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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.

JUNE 2003

NEW BLUES FER YOUZ

We start of this month's new blues with two from the 'Pig Pen'.

"Kickin' It," from Hamilton Loomis (Blind Pig Records) showcases a hot, young Texas bluesman, with a soulful voice and fiery guitar attack. Hamilton defines his musical path as "blues outside the box," and we like where it's heading. Mentor Bo Diddley says Hamilton Loomis has all the proper seasoning for his blues stew, and we couldn't agree more. This is a fresh, funky and vital recipe for the blues, with influences from Bo Diddley, Albert Collins, Gatemouth Brown and Johnny Copeland. With those ingredients and influences, how can you go wrong? Great new stuff from Hamilton Loomis!

"The Hungry Years," Popa Chubby (Blind Pig Records) This is a compilation CD, recruiting tracks from earlier releases done by Popa Chubby on his own label in the early 1990's. These earlier tracks show the formative years and influences of this strong New York City bluesman. Popa Chubby blends blues, rock and pop into a fine new blues style that jumps, kicks and rolls down the blues highway. Get yourself some real soon!

"True Stories," Jimmy Thackery (Telarc) This new collection tells the tales of people people, places and experiences in the life of Jimmy Thackery and The Drivers. Jimmy and wife Sally share songwriting credits, and covers include Buddy Johnson's "Crazy 'bout a Saxophone," and a playful rendition of "Snakes in My Mailbox." Roy Buchanan's classic "The Messiah Will Come" is masterfully treated by Thackery & The Drivers. The blues have always been about the true tales of real-life, sometimes happy - sometimes sad. This new CD from Jimmy Thackery and Co. deliver stories in song, from the heart of one of today's most vital blues artists.

Special note: Jimmy Thackery and the Drivers will headline Big River Ralley in Ft. Madison on Friday, June 6, performing at 9 p.m. For ticket information, phone (319) 372-5583.

"All-Star Blues Jam," Bob Margolin (Telarc) Bob Margolin hosts the blues jam of all blues jams, with the finest batch of authentic Chicago blues to come along in a long time. Fellow jammers on these tracks include Carey Bell, Tom "Mookie" Brill, Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, and Hubert Sumlin. It's raw and real, and 100% spontaneous blues - like you would have heard in the hot and steamy Chicago blues rooms of the 50's and 60's. Jimmy D. Lane, son of the late Jimmy Rogers, guests on "Mean Old Chicago." If you can only buy one new disk this round, make sure this is the one! It will take you back to the heart and soul of the Chicago blues.

"Sea Saint Sessions," Tab Benoit (Telarc) Spontaneous energy, in a more contemporary blues setting, also fuels the new release from Tab Benoit. Capturing the intensity and creativity experienced in Tab Benoit's live shows, this new collection of tracks also features guest appearances from Big Chief Monk Boudreaux, Cyril Neville, Brian Stoltz, and George Porter. Tab Benoit's own band members Carl Dufrene and Darryl White serve up their signature bedrock and backing, solid and satisfying. "Howlin' for My Darlin '" is our favorite on this disk, and Tab Benoit delivers the Howlin' Wolf and Willie Dixon classic with gusto.

"The Best of Carl Weathersby," Carl Weathersby (Evidence Music, Inc.) No one out there today fires up the blues with more soul than Carl Weathersby. If you haven't sampled the fare of this fine Jackson, Mississippi bluesman, this new CD offers fourteen (count 'em) of the artist's finest tracks from his four previous Evidence releases. Robert Johnson's classic "Hellhound On My Trail" is delivered by Weathersby with true blue finesse, and he eerily reprises the original in a spooky new shade of blue. Carl Weathersby makes every note he sings and play count, and nothing is left to waste. Mighty fine blues, ladies and gentlemen!

"Southern Comfort," EG Kight (Blue South Records) A relatively new face on the scene shows that she's got what it takes to deliver the goods. EG Kight has been affectionately referred to as a "female Delbert McClinton," and the comparison is a valid one. This lady of the blues has the tools and the talent to take on a variety of styles, take ownership of the tune, and take it on down the road in the direction of her choosing. Our favorite cut on this collection is John Prine's "Angel from Montgomery," and Ms. Kight makes it her own. "Just One More" is a passionate number inspired by the events of 9/11. We hope to see and hear much, much more from EG Kight!

Mississippi Valley Blues Festival 2003 is just around the bend on July 3, 4 and 5, and will include performances by Debbie Davies, Deborah Coleman, Janiva Magness, Rosie Ledet, Coco Montoya, John Mayall, Eddie Shaw and the Wolfgang, Jody Williams with Carey Bell, Son Seals, Sonny Rhodes, Lazy Lester, E. C. Scott, Big Jack Johnson, Bobby Rush, BlueSkool for the younguns, free workshops, plus so much, much more. Don't miss the Quad-Cities favorite annual mega-blues blow-out in LeClaire Park, on the levee in Davenport. For more information, visit: www.mvbs.org on the web.

I can hear Mama callin' out "you'd better come on in my kitchen, babe, 'cause it's going to be rainin' outdoors." Peace, love & blessings to all and, until we meet again at this crossroads.

Blues to 'ya!



trueblue@qconline.com

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