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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

June 2000

In Tribute...

True Blue mourns the passing of Malaco recording artist and R & B great, Johnnie Taylor, who passed away at 11:00 p.m. CST on May 31, 2000, after suffering a massive heart attack . Malaco Records has set up a message board to post any discussion and farewells to Johnnie. We encourage you to visit the Malaco site at and click on the JohnnieTaylor banner at the top. Photos and bio information are also available on the site.

Area favorite BILL ALLRED'S CLASSIC JAZZ BAND will return to the Fargo in Moline on Monday, June 19th, for their only Quad Cities appearance in 2000. The group will also feature top keyboardist JEFF PHILLIPS, who has also performed with Buddy De Franco, Clark Terry, Henry Cuesta, Peter Appleyard and Louie Bellson. The performance is 7:30 p.m. - 11:00 p.m., and admission is $12.50 at the door. No advance reservations will be taken for this show - first come, first serve. For more on BILL ALLRED'S CLASSIC JAZZ BAND, visit the group's web site at:

Congrats and True Blue Kudos go out to Fat Tuesday & the Greasefire Horns of Des Moines, for finishing No. 1 in this year's Iowa Blues Challenge Finals. According to officials at the Central Iowa Blues Society, this was the final scene in Des Moines:

"Perfect weather, cold beer, a great crowd and a street full of home-grown blues. What more could an Iowa blues fan ask for on a Saturday night? Fortunately, the CIBS once again answered the call with the 2000 Iowa Blues Challenge. The competition began on the street of the historic Court Avenue District and featured a very talented lineup from across the state. In addition, the bars along the street were loaded with preliminary round participants. Des Moines finalists Fat Tuesday & the Greasefire Horns, featuring Iowa Blues Hall of Fame honoree Jimmy "The Midnight Cowboy" Pryor kicked off the contest and the early crowd was not disappointed. They were followed by the finalists from the Quad Cities, Johnny & the Bad News. Repeat finalists from Cedar Rapids, The Don Boyle Band, wrapped up the evening. The judges decision was a tough one. The Central Iowa Blues Society would like to congratulate the Champions of the 2000 Iowa Blues Challenge, Fat Tuesday & the Greasefire Horns. The band will be headed to Memphis in January to represent the state of Iowa in the International Blues Challenge."

For more on the Central Iowa Blues Society, visit on the web.

New Blues for Youz'

"Masterpiece," E. C. Scott (Blind Pig Records - BPCD5062) This Blues diva holds nothing back, and delivers her funky Blues, soul and R&B with potent passion. Jerry Wexler, co-founder of Atlantic Records, says E. C. Scott is "one honest-to-God soul singer," and we second that emotion. If you only buy one Blues CD in the next six months, make sure its this one. This lady is testament to the power of the Blues.

"Sing! Sisters! Sing!," The Jubirt Sisters (Highwater/HMG - HIG*6515* CD) Down home blues, R&B, rock and roll, with a little country and gospel mixed in. An interesting collection of styles from different segments of time in the history of the genre. From "C. C. Ryder" to "School Girl Blues," the three sisters from Memphis cover the spectrum.

"Gone to Hell," John Mooney (Blind Pig Records - BPCD 5063) New Orleans funk and acoustic Blues roots conjure up a hot 'n spicy blend of John Mooney's early influences from Professor Longhair and Son House. Dr. John guests on four cuts. Real-deal guitar and vocals, burnin' with a funky blue flame.

"Live As I'll Ever Be," Chris Smither (HighTone Records - HCD 8120) (Note: Advance Review - This CD is not due for release until July 18, 2000) This new collection from Chris Smithers captures the heart and soul of this artist's live performances, and includes virtually all of the favorites. Put it on your advance wish list for July Blues this year.

"Me, My Guitar and the Blues," Chris Thomas King (Blind Pig Records - BPCD 5064) Chris Thomas King carries the full load on this collection, playing all the instruments and singing all the vocal tracks. Blues, funk, soul, and even rap and hip hop is served up with gusto. Rolling Stone calls King the "heir to Hendrix and Howlin' Wolf." An impressive CD from a versatile and vital performer.

Our own pride and joy, The Mississippi Valley Blues Festival, is right around the bend on Friday, June 30th, Saturday, July 1st & Sunday, July 2nd, in Davenport's LeClaire Park. For more on the festival line-up, workshops and all the details, we invite you to visit on the web. The society's web site also includes a fine calendar of events online, and all the regular Blues gigs in our area including:

TUES. -- Back Porch Jam at O'meara's
New Power Soul at RIBCO
Jimmie Lee Adams and Steady Rolling at Baldy's

WED. -- Whatever Blues Band at The Brickhouse (formerly Shorty's)
Whatever's now a 6-pc., only 2 members remain from the IBC.

FRI. -- Harmonica Slim and Steady Rolling at Planted Earth
(early show, next month only.)

SAT. -- Soul Session at 11th Str.

SUN. -- Jimmie Lee and Steady Rolling at The Esquire Lounge, Elks Club
(1st & 4th Sun's.)
Jimmie Lee and Steady Rolling at Baldy's, 11th Ave. & 18th Str.,
R.I. (2nd & 3rd Sun's.)
G-spot at The Palace, E.M.

Further on down the road...

Keep your ear to the tracks for a new collaboration between B. B. King and Eric Clapton, called "Riding With the King," due to be released on June 13. The album features classic B. B. and new tunes, the title track penned by John Hiatt, and backing from Joe Sample, Nathan East, Steve Gadd, Jimmie Vaughan and Doyle Bramhall.

Until we meet again at this crossroads...

Blues to 'ya!

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