Loose Blues News


February 1997


JUNO: The five Juno nominees for the blues and gospel award this year are Fire by Tongues of Fire, Sixteen Shades of Blues, The Whiteley Brothers, If My Daddy Could See Me Now, Johnny V, Right To Sing The Blues, Long John Baldry and Alive and Loose by Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne. The winner will be announced at Copps Coliseum in Hamilton at the Juno Awards on March 9th.

Photo by David Hill (Courtesy Showtime Music Archives)

Bobby 'Blue' Bland. Photo by David Hill (Courtesy Showtime Music Archives)

Bobby 'Blue' Bland. Photo by David Hill (Courtesy Showtime Music Archives)

Blues Grammies:The Blues-L news group on the `Net reports that Bobby `Blue’ Bland is to receive a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammies. No member of the TBS will doubt that he deserves it (the question of why now does come up though) and it will get a few of us to pay more attention to the show. Bland said, in an article in a Jackson, Miss. paper, the award had been “a long time coming,” but that he was thrilled. “It’s right on time. Better late than never.” He said the only thing that can top this award is the Nobel Prize, and that “if they’ve got one hanging around and they think I deserve it, I’d appreciate it. Bland noted in the article that he was also honored recently in B.B. King‘s autobiography, when King called Bobby his favorite singer. Bland said his favorite singers are Nat King Cole, Tony Bennett and — B.B. King.

Others to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award on Feb. 26 are Judy Garland, Buddy Holly and Frank Zappa.

Blues did well in other categories-there are some 89 of them-including nominations for:

Best Box Packaging for Blues, Boogie & Bop: The 1940′s Mercury Sessions Michael Lang, David Lau & Giulio Turturro, Art Directors

Best Album Notes for Mean Old World-The Blues From 1940 To 1994, Lawrence Hoffman, writer and Bessie Smith: The Complete Recordings Vol. 5: The Final Years, Chris Albertson, writer

Best Historical Album for The Mercury Blues & Rhythm Story 1945-1955, Jim Fishel & Barbara Lyn Micale, Producers

The two categories that mean the most are:

Best Traditional Blues Album:

Deep In The Blues James Cotton, Verve

Found True Love John Hammond, Pointblank

You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I’m Dead & Gone) The Muddy Waters Tribute Band, TelarcBlues

Come On In This House Junior Wells With Guest Slide Guitarists, TelarcBlues

Live At The Mint Jimmy Witherspoon, On The Spot/Private Music

Best Contemporary Blues Album:

Sad Street Bobby Bland, Malaco

Long Way Home Clarence `Gatemouth’ Brown, Verve

A Man Amongst Men Bo Diddley, Code Blue/Atlantic

Live! The Real Deal Buddy Guy With G. E. Smith & The Satuday Night Live Band, Silvertone

Just Like You Keb’ Mo’, Okeh/Epic

Phantom Blues Taj Mahal, Private Music

In Jazz, a nominee for Best Vocal Performance is Cassandra Wilson for New Moon Daughter on Blue Note

In the major, i.e., rock, categories, some friends of the blues are nominated:

for Best Rock Album: Road Tested, Bonnie Raitt, Capitol, Bonnie Raitt & Don Was, producers

for Best Single, Song, & Rock Vocal Performance:’Give Me One Reason’ Tracy Chapman, Elektra

for Best Rock Instrumental Performance:

`Green Onions, Booker T & The MG’s, Columbia

and `SRV Shuffle’, Jimmy Vaughan, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, Robert Cray, B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Dr. John & Art Neville, Epic

Rent Party: There will benefit for Steven C. at Grossman’s Sunday, February 16 from 8pm to closing. Steven, a local artist who has put in plenty of stage time on benefits for others, now finds himself in dire straits. For more information call Joe McLeod at 530-1418.

Gary Kendall‘s back at the Black Swan (for a new Wednesday night jam). This one is a jam with a difference: Gary and pianist Brian Fraser, with various drummers, will accompany whoever comes out, no waiting, no auditions. Also invited are jugglers, comedians, tap dancers, magicians, monologists and other types of performers. It promises to be an entertaining night for performers and audience alike.

Blues Radio News: If you are lucky enough to be near the transmitters of CFMU-FM (93.3)in Hamilton or CKRW-FM (94.7) in London, you can listen to lots of blues radio. CFMU is McMaster U.’s station and has these shows in its broadcast week:

Tues. 6-7pm -The Blues Experience w/Mike Wallace; Thurs. 10-12am - Paul Panchezak of Trickbag; Thurs. 10-11pm - Mr. Pointed Shoes w/Dennis Smith; Fri. 12:30-2pm - Blues du Jour w/Steve Gash. Gash is also the music director at the station and, with that amount of blues airtime, he is interested in acquiring as much in the way of blues recordings as possible. Steve Gash can be reached at: 301 Hamilton Hall, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, L8S 4K1. cfmumus@msu.mcmaster.ca

Chris Murphy and John Hovenaris have doubled the blues airtime at CKRW, alternating in the two-hour slot preceding Karen McCassery‘s long-running Chicken Soup Boogie. More blues radio in London Wednesdays, 8pm-midnight. They can be reached at CKRW-FM, U.C.C. Bldg., Rm. 222, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, N6A 3K7.

