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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist


OCTOBER 2000

RIDIN' (Into Davenport) WITH THE KING.

Like the old song says, "the news is out.all over town". The King of the Blues, B. B. King, is coming back to town for one show only on November 27th at the Adler Theatre in Davenport! Hot off the release of his mega-hit CD and music video with Eric Clapton, "Ridin' With the King," B. B. King returns to the Adler Theatre, as one stop on his 75th Birthday Tour, along with very special guest Bernard Allison. Allison is, or course, the son of the late and great Blues legend Luther Allison, and has long been a favorite on the midwest Blues circuit. The show starts at 7:30 p.m., and advanced tickets are $49.50, $37.50 and $27.50 at the Adler Theatre Box Office. Tickets are available by phoning Ticketmaster at (319)326-1111, where additional convenience/handling charges will apply. For more on B. B. King, visit his official website at www.bbking.com, and check the True Blue archives for our 1997 interview with The King of the Blues, where we discussed his music and his autobiography "Blues All Around Me." You can find the archived interview on the web at: www.qconline.com/getalife/trueblue/bb1.html .

(The Adler still also has good seats at the box office for Al Jarreau, who visits the theatre on October 17, for one show at 7:30 p.m. Tickets for that concert are $33.50, $28.50 and $21.50 at the box office, and are also available via phone through Ticketmaster with convenience charges.)

TRUE BLUE HISTORY.

Otis Spann is one of those larger-than-life Blues legends, and the new CD "Last Call" chronicles the Blues piano master's historic last performance, as recorded on April 2, 1970, at "The Boston Teaparty." Best known for his tenure as Muddy Waters pianist, Spann also recorded and performed with Howlin' Wolf, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Sonny Boy Williamson, Buddy Guy and the original Fleetwood Mac featuring Peter Green. Although gaunt and frail in the final stages of terminal liver cancel, Spann, his wife Lucille on vocals, guitarist Peter Malick and Luther "Georgia Boy Snake" Johnson on guitar and vocals delivered what can only be described as the real-deal, down-home Blues. This CD will not officially be released until October 10, and will be distributed in the U.S. by City Hall Distribution of San Francisco. The CD will also be available for order on the web at www.mrcatmusic.com . This is a great portrait of a True Blues legend, and essential Blues for the collector.

(This landmark recording will be celebrated during a special tribute, hosted by Peter Malick, to be held on October 5 at the House of Blues in Cambridge, Massachusetts. A number of notable national and local musicians have been invited to perform at the event, including Ron Levy, David Maxwell, Dennis Brennan, Richard Rosenblatt and Mike Welch, among others.)

MORE RECOMMENDED BLUES FER YOUZ.

"The Chill," Rusty Zinn ( Alligator Records - ALCD 4876) Oakland-based bluesman Rusty Zinn molten guitar chops and soul-drenched vocals are road-tested and the proof lies on the tracks. Elvin Bishop guests on slide guitar for "Moonlight Blues." Zinn previously worked with harpmaster Kim Wilson, and also backed Blues legends such as Jimmy Rogers and Snooky Pryor during their tour stops in California. All that said, Zinn is his own man, with his own sound - carrying the tradition into the future.

"Sinner Street," Jimmy Thackery (Blind Pig Records - BPCD 5065) That guitar-slingin', Blues-blaster is back! Thackery is a master of tone and fire in his delivery, and the welcome addition of new saxman Jimmy Carpenter just sweetens Thackery's trademark funky bag of tricks. No one lays it down hotter and harder than Thackery, and this new CD proves it. Get yourself some now, but don't forget to use a pot holder - lest 'ya burn yourself loadin' it into the player!

"Wicked," Shemekia Copeland (Alligator Records) This 21-yr. old heiress to the Blues Queen throne pours the coal to it on this follow-up to her 1998 debut CD on the 'Gator label. This new collection showcases the young Blues-belter in a much wider selection of material, including rockers, gospel-tinted R&B, and passionately delivered Blues ballads. This album features backing from Jimmy Vivino, The Uptown Horns, Sugar Blue, the legendary Ruth Brown, and Copeland's own seasoned road band. Hail to the new Queen of the Blues!

"West Coast House Party," Kid Ramos (Evidence Music - ECD 26110) Fabulous Thunderbirds' guitarist Kid Ramos delivers a good houserockin' party on this new collection. This CD features a virtual who's-who of West Coast players, including Little Charlie Baty, James Harman, Rick Holstrom, Rusty Zinn, Larry Taylor and many more. Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown and Duke Robillard are also featured on the tracks. Call up everybody, and tell 'em to head for the Kid's house - 'cause there's a party goin' on!

"King of the Highway," Norton Buffalo (Blind Pig Records - BPCD 5066) Harmonica wizard Norton Buffalo and band are joined by old friends and special guests Steve Miller, Elvin Bishop and Merle Saunders for this CD, showcasing Buffalo's spectrum of harp stylings. Norton Buffalo has been described as "the Miles Davis of the harmonica," and "the Gospel to harp players around the globe," and this brand new CD from the revered harpmaster leaves no doubt as to why he's held in such high regard.

I've run off at the mouth for too long again, or so it appears, but that should be more than a 'plenty for 'ya to chew on for a while. Until we meet again at this crossroads. Blues to 'ya!

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