New venue for Blues in Maine!

From Andrew Morse at Smokin’ Blues Grill in Hollis:

Hey, I’m looking to book blues acts at Smokin’ Blues Grill in Hollis. Send me a message if you are interested. I can have up to a three piece without drums.

He can be reached at 207-298-9436 or stop by 415 Hollis Rd, Hollis Center ME.


Hotels for the 2016 IBC in Memphis

The 32nd (2016) International Blues Challenge will be held January 26-30, 2016 in Downtown Memphis, Tennessee in the Beale Street Historic District.

The 32nd International Blues Challenge will begin Tuesday night (Jan 26) with the International Showcase. Wednesday and Thursday night (January 27-28) quarter finals will be conducted. Youth Showcase and Semi Finals will be held Friday evening (Jan 29). Saturday (Jan 30) IBC will conclude with Finals in the beautiful Orpheum Theatre.

– See more at:

Here is the list of downtown Memphis hotels with which we have negotiated room rates.
Tell them you want the International Blues Challenge, IBC or Blues Foundation block.
Some hotels have minimum and Saturday stay requirements and a non-refundable deposit.
Listed prices do not include sales and visitor taxes which are currently an additional 15.95%.
Some have breakfast and other amenities that may be included in the price.
Rates apply until stated deadline or until rooms are sold out.  Rates may or may not be available after deadline.
Comfort Inn Downtown @ $124.99 until than January 5, 2016
100 N. Front St. Memphis, TN 38103

Crowne Plaza @$119
300 North Second Street, Memphis, TN 38103

Doubletree Memphis Downtown @ $140 until January 8, 2016
185 Union Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
(4 night minimum to include Saturday)

Hampton Inn & Suites at Beale Street @ $164 until December 29, 2015
175 Peabody Place, Memphis, TN 38103

Holiday Inn Downtown Memphis @ $139 until December 30, 2015
160 Union Ave Memphis, TN 38103
(3 night minimum to include Saturday)

Hotels of Court Square

Courtyard Memphis Downtown @ $149 until December 24, 2015
75 Jefferson Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103
800.321.2211 until December 24, 2015
Sleep Inn @ $119 until January 4, 2016
40 North Front Street, Memphis, TN, 38103
901.522.9700 or 877.424.6423

SpringHill Suites Memphis Downtown $151 until December 24, 2015
85 West Court Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

Other Downtown properties

The Peabody @ $269 until December 16, 2015
149 Union Avenue, Memphis TN 38103

Residence Inn by Marriott Memphis Downtown @ $189 until December 6, 2015 for studio suite (maximum occupancy=4)
110 Monroe Ave Memphis TN 38103
(3 night minimum to include Saturday)

Westin Memphis Beale Street @ $169 until January 12, 2016
170 Lt. George W. Lee Avenue, Memphis, TN 38103

MEMBERSHIP has PRIVLEDGES – As an affiliate or a individual member of The Blues Foundation YOU have the ability to book your International Blues Challenge rooms before we release the information to the public.
Book NOW! This will be released on our website on August 1.
We look forward to seeing you on Beale Street in January 2016!

DamBluesFest & PubCrawl

DamBluesFest & PubCrawl | Damariscotta, Maine

DamBluesFest & PubCrawl, LINCOLN COUNTY’S ONLY MUSIC FESTIVAL, Damariscotta, Maine.

Admission is $25 in advance / $30 at the door. (no refunds on …
Volunteers receive free admission to all events & a DamBluesFest t …
Darrows Barn
Darrows Barn, at Round Top Farm, Bus. … The barn is not visible …
Photo Gallery
DamBluesFest & PubCrawl … FESTIVAL, Damariscotta …
Dry Camping is available for Friday & Saturday night for $10 …
2011 Photo Gallery
2014 Photo Gallery | 2013 Photo Gallery | 2012 Photo … 2011 …

Little Freddie King’s 75th birthday

Today is Little Freddie King’s 75th birthday. When he was 14 in McComb, Mississippi, King jumped onto a moving freight train, then jumped off in New Orleans, where he has remained for more than six decades. He taught himself blues guitar; endured a life of addiction and violence; survived Hurricane Katrina and his wife’s heartbreaking death; and has emerged strong, peaceful, and at the peak of his career.

