The 411 in 15: Laurie Morvan Skinny Chick with Big Game !

B411: Was it/is it difficult for a lady who plays guitar to be taken seriously or to get work?
LM: At this point it is hard for everyone, it’s not just hard for woman. I don’t want it to sound like its women complaining – it isn’t – the music is so hard. Now woman do have a different flavor of trouble. When I started playing, this was in the late 80’s, there were people who treated you as a novelty, instead of as an artist, and nobody wants that. Yeah there have been times that I was frustrated – things that I couldn’t get, shows that I couldn’t get on.
There was this one club that I could just never get in, and I knew I belonged there. So I had one of my male friends try to book me in – ya know man to man. He came back and said to me that he never realized how hard it was for a female guitar player to get booked. He said it was so eye-opening for him, the guy told him women shouldn’t be playing – so I never got booked there till he sold it and BOOM I got booked.
Inappropriate things have been said to me, or you are not being taken seriously, but ya know what, as I said everyone has a different flavor of hardship that they go thru – it’s all blah, blah, blah – but once you do get on stage and you play your ass off, then who’s gonna argue with you after that?
Sometimes the doors don’t get opened for you and sometimes it still happens. There have been festivals where I have been told ‘we already booked our woman’ singular. I have been told that within the last couple of years. My lord there are like twelve male acts but there can only be one woman. I kinda shake my head, it’s like the woman are a genre ! That can be a little weird but all that being said there may also be a guy who can’t get on because they might have a guy who already plays a purple guitar – see what I’m saying, it’s all different flavors of hardship we all get them thrown at us in some form, but yes it is different in some cases for women.

B411: Yeh I understand, but I am not a women and I (and possibly other men) don’t know what it’s like. The very first time I saw Bonnie Raitt (in like 1978) since there was no other female that I could relate her playing to I said she played it like a man. I think that the lack of women guitar players created that thought in my mind – I had no where else to go with it, no prior experience.
LM: Yeah people say that to me ‘you play guitar like a guy’ and I say no I play like a girl – this is exactly how a woman plays a guitar. I am a woman and I play guitar so this is it !

B411: Candye Kane told me her response to someone saying that Laura Chavez played like a man, it was something to the effect that she’s playing it with her hands not her female parts, hands are non-gender specific !
LM: Great answer. You try to stay low key about that. I have been playing along time now. The Blues world might be just discovering me in the last four or five years but I’ve been pounding in the clubs. I used to play Rock & Roll and found my way to the Blues. I wish I could have been exposed to the Blues when I was eighteen, but I didn’t know anyone who was listening to it. I just wasn’t exposed to it, and that’s what it takes, you need to have access to it to know you love it.
That’s what the Blues was like to me, when I first heard it I was like ‘ahh what is this beautiful music that I have just never been exposed to’, and then I went after it.

B411: So you come from a Rock background ?
LM: I was in a power trio, it was the late 80’s early 90’s. Stuff like Heart, Pat Benatar, Jimi Hendrix, we did Eric Clapton, and it starts to point in that direction, then Stevie Ray Vaughn – who is this Stevie guy ? It’s such a wonderful musical palette all the forms of it. But what gets my heart pumping is the Rock & Roll influenced Blues, I just love it. My desert island music is Stevie Ray Vaughn. He was my gateway to the Blues so I will always love him and his style of Blues. It’s kinda like your first love which you never will forget.

B411: Any other influences that you found when you went back to the Blues?
LM: Bonnie Raitt, of course. But again, I came through Pop Music to discover it. So you listen to her pop tunes and then to some of her older stuff and realize how cool they were and want to learn more about all of it. I think one of the greatest songwriters in the whole wide world ever was Freddie King. To me the breadth of his songwriting and the influence it still has is just incredible.
I consider myself a songwriter first, and you know how much I like to play guitar, but to me music is all about the song. Without a real song the guitar playing would have no meaning. The guitar is there to serve the song and help energize the people. But I think the song will transcend and that’s whats gonna last. Sure Freddie King was a great guitar player, but what we remember are his songs. That’s what stirs peoples hearts, I’ve always admired that about him.

