Monthly Archives: June 2014

Fresh Biscuits! New Blues Releases For July 1, 2014

It’s a slow week for new releases, Biscuiteers. This happens around a holiday, especially one smack dab in the middle of a sunny summer with people thinking about beaches, hot dogs, and fireworks instead of new blues music. Where have our priorities gone?

There are a few new releases though. Shane Speal, the King of the Cigar Box Guitar released Holler on Sunday night, well ahead of the usual Tuesday release time. You can get the download or order a hard copy at his website. Another independent release comes from Jimmy Thackery. The legendary guitarist dropped the record labels a few years ago and has been offering his new music through direct marketing and CD Baby. Unfortunately we missed it in last week’s round-up but we just fixed that didn’t we?

There are a few more reissues this week including McKinley Morganfield – A.K.A. Muddy Waters, or is it Muddy Waters – A.K.A. McKinley Morganfield? That was the problem when it first came out in 1971. This then-comprehensive Muddy Waters collection looked like a record by McKinley Morganfield and many less-informed record store clerks miss-filed the album causing issues for consumers and businesses alike. The music leaves no doubt, this is Muddy Waters. A.K.A. McKinley Morganfield A.K.A. Muddy Waters. OK?

Lots of questions this week so here’s an answer to the question “What’s new this week?”:

Fresh Biscuits – July 1, 2014

Jimmy Thackery – Wide Open

JimmyThackeryWideOpenCD

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shane Speal’s Snake Oil Band – Holler

ShaneSpealHoller

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dave FieldsAll In

DaveFieldsAllInCD

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Levon Helm BandThe Midnight Ramble Sessions, Vol. 3

LevonHelmBandMidnightRambleVol3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Muddy Waters – A.K.A. McKinley Morganfield

MuddyWatersAKAMcKinleyMorganfield

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

B.B. KingBlues Is King

BBKingBluesIsKing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

That’s it Biscuiteers. I know Levon Helm Band is a stretch but Levon was reared in and around blues music and his band gave the world Chris O’Leary who is a damned fine bluesman, harp player, and songwriter. It’s safe to say blues fans might like Levon Helm and vice versa. The person in charge of complaints is Helen Waite.

Flashback Friday! Walter Trout Looks For Common Ground

WalterTroutWMBF-1It’s Flashback Friday once again. This week, we tie in to our review of Walter Trout’s new CD The Blues Came Callin’. We now turn you over to Maureen as she takes up back in time to her insightful and illuminating interview with the legendary Walter Trout…

I had the opportunity to interview Walter following the release of his CD Common Ground. I was impressed and encouraged by his depth. As Walter now faces his greatest struggle his words ring even deeper….

me. Let’s talk about your latest CD Common Ground.   I was impressed when I read that the title track was written “in response to cruelty in the world.” Was there something in particular that inspired you to write that song?

Walter Trout: Well, I can tell you that that concept of “can we find some common ground between us” where we can sort of agree and get together and attempt to find our mutual humanity between us- I had that idea for years and I kept trying to write it as a political song, you know, I put on TV and I’d sit there and watch somebody on the left and somebody on the right just scream at each other and disrespect each other and laugh when the other person is trying to make their point and shake their head and just be so disrespectful of each side and I watched this over the course of the years get more and more polarized and I tried to write it for years as a political song and I could never get it done. One day it just dawned on me that it had to sort of be above that and it had to basically almost be a prayer and a call for help because I see us descending more and more into that more rash disrespect between people and I think the mass media does a lot to encourage it for ratings –it becomes entertainment to watch people get their balls cut off on TV. I find the whole thing disgusting and I’m a very politically savvy, well-read, opinionated person and I’ve got to where I don’t even want to know about it anymore. I don’t turn on news stations anymore; I don’t want to know about it anymore. So once I realized it had to be a call to whoever or whatever you believe is a higher power than man- ‘cause if we’re it, it’s a pretty sad universe-once that dawned on me, that song wrote itself in about 10 minutes-but it took 10 years. But once I got that concept, instead of making it political-make it spiritual, it was 10 minutes-not even 10 minutes. I have the page that I wrote the lyrics on and there’s not even anything crossed out. It just came out the way it is. And then once I had the lyrics, the melody also just…the song happened almost instantaneously once I changed my focus. I almost felt like that song was given to me.

me. Almost like it was waiting to be born…

WT:It was handed to me-I just had to open up to it.

WalterTroutWMBF-OnFire

me. That’s beautiful. In the 60’s, folk songs were truly aimed at creating change and affecting people…with this song, was that your active thought – or your hope for it – that someone would really hear what you are saying?

WT: I would hope so. You know, I grew up in the 60’s and I was out protesting the Vietnam War and protesting the draft – I was a part of all of that. I was pretty radical in the 60’s and I was the biggest fan on the face of the earth of Bob Dylan and those early songs Masters of War and A Hard Rain’s Gonna’ Fall and songs like that but I was trying to write one of those when I was trying to make it political and it never came out. So it really came out, I think, as a religious tune, but I think it could be listened to by a Hindu or a Buddhist or a Muslim as well as a Christian – and they would be able to get something out of it because I’m not mentioning any sort of specific prophets or beliefs. It’s just a call to a higher power saying we are scraping and crawling and floundering and we need help to get back in focus here.

WalterTroutWMBF-3me. Do you think that it’s still possible – having grown up in the 60’s and having music define my life – to have music impact and define us today the way it did back then?

WT: Well, I agree with you, my life was defined like that too – it was the most important thing in my life and I believed very idealistically, when I was a teenager, that music could change the world and could change people. It was a social force. Now, back then, things like Rock and Roll and protest songs were still a little bit out of the mainstream-a little anti-establishment. You didn’t have Coca-cola sponsoring Bob Dylan or a Rolling Stones tour. It’s become big business, it’s become corporate. The radio has been taken over by corporate interests. It used to be FM radio, in the 60’s, played whatever they wanted and they could really mold their listeners, they could influence their listeners. Now, it’s all about demographics-one corporation owns 50 radio stations in America and they have some guy that sits in Minneapolis and programs all of them and has no idea that what’s happening locally in St. Louis may be different than what’s happening locally in Minneapolis. It’s a little sad to me-I feel it’s gotten watered down and taken over by the very people who the music was trying to be an antidote to back then. I think it’s still possible –I do believe it is still possible- that even bands who are big groups who are trying, maybe, to write some songs that have something to say-for instance, U2. I think they are a huge band but I do believe they are still trying to write some songs that maybe have some meaning other than “let’s party and get drunk and get laid” which is the majority of the crap that is out there now. Even bands like that – their tours are sponsored by big corporate interests and I think that’s a little bit sad. I think you have to look now out of the mainstream to find the kind of music that really might have some sort of deeper meaning to it, deeper thought behind it than “I want to make a single that sells a million and maybe I’ll get to tour with Kim Kardashian.” You have to look for it now – I think you can find it on things like satellite radio, I think you can find it on things like college radio, I think you can find it on the internet, but on corporate mainstream radio, you’re not going to find that anymore – that’s done. And to be honest, I think that the corporate mainstream radio is killing itself and they don’t even know it. They’re in their death throes, you know, and I think if they took more chances and were a little more on the edge and a little more unafraid to step out of their box that they’re in-they might survive. But I think corporate radio is on the way out. There’s a classic rock station in LA-it’s the last one left and it plays the same songs over and over and over. I used to listen to it but I can’t do it anymore. There’s more to classic rock than 40 songs-they’re killing themselves. They lost me! I used to listen to it-I won’t anymore. Even classic rock bands like the Stones who have been making records for going on 50 years now- on this rock station out here they play the same 4 songs. This band has 400 songs! For instance, Paul McCartney made a record a few years ago under a different name – The Fireman– have you ever heard that?

