True Blue
from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

May 2008

This month's installment of True Blue is dedicated
to the memory of QC blues-rock guitarist.
1961 - 2008

(Note: Archival "House of Cards" band photo attached; Todd Vermeulen is fourth from left to right, with the Blues Brothers style hat, glasses and guitar.)

'WOODSTOCK ON THE ROCK' Benefit for Mick Verschorre & Family...

True Blue is very proud to be working with the 'Friends of Mick' on a special 'Woodstock on the Rock' benefit concert for Sunday, May 25, 2008. This event will benefit the family of Mick Verschorre, who is unable to continue working while undergoing cancer treatment. A well-known resident of Rock Island, and supporter of the RI baseball program, 52 yr. old Mick was diagnosed with cancer early this year. All proceeds will help Mick, his wife Vicki and their family with the mounting medical expenses. This special benefit event will be held at Martini's on the Rock, 4619 34th Street, Rock Island, and will run from noon until 10 pm.

Live music performances are being donated by These Old Guys (noon), Hardball (1 pm), Phyllis & The Sharks (2:30 pm), Avery Brothers (4 pm), Ellis Kell & John O'Meara (5:30 pm), Sleepin' on the Couch (6:30 pm), Down for Whatever (8 pm), with Gray Wolf closing out the evening (9 pm). The event will feature a spaghetti dinner, a 50/50 drawing, silent auction and raffle with drawing for prizes at 8 pm. Food and beverage will available throughout the day, and some lucky raffle winner will receive the use of a condo for a week in Florida. For more information phone (309) 912-1992 or (715) 577-1212.

True Blue Book Review:
'RIVER OF NO RETURN' - Tennessee Ernie Ford and the Woman He Loved, by Jeffrey Buckner Ford

Jeffrey Buckner Ford faithfully and candidly recounts the story of his mother Betty and the legendary Tennessee Ernie Ford, the 'old pea-picker' himself. This is an intimate, heartfelt and revealing story of one of yesteryears most beloved entertainers and singers. Ford's signature song "Sixteen Tons" was a mega-hit on both the country and pop charts in 1955. It held the number one position for ten weeks on Billboard Magazine country charts, then crossing over to hold the top spot on the pop charts for eight weeks. Ford also recorded the definitive version of the country classic "Tennessee Waltz". 'River of No Return' retraces the couple's lives from their meeting in 1942, to Hollywood and beyond. It is a story of hardship, abuse and alcoholism in Mrs. Ford's family, as well as the seperation of the legendary singer and screen personality from his only brother. The book includes excerpts from personal letters, photographs and memories that up until now have remained private to the Ford family. It is the story of a common American family caught up and forever changed by the success and fortune of one of America's best known personalities of the 1950's and 60's. For more information, visit on the web.


'THE PRINCE OF BEALE STREET,' Billy Gibson - Live at the North Atlantic Blues Festival (North Atlantic Blues Records/Blind Raccoon DVD) Billy Gibson, aka the "Prince of Beale Street," are captured live on DVD during their appearance at the North Atlantic Blues Festival in Rockland, Maine. Gibson was Voted Beale Street Entertainer of the Year in 2005, and was also a 2006 Blues Music Award nominee for Best New Artist in 2006. This is essential Billy Gibson live on six houserockin' cuts. Blues harp wiz Gibson is joined by David Bowen on guitar and vocals, James Jackson on bass, and Cedric Keel on drums and vocals. Charlie Wood guests on keyboard, organ and vocals. The fest performance was filmed by Richard Pelletier of Juke Joint Video. See more on this fest at - and view sample video clip from the DVD at

'WHAT LOVE WILL DO,' from JANIVA MAGNESS Available June 10TH! (Alligator Records)

"The audience deserves the truth, and I know what my job is," Janiva Magness declares. "My job is to make a connection from one person to another". ~Janiva Magness

This is a true blue collection of blues and Memphis soul from the heart of one of the strongest female artists on the blues scene. Janiva Magness draws from the personal pain of her past growing up in the midwest, and the tragic losses of her father and mother, and she emerges a survivor with message and passion for those who still suffer. She remains a spokesperson for Casey Family Programs in the promotion of National Foster Care Month. As Janiva herself would say, "a part of what was my tragedy becomes an asset". She plays homage always to the blues roots, and can belt out the blues with the best of them. She can also deliver a passionate ballad that cuts straight to the heart of it. Here we are again... back to the basics of the blues - and the truth. "I can go through the gymnastics, but if it's not the truth I'm not gonna mean it and that'll show". It's the truth, and you can tell she means it. For more information on this stellar new release coming in June from Alligator, visit on the web.

That's all there is, and there aint no more. Until we meet again at this 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 Monday, Oct. 20, the 293rd day of 2014. There are 72 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The store of Devoe and Crampton was entered and robbed of about $500 worth of gold pens and pocket cutlery last night.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Michael Malloy was named president of the Tri-City Stone Cutters Union.
1914 -- 100 years ago: Dewitte C. Poole, former Moline newspaperman serving as vice consul general for the United States government in Paris, declared in a letter to friends that the once gay Paris is a city of sadness and desolation.
1939 -- 75 years ago: Plans for the construction of an $80,000 wholesale bakery at 2011 4th Ave. were announced by Harry and Nick Coin, of Rock Island. It is to be known as the Banquet Bakery.
1964 -- 50 years ago: An application has been filed for a state permit to organize a savings and loan association in Moline, it was announced. The applicants are Ben Butterworth, A.B. Lundahl, C. Richard Evans, John Harris, George Crampton and William Getz, all of Moline, Charles Roberts, Rock Island, and Charles Johnson, of Hampton.
1989 -- 25 years ago: Indian summer is quickly disappearing as temperatures slide into the 40s and 50s this week. Last week, highs were in the 80s.

(More History)