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True Blue from Ellis Kell
Argus/Dispatch blues columnist

November 2001

Just in time for Christmas…

Evidence Music presents "Blue Xmas," a new collection of fine instrumental versions of Christmas standards. This CD includes performances by Otis Rush, Son Seals, Charlie Musselwhite, Kim Wilson, Corey Harris, Walter Trout, Joe Louis Walker, Sugar Blue, Tommy Castro, Roy Gaines, Guitar Shorty, Roy Rogers, Phil Upchurch and more. It’s doubtful there has ever been a holiday release that has brought together so many notable contemporary blues figures for such unique interpretations of the Christmas classics.

Just a reminder… the 2nd Annual Blue Zoo Christmas rolls into the RiverCenter’s Great Hall in Davenport on Saturday, December 1, and features Chicago’s Howard and the Whiteboys, powerhouse bluesrocker Tab Benoit, along with local favorites The Bluefins. Blue Zoo Santa will be there as well, with goodies and treats for blues fans young and old. Proceeds, as with last year’s event, go to benefit the Fejervary Park Childrens’ Zoo coffers. For more information on advance tickets, contact the RiverCenter-Adler Theatre box office at 326-8555.

Also on the local scene, country singer David Wayne’s new CD "Anywhere" features a virtual who’s-who of area talent. The new CD, released last month, includes studio support from Deb O’Malley, Keith Hentrich, Dave Clevenger, Terry Hanson, Scott Willman, Joe Brown, Scott Whitehall, Mike Wallace, Steve Elliott, Chuck Hanson, Ron Malmstead, Jack Seales, Frank Prenevost, and engineering by co-producers Mark Johnson and Nate Nicholson of Brass Sail Studio in Moline. The new effort contains four originals penned by David Wayne, along with original songs from Davenport’s Kevin Hamilton and James Cain of Nashville. This is fresh, solid contemporary country music from a strong new voice, with backing by some of the area’s finest musicians. The CD is on sale now online at, where audio previews are also available.

More New Blues Fer Youz…

"I Go Wild," Guitar Shorty (Evidence Music - ECD 26119-2) The true wildman of the blues is back with fiery guitar licks and soulful, gritty vocals, all showing that he hasn’t slowed down a bit. With a collective 50 years in the business, along with stints with legendary figures such as Walter Johnson, Ray Charles, Guitar Slim, Sam Cooke and T-Bone Walker, Guitar Shorty still sounds like he’s just begun to hit his stride. This is pipin’ hot blues - get yourself some real soon!

"Greasy Kid Stuff," Kid Ramos (Evidence Music - ECD 26117-2) Fabulous Thunderbirds’ guitarist is back with a smolderin’ new collection, featuring guest spots from harmonica masters Paul de Lay, Johnny Dyer, Rick Estrin, James Harman, Lynwood Slim, Rod Piazza and Charlie Musselwhite. Kid Ramos was quoted as saying this time he wanted to "get it basic and lowdown" - a change-up from previous releases that featured fat horn section, keyboards and much guest support in the studio. The new CD features ten new originals, and seven fresh cover renditions. This is definitely one kid you don’t want to mess with… real-deal, serious houserockin’!

Further on up the road…

After a less-than-overwhelming turnout for a recent three-band blues event I was involved in at Stars ‘n Stripes in Davenport, I’m left wondering what the current ‘state of the art’ is right here in River City. After our opening set for the faithful handful in attendance, the New Complexion Band followed up with a smolderin’ set of soul and blues classics with the stellar vocals of Jimmie Lee Adams, and Donna and Jerry Wilkerson. Shane Johnson’s Blue Train followed up with their proven brand of hot houserockin’ and blues. If you weren’t there, shame on you, and believe me - you really missed the boat. Similarly lean turnouts recently at live music clubs like The Blackthorn, Bent River Brewing Company and others have to leave local club owners wondering if its even worth booking live music anymore. Please, don’t leave ‘em wondering… get out this weekend and support your local bands in the QC area venues. A day without live music is like a heart without a soul - we just be goin’ through the motions.

I’m outa’ here for this month, so here’s a wish for peace and blessings to all and, until we meet again at this crossroads…

Blues to ‘ya!

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