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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

March 2002


Two new traditional blues releases from Germany that arrived in our mailbox this month prove, beyond any shadow of doubt, that the Blues is truly a universal art form.

"Phone Bell Blues," Andreas Kilger (Kilger & Sax GBR) Andreas Kilger and friends pure blue tonality and expressiveness in their acoustic blues, imported from Germany, is as authentic and true to form as anything on the blues playlists today. Kilger is joined by Rochus Wede on washboard, and Karl Schlagenhaufer on slide guitar. Listeners are treated to classic selections by Tampa Red, Blind Boy Fuller, Charley Patton, Big Bill Broonzy, Memphis Minnie, as well as signature Kilger tunes. Influenced heavily by the Delta Blues masters, Kilger is a master of fingerpicking style, with a smooth, soulful vocal delivery to match. Das Blues ist gut, ya? Ya! For more on these fine bluesmen from the Fatherland, visit on the web. This CD can also be ordered online in the USA at:

"The Basement Sessions," Barry Denyer & Willie Salomon (Kilger & Sax GBR) English guitarist Barry Denyer is joined by German-born guitarist Willie Salomon for some down home fingerpickin' on this fine collection of Blues, with selections from the archives of Mississippi John Hurt, Robert Johnson, Willie Brown, as well as other traditional and original Blues. These are all 'first take' Blues, recorded live, up front, and with no overdubs - the old fashioned way. The end product is an honest-to-goodness collection of no-nonsense, true blues from two very fine European guitar players and Blues singers. More on this import CD can also be found at: on the web.

"That's Big," Little Charlie & The Nightcats (Alligator Records) Little Charlie and Company are back with their 8th release on the 'Gator label, and they're just not slowin' down. Charlie Baty's ferocious guitar work, and Rick Estrin's big Chicago blues harp stylings lead this tight pack through the spectrum of tasty Blues, swing, and hot houserockin'. For more on Little Charlie & The Nightcats, visit on the web.

"Big Delta," Omar and The Howlers (Blind Pig Records) This is undiluted, 150-proof, roadhouse blues. Molten guitar licks and gutbustin' vocals from Omar Dykes are highlighted with special guest appearances by drummer extrordinaire Terry Bozzio and Roscoe Beck on bass. Malcolm 'Papa Mali' Welbourne on guitars and sitar and B. E. 'Frosty' Smith on drums round out the superb backing on this collection. A smoldering version of Leslie West & Mountain's "Mississippi Queen" is our favorite track off this new one from Omar & The Howlers, and "Low Down Dirty Blues" is a drivin' testament to the blues tradition. For more on this fine artist, visit on the web.

"Return of a Legend," Jody Williams (Evidence Music) Jody Williams had tired of the music business by the late 1960', tired of being ripped off and trying to get by on what little income playing the blues provided. After a hiatus of more than thirty years, this legendary Chicago bluesman returns with special guests Sean Costello, Tinsley Ellis, Billy Boy Arnold, Rusty Zinn, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Allen Batts, Harlan Terson, and Kenny Smith. Williams reprises his signature blues classic "Lucky Lou," and also delivers pipin' hot servings of "Come Over to My House," "Monkey Business," and "Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am." It's a true blue blessing that this definitive bluesman survived his early disillusionment with the 'business end of the blues'- to return and play the Blues yet another day.

I'll wrap it up for this month with a personal note of heartfelt thanks to everyone for their most recent support, as Joe Cocker's "With A Little Help from My Friends" shreds my old speakers in the background - one more time. Peace and blessings to all and, until we meet again at this crossroads.

Blues to 'ya!

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