WalterTroutBBKings-1-1me. No!

WT: Well, he did this experiment where he would go in the studio and in one day he would write a song, he would record it and play all the instruments and then they would mix it. He would go in, in the morning, and by the end of the day they would have a brand new song recorded and mixed. He did a lot of electronic stuff, he did a lot of tape loops, he experimented and he thought it was so far out of what people expect of him that he put it out under a different name and it’s called Electric Arguments by The Fireman and it’s stunning. I’ve never heard it played on the radio and it’s one of my favorite, newer records. It’s very unique-sometimes it takes a little getting used to-but the creativity of it is astounding and the poor guy had to put it out under a different name. It never gets played but it’s worth your checking out. Matter of fact, the opening track is so nasty, I played it to my band in the van on the last tour-I said “I’m going to play you a cut here; I want you to tell me who this is.” I played it and at the end of the song everybody went “I don’t know.” My drummer said “was that Buddy Guy?” And I said “no, that was McCartney” and they all said “you’re kidding me!”

WalterTroutArmFlailingBBKingsme. One of the things that you mentioned on your website, about music giving you the opportunity to speak directly to people’s hearts-what is it you hope your music does for people?

WT: Well, one of the things that I have tried to do throughout my career of writing is to try to lean towards a positive message. Songs that can maybe make people feel better, maybe uplift them, maybe get them to believe that there is hope-not just wallow in sadness or wallow in frustration or wallow in desperation. I find a lot of music does that and there’s a lot of blues music that does that. If I write songs about even regular Blues themes like adultery-I wrote one about it called “Her Other Man” on Common Ground. I tried to stay away from the typical blues themes like this is “the backdoor man” or whatever –all the typical themes-but there is a line in there “as her lover kisses her it’s more than she can bear as she lays beneath her lover and she dreams of yesterday.” It’s yes, she’s doing this but it’s not making her feel good. It’s not hey baby let’s get laid and let’s party up. It’s yeah, you’re doing this but it feels like shit! I’ve tried to write songs that will make people feel good. I’ve tried to write something that has something to say and could mean something to somebody. That is what I hope my music can do – to move someone and make them feel something. That was a long-winded answer to your question.

WalterTroutWMBF-ToungueOutme. Actually, that was a wonderful answer to my question and it makes me think- because when I speak to people about the blues there is always the element of the humanity and human nature and the idea that the way the songs were written expressed that element of being human. But that doesn’t necessitate that “being human” always implies the negative-there is still the other side of that that can still be “Blues” but not always the down and out kicked to the curb kind of thing.

WT: Sure. You can always write Blues songs that are topical that talk about things happening in the world, things that have happened to friends of yours. I wrote a song on “The Outsider” called “Child of Another Day” and it was all about people I’ve met who I think are sort of living their life stuck in the past and I was trying to present that to people-here’s four different people I have met who I think are sort of stuck and maybe try to not get stuck if you can help it. Look towards tomorrow because yesterday’s dead and gone. Don’t get caught up in it, don’t stop.

me. So a lot of your writing is basically storytelling then?

WT: I think so. I do. And I think I’ve done a lot of writing to the working man, everyday common people and their struggle to find some dignity in this world and to find equality in this world. I’ve done a lot of that. I recorded a song that I wrote with Jeff Healey called “Workin’ Overtime.” I did one called “They Call Us the Working Class but We ain’t Working Anymore”-it’s about that.

WalterTroutWMBF-2me. You have a real connection with the working man…

WT: I feel for them. My Mom was a teacher, my Dad was a carpenter and when I hear certain politicians trying to get out there and say that teachers and firemen and policeman are what’s ruining our economy –it makes me throw up. Teachers are underpaid not overpaid.

me. It sounds like you are coming from a spiritual place…

WT: Yeah! I hope so. Sometimes it comes from a little bit of anger from things I see. “They Call Us the Working Class” was written in 2008, when everything collapsed – that was written with a little anger. The everyday, struggling people getting ripped off by the power elite and not really seeming to have much they could do about it.

me. I wonder too about how musicians struggle!

WT: Well they struggle, but it’s fun too! You know, being an artist, sure it’s a struggle. For me I’ve done 20 albums in 21 years and sometimes it’s a struggle to come up with “do I have anything more to say?” The travel is a struggle sometimes too, but to get up and play and to look people in the face when I am playing and singing to them and seeing that it affects them is the thing that makes my life worthwhile and I feel incredibly blessed to have been given that gift and I work really hard not to ever take it for granted. I know that if I ever lost the ability to do that I’d probably just shrivel up in a ball and fade away. It’s what gives me a purpose.

WalterTroutBBKings-2

me. When you think about how one lives one’s life, that is, to me, a very spiritual practice to put yourself out there, to give to others on a daily basis – you are obviously giving from your soul and your heart and from all these things and your hope is that maybe they take away something that lifts them up a little bit!

WT: I’m not out to depress people I want them to come out of it feeling good and to wake up the next morning and say “wow I feel great this morning that was a really great concert last night and I’m in a good mood and I’m ready to go out and face this struggle.”

 

…and we’re back!

We hope you enjoyed this Flashback Friday feature. Walter Trout’s new album The Blues Came Callin’ is available now at all the usual outlets and on his own website. Walter Trout is a recent liver transplant recipient and will be out of action for a while. His band is out touring with Danny Bryant out front and special guest, Walter’s son, Jon Trout also. Please support the band out there on the road keeping Walter Trout’s music going while he recovers.

Tour dates can be found here.

danny-jon_usa_tour_2014

 

 

Hump Day! Risque Tunes For Your Midweek Blues 6/25/14

LucilleBoganGreetings and salutations Biscuiteers! It’s hump day again and this time we’re gettin’ really down and dirty with Lucille Bogan and Blind Boy Fuller.