B411: He was the complete package for sure. It pays to be able to play and sing – to get that spirit level to a good balance, as I said the whole package.
LM: Yes, I sort of liken it to track and field where you can have the worlds greatest 100 yard sprinter, the worlds best shot putter, the world’s best high jumper and no one else can do these things better. But then you have the decathlete, people who can do many things and do it all well. They never will be the best at any one thing and that’s the way I look at musicians like me. You always find a better singer than me, or guitar player or business manager but I have to do ten things in my band and have to do them all well. So when you are going for that total package your brain has to multitask therefore you can’t specialize. It all kind of comes around to where in track and field you have the decathlete in the Blues you have the entertainer. You become the complete entertainer, can you talk to the audience? Can you relate to them, do you have stories behind your songs…..but there are only 24 hours a day, I am interested in a lot of things so being an entertainer is what I see myself as globally. I want people to have a good time, I want people to walk away from my show saying it was a good way to spend some time, they felt the fellowship with the band and their music. So all the other parts feed the main goal as being a great entertainer.

Visit Laurie on her web site:

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
© 2011
photos: Leslie K. Joseph

Office Music: Holidays With The Ladies

With Thanksgiving and other holidays here I thought we’d go back to the Office at Blues411 Worldwide headquarters, and give a listen to what’s we are spinning on the system. These have been all about the ladies of late, since they are toiling away putting out music for us all to enjoy I thought we need to say thanks to them.

Cassie Taylor: Blue (hypertension-music)

Cassie Taylor has been around the music scene since she was a child and it sounds like it has seeped into her being and that is good. The eldest daughter of American Blues man/Trance Blues pioneer Otis Taylor, one can only think of what her youth must have held for her.

Her latest release ‘Blue’ is a very well produced package of original songs that certainly have a Cassie stamp on them. Sultry voiced Ms. Taylor works her way around the coming of age in various ways.
In ‘Spoken For’ she sings of taunts and discrete dalliances that she finds herself engaged in. Obviously she stills finds titillating thrills and a certain pleasure/pain in the flirting, but in her heart she knows it is doomed to go any further. These words done in a sing-song manner over a funky hard and twanging electric guitar that belies the depth of the emotions that are bubbling up just under the skin of this woman-child. Are there second thoughts? Who knows, but it makes for a super song and feel.

“Bought Borrowed Stolen’ is a tender ballad where our heroine expresses the depth of the love that she feels. Pledging a lifetime of love and apparent servitude is quite unlike the Cassie we see on stage, defiant, self-confident and all powerful – this track shows an amazing depth to the emotional cauldron that exists just beneath her surface.

Equally adopt at piano or bass, Ms. Taylor offers a calm sea of music that disguises the tumultuous emotions that exist just under the surface. On ‘Waste of Time’ she navigates the last year of a failed relationship and sums it up with one of my favorite lines this year, ‘…you’re a beautiful waste of time’.

While on the surface this release may seem run of the mill and not especially ‘blues’ based, I think it serves us all well to look and listen hard to this music she offers. Her pedigree is undeniable, her talent unquestioned, and what she brings to the table is not necessarily the Blues but it is heart felt and to turn our back on it without giving it a listen would be a serious mistake.

Sunday Wilde: What Man!?? Oh That Man !! (self-released)

OK I was drawn in by the title, plus any lady who bangs those 88’s is always worth a look-see. A funky opening number ‘THAT Man Drives Me Mad’ is a rolling statement of the problems with a man that is both wild and lovable. A very funky, earthy honky tonk number featuring Sundays’ exaggerated breathing and fun sound effects makes it a great table setter for whats to come.

We slow it down with ‘Sunday’s Midnight Blues’. Ms. Wilde goes sultry but with a certain cigarette stained vocal approach we hear of her predicament to an almost funereal piano stroll, accompanied by a minimal upright bass by Ronnie Haywood, and fine nylon stringed guitar work by David West, that creates a great mood piece thoughtfully presented.

A different track is ‘Manning Street Sweet Talker’ wherein the sweet talker is a sugar daddy to married women whom he seems to play at will and well to boot. That is up until they all rise up against him and advise him to pack his suitcase and trunk and get out while he still can. An interesting portrait of the power of women when they unite against a scoundrel (even though they all share him, but the race has been run and it’s time to go). No hard feelings, just get on out of here.

Ms. Wilde hails from the wilds of Northern Ontario, and seems to draw influences from the likes of Ruth Brown, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Tom Waits as well as calling upon the inner feelings of grief, sadness, joy and,of course love ! She presents herself as a tormented but joyful soul who is quite happy with where she is for it is her muse that must be cared for and nurtured.

