Photo Gallery: LRBC January 2013

Jams were everywhere this cruise.

Jams were everywhere this cruise.

Well another great Bluescruise. This one is right up there with the best of the musical variety, each of them have their own vibe and the music on this bad boy was one of the best. From Marquis Knox, to Ray Bonneville straight thru to Otis Taylor, Southern Hospitality, Monkey Junk, Mavis Staples and I could name everyone but . . .
Amazing music, jams, sets and from what I can tell (or remember) everyone had a blast. Staying up way too late, not being drunk but just drinkin’, dancin’ and all the other things involved made this one of the tops ever.
Great to see everyone again and for the first time, see ya in October!





Love, Peace & Chicken Grease

© 2013
Where Blues Thrives
Photos: Blues411

The Blues411 Annual ‘Jimi Awards’ 2012 Edition

This is the third edition of the Blues411 Annual Awards, somehow they seem to have taken on the name of ‘The Jimi’s which is fine with me. Yet whatever we call them, they serve as a vehicle to pay tribute to all the fine musicians and friends that have come into contact with Blues411 this past year. Remember only releases which have been received at our headquarters are eligible for an award, so if ya wanna get one of these babies then get your stuff to us for review.

This third year has seen many changes, new look for site, a 200+ fold of readers, fancy-schmanzy email campaign, regular appearances on Music On The Couch, festival and media partnerships, Tier1 Supporters and so on. It has been unbelieveable to me the growth and success of this venture, thank you all.

The Special Drink of 2012:
Two years we sat back and poured a straight Jameson, last year we were kicking back with a pitcher of  The Gingerbread Housewrecker – this year we are imbibing with a classic cocktail ‘The Manhattan‘. This is mostly due to the fact that it was my departed brother Emil’s long standing favorite. We now raise a glass to him whenever we get together. . So here’s to you ‘old  man’ rest well. For info (

….and away we go (winners in Bold)!

Best Live Recording:
Colin Linden “Still Live”
Suzie Vinnick: “Live at Bluesville”
Sauce Boss: “LIVE at the Green Parrot”
Harper & The Midwest Kind: “LIVE at the Blues Museum”
Sybil Gage: “NOLA Calling”
there was something inside this recording that captured the soul of Harper and the band.

Acoustic Blues Album:
Steve Strongman: “Natural Fact”
Brandon Isaak:  “Ghost Town”
Rory Block: “I Belong To The Band: A Tribute to the Reverend Gary Davis ”
Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King: “Close To The Bone”
Eric Bibb: “Deeper In The Well”
an absolute stunning release featuring the voice of B’nois King and guitar work of Smokin’ Joe Kubek (who shares my birthday).

Best Soul, R&B Release:
Lady Bianca: “Servin’ Notice”
Dorothy Moore: “Blues Heart”
Johnny Rawls: “Soul Survivor”
John Lee Hooker, Jr.: “All Hooked Up”
Barbara Carr: “Keep The Fire Burning”
Mr. Hooker pulls no punches with this one and beats out some very, very excellent releases.

Best Roots Album:
Paul Thorn: “What The Hell Is Goin’ On?”
Little Joe McLerran: “Facebook Blues”
Peter Novelli: “Louisiana Blues & Roots”
Corey Lueck & Smoke Wagon  Blues Band: “It Ain’t Easy”
Tas Cru: “Tired of Bluesmen Cryin'”
Davis Coen: “Hard Luck Cafe”
Davis is a modern day songwriter who covers all his bases with a wide brush and a vocal pallete that is unmistakable. 

Best New Debut Release:
Sena Ehrhardt: “Leave The Lights On”
Ron Tanski: “Dragged You Down”
Royal Southern Brotherhood: “Royal Southern Brotherhood”
Tyler Mac: “Already Home”
Little G Weevil: “The Teaser”
Memphis Cradle: “Love, Lies, Burning”
Cassie Taylor: “Blue”
Solid and formidible start to what may be the next ‘super-group’ of the Blues. Lots of good first releases this year.

Female Vocalist:
Ruthie Foster: “Let It Burn”
Dorothy Moore: “Blues Heart”
Janiva Magness: “Stronger For It”
Cee Cee James: “Blood Red Blues”
Lawrence Lebo: “The Best of Don’t Call Her Larry”
All these ladies are deserving of the award, but Ms. Moore brought something just the other side of ‘spot on’ perfection in all her vocal treatments.

