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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.

JULY 2003

BLUES FEST WEEK IS HERE AGAIN!

Great hoogly-moogly!… It's high time for the 19th Annual Mississippi Valley Blues Festival! We will no doubt be there throughout the weekend, and I'm very proud to be one of the MC's on the bandshell stage Friday evening. Can't think of a better way to spend this 4th of July weekend, in 2003 - "The Year of the Blues!" Special congrats and true blue kudos go out to Magic Mike and Blue Side for winning this year's Iowa Blues Challenge, and we look forward to hearing them Friday at 3 p.m. on the bandshell stage. We hope to see you all there, maybe get a chance to say hello, and to thank you for continuing read these monthly blues ramblings. For complete information on performance schedules for the bandshell and tent stages, blues workshops, BlueSKool, or whatever it is you want to know about the Q.C.'s own annual mega-blues blow-out visit: www.mvbs.org on the web.

NEW BLUES FOR YOUZ…

"I Smell Smoke," Michael Burks (Alligator) This here is a real hot one folks! Michael Burks is one of the most vital blues players out there today, and this new release is testament to that. This collection is his second on the 'Gator label, was co-produced by Alligator's Bruce Iglauer and Jim Gaines (Stevie Ray Vaughan, Santana, Luther Allison), featuring some of the best Memphis studio players available. Michael Burks proves that he is not only a fiery blues guitarist, but a very strong blues voice. If you want to see what's on the horizon for the blues today, you'll add this one to your collection. Real strong stuff from Michael Burks! For more information on this new release, as well as the other fine Alligator artists and their music, visit www.alligator.com on the web.

Johnny's Blues - A Tribute to Johnny Cash," (Various Artists) (NorthernBlues Music) This interesting take on the music of the legendary "Man in Black" delivers blues tracks from Paul Reddick, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Maria Muldaur, Chris Thomas King, Garland Jeffreys, Blackie & The Rodeo Kings, Harry Manx, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sleepy LaBeef, Corey Harris, Kevin Breit, Colin Linden and Mavis Staples. True Blue tracks on this one include Gatemouth's jumpin' rendition of 'Get Rhythm', and Mavis Staples' classic reprisal of "Will the Circle Be Unbroken." This collection shows how much the music of Johnny Cash, as well as most authentic country music, finds it's roots in the blues. For more information on how to obtain this new release, visit www.northernblues.com on the web.

"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. For more information on Telarc International releases, visit www.telarc.com on the web.

"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!

To everyone at the Mississippi Valley Blues Society, and the many, many VOLUNTEERS who have worked all year long - year after year - to produce the annual Blues Fest… our True Blue salute and sincere thanks to you all! Don't forget to visit www.mvbs.org on the web, to find out what you can do to help keep the blues alive! Peace, love & blessings to all and, until we meet again at this crossroads…

Blues to 'ya!



trueblue@qconline.com

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