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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist


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: on the web.



The Mississippi Valley Blues Society kicks off their Artist-in-Residency series with the legendary Henry Butler, starting October 13th. Mr. Butler has served as Associate Professor of Music at Eastern Illinois University, and will perform at local schools as well as other public venue appearances. For complete information on Henry Butler's scheduled appearances, please visit on the web. Additional residency programs for 2003-04 include: Billy Branch - Chicago Blues Harmonica Player -November 10th - 15th, 2003, Westbrook Singers - Gospel Music (for Black History Month) February 9th - 14th, 2004, Alabama Blues Project with Willie King, March 1st - 5th, 2004, and Bill Bell - Bay Area Jazz Piano Player, April 19th - 24th, 2004. Congrats and kudos to MVBS for a fine upcoming schedule of artist programs!


It's gonna be a blue weekend in the District, as RIBCO welcomes back longtime Quad Cities' favorite Ernie Peniston and his band on Oct. 10, and the hot bluesrockin' of Shane Johnson's Blue Train Oct. 11. Cover is $5 for each show, both of which start at 10 p.m. For more on the upcoming schedule at RIBCO, visit on the web.

Jimmy B'z in the Freight House, Davenport always has a full slate of blues cookin,' and October features: Ernie Peniston for Pub Crawl on Oct. 2, Mercury Brothers on Oct. 3, Killborn Alley on Oct 4, Rooster Alley on Oct. 10, Ross Perry on Oct. 11, Blues Redemption on Oct 17, Cobalt Blue on Oct 18, Ellis Kell Band (who?) on Oct. 24, Gibbs Brothers on Oct. 25, and Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin' Altar Boys on Oct. 31. Live music runs each night 9 p.m. - 1 a.m., and cover charges range from $4 - $6 usually, with special shows going for $8 and up. For more information on what's cookin' at Jimmy B'z, you can always visit their web site at .


"Sweet Talk," Rene Austin ( Blind Pig Records) If you haven't heard Rene Austin yet, you won't believe what this lady can do with her voice. Delbert McClinton joins Ms. Austin on "Pretend We Never Met," for a soul-drippin' duet that is destined to become a new classic. Rene Austin brings it all together on this disk, and shows that aint nobody goin' to fence her in! For more information on what's new in the 'Pig Pen', visit on the web.

"Genuine Houserockin' Christmas," Various Blues Artists (Alligator Records) Christmas can't be just around the corner - but it is. It's way to early to start shoppin', but not too early to get your stocking stuffed with these soulful holiday tracks. Artists featured include: Koko Taylor, Carey Bell, Michael Burks, Coco Montoya, Lil' Ed, Saffire, The Holmes Brothers, Lonnie Brooks, Shemekia Copeland, C. J. Chenier, Marcia Ball, Little Charlie and Dave Hole. These tracks will reel, rock, shimmy and shuffle you right over the hill and through the woods to Grama's house for a Blue Christmas. See what's available from all the fine blues artists featured on the Alligator roster, on the web at .

"Blues in The Blood," Big Bill Morganfield (Blind Pig Records) Voted "Best New Blues Artist" in the W. C. Handy Awards just a few years ago, Big Bill has all come into his own as a vocalist, guitarist and performer. Muddy must be smilin' up there in Blues Heaven - so proud that his son took the lesson to heart, and made his own way with it. Great new blues! For more information on Big Bill Morganfield and other Blind Pig artist's releases, visit on the web.

"Last Fair Deal," Rory Block (Telarc) This is Rory Block's debut on the Telarc label, and she makes her entrance with style and grace. This collection features eight original numbers and six very tasty covers of blues and gospel classics. Her rendition of "Amazing Grace," in some 'bizarre tuning' the artist herself says she 'will probably never find again ' is an inspired and unique reading of the spiritual classic. There's only one thing you'll be left wanting at the end of these tracks. and that's more. For more on this and other fine Telarc releases, visit on the web.

"Blues on 2nd- Whatever on 3rd," Whatever Blues Band (Independent elease) - Rachel Knight and Whatever Blues Band serve up their hot and spicy signature houserockin' blues on this new disk, recorded live at Jimmy B'z in Davenport on August 15, 2003. If you just can't make it out to see and hear this top regional group live, then this new CD is the next best thing. Rachel Knight's sensuous vocals are drippin' with soul, Paul 'Chewy Phares' guitar work flows like molten blue lava, while Ziggie McQuay and Matty Scott lay down a solid bedrock for this band to drive on. Rich Wilcox wails on blues harp, and cuts through like a stiletto on electric violin. Kansas City Jo guests on washboard. Hats off to Dustin Cobb for an excellent job on this live recording. For more information on how you can get your copy of this brand-new, red-hot live CD from one of the QC's favorite blues bands, visit on the web


Please allow me this personal plea, if you would. I invite you all to join us at the Col Ballroom in Davenport, Friday, October 10th, for the '2nd Annual Moondance for Karli Rose Kell'. All proceeds benefit the music scholarship fund established in our late daughter's memory at Rock Island High School. Last year we were able to award a total of $6,000 in scholarships to deserving RIHS music students who planned to continue their music education in college. For more information on Karli's memorial fund, hosted by Rock Island Music Association, visit: . This year's benefit concert will feature the Rock Island High School Jazz Band and Choir members, as well as The Ruth Girls, The Gibbs Brothers, House of Cards, The Ellis Kell Band, as well as a QC Blues All-Star Jam that will round out the evening in true blue style. Thanks so much to all of you in advance for your support. Until we meet again at this crossroads, peace, love and blessings to all and...

Blues to 'ya!

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