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36th Blues Music Awards Announced

Another year for the Blues Music Awards is in the books. Elvin Bishop and Bobby Rush came out on top as big winners this year in Memphis. The even this year coincided with the opening of the long awaited Blues Hall of Fame. According to The Blues Foundation president Jay Sieleman, the foundation built the Blues Hall of Fame after raising nearly $3 million, finally providing a destination for fans and a location where blues legends are remembered for their contributions to America’s unique musical creation. The Blues Hall of Fame is located at 421 South Main St. in Memphis and is open 10a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission is only $10 so get your Blues loving self to Memphis.

I see lots of my favorites on the list as winners but I still can’t figure out who voted for Joe Bonamassa over Ronnie Earl in the Guitarist category. Anyway, without further delay, the winners are…

B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year
Bobby Rush
Elvin Bishop
John Németh
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford

Band Of The Year
Elvin Bishop Band
John Németh & the Bo-Keys
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
The Mannish Boys

Album Of The Year
Can’t Even Do Wrong Right – Elvin Bishop
Living Tear To Tear – Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
Memphis Grease – John Németh
Refuse to Lose – Jarekus Singleton
Wrapped Up and Ready – The Mannish Boys

Song Of The Year
“Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” written and performed by Elvin Bishop
“Another Murder in New Orleans” written by Carl Gustafson & Donald Markowitz, performed by Bobby Rush and Dr. John with Blinddog Smokin’
“Bad Luck Is My Name” written and performed by John Németh
“Let Me Breathe” written by Janiva Magness & Dave Darling, performed by Janiva Magness
“Things Could Be Worse” written by Ray Norcia, performed by Sugar Ray & the Bluetones

Contemporary Blues Album
BluesAmericana – Keb’ Mo’
Can’t Even Do Wrong Right – Elvin Bishop
Original – Janiva Magness
Refuse to Lose -Jarekus Singleton
Hornet’s Nest – Joe Louis Walker

Soul Blues Album
Memphis Grease – John Németh
Blues for My Father – Vaneese Thomas
Decisions – Bobby Rush with Blinddog Smokin’
In My Soul – The Robert Cray Band
Soul Brothers – Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls

Acoustic Album
Timeless – John Hammond

Hard Luck Child: A Tribute to Skip James – Rory Block
Jericho Road – Eric Bibb
Jigsaw Heart – Eden Brent
Son & Moon: A Tribute to Son House – John Mooney

Best New Artist Album
Don’t Call No Ambulance – Selwyn Birchwood
Chromaticism – Big Harp George
Heavy Water – Fo’ Reel
Making My Mark – Annika Chambers & the Houston All-Stars
One Heart Walkin‘ – Austin Walkin’ Cane

Traditional Blues Album
For Pops (A Tribute to Muddy Waters) – Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson
Common Ground: Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy – Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin
Livin’ it Up – Andy T-Nick Nixon Band
Living Tear To Tear – Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
The Hustle is Really On – Mark Hummel
Wrapped Up and Ready – The Mannish Boys

Rock Blues Album
Step Back – Johnny Winter
Goin’ Home – Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Time Ain’t Free – Nick Moss Band
heartsoulblood – Royal Southern Brotherhood
The Blues Came Callin’ – Walter Trout

Historical
Soul & Swagger: The Complete “5” Royales 1951-1967 – The “5” Royales (Rock Beat)
From His Head to His Heart to His Hands – Michael Bloomfield (Columbia/Legacy)
Live at the Avant Garde – Magic Sam (Delmark)
The Modern Music Sessions 1948-1951 – Pee Wee Crayton (Ace)
The Roots of it All-Acoustic Blues – Various Artists (Bear Family)

Acoustic Artist
John Hammond
Doug MacLeod
Eric Bibb
John Mooney
Rory Block

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Janiva Magness
Beth Hart
Bettye LaVette
Marcia Ball
Shemekia Copeland

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Lurrie Bell
Billy Boy Arnold
John Primer
Sugar Ray Norcia
Sugaray Rayford

Koko Taylor Award
Ruthie Foster
Alexis P. Suter
Diunna Greenleaf
EG Kight
Trudy Lynn

