Mississippi Fred McDowell – (self titled) (Rounder, 1995)

Fred McDowell of Como, Missisippi was one of the great originals of modern blues music. After playing guitar and singing the blues and gospel music for friends and family for many years and developing a completely unique style, he was “discovered” in the late 1950’s and went on to have a successful late life recording career. He toured and influenced many young rock and blues musicians, notably Bonnie Raitt, whom he developed a close friendship with. This album is particularly interesting, as it is almost like a field recording, featuring McDowell playing for friends and neighbors in his house in Mississippi during the early 1960′s. The informal nature of the setting brings out some wonderful music, with McDowell playing some slashing guitar and beautiful slide work and his vocals are deep and intimate. He plays some of the standards that would come to define his music, like the torrid version of “Shake ‘em on Down” and the deeply rhythmic “I Rolled and I Tumbled,” which was his own take on the blues classic “Rollin’ and Tumblin’.” Also of particular interest is the retelling of the great African-American story “John Henry” and McDowell brings that great steel driving man to life like few before him. The song that would be most identified with McDowell, “Kokomo Blues” gets a fine and infectious treatment as well. Slower blues are also represented as well, with the beautiful and haunting “61 Highway” painting a picture of rural life and the lure of the leaving trunk. “Red Cross Store” was a topical blues about the poor treatment of African-Americans at the hands of those who claimed to be helping them. This is a wonderfully intimate and enjoyable disc, almost like being a fly on the wall during a small get together of friends and family. All of Mississippi Fred McDowell’s music is well worth hearing, but if you are coming to him for the first time this is an excellent place to make his acquaintance.

Read the full review at Jazz and Blues Blogspot.

Johnny Shines – Standing at the Crossroads (Testament, 1971)

Although bluesman Johnny Shines is remembered today as a running buddy of the famous Robert Johnson, he was actually much more than a fellow traveler. Shines grew up in Tennessee, soaking up the Beale Street sound in Memphis learning at the foot of Howlin’ Wolf. He roamed depression era America for a couple of years in the mid 30′s with Johnson, before settling down in Chicago. After leaving the music business to work in the construction trade, Shines began performing and recording again during the so-called “blues revival” of the 1960′s. This recording finds him revisiting the Johnson years, playing in an evocative solo acoustic format and revisiting some of the older mans music. Shines music is

Read more at Blogspot : Jazz And Blues

Dark Streets

Set in 1930s noir-like Gotham City (I guess of Batman fame?), Dark Streets follows the life of Chaz Davenport (Mann) a big town playboy with the city’s hottest blues, jazz, swing nightclub. Davenport’s father, a wealthy power company owner, mysteriously commits suicide and leaves Chaz disillusioned, broke, and in financial trouble as he gets written out of his father’s will. About that time a mysterious chanteuse named Madelaine (Miko) and a creepy lieutenant (Koteas) offer their services to help save Davenport and his club. Chaz’s worldly subsequently continues to deteriorate, as his relationship with his old friend Crystal (Phillips) diffuses and he continues to question the circumstances surrounding his father’s death. As Chaz becomes more and more aware, the appearance of the characters reveal themselves. Underneath all of this dissolution, dissolve, and noir-drama is the blues.

Read the whole review at Juke Joint Soul

2010 Blues Music Awards Date Change

The date of the 2010 Blues Music Awards has been moved up one week from Thursday, May 13 to Thursday May 6, 2010. The original date was based on The Blues Foundation’s understanding regarding the dates of the Memphis in May organization’s Beale Street Music Festival and World Championship Barbeque Cooking Contest dates. The Blues Music Awards are traditionally presented in the week between these two events and the move to May 6 will continue this practice favored by most Blues Music Award att…

Read the full story at the Blues Foundation website:
2010 Blues Music Awards Date Change

Legendary Club Buddy Guy’s Legends to Move in 2010

Buddy Guy’s Legends will be moving sometime in 2010. Legends has been open since 1989, when Buddy Guy moved his operation from the now-gone Checkerboard Lounge that used to be housed at 423 E. 43rd Street. The new venue will also host a new upgraded video and sound system. Rumors have long been rampant about the club’s move since Columbia College was donated the property a few years back. Read the full story at Today’s Chicago Blues:
http://todayschicagoblues.blogspot.com/2009/09/buddy-guys-legends-moving-to-hot-spot.html