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TRUE BLUE from Ellis Kell
May 1999

True Blue Salutes The Rusty Nail Charity Music Festival.

What bits and pieces may float to the top in this column, as you might have noticed in the past, may or not be directly related to Blues music. However, it is always related to the 'true blue spirit' in some way. That is why we kick off this installment with a tip of the hat and true blue kudos to the fine folks at Rusty Nail, who will again present their Annual Rusty Nail Charity Music Festival on Sunday, May 23rd. This is 'The Nail's' 7th annual charity event and, as in the past, proceeds benefit the Handicapped Development Center in Davenport and souvenir event -shirts will be available for sale. The Maysville Pork Producers will sponsor a hog roast, and their will be live country, rock, swing and Dixieland music from Picker Pluckers, Prairie Ramblers, Witness, Macon Bacon, Stampede, The Bandits, and Wide Track. Karaoke will conclude the evening from 8:30 until closing. The charity event runs noon - 8:30 p.m. at The Rusty Nail, 2606 West Locust, Davenport, and admission is only $2 per person. Stop by for some barbecue, good music and a good cause, and remember to leave your spare change in the bucket. For information, contact the Rusty Nail at (319) 386-1900.

On the horizon
Guinness Fleadh makes its third annual return to Chicago's Motor Speedway at Sportsman's Park on Saturday, June 12th. This road show features a line-up (so far) that includes Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Hootie & The Blowfish, Shawn Mullins, John Prine, Lucinda Williams, Taj Mahal, The Saw Doctors, The Drovers, Shane MacGowan, Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band, Black 47, John Martyn, Eleanor McEvoy, John Fahey, Candy Butchers, Luka Bloom, Martin Sexton, Moxy Fruvous, Kila, Too Cynical to Cry and Jack Lukeman. The music will take place on three stages, running all day long, and the event will also feature an "Irish Village," with poetry readings, drama, dance, crafts and food vendors. Watch for more details soon in Get A Life entertainment pages, always on the web at, and weekly in The Dispatch, Rock Island Argus and Leader newspapers. For more information on Guinness Fleadh '99 in Chicago, visit their web site at:

Hawkeye Herman, Blues Foundation award-winning blues artist and Quad Cities' homeboy, will be returning for this year's 15th Annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival to muster the backing group for Francis "Francie" Clay along with Sam Franklin on sax (formerly with Albert Collins & The Icebreakers), and Eddie Hodge on the keyboards (from Jazz Express), during the veteran blues drummers set and lifetime recognition awards presentation on Saturday, July 3. (See archived April True Blue story on the web at for more, if you missed it last month.) Joining 'Hawk' will be Patrick Hazell on harmonica, Dave Cox on bass, Jim Stroehle on drums, yours truly on the 'Deltacaster,' and guest players to be announced later. It is truly an honor to be involved in the recognition of Mr. Francis Clay, and the players thank "Hawk" for inviting us to be a part of it all. For more on Hawkeye Herman on the web, you may wish to visit, and for more on this year's festival, check out the society's web site at

Further on down the road.
Don't forget, John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Smokin' Joe Kubek and Bnois King roll into the Col Ballroom on Friday, June 25th for one show at 8:00 p.m. The house will no doubt be a 'rockin' when the 'Father of British Blues' and company crank it up at the Col, and True Blue will be giving away two pairs of tickets to the show. To register, send an e-mail to with your name, age, city of residence, phone number and return e-mail address. To enter by snail-mail, send your name, age, mailing address, and phone number to: True Blue, Quad-Cities Online, 1720 - 5th Avenue, Moline, Illinois, 61265. Deadline for entries is noon, Monday, June 21. You must be 18 years of age to enter, and the limit is one entry per person - multiple entries will be discarded.

New Blues for Youz.

  1. "Greens from the Garden," Corey Harris (Alligator Records) Stretching out in his third Alligator label offering, National Resophonic master and true blue spirit Corey Harris combines delta stylings with reggae, funk, gospel, R & B, and his own brand of bluesrockin'. Even Alligator admits that this collection is "pushing the tradition into the 21st century." and we think that's just fine and dandy. "Greens" also features Billy Bragg on the cut "Teabag Blues"; Bragg previously appeared with Harris on the acclaimed "Mermaid Avenue" sessions that featured musical adaptions of some of Woody Guthrie's poems. Keep your eyes, ears and mind open going into the new millennium, and give this unique artist's CD a spin while you're at it.

  2. "Rising Son," Big Bill Morganfield (Blind Pig Records) Being the son of a legendary Blues icon such as Muddy Waters could have very well been the kiss of death for any other up and coming bluesman, but Big Bill Morganfield has the stuff to get the job done. Accompanied by his father's fellow alumni Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, 'Steady Rollin' Bob Margolin and Paul Oscher, Big Bill scores with his recording debut from the Pig Pen. Young Morganfield says he mourns the demise of the "true blues form" of his father, John Lee Hooker, and other veteran bluesmen. Though inspired by the masters, and most notably by his father's music, Big Bill is an accomplished performer and songwriter in his own right. He credits the great musicians who surrounded him for this effort as "bringing out the best in me." The voice is fresh and vital, but the inspiration runs deep, and comes from a long time ago - way down south on the Stovall plantation, where a young McKinley Morganfield sang as he drove the tractor out across those Mississippi fields. He is no doubt smilin' down on young Big Bill today.

  3. "Under the Spell," Dave Hole (Alligator Records) The slide-master from down under scores with his fifth release on the Gator label, and this one digs much deeper into the soul. Not to say that this one is in any way, shape or form any sort of a downer.contrare! Echoes of Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor and Duane Allman, mixed with a soulful message of the times, is blended into a fine bourbon of Blues. Get down Blues, from down under. g'day.and g'Blues.

True Blue Destinations on the Web:

I've done about all the damage I can do in this space, and I can smell mama fryin' something up in the kitchen. I'm outa' here, Bluesfans, like a hobo on a midnight train. So, until we meet again at this crossroads.

Blues to 'ya!

This The Official Blues Ring site is owned by Ellis Kell.
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