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Gary Clark, Jr.
Elvin Bishop
Jarekus Singleton
Joe Bonamassa
Joe Louis Walker

Soul Blues Male Artist
Bobby Rush
Curtis Salgado
John Németh
Johnny Rawls
Otis Clay

Soul Blues Female Artist
Sista Monica
Candi Staton
Missy Andersen
Sharon Jones
Vaneese Thomas

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Marcia Ball
Barrelhouse Chuck
Bruce Katz
David Maxwell
Eden Brent

Instrumentalist – Harmonica
Charlie Musselwhite
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Rick Estrin
Sugar Ray Norcia

Instrumentalist – Guitar
Joe Bonamassa
Anson Funderburgh
Johnny Winter
Kid Andersen
Ronnie Earl

Instrumentalist – Drums
Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist – Horn
Deanna Bogart
Al Basile
Jimmy Carpenter
Sax Gordon
Terry Hanck

Instrumentalist – Bass
Lisa Mann
Bob Stroger
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
Willie J. Campbell

 

Hump Day! Risque Tunes For Your Midweek Blues 4/8/15

This week’s Hump Day installment is a throwback to last Wednesday which was April Fools Day. I was sick as a dog last week and in the midst of fighting a fever so I didn’t get to post it.

Anyway, we’re exploring all the fools in the land of Blues. Since it was Muddy Waters’ 102nd birthday recently and his son Mud Morganfield, along with Kim Wilson, made a great tribute record called For Pops, we have their version of “Still A Fool.” There may be two trains runnin’ but this fool doesn’t know which way to go. Is he cheating? Is she steppin’ out? We may never know, but I’m betting on both. Maybe they’re the two trains running in opposite directions from each other.

Next we have Son Seals. Every guy in the bar knows his woman is anything but faithful. Poor Son has been fooled and fooled again.eventually she’ll shoot him in the face. Too soon? Another Chicago blues man is being played the fool in Linsey Alexander’s “Too Old To Be A New Fool.” Chicago must be full of fickle women. All these fools are in Chicago getting the runaround from woman after woman. Even our last entry, from Mr. Buddy Guy, is a Chicago Blues legend but maybe he’s wising up and doing some fooling of his own. Who’s been foolin’ you baby?

So, as April fools us here in the Northeast into thinking it’s still winter, hopefully some April Fools Blues will warm you up, wherever you are. Don’t get fooled while you’re foolin’ around on Hump Day.

Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson Still A Fool

Son Seals I Think You’re Fooling Me
https://youtu.be/l1NSj8sbPrg

Linsey Alexander Too Old To Be A New Fool

Buddy Guy Who’s Been Foolin’ You

36th Annual Blues Music Awards 2015 Nominees Announced

BMAThe Blues Foundation has announced the nominations for its annual Blues Music Awards, which will be presented at the Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, on Thursday, May 7, 2015. The annual Blues Music Awards ceremony is the premier event for blues professionals, musicians, and fans from all over the world.

We’re glad to see many of our favorites made the list including Alexis P. Suter, Bruce Katz, Gary Clark Jr., Phil and Dave Alvin, and Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson. Receiving six nominations each are Elvin Bishop, John Németh and Sugar Ray NorciaRick Estrin and the Nightcats combined for four nominations in individual and band categories. Bobby Rush, Janiva Magness, The Mannish Boys and newcomer Jarekus Singleton each received three nominations. We saw Jarekus lay it down live this year and he is the real deal folks. Get out there and see him. We wish all the nominees the best of luck.

Tickets for the award ceremony are on sale at The Blues Store at www.blues.org. Blues Foundation members have the privilege of deciding which nominees will actually take home the Blues Music Award in May and will be receiving their ballots shortly. Are you a member? Join at blues.org.