Male Vocalist:
Ian Siegal
Mike Finnigan (Phantom Blues Band)
Bnois King
Freddie Cunningham (Root Doctor)
Dion’s voice has not faltered at all since his younger days, in fact it has mellowed and grown along with his understanding of how to deliver a song.

Guitar Hero (Electric):
Debbie Davies
Jimmy Thackery
Joanne Shaw Taylor
Anders Osborne
Rick Holmstrom
Anthony Gomes
Ms. Davies and Mr. Thackery stand apart from these other worthy folks, I can see no arguement here. Each of these folks brings a new light to the guitar-hero phase of rockin’ blues.

Badass Bass:
Todd Edmunds: Otis Taylor Band
Larry Fulcher: Phantom Blues Band
Joseph Veloz: Mississippi Heat
Lisa Mann: Lisa Mann Band
Mark Bumgarner: Jimmy Thackery Band
This cat can flat out play any style, pace or pattern, a true badass bassist.

Radiating Them 88′s Piano Player:
David Maxwell: “Blues In Other Colors”
Scottie Miller: “Rise Up”
Lee Pons: “Togged To The Bricks”
Joe Fingers: “Tales of Love and Coffee”
Ron Tanski: “Dragged You Down”
Some new, some familiar here, but Mr. Miller showed me much with his versatility and prowess and takes this one home.

Harmonica Player:
Dennis Gruenling
Pierre LaCocque
Sugar Blue
Marco Pandolfi
(Peter) Harper
Mr. Blue still is the most original harp player anywhere on this earth.

Drum Thumper Award:
Eric Selby: Billy Thompson Band
Drum Counselor (Go-Go Ray): Samantha Fish Band
Justin Headley: Sauce Boss/Fatty Waters Band
Larry Thompson: Otis Taylor Band
D’Mar: Paula Harris Band, Chris Gill
His work with Samantha Fish adds such power and feel to her music that he is the rock-solid foundation that all else is built upon.

Instrumentalist Other:
(Peter) Harper: Didgeridoo
Anne Harris: Violin
Phil Parlapiano: Accordian
Harry Manx: Mohan Veena
Chris DiFrancesco: Saxaphone
Ms. Harris has  revitalized the violin in blues music restoring it to a place of prominence.

Coolest Release Title:
JR Clark: “Icicles On My Ceiling”
Mighty Sam McClain: “Too  Much Jesus (And Not Enough Whiskey)”
Kerry Kearney: “Ghosts of Psychedelta”
Paula Harris: “Turning On The Naughty”
RJ Knapp & Honey Robin: “Don’t Blame The Dynamite…If You Can’t Light The Fuse”
Some great titles here, but gotta go with Mr. McClain’s.

Best Traditional Release:
Liz Mandeville: “Clarksdale”
Guy Davis: “The Adventures of Fishy Waters: In Bed With The Blues”
Mississippi Heat: “Delta Time”
Tim ‘Too Slim’ Langford: “Broken Halo”
Brad Vickers & The Vestapolitans: “Dallas Blues”
A recreation of an old timey songs- done with the perfect feel and sense of timing that deserves the award. 

International Release of the Year:
Hans Theessink & Terry Evans: “Delta Time”
Philipp Fankhauser: “Try My Love”
The 24th Street Wailers: “Unshakable”
Ian Siegal: “Candy Store Kid”
Marco  Pandolfi: “Close The Bottle When You’re Done”
This was an amazing year for International releases, if I could, I would put them all up for an awards. No shame in not winning but Mr. Frankhauser gets this award for his stunning release.

Song of The Year:
“Turn Off Your TV”: Walter Trout
“Running From The Devil”: Zac Harmon
“Hard Pressed (Wha Da Fuzz?)”: Ian Siegal
“Hard Times”: John Lee Hooker, Jr.
“I Won’t Cry”: Janiva Magness
“Coming Down With The Blues”: Dorothy Moore
“Mind of A Junkie”: Anders Osborne
This sing-song track whose simple structure and catchy beat hides a deep rooted problem, wins in a very tough category.

