50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 1

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 1

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music Alligator Records – Disk 1

50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music

Alligator Records – Disk 1

 

For many, this will be the soundtrack of your blues life. Bruce Iglauer founded Alligator Records 50 years ago in Chicago. And has crafted a 58-song 4-hour retrospective of some of the best blues produced during the past half century. 

Much has changed in these 50 years. And perhaps most of all is the distribution of music. Many, including this author will recall ordering early Alligator LPs via the mail. At that time there was no distribution into long gone record “emporiums” such as Sam Goody or Tower Records. Now, we’ve become accustom to taking music distribution digitally. Good for the listener, but maybe not so much for the recording companies and certainly not for the artist. For this one you may want to buy a “hard copy”. Alligator Records 50 Years of Genuine Houserockin Music contains not only great music but the liner notes written by Bruce are priceless. I learned so much, or recalled much forgotten, by reading Bruce’s heartfelt remembrances of his 50 years in providing joy to the blues music community. 

Now, onto the music, all remastered for this release. Fittingly, the “50 Years” collection begins with a pair of “Taylors” – Hound Dog Taylor and Koko Taylor. Hound Dog and, what else, “The House Rockers” kick of the party with “Give Me Back My Wig”, and Koko chimes in with “I’m a Woman”.  Professor Longhair takes us to New Orleans with “It’s My Fault Darling”, and the Lone Star State rocks it out with Johnny Winter’s rollicking “Lights Out”. The music slows down with “The Ice man” Albert Collins and “Blue Monday Hangover”.

James Cotton and “Little Car Blues” features James’s singing, and returned my mind to his collaborations with Johnny Winter and Muddy Waters. Albert Collins returns in combination with Johnny Copeland and Robert Cray with the wonderful song “The Dream”, originally found on their masterful recording “The Showdown”. Speaking of Muddy, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown contributes a version of “Mojo” that is, well, uniquely Gatemouth. Most enjoyable. 

Following Gatemouth was my first memory jogger. It was so good to once again hear Saffire – The Uppity Blues Women, and their whimsical “Sloppy Drunk. Disk 1 concludes with another “blast from the past” with The Paladins bringing their blues rockabilly on “Keep on Lovin’ Me Baby”. Kept hitting replay on this one, “woh yea!”. 

Suncoast Blues Society returns next week with a review of Part 2, the second disk of this recording. 

To purchase “50 Years of Genuine Houserockin’ Music” or recordings from Alligator artists visit Alligator Records.

 

  • Scott Morris
2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

2021 Blues Challenge

If you showed up for the Suncoast Blues challenge in 2019 you know it was a heck of a good time and we are gearing up to do it again at 10th Street Live in Palmetto.

We’ve got another great crop of competitors and we will have five impartial parties, well-versed in Blues to judge the event. Deadline for competitors to register is July 1st.

It’s going to be a blast and you’ll get to hear some great music topped off by a special performance from Josh Rowand & The Pitbull of Blues Band so wear your dancing shoes!

Doors will open at 1 PM and music starts at 2 PM.

Tickets are on sale now

Admission is $10 in advance and $15 at the door, which goes toward the winners’ trip to Memphis.

Be sure read Suncoast Blues News as each week we will be telling you more about our competitors.

 

 

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Music Compound to host Cigar Box Guitar workshop

Funding from the Suncoast Blues Society to sponsor fun-filled workshop for up to 10 students ages 8-18

SARASOTA, FL – Families seeking fun and creative options for their students this summer will enjoy this opportunity: On Saturday, July 10, Music Compound, and the Suncoast Blues Society are partnering to present a Cigar Box Guitar Workshop, led by noted local blues musician Steve Arvey. Ages 8-18 are invited to participate in the fun-filled morning, with each child/teen building their own cigar box guitar.

The workshop takes place from 10 a.m.-noon at Music Compound’s Cattlemen location (1751 Cattlemen Rd., Sarasota). Reclaimed woods and recycled materials are used to build the handcrafted cigar box guitars; the workshop includes all materials, a history lesson, and a jam session. The event is free – thanks to the sponsorship of the Suncoast Blues Society – but attendance is limited to the first 10 registrants.

