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Sunday, August 23, 2009

R.I.P. Nick Holt - (1940-2009) - brother

Longtime Chicago and Lincoln blues player Nick Holt died Monday.

Holt, 69, had played at the Zoo Bar and other Lincoln venues since 1975, mostly with his brother, Morris “Magic Slim” Holt.

And like his brother, he moved his family from Chicago’s South Side to Lincoln in the 1990s to get his kids and grandchildren out of the city. Most of the extended family still lives here.

Holt recovered from a 1987 bout with throat cancer, but he had been sick for several months.

In 1999, he was nominated for a W.C. Handy Award as best blues instrumentalist on bass. At the time, he played bass with Magic Slim and the Teardrops.

“He was one of the best bass players I’ve ever heard, and he really influenced me in my playing,” said Zoo Bar co-owner Jeff Boehmer, who plays bass himself.

“I probably would have been 4 or 5 or younger when they started coming to town, so I’ve known Nick my whole life.”

Funeral services are pending.

RIP Nick Holt 1/15/1940-6/22/
Bruce Iglauer reports that Nick Holt, the bass-playing younger brother of Magic Slim, died of brain cancer on Monday, June 22, 2009 in Lincoln , Nebraska , where he had been living. He was 69. Born in Granada , Mississippi in 1940, Nick moved to Chicago in 1956. Four years later, he and his brother formed the notorious Magic Slim & The Teardrops. This band persevered to become a mainstay of the Chicago blues scene. Slim's raucous guitar and Nick's insistent bass lines anchored the band, and created a tough, rock-solid groove so propulsive that it packed the dance floors nightly. It wasn't that Nick did anything fancy or flashy on the bass; he just played it simple and right. Magic Slim & The Teardrops recorded numerous albums for a wide array of labels such as Rooster Blues, Blind Pig, Wolf Records, Alligator, Isabel, Delmark, Red Lightnin', Black & Blue, Evidence, and others. The band relocated to Lincoln , Nebraska , where they had a huge following from their touring appearances at the Zoo Bar. Nick had not been touring for the last few years, possibly for health reasons. In addition to scores of Magic Slim & The Teardrops records, and various sessions as a sideman, Nick leaves us with three releases bearing his name:
Magic Slim And Nick Holt/You Can't Lose What Never Had (Wolf Records)
Nick Holt/You Better Watch Yourself (Wolf Records)
Little Boogie Boy Blues Band featuring Nick Holt/We Do It For The Blues
Many blues fans will warmly remember seeing Magic Slim & The Teardrops with the brothers’ towering presence filling up the stage while they knocked out the heaviest of shuffles. Such a loss for the blues. Prayers to Magic Slim in this time of grief. Thanks, Nick, for the great times, and the spectacular music.

A celebration of Nick’s life is planned for Wednesday from 6pm-9pm at The Zoo Bar. Magic Slim and his Lincoln band will perform.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Happy Birthday Buddy Guy!

George "Buddy" Guy is 73 years young!!!!
born : 7/30/36 Lettsworth, Louisiana

27 WC Handy Awards

5 Grammy Awards

Blues Hall of Fame

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Happy Birthday Buddy!!!!

Monday, July 06, 2009

...A Rose by any Other Name

John Lee Hooker was a very interesting character, an iconoclastic musician with his own very personal and individual style, he was also a survivor - a Blues musician who knew early on how to sell himself to record companies.

And sell himself he did, maybe too well - over the years from 1948 to the mid 1950's, John Lee Hooker recorded for no less than 20 different record labels!!!
Of course, this was done under a number of different aliases to get around contractual problems, since he often recorded the same material for those various labels.

Hooker certainly wasn't the first musician to do such a thing - Thomas 'Fats' Waller was reputed to have periodically gone through the famous Brill building, from door to door, selling the same compositions under different names to different music publishers so that he could get a bit of cash in his pockets to go out and get drunk...

The aliases Hooker created for himself were just as varied as the labels who were eager to record his music.
(Modern, King, Regent, Savoy, Danceland, Staff, Sensation, Chess, Acorn, Gotham, Regal, Swingtime. Federal, Gone, Chance, DeLuxe, JVB, Chart, Specialty, and Vee-Jay)
Here is a list of known aliases John Lee Hooker recorded under:

"Texas Slim"
"Delta John"
"Birmingham Sam and His Magic Guitar"
"Little Pork Chop"
"Johnny Williams"
"John Lee Booker"
"The Boogie Man"
"Johnny Lee"
"Sir John Lee Hooker"
"John Lee Cooker"
"Johnny Lee Hooker"
"John L' Hooker"

"What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet..."

from Romeo and Juliet, by William Shakespeare

References used:
Bill Dahl, "John Lee Hooker: Biography",

Claus Röhnisch, "John Lee Hooker Complete Singles Discography"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

R.I.P. Jackie Washington (1919-2009) - Canadian Jazz and Blues icon

Canadian Jazz and Blues icon Jackie Washington passed away on Saturday, June 27, 2009

I feel honored and privileged to have known him and even jam with him on occasion.
Jackie was the sweetest, nicest man I knew in the music business in Canada.
He was a great entertainer, singer, instrumentalist, playing both piano and guitar, Blues, Jazz, Boogie Woogie, and "Sentimentals" as he called part of his repertoire.