Album of the Year:
Otis Taylor: “Contraband”

Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps: “Come On Home”
Lady Bianca: “Servin’ Notice”
Anders Osborne: “Black Eye Galaxy”
Zac Harmon: “Music Is Medicine”
John Lee Hooker, Jr. “All Hooked Up”
Overall Mr. Taylor (and band)’s work on this release sets him atop the pinnacle of his career.

22st Century Distribution Channel Award:
Bea B & The Axxemann: “Born With The Blues”
Franc Robert: “Why Do I Never Win”
Beth McKee: “Next To Nowhere”
spice packet included in press kit wins it!
Lawrence Lebo: “Don’t Call Her Larry”
Gaye Adegblola: “Blues In All Colors”
Some great new ideas out there, but Ms. McKee wins it with the spice packet and instructions for a god time. 

Blues Book of the Year:
When I Left Home: Buddy Guy w/David ritz
Blues Highway Blues: Eyre Price
The Language of The Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu: Debra Devi
The Beautiful Music All Around Us – Field recordings and the Amercian Experience: Stephen Wade
Mr. Price has given us a thriller full of blues, rock and roll and music history complete with rapscallions, thugs, and bad people too!

Outstanding Fan/Supporter of Blues411:
Martin Goettsch
Billy Thompson
Vinny Marini
Pete Enright
Marcia Goodwin Adams
Host of ‘Music On The Couch’ Mr. Marini is live every Monday with Musicians You Should Know, and has found time to feature Blues411 every first Monday of the month.

There were so many great releases and songs this year I am thrilled to have had them in my life. Thanks to Mark Pucci, Frank Roszak, Betsie Brown, Doug Deutsch and all the artists who took the time to feed me the goods so that I may share with all of you.Thank you  to my readers and supporters (as well as artists) who make this worth the  effort. So until next time, this edition of “The Jimi’s” is signing off, see ya in cyber-space.

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
© 2012
Where Blues Thrives


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2011 Riverfront Blues Festival – Smack Dab in the Middle of Everything !

Blues411 had the chance to catch up with Mr. Gene Fontana of the Diamond State Blues Society. We talked about what might be one of the most comfortable and friendly Blues festivals on the East Coast. This year the Riverfront Blues Festival will be held August 5th – 7th, at The Tubman-Garrett Riverfront Park in downtown Wilmington, Delaware.
We were there last year and had a blast, so if you are anywhere near Delaware next weekend, come on out !


B411: Gene, maybe a bit of history on the festival – how long has it been running?

GF: The Festival has been running for 15 years now. First as the Cool Brews & BBQ Fest for the first six years and for nine years as the Riverfront Blues Festival.

B411: It seems to work well with the state and city, is that difficult to accomplish? How did the Diamond State Blues Society get involved with it?
GF:The tie-ins with the City of Wilmington came about when the person booking the festival was not getting it together . The city did not know what was going on, and Tina Betz, working for the City of Wilmington was very knowledgeable about Jazz, but did not know enough about the Blues. The Diamond State Blues Society was somewhat involved by having after-parties, and Tina called me and said Gene I thought I would let you know that there will be no Blues Festival this year so I do not think you can have an after-party.
Stunned by what she was telling me after telling me the reason for canceling it four weeks before I said is there anything that we the blues society can do ? Would you like me to book it for you ? Tina asked how much did I want to get paid ? I said I wanted nothing, I just want this festival to keep going. So in two weeks I put together a stellar lineup with Lonnie Brooks , Chris Cain , Bluestime with J. Geils & Magic Dick , Little Charlie and many other fine acts. In the eight years since, the festival has grown to be one of the best on the East Coast if not in the Country. But all in all the City of Wilmington funds the festival while I do all the bookings for both stages and help out with volunteers. I do have the Boss on site at all times, Tina Betz from the Mayors Office of Cultural Affairs, who keeps me calm when it’s needed. Tina is a great leader and she does know how to iron out issues when they arise. Also we need to mention Bev Zimmerman who also plays a huge role in the festival, getting hotel, gate volunteers. and vendors together and Tanya Philips who is in charge of Hospitality, Vending & Tenting and Ground Transportation for the Artists.

