “Strugglin’ Blues”) and encounters with family, friends, fellow musicians like T-Model Ford, and music experts such as Peter Guralnick, it enables the viewer to see King as a bluesman living in the Alabama Black Belt, "down in the woods." Over a period of several months, the couple recorded Willie King as he worked with his community in Pickens County and performed at festivals, juke joints and parties.
King's music held the attentions of Drolenga and Rietmeijer, but his life and message captured them. “The music, of course, is absolutely great and very original,” Drolenga said. “Willie's message is the other reason (we decided to make this documentary),” he added. “It's unique that a bluesman of Willie's stature is so involved with helping his community and that he practices a message of togetherness and peace. We found that Willie lives and breathes the blues every second of his life. We noticed that, for Willie, his life and music are all of a piece and very much interwoven. Playing the blues and working for the community go together for him and also the messages in his lyrics play their part in this.” His lyrics are often political, fighting racism and a voice for the poor blacks in the South.
*Willie’s explanation of the Blues, “The Blues is not made by man. It was sent down [by the Lord] in the form of a spirit to help heal people and help them cope with the circumstances they are in.” “...You could be in the worst of conditions, but with the Blues, you always keep that hope alive. This is what people are looking for. I found it through the Blues”
* Willie’s creed, adopted from his “granddaddy”, “Never let nothin’ go to you head, always be you, and if you can help somebody along the way, give them a helping hand.”
* The scene at Betties Place, a little juke joint near Prairie Point, Mississippi. Willie King plays his blues and the crowd dances in a down home style. The band is smoking when King gets off the stage and walks into the audience playing his guitar. Willie’s music is an exciting, dance inducing mix of rural blues, soul and boogie, all in King’s own distinctive style.
* King visits the place of his birth. “You barely lived back then, you existed.” Willie says. “Sharecropping was just another form of slavery. In debt all the time, you had to find ways to survive and earn some money. Gardening, berry picking, preserving, quilting, woodworking and music are all part of our cultural heritage. I call them survival skills. I believe teaching these skills to the young people will benefit them. We can sell beautiful quilts, preserves and woodwork on the internet and generate money for the community.” Willie spends much of his time supporting his local community and teaching young people the traditional culture and survival skills passed on to him from his people's share cropping and slave ancestors.
* The DVD also includes an extra 40 minutes of live performances of these songs in their entirety: “Ain't Gonna Work,” “Bettie's Groove Gumbo,” “America,” and “Terrorized.”
Visible World is a video production company with a global footprint. Traveling around the world, our portfolio of services includes documentaries, news reports, educational and promotional videos, camerawork, video editing, production, photography and written articles.
Rural Members Association
In 1983 blues musician and community activist Willie King started the Rural Members Association (RMA), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, to bring together the elders of the community in and around Old Memphis, Alabama, for the purpose of passing on the local heritage of traditional African American cultural arts and survival skills to the next generation. Over the years RMA projects have impacted thousands of children and adults through educational workshops in traditional crafts like sewing, quilting, carpentry, farming, canning, food preserving, blues music and gospel music, and the internationally renowned Freedom Creek Blues Festival.
The RMA started Freedom Creek Blues Festival in 1997 to bring all walks of life together once a year to celebrate the outstanding blues heritage in our region. This festival allows local musicians to display their musical talent alongside nationally and internationally renowned musicians, helping to keep the local music culture alive and introducing it in the depths of the Alabama black belt to an international audience.
RMA is presently seeking help to rehabilitate a building that will be the community center where quilting, food preserving and music workshops and performances can be held. Donations are greatly appreciated and will be used wisely in the community.
Send your tax-deductible donation to:
Rural Members Association
791 Old Memphis Road
Aliceville, AL 35442-3734
For More reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
IllinoisBlues.com also features a Live performance review by Blues Songwriter, Musician, DJ and Journalist, Ben Cox.
Earl & the Broadcasters
Stony Plain Records
Running Time: 78:15
One of the most critically acclaimed and educated guitar players that has ever lived continues upon a brilliant path that started over thirty years ago. Ronnie Earl never ceases to amaze with his unequalled tone and knowledge of his instrument. Earl, known for his all instrumental albums, conjures every jazzy-blues vibe that you can possibly think of on his latest effort for Stony Plain called “Hope Radio.”
