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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist



The Mississippi Valley Blues Society has a tradition of fine Artist-In-Residency programs, and this year is no exception. The first artist to be featured is legendary harmonica man Peter "Madcat" Ruth, who has been performing blues, jazz and folk music for the last three decades. Ruth will be performing in the Quad Cities' area October 7th through 12th. Three performances will be free and open to the public, including those at Colona House, East Moline at 7 p.m. on Wed., October 9th, Quad City Arts in Rock Island at 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 11th, and at the Davenport Public Library, downtown Davenport at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Oct.12th. Don't miss this chance to see one of the world's most talented and versatile harmonica players, live and close up. For more on Peter 'Madcat' Ruth, visit his web site at .

Future MVBS Artist-In-Residency programs will include appearances by Little Jimmy Reed in November, February features blues pianist Erwin Helfer along with jazz and blues historian Donald Meade for Black History Month, March showcases Chicago blues guitarist, vocalist, playwright and actor Fernando Jones, and April welcomes home the QC's favorite Blues-son, Hawkeye Herman. For the complete information on the 2002-2003 MVBS Artist-In-Residency programs, visit on the web.


True Blue will have TWO FRONT ROW TICKETS to giveaway for "Front Porch Blues" - a fabulous Blues packet show that will be rolling into the Adler Theatre in Davenport on Mon., Nov. 4th. This mega-blues-concert features Charlie Musselwhite, Elvin Bishop, Corey Harris, Henry Butler and Deborah Coleman - five of today's most talented and versatile blues musicians. This is a true blue celebration of the Delta Blues Tradition, and a once-in-a-lifetime tour. Don't this one, folks, or your chance to win two front row tickets right here! Just go to the Quad-Cities Online Treasure Chest page at , click on the 'Front Porch Blues' icon, and enter the necessary information. You could end up sittin' in the front row!


"Talking to Strangers," Shemekia Copeland (Alligator Records) This new collection from the new Queen of the Blues showcases the versatility of Ms. Shemekia Copeland. Bigger and better things keep coming for this lady of the blues, and on September 16, Shemekia, along with Dr. John, were scheduled to open for The Rolling Stones at Chicago's Aragon Ballroom. Dr. John steps in to produce and perform on all these new tracks, and the essence of New Orleans funk permeates this fine recording. Our choice for True Blue track on this disk is the duet between Shemekia and Dr. John on "The Push I Need." Strong stuff, just drippin' with blue soul! See for more from Shemekia Copeland.

"Somebody Told the Truth," Cephas & Wiggins (Alligator Records) This is Piedmont blues stew at its finest, delivered pipin' hot from John Cephas and Phil Wiggins - purveyors of prime blues. In this new collection, Cephas and Wiggins also venture into Delta Blues, covering tunes by Robert Johnson and Skip James. These two blues-masters always serve and preserve the tradition, while carrying the Blues a little further on up the road. See for more from Cephas and Wiggins.

"Harmonica Slim with The Pena Brothers," Self-Titled (Independent Release) Although this one was technically scheduled for initial release in 1999, its getting a strong second wind now via area performances by Harmonica Slim and The Pena Brothers. This is essential Mississippi Valley Blues for all local and regional fans of Harmonica Slim, a true blue treasure right here in River City. Although the phrase the 'real deal' has been over-used and abused in recent years, there is no better way to sum up Slim's talent and stature in our local blues music scene. This CD features strong backing by another QC blues staple - The Pena Brothers Band, featuring John, Joe & Lyle Pena along with John O'Meara on bass. Tom Tatman produced and mixed this collection at Catamount in Cedar Falls, Iowa, with mastering by Jon Chamberlain. Check your local record outlets for this one, or let us know at - if you can't find a copy in the stores. We'll see if we can help track one down for 'ya!

I'm moving out 88 towards Chi-town and points farther north, so I can't be hangin' around no longer. Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace and blessings to all, and.

Blues to 'ya!

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