Our Lucille Bogan selection was suggested by the king of the cigar box guitars himself, Mr. Shane Speal. We blame him for this NSFW entry that could teach 2 Live Crew a few things about filth. The Washington Wives of the 1980’s would have hated Ms. Bogan and not just because she was black. Tipper Gore would have run screaming to Blackie Lawless for a hug after she heard this one. Tipper probably wouldn’t like “Sloppy Drunk Blues” or “B.D. Woman’s Blues” either. In case you’re wondering, B.D. stands for Bull Dyke. The Washington Wives would probably choke on that one too.

Lucille Bogan – “Shave ’em Dry”

BlindBoyFullerBlind Boy Fuller was well known for his hokum (double entendre) tunes, including “I Want Some Of Your Pie” which surely inspired Led Zeppelin’s “Custard Pie.” This Blind Boy Fuller tune isn’t as overtly dirty as Lucille Bogan’s “Shave ’em Dry” and given his Blind Boy status he can be forgiven if he said “Hello ladies” as passed the fish market that morning.

 

 

 

Blind Boy Fuller – “What’s That Smells Like Fish?”

Danny Bryant – Walter Trout Protege Set To Release New Album

Layout 1British blues guitarist and singer-songwriter, Danny Bryant will release his new album Temperature Rising in the UK on Monday 1st September. The album, released by Jazzhaus Records, is produced by Richard Hammerton, and is the follow-up to Bryant’s critically acclaimed 2013 album Hurricane.

To celebrate the release of the Temperature Rising album, Bryant is giving fans a free MP3 download of the song “Nothing At All” which is featured on the new album. From Monday 23rd June, fans will be able to download the song from www.dannybryant.com/free-download.

“I know it’s a common cliché but I truly believe this is my best ever work. I am more proud of this record than anything I have ever done. I invested more emotion, blood, sweat and tears on this project then ever before.”– Danny Bryant

Danny Bryant is Walter Trout’s guitar protégé. In 1994, at the age of fourteen, Bryant first met Trout at one of his concerts in Cambridge. The two have remained close friends for the past twenty years. In May 2014, when Trout underwent a liver transplant in Omaha, Nebraska, he was in no condition to tour his new studio album The Blues Came Callin’. He asked Bryant to front his band and tour America. The tour will help the band make a living while their leader recuperates.

Bryant’s manager/wife, Kirby, was responsible for setting up the online fundraising campaign for Trout’s liver transplant, which, to date has generated $240,000 U.S. dollars.

On the U.S. tour, which starts 31st July in Hermosa, California, Bryant will perform songs from Walter’s new album, plus songs from his own Temperature Rising album. Temperature Rising is edgier, fiercer and rockier than his previous albums, but still has its roots steeped in the blues.

Album Track Listing

1. Best Of Me
2. Take Me Higher
3. Nothing At All
4. Together Through Life
5. Razor Sharp
6. Temperature Rising
7. Time
8. Mystery
9. Guntown

Fresh Biscuits! Walter Trout – The Blues Came Callin’ CD Review

Walter Trout The Blues Came CallinWalter Trout
The Blues Came Callin’
Provogue

Walter Trout’s recent health issues and liver transplant have become common knowledge in the blues world, with fans and fellow musicians marshaling their forces and raising money to help Walter pay the bills. Astonishingly Walter Trout was able to not just make a record during this period, but maybe it’s the record of his life. It is no surprise to find the desperation, reflection, and introspection triggered by his travails made their way into his music. The Blues Came Callin’ is Truth with a capital “T”. Walter lays it all out, sings from the heart and plays from gut.

The Blues Came Callin’ was recorded between April 2013 and January 2014. Walter Trout’s uncertain life expectancy seems to have freed him to express himself in the most thorough way since his career began. The poignant lyrics of album opener “Wastin’ Away” seem at odds with the defiant, hard charging riffs and wild soloing. If Walter’s going down, he’s going out in a blaze of glory. “Wastin’ Away” throws down the gauntlet, accepts the challenge and kicks ass all the way to finish.

“The World Is Goin’ Crazy (And So Am I)” is getting airplay on SiriusXM at B.B. King’s Bluesville, but it features one of the weaker vocals from Walter on the record. He sounds bit frail and strained. I’m guessing it was recorded later in the sessions as he was getting weaker. I can’t imagine a life-long traveling musician like Walter being tied down with illness, unable to work, support his family, support his band, or even make sense of a world turned upside down. While his voice isn’t what it used to be, his guitar playing – and let’s be honest, we love Walter for his guitar playing – is ferocious. The tone is gritty, the notes are bent to Hell and back, and his usual speed is kicked into overdrive. Singing? What singing?

The influence of Walter Trout’s mentor and former employer John Mayall is all over The Blues Came Callin’. Mayall introduced Walter to the music of J.B. Lenoir, and here Walter cover’s Lenoir’s “The Whale Have Swallowed Me.” Co-producer Eric Corne captured a spontaneous jam that started with John Mayall at the piano laying down the boogie woogie. According to the liner notes, the rest of the band fell in behind him and what you hear on the disc in the one-take, no-rehearsal jam, and it is smokin’ hot. John Mayall turns up again on the title cut playing Hammond B-3. Walter Trout is a blues man who doesn’t always work within traditional blues formulas but this track is five and a half minutes of pure blues catharsis. It is twelve bars at a time of pain and suffering unleashed.

Elsewhere on The Blues Came Callin’, Walter Trout explores his past and present battles. “The Bottom Of The River” finds a drowning man realizing he wants to live. It starts out with steel guitar – presumably the one shown on the album cover – and Walter sings about “where I met my soul” and how the near death experience flashed his life before his eyes. Walter blows a lonesome harp before letting loose some fiery electric guitar licks. “Born In The City” explores his youth and his perpetual love of, and comfort in metropolitan communities. Walter describes “Take A Little Time” as a classic Chuck Berry rocker and he ain’t lyin’. The band captures the swing of Berry’s early Chess recordings with Sasha Smith tickling the ivories and drummer Michael Leasure laying down the Berry shuffle oh so well. Walter sings it like he means it, having learned the value of making time for love, but it surely applies to all aspects of life neglected due to the constant hustle and bustle pace of life.

The Blues Came Callin’ is mature record. Walter Trout and the band are focused, free, and on fire. There’s not a dud in sight. From touring band members Sammy Avila, Rick Knapp, and Michael Leasure, to guests including Kenny Gradney, Skip Edwards, Taras Prodaniuk, Deacon Jones, and the legendary John Mayall, all rose to the occasion and made the best music possible. Consciously or not, they made what could still be Walter’s last album and it not only enhances his legacy, it puts a mighty exclamation point on it. I am among those who hope and believe Walter Trout will be back in action soon. If the fire and defiance found on The Blues Came Callin’ is any indication, he will be back and better than ever in no time.