The 36th Blues Music Award nominees are:

Acoustic Album
Hard Luck Child: A Tribute to Skip James – Rory Block
Jericho Road – Eric Bibb
Jigsaw Heart – Eden Brent
Son & Moon: A Tribute to Son House – John Mooney
Timeless – John Hammond

Acoustic Artist
Doug MacLeod
Eric Bibb
John Hammond
John Mooney
Rory Block

Album
Can’t Even Do Wrong Right – Elvin Bishop
Living Tear To Tear – Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
Memphis Grease – John Németh
Refuse to Lose – Jarekus Singleton
Wrapped Up and Ready – The Mannish Boys

B.B. King Entertainer
Bobby Rush
Elvin Bishop
John Németh
Rick Estrin
Sugaray Rayford

Band
Elvin Bishop Band
John Németh & the Bo-Keys
Rick Estrin & the Nightcats
Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
The Mannish Boys

Best New Artist Album
Chromaticism – Big Harp George
Don’t Call No Ambulance – Selwyn Birchwood
Heavy Water – Fo’ Reel
Making My Mark – Annika Chambers & the Houston All-Stars
One Heart Walkin‘ – Austin Walkin’ Cane

Contemporary Blues Album
Can’t Even Do Wrong Right – Elvin Bishop
Original – Janiva Magness
Refuse to Lose -Jarekus Singleton
Hornet’s Nest – Joe Louis Walker
BluesAmericana – Keb’ Mo’

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Beth Hart
Bettye LaVette
Janiva Magness
Marcia Ball
Shemekia Copeland

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Elvin Bishop
Gary Clark Jr.
Jarekus Singleton
Joe Bonamassa
Joe Louis Walker

Historical
From His Head to His Heart to His Hands – Michael Bloomfield (Columbia/Legacy)
Live at the Avant Garde – Magic Sam (Delmark)
Soul & Swagger: The Complete “5” Royales 1951-1967 – The “5” Royales (Rock Beat)
The Modern Music Sessions 1948-1951 – Pee Wee Crayton (Ace)
The Roots of it All-Acoustic Blues – Various Artists (Bear Family)

Instrumentalist-Bass
Bob Stroger
Lisa Mann
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
Willie J. Campbell

Instrumentalist-Drums
Jimi Bott
June Core
Kenny Smith
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel

Instrumentalist-Guitar
Anson Funderburgh
Joe Bonamassa
Johnny Winter
Kid Andersen
Ronnie Earl

Instrumentalist-Harmonica
Charlie Musselwhite
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Rick Estrin
Sugar Ray Norcia

Instrumentalist-Horn
Al Basile
Deanna Bogart
Jimmy Carpenter
Sax Gordon
Terry Hanck

Koko Taylor Award
Alexis P Suter
Diunna Greenleaf
EG Kight
Ruthie Foster
Trudy Lynn

Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Barrelhouse Chuck
Bruce Katz
David Maxwell
Eden Brent
Marcia Ball

Rock Blues Album
Step Back – Johnny Winter
Goin’ Home – Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band
Time Ain’t Free – Nick Moss Band
heartsoulblood – Royal Southern Brotherhood
The Blues Came Callin’ – Walter Trout

Song
“Another Murder in New Orleans” written by Carl Gustafson & Donald Markowitz, performed by Bobby Rush and Dr. John with Blinddog Smokin’
“Bad Luck Is My Name” written and performed by John Németh
“Can’t Even Do Wrong Right” written and performed by Elvin Bishop
“Let Me Breathe” written by|Janiva Magness & Dave Darling, performed by Janiva Magness
“Things Could Be Worse” written by Ray Norcia, performed by Sugar Ray & the Bluetones

Soul Blues Album
Blues for My Father – Vaneese Thomas
Decisions – Bobby Rush with Blinddog Smokin’
In My Soul – The Robert Cray Band
Memphis Grease – John Németh
Soul Brothers – Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls

Soul Blues Female Artist
Candi Staton
Missy Andersen
Sharon Jones
Sista Monica
Vaneese Thomas

Soul Blues Male Artist
Bobby Rush
Curtis Salgado
John Németh
Johnny Rawls
Otis Clay

Traditional Blues Album
Common Ground: Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin Play and Sing the Songs of Big Bill Broonzy – Dave Alvin and Phil Alvin
For Pops (A Tribute to Muddy Waters) – Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson
Livin’ it Up – Andy T-Nick Nixon Band
Living Tear To Tear – Sugar Ray & the Bluetones
The Hustle is Really On – Mark Hummel
Wrapped Up and Ready – The Mannish Boys

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Billy Boy Arnold
John Primer
Lurrie Bell
Sugar Ray Norcia
Sugaray Rayford

