Saturday, October 29, 2011
It was billed as a “Guitar Showdown," but it was far more congenial than competitive.
Guitarists Linwood Taylor and Bobby Kyle brought their bands to the Old Bowie Town Grille in Bowie, Maryland on October 28 to put on the latest in a series of joint performances.
Taylor’s band, based in the D.C. area, and Kyle’s, which plays out of Pennsylvania and New York City, have been doing joint shows together once or twice a year, according to Taylor. Some music fans may see the shows as an ongoing competition, but both guitarists say they are just a means to stay in touch musically. The two met over 20 years ago through the late guitarist and guitar amp specialist Cesar Diaz, a mutual friend.
One of the D.C. area’s better-known guitarists, Taylor has shared the stage with Johnny Winter and opened Albert Collins, Johnny Copeland, Lonnie Mack and Rory Gallagher. Last year, he finished a two-year stint with Joe Louis Walker’s band. Since then, in addition to his own Linwood Taylor band, he has played alongside harmonica player Anthony “Swamp Dog” Clark, Maryland’s Black Magic band and Devon Allman’s Honeytribe, among others. You can catch an in-depth—and I do mean in-depth—interview with Taylor on this blog dated February 22, 2011.
Playing with the house band at Tampa Bay’s Stuffed Pepper during the early 1980’s, Kyle joined Eddie Kirkland’s band in 1984. He stayed with Kirkland for six years, then joined Johnny Copeland’s band, performing with Copeland until the Texas bluesman’s death in 1997.
We had a chance to talk to both guitarists. Taylor talked about how he and Kyle met through Diaz:
Kyle talked about playing with Taylor and about working with Copeland and Kirkland. He recalled that Kirkland, who died in February of this year at the age of 87, was injured in the 1970’s when he was hit by a ricocheting bullet fired by the patron of a club where he was performing. Kirkland was an innocent bystander in the incident:
And the music? Hear for yourself. Here’s Taylor doing Hendrix:
Here's Taylor doing Stevie Ray/Buddy Guy:
Here he shows what he learned from Albert Collins:
And here he is again:
then it was Kyle's turn:
And he gave us his take on Latimore's "Let's Straighten It Out:"
This one, "The Spider and the Fly," was recorded at Electric Ladyland in NYC:
And this one was from his Johnny Copeland days:
Keep your ears peeled for the next "showdown"....
Sunday, October 23, 2011
The event was held for a serious reason: raising money to help an ailing friend. But the music was pure entertainment: the type that the friend, Living Blues Magazine and Rooster Blues Records founder Jim O’Neal, loves.
A group of D.C. area musicians headed by singer/guitarist Memphis Gold gathered at Surf Club Live, arguably the closest venue the National Capital Area has to a juke joint, on October 20, 2011 to raise money for O’Neal, who is suffering from cancer. There will be at least two more around the country organized for O’Neal,CEO of Memphis Gold's current label, Stackhouse Records. Memphis said that another scheduled for November 3 at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago will feature him and singer/guitarist Kenny Neal.
A band including Memphis Gold, veteran bluesman Bobby Parker and guitarist Robert Lighthouse played a 40-minute set that highlighted the Surf Club Live event. They played for an audience warmed up by guitarist Rick Blue Steele and his band; singer Ida Campbell; the D.L. Funk Band of Dunn Loring, Virginia; singer Stacy Brooks, singer Shirley Lewis; singer/guitarist David Cole; and singer Mary Shavers, who was backed by Bad Influence, a popular local blues band.
O'Neal founded Living Blues in Chicago in 1970. In 1980, he co-founded Rooster Blues, a label specializing in Mississippi Delta style music with releases from artists such as Lonnie Pitchford, Roosevelt "Booba" Barnes, Larry Davis, Carey Bell, Willie Cobbs, Magic Slim, Lonnie Shields and Eddy Clearwater. The label shut down in 1998 and was sold the following year, resuming operations under its new owner in 2000 when it marked its 20th anniversary by releasing Willie King's Freedom Creek and reissuing classic blues recordings.
