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Published March 18, 2011 in Loose Blues News, News

December 1997

Alabama Red

Alabama Red

Electro-Fi recording artist Alabama Red will perform at The Silver Dollar Room Saturday, Dec. 13 with The Signifying Monkey. He’s in town recording with Al Lerman producing. Brother Curtis Ray was born in Alabama but has lived in Chicago since the forties. He has been a fixture on the Southside Chicago club scene for years and is making his first Toronto appearance. Red has performed with Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters, Dinah Washington, Rice Miller & Howlin’ Wolf, and is known in the southside for his vocals and songwriting. He has recorded a few hard to find 45’s over the years but his Electro-Fi CD, to be released next summer, will be his first. An added feature will be Sandra Tooze, who will be on hand to sign copies of her critically acclaimed biography “Muddy Waters: The Mojo Man”. She will also be at The Blue Goose on Dec. 5th.

Notice of the Toronto Blues Society
ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING Tuesday, December 9, 1997, 8pm
Toronto Blues Society Office
910 Queen St. W., Suite B04
Toronto ON M6J 1G6
(416) 538-3885

All Charter, Family, Benefactor and Institutional Members are welcome to attend

Coffee House Blues: A new folk club has risen in the east (the Beaches, that is) at the Birchcliff United Church, 33 East Rd., Corner of Kingston Rd. & Warden Ave. The presenters are Acoustic Harvest – Toronto’s East End Folk and we are happy to report some blues content in their programming starting with Rick Fines on Dec. 13th (8pm, Admission: $10).

Bluestock is the new blues showcase event that will from now on incorporate the Amateur Talent Contest to be run annually during the 3rd weekend of November by The Blues Foundation. Following in the Robin Bank$ Blues Band‘s footsteps, this year’s TBS New Talent Search winners, the Rockin’ Highliners, went down to Memphis to try their hand. They, unfortunately, met the same fate: hugely popular with the judges but when it came to voting, they did not place in the finals. Word has it they enjoyed themselves immensely on their first trip to Memphis. Well done, guys!

Johnny Adams has been in failing health but made an appearance at a benefit in his honour at the Rock’n’Bowl. The club was packed and a considerable amount of money was raised. Johnny entered with his own State Police escort and even sang a song at the end of the night. Reports indicate he may yet be able to complete a planned recording for Rounder.

Paul Oliver’s Blues Cont’d.: Architect by day and blues authority by lifelong hobby, England’s Paul Oliver has written some of the most influential books on blues ever and not just because they were among the very first. Conversation With The Blues, his third book, was first published in 1965, the result of a summer’s worth of field recordings done in the U.S. in 1960. With a new preface and annotations, it now joins his other early books returning to availability in a handsome edition on Cambridge University Press. The companion LP, issued at the time on Decca Records (now very rare), that contained excerpts of the music and conversation he recorded, is expanded and available as a CD that comes with the book. If you want to know more about Oliver, a 70th birthday tribute is available in Blues & Rhythm # 120. or at

Robert Palmer 1945-1997: The author of the book Deep Blues, producer and host of the film Deep Blues, producer of the soundtrack of Deep Blues and some unforgettable Fat Possum recordings, Palmer died of liver disease while awaiting a transplant in a New York hospital. The noted journalist and teacher had been ill for some time. Palmer was the chief popular music critic for the New York Times from 1981 to 1988, but his most seminal work is the book “Deep Blues.” He also wrote “Jerry Lee Lewis Rocks!,” “The Rolling Stones” and, more recently, “Rock & Roll: An Unruly History.” He was also a longtime contributing editor to Rolling Stone.

In addition to to writing the music documentaries “Deep Blues” and “The World

According to John Coltrane” and serving as chief adviser of the ten-part public television mini-series “Rock & Roll: An Unruly History,” Palmer played and produced the music he wrote about. Most famously, he was a member of the avant-garde group Insect Trust in the late ’60s and early ’70s. In the early ’90s, he produced several rough-and-ready blues albums by artists on the independent Fat Possum label, including R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough.

Palmer was best known for writing about blues and jazz, but he brought authority and insight to subjects ranging from the Master Musicians of Joujouka to Sonic Youth. Indeed, the connections he drew between diverse acts and genres helped make his criticism so incisive.

It’s a sign of Palmer’s influence and the enormous respect many musicians had for him that when it was announced he needed a liver transplant and had no medical insurance to pay for one, the rock & roll community organzed several benefits. Patti Smith played a concert at New York’s C.B.G.B.’s, Alex Chilton performed at the House of Blues in New Orleans and benefit shows were also organized in Los Angeles and Oxford, Miss.

Before he became sick, Palmer had been living in New Orleans. He is survived by his mother, his wife, a daughter and a step-daughter. Excerpts from Rolling Stone Online.

New Orleans Blues Project Announced: As a major city close to the Mississippi Delta, where the blues were born, New Orleans has historically been a major center of blues music. Yet despite its historical and geographical proximity and the proliferation of blues talent in New Orleans, blues has become the ugly stepchild of New Orleans music.

Blind Willie Johnson, the guitar evangelist and sanctified singer from Texas, came to New Orleans around 1918 – 1920, only to be arrested in front of the Customs House on charges of “inciting to riot” for his intense singing and guitar playing of his song, “If I had My Way I’d Tear This Building Down”. Ever since blues arrived in New Orleans, around the turn-of-the-century, she’s been treated with disdain for a number of speculative reasons. The most obvious reasons are that the blues came from the country and was nurtured in the poor, black working class neighborhoods – the backstreets – of New Orleans. Occasionally, one of New Orleans’ talented blues artists emerges into acts – and pleasant weather made this year’s event the largest ever,with more than 25,000 blues fans trooping through the park over the four days.

Blues Foundation News: The Blues Foundation presented its Hall Of Fame Awards at a banquet and performance event at The Palace in Hollywood, CA. :

In the category of “Classics of Blues Recordings: Album” the Foundation inducted Bobby Bland‘s Two Steps from the Blues and The Paul Butterfield Blues Band‘s self-titled first album. Other inductees included Slim Harpo‘s single “Scratch My Back”, Arnold Shaw‘s book “Honkers and Shouters: The Golden Years of Rhythm and Blues”, performers Brownie McGhee and Koko Taylor, and in the “Non-Performer” category Bruce Iglauer, founder of Alligator Records.

After the Hall of Fame inductions, the Foundation presented its 3rd Annual Lifetime Achievement Award to B.B. King. (Previous recipients of the award are Jerry Wexler and John Lee Hooker.)

“There is no one more influential in today’s international Blues scene than B.B. King,” says Blues Foundation executive director Howard Stovall, himself a Mississippi native. “B.B. embodies both the spiritual heart of the music, as well as its growing presence in the mainstream of American culture. B. B. has appeared in over 170 countries around the world, and his music has enlivened the message of companies like Northwest Airlines, solidifying his position as the King of the Blues.”

The following entertainers helped celebrate with BB: Rufus Thomas, Buddy Guy, Ruth Brown, John Lee Hooker, Keb’ Mo’, Koko Taylor, Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Me’Shell Ndgeo’cello, Coco Montoya, Elvin Bishop and Mark Naftalin, Joe Louis Walker, Boz Scaggs, and Charlie Musselwhite.

– Brian Blain, Dale Schimpf, John Valenteyn

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