Walter-Trout-BCCLong

Addendum:
For those interested, The Blues Came Callin’ is available as a Special Edition CD/DVD. The DVD is a 40 minute documentary about Walter Trout’s career. John Mayall appears, as does Fito de la Parra of Canned Heat who shares some vintage photos of Walter with Canned Heat. The story is compelling and when you see Walter’s frail body, the music you just heard on the CD seems impossible. I highly recommend the special edition.

Please support the artist. We usually have an Amazon link here but in this case I urge you to buy the CD direct from Walter. The price may be a little higher, but he will get more of the money if you buy it from him directly and he certainly needs it more now than ever. You can also donate here: http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/walter-trout-needs-a-new-liver-you-can-help-/151911

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases For June 24, 2014

There are several blues releases this week. At Blues Biscuits we are striving to be your go-to resource for new release information, dates and itineraries. We hope you’ll check in every week and see what’s fresh from Blues hearth.

This week’s batch features new music from Janiva Magness, Rod Piazza & The Mighty Flyers, and a trio of vintage live recordings, including two Kings of the blues and the world’s greatest unknown guitarist, presented by Rockbeat Records.

There are also a handful of blues related releases on vinyl, so dust off the turntable, replace the stylus, set a course for 33 1/3 and you’ll be ready for some hot wax.

Fresh Biscuits  –  6/24/14

Eric Johnson Europe live












Eric Johnson – Europe Live



Otis Clay Truth Is












Otis Clay – Truth Is


Kenny Brown Going Back To Mississippi














Kenny Brown – Goin’ Back to Mississippi



Rod Piazza Emergency Situation












Rod Piazza & the Mighty Flyers – Emergency Situation



Deanna Bogart Just A Wish Away












Deanna Bogart – Just a Wish Away



Mark Massey One Step Ahead












Mark Massey – One Step Ahead of the Blues


Janiva-Magness-ORIGINAL












Janiva Magness – Original


Freddie King Live & Loud 1968












Freddie King – Live and Loud 1968


Albert King Live In The 70s












Albert King – Live In The 70’s


Roy Buchanan Live At My Fathers Place












Roy Buchanan – Live At My Father’s Place

 

Blues On Black

Vinyl New Releases6/24 Vinyl

Eric Johnson – Europe Live

Walter Trout – The Blues Came Callin’

Keb’ Mo’ – Keb Mo

Eric Clapton & B.B. King – Riding With The King




Recent Vinyl Releases
Seth Walker – Sky Still Blue
Lucky Peterson – The Son of A Bluesman – with extra tracks
Eric Clapton – From The Cradle (2xLP 180 Gram Vinyl)
Eric Clapton – Me and Mr. Johnson
Canned Heat – Vintage
Eric Bibb – Natural Light
Hillstomp – Portland, Ore

 

By shopping through our links, you help Blues Biscuits and the artists.

 

Dave Mason: An Album, a Tour and a Heart for Veterans

 

Work Vessels For Veterans
Work Vessels For Veterans

Towards the end of 2013, when Dave Mason’s new album Future’s Past was still in production and plans were still being made for his new tour Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam, Dave was kind enough to chat with me about the Veteran’s charity that he co-founded – Work Vessels for Veterans. Work Vessels for Veteransis an amazingly under the radar non-profit that gives Veterans the opportunity to make a living by supplying them with fundamental tools to do the work they need to do as they reestablish life back home. Their website offers recent stories about their work to provide a wounded Iraq Vet with an ATV, a wounded Afghanistan Veteran with his first tractor for his farm and a laptop for a Vet who is returning to college. Dave spoke with me about this charity, the war and his love/hate relationship with the internet…

me. Just to start out, for general purposes – are you a Veteran?

DM   I’m a Rock and Roll Veteran.

me. (Laughing) Good answer! You probably have some battle wounds from that lifestyle!

DM   Well, no explosions and no bullets flying

me. I’m guessing – and this just a guess – that you and I grew up in the about same era around the time of the Vietnam War and the anti-war protests – a time when the Veterans weren’t honored when they came home…

DM   Right

me. Looking back what were your thoughts on the war?

DM Well, that was pretty much when I moved to America and frankly I thought that, well, let me put it this way, I thought that the anger was pretty much misplaced and that it was directed at the young men and women who had to go fight – when the anger should have been directed more at the people who sent them. The way that the Vets were treated – especially from the Vietnam Era – was terrible. My point being that it was completely misplaced.

me. My neighbor is a Vietnam Veteran and he told me a story that really brought home to me how poorly they were treated and he made a good point – he said that with WWI and WWII, not only did they get greeted with parades , they came home as a group. He said that in Vietnam you were sent home by yourself – you didn’t have the company of the people that you were there with to return to your home and it was a very lonely feeling for him.

DM It undermines the morality of the country, socially, for that to have happened. In the First World War and the Second World War there were clearly defined reasons to go and defend a way of life – my Father was in the 1914-1918 War, my half brother was driving tanks in North Africa and basically up until 9/11 America had never seen anything here in its own country. Growing up I would go with my Father to places that were still bombed out – there were sections that were bombed out. War is ultimate madness, frankly. But like they say, the price of freedom is constant vigilance – so, again, there were probably more defined reasons back then – unlike what was happening with Vietnam.

me. So, possibly, the youth at the time knew something was wrong but didn’t know how to define it, to understand it. They protested because something wasn’t right- but the fall out was that the people we should have been supporting at the time came home and were vilified. The Veterans became the collateral damage from the war.

DM   Well, they were easy targets.

me. How did you become involved with this particular group – the Work Vessels for Veterans?

DM   We started about six years ago. A friend of mine named John Niekrash from Mystic, Connecticut, who is also a lobster fisherman, was looking to get a new boat. When he was thinking about trading in his old boat he said to me “I think I’m going to find a Vet and see if they can use this boat to do something with.” And that’s basically how it started. That’s why the little logo is a boat. So then we – myself, John , Dan Burns and a gentleman named Ted Knapp -we’re old friends – just started it up and then I suggested to them “why keep ourselves {limited} to just boats? Let’s look at the boat as a vessel – it gets you from here to here- so maybe we should just expand this to other things.”

me. That’s beautiful.

DM   We are pretty much under the radar, as an organization. In other words we’re an all volunteer group of people and so there isn’t any money spent on advertising and very minimal administrative stuff. So, all the money that we do get that passes through the charity actually goes where it’s supposed to go. We are the only charity out there with the Vets that actually specifically helps them start their own businesses. Our motto is that “We are not giving hand outs; we are giving a hand up.”

me. I like that. It’s to the point isn’t it?