The Suncoast Blues Society is dedicated to celebrating and promoting the musical genre known as the blues, preserving its history and traditions, supporting blues musicians, and sharing blues music with current and future generations in the Tampa Bay area. The Society’s mission statement for “Keeping the Blues Alive” is seen through its support of live blues music as well as through its community outreach programs, such as this workshop.

“The Suncoast Blues Society is thrilled to be able to offer programs like this, for all ages, throughout the region,” said Terri O’Brien, Society president. “The blues is a genre to which many younger people may not have enjoyed extensive exposure; through workshops like this one, they can enjoy a creative activity while learning about the history of and getting an opportunity to play the blues.”

“We are so excited to host this workshop and bring awareness and enjoyment of this activity and the music to area children,” added Jenny Townsend, owner of the Music Compound. “Cigar box guitars have a rich history and we’re confident the participants will enjoy learning about as well as playing them!”

Workshop facilitator Steve Arvey began his career playing the Chicago blues circuit during the 1970s. During that period, he shared the stage with many of the legendary blues masters from the Windy City. Now living in Florida, Arvey is a fixture at major festivals and nightclubs throughout the South, Europe, and the Caribbean. He is also considered by many to be one of the top cigar box guitar players in the world today.

To reserve your student’s spot for the workshop, call 941-379-9100 or visit musiccompound.com/blues.

Noted local blues artist Steve Arvey will lead the Cigar Box Guitar workshop at Music Compound on July 10

About Music Compound
The Music Compound provides an environment to inspire, collaborate and educate children and adults in pursuit of their love of music.  The goal is to transform dreams into reality by providing a contemporary and influential environment for musicians of all ages. For more information, visit www.musiccompound.com.

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Show Review – Mike Zito Big Band

Event Center, Port Charlotte – May 13, 2020

 

Lou Phoenix put together a special evening of music at Port Charlotte’s Event Center. Mike Zito, Alex Lopez, Albert Castiglia, and Johnny Jensen were the featured talent at what proved to be a memorable event. A show that attendees continued to discuss on social media days after the event.

Alex Lopez and The Xpress opened the show and set the tone for the evening with a high energy set. Alex with the XPress (Kenny Hoye on keyboards, Kana Leimbach on drums, and Steve Roberts on bass) featured tracks from the new release “Rising Up”. Young gun Johnny Jensen, himself “rising up” in notoriety, joined the band on stage.

Mike Zito’s Big Band (Matthew Johnson on drums, Doug Byrkit bass, Lewis Stephens on keyboards, Fernando Castillo on trumpet, and Eric Demmer on sax) brought a different sound and style to the stage for Mike. And a most enjoyable sound it is. Mike wears the role of a “big” band leader well.

The band was tight and performed many of the favorites that Mike brings to the stage in his shows. The set began with a song from the forthcoming release Resurrection called “I’ll Make Love To You”, which featured an extended solo from ex-Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown sax player Eric Demmer. The band quickly moved to “Don’t Let the World Get You Down” from Quarantine Blues.

After the award winning “Pearl River”, “I Never Knew a Hurricane”, and a few more from the new release – highlighted by “Don’t Bring me Down” – the band cranked out “Judgement Day” – a version so intense that Matt Johnson’s cymbal fell off the drum riser. And the intensity was just beginning!

Albert Castiglia joined the fun and Mike passed the lead over to Albert who rocked out with “Let The Big Dog Eat”. Mike reclaimed the lead as the band broke into a unique version of “Hey Joe”, which featured a tight solo by Lewis Stevens. Albert introduced Lewis as being a former member of Freddie King’s band and the band played for many what was the highlight of the night: an extended jam of Freddie’s “Boogie Funk” – where Albert torched the stage with his solo. After a keyboard solo by Lewis, Mike jumped in with a solo of his own, and the heat continued until the conclusion of this almost 9-minute version. Wow!

Slowing it down. Mike brought “Gone To Texas” into the set. Always a poignant song, the timing was just right after the intensity of “Boogie Funk”, as it let the crowd recharge before the final jam was to start.


Calling Alex Lopez and Johnny Jensen to the stage, Mike gave up the guitar and led the band through “Dying Day” This version featured solos by Johnny Jensen and Fernando Castillo, whose trumpet solo took the mind directly to New Orleans. Alex Lopez and Lewis added the final solos to this rollicking version that had the crowd up and moving.


