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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

AUGUST 2002

THE BLUES LOSES AN ELDER, AND A YOUNG'UN. Last month, the Blues world mourned the passing of two vital bluesmen, one an elder statesman, and the other a younger bluesman in the prime of his life. They will both be missed by their many fans throughout the world.

JIMMIE LEE ROBINSON 1931-2002 (Excerpt from Charles Cowdery's Maxwell Street Historic Preservation Coalition News Update page: http://cowdery.home.netcom.com/maxnews.html )

"Jimmie Lee Robinson died Saturday, July 6, 2002. He was 71.

A prominent blues musician, Jimmie Lee Robinson was one of the most stalwart supporters of the struggle to save the historic Maxwell Street neighborhood, where he was born and raised. His earliest musical performances were in the 1940s as a skinny, teen-aged street musician performing at the Maxwell Street Market with veterans such as Floyd and Moody Jones, Snooky Pryor, Eddie "Porkchop" Hines and others.

Robinson gained national attention for his protest of the destruction of Maxwell Street. In 2000-2001 he fasted for 81 days to draw attention to the devastation of the neighborhood known as the birthplace of Chicago blues. His hunger strike reached the front page of the New York Times. In addition to his fasts, Robinson appeared frequently at demonstrations and other Maxwell Street events, often performing his original composition, "The Maxwell Street Teardown Blues."

Jimmie Lee Robinson was a kind, gentle, soft-spoken man who loved to talk about spirituality, natural foods and health. He enjoyed meeting and talking with his many fans. He will be remembered as a talented artist and committed activist with a deep, loving spirit."

"LITTLE" JIMMY KING 1965 - 2002 (Blues News Courtesy of Rounder Records. ( http://www.rounder.com )

"Memphis, TN - Manuel Gales, known to the music world as "Little" Jimmy King, passed away in his home on Friday, July 21, 2002. The exact cause of death has yet to be determined. His scorching style of playing echoed the work of what he called his personal trinity: Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimi Hendrix, and his mentor and adopted Grandfather, the late Albert King. Gales was known best on the Memphis scene for his live performances at B.B. King's Blues Club on Beale Street."

MUSIC MAKER RELIEF FOUNDATION.

At this year's Mississippi Valley Blue Festival, I was introduced to a very unique and vital organization, dedicated to the task of helping true blue performers "of Southern musical traditions gain recognition and meet their day-to-day needs." This fine organization helps promote and support such artists as this year's fest performers Cora Mae Bryant, George Higgs and Little Pink Anderson, as well as John Dee Holman, Cootie Stark, Beverly "Guitar" Watkins, Frank Edwards, John Jackson and many more. Music Maker programs include life maintenance, instrument acquisition, tour support, emergency relief, and visiting artist programming. Please visit their web site at www.musicmaker.org , and support their efforts with a donation if possible. Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 50l (c) 3.

NEW BLUES YOU CAN USE.

THE JOANNA CONNOR BAND - JOANNA CONNOR (M. C. Records) Ms. Connor's debut on the M. C. label blends R&B, rock and blues into a hot 'n spicy blues stew. With her fiery slide work and soul-drenched voice, Joanna delivers ten originals, along with unique covers of songs by War, Grandmaster Flash and Sam Cooke. Red hot stuff from one of the most passionate ladies in the biz today. (see www.mc-records.com for more on the web)


THE GOOD, THE BAD, AND THE CHUBBY - POPA CHUBBY (Blind Pig Records) Popa Chubby is back with a smolderin' new collection, expressing solid sentiments and emotions rooted in the tragedy and aftermath of September 11th. Popa is " a post-modern bluesman," to quote Billboard, and his brand of new blues is anchored in contemporary relevance and his firm beliefs. Angry at times, but never, ever to where it detracts from the musicianship or material, "Somebody Let The Devil Out" is a prime example of how Popa Chubby expresses himself through his innovative new blues. (for more on the web, visit: www.blindpigrecords.com )

HEADS UP! - LIL' ED & THE BLUES IMPERIALS (Alligator Records) Veteran Chicago bluesman Lil' Ed and his band are back with his fifth release on the 'Gator label, carrying on a tradition of pure houserockin'. Percolatin' rhythms and spontaneous delivery are the trademarks of this Chicago blues ensemble, and the end result is straight-up, 150-proof blues 'n boogie. (for more on Lil' Ed and other Alligator artists, visit: www.alligator.com )

Great hoogly-moogly! I'm outa' space, outa' time, and outa' here. Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace and blessings to all, and.

BLUES TO 'YA!



trueblue@qconline.com

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