B411: Now some of the acts you have had there in the past are quite amazing, I am just starting to get familiar with the fest, so who were some of the outstanding ones to you?
GF: Bernard Allison, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Charlie Musselwhite, Larry Garner, Marcia Ball, Lonnie Ronnie and Wayne Baker Brooks. Last year alone we had Pine Top Perkins, Bob Margolin, Mojo Buford, Hubert Sumlin, Mike Zito and John Lee Hooker Jr.

B411: Who is on tap for the current festival, I know Super Chikan and The Fighting Cocks, Tab Benoit, James Cotton who else ?
GF: Well, first is Vasti (vast -eye) Jackson from Mississippi. A great performer who goes way back to days of the juke joints. He is a blues guitarist with a sweet soulful sound.

B411: Oh yeh, I saw him last year, what a fun performer !
GF: Then you got that triple threat from New Orleans. Jumpin’ Johnny Sansone, what a harmonica player, Accordion & Guitarist, and his new CD “The Lord Is Waiting & The Devil Is Too” WOW ! It is produced by Anders Osborne. On the release it is Anders, Johnny & a drummer on this CD no bass player. It’s some deep Louisiana sound, something the likes I have never heard before.

B411: Yeh, the drummer is Stanton Moore of Galactic (Cyril Neville plays with them).
Joanne Shaw Taylor is opening the festival Friday right ?

GF: What an up and coming artist she is. Voted Female Blues Artist of The Year, once you see her performance you will agree. Two years ago at the Tampa Bay Blues Festival I had a chance to catch her performance. She got the only standing ovation all weekend. We all looked at one another and said she’s coming to Wilmington.

B411: I am quite excited about seeing the Lowrider Band, this will be great !
GF: Yes, it’s Howard Scott, Lee Oskar, BB Dickerson, Harold Brown along with baby brothers Lance Ellis on Sax , Keith Vinet on Keyboards and Chuck Barber on percussion bringing us the sound fusion from East LA that we all know and love. These are the original composers of the hits: Lowrider, Why Can’t We Be Friends, Spill the Wine, Cisco Kid, Slippin’ Into Darkness, The World is a Ghetto and more. So make their day by flashing the three fingers salute, smile and get your groove on.

B411: Gary Allegretto, native of Wilmington DE., will be there performing and with his ‘Harmonikids’.
GF:  Gary is very excited this year winning the “Keepin’ The Blues Alive Award ” for his Harmonikids Project which he takes around the world and thank Hohner for being a big part of his accomplishment.

B411: I even took part in his lesson last year, and I was able to play! He is playing on which of the two stages?
GF: Gary will be performing on what we call the Tweener Stage. Local & Regional Bands doing 30min sets in between the Main Stage Sets. Performing are Kenny Jones & Blues Streak, Randy Lippincott (Former Band Leader for the Late Great Johnny Clyde Copeland), April Mae & The June Bugs , Gary Allegretto, Mikey Junior & Stone Cold Blues (Diamond State Blues Society’s IBC Entry in 2011), Blue Cat Blues, Flamin’ Harry, Venom Blues and Zydeco A Go Go.
Oh don’t forget both Friday Aug 5th, and Saturday Aug 6th we will have after-party jams featuring Travis Haddix on Friday and Victor Wainwright & The WildRoots on Saturday night.

B411: Thanks for doing this talk, and for the festival. Anything else we need to know about the Diamond State Blues Society or their activities?
GF: The Diamond State Blues Society 501c3 is a non profit Organization dedicated to keepin the blues alive in the Tri State Area. Stay tuned to our website ( for the line up for September 24th 2011 – Battle Of The Bands: Goin’ To Memphis. and November 10th Blues Harvest 2011 @ J.B McGinnis Pub & Grille.
Some exciting news in mid to late 2012, a new blues club will be coming to Saint Georges Delaware attached to The Saint Georges Country Store this will be the new home for the Diamond State Blues Society. Anyone can become a member of the blues society by sending a check or money order to:
DSBS P.O. Box 863 Middletown , Delaware 19709 $15 single membership /$25 family /$50 Corp.
Let’s all help to keep the blues alive ! See ya the Festival.