My multimedia article “The Gutbucket King” tells his amazing story, complete with music and interview clips, archival pictures and documents, and photo portraits by Julie Dermansky. The New New South, an online magazine of Southern writing, has taken down the paywall in honor of Freddie’s 75th. Enjoy it for free at

2015 Maine Blues Festival, Naples ME

It’s once again Father’s Day Weekend and that means the Maine Blues Festival!  This year is the 10th ANNIVERSARY and will be celebrated with a fireworks show to honor the Maine blues musicians participating in the event.

Over 40 bands on 10 stages all over the causeway in Naples.

Come one, come all it’s going to be beautiful!  Find more information at


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FMI Contact: Duane Little, Pres., Maine Blues Society,
207.240.6813 –


(Lewiston, ME – May 17, 2015): The Maine Blues Society has announced that the winners for the State of Maine to go on to the 32nd Annual International Blues Challenge competition in Memphis are: The Juke Rocket Blues Band (band winner) of Belfast and Mike and the Mojo (solo/duo act winner) of Portland. The Blues Foundation hosts the IBC which will feature about 250 acts in late January, 2016. It is the world’s largest and most prestigious blues music competition held on historic Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee.

This was the 20th year the Maine Blues Society has had this competition which was held at Fast Breaks in Lewiston. When IBC nominee Mike Schools of Mike & the Mojo heard his name called after the judging, he thought it meant he was runner up. “I was pleasantly surprised to say the least”, Schools said. Mike who is the lead vocalist and guitarist is joined on stage by bassist Chris Hamer of Scarborough who was also ecstatic. They met about a year ago via the blues venue, The Tailgate Bar & Grill in Gray, where there is a popular weekly Sunday open blues jam. Schools himself has previously won various guitar and battle of the band competitions along the way and plays out at various venues in southern Maine. “It’s a major validation of the work I’ve put into the writing and relationship with the blues I’ve been developing over the last few years”, Mike said, adding that his biggest blues influences are Stevie Ray Vaughan and BB King, among others.

The event also took time out to pay tribute to the late great blues legend, BB King, who died this past week.

On the band side, this is the 3rd trip to Memphis for The Juke Rocket Blues Band who just released their “Hungry Soul” CD in April, and they perform traditional and high-powered blues. They previously went to Memphis in 2013 and 2014. The current members of the band which have been performing together for 4 years are: Carlene Thornton; lead vocalist, Ron Casillo; guitars & vocals; Steve Mellor, bassist & vocals; and Tim Woitowitz; Drums, guitar & vocals. “The past 2 times we went we had such a good time. We’re hoping that the 3rd time is the charm for us,” Tim said, adding, “plus the food is great in Memphis!” Carlene was featured in the Women in Blues concert in Memphis the last two trips they went there with Steve and Tim serving as backup musicians.

Other performers in the competition were: (Groups): Midnight Riders (Knox County), Hats Again (southern Maine);
(Solo/Duo) Jake Irish (Houlton) and Ryan Halliburton (Westbrook).

There were 5 judges for this competition and the talent was judged on several factors: originality, stage presence, vocals, blues content, and overall talent. MBS’s Duane Little said the next step on the Road to Memphis will happen during the coming fall when more fundraising events happen after the various blues festivals in the state take place to help the nominees with their travel expenses to Tennessee.
The winner of the IBC solo/duo act will receive a $2,000 cash prize, an ad in the Blues Festival Guide and great gigs. The First Place band act winner will receive $2,500 cash, an ad, and great gigs. FMI see and Also see: and Mike & the Mojo on

The Maine Blues Society was established in 1989. Our mission is to encourage, promote and expand the enjoyment, development, performance and preservation of the blues. Our intent and purpose is not only to support the blues as a musical idiom but as an art form, culture, profession and as a foundation of America’s heritage.

Distributed by: Mary E. Regan, Publicist – – Cell: (207) 420-1393 –

2015 Road to Memphis – Sunday May 17

The Maine Blues Society is proud to be announcing that we will be
hosting our annual Rd to Memphis competition again this year on Sunday
May 17th 2015!

