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True Blue from Ellis Kell

Argus/Dispatch blues columnist


1955 - 2004


It's taken a little longer than usual to put something together for this month, and I hope you all will pardon me for that. Besides being busy with the usual chores at RME, I've been numb with the loss of old friend and fellow musician Jack Seales, who passed from this world on October 20th. Ol' Grampa Jack, as he was known in recent years, was in a class of his own as a musician. He was what we hack git-pickers call a 'musician's musician' - one of those rare, gifted individuals who was just plain born to make music. There really weren't too many musical instruments Jack couldn't figure out how to play, if you just gave him a few hours. He played bass, guitar, sax, fiddle, mandolin, virtually anything with strings on it, plus saxophone, flute and even the bagpipes. I reckon he could have made good music on just about anything you could pick, pluck, blow into, or bang on. To say his playing was inspired would be an understatement. The down home blues he recorded a few years back on "Losin' Control" had more soul and spirit than most musicians will give birth to in a lifetime. In as much, the classical guitar sonata he composed and recorded showcased a whole 'nuther side of Jack - brilliant, delicate technique, beautiful melody and counter-melody. As someone who had heard him play many times over the years, I was literally amazed by this sensitive and compassionate piece of classical guitar work. If he was still alive to hear me say that, he would have been embarrassed by the praise. Always humble, always playing it straight from the heart - that's how I'll always remember Jack.

What took him out of this earthly life doesn't really matter too much at this point, so we'll just leave it at that. Suffice it to say that this old world isn't always kind to the gentle and gifted souls. What does matter is that we come together to celebrate the life and music of one of the most talented players to ever come out of these here river cities. That's just exactly what we plan to do on Saturday, November 13th, from 2 - 7 pm in Mojo's at River Music Experience. I'd give you the line up of all Jack's fellow musicians and friends who will be on hand to remember Jack in music that day, but I've already lost count. If it weren't for old Shineboy helpin' me line 'em all up, I doubt we could have brought it all together under one roof. Brother Jim Seales has called to say he's comin' back home from down in Muscle Shoals to be here with us. Besides celebrating the memory of one of the area's finest musicians, our goal is to raise as much as we can to lighten the financial burden on Jack's parents. Donations will gladly be accepted, and we'll also raffle off prizes throughout the day. If you're interested in contributing a prize for the benefit, or making a donation, please email us at . We look forward to hopefully seeing you all there. I guarantee it will be good for your soul. God bless 'ya, Grampa Jack, and may He grant you the serenity to rest in peace.

No new blue tracks for this month, just these same old blues. Peace, love & blessings to all and, until we meet again at this crossroads...

Blues to ‘ya!

Local musician Ellis Kell writes about blues music both local and national in ‘True Blue’, running the first Sunday of each month in Entertainment. He is also on the staff of River Music Experience, a not-for-profit museum and center dedicated to preservation, education and celebration of American Roots music.

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