Blues News

Bobby Blue Bland dead at age 83

Bobby Blue Bland died Sunday June 23rd in Memphis, TN. His death was confirmed by his son Rodd, The Associated Press reported.
Bobby Blue Bland was a fixture on the Soul / Blues scene since the early 1950’s when he made his first recording. His career spanned 60+ years and he is credited with being a major influence on many artists spanning several genres music. You can read the NY Times Obituary for Bobby Blue Bland Here

I had a chance to see Bobby Blue Bland several times at festivals and on tour with his longtime good friend B.B. King. He was a great performer and incredible vocalist. TCBX listeners know that several Bobby Bland tunes were staples on the playlist for the radio show. Another legend of the blues gone. R.I.P. Bobby Blue Bland.

Enjoy a look back at a piece of a live performance below:

Happy 45th Anniversary Kingston Mines – 2548 N. Halsted Chicago, IL

This weekend Kingston Mines celebrates their 45th Anniversary. An incredible accomplishment made even more amazing when you consider it has been owned and operated by Doc Pellegrino and his family the entire time. Kingston Mines has long been associated with the two bands and two stages setup….again, this is really unlike any other blues club out there and the fact that they feature two bands every night when many clubs are cutting live music out of their schedules is another tribute to Doc’s love for the blues. I personally began working with Doc and Kingston Mines in 1996 and have been a huge fan and supporter of the club since then. Over the years we broadcast Hundreds of live shows and spent thousands of hours watching and listening to some of the greatest musicians in the world.

If you haven’t been there before make it a point to stop in and check the place out. So much history and so many great performers have gone through those doors. And in addition to the great music that has been played on it’s stages, the club also was the original home to the musical Grease in the 60’s and was the spot where a young John Belushi and Dan Akroyd spent many nights watching, sitting in and honing their musical chops, and pulling together the inspiration for the the characters who would eventually become Jake and Elwood Blues….The Blues Brothers.

Check out their website for more info or check here to see the latest schedule information for Chicago’s Oldest and Largest Blues Club – Kingston Mines.


Happy Birthday Hound Dog Taylor

Hound Dog Taylor
Born on this date in 1915 in Natchez, Mississippi Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor moved to Chicago in 1942. While he had been playing guitar for more than 20 years it wasn’t until 1957 that he became a full-time musician. He was known for his electrified slide guitar reminiscent of Elmore James and his undeniable boogie beats that kept the crowd grooving. While popular in the local club scene Hound Dog remained relatively unknown until 1970 when he played a part in what would eventually become one of the most famous and influential record labels in the history of the blues….Alligator Records. The following excerpt is taken from Wikipedia.

Hound Dog TaylorAfter hearing Taylor with his band, the HouseRockers (Brewer Phillips on second guitar and Ted Harvey on drums) in 1970 at Florence’s Lounge on Chicago’s South Side, Bruce Iglauer – at the time a shipping clerk for Delmark Records – tried to get him signed by his employer. Having no success getting Delmark to sign Taylor, Iglauer formed a small record label with a $2500 inheritance and recorded Taylor’s debut album, Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers, on his fledgling Alligator Records in 1971. It was the first release on Alligator, now a major blues label. It was recorded in a studio in just two nights. Iglauer began managing and booking the band, which toured nationwide and performed with Muddy Waters and Big Mama Thornton. The band became particularly popular in the Boston area, where Taylor inspired a young protégé named George Thorogood. A live album Live At Joe’s Place documented a Boston appearance from 1972.

Their second release, Natural Boogie, was recorded in late 1973, and led to greater acclaim and touring. In 1975, Taylor and his band toured Australia and New Zealand with Freddie King and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. His third Alligator album, Beware of the Dog, was recorded live in 1974 but was only released after his death. More posthumous releases occurred as well, including Genuine Houserocking Music and Release the Hound, on the Alligator label as well as some bootleg live recordings.
Taylor died of lung cancer in 1975, and was buried in Restvale Cemetery in Alsip, Illinois.