O'Neal, who also co-edited the book, The Voice of the Blues: Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine, was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2002. The Living Blues website says he is receiving chemotherapy for lymph cancer, but that he does not have health insurance. Anyone wishing to contribute can mail checks to the Jim O'Neal Blues Fund, P.O. Box 10334, Kansas City, MO 64171. They can also make donations through PayPal to the account email@example.com.
Cole did his version of “Walking the Dog:”
A short time later, Bad Influence helped out Mary Shavers as she talked about "A Mean, Mean Man:"
Later, the highlight of the show: Bobby Parker, who once played in Bo Diddley's band(See our interview of Bobby Parker, posted in two parts on October 30, 2010 and November 2, 2010) together with Memphis Gold, who has just released a new CD "Pickin' In High Cotton:"
Also, if you're in the D.C. area on November 12, 2011, catch this year's College Park Blues Festival, an annual event held by the D.C. Blues Society. This year's festival features Guitarist Warner Williams; the D.C. Blues Society Band with singer Ayaba Bey; the Tom Newman Band; and Clarence "the Bluesman" Turner, who only a week ago won the D.C. Battle of the Bands and in January will represent the area at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. A $600 G&L Guitar will also be raffled.
I recently had a chance to talk to the 81-year-old Williams, who this summer recieved a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment of the Arts:
The show unfolds from 6-11:30 p.m. at the University of Maryland's Ritchie Coliseum, located at Route 1 and Rossborough Lane in College Park.
Monday, October 17, 2011
It was the D.C. Blues Society's Battle of the Bands last Saturday and we all had a great time at the American Legion Hall in Wheaton, Maryland as several bands competed to see who will represent the Washington area at the International Blues Competition in Memphis next January. Not in any specific order, the bands were:
1. The Unruly Blues Band, based in Frederick, Maryland.
2.The Lady Rose Band, the only one to compete last year as well. By the way, that's Lady Rose at the top of this page:
3 Popular D.C. area guitarist/bassist/singer Clarence "The Bluesman" Turner, whose group covered "C.C. Ryder:"
4. Fast Eddie and the Slowpokes. The Greenbelt, Maryland-based group did its version of "Hideaway:"
5. The Steve Remy Band. The group covered "Down in the Hole," a song that became the theme song to the HBO television series "The Wire."
6. The Justin Pietrowski Trio from the Hampton Roads area of Virginia:
7. Terry Oates and The Mudcats, a group based in Winchester, VA:
As you can hear, we have some talented bands here in the Nation's Capital. But we know there are talented groups all over the country and we want to put videos of some of them on Beldon's Blues Point. So if you happen to be at a Battle of the Bands in your area and shoot some footage, send it to us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or however you can get it to us. Also tell us a little about the bands, whatever you know. We're not starting our own contest, we're just trying to show the world as much good blues as we can.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
It is time for a new crop of songs from our readers. We've delved into other genres in the past, but this collection is more from the traditional blues/R&B/Gospel mode. Most of these musicians are veterans with lots of experience under their belts so it's going to be interesting stuff. Information on the performers was gathered through e-mails and from biographies accompanying their songs.
We start with Wily Bo Walker, whose album cover sits at the top of this post. Wily Bo hails from the United Kingdom where he is the frontman for Rattlin’ Bone, a festival band which regularly tours across Europe. Rattlin’ Bone’s debut album, “The Life and Death Of…” is out and the band is now working on a second.
Wily Bo is also frontman for the guitar-based the Mescal Canyon Troubadors. He is now recording an album for the group, which is to be called “Stone Cold Beautiful.” The group has already released three singles: “Storm Warning,” “Loan Me a Dime” and “Model Blues.”
He is also working on an album with vocalist and songwriter Karena Kelly, who performs with Rattlin’ Bone and the Mescal Canyon Troubadors. The two have already released the single, “Angels In the Night.”
Walker also plays traditional jazz through the Wily Bo Walker Quintet, which at the beginning of 2011 recorded a cover of the popular Billie Holiday classic “You Don’t Know What Love is.”
Here are some Wily Bo Walker tracks:
Back in the states, singer/guitarist Sharon Newport, known to the music world as SharBaby, is keeping busy with gigs, albums and the Alabama Blues Project, for which she teaches guitar to children.