Following up with “Wee Wee Hours of the Morning”, this version on this night had special meaning to many in attendance. Mike sang to Renee Bennett, well known to many as the owner of the late-great Bradenton club “Aces”.  Albert joined in honoring Renee with a solo from his knees aimed directly at Renee who was sitting in the front row. Johnny added a marvelous solo while Albert left the stage and Frank Bang took his place.


The collected ensemble concluded the show with “Johnny B Goode”. After 3:30 minutes of music the band and the crowd left with smiles on their faces. What a night of music in Port Charlotte!

Thanks to Jim Hartzell for documenting the event with his wonderful photos.

-Scott Morris

GOOD NEWS!

GOOD NEWS!

GOOD NEWS!


GOOD NEWS!
– the 37th International Blues Challenge (IBC) is back and scheduled to take place January 18- 22, 2022 in Memphis, Tennessee along historic Beale Street!

For those of you not familiar with the IBC, it represents the worldwide search for blues bands and solo/duo blues performers. The IBC is judged by blues professionals from across the world who have years of experience in listening to, producing, and creating blues music. The Blues Foundation has established a set of criteria by which all competing musicians are evaluated throughout the five days of the IBC.

Each local blues society affiliated with The Blues Foundation (we are!) can stage a live, regional IBC competition using local folks as judges. The winners of that event – 1 band and 1 solo/duo act – will go on to represent their organization in Memphis. Your membership fees help to cover the lodging and travel expenses of our representatives.

Your Suncoast Blues Society (SBS) is pleased to announce we have a date and a venue:

Sunday, July 25th from 2 – 6
at 10th Street Live in Palmetto
 

Calling all Bands, Solo or Duo (Blues) acts

If you’re ready to take it to the next level and launch your career as a touring Blues musician and want the world to know you’re out there, you should take the first step and compete in our Suncoast Blues Society regional challenge. Musicians must decide whether you want to compete as either a solo/duo or as a band. You can only choose one category.

  • There is a $25 registration fee that will go towards paying expenses for that day
  • At least one member must be a current SBS member so now is a great time to join or renew.
  • Live within a 250-mile radius of the Tampa Bay area

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER 

Your performance and instrumentation must be live. Absolutely no using tracks or drum machines or anything but real instruments.

A complete list of rules and regulations will be provided to you when you sign up.
Please email events@suncoastblues.org if you wish to compete ASAP.

 

 

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler- “Alafia Moon” CD Review

Damon Fowler – “Alafia Moon”
Landslide Records
Review by Lafayette Reid 


Damon Fowler’s
 latest CD release “Alafia Moon” should secure Damon’s position as Florida’s favorite native son Blues musician. Damon has been touring and opening for George Thorogood for the last few years and with new management by Brett Steele keeping his momentum going his notoriety has been expanding nationally and beyond.

The backbone of Damon’s band has been steady Chuck Riley on bass and the Justin Headley on drums. These three are tight, but throw in St Pete native TC Carr on Harmonica, Mike Kach on keys, Betty Fox helping on vocals and some additional percussion by Josh Nelms and real magic starts to happen. All songs were written by Damon except “The Guitar” by Guy Clark and Verlon Thomson“ Hip to Your Trip” a nice jumpy little number was co-authored by Damon and Jim Suhler from Texas who is George Thorogood’s lead guitarist when touring.

“Leave it Alone “ is an ominous tune about the perils of a touring artist and the temptations they face. This well written song features TC Carr who gets to show off his skills on the harmonica.

Hitting close to home “Alafia Moon” the title track speaks to our current situation. Damon writes about “walking around in circles” at home not knowing which way to go, just needing to get out and see some moonlight on a peaceful Florida river. Amen Brother! Heal your soul.

Damon’s fans know he can paint some pretty clear pictures with his catchy lyrics.  “Wanda” displays these skills. If by the end of this funky little tune you don’t have a clear picture of Wanda in your mind, then you haven’t been listening.

“Make the Best of Your Time” might get stuck in your head. Author’s intention??

There are lot of “ups and downs” in life, especially for touring artists. “I’ve Been Low” speaks of this and looks for some balance.

“Alafia Moon” was expertly recorded and engineered by George Harris at Creative World Recording in Largo Florida and mastered by Alex McCollough at True East Mastering.  A truly enjoyable piece of work.