Like many blues musicians before and after him Hound Dog Taylor enjoyed his fame and popularity late in life and while his star burned brightly he didn’t live long enough to fully enjoy it or his impact on the blues. It is a testament to the man and his music that nearly 40 years after his death his music still makes you want to get and dance along with the boogie beats whether you are in a juke joint or your living room. From the corner on Maxwell street, to the clubs of Chicago, or Blues Festivals (like the video below from Ann Arbor 1973) you always knew what you were going to get from Hound Dog Taylor. Raw, electric, funky, driving blues that was dripping emotion….No matter what tune (or whether it was in tune) you could feel Hound Dog’s heart and soul with every note. Happy Birthday Hound Dog – Enjoy!

Chicago blues guitarist Jimmy ‘Fast Fingers’ Dawkins dead at 76

Fast Fingers on Delmark Records is a Classic Chicago Blues Album

Fast Fingers on Delmark Records is a Classic Chicago Blues Album

The blues world lost another superstar on April 10th, 2013 when Jimmy Dawkins passed away at the age of 76. A few obituary links and a video are included below. Jimmy Dawkins was a monster guitar player who helped define the West Side sound along with other greats like Magic Sam and Otis Rush.

Read the Obituary From the Chicago Sun Times Here

Read the Obituary From the Huffington Post Here

From Vern’s Lounge – Chicago 2005. Jimmy Dawkins on guitar along with Lurrie Bell (guitar), Tail Dragger (Vocals), Billy Branch (Harmonica), Bob Stroger (Bass), and Kenny Smith (drums)

Happy 100th Birthday Muddy Waters

Muddy+Waters+PNGMuddy Waters would have turned 100 today, a good time to take a few minutes to look back at the music of one of the legends who helped define Chicago Blues. It’s hard to really put a handle on just how important Muddy was to the blues. Back in the 50’s and 60’s when Chicago was really hopping with blues you could see Muddy Waters, Howlin Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Little Walter and so many others at the clubs scattered across the cities South and West sides. Muddy was influential for so many blues artists but also was revered by the British invasion musicians who often came to Chicago just to seek out and watch Muddy play. A couple of videos that should be required viewing….the first is a classic from the Newport Festival.

and then a longer video from Soundstage. This was a show that was broadcast on July 18th, 1974. Just check out this track list and list of musicians and then enjoy the video below. Happy 100th Muddy!

“Blow Wind Blow/Introduction” (4.12)
“Welcome and talk about the blues” (all)
“Intro by Nick Gravenites/Long Distance Call” (10.41)
“Messin’ With The Kid” (3.47)
“10 Long Years” (6.03)
“Mannish Boy” (6.20)
“Wang Dang Doodle” (3.12)
“Walkin’ Thru The Park” (4.20)
“Hoochie Coochie Man” (5.09)
“Sugar Sweet” (4.20)
“Got My Mojo Working” (6.16)

Muddy Waters, vocals, guitar 1-3,6,9,11
Michael Bloomfield, guitar 1-11
Dr. John, vocals 10, piano 1,2,5-11
Phil Guy, guitar 7-9
Willie Dixon, vocals 7,9,11
Koko Taylor, vocals 2,7,11
Buddy Miles, drums 2,6-11
Johnny Winter, vocals 2,8, guitar 6-11
Junior Wells, hca 3-6,8-11, vocals 2,4,5
Nick Gravenites, vocals 2,4, intro 3
Muddy Waters’ Band (probably):
Al Radford, bass 1,3-11
Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, drums 1,-3-5
“Pine Top” Perkins, piano 1,3,4,11

2013 Chicago Bluesfest Lineups have been announced

The world’s largest free blues festival keeps on rollin’
3 days, 5 stages, and more than 500,000 blues fans enjoying free blues in the heart of Chicago. Some of this years lineup has been released and Shemekia Copeland, Bobby Rush, Irma Thomas, James Cotton, Otis Clay, John Primer, Billy Branch, and many other performers are scheduled to perform. Find out more info here:

Mem Shannon Live @ Kingston Mines May 17th, 2001 – promo

This is a promo video we did for the kickstarter project we are working on. It starts with the All Star ID and then goes into a song from a TCBX live broadcast we did with Mem Shannon on May 17th, 2001 at Kingston Mines. This was the first time Mem Shannon played at Kingston Mines and it was jammed. Mem was feeling it that night and the crowd was literally shaking up the floor. Of all the shows we did from Kingston Mines (200+) this Mem Shannon broadcast may be the one that was most listened to and circulated. We knew several listeners who had recorded this broadcast and passed it on to different music fans in multiple countries exposing them all to the funky goodness that Mem brings to the stage every night.