Now playing out of Birmingham, Alabama, SharBaby was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana, where she received her nickname from an aunt when she was six years old. She comes from a musical family: her father was a gospel singer who sang with the Evening Lights, The Lambs Quartet and the Revelators during the 1950’s and 1960’s and over the course of his career opened for Sam Cooke, the Soul Stirrers, the Dixie Hummingbirds and the Alabama Blind Boys.
SharBaby herself first became interested in music when she was six, and, inspired by Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, began learning guitar at 11. As a child and teenager, she sang with her sister Marilyn under the name The Braylock Sisters. “We sang together for about 15 years around South Bend, Indiana at parties,” SharBaby recalled in an email. “As we got a little older, we did some clubs.”
She moved to Pensacola, Florida where she joined a group called “The Big Fat Lie.” The group eventually came to be known as “SharBaby and the Real Blues Band.”
After that group she went on to play venues such as Rumboogies’ on Memphis’ Beale Street, the Ground Zero in Clarkesdale, Mississippi and Memphis’ Blue Worm Club, where she recorded live with Big Jerry’s Juke House band. She has shared the stage with Willie King, Oteil Burridge, Sam Lay, Honey Boy Edwards, Denise LaSalle, T-Model Ford, Jerry Portnoy and Cedric Burnside, among others.
She has also released several albums, including “My Life” in 2006, “Chicago Blues Alabama Style” and “Just Jukin” in 2009 and “SharBaby’s 11 O’Clock Blues” in 2011.
She has been influenced by a variety of musicians, including Tina Turner, Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Sumlin, Little Walter, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, Little Richard, The Beatles and Ray Charles.
Here are some of SharBaby’s songs:
The next songs are from B.J. Estares and Route 61, a Colorado Springs, CO group featuring B.J. Estares on guitar and vocals (he’s also listed as a songwriter); Randy “The Hawkenator” Hawke on bass, guitar and backup vocals; Lenny “Boom-Boom” Perreault on percussion and back-up vocals and Doug Stepanek on drums and backup vocals (he’s also credited as the sound engineer). A San Diego native, Estares grew up with the big band music he heard his dad listening to. His interest in music started with the drums. He took up acoustic guitar after moving to Los Angeles when he was 12, and his love for the blues began at age 14 after his brother turned him on to Janis Joplin's "Turtle Blues." He then started listening to British artists like John Mayall and Eric Clapton, which led him to American notables such as Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Albert King, B.B. King, Freddie King and others.
Route 61 formed in the mid-2000's after Estares came to Colorado Springs and started writing songs and gigging with Hawke.
The group lists John Coltrane, Shelly Mann, Wes Montgomery, Miles Davis, Sergio Mendez, Willie Dixon, B.B. King, Eric Clapton, Robert Johnson, Duane Allman, John Mayall and Joe Cocker as influences. Here is some of its work:
We next hear from Jonah Reuben and Accidental Proffit, a Christian music group that works in the rhythm and blues mode. The group, which plays around the Omaha, Nebraska area, has made some personnel changes since the release of "Heavenly Blues," its latest CD. The group now features Paul Koski on lead guitar, Gordon Kruse on bass, and Jonah Reuben on guitar and lead vocals. Here is some of Accidental Proffit's work:
The group never charges for their shows but relies on donations to their ministry. To book them, send an email to email@example.com or call: (402) 827-1991
As anyone who follows this blog knows, I'm a serious, longtime Hendrix fan. Here's Tommy Katona and Full Blast with their take on Hendrix's "Who Knows?"
Born in Memphis and raised in Clarkesdale and Tutwiler, Mississippi, David “Big Daddy” Griffin has been around music since he was a toddler. At five he used to entertain family gatherings by standing on top of dressers and singing Merle Haggard, Jimmy Rogers and Johnny Cash.
Griffin’s mother bought him an acoustic guitar and three months worth of lessons when he was ten, and at 14 he worked his first paying gig, playing rock before junior high school children at a private school in Marks, Mississippi. “I still remember a girl smiling big at the guitar player—ME,” he recalled.
A year later, he heard the group Pink Floyd for the first time and found himself drawn to the bass lines.
“I decided that it was time to go from rhythm guitar to bass,” he recalled. “I saved up some money, bought a bass guitar and an amp, and spent the next three years in the bedroom with records, tapes, and this new thing called a compact disc. I started playing in garage band jams for 3 more years, and an occasional backyard party.”