DM   Well, you know, you can give someone fish everyday but if you teach them how to fish they can feed themselves for the rest of their lives. That’s the way we deal with things. We also, through Ted Knapp’s association, patch through a lot of laptop computers for education, or for business need or whatever. A gentleman, Adam Burke, who we helped start a Blueberry farm in Jacksonville, Florida four years ago – we acquired the land through the charity, the machinery, the fencing and all that stuff and he, in turn, hired other Vets. The plants themselves take about three years to mature so they are now up and running and they are a growing business. In March or April –somewhere around then – there is an award given that is the highest in the country – the Citizen’s Medal – and he was one of 12 out of 6,000 to receive the award and be honored by the White House. Again, they hire the Vets and on the farm they have a tree that has become a focal point because one of the things that has become a by- product of doing this is that these men are working through their post traumatic stress disorder far more quickly.

me. The work helps them heal….

DM I think that is has to do with the fact that if you can’t provide for yourself and your family it’s very demoralizing and so I think this gives them back some of their dignity and their pride in being able to support themselves and I think it helps their whole healing process. In other words, there’s nothing like good hard work to help the healing.

me. Engaging the hands, the mind, the body, the spirit…

DM   We have another gentleman who we helped start an office cleaning service who is doing very well in St. Louis. The company that Ted works for hires Vets and they find that Vets move – promotion wise – up through the ranks rather rapidly. These are very motivated people. They are used to working with a goal in mind. They are used to being focused. When they get rolled out of the service and are left here floundering around it’s another aspect of them falling to pieces, so to speak, not having any direction.

me. And, sometimes, no homes to go to…

DM   No homes…and I believe there is a suicide every other day.

me. I have heard that statistic and I have always maintained that “Homeland Security” should mean that no Vet remains homeless.

DM   Exactly.

me. “Homeland Security” should mean that they have a home to go to. It is really, truly hard to understand that our Veterans can be homeless when you consider what their contribution has been for our country.

DM   It is very sad.

me. Does this group point specifically to the Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars?

DM   No, no, we’re pretty much open to all Veterans.

me. The song that you wrote “Thank You” is beautiful. What inspired you to write it?

DM   I wrote it with someone who played with me for a while, Johnne Sambataro – I was thinking about writing something for our charity anyway and he had an idea so we got together and I thought “why not just ‘Thank You’?”

Thank You

me.  A “Thank You” they all deserve… 

 

Future's Past
Dave Mason

me.   You have a new album…

DM   Yes. And I’d like to point out that there really isn’t any way for people to know that artists, like myself, have anything new out. There’s no national radio anymore – there’s classic rock radio but they don’t play anything new.

me. I agree. We have artist who continue to be amazingly prolific but we only hear the song selections from 30 years ago.

DM   You’re stuck with the songs that you probably have at home anyway.

me. My album collection – oh yes!

DM   There is no real outlet for anything. That being said, after sort of fighting the internet which, for musicians and people with the written word, has become a double edge sword –it’s killing intellectual property because people are just taking it but at the same time, the only way get to around it is by using it via my Facebook page. I’ve also been asking people to just go to my website and just drop me an email so that I can directly let people know there is something new out.

me. Your tour schedules continues…

Now I have a tour with “Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam” which is essentially a little journey through the first two Traffic albums and taking people a little bit through that era.

me. That sounds like a show that every Dave Mason fan will love to see! Thank you Dave!

Dave Mason’s new album, Future’s Past, is available on vinyl. The album is a combination of new material as well as rerecorded classics (Dear Mr. Fantasy anyone?). Six years after the release of his last album, 26 Letters – 12 Notes, Dave’s newest album also pays homage to Robert Johnson with his cover of “Come on in My Kitchen.” Check out Dave’s website at http://www.davemasonmusic.com/homewhere you will find his incredible rock n roll history, his upcoming tour dates and you can purchase his latest album.

Work Vessels for Veterans

According to their website… “Work Vessels for Vets, Inc. (WVFV), is an IRS 501(c) (3) non- profit organization, that matches donations of vessels, vehicles, equipment, tools and electronics to Veterans of Iraq or Afghanistan as they start a business or pursue career education.” Please go to their website at www.workvesselsforveterans.org

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Flashback Friday – Paul Nelson Interview

paul_nelsonAlright kids, it’s time for a flashback. This week we’re flashing back to an interview I did with Johnny Winter’s manager, guitarist, producer, and all-round good guy Paul Nelson. Down And Dirty, the film about Johnny Winter, is debuting this year and Johnny has a new guest-filled album, Step Back, coming out in September. This interview should whet your appetite for more wild Johnny Winter stories and get you ready for Down And Dirty.

At the time of this interview, Paul Nelson had just received a Keeping The Blues Alive award. As it turns out, he has kept Johnny Winter and Johnny’s career alive too, and given us fans more time with the man, the myth, the legend that is Johnny Winter. My utmost thanks go to Paul Nelson who was so generous with his time.

Okay, fire up the Wayback machine and drop us back in 2011…

The Blues Foundation recently announced the 2011 recipients of the Keeping The Blues Alive award. The KBA recipients are chosen by a panel of blues professionals and awarded to dedicated, hard working individuals actively promoting, supporting and documenting blues music worldwide. In the press release, KBA chairman Art Tipaldi said “The recipients of this year’s awards – as with every year – are people and organizations who are an integral part of not only promoting blues music, but of preserving it as well. Their work applies to the business of recorded music, but also to live events, print media, radio and visual broadcasts, and increasingly, the internet.” This year’s winners are from as far from Memphis as Norway and Poland and as close as Mufreesboro, TN.

The winner of the Keeping The Blues Alive award for Manager this year (2011) is Paul Nelson. Paul has been managing Johnny Winter since 2005 and playing guitar in the Johnny’s band even longer. The two met while Johnny was doing sessions for his “I’m A Bluesman” album at Carriage House Studios in Connecticut. Johnny heard and liked Paul’s playing and asked him to write a few songs, one of which became the title song. Johnny liked Paul’s work enough to ask him to play on the songs he wrote, and then a few others on the album.

Around this time, Paul was asked to join Johnny’s touring band and he was thrown head first into the swirling turmoil that was then Johnny Winter’s career. His first gig as a member of the band was supposed to be at Bishopstock Festival in the UK. It was there that Paul got his first glimpse of the paralysis gripping Johnny’s life and consciousness. Johnny suffered from anxiety and was using alcohol, and anti-depressants. His playing had slowly lost its edge, his voice was weakened and off-stage he was detached and zombie-like. Before the Bishopstock gig, which Johnny was headlining, Paul got a call from then manager Teddy Slatus saying that Johnny had fallen asleep on his arm and pinched a nerve. They had to cancel the show. It was one of many missed opportunities and it took Paul no time at all to realize something needed to be done. Paul had managed other artists and saw that management was largely to blame for the stupor in which Johnny existed. When Paul attempted to speak up he was regularly told not to question authority or speak directly to Johnny about what was going on. However, Teddy Slatus had alcohol dependency problems of his own and in a short time Paul became the last remaining voice of reason. He recently told me “I used to have to pick the guy up in my arms and carry him to clinics. The manager was in worse shape than the artist and the artist was a wreck.”