Jackie was a walking living encyclopedia of old Jazz and Blues,
I think he knew at least a few thousand songs and could play them all perfectly.
His one big fault was that he loved music so much, he just couldn't say no to an all night jam,
even when staying up and playing all night would threaten his health...
Rest in peace Jackie.

sample some of Jackie's music:
Borealis Records website 1

Borealis Records website 2

Hamilton, Ontario local news:

Thursday, June 04, 2009

"Blues Trek- the Next Generation"

Here are three female Blues Divas to watch out for,

now that the Queen Koko Taylor has passed on -

Diunna Greenleaf - Houston, Texas
(I was at this show! standing on the right taking pictures... Blues Cruise Jan. 2006)


Lady Bianca - Oakland, California


Nora Jean Bruso - Chicago, Illinois (born in Greenwood, Mississippi)

Koko Taylor - Queen of the Blues R.I.P.

The Queen has left us, Koko Taylor, the Queen of the Blues has passed away at age 80
Rest in peace Koko...

"I got 29 ways to get to my baby's door
I got 29 ways to get to my baby's door,
and if he needs me real bad,
I can find about two or three more"
Willie Dixon - Koko Taylor

"... We gonna pitch a Wang Dang Doodle,
all night long..."
Willie Dixon - Koko Taylor

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Blues is...

The Blues is about humanity,
the personal touch,
touching people's lives,
touching everyday life

"the Blues gives you back your soul" Taj Mahal

"Reggae gives you back your body.
Jazz gives you back your mind.
And Blues gives you back your soul."
Taj Mahal
June 2009 Blues Revue magazine

It's hard to believe, but artist Taj Mahal just turned 67 years old! Anyone who has seen him in person in recent years, would hardly believe that the man who almost single-handedly started a new wave of young Black Blues artists in the 1970's, can now be considered one of the "elder statesmen" of the Blues.
The newest issue (June 2009) of Blues Revue magazine contains an interview with Taj,
go out and your copy today!!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

25th International Blues Challenge - Memphis 2009

25th International Blues Challenge

here is the list of winners for 2009:

Band, 1st place
South Florida Blues Society--JP Soars & the Red Hots

Band, 2nd Place
Cascade Blues Association--Ty Curtis Band

Band, 3rd Place
Ottawa Blues Society--MonkeyJunk

Best Guitarist (in a a band) Award
JP Soars

Solo/Duo, 1st place

Blues Society of Tulsa--Little Joe McLerran

Solo/Duo, 2nd Place

Crossroads Blues Society of Mississippi--Alphonso & Richard

Best Self-Produced CD Award

"Hollerin'!" Nathan James & Ben Hernandez took home the Best Self-Produced CD Award for their newest effort (Many of you will recall, this duo won the 2007 International Blues Challenge).