The competition will be held at:

1465 Lisbon Street
Lewiston, ME 04240

Starting at NOON SHARP. All Maine blues artists are eligible to enter provided at least one member of the act
is a member of The Maine Blues Society by May 1, 2015. To enter all
one has to do is submit an entry form by Friday May 1, 2015.

Road To Memphis Entry Submission

Again we will be following The Blues Foundation’s rules and format, thus we
will have two categories: band and solo duo act. Seeing as we will be
following the Blues Foundation’s rules and format, we strongly recommend and
encourage all entrants, and potential entrants to visit:, for all official rules and format.

For further information and updates, please visit the Maine Blues Society

2016 IBC Contest Official Rules

Official Rules and Event Summary –

Act registration is open, check with your local affiliate for details.
Deadline for ALL acts to register is November 24, 2014.

1. Who can enter?

A Blues act cannot enter the International Blues Challenge (IBC) directly. Only a Blues Foundation Affiliate may sponsor an act. The act is eligible as long as it has not ever received a Blues Music Award nomination. An act may not participate in the IBC in three consecutive years. An act may be a band, solo/duo or youth.

2. What is an affiliate?

The International Blues Challenge is restricted to acts sponsored by a Blues Foundation affiliate. Click HERE for a complete list of affiliates.

Each of The Blues Foundation’s 200+ Affiliated Organizations has the opportunity (but not the obligation) to sponsor one or more acts in the IBC. (If your nonprofit blues society is not an affiliate, contact Jay Sieleman at Each Affiliate may enter a Band in the Band Division and/or a Solo/Duo act in the Solo/Duo Division to compete in the 31st IBC in 2015. Each Affiliate may also send a youth act for the Youth Showcase.

An Affiliate must be affiliated with The Blues Foundation no later than the conclusion of the IBC of the preceding year to be eligible to sponsor an act for the IBC. (The 2015 IBC concluded January 24 so to sponsor an act in 2016, the society had to be an Affiliate by that date.)

Any questions about affiliate eligibility please email or call 901-527-2583 ext 12

3. What is a Blues Music Award nomination?

The only artists who are deemed ineligible for the International Blues Challenge are artists whose have been nominated for a Blues Music Award-whose name has appeared on a final Blues Music Award ballot-in the 30 + year history of the Blues Music Awards (and formerly the W.C. Handy Awards). All other musicians who have had peripheral and/or professional contact through performance with a Blues Music Award nominee, including but not limited to, touring band members and studio musicians, are deemed eligible for the IBC. The exception is band members of a band nominated for Band of the Year. Each member is considered a Blues Music Award nominee even though the band name, not each band member’s name appears on the final ballot.

For the purpose of the IBC, being named on a final ballot for the Blues Music Awards is the dividing line with regard to eligibility. The Blues Music Award is considered the highest award a Blues artist can receive for excellence in their craft. Artists whose names have appeared on a final ballot for the Blues Music Awards have achieved a level of recognition within the Blues world that sets them apart from all other Blues artists. It is one of the measuring sticks by which a successful career in Blues music can be gauged.

4. Are there other restrictions?

An act is limited to two consecutive appearances at the IBC and must then sit out at least one year before being eligible to compete again. An act under the same name will not be allowed to compete three consecutive years.

An individual may not compete in more than one act in any capacity.

A musician cannot compete in the Band Division and the Solo/Duo Division, even if that musician represents a different Affiliate in each.

Affiliates are allowed and often do impose additional eligibility restrictions for their own competitions.

5. What is a band? What is a solo/duo? What is youth?

The IBC adheres to the following criteria for what constitutes a band, what constitutes a solo/duo act, and what constitutes as a youth act.

Band – any act with three or more musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.

Solo/Duo – any act with one or two musicians. Vocalists are counted as musicians for the purpose of this competition. Both electric and acoustic instruments are allowed.

Youth – any act that all members are under the age of 21 at the time of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. PLEASE NOTE: Youth acts can be appointed by the board of an affiliate. A competition is not required.