As Paul’s relationship developed with Johnny they were able to discuss the situation. Johnny grew to respect Paul’s opinion and together they began to reclaim Johnny’s legacy and make him relevant in the 21st Century. Johnny has gone from playing a few weeks a year before 2005 to 100-140 shows a year since. The fire and fury have returned to his playing and his voice is once again strong. They have been releasing archival audio recordings with their Bootleg Series CDs and video recordings in the form of two DVDs – “Live In The 70’s” and “Live In The 80’s.” They continue to tour regularly and plans are underway for a new album in 2011.

Paul Nelson has worn many musical hats over the years and was an accomplished guitarist, producer, arranger, writer and manager before he met Johnny Winter. He went to Berklee School of Music and was one of Steve Vai’s first students. Beyond blues Paul is comfortable with rock, funk, jazz, and pop music. His influences range from Albert King to Tommy Bolin including Jeff Beck, Billy Gibbons, Larry Carlton and Jimi Hendrix. Paul has even written music and played guitar for the WWF’s short-lived XFL Football broadcasts. Thankfully, his many talents and adventures prepared him well to help out his friend and living legend Johnny Winter. Paul Nelson has been integral to Johnny’s reawakening and resurgence. He recently spoke with American Blues News about the sometimes difficult, sometimes funny, often gut-wrenching journey that has brought Johnny and his career back from the abyss.

Paul Nelson guitar EDIT“I was doing lots of session work and touring with tons of artists from The Temptations to Halifax. It was during sessions at the Carriage House that I met Johnny. I was recording for the XFL – that football league the WWF was putting together. I was in there writing and Johnny heard me playing because Johnny was waiting to come in there next. Then he asked me to write songs for the new album and then he asked me to play on the new record, then ‘do you want to tour?’ and things just started developing and that’s how I started out with him.”

Blues and blues rock players were a big part of Paul’s development as a musician. “I used to listen to Johnny’s stuff like crazy. You had to have some blues in your playing, and it was blues rock so you listen to him, Aerosmith, and guys like Jeff Beck and Tommy Bolin.” Paul probably never imagined he’d be in a touring blues band one day, let alone with one of his heroes but he seems to be enjoying it quite a bit especially now that Johnny is healthy; playing and singing his best in years. “Oh, it’s great,” he said. “And now he’s mixing it up. He’s healthier and playing blues and rock. It’s great playing with him. We’re playing stuff from the old days and new ideas. His singing is great. He’s strong. That’s all I wanted to see”

Our conversation turned to the recent revelation that Johnny is finally off methadone and Paul revealed the inspiration behind his involvement in getting Johnny’s life back on track. He saw a fellow musician and human being in need and knew something had to be done. “As a musician I though ‘wow, I could’ve gone that route.’ I thought, if I was in that position, what would I want done for me? If I was in his position with everything that had happened and I wasn’t able to say or do anything to get out of it, how would I want somebody to save me from that? First thing, is as a guitarist, get a manager with knowledge of music, finance and managing. You know, somebody that knows the music. I think that’s why we get along so well, because we’re both musicians. It’s another strange thing that his manager is in his band. That doesn’t mean that while we’re playing I’m taking calls but sometimes it’s been pretty close!”

Johnny Winter-1For many years, from 1994 or so until a few years in to the 21st century, Johnny was off the radar. He seemed to disappear. “That was old management’s fault,” Paul says. “Johnny had the vices but management just wasn’t strong enough. They didn’t say no.”
It was at the dawn of the internet and information on Johnny was hard to find. Paul sees that as a blessing in disguise. “It was a good thing because while he was going through the bad years, the down years, the internet really hadn’t taken root. So, for some reason the timing worked out perfectly. Just when he started getting better Youtube started getting popular.” He adds, “A lot of the way he was wasn’t getting recorded. But I saw the phones starting to come into the shows and I thought ‘uh-oh, we gotta fix this quick or it’s going to be permanent.’” Fan-filmed video could make it hard to rebuild the reputation of the ailing icon, but it could possibly help too and that was not lost on Paul. “Every new step along the way in his career, whether it was musical changes or whatever, it was all being recorded. That was huge thing.”

Prior management under Teddy Slatus was not as concerned for Johnny Winter’s well-being and public perception. They didn’t stand up to or for Johnny and no one in the organization was willing to say what needed to be said. “I’m sure the same thing happened in the Elvis camp, Michael Jackson camp, or the Beach boys with Brian Wilson or the Ozzy camp. I just went in fresh and asked ‘what’s wrong with you?’ He (Johnny) says, ‘what do you mean what’s wrong with me? Nobody asks what’s wrong with me.’ I said, ‘this is bad’”

After a while, Paul’s questioning and caring led to respect between the two musicians. “I would say things before I was manager, actually working under management, and just say ‘how long are you going to do this?’ He ruled the roost. I got him off the alcohol, the anxiety pills he was taking and I was determined to get him off that methadone.” Paul’s quest to get Johnny off the drug finally came to fruition this year. Johnny was on it for almost 40 years as a treatment for his infamous heroin addiction in the early 70’s. It was a tough battle for Paul and an important milestone for both him and Johnny, even if Johnny didn’t know it was coming. “I knew if he knew what was going on it wouldn’t have happened, but I took it upon myself to go against doctors wishes. ‘No, he should stay on this. Certain people just need to be on it forever.’ I’m like, okay, whatever. I’m getting him off this. The doctor thought we were going to diminish it a little but I was lowering and lowering it. But, I had to monitor it so I needed a doctor to monitor him to see what effects there were.”

Paul slowly started to see the positive changes in his friend as they traveled around the globe together taking Johnny’s music to the masses once more. He elaborates “Being able to have a one on one relationship like that you can see the changes and get him off it slowly. It’s not like the clinics that say ‘Okay you’re down to this, goodbye’ and you go through withdrawals and it’s a revolving door. I knew it wouldn’t work that way, so I dwindled it off.” He adds, “Another thing too is that the rest of the world didn’t know what was going on because they’d come back and tell him!”

Things are definitely looking up on the business side too. “Now he’s in great shape and we’ve got a record deal. His whole business was a mess. No DVDs, no CDs. Interviews were non-existent. At a point when everyone was being retrolized, he wasn’t. He’s an icon. Now there’s tons of stuff. I’m finding old archival footage; stuff found in attics; some held by old disgruntled employees.” There is indeed an influx of Johnny Winter products including archival CDs & DVDs and an instructional DVD.