Chicago Blues Festival Announcement: The 14th Annual Chicago Blues Festival, the largest free admission blues fest in the world, has added a fourth day. It will now run Thurs. to Sun. June 4-8, 1997, at Grant Park. This year’s fest will celebrate Memphis Minnie, Sam Chatmon and Blind Lemon Jefferson, all of whom would have been 100 years old this year. Also confirmed is Rufus Thomas, the world’s `Oldest Living Teenager’, who turns 80 this year.

A little earlier in the calendar, Chicago is holding its fourth Winterbreak Blues Weekend, Feb. 6-10. The main event is a Jim Belushi and The Sacred Hearts Band Concert at The House Of Blues, Sunday, Feb 9. Seminars and free concerts are to be held throughout the weekend, call (312) 744-3370 for details.

Collectors Notice: Mosaic box set sale – one (1) copy of the Lightnin’ Hopkins/Otis Spann Candide Sessions 3-CD set ($75) and one (1) of the Complete T-Bone Walker 6-CD set ($150), both in mint condition. Call (416) 486-9502.

Folk Alliance Diversions: A number of musicians in town for the North American Folk Alliance Conference, have made plans to perform in town after hours: Kelly Joe Phelps, the lap top slide player & vocalist from Portland, Oregon, is joining Carlos del Junco at Gate 403 on Fri. Feb. 14. Montreal’s Ray Bonneville performs at Chicago’s on Feb. 13.

Folk Achievers: Legendary performer Bruce “Utah” Phillips and Arhoolie Records founder Chris Strachwitz have been named this year’s recipients of lifetime achievement awards by the Folk Alliance. Awards and biographical film tributes will be presented on Thursday, Feb. 13th during the 9th Annual conference of the Folk Alliance at the Westin Harbour Castle in Toronto. Both Phillips and Strachwitz will be on hand to receive their awards. Presenting the award to Phillips will be Ani DiFranco and Gary Crystall (Canada Council); presenting the award to Strachwitz will be Marc and Ann Savoy.

Chris Strachwitz. Photo courtesy Showtime Music Archives.

Chris Strachwitz. Photo courtesy Showtime Music Archives.

Chris Strachwitz was born in Germany, emigrated to the U.S. at age sixteen, and became an avid collector of 78 rpm recordings of various vernacular traditions. He began his career in the independent music industry by founding Arhoolie Records. Inspired by meeting Lightnin’ Hopkins in Houston, Texas in 1959, Strachwitz returned to Texas in 1960, determined to record Hopkins. Due to lack of money and equipment, that plan never materialized, but other recordings made during that trip to Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi, became the first recordings to emerge from the label. He has recorded many legendary blues artists, (and ultimately did record Hopkins), Cajun, Zydeco, Tex-Mex, Gospel, and jazz musicians, including Libba Cotton, Flaco Jimenez, Clifton Chenier, Michael Doucet, Santiago Jimenez, Big Mama Thornton, Country Joe & The Fish and many, many others. Strachwitz is one of the world’s leading documentors of Texas Mexican border music, has worked with filmmaker Les Blank, and received the 1995 NAIRD Hall of Fame Award. Several Arhoolie titles have won Grammy Awards or nominations. “My involvement with the musics I love is not only from a business point”, he says, “but it’s my life’s passion.”

Norman Blakely 1943-1997: Norman B. did the first R&B radio show in Ontario. Where It’s At began in 1967 on CKFH, and ran from 1-6 am every night. The show is credited with bringing back the R&B revival to Toronto. Although hugely popular, it ran into pressure from advertisers, according to station management, who dropped the show after 6 months. Blakely was able to continue his pioneering show on CKBB in Barrie before landing at FM 108 in Burlington, as morning man & program director. A profile of Blakely’s career was published in The Westcoast Blues Review (now The Real Blues) in its December ’94 issue. He died suddenly of a heart attack on January 19.

On a regional “note”, Burlington’s D.J. Jones is taking a break from his band D.J. Jones & The Perfect Note in order to tour with the legendary Ink Spots. Originally from Louisiana, Jones moved to Canada several years ago after a colourful musical history, including a stint as sideman to James Brown. The Ink Spots have been “spotted” at several local Hamilton pubs as they prepare to embark on a tour that includes dates coast to coast in Canada, as well as Las Vegas, L.A., and possibly Europe. Jones can also be seen on a few TV commercials, most notably portraying a blues guitar player with arthritis in a spot for Bayer Aspirin.

Musicans Take Note: Honey Jam 5 Auditions: PhemPhat Productions is looking for female artists representing jazz, gospel, rhythm & blues and other musical styles, to perform at Honey Jam 5 all-female talent showcase in June. All interested should attend an audition at 11:00am, April 5, at Lee’s Palace, 529 Bloor St. W. Bring a bio, photo, background music on cassette. Call (416) 599-5948, ext. 1

- Collected and Compiled by Derek Andrews, Brian Blain, Barbara Isherwood and Lily Sazz


Still Going Strong

by Al Lerman

John Tilden

John Tilden

John Tilden is one of the busiest guitarists around town. He also teaches at the Twelfh Fret and has an instructional video out on slide and rhythm playing (see classifieds for ordering info).

Current live project: Danny Brooks, Jani Lauzon, The Jetsons.

Most Recent Gig: “Working in a few bands I’m always working somewhere.

Local acts he’s played with: Whiskey Howl, Cueball, Wooden Teeth, Mondo Combo.

International acts he’s played with: Otis Rush, Lowel Fulson, Etta James, Johnny Adams, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Dr. John.

Favorite moment: “Playing with the above mentioned artists.”