Friday, January 17, 2020

Friday Blues Fix's Top 20 Blues Albums of 2019

Maybe you've noticed that there have been no posts here at FBF in over six months.  I apologize for that, but things have been hectic for most of the year around the old household.  During the Christmas holiday, I decided that I needed to step away from reviewing CDs at Blues Bytes (I will be reviewing the ones that I've already received over the next year, so will still be contributing off and on for several months) and will probably be stepping away from posting here as well (not that I have been that much anyway), maybe doing a tribute post to those blues movers and shakers that passed away in 2019 in a few weeks.  The next few months are going to be pretty full of family and work responsibilities, but hopefully, in a few months things will return to normal.

I am going to post my 20 favorite blues releases for the past year.  I hope some of them were yours as well......here they are in no particular order.

Friday Blues Fix's Top 20 Blues Albums of 2019


Big Creek Slim & Rodrigo Mantovani – First Born (Chico Blues):  This is a superb set of traditional blues from Danish blues man Slim and Brazilian bass player Mantovani. Nice mix of original songs that blend well with their choice of cover tunes.







Bloodest Saxophone – Texas Queens 5 (Dialtone/Vizztone):  This Japanese jump blues unit is always cooking, but this time around, they get to back some of the Lone Star State’s finest female blues singers who deserve to be heard.



Willie Buck – Willie Buck Way (Delmark):  Buck sings Chicago blues the way they used to do it back in the Windy City’s glory days of the 1950’s.  So glad he's finally getting some much-deserved recognition.







Mary Lane – Travelin’ Woman (Women of the Blues):  A marvelous set of blues from the Chicago blues legend that will make listeners wish she’d get to the studio more often, and hope she will do it again soon.







Kenny “Beedy Eyes” Smith & The House Bumpers – Drop The Hammer (Vizztone):  Drummer Smith turns in a strong set of blues that will please traditional and contemporary blues fans, backed by a great group of fellow second-generation blues men.






Bob Corritore & Friends – DoThe Hip-Shake Baby! (Vizztone):  This set is what blues fans have come to expect with a Bob Corritore release….an entertaining set of blues (with hints of old school rock n’ roll, R&B, and gospel) from the harp master and an all-star cast of the best in blues.






Grady Champion – Steppin’ In:  A Tribute To Z.Z. Hill (Malaco):  A fine tribute to a soul-blues legend, from Malaco's early days, Champion does a marvelous job with these classic tunes.







Zac Harmon – Mississippi BarBQ (Catfood):  My favorite Harmon release to date…..a fine mix of blues and soul from one of the most dependable current record labels for either genre and one of the most consistent blues artists of the past twenty years.







Delbert McClinton & Self-Made Men + Dana – Tall, Dark & Handsome (Hot Shot):  The Texas roadhouse legend turns in a rollicking set that captures his reckless musical spirit as well as anything he’s ever released.







Various Artists – Battle of the Blues:  Chicago Vs. Oakland (Delta Roots):  A great anthology set that features blues artists from both cities…..some you know, some you don’t know, but all of whom deserve to be heard.







Junior Watson (featuring Alabama Mike) – Nothin’ To It But To Do It (Little Village Foundation):  I love just about everything that comes out of Kid Andersen’s Greaseland Studios, but this was one of the best of the lot this year, with the legendary guitarist Watson at the top of his game (with superb vocal support from Alabama Mike and Anderson’s wife Lisa Leuschner-Andersen).






Billy Price – Dog Eat Dog (Gulf Coast):  Stellar soul and blues set from one of the finest singers currently practicing.








Ghost Town Blues Band – Shine:  A potent mix of blues, rock, and soul from the Memphis-based blues rockers.  These guys blow me away every time I listen, and each album improves upon its predecessor.  







Johnny Rawls – I Miss Otis Clay (Third Street Cigar):  So do I, Mr. Rawls, but I’m mighty glad that you are here to carry on his legacy with this powerful set.







The Sensational Barnes Brothers – Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Bible and Tire):  This disc sounds like a gospel session at Stax Records…..absolutely breathtaking.  They are still making mighty music in Memphis!







Toronzo Cannon – The Preacher, The Politician, Or The Pimp (Alligator):  As much as I like Cannon’s tough guitar work and vocals, I really enjoy his songwriting.  It makes me laugh, cry, and think.  It’s been great watching him develop his style over the past few years.