This 11 track release of original songs by Ms. Wilde has a smooth jazz-tinged feel but with just enough of the wrong side of the track heritage to make for an enjoyable listen, that one should repeat as necessary.

Amy Hart: Congratulations (Painted Rock Records)

This release returns Ms. Hart to her ‘blues’ sensibilities. Having grown up in Chicago and opened for the likes of Junior Wells and Koko Taylor her roots are strong and they are shown off very well here.

Opening with the title track ‘Congratulations’ we have a nice shuffle that at once introduces Ms. Harts’ voice and song writing talents. Dealing with bottom of the barrel life situations termed as hitting the jackpot, and shooting the moon which leads to the road to redemption by getting the blues.

Another interesting topic is ‘Put Me Back’ a rhythmic prayer to the Lord to Put Me Back together right this time. Penned as an every woman “dilemma, she is scattered on the carpet, sprinkled on the floor and other domestic situations. Kids are screaming, dog has up and died, baby’s started drinkin’ and when he does he likes to fight”. This is done to with a steady beat, that has a rock-a-billy meets the blues edge to it. Another fine display of her songwriting abilities and feel for the subject.

‘Rich Ass Daddy’ is a rockin’ statement that states outright that she needs a big fat rich ass daddy to take care of her and the young buck broke-assed punks should let her be. It harkens to a phrase my daddy once told me before passing, ‘it’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich girl as it is with a poor girl, so choose wisely’. HAH ! A fun upbeat song that I can see becoming a theme of sorts for the women in the audiences as she tours.

This is a fine release of ten well-written with songs dressed up nicely and ready to be seen marching in the cotillion through the streets and clubs along Blues Street. Stop and give them a listen and get a feel for what goes on inside the heart and soul of Ms. Hart, and when you are through, offer her congratulations on a very tasty release.

Sandy Carroll: Just As I Am (Catfood Records)

Ms. Sandy Carroll is originally from McNairy County,Tennessee, (home of Buford Pusser) but considers Memphis her musical home. The wide variety of musical styles within this ten track release of original songs shows that sometimes adopted homes offer a richer, fuller experience than original ones.

Starting with ‘Blessed Be’ a joyous song of redemption that seems to compile all the energy, spirit and feeling that one generates when they are genuinely thankful for something. To help the listener along with that feel are the duo of Ms. Reba Russell and Ms. ‘Pie’ Hill who certainly deliver us to that hallowed doorstep.

Keeping the spirituality the same but with a New Orleans style feel we are exposed to a sweet and, and quite possibly cynical look at aging. ‘Help Mother Nature’ will rock your head to the beat and then slap at it with the lyrics that display the options available to women of a certain age (and younger) to help mother nature along.

Hard rockin’ blues based ‘HeartFixin’ Man’ is the eternal question. Is you or ain’t you the one? It also serves as a reminder that even in these times of cell phones, twelve hour work days and social media obsessions love can still fix the heart – ya just gotta give it a try.

“Waiting for The Storm’ is a more traditional three in the morning blues number is nicely crafted. Depicting that feeling that you get knowing that the storm is gonna hit the fan. Evan Leake does some fine understated but gritty guitar work on this number and along with the background vocalists creates a wonderful sound-scape that captures the tension of the hour.

A Goddess song with a funky groove is what Ms. Carroll gives us on ‘Messin’ With Me’. A flat out statement that leaves no doubt that what we have here is a full-grown woman who knows what it takes and has the power to deal it out.

With her husband, Grammy winning Jim Gaines, and a fine group of musicians Ms. Carroll has given us a well-rounded and soulful release, not overly produced and true to the title ‘Just As I Am’.

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
© 2011
photos: Courtesy of artists

Wonderful Photos of October Cruise from Jan Schneider

Hey y’all – it is not often that we get a treat of this kind here at Blues411. Jan Schneider, photographer from The Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise has given me a DVD of photos to share with everyone so this is the best way I can think of doing it.

By putting it here anyone can access it, cruisers from the LRBC chat room, Facebook friends, random folks and all of us. There are about 90 or so shots taken throughout the cruise, some of artists on stage – some of them relaxing with each other. Super shots of cruisers as the parade about the ship in costumes, others are candid shots of us watching the artists play. Oh yeh, of course some arty shots thrown in for good measure.