He joined his first bar band when he was 21, playing country, rock, the “Muscle Shoals sound” and blues. He also began learning stage production, how to work with sound and public address systems.
In 1991, while a member of a band called Phoenix, he met Prentis Goodwin, who had won the Jimmie Rogers festival in Meridan, Mississippi. Over the next year Phoenix worked as Goodwin’s backup band. Griffin then took off the next two years from playing bars to work with Andy Tanas, a one-time bassist for Krokus and Black Oak Arkansas. At one time he and Tanas opened for Charlie Robinson and Commander Cody.
Griffin then started playing with a Memphis-area band called the Ecclectics, working with drummer Phillip Dale Durham. He went on to play for Thump, a classic rock and 80’s pop band he joined after hearing its version of Mother’s Finest’s “Truth Will Set You Free.” He has played for the Mississippi Delta-area band the Shakerz and now plays bass for the Bouffants, a Memphis area band.
In addition to playing, Griffin works has worked as a sound person, crew chief, spot-op, lighting assistant, opening act and monitor engineer for Keith Anderson; Sinbad; Keith Sweat; ESPN2; Rick Braun; Boney James; Kirk Whalum; Pieces of a Dream; Earth, Wind and Fire; Bobby “Blue” Bland; Jerry Lee Lewis; Amy Grant; Too Short; Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown; Super Chikan; Jethro Tull and Bill Cosby, among others.
Here is Griffin performing with the Shakerz:
We have to take some time to announce a couple of music-related events:
One is the D.C. Blues Society's Annual Battle of the Bands, scheduled for TONIGHT (October 15, 2011) from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. at the American Legion Post 268, located at 11225 Fern Street in Wheaton, MD. Competing are The Brothers Bone, Clarence "The Bluesman" Turner, Fast Eddie and the Slowpokes, The Justin Pietrowski Trio, The Steve Remy Blues Band, Terry Oates and the Mudcats and the Unruly Blues Band. JP Reali will perform as the area's solo/duo contestant. The winner will represent the Washington Area in the International Blues Challenge, held Jan. 31-Feb. 4, 2012 in Memphis.
Another--a very important one--is an all star concert led Thursday, October 20 at the D.C. area's Surf Club Live by singer/guitarist Memphis Gold to raise money for Living Blues magazine co-founder Jim O'Neal, who is suffering from lymph cancer. O'Neal, who also authored The Voice of the Blues, a collection of interviews with blues musicians, is now the chief executive officer of Stackhouse Records, Memphis' current label. Memphis Gold has joined with bluesman Kenny Neal to hold fund-raisers at various locations around the country.
Also scheduled to perform Thursday are Bobby Parker, whose work is said to have influenced musicians from John Lennon to Santana; singer Shirley Lewis, singer Ida Campbell, singer Stacy Brooks, guitarist Robert Lighthouse, guitarist David Cole, David Akers and Rick Blue Steele. Surf Club Live is located at 4711 Kenilworth Avenue, Hyattsville, Maryland.
Those who can't attend the fund-raisers but want to help can send checks to: Jim O’Neal Blues Fund, P.O. Box 10334, Kansas City, MO 64171. They can also donate at www.paypal.com to the account firstname.lastname@example.org.