Fresh Biscuits! New Releases For August 19, 2014

It’s fresh biscuit time again. There’s a movement afoot to change the release day to a worldwide Friday schedule. What’s with the Tuesday release schedule in the United States? Why not Monday? It’s the first day of the business week. But retailers don’t want to have to set up new displays on a Sunday night after a busy weekend sales day. So there’s a buffer zone of a day. But Friday works too for new releases because Thursday is traditionally a slower day in retail and gives everyone plenty of time to get the new stuff out. In the height of the CD era, having time for displays was a big concern. There were tons of releases every week, sale signs to set up, and promotional materials to display. Recently the labels don’t send out much promotional material. CDs don’t move like they used to, and in the digital age, titles released abroad on Friday are on the internet by Friday night slowing sales when Tuesday comes around here in the USA. I think Friday is a good idea. What do you think? If you want to read the article on Billboard click here or the link above.

Release day is still Tuesday for now, and today we have a slew of interesting new releases from a varied array of blues and roots music artists. Elvin Bishop is back on Alligator Records with a houserockin’ new disc, Mud Morganfield and Kim Wilson have their tribute to Mud’s dad McKinley – read our review here – and one of my favorite modern Chicago bluesmen Linsey Alexander has a new disc out on Delmark. I can’t wait to hear that one.

 

Ruthie Foster

Ruthie Foster Promise Of A Brand New Day

Mud & Kim

Mud Morganfield and Kim Wilson For Pops (A Tribute To Muddy Waters)

Elvin Bishop

Elvin Bishop Can’t Even Do Wrong Right

Sugar Ray

Sugar Ray & The Bluetones Living Tear To Tear

Linsey Alexander

Linsey Alexander Come Back Baby

J. Blake

J. Blake When You Coming Home?

Silvertones

The Silvertones Silvertone Avenue

Professor Longhair

Professor Longhair Let’s Go to New Orleans: The Sansu Sessions

Fresh Biscuits! Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson – For Pops CD Review

ForPopsMudMorganfieldKimWilsonCDCoverMud Morganfield & Kim Wilson

For Pops: A Tribute To Muddy Waters

Severn Records

I have mixed feelings about tribute albums, and about children of legends attempting to carry on the legacy. I think it’s great that the heirs are interested in music, and it makes sense they would engage in music similar to their parents. However, if they try to clone the past work it often falls flat or comes off as dishonest because the music isn’t theirs. It is their parents’ music. Whether it is Muddy Waters, Luther Allison, Elmore James, John Lee Hooker, Lonnie Brooks, Johnny Copeland or a host of others, that music was theirs. It came from their experiences, their relationships, their toils, triumphs and tribulations. The children of these musicians had different experiences, and trying to re-create the music of their elders will never resonate as much as making music of their own. Luckily, Blues is a big tent and those who stick with the family business have plenty of space to stake out their own claim.

Larry “Mud” Morganfield got started late in the game, but with his live shows and two critically acclaimed albums he has begun to develop his own version of traditional Chicago Blues. I was pleasantly surprised by his Severn Records debut, Son Of The Seventh Son. I was initially dubious of Larry Morganfield due to his “Mud” moniker and what I suspected was an attempt to cash in on his father’s legacy. However, the music changed my mind. At first I couldn’t tell if it was flattery or forgery; it was too damned good. The amount of care that went into the music could not come from anything other than the genuine article.

Apparently many people picked up on Mud’s sincerity and Severn was flooded with requests to get him and Kim Wilson on record together. According to Severn Records president David Earl, they “couldn’t ignore all the requests. After we released Mud Morganfield’s Son Of The Seventh Son album and The Fabulous Thunderbirds’ On The Verge disc, the phone was ringing off the hook and the inbox was flooded with emails. The topic was always the same: ‘You have to get Mud and Kim to do an album together!” Mud and Kim were in agreement and the duo set forth to commemorate the 100th anniversary of McKinley Morganfield’s birth, ambiguous as it is.