Mem’s debut album was the same year TCBX started broadcasting on KRUI in Iowa City, IA. It was fall of 1995 and I was broadcasting the show in Telluride, CO while Cornbread was doing the show in Iowa City, IA where we had started it together as students earlier that year. I can still remember getting a phone call from Cornbread and him telling me I had to check out this new CD by a Cab Driver from New Orleans named Mem. Needless to say it took about 2 songs and one of Mem’s crazy taxi conversations (anyone who has heard the album A Cab Driver’s Blues knows what I am talking about) to get me hooked….and I haven’t looked back ever since. We did a lot of broadcasts, recordings, and interviews with Mem over the years and hopefully we’ll be able to share them with you here in the future. If you ever have a chance to go out and see Mem live don’t miss the opportunity because he is truly one of the great ones and as great as he is on CD he is even better live and person when you can not only hear the funk but you can feel it as well. Hope you enjoy this one as much as we have over the years.


If you are out tonight, this is one of the best lineups I have seen in years.


7:00 PM
We are happy to announce the Magic Slim tribute show, A NIGHT FOR MAGIC, a tribute to Magic Slim has been scheduled for March 28, 2013, at The Mayne Stage, 1328 W. Morse Avenue, Chicago, IL 60626 beginning at 7 P.M. All proceeds will go to Magic’s family. Tickets are available in advance through the venue, at a cost of $25.00. Please spread the word to all your contacts and get your tickets while they last. Space is limited.

This All-Star blues tribute will include performances by Shawn Holt and the Teardrops, John Primer, Billy Boy Arnold, Otis Clay, Eddy Clearwater, Jimmy Burns, Billy Branch, Lonnie Brooks, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Wayne Baker Brooks, Eddie Shaw, Nick Moss, Grana Louise, Big Time Sarah, Zac Harmon, Carl Weathersby, Linsey Alexander, Mike Wheeler, J.W. Williams, Steve Cushing, Zora Young, Lurrie Bell, Jimmy Johnson and the Chicago Blues All-Stars, Nalle (Denmark), Ronnie Baker Brooks, Lurrie Bell, Jimmie Johnson and Zora Young.


B.B. King to Launch Line of Signature Wines in the US

The King of Blues has a new Signature Wine - B.B. King

The King of Blues has a new Signature Wine – B.B. King

(HAMDEN, CT) Blues music legend B.B. King, in collaboration with Votto Vines Importing, is proud to release a new line of signature wines bearing his name across the United States.

The Rock and Roll and Blues Hall of Famer will debut the B.B. King Signature Collection in the strategic markets of Memphis and Nashville with roll-out planned to the B.B. King’s Blues Clubs and in retail stores, wine bars and music clubs throughout the country; roll-out began this week.

Exemplifying the grace and elegance of the blues, the B.B. King Signature Collection represents the tradition, quality and excellence of B.B. King and his music. At 87 years old, B.B. King has won over 15 Grammy awards, has performed in 88 countries and still frequently tours all over the world. With hundreds of performances throughout Europe under his belt, the emerging region of Spain was selected as the source for this signature collection. A fitting choice for the wines of one of the most-beloved musicians of all time, Spain was also the host of the original all-star “Guitar Legends” concert series, which in 1991 gathered and celebrated 27 of the world’s best guitarists, including B.B. King, over 5 days of completely sold out shows.

The B.B. King Signature Collection will be comprised of a red wine and a white wine for music fans and wine lovers alike. Both wines are sourced from the award winning Bodega Santa Cruz Winery, which has been producing wine for over 60 years and is located in the up-and-coming D.O. wine region of Almansa, Spain. B.B. King Signature Collection Red 2010 is a Crianza blend made from Garnacha, Syrah, and Cabernet Sauvignon, and B.B. King Signature Collection White 2011 is comprised of 100% Verdejo grapes. Both wines are food friendly and meant to be enjoyed as everyday drinking wines.

The wines will first launch in Memphis and Nashville, and soon thereafter the B.B. King Signature Collection will be available through select national, regional, local and online outlets. The suggested retail price of the wines is $13.99.