Christone “Kingfish” Ingram – Kingfish (Alligator):  I’ve been reading about and listening to this young man since he was 12 or 13.  That said, this is one of the best debut releases I’ve heard in my 30+years of listening to the blues.  A strong, diverse, and confident set that shows the future of the blues is in good hands.






North Mississippi Allstars – Up And Rolling (New West):  A typically strong set from the group….a deft combination of traditional and contemporary Mississippi Hill Country blues, loaded with guest stars (Mavis Staples, Jason Isbell, Cedric Burnside, Duane Betts).






Jimmy Johnson – Every Day of Your Life (Delmark):  Great set from one of the first blues artists I ever heard way back in the 80's.  Johnson just turned 91(!) and he sounds like he’s not planning on going anywhere anytime soon, thank goodness! 








The Reverend Shawn Amos – Kitchen Table Blues (Vol. 1 & 2):  Two EP’s count as one album in my book.  These songs taken from Amos’ series (with assorted guest stars) are a lot of fun and show Amos’ love for the music.  Blues fans are advised to check out the whole YouTube series when you have a chance.  





















Friday, May 10, 2019

Blues Music Awards 2019 Winners / Blues Hall of Fame Inductees

This has been a big week for the blues in Memphis with the induction of the Blues Hall of Fame Class of 2019 on Wednesday and the Blues Music Awards, which were held last night.  See below for the nominees and winners.

B/C It’s the weekend! Events in Memphis May 9 - 12

Winners are listed in, what else, BLUE!!

Acoustic Album
A Woman’s Soul, Rory Block
Black Cowboys, Dom Flemons
Global Griot, Eric Bibb
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice


Acoustic Artist
Ben Rice
Guy Davis
Hadden Sayers
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block


Album of the Year
America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
The High Cost Of Low Living, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Rough Cut, Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci


B.B. King Entertainer
Beth Hart
Bobby Rush
Lil’ Ed Williams
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford


Band of the Year
Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars
Larkin Poe
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Nick Moss Band
Welch-Ledbetter Connection


Best Emerging Artist Album
Burn Me Alive, Heather Newman
Free, Amanda Fish
Heartland And Soul, Kevin Burt
Tough As Love, Lindsay Beaver
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice


Blues Rock Album
The Big Bad Blues, Billy F Gibbons
High Desert Heat, Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Live At The ’62 Center, Albert Cummings
Poor Until Payday, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Winning Hand, Tinsley Ellis


Blues Rock Artist
Billy F Gibbons
Eric Gales
J.P. Soars
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Tinsley Ellis


Contemporary Blues Album
America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
Belle Of The West, Samantha Fish
Chicago Plays The Stones, The Living History Band
Hold On, Kirk Fletcher
Wild Again, The Proven Ones


Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier


Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Kenny Neal
Rick Estrin
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon


Instrumentalist-Bass
Danielle Nicole
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
Scot Sutherland
Willie J. Campbell


Instrumentalist-Drums
Cedric Burnside
Jimi Bott
June Core
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel


Instrumentalist - Guitar
Anson Funderburgh
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Laura Chavez
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl


Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Billy Branch
Bob Corritore
Dennis Gruenling
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel


Instrumentalist - Horn
Doug James
Jimmy Carpenter
Kaz Kazzanof
Mindi Abair
Nancy Wright
Vanessa Collier


Instrumentalist - Vocalist
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Janiva Magness
Michael Ledbetter
Shemekia Copeland


Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Fiona Boyes
Lindsay Beaver
Ruthie Foster
Sue Foley
Trudy Lynn


Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Bruce Katz
Jim Pugh
Marcia Ball
Mike Finnigan


Song of the Year
“Ain’t Got Time For Hate,” written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough
“Angelina, Angelina,” written by Anthony Geraci
“Cognac,” written by Buddy Guy, Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming
“No Mercy In This Land,” written by Ben Harper
“The Ice Queen,” written by Sue Foley


Soul Blues Album
Back In Business, Frank Bey
Every Soul’s A Star, Dave Keller
I’m Still Around, Johnny Rawls
Love Makes A Woman, The Knickerbocker All-Stars
Reckoning, Billy Price


Soul Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers
Barbara Blue
Candi Staton
Thornetta Davis
Whitney Shay


Soul Blues Male Artist
Frank Bey
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker
William Bell


Traditional Blues Album
The Blues Is Alive And Well, Buddy Guy
The High Cost Of Low Living, Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
The Luckiest Man, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Tribute to Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell & the Bell Dynasty
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci


Traditional Blues Male Artist
Anthony Geraci
Cedric Burnside
James Harman
Lurrie Bell
Nick Moss



Roebuck "Pops" Staples, Sam Lay and More Named Blues Hall ...


