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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

JANUARY 2000...

Sounds like an entry from Flash Gordon's logbook, eh' Or even better, how's about "Good morning, HAL...please open the Word document, so I can get this first True Blue of the new year off and running. HAL... HAL... PLEASE OPEN THE FILE, HAL...???." On a sincere note, here's hoping all our readers and visitors online enjoyed a wonderful holiday season. I know you're all hungry for a great new year of Blues here in our own backyard, on the charts, and in the concert halls and venues. We'll do our best again this year to keep you updated on what's coming further on down the road, whether its Blues news from our fine regional blues societies or the pick of the crop in new Blues releases across the nation. We would like to remind everyone, although our coverage may occasionally stray outside the lines of Blues purism, that it is always the spirit of the music and the heart of the matter that guides us along the way.

Earwig Music just recently released their mammoth 20th Anniversary Collection, a double CD set including the best of the Earwig artist group: The Jelly Roll Kings, Big Jack Johnson, Frank Frost, Little Brother Montgomery, David Honeyboy Edwards, H-Bomb Ferguson, Louisiana Red, Lil Ed and Dave Weld, Lovie Lee, Liz Mandville Greeson, Willie Kent, Sunnyland Slim and more. This collection is an virtual buffet of Blues stylings, classic and contemporary, from some of the most revered Blues artists on the scene and of year's gone by. This epic Earwig volume also includes, appropriately enough, Louisiana Red's timely "Millennium Blues." We can't think of a better way to roll into 2000, than to have this superb new collection in your trick bag for the road. For more information on this and other releases from the Earwig catalog, write:
Earwig Music Company, 1818 - W.
Pratt Boulevard, Chicago, Illinois, 60626, or e-mail them at:

Michael Frank with Longtime Friend Honey Boy Edwards on tour in Wales, United Kingdom, October 19, 1991.

On a regional note, we'd love to tell you about "A Taste of Quad-City Music," the new regional CD release to benefit Easter Seals. If you haven't seen this one at your local music stop already, its most likely because they can't keep enough of 'em in stock! This new disk was coordinated and produced with TLC by Chris Bonney of SMEC Records in Chicago, and contains selections by local and regional recording artists The Jungle Dogs, Einstein's Sister, Billy Peiffer & Iowa, Shane Johnson's Blue Train, Strange Neighbors, Spatterdash, The Lovedogs, Phyllis Wethington, The Truesdells, Big Red G, and yours truly. (I'd like to personally thank ol' mates Michael Frank, Jeff Clark, Rick Stoneking, Mark Johnson and the honorable Mr. Frank Claudy, who were accidentally left off the credits, for lending their time and talent to our track for the collection. We also send True Blue congrats and kudos to Chris Bonney for a job well done. This one comes from the heart and soul of a lot of good people, and was only possible with the support of fine folks at Happy Joe's, 97X WXLP, Planet 93.5, Lite FM KQLI 104.9, Bob Country 99.7 and our good friends at Co-op Records. Invest in this worthy cause to benefit the Easter Seals Foundation of the Quad Cities, and you'll take home a nice batch of homegrown music to boot!

It's Winter time, and I don't mean time to hit the slopes with your toboggan! The one and only Johnny Winter is returning to the Quad Cities for another evening of Blues-rock-n-roll-hoochie-coo at the Col Ballroom, in Davenport. Nobody does it better, and there just aint no better place to see him do it LIVE than at the Col. The 'ol Texas guitarslinger himself will be firin' off his trademark razor licks on Saturday, January 15th, and tickets are on sale now at all Ticketmaster outlets, or by phone at (319) 326-1111. Best of all, you can enter to win a pair of tickets from True Blue and Get A Life Online. Just e-mail us at, or write to: Johnny Winter Tickets, Quad-Cities Online, 1720 - 5th Avenue, Moline, Illinois, 61265. Please include your name, address, phone and e-mail address. You must be 21 years of age to enter, and employees of The Moline Dispatch Publishing Co., L.L.C. are not eligible to win. Deadline for all entries is January 10th at noon - limit one entry per person, and multiple entries will automatically be discarded. Two lucky winners will be notified by phone and/or e-mail. You sure don't stand much of a chance to win unless you enter, so send in your entry today!


Its true that the Ellis Kell Band did, in fact, play their last live gig together on New Year's Eve at Jumer's Castle Lodge in Bettendorf. Although our band does plan on finishing up the new CD this month at Brass Sail Studio, we have decided to part ways and hang up performing live together. There a few reasons for our decision to let it go, but it serves no purpose to go into them here. We just wanted you to know that the break up story is fact, just in case you had heard any rumours of it.

As for myself, I'll be doing EK & Friends stuff along the way, some duo work with Detroit Larry Davison, as well as studio and live projects with other area musicians. Jim Stroehle plans to perform regularly with friends at the 11th St. Bar & Grill in the East Village of Davenport, Detroit Larry continues to knock 'em dead with Shane Johnson's Blue Train, and Rick Stoneking and John Burchett will no doubt continue to produce great new original music wherever they go.

We would all like to sincerely thank everyone who supported our music for the last 10 years. We appreciate everything you did for us, and hope you enjoyed the music at least half as much as we enjoyed performing for you.
Peace, good health & all God's blessings in 2000...

Ellis Kell

Here's wishing everyone a True Blue Happy New Year in 2000, and thanks to our readers and online visitors to You're always welcome to write or e-mail us with questions about upcoming Blues shows and events, or for more information about new Blues releases. As always, until we meet again at this crossroads...

Blues to 'ya!

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