True Blue
from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

June 2008

I've said it many times before... when the river takes a notion to flood, it can leave you standing deep in the mud. The Sturgis on the River fest was already forced to move to higher ground this month, and whether or not the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival on July 3, 4 & 5 will have to relocate is pretty much up in the air right now. It does bring back some true blue memories of the Great Flood of '93, when the Blues Fest was forced to move to the airport in Mt. Joy. I can still see Patrick Hazell at the piano, playin' and singin' his heart out to the crowd that had circled around him in the center of the tent, as the rain poured down in sheets outside. I also remember seeing and hearing the late, great Albert Collins for the last time on the main stage of that '93 fest. "Travelin' South... workin' my way back home..." Those are indelible blue memories for me.

The Blues have always been a celebration of endurance and survival, of pain, suffering, floods and levees breaking. Although it was a major task to relocate the fest, MVBS pulled together and pulled it off - and you can bet your bottom dollar they'll do it again, if need be. That said, now would be an ideal opportunity to support the MVBS mission of 'keepin the blues alive' by making an investment in an annual membership. We encourage you to visit for details on how you can become a member of the Mississippi Valley Blues Society.

And who says there aint no cure for the summertime blues? These new releases will serve as a true blue transfusion, and will help wash away those floodwater blues...

"Treat Me Right," Robin Rogers - Blind Pig Records (Release date: June 24, 2008) - 2004 International Blues Challenge finalist Robin Rogers delivers the blues with true blue passion and deep soul. This new collection features Rogers' "Color Blind Angel," a moving original composition that placed second in the 2007 International Songwriters Competition blues category. This lady sings the blues from the heart, and is here to stay. For more information on Blind Pig releases, including 'audiophile 180-gram LP releases' from Johnny Shines and Snooky Pryor, Charlie Musselwhite, and Jimmy Thackery, visit on the web.

"Bluelisted," JW-Jones (Northern Blues) - A blistering guitar CD from JW-Jones with special guests Little Charlie Baty (Nightcats), Junior Watson, Richard Innes & Larry Taylor. "JW's pure, honest singing plus guitar stars make this record a yellow-dot must-buy addition to the catalog for his fans and new enthusiasts who are getting to know him." - Elwood Blues (aka Dan Aykroyd)

"No Paid Holidays," Watermelon Slim & The Workers (Northern Blues) - A brand new album of woolly wisdom from this worldly-worn Oklahoma truck driver. Watermelon Slim now has gotten 12 Blues Music Awards in the last two years - and he also won MOJO Magazine's Blues Album of the Year for the second year in a row.

"Pay Me No Mind," Homemade Jamz Blues Band (Northern Blues) - Three young siblings from Tupelo, MS who are on fire - wicked playing, original tunes and homemade guitars made out of car mufflers. "These young kids have got energy, talent and do the blues proud with their own flavor. I believe they've got a GREAT future ahead." -B.B. King "The Homemade Jamz have such a beautiful Blues spirit -- I really believe they're going to be a huge success." -Elvin Bishop

Finally... if you have any photos to share from the B. B. King concert at the Adler on May 31, please email them to us at . We will in turn share them with the new B. B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center for their archives. This unique new museum and educational facility opens in Indianola, Mississippi on Sept. 13. You can learn more about the B. B. King Museum & Delta Interpretive Center online at

Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace, love and 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 Tuesday, Oct. 21, the 294th day of 2014. There are 71 days left in the year.

1864 -- 150 years ago: The weather is discouraging for our great Democratic rally tomorrow, but never mind that. Let our Rock Island people show they can make a big procession themselves, rain or shine.
1889 -- 125 years ago: Apparatus arrived for drilling an artesian well on the premises of George Warner's Atlantic Brewery.
1914 -- 100 years ago: The German army continued its attacks on the allies line near the Belgian coast.
1939 -- 75 years ago: The farm home of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Zachert northwest of Buffalo Prairie, burned to the ground.
1964 -- 50 years ago: WVIK-FM, noncommercial educational radio station at Augustana College, will return to the air tomorrow. The station operates at a power of 10 watts at 90.9 megacycles on the frequency modulation band. The station is operated with a staff of 92 students.
1989 -- 25 years ago: An avenue of lights, 13 Christmas trees strung with more than 44,000 sparkling lights, will expand the Festival of Trees beyond the walls of RiverCenter in downtown Davenport in mid-November.

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