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do, they are quite remarkable and I thank her so very much for sharing and making them available to us all. As she said to me ‘all the cruisers were deep in the bluesin’ zone’, and I thinkshe captured those sentiemnts appropriately.

To view all of them please visit here:

You can also visit jan’s slideshows at:

So next time you see her, tell her thanks. You can most likely find her just as she is in this photo of her busy at work.


Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
© 2011, Jan Schneider.
photos: Jan Schneider

The 411 in 15: Jimmy Thackery on JP Soars & Hydraulic Horns

Blues411 caught up with Mr. Jimmy Thackery and discussed with him why he added horns and selected JP Soars to be part of his tour for the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise.

411: Jimmy thanks for the time, you can play with anyone you want. Actually people are lining up toplay with you ! How did you select JP Soars and add horns for your stint on the cruise?

JT: I just met JP recently I was in Columbus, Ohio doing a Blues For The Cure festival. One of the things they do is a commemorative CD of all the artists after it’s over, shove all the artists in the studio have a big jam and record it all. Well, I went there and it was a small studio and jammed with all these wonderful musicians. JP happened to be on the mic when I got there – I’ve been in the business forty one years and I pride myself on being able to say ‘that guys got something special’ – and I got the vibe from him right away.

So we got to talking and we realized that he is originally from where I am currently living now in Northwest Arkansas. I said hey if you’re back in the neighborhood give me a call and we can jam or whatever, ya know. Well he did ! Most people don’t do that ya know. He said look I’m at my old mans’ place and got the whole band with me and we are going to be bored to tears we got seven days off so let’s get together and jam. I said let’s get together and jam and get paid for it ! So I called my little local watering hole and they offered us a date. So he hauls his whole thing in there and we played for the door and had a blast. I just think he has something special.

Now fortunately for me when I do these cruises Roger has always been kind enough to me where I can augment my little trio and do something special. This time around I thought of bringing some horns and felt we needed something else – how about JP what a great idea.

JP is riding around in a mini-van playing all the gigs he can get. He doesn’t have the representation some of us have. I’m really trying to get him, not that I need to, he’s doing it on his own, but I am pushing him into the limelight so eventually someone will represent him they way he deserves. You have to realize that he is from a heavy metal background in South Florida. Then he somehow discovered the blues. That’s somewhat backwards because heavy metal came from the blues, but…So somewhere along the line I thought that he would be a great thing to throw into the mix for my shows here on the LRBC.

Fortunately we all speak the secret language of the Blues, which means all we have to do is burn a CD of the material and send it out we don’t have to do major rehearsals or things like that. The two horn players have never met, and neither of them knew JP, never heard of him. This is like a summit, here’s the record learn the material and we will all meet in Charlotte for a gig and act like we knew each other all our life. Which is what we did.

411: You seem comfortable playing any style of music, country shit-kicking with Tab, power trio so why not?

JT: I’ve had bands with horns and that kind of thing. The last cruise I was on was last year, this one. I came as a floater. Kim (Wilson) had a band with horns and it sounded so greasy and loose and cool I thought I could put together and whole horn section with trumpets, trombones and saxes but that’s a whole other approach. It has to be very tight, precise well organized, well written out – charts tight. No, but if I just bring the bari(tone) and the tenor (sax) it’s easy and fun we can pretty much wing it.

411: I’ve learned that many guys will use East or West coast players instead of bringing the whole band on tour, that’s fascinating to me, sorta like a traveling pocket express.

JT: It is sorta like a secret handshake, in a way. The form itself is a really simple form – a tonic, sub-dominate and a dominate. The most stripped down form there is – but within that form and within this genre there is a lot of variety on every level. So everybody can bring something to the party. Because we are dealing with such a nice simpler form it makes it even freer. I believe that if you are dealing with Jazz you might need to be a bit more restrictive wherein this is like a free bird (OMG).

411: So true, it is funny thought many people think that jazz is the free-from of music to end all.

JT: Well, just remember that Blues came first, Jazz followed Blues.

For more on this master of the six strings, visit:

You can check out JP site at:

We have over 30 photos from the Pool Deck performance here:

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
© 2011
photos: Leslie K. Joseph