101_0492There’s also the book, Raisin’ Cain, by Mary Lou Sullivan. “You know what a pain in the ass that book was?” Paul asked. If the tribulations of the last 15 years were any indication, it was probably quite an exasperating undertaking. He continues, “She was fired by the old management. She started digging a little and got information on them. They kept telling her they wanted to read it and she said no. So he (Teddy Slatus) told Johnny’s wife that Mary Lou had the hots for Johnny. So then it stopped. I knew Mary Lou was trying to put the book out on her own so as soon as I took over I told her ‘We’ve got to get this book going. You spent too much time on it.’”

Even with new management there was still an important issue to resolve. Johnny’s wife still believed that Mary Lou was after Johnny. Paul said “I told her (Mary Lou) ‘you’ve got to get together with his wife and work this out.’ So I took them both to lunch and sat them at the table. The wife didn’t want to do go and I said we’ve got to do this. There’s been too much time spent and now that he’s healthier we can have an ending to the story. They had no ending before. And Mary Lou didn’t even know I was taking him off the stuff (methadone). She only interviewed him until 2003 and he was still alcoholic then. That’s why she’s running around now saying ‘oh yeah, we sat down with a bottle of vodka…’ He hasn’t had a drink in years!”

Paul found himself having to do damage control all over again and he wished Mary Lou Sullivan had taken the time to update the narrative. “I said you’ve got to take it easy. He’s not like that anymore. New stuff was developing. That book is like a sugar-coated tip of the iceberg. Right after Johnny finished her interviews he was still out of it. When she came back in I said ‘I know you have all the notes and stuff but you’ve got to interview some of those people again. There’s other stuff going on here.’ And she never did. The stuff going on behind the scenes while she was wrapping it up was insane – the firing of the manager, Johnny kicking it, the alcoholic stupor.”

Teddy Slatus drank heavily and eventually it led to his accidental death. In a drunken state one night, he fell down the steps at home and died in the ambulance. By the time of Slatus’ death, Paul Nelson was on his way to rebuilding Johnny’s career and reputation. He now had Johnny’s cooperation. “Johnny, by then, was just totally fed up. All the stuff we had found out – the attorneys, the records, all that stuff was just crazy. So much more than what’s in the book. But he’s doing great now and it’s all good. As far as managing goes, it’s a great situation we have. We live close together, we’re in the same band, we travel together.”

When Paul speaks about his accomplishments with Johnny, it all sounds so simple. “I just made sure that every aspect of his home life and life on the road was taken care of – from finances, to drugs, to his relationship at home.”

It’s that kind of attitude and selflessness that led Paul to be this year’s recipient of the Keeping The Blues Alive award for management. Paul comments, “I never thought I would get this award. I wasn’t going for it. I thought, wow, that’s pretty wild. The guy that called me from the Blues Foundation said the guys that get it never expect it and the ones that think they earned it never do. I didn’t even think about it but it’s pretty nice.” It is obvious that Paul cares very much about Johnny personally and professionally. He is thrilled to have Johnny healthy and happy.

101_0494Many of us have probably been wondering if Johnny still has it. For several years, the audio and video making the rounds did not pain a pretty picture of Johnny’s withered abilities. Music fans everywhere were skeptical about going to a Johnny Winter show. Paul has gone above and beyond on many occasions to make sure Johnny is healthy, playing well and giving people exactly what they came to see and hear. He shared one such story with American Blues News. He looked back with amusement at what had to be immensely frustrating and daunting at the time. “The confidence had to be built back up with all the promoters. One time, when I had first taken over and I fired Teddy Slatus, Johnny had a gig in Texas that was three weeks away. It was a run of shows for concerts that had been cancelled due to health and the old management. Here I come along, fire the management, fire accountants, fire all these other people, handle lawsuits against him for all this other crap, handling all that and his wife calls me up ‘Johnny fell and broke his hip.’ I go over there, pick him up, put him in the car, drive him to the hospital. He weighed about 90 pounds – now he’s around 150 something – but he’s about 90 pounds, sitting there in the hospital. ‘I’m sorry’ he says ‘here you just took over, I broke my hip, these shows are so important.’ I said ‘This is it.’ So, I talked to the doctors and said ‘look, he sits down while he plays.’ The doctor says ‘when are these shows?’ I say three weeks. He says ‘well, don’t cancel anything yet.’ I said ‘What?’ The doctor says “how does he get to these shows?’ I said ‘He goes in a wheel chair to the bus, from the bus to the airport and on to the flight. He sits in his seat.’”

“The doctor says ‘Is there a wheel chair all along?’ I said ‘yeah, we wheel him to his seat. He gets off the plane, we put him in a wheel chair and he goes to the show.’ (ed. note – Johnny had broken his hip previously forcing him to be seated on stage) The doctor says, ‘Well, he can do those shows. He’s just going to be sitting down. He’ll spend 3 days in the hospital, then we’ll send him for rehab and he’ll be walking in 12 days.’ I said ‘Are you kidding me?’ I go to Johnny’s room and he’s saying ‘I’m so sorry, you take over, I’m happy with the way things are going, I see progress, it’s great and I know these shows are important. You know I feel so bad you had to cancel the shows.’ I’m just looking at him. He says ‘you did cancel the shows right?’ ‘No.’ He says ‘What!? What do you mean? I can’t go. Are you insane?’ I said to him, ‘Think about it. You’ll be sitting down all day. The doctor tells me you’ll be here for 12 days. That’s perfect.”

Johnny would be able to play the shows, but nothing is ever as easy as it sounds. Paul continues, “So this is huge. His mother didn’t know he broke the hip, his brother didn’t know. He said ‘Can I tell anybody?’ I said ‘You don’t tell a soul that you broke your hip.’ This news can’t get out. We had just signed with Piedmont Talent, the booking agent. They didn’t know it was broken. They got a series of gigs and I’m gonna call them up and tell them Johnny Winter is broken in half? We’re going. We go down there. We get there and the second plane doesn’t have a wheel chair. So I’ve got to pick him up and carry him to his seat on the plane. Imagine all the Johnny Winter fans – ‘honey, you’re never going to believe this. There’s some guy carrying Johnny Winter in his arms down the aisle of the plane’ I carried him to Texas.”