Mud captures the spirit of his father’s vocals, but even more so, he captures the tone and phrasing so well that if you close your eyes and listen close you’d swear it was Muddy reborn with his 21st Century mojo working. However, if you keep your eyes closed and ears open you’ll also hear Mud loud and clear. The variations are there and somehow they make me smile. I want to know Mud is in there, giving us his version of this treasured music. Mud’s partner for this outing, Kim Wilson, is a music legend in his own right. Wilson successfully evokes all of Muddy’s harp players from Little Walter and James Cotton to Junior Wells, Paul Oscher and Jerry Portnoy yet remains very much Kim Wilson. The rest of the band is also top notch and features Billy Flynn and Rusty Zinn on guitars, Barrelhouse Chuck on piano, Steve Gomes on bass and Robb Stupka on drums. The album was produced by David Earl and Steve Gomes and recorded at Severn Sound Studios in Annapolis, Maryland.

For-Pops-Mud-and-Kim-hi-res-by-Sam-HoldenMud Morganfield and Kim Wilson picked a great mix of songs, avoiding almost all obvious choices. They chose just enough hits to draw people in but then hit them with some equally great rarities. Muddy Waters had a vast reserve of songs and rehashing his biggest tunes would have been a major misstep. Instead we have Mud and Kim bringing you in with “I Just Want To Make Love To You” and capturing you with “My Dog Can’t Bark” and “Gone To Main Street.” The songs were recorded live with the band in one room and Mud in a vocal booth. The interplay and tightness of this band is incredible and their dedication to their craft is palpable. If Chess Records had modern equipment, this is how these tracks would have sounded. There is just enough mix of old and new to hold your attention and side by side comparisons will reveal the contributions of all involved.

“She’s Got It” has the classic “Mannish Boy” call and response riff with Mud’s hum over top. Wilson and the band have a raw edge that rocks this tune hard. “Just To Be With You” finds Wilson pushing the tune, going deep into his gut and bellowing the blues through his Mississippi Saxophone while Barrelhouse Chuck sublimely tickles the ivories, and Mud energetically and emphatically declares he would do anything, honey, just to be with you. On “I Love The Life I Live, I Live The Life I Love” Kim Wilson’s harp is howling like the highway wind around a tour bus heading South on I-55. Barrelhouse Chuck’s piano takes “I Don’t Know Why” into Chicago boogie territory and he burns up the 88’s with a lot more energy than the original and transforms this fairly obscure tune into a true contender.

“Nineteen Years Old” gives the guitar players some time to shine and again Barrelhouse Chuck steals the show with his ebullient fills. The liner notes don’t say which guitarist takes the slide leads but Mud calls Billy Flynn by name in the song so I suspect it’s him. He has the perfect tone and touch. Muddy’s slide playing was deceptively simplistic. He didn’t play a lot of notes but he knew exactly how to play them. Billy Flynn, if it was him, made Muddy proud for sure with his succinct, impeccable playing. The record closes with another slide guitar driven tune “She Moves Me.” This time, it’s a slow blues dirge and Wilson’s lonesome harp and the forlorn slide play unison runs that will make your hair stand on end.

This particular group of musicians, hand-picked by Mud Morganfield, Kim Wilson and David Earl, is one of the best tribute bands I’ve ever heard. I love this record, and I usually don’t give much attention to tribute albums after a few listens. They are usually superfluous and lacking understanding of the original music and/or musicians. I knew Mud’s style and sense of history already, and what can you say about Kim Wilson? Someday people will be making albums in tribute to him. Even still, I had only moderate expectations of For Pops – A Tribute To Muddy Waters. However, these two men and their band have served up an album that just might serve as the ultimate tribute to McKinley Morganfield. The familiar songs sound so authentic you’ll be digging out the originals in disbelief, and the wide variety of tunes on For Pops will expose listeners to the breadth of Waters’ catalog, hopefully opening their ears to other hidden gems from the late blues master. This is a fitting birthday present to Mud’s Pops and a great way to celebrate the 100th birthday of the father of modern electric blues. You will not find a better tribute to Pops Morganfield than For Pops – A Tribute To Muddy Waters.

Follow this link to hear the opening track on For Pops – A Tribute To Muddy Waters, courtesy of Severn Records:
https://soundcloud.com/jill-kettles/gone-to-main-street-for-pops-mud-morganfield-and-kim-wilson

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