Still another is a performance by singer Nadine Rae at the Barebones Grill and Brewery in Ellicott City, MD at 9 p.m. on Saturday, November 5. Reservations are "highly recommended" for this event. The Brewery is located at 9150 Old National Baltimore Pike in Ellicott City. The number is 410-461-0770 and the website is http://www.barebonesgrill.com. If you want to know what you'll be missing if you DON'T go, check out Nadine at last month's D.C. Blues Festival:
Now here's harmonica player Bob Corritore with a bio of former Muddy Waters harmonica player George "Mojo" Buford, who passed away Tuesday:
RIP George "Mojo" Buford - November 29, 1929 - October 11, 2011. Best known as the longtime harmonica player in the Muddy Waters Band, George "Mojo" Buford was well known for his beautiful, raw-edged harmonica style, and his rich, emotional vocals. He died in a hospital in Minneapolis this morning after suffering with various health issues since early this summer. He was 81 years old. Born in Hernando, Mississippi in 1929, Mojo relocated to Memphis, Tennessee at an early age, then landed in Chicago in 1952, and in 1962 he would find a home in Minneapolis. He had numerous periods of employment in the Muddy Waters Band spanning 4 decades; first in 1959, again in 1967, again in the early 1970s, and was part of Muddy's final band lineup of 1980. Mojo Buford was a sensitive ensemble harmonica player and could provide a gorgeous textural backing for any Chicago blues song. Mojo was also a master of the more difficult Chromatic harmonica. He would record many fine sides as both a leader and as a frontman. His own albums appear on Mr Blues, JSP, P-Vine, Blue Moon, Blue Loon, Fedora, Rooster, Blues Record Society and other labels. Mojo and Luther "Georgia Boy" Johnson were also featured vocalists for two albums on the Muse label that showcased the Muddy Waters Band of the 1960s. There was also a notorious LP on the Vernon label titled Ray Charles / On Stage At The Palladium, which actually only had 2 Ray Charles songs with the remainder by "Mo Jo & The Mo Jo Chi Fours." Collectors marvel over this false advertising - and the Mojo sides are just great! In addition to appearing on numerous sides by Muddy Waters, Mojo's harp graced recordings by Jo Jo Williams, Otis Spann, and Texas Red. Mojo was also responsible for helping Bob Margolin land his job in the Muddy Waters Band. Special thanks to drummer/manager Doug McMinn, who's efforts in the later part of Mojo's career kept him working and in the public eye. Mojo's passing, along with the recent deaths of fellow Muddy Waters alumni Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Calvin Jones, leaves us with a huge void in our hearts as we remember the sound of that glorious band. Mojo was a sweet and generous individual with a beautiful toothy grin and a kind word for every situation. He will forever be remembered in blues history as one of the great harmonica masters of the Muddy Waters Band. To hear Mojo performing "Don't Go No Further" click:
To hear Mojo's great harmonica backing on Jo Jo Williams "All Pretty Woman" click:
To see a photo of Mojo. Pinetop Perkins and Willie "Big Eyes" Smith at last year's King Biscuit Blues Festival, courtesy of Bob Margolin, click here http://www.bobcorritore.com/images/Willie Smith 02.jpeg.html
God bless you George "Mojo" Buford.
We again thank Bob for that. We'll have more songs coming, so if we didn't get to you this time around, we'll hit you on the next. Take care.
Monday, October 10, 2011
My grandfather, Harrison Beldon, was from Pass Christian, Mississippi--a Delta town just a stone's throw from Louisiana-- so maybe that's what's been pulling me towards Zydeco over these last few years. The more I hear it, the more I like it, and in my opinion it's even better when someone highlights the Cajun rhythms and melodies that make up its core with blues, rock and jazz. As you know if you read my last post, I caught Buckwheat Zydeco and Chubby Carrier at the Blast Furnace Blues Festival in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania last month. I was almost a junkie for more Zydeco, and I got my fix last weekend when Rosie Ledet showed up with her Zydeco Playboys at Surf Club Live here in the D.C. area. Because I know you all want to hear the show too, I took plenty of videos (with Rosie's permission). I also talked with her about her Zydeco beginnings and her current plans, which includes work with a highly respected record label that specializes in blues and jazz, along with some upcoming overseas tours. But I know you all would rather hear music than chatter, so I'm starting with that:
Here's the group with "Swing that Thing:"
And here they are with "Take care of Your Dog:"
Here they are performing "Keep the Faith" from their newest album, Come Get Some:
They also did the Zydeco party song "Show Me Something" from her 2001 album of the same name:
And I'm throwing in this one, "You're No Good for Me" from her 1995 album "Sweet Brown Sugar:"
During a break she talked about her first experience with Zydeco:
She later talked about learning how to play the accordion and why she carried three to the concert that night. She also talked about why she likes Carlos Santana and how other styles are figuring into what she is doing now:
She then talked about record deals and upcoming tours:
Well, we got good stuff coming up. More songs from readers and an interview with an up-and-coming West Coast gospel singer who records with Larry Martin Kimpel's label (Remember him? The bassist from Frankie Beverly and Maze.) Plus, we'll have other surprises..