Paul laughs but he wasn’t too happy at the time, and, he continues “It gets worse! I roll him in to the back of the club. I didn’t want any pictures of him in the wheel chair. I covered up the wheel chair with some black cloth, he’s sitting at a table and it looks like a regular lounge chair. Even his brother walks in and doesn’t know he’s in a wheel chair with a broken hip. So now I’m wondering how in the hell am I going to get him on stage? It’s the first show, old manager’s gone, Johnny’s healthy – he was already playing and singing great, he was off all this stuff – so I knew all I had to do was get him out there, but he had to look healthy. I had a guy working with us sit in the front row. This is at soundcheck, so I said, I’m going to sit in Johnny’s chair. I screamed to the houselight guy ‘When I say GO shut off all the lights in the house.’ He says ‘Okay, I gotta we gotta notify somebody…’ I said ‘just for a second! I’m going to count to 15 – the time it would take to get Johnny from the side of the stage to his chair.’ I told our guy in the front row to let me know if you can see anything at all. So they turn off the lights, I walk to the stairs, down the steps and back up again and ask ‘what did you see?’ he didn’t see anything, it was pitch black. ‘I said that’s it! That’s how we’re going to get Johnny up to the stage. We’ll pretend there’s a power failure in the auditorium, I’m going to run him up there, carry him in my arms and no camera will see me and I’ll place him in the chair. You see, previously they had said there were curtains in front of the stage but they said we couldn’t use them because they had Budweiser advertisements on them.”

“Come show time – remember, I’ve got to time this right – I’m going to run out there with him, those lights gotta come on when he’s there. So, the band’s playing the introductory music, the lights go off, I grab Johnny, pick him up – he’s like ‘What the hell!?’ – and I run up the stairs, I put him in the chair. I go to run off and they turn the lights back on! So I jumped behind the chair and hid behind his chair for the whole show. On stage!” Paul chuckles. “Edgar walks out to jam. He’s looking at me like, do I play now? I’m giving everybody cues from behind the chair because I don’t want anybody to know Johnny was lifted. Then the Mayor comes out and wants to give him the fucking key to the city, looking at me behind the chair like ‘do I do it now?’ I’m like, yeah just stretch. Everybody’s looking behind Johnny for this person who’s ‘not there.’”

“So, the show goes through. I’m thinking how do I get him out of here? So I’m signaling, going kill the lights, kill the lights! So they kill the lights and I run him off. Then I look at the press for the show and it was ‘Johnny Winter back with a vengeance’ and as if by magic no one can figure out how Johnny appeared on stage. It was poof! And then he was gone.” Paul laughs. “They didn’t know how the Hell he got off stage.”

Paul Nelson BilltownSo that was the start of Paul Nelson’s career as Johnny Winter’s manager. Johnny was wondering what he got himself in to. Paul remembers “Johnny says ‘is this how it’s going to be?’ I said yep, we’re doing it. And we’re going to use the music that got you into this situation to get you out. The music is going to be your exercise – walking to hotels. And then I piled on the gigs. I piled them on! He was doing two weeks a year now he’s doing 100 to 140 a year. He also needed it for the income – he needed to pay for all that stuff to get fixed and he needed it for his own health. He was sitting around turning to mush. But nobody ever knew he broke his hip! And it’s not in the book.”

Ever since, Paul has guided Johnny’s career and legacy upward and onward and the hard work is paying off. Johnny Winter is back in the magazines, playing high profile festivals like Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Festival and The Allman Brothers’ annual Wanee Festival in Florida. There are official archival recordings readily available reminding everyone what a treasure Johnny’s music was and is. Above all, Johnny is healthy and happy and the blues world is recognizing the hard work Paul put into the success. Paul says “You think back and say maybe I did take that extra step but I had to. You don’t think. You’ve got to do those things. You have to make on the spot judgments on his behalf and you do as much research as you can to make sure he’s safe, doesn’t get hurt, his career isn’t tainted. He looks like a pro coming in and out and you just do it. And that’s what I’ve been doing ever since.”

Thanks to Paul and Johnny’s hard work, cooperation and determination long time fans, skeptics and newcomers can now feel confident when they buy a ticket for a show. Johnny will be there, he’ll be healthy and he’ll be blowing the roof off the joint with his inimitable style of rockin’ blues. Congratulations to Paul Nelson for receiving this year’s Blues Foundation Keeping The Blues Alive award.

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Fresh Biscuits! Dudley Taft – Screaming In The Wind CD Review

Dudley TaftDudley Taft

Screaming In The Wind

American Blues Artist Group

Dudley Taft has been a member of hard rock bands Sweetwater and Second Coming. He sounds like a rocker convert to the blues in love with Robin Trower, but he has been getting a lot of play on B.B. King’s Bluesville on SiriusXM since his new CD Screaming In The Wind came out in May. Taft dug into the history of the blues for his lead single and mined an old tune called “Hard Time Killing Floor Blues” by Skip James. Taft’s gravelly voice and meaty riffs convert this old time number into something the Post-Grunge Zombie Generation can sink their teeth into.

Title track “Screaming In The Wind” traverses a dreamy Trower-esque landscape after a lonesome Hendrix style intro and riff. The vocal effects give the song a spooky ambiance to match the topic; the guitar tones and layers call to mind a Victorian era autumn forest, thick with fog and rich with the eerie din of a thousand forest dwellers.

For Screaming In The Wind, Dudley Taft was joined in the studio by Reese Wynans on organ, John Kessler on bass, Jason Patterson on drums, and Grammy winning producer Tom Hambridge. Hambridge has become the go-to guy for artists like Buddy Guy, Joe Louis Walker, George Thorogood, and James Cotton. Hambridge knows how to get the best out of the artists and his songwriter’s ear helps mold the tunes. His ear and Taft’s obvious skills make a powerful combination.

Dudley Taft has a knack for making the music fit the lyrics; he doesn’t over-play and appreciates the value of well-crafted arrangements. His playing can remind you of everyone from Stevie Ray Vaughan to Jerry Cantrell, but Taft melds them all together, creating a coherent personal style. This is not a straight blues album by any means, but it has enough blues style and spirit to count it. Screaming In The Wind is a diverse construct, with a tight band, skillful performances, and hot guitar licks that will keep you coming back.

Find Dudley Taft on tour this year:

Date Event Location
Jazzbones Tacoma, WA
Highway 99 Blues Club Seattle, WA
Schmölzer Blues Festival Schmölzer, DE
Satyr Blues Tarnobrzeg, PL
Polski Dzień Bluesa Otwock, PL
Blue Note Poznan, PL
Chacharnia Czechowice-Dziedzice, PL

Hump Day! Risque Tunes For Your Midweek Blues

BoCarterIt’s Hump Day once again ladies and gents, this week we take a look at a nice pair of Bo Carter tunes.

Bo Carter had wonderful way with words. Beyond his bawdy compositions, he was a renowned musician, a member of The Mississippi Sheiks, and the first to record the standard “Corrine Corrina.” These two tracks show that Bo really knew how to sweet talk the ladies.

 

 

 

“Please Warm My Weiner”

“Your Biscuits Are Big Enough For Me”