Until next time, Love, Peace & Chicken Grease,
© 2011

photos: Leslie K. Joseph

LRBC –Another Great Day to Be At Sea

Virgins report to the Pool Deck to get leid – repeat offenders to the lounge for the returnee party. Virgins get treated to performances by ‘virgin’ acts, this year it was Lightin’ Malcolm and Cedric Burnside aka Two Man Wrecking Crew, and Grady Champion. Which isnt too shabby, oh yeh, along with champagne, mimosas’ or bloody mary’s. My only concern was that it might be a little cold up there.

Repeat Offenders settle into the lounge and were treated to the ‘Coffee and Chicken Review’. This is a song written by Jimmy Thackery about Smokin’ Joe Kubeks’ need for coffee on a regular basis (many times a day) while on the road and his partner in the Blues, Bnois King’s diet – which consists of KFC. Of course there were plenty of drinks available to the returnees to begin their day. Aforementioned, Grady Champion wowed the crowd on the deck with his band which consist of Nathan Keck (a talented young guitarist), Chis Gill on slide, Xavres Good on drums and Marquis Champion (Grady’s) son, on drums. With a voice that is a fiery mixture of grit and soul, and harp playing that is both energetic and accomplished, Mr. Champion would appear to be a fast rising star, and new favorite of the cruise.

Elvin Bishops’ Raisin’ Hell Revue featured a wonderful assortment of talented musicians such as Kid Anderson and Bob Welsh on guitar (along with Elvin). A dynamic horn section with Brother Ed Early on ‘bone, Terry Hanck on sax, versatile keyboardist and accordionist, Steve Willis, Ruth Davies on bass, and Bobby Cochran on drums. Throw in Finis Tasby, and John Nemeth and you won’t find a better revue anywhere. All took the spotlight on various numbers but Terry Hanck wowed the crowd with some searing vocals and nasty sax work. Not to be outdone was John Nemeth whose voice is so very fine that it defies description. A big plus to Kid Anderson and Elvin for their fun verbal fisticuffs concerning the nattily attired Kid, vs. the down home Elvin wardrobe.

Deciding to actually eat dinner tonight we hit the Rotterdam dining room dressed in theme appropriate (Soul Blues Night) attire. Not many cruisers seemed to get the ‘theme thing’ here but that could be attributed to the large number of ‘virgin’ cruisers on the West Coast cruise. Had the opportunity to spend some quality time with XM 74’s ‘voice of god’ Big Llou and learned of how much he is enjoying working with XM and just how amazed he is at the Blues community caring and friendliness, and how he seems to have, also, found his tribe.

In order to work off a seriously full course meal, the pool deck featured a full nights worth of entertainment starting with Coco Montoya. His performance was a sign of how great a blues player he really is and his band just kicked butt and continued to every time we saw him.

Next up was the much anticipated appearance of Johnny & Edgar Winter. It is great to have Johnny back on the scene and Edgar was looking healthy and at the top of his musical game. Each taking turns to feature their works, and then jamming together at the end of the set. If you want to read a wonderful book about Johnny’s life please consider Mary Lou Sullivan’s’ “Raising Cain’ it is a wonderful in depth biography and highly recommend it.

Hoping to move around somewhat – and get off the pool deck (still) – I planned on seeing the beginning of the Low Rider Pro-Jam, and moving to the Piano Bar after a while. As they say (whoever they are) the road to Hades is paved with good intentions. So instead of Slippin’ into darkness, and asking the musical question, why can’t we be friends? I hung out with the Cisco Kid and realised that the World is a Ghetto and got sucked into the Pro-Jam hosted by Low Rider Band. Wait – weren’t those songs by War ? Well yeh, the Low rider Band are the majority of artists from he original band War. As funky as ever they kept us dancing thru the late night into he early morning hours. Fronted by vocalist/guitar player Howard Scott, Lee Oskar on harmonica, drummer Harold Brown (as funky as anyone) they ripped a few fav’s fro over the years and then brought up Mr. Larry McCray, Sister Monica Parker, Dennis Jones and a host of others as we ventured into P-Funk, James Brown and some down home tasty soul-stirring funk. With nothing left in the tank it signaled it was time to end of Day 2.

Highlight: The Low Rider Pro-Jam with MC’s Big Llou, and Scrap Iron and the refusal of the band to quit it – they just kept doing it again and again.

Up next Day 3 Cabo, Fish Tacos, Pacifico and love or confusion . . .

Until next time,

Love,Peace & Chicken Grease

© 2010