Here is a summary of the IBC week (from

From the opening night, with last year’s runner-up Shakura S’Aida belting out the National Anthem at the Memphis Grizzlies game to the Wednesday night party at the New Daisy Theater featuring previous IBC Winners like Trampled Under Foot, Sean Carney, Homemade Jamz and Jonn Richardson to the 184 acts from around the world to the all day Saturday finals to jams in every Beale Street venue, the IBC has become THE winter blues event to attend.
It was not that long ago that the IBC, aka the International Blues Challenge, hosted 20 to 30 acts which competed in one or two clubs on Beale. Solo performers and bands were lumped in the same category and the few fans, mainly family, crammed into the New Daisy theater. Today it has grown into a world class event with enough music to satisfy every blues taste.
For those not familiar with the format, 10 clubs on Beale Street each host 10 bands for a 25 minute performance on both Thursday and Friday nights. Another 6 clubs host 10 solo/duo acts during the same period. The top scoring band in each venue then moves to the Saturday finals.
With program in hand, one simply darts from club to club starting at 5 PM searching out the best of Beale. When the dust finally settles, around midnight, your friends will tell you about all the great bands you missed. That sets up your Friday schedule.
This year, the Blues Foundation started Friday’s music at 11 AM with two exciting showcases during the afternoon. Alfred’s hosted a showcase of 11 International acts which came to Memphis to compete. High energy bands from France’s Blues Sur Seine, Norway, Croatia, Ottawa, Quebec, Australia, Israel, and Italy showed all afternoon that the blues thrives around the world. At the same time, the Foundation hosted a Youth showcase for 24 bands whose members were under 21 years old. Blues Societies were asked to send their best Youth band to showcase talent. Held in four clubs on Beale, the Youth Showcase featured a 9 year old string slinger, a 15 year old slide guitarist, bass players whose bass is bigger then they are, and a 14 year old boogie woogie master. This showcase was enough proof that the blues can still catch the ears of today’s younger generation.
As it that was not enough music, Blind Raccoon and Yellow Dog Records each held showcases in the Rum Boogie and King’s Palace respectively. At the Blind Raccoon show, fans could hear musicians like Dave fields, Chris James, Patrick Rynn, Tas Cru, Billy Gibson, Steve Howell, and the Delta Flyers. The highlight here was when Super Chikan unveiled his OBAMA guitar, complete with Chikan’s unique stimulus package. Yellow Dog’s show included the varied musical Mary Flower, Rich Del Grosso and Fiona Boyes.
Highlights of my two days of running from club to club included the Grady Champion revue from Jackson, MS. I first met Grady 13 years ago and haven’t seen his show in almost 10 years. His combination of Southern soul, funk, and blues was a refreshing break from blasting guitars. Another highlight was the sweet, acoustic stylings of Washington’s Alice Stuart. There were explosive sets by Austin’s Mike Milligan and the Alter Boyz, Conrad Oberg on both piano and guitar, Dan Treanor’s trippy Afrosippi blues band, and the Phil Gates band. On the street I had difficult choices between the booming voice of Austin “Walkin’ Cane,” the dense guitar groove of Darrell Raines and George Caldwell, the finger picking of Roger “Hurricane” Wilson and the hill country blues of 80 year old veteran L.C. Ulmer and his 17 year old student, Chase Holifield.
The finals included the soul stylings of Monkey Junk, Ottawa’s top blues band, the four handed boogie-woogie of Poland’s Boogie Bo ys, the sultry come hither blues of Phoenix’s Meredith Moore, the passionate guitar work of Pryor Baird, the fresh blues vision of Boston’s Delta Generators and the gorgeous 10 minute slow blues guitar of eventual band winner, JP Soars and the Red Hots. Follow that with a 6 act performance in the solo duo category won by the gorgeous Piedmont finger style of 24 year old Little Joe McLerran and Saturday was a night that satisfied every blues taste.
But the music never stops when the shows end. Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin hosted his annual after party jam at the Rum Boogie on both Friday and Saturday night. On Saturday, Michael Burks and Shemekia Copeland both stopped by to join Bob’s jam. The New Daisy hosted a Youth Jam session on Friday night that produced enough energy to light the night. And on Saturday night, Big City Blue hosted a showcase at Morgan Freeman’s new Memphis Ground Zero.
Congrats to the Blues Foundation for having the vision to let this event grow into one of the premier music events on the Blues calendar.

Blues at the Grammy's - 2009

Blues Grammy Winners:

The 51st Grammy Awards were held on Sunday, February 8, but you didn’t see the Blues categories, which were held earlier.

Below are the nominees in the Blues-related categories. They winners are in bold:

Best Traditional Blues Album

The Blues Rolls On - Elvin Bishop - Delta Groove Music

Skin Deep - Buddy Guy - Silvertone Records

All Odds Against Me - John Lee Hooker, Jr. - Steppin' Stone Records/CC Entertainment

One Kind Favor - B.B. King - Geffen Records

Pinetop Perkins & Friends - Pinetop Perkins & Friends - Stoneagle Music/Telarc

Best Contemporary Blues Album

Peace, Love & BBQ - Marcia Ball - Alligator Records

Like A Fire - Solomon Burke - Shout! Factory

City That Care Forgot - Dr. John And The Lower 911 - 429 Records

Maestro - Taj Mahal - Heads Up International

Simply Grand - Irma Thomas -Rounder Records

These are all winners!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

The Blackmailers - Blues and Fun from Moscow

Zlato Zrno Blues (2004)

My friend Alex S. introduced me to the music of the Blackmailers about 2 years ago, and suggested that I contact them.
They kindly responded by sending us copies of their first two albums.

Featuring a with a nice horn section, their sound reminds me of Blood Sweat and Tears, and the full voice of the lead vocalist reminds me allot of David Clayton Thomas.
Even though the singing diction isn't perfect, the overall message comes across -
these guys love the Blues and are having a good time when they play!!!

Guitarist Alex Baryshev and singer Timo Kopylov provide us with an interesting mix of Jump Blues, Chicago Blues, some Jazzy Blues, and a strong spicing up with some Balkan music!!!

Paradise Fanfare Blues (2006)

I give these 2 albums 4 thumbs up (out of a possible 5).

Friday, January 09, 2009

Sam Bluzman Taylor - 1934- 2009

Where Sam Bluzman Taylor is concerned, I can profess almost total ignorance. I had hardly heard the name 'till someone mentioned a live show of his on one of the Blues forums. But the minute I checked him out, I found a charming, dynamic, and powerful "Bluzman" who was quietly tucked away in the Long Island, N.Y. area, and was a respected member of the Long Island Blues Society, . His musical history includes playing in early funk and soul bands such as BT Express and Joey Dee & The Starlighters. He was awarded Blues Trust Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, as well as being inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
To me, Sam Taylor strongly resembled Matt "Guitar" Murphy Wikipedia: Matt Murphy which made me more curious about him, and once I heard his music I found a powerful singer with strong roots in gospel and soul, as well as a fine electric Blues guitarist.

Here are
some video clips of Sam

here are a few selected Obits and references to Sam Bluzman Taylor:

Long Island Music Hall of Fame site

Newsday Obituary

Keith Gordon - Guide to Blues on Sam Taylor