2019 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees




My dirty music corner: ARETHA FRANKLIN

Aretha Franklin





Pee Wee Crayton



Ida Cox - Radio King


Ida Cox



Obituaries for artists, innovators who died late March to ...


Booker T & The MG's





Count Basie



Moe Asch - Founder of Folkways Records


elmore james the sky is crying CD Covers

Elmore James - The Sky Is Crying (Album)



Shake Your Moneymaker(Illinois Swamp Jungle Ripples remix ...


Elmore James - "Shake Your Moneymaker" (Song)


45cat - B. B. "Blues Boy" King And His Orchestra ...


B.B. King - "Every Day I Have The Blues" (Song)



Muddy Waters - "Rollin' Stone" (Song)


45cat - Ray Charles - Hallelujah I Love Her So / I Got A ...


Ray Charles - "I Got A Woman" (Song)


78 RPM - Bessie Smith - The St. Louis Blues / Cold In Hand ...


Bessie Smith - "The St. Louis Blues" (Song)


Lost Delta Found: Rediscovering the Fisk University ...


Lost Delta Found:  Rediscovering the Fisk University-Library of Congress Coahoma County Study, 1941-1942  (Literature)




Friday, February 1, 2019

Blues News You Can Use

It's been a busy week, the first of several in a row, but there's been a lot to happen in the blues world over the past couple of weeks.  Let's take a look......


The 2019 International Blues Challenge took place last week in Memphis.  Here are the big winners:

BAND
1st Place

Ms. Hy-C & Fresh Start (St. Louis Blues Society)

(Photo by Laura Carbone)

2nd Place

Sammy Eubanks & the Work’in Class (Washington Blues Society)

3rd Place

Celso Salim Band (Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society)

Gibson Guitar Award

Gabe Stillman (Billtown Blues Association)



SOLO/DUO


1st Place
Jon Shain (Triangle Blues Society)

(Photo by Kim Hawks)
2nd Place
Theresa Malenfant & Scott Medford (East Coast Blues Society)

Memphis Cigar Box Guitar

Steve Strongman (Grand River Blues Society)

(Photo by Laura Carbone)

Lee Oskar Harmonica Award

Darryl Carriere, the Celso Salim Band (Santa Clarita Valley Blues Society)

Best Self-Produced CD

Lock Up the Liquor – The Little Red Rooster Blues Band (Central Delaware Blues Society)





A few weeks ago, the nominees for the 40th Annual Blues Music Awards were announced:

Acoustic Album
A Woman’s Soul, Rory Block
Black Cowboys, Dom Flemons
Global Griot, Eric Bibb
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice
Acoustic Artist
Ben Rice
Guy Davis
Hadden Sayers
Harrison Kennedy
Rory Block
Album of the Year
America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
The High Cost Of Low Living, The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
Journeys To The Heart Of The Blues, Joe Louis Walker/Bruce Katz/Giles Robson
Rough Cut, Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci
B.B. King Entertainer
Beth Hart
Bobby Rush
Lil’ Ed Williams
Michael Ledbetter
Sugaray Rayford
Band of the Year
Anthony Geraci & The Boston Blues All-Stars
Larkin Poe
Lil’ Ed & the Blues Imperials
Nick Moss Band
Welch-Ledbetter Connection
Best Emerging Artist
Burn Me Alive, Heather Newman
Free, Amanda Fish
Heartland And Soul, Kevin Burt
Tough As Love, Lindsay Beaver
Wish The World Away, Ben Rice
Blues Rock Album
The Big Bad Blues, Billy F Gibbons
High Desert Heat, Too Slim and the Taildraggers
Live At The ’62 Center, Albert Cummings
Poor Until Payday, The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band
Winning Hand, Tinsley Ellis
Blues Rock Artist
Billy F Gibbons
Eric Gales
J.P. Soars
Kenny Wayne Shepherd
Tinsley Ellis
Contemporary Blues Album
America’s Child, Shemekia Copeland
Belle Of The West, Samantha Fish
Chicago Plays The Stones, The Living History Band
Hold On, Kirk Fletcher
Wild Again, The Proven Ones
Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Samantha Fish
Shemekia Copeland
Vanessa Collier
Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Kenny Neal
Rick Estrin
Ronnie Baker Brooks
Selwyn Birchwood
Toronzo Cannon
Instrumentalist-Bass
Danielle Nicole
Michael “Mudcat” Ward
Patrick Rynn
Scot Sutherland
Willie J. Campbell
Instrumentalist-Drums
Cedric Burnside
Jimi Bott
June Core
Tom Hambridge
Tony Braunagel
Instrumentalist - Guitar
Anson Funderburgh
Christoffer “Kid” Andersen
Laura Chavez
Monster Mike Welch
Ronnie Earl
Instrumentalist - Harmonica
Billy Branch
Bob Corritore
Dennis Gruenling
Kim Wilson
Mark Hummel
Instrumentalist - Horn
Doug James
Jimmy Carpenter
Kaz Kazzanof
Mindi Abair
Nancy Wright
Vanessa Collier
Instrumentalist - Vocalist
Beth Hart
Danielle Nicole
Janiva Magness
Michael Ledbetter
Shemekia Copeland
Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female)
Fiona Boyes
Lindsay Beaver
Ruthie Foster
Sue Foley
Trudy Lynn
Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
Anthony Geraci
Bruce Katz
Jim Pugh
Marcia Ball
Mike Finnigan
Song of the Year
“Ain’t Got Time For Hate,” written by John Hahn and Will Kimbrough
“Angelina, Angelina,” written by Anthony Geraci
“Cognac,” written by Buddy Guy, Tom Hambridge, Richard Fleming
“No Mercy In This Land,” written by Ben Harper
“The Ice Queen,” written by Sue Foley
Soul Blues Album
Back In Business, Frank Bey
Every Soul’s A Star, Dave Keller
I’m Still Around, Johnny Rawls
Love Makes A Woman, The Knickerbocker All-Stars
Reckoning, Billy Price
Soul Blues Female Artist
Annika Chambers
Barbara Blue
Candi Staton
Thornetta Davis
Whitney Shay
Soul Blues Male Artist
Frank Bey
Johnny Rawls
Sugaray Rayford
Wee Willie Walker
William Bell
Traditional Blues Album
The Blues Is Alive And Well, Buddy Guy
The High Cost Of Low Living, Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling
The Luckiest Man, Ronnie Earl & The Broadcasters
Tribute to Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell & the Bell Dynasty
Why Did You Have To Go, Anthony Geraci
Traditional Blues Male Artist
Anthony Geraci
Cedric Burnside
James Harman
Lurrie Bell
Nick Moss


(Photo by Jennifer Noble)
Finally, the Blues World was rocked by a couple of untimely demises over the past couple of weeks.  Just before the I.B.C.'s began, it was announced that singer/guitarist Mike Ledbetter had suddenly passed away at the very young age of 33.  Ledbetter was nominated for two BMA's for Singer and Entertainer of the Year and for Band of the Year with the Welch-Ledbetter Connection.  Ledbetter and guitarist Monster Mike Welch had won the 2018 BMA for Best Traditional Blues Album for their collaboration, Right Place, Wrong Time (which also made FBF's Top Ten for 2017, for what it's worth).  He also was previously a singer/guitarist in the Nick Moss Band and appeared as a guest vocalist on Ronnie Earl's Father's Day album a couple of years ago.  He was just beginning to make his mark in the blues community, and was from all accounts a devoted family man.  Please keep his friends and family in your thoughts and prayers.

(Photo  by Jennifer Noble)
Singer/guitarist Quintus McCormick passed away earlier this week, after a battle with pancreatic cancer, at age 61.  McCormick's brand of blues leaned heavily on the soul side with his smooth vocals, but he was also a fine Windy City-styled blues guitarist as well.  He relocated from Detroit to Chicago, playing with J.W. Williams' Chi-Town Hustlers while in college, and later backing James Cotton, A.C. Reed, Lefty Dizz, and Otis Clay.  He later formed his own band in the mid-90's and cut three fine albums for Delmark, the most recent was Still Called The Blues, in 2012.


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