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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

2003 - YEAR OF THE BLUES...

In recognition of The Blues ongoing impact on music and cultural history, both in America and around the world, the United States Congress has proclaimed the year 2003 as the "Year of the Blues". For more information, visit: www.yearoftheblues.org on the web.

WIN FRONT ROW TICKETS TO SEE "THE KING OF THE BLUES"...

True Blue and QC Online will be awarding one lucky winner 2 front row tickets to B. B. King's concert at the Adler Theatre on May 20! To register online, go to www.qconline.com/win/bbk/ on the web now. Limit one entry per email; multiple entries will be automatically disqualified.

MAY 2003

NEW BLUES FER YOUZ

"Friends in the Can" - Canned Heat (Fuel 2000 Records) This one takes me back a number of years, folks. back to the late early '70's. sitting there on the gravel track at Louisville Downs, rockin' back and forth as Bob "The Bear" Hite and Canned Heat boogied deep into a warm Kentucky night in May. "The Bear" is long gone, God rest his big ol' heart and soul, but founding member Fito de la Parra and a new Canned Heat are back 'on the road again'. The current incarnation includes de le Parra, Greg Kage on bass, Dallas Hodge on guitar and vocals, John Paulus on guitar and vocals, and Stanley Behrens on harmonica, flute, sax and vocals. Behrens vocals eerily echo those of the late Alan "Blind Owl" Wilson, one of the group's founding members. This new collection features guest appearances by Canned Heat alumni Harvey Mandel, Henry Vestine and Larry Taylor. Walter Trout, Corey Stevens, Roy Rogers, Taj Mahal and the great John Lee Hooker (posthumously) also appear as guests on the tracks of this very special CD. Standout cuts include the sultry "Black Coffee" and fine reprisals of the Canned Heat anthem "Let's Work Together." For more on this legendary group, visit www.cannedheatmusic.com on the web.

"Bring On The Blues" - Corey Stevens (Fuel 2000 Records) In his first recording since 1999, Corey Stevens is back with more hot 'n spicy blues guitar and down home vocal delivery. Stevens revisits the roots of the blues tradition on this disk, yet keeps his own flavor and focus of carrying that tradition a little further on up the road. This new CD also features the cut "Getaway," which paired Stevens up with his good friends and Fuel 2000 label mates - Canned Heat. Entertainment Weekly notes that Corey Stevens "burns like barbecue over a bed of Kingsford" - and that analogy just makes us hungry for more! Get yourself some of this real fine blues real soon.

"So Many Rivers" - Marcia Ball (Alligator Records) This one is mama's favorite this month, and has to be some of Ms. Ball's best yet. This CD unites Marcia Ball with producer, guitar and songwriter Stephen Bruton, and the result is pure magic. From big sassy New Orleans horns to the folk instrumentation of mandolin, accordian, fiddle and lap steel, this collection is a true tapestry of the textures and many influences that have shaped Marcia Ball's compositions and performance stylings. This album will make you jump, make you smile, and sooth your soul. This is a classic portrait of a very classy lady of the blues.

"Road Construction Ahead" - Mike Wallace (Independent Release) Wally is back with a brand new, self-produced recording of stylish finger-pickin' from one of the region's finest players. The opening cut, "Pook's Treat," is my personal favorite. Wally utilizes open tunings that flavor his compositions with a variety of spices, from the celtic to the delta, with a nod and a wink to the motifs of India. This entire project was produced by Wally and his dear wife MJ, with the artist playing solo on his beloved 1986 Lowden guitar. Like Wally says, "No overdubs - no editing - turn it up! This could be a very therapeutic soundtrack for a drive in the country, or just a meditative walk through the park.

"Shadows & Potions" - Tom Hubbard ( Ayrshire Records) Tom Hubbard takes a mystical voyage on this new collection, with a supernatural theme and darker side that recalls Hubbard's 1998 release, "On The Dark Slide." While routed deeply in the blues, Tom Hubbard's music has a dynamic all its own, and an intensity that breeds introspection. This aint just no 'nuther bluesman, ladies and gentlemen. Venture into the shadows with Tom Hubbard on this one, and you'll feel the deep, dark blues of this fine musician (and noted actor). For more information on the web, visit www.tomhubbard.com

"Cock of the Walk" - Rooster Alley (Independent Release) This is no nonsense, 100-proof houserockin' music from four veteran players down Peoria way. Dennis "Bozman" Bosley on lead vocals, guitar and blues harp, Tim "Otis" McMullen on vocals and guitar, Danny "Poondanny" Meyers on bass and vocals, and Elliot "Uzziel" Park on drums and vocals. Well seasoned brew of blues 'n boogie for the seriously party-minded. For more, visit the www.jaytv.com/store web site.

ONE TO WATCH OUT FOR

M.C. Records announces a June 10 release date for Kim Wilsonıs first studio album in six years. "Lookin' for Trouble" will be Kim Wilson's second album on M.C. Records. Best known as the founding member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, "Lookin' for Trouble" features Wilson's regular touring band of Troy Gonyea on guitar, Mark Stevens on keyboards and Jon Ross on bass. For more on this upcoming CD from Kim Wilson, and other M. C. Records releases, visit www.mc-records.com on the web.

COMING UP AT HOUSE OF BLUES CHICAGO

May 29th - George Thorogood & The Destroyers with Eddie Shaw
May 30th - Bonnie Raitt with Mavis Staples
June 7th - Etta James and the Roots Band
June 13th - Little Feat w/ Eric Jerardi Band
June 20th - Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band with Quetzal

For more on upcoming HOB-Chicago events, visit www.hob.com on the web.

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival 2003 is booked and just around the corner... well, almost. For complete information, visit www.mvbs.org on the web. I can smell mama fryin' chicken, and it sure don't never last none too long around our house! Peace, love & blessings to all and, until we meet again at this crossroads.

Blues to 'ya!

trueblue@qconline.com

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