If you are a Mike Bloomfield, Shuggie Otis, Roy Buchanan, Duke Robillard, or the instrumental side of Stevie Ray Vaughan fan (think “Lenny” and “Riviera Paradise”), or just a plain guitar “head” in general; this album is a must-have in your collection. Stretching out on the slow burn on a Bloomfield-esque “Blues For the West Side” that sounds straight out of the Magic Sam “All Your Love” groove to the nasty grit on “Blues For Otis Rush” for whom the album is dedicated to, Earl and his Broadcasters take no cuts or overdubs from the word go. This album is cut completely live, though from the sound and quality of the recording you couldn’t tell it. Earl even strips the whole band away and gives a solemn tribute to the folks of Louisiana with the acoustic “Katrina Blues.” The musicianship is superb, and with the vocal talent of Earl’s signature red Stratocaster, you’ll have over an hour’s worth of pure mellow-out magic. You’ll actually believe the guitar is talking to you at some points. As I said before, Earl’s ability to play with feeling and with an astute sense of virtuosity without overdoing it is a sign of both his talent and his passion for the music that has carried him through his troubled past.
Earl is a walking testament that music can save someone’s life and this album will most definitely be on tap as one of his pinnacles in his extensive discography.
Visit Ronnie on the web at: http://www.ronnieearl.com/ or at http://www.stonyplainrecords.com/
His records are able to be found at every major record outlet on the Web. Another great album for purchase that encompasses Earl’s early career with Roomful of Blues along with his early solo albums that include guest appearances by Darrell Nulisch, Kim Wilson, and Duke Robillard is called “Heart & Soul: The Best of Ronnie Earl” available on the Shout Factory label.
For More reviews and interviews on our website CLICK HERE.
Dutch film-makers Saskia Rietmeijer and Bart Drolenga of Visible World Films came to America with the intention of producing a documentary about African American arts and culture in the deep South. When they met Willie King, they decided instead to devote their efforts to creating a DVD about Willie's life and times.
Over a period of several months, the couple recorded Willie King as he worked with his community in Pickens County and performed at festivals, juke joints and parties.
The DVD is a fascinating collage of Willie King's life and many activites, illuminated by searing live performances and interviews with his family and friends. It enables the viewer to experience what it is like to be a modern bluesman living in the Alabama Black Belt, "down in the woods."
To Purchase this DVD Now CLICK HERE
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Blues Society News
The West Virginia Blues Society - Charleston, WV
The WV Blues Society will be sending TWO Blues Acts , Izzy & Chris,Duo Div. and Billy the Kid and the Regulators, Band Div. to Memphisso they can represent our Blues Society by competing in the Blues Foundation's 24th Annual 2008 International Blues Challenge. WE NEEDYOUR HELP.
These two Acts beat out entrants in our Appalachian Blues Competition from NINE States. Our Society stands a better than even chance of bringing home a winner this year. But, we can't do it without your help. We are looking for clubs and venues to showcase them in and have benefit fundraisers. We are looking for Sponsors. The end of January will be here before we know it. Remember, this competition will put your Blues Society on the National and International map in the Blues Scene. Your donations could be tax deductable.
Izzy made it to the final round last year and placed seventh overall with competition from over 145 locations worldwide. So, if you really love the blues and want to make a difference this is your chance. If you have any Blues artifacts that we could auction or anything thing or way to help defray the cost would greatly benefit our Representivtes. Lets show our Support and bring home a winner. We can be reached thru our web site at, www.wvbluessociety.org or by calling, 304-389-1439. Jack Rice, President - West Virginia Blues Society, Inc. PO Box 11646, Charleston, WV 25339 www.wvbluessociety.org
Illinois Central Blues Club Blue Mondays
The Alamo 115 N 5th St, Springfield, IL (217) 523-1455 8:30pm $2 cover
November 26 Frank Herrin & Blues Power December 3
Suzy & The Smokers
December 10 Andrew “ J R Boy” Jones December 17 Sally Weisenburg & The Famous Sidemen
Mississippi Valley Blues Society - Davenport, IA presents
Nick Moss and The Fliptops November 21, 2007 8:30p.m Blueport Junction 6605 West River Drive, Davenport IA 563 326-2151
Send your Society's BIG news or Press Release to:
Blues Fans & Friends Submissions
Upcoming Friends of the Blues EARLY shows:
Wednesday, Nov 28 - Bill Lupkin and the Chicago Coalition, 7:00 PM, Brandon Casey’s. www.billlupkin.com
Live Blues Calendar
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