True Blue
from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

March 2008


Bo Ramsey - CD Release Party, March 21st - Redstone Room @ RME
Doors open at 8 pm, show at 9 pm, tix $12 each
Born and raised in the blue-collar Mississippi River town of Burlington, Iowa in 1951, Robert Franklin "Bo" Ramsey is perhaps best known for his collaboration/friendship with revered folksinger Greg Brown. Bo has also produced records for Lucinda Williams, Joan Baez, Kevin Gordon, Dave Moore, Teddy Morgan, Pieta Brown and David Zollo. Bo's distinctive, inimitable guitar sounds have graced the recorded works of artists such as Kate Campbell, Pete Seeger with Larry Long , Ani DiFranco, Iris DeMent, R.B. Morris, Mark Stuart, Brother Trucker, Joe Price and Jennifer Danielson. He has also recorded eight albums under his own name, three of which remain in print on Trailer Records. For more information, visit

Raphael Boyd & Ernie Peniston, March 29 at RIBCO It's R&B with opener Raphael Boyd at 10 pm, followed by the big man of Iowa Blues Mr. Ernie Peniston. For more information on these artists, check out Raphael Boyd on MySpace, and the honorable Mr. Peniston at For other upcoming acts at RIBCO, visit on the web.


Late Nite Blues Brothers - THE TRIBUTE . May 17 in the Redstone Room at RME
Doors open at 8 pm, show at 9 pm, tix $7
Imagine what it would have been like to see and hear the Blues Brothers perform their legendary concert at the Palace Hotel Ballroom.... That's what you'll get with Shades of Blue featuring the Late-Nite Blues Brothers. Our Blues, Soul and Rhythm & Blues Review is a genuine tribute to the original Jake & Elwood performed by a veteran 10-piece show band! Website =


"Blood Brothers" - Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King (Alligator Records) The most potent one-two punch in blues makes their Alligator debut. Tough, no-holds-barred Lone Star State blues from a couple of masters at the top of their game, with Smokin' Joe's huge biting tone and Bnois' suave, passionate singing leading the way. "Potent, undiluted 100-proof Texas Blues honed to a razor's edge" -GuitarOne. For more information, visit:

"1861" - Moreland & Arbuckle (Northern Blues) This high-energy trio moves effortlessly between raw-edged country blues and bone-crunching, hip-shaking electric blues on their exciting Northern Blues debut! "...a killer trio...they are able to bring young blood to the blues with their stripped-down raw power. They sure tickle this old blues fans ears...Did I say tickle? These guys rub it raw." -Mark Gallo, Blues Bytes, November, 2006 For more information, visit

"Peace, Love & BBQ" - Marcia Ball (Alligator Records, Due out April 8, 2008) "An irresistible, celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana Swamp rock and smoldering Texas blues from a compelling storyteller." - Boston Globe. The simple mention of a Louisiana or Texas roadhouse conjures up images of a crowded dancehall filled wall-to-wall with rabid music fans rocking to a hotter-than-hot band playing a smoldering blend of swampy R&B, jumping blues and heart-wrenching ballads. In 2005, 2006 and 2007 the Blues Music Awards honored Ball as the "Piano Player Of The Year". And now she's back with her first studio album in four years, the perfectly titled Peace, Love & BBQ ("Three of my favorites things," says Ball). Produced by Stephen Bruton, Peace, Love & BBQ finds Marcia Ball at a creative peak, writing or co-writing eight of the thirteen songs on the CD. With guests Dr. John, Wayne Toups, Tracy Nelson and Terrance Simien lending a hand, the music moves effortlessly through a range of emotions, leaving the listener dancing one minute and deeply moved the next. With Peace, Love & BBQ, and a long list of high profile tour dates, Ball will bring her blend of Texas roadhouse boogie and Louisiana swamp blues to fans everywhere. No Depression says, "Ball takes her Louisiana R&B and soul from a stomp to the swamp and back." For more information on Marcia Ball and other Alligator artists, visit

I got to keep movin', got to keep movin'... so, until we meet again at these crossroads... peace, love & blessings to all, and Blues to 'ya!

Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in "True Blue", each month in the Entertainment section of The Dispatch and The Rock Island Argus, online at and . He is Director of Programming & Education for the River Music Experience, a registered nonprofit helping build the Quad Cities music scene - through diverse live music and educational programming. He also hosts 'Currents at the Crossroads' musical segment of WQPT's Life & Times.

Local events heading

  Today is Wednesday, Oct. 1, the 274th day of 2014. There are 91 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: It is rumored in the streets that the 13 negroes sent to Quincy on the Moline quota were refused. We think this must be a mistake.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Harvey McKenna, of Detroit, billiard player matched to play Wizard Schafer in New York in January for the world championship, was a professional friend and manager, Billy Catton in Rock Island.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Levi Cralle, former Rock Island county sheriff, had come from his farm near Mitchell, S.D. to visit friends in the city.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Work is being rushed on the new high school building in Orion to replace the one destroyed by fire last winter. Classes are being held in churches.
1964 -- 50 years ago: Rehearsals for the 84th season of the Handel Oratorio Society chorus will begin at 7:30 p.m. Monday on the stage of Centennial Hall, Augustana College.
1989 -- 25 years ago: The Rock Island City Council's plan announced this week to have the federal government vacate Valley Homes public housing and move residents to Arsenal Courts to reduce density may not be feasible.

(More History)