6. How does an Affiliate enter an act?

Affiliates in Canada and the United States must conduct an open, judged live music competition. Affiliates in these two countries may not appoint an act.

The Blues Foundation recommends that Affiliates in all countries produce a live music competition to choose their act(s). All affiliates may be required to conduct a live competition and exceptions, if we even allow any, will be subject to advance approval. If you already have a competition, you have nothing to worry about. If you do not already have a competition, but you are going to produce one this year, you have nothing to worry about. If you are hoping to send someone without a competition, you best start talking to Executive Director real soon and have a real good reason for not staging a live music competition. And even that may not work!! This represents a continuing tightening of the rules in this regard that affiliates have been advised of in recent years.

Do not ask to appoint an act(s) if you are in Canada or the United States, if the act includes a board member or officer of the Affiliate, or if the act is not from your geographic area. If the act is appointed rather than selected through a competition, the Affiliate must submit a copy of the official meeting minutes at which the Affiliate took the action to sponsor the act(s). The Blues Foundation reserves the right to deny any or all appointed acts.

An Affiliate’s entrant is considered a representative of that Affiliate in every capacity. Thus, the Affiliate remains liable for any problems created by its representative.

All digital applications, as well as findings of eligibility and registration requirements for IBC are the responsibility of the Affiliate, NOT THE ACT.

7. What else?

Affiliates are not only encouraged, they are expected to enforce these rules to ensure that their acts are indeed eligible.

The Blues Foundation will stand as the final arbiter of any eligibility disputes. All contestants must register by the pre-determined deadline, in the format requested, before competing in IBC. Any Band found at any time to have been ineligible at the time of the competition will be stripped of its award(s) and the Affiliate may be liable for financial restitution of cash and other prizes to The Blues Foundation.

Any International Blues Challenge questions please email or call 901-527-2583 ext. 11

Scoring Criteria

The Blues Foundation recommends that all Affiliated Organizations in their competition use our established scoring criteria. Categories include Talent Vocal, Blues Content, Stage Presence and Originality.

1. Blues Content: Everyone has his or her own interpretation of what is and is not Blues. Thus, any given three-judge panel will include members with varying opinions of Blues, covering the spectrum of Blues whenever possible, from the most traditional to soul/blues and rock/blues. Bands should pick material carefully. At the Memphis semi-finals and finals, the judges are Blues professionals, not a bar crowd, and are likely to be unimpressed with song selections that are uninspired. (Call this–with all due respect to Sir Mack Rice and Wilson Pickett–the “no Mustang Sally rule.”)

2. Vocals: The acts vocal skills.

3. Talent: The acts instrumental skills.

4. Originality: Original work is encouraged. Cover tunes are allowed but playing the recorded rendition lick by lick is discouraged; will not be looked upon favorably by the judges; and will be reflected in scoring.

5. Stage Presence: Over the years, the quality of talent has risen so dramatically that we no longer consider this an “amateur” competition. Most contestants have performed on stage enough to know that they are not simply playing music, but putting on a show. This category rates how “sellable” a band may be.

To reflect the relative importance of each category in the success of a band, a band’s score in each category is weighted. Raw scores for Blues Content is multiplied by four, Talent and vocals by three and Originality and Stage Presence are multiplied by two. The total in each category represents the Weighted Score for that category. Total possible weighted score is 140.

Penalty Points

An ACT will be penalized one point from its Total Weighted Score (see below) for each ten seconds that it runs overtime. There is no penalty for using less than the allotted time.
At the producing organization’s discretion, a policy of penalty for excessive time loading-in and out will also be applied.
The weighted multipliers will be Blues content (4); talent and vocals (3); originality (2) and stage presence (2).

Affiliate’s and/or Act’s are prohibited from contacting any IBC venue, for any reason. Violations of this rule will result with point deductions from the act(s) raw score. The Blues Foundation is your ONLY contact for this competition.

In addition, IBC participants can lose points for non-compliance with administrative aspects of the competition.

-Online application was filled out completely, accurately and before the deadline
-Act checked in at ACT Registration on first day of event.
-Act checked in with Venue Coordinator at their assigned venue at LEAST 10 minutes before the FIRST ACT plays each night.
-Act was in the right venue at the proper time and ready to perform.***
-Act showed up and on time to Finals orientation.
-Act ready to perform at proper time in finals.

***Venue Coordinators have the authority to act on behalf of The Blues Foundation to insure that the event goes smoothly in their designated venue. In the event that a band scheduled to play in a specific slot is not able to perform for whatever reason, the VC will have the authority to deduct a point from the band’s overall weighted score for that night’s competition. The next band scheduled to play will be asked to step into that slot. Should that band, for whatever reason, not be able to perform when asked, the VC has the authority to deduct a point from that band, and so on. With that in mind, The Blues Foundation strongly suggests that after a band has met with their VC for their required check-in each night, they stay in the venue and are available to perform at the VC’s direction, regardless of which slot they are scheduled to play. Bands that have missed their designated slot will be allowed to perform later in the night but will still suffer the loss of a point on the weighted score.

These items demonstrate professionalism and seriousness about the competition or the business side of the blues.

Here is the scoring procedure for
IBC 2015 .

1. All categories and weightings are as previously stated.

2. Each judge will indicate his or her Raw Score (a whole number between 1 and 10) in each category and turn that information over to the scorekeeper.

1-3 – Typical of a beginning blues band.
4-5 – Typical of a local weekend band.
6-7 – Typical of an advanced local band but not yet ready to headline a major blues club.
8-9 – Typical of the quality of blues artists who headline major clubs.
10 – Typical of those who play the main stage at major festivals such as the LRBC or King Biscuit Blues Festival.

3. The scorekeeper will multiply the Raw Score in each category by the established multiplier to get each judge’s Weighted Score in each category for each act.

4. The Weighted Scores from each category for an act are added together to determine the acts’ Total Weighted Score for each judge.

5. Any penalty points will then be deducted to obtain the act’s Net Weighted Score for each judge.

6. After all acts have been judged and each act’s Net Weighted Score for each judge calculated, each act will then be ranked for each judge based on that judge’s order of scores, with the act receiving the judge’s highest Net Weighted Score being given a ranking of 1, and so on for that judge. So, in a competition with five acts, for example, each judge ends up with the acts ranked 1 – 5 based on each judge’s personal scoring habits. This results in the acts’ Final Ranking Number for each judge.

7. Next, the scorer totals the Final Ranking Number from all judges for each act to determine the Gross Final Ranking. That figure is averaged (divided by the total number of judges) to Achieve the Aggregate Act Ranking. For the quarter-finals the act in each venue with the best two-day total of Aggregate Act Ranking will advance to the semi-finals. For the semi-finals, the act in each venue with the best Aggregate Act Ranking for the night will advance to the finals. For the finals, the act with the best Aggregate Act Ranking will be the top finisher.

8. In the case of a tie, the scorer shall calculate the sum of all Net Weighted Scores from all judges for the tied acts. The band with the higher sum of Net Weighted Scores wins.

Once in Memphis

Act Check-in

To avoid point deductions, plan your travel to Memphis carefully. Each act must check in between 11 am – 2:30 pm Wednesday, January 21, 2015 at The New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St. You will receive your credentials as well as your venue assignment at check-in, not before. Attendance of Act Orientation at 2:45 pm at The New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St., is required. Orientation will review contest rules, introduce key people, and seek to resolve any questions or special problems that contestants may have. Any competitor failing to check in by the beginning of ACT Orientation without special arrangement will be disqualified.

ACTS MUST check-in at the assigned venue 10 minutes before the FIRST act begins EACH NIGHT. ACTS are required to check in with the VENUE COORDINATOR (VC) each night, failing to check-in with the VC will result in a one point deduction. Make sure a representative is ALWAYS in the venue. Your venue may be missing an act, someone could be sick; the venue could be ahead of schedule. There are many reasons; but if you are not ready to perform when the VC calls you, you could lose points or be disqualified regardless of the time printed in the schedule. (Times in the schedule are only a guide, venues can and do run early).

2015 Blues Challenge Format

Band and Solo Duo Competition quarter-finals are a two-day competition (Wednesday and Thursday night). All bands and solo/duo acts are required to play both Wednesday and Thursday night in the same venue. The four top scoring acts from each venue will advance to the semi-finals.

Wednesday and Thursday quarter-final sets will be 25 minutes long. Sets for the semi-finals will be 30 minutes long. PLEASE NOTE: All set lengths are subject to change, notice will be sent to all affiliates and acts.

Acts that advance to the semi-finals will be announced on Thursday night in the venues. The venue assignments and playing times will be announced Friday on our website, Facebook page and listed on a printed schedule that will be available by 1pm at the IBC Store.

Youth Showcase

Youth Act – any act that all members are under the age of 21 at the time of the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. PLEASE NOTE: Youth acts can be appointed by the board of an affiliate. A competition is not required.

The Youth Showcase is a one day event held on Friday afternoon. Youth acts are NOT required to attend the four day event.

The Youth Showcase is not judged, however all competition rules, regulations and restrictions apply.

Plan your travel to Memphis carefully. Each YOUTH act is required to check in at The New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St. no later than 2 pm January 23, 2015. At check-in you will receive your credentials as well as your venue assignment. Attendance to act orientation at 2:30 pm at The New Daisy Theater, 330 Beale St. is required. Acts not checked in before act orientation are subject to disqualification.

Deadline for ALL acts to register is November 24, 2014.

The Blues Foundation reserves the right to change this format depending on the number of bands and number of venues participating.

Once the participating Beale Street venues have been assembled and all entry forms received, the number of performing acts in each venue can be finalized. Each act is assigned to a participating venue by a scientific process known as “drawing slips of paper with band names on them out of a hat.” Adjustments may be made in the cases of, for instance, number of band members, size of venue stage and other production concerns as determined by The Blues Foundation. Quarter-Finalists will return to the same clubs as they played the preceding night.

Final Round Structure

Sets will be scored on the same criteria as other rounds. All Final Round judges will not have served on any previous round, so each band will be performing for a totally new set of ears. Additionally, no judges in the Finals will be members of The Blues Foundation Board or from any Affiliate for maximum impartiality.

Staging and Equipment

The Blues Foundation will provide backline and sound. The setup on stage will include a drum kit with snare drum, amps, keyboards and mics. The backline in your venue will be based on your registration information. Drummers should bring their own cymbals and kick pedals (Yes, you will need your cymbals, you might want to bring your own snare too) and Harmonica players CAN (but are not required) bring their own harp amp. Keyboard players may (but are not required, we will provide) bring their own keyboards and keyboard amps, keyboard stands will be provided. Effects racks and other auxiliary equipment are permitted. Musicians must include on the online registration form any additional or special equipment needed .

Competitors are prohibited from bringing their own amplifiers (harp amps and keyboard amps being the only exceptions.)Please bring a DI (if you use one) every effort will be made to provide suitable equipment. Exceptions to this prohibition may only be granted pursuant to a formal written petition submitted in writing and received via email by the Event Producer ( no less than 60 days prior to the quarter-finals competition. Include a request in the act’s on line registration. With the number of bands participating in each venue, it is impossible for us to allow every player to bring an amp, space considerations prohibit it. Thus, any petition for an equipment waiver must include a compelling reason for exclusion.

The Blues Foundation reserves the right to approve or restrict any and all equipment an entrant wishes to bring on stage.

Order of Appearance

As is the case with the assignment of venues, the order of appearance of acts in each venue is also random.


Refreshments will be sold at the events and are the responsibility of the consumer. The Blues Foundation will host several receptions for Affiliated Organizations and acts during the course of the weekend. More details will be available on the IBC schedule page of our website and in the event program.

Other Points of Consideration

The Blues Foundation reserves the right to use any contestant’s name, voices, pictures, visages and other likeness for the purpose of advertising, publishing and promoting the IBC or The Blues Foundation.

The Blues Foundation reserves the right to videotape or otherwise record all IBC performances. The Blues Foundation shall retain total ownership of all recordings and programs, and reserves the right to edit the program, the right to broadcast the program, the right to copyright the program and the right to license others to use these rights.

Minors on Beale Street

During the hours of 6am and 11pm minors are allowed within the historic district, without being accompanied by a parent or guardian. Minors are not allowed to enter the Beale Street Historic District after 11pm unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, or going to a destination point like the New Daisy Theater.

The International Blues Challenge is a well-organized event and we run a tight ship! If everyone cooperates, all of us will have a good time. Please keep in mind that this is a huge event; there were 255 acts registered which give us 824 individual musicians! Your questions are very important but remember you are one of many.

If you have questions about the IBC, please do not hesitate to call the Foundation at 901-527-2583 ext 11 or email

2014 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees Announced

For more information:Jay Sieleman

President & CEO

901.527.2583 ext. 12



MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE; February 12, 2014. During the first 34 years of the Blues Hall of Fame balloting, only one saxophonist, Louis Jordan, was elected. The Year of the Saxophonist has come, however, in 2014, as three sax men–Big Jay McNeely, Eddie Shaw, and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson–blow their way into the Blues Hall. Two other performers–Mississippi hill country patriarch R.L. Burnside and the intense and inimitable Robert Pete Williams-will also be inducted in May.

Among the other individuals to be recognized by The Blues Foundation for their behind-the-scenes contributions: The Rosebud Agency’smanager and booking agent par excellence Mike Kappus, Houston music mogul and label owner Don Robey,and prolific Chicago record producer and writer Dick Shurman.


The book Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke by Peter Guralnick is the literature entry into the Blues Hall of Fame this year. This is Peter’s fourth book inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

These albums are being honored: Hawk Squat (Delmark, 1969) by J.B. Hutto and Moanin’ in the Moonlight (Chess, 1959) by Howlin’ Wolf.

The following singles will be inducted during the ceremony: “After Hours” by Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra (Bluebird, 1940); “Catfish Blues” by Robert Petway (Bluebird, 1941); “High Water Everywhere, Parts I & II” by Charley Patton (Paramount, 1930); “It’s Tight Like That” by Tampa Red & Georgia Tom (Vocalion, 1928); and “Milk Cow Blues” by Kokomo Arnold (Decca, 1934).

Inductees’ official biographies and descriptions are available, as well as all Hall of Fame inductees, at

The induction ceremony will be held Wednesday, May 7, at the Sheraton Memphis Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before the 35th Blues Music Awards. With living musicians like B.B. King and Buddy Guy, and legends like Muddy Waters and Koko Taylor, the Blues Hall of Fame consists of blues music’s best and brightest stars.

The Blues Foundation is now in the final stages of raising the capital needed to showcase these legendary performers and their work with Blues Hall of Fame exhibits at its 421 S. Main headquarters in downtown Memphis. The Blues Hall of Fame will honor inductees year round, provide interactive and educational exhibits, and create a place for serious blues fans, casual visitors, and students to congregate, celebrate and learn more about the Blues. The Raise the Roof! campaign hopes to raise the remaining funds necessary to commence construction in June of this year.

On May 9, the night after the Blues Hall of Fame inductions, The Blues Foundation will present the Blues Music Awards for the 35th time. Performers, industry representatives and fans from around the world will celebrate the best in Blues recording, songwriting and performance from the previous year at the Memphis Cook Convention Center in downtown Memphis.

For tickets and more information, visit

Major funding is provided by ArtsMemphis and the Tennessee Arts Commission. The 35th Blues Music Awards and Blues Hall of Fame events are also sponsored by BMI, Catfood Records, Eagle Rock Entertainment, First Tennessee Foundation, Jontaar Creative Studios, Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Memphis Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Sierra Nevada Brewing Company and Sony/Legacy Records.

The Blues Foundation is Memphis-based, but world-renown as THE organization dedicated to preserving our blues music history, celebrating recording and performance excellence, supporting blues education and ensuring the future of this uniquely American art form. Founded in 1980, The Blues Foundation has 4000 individual members and 200 affiliated local blues societies representing another 50,000 fans and professionals around the world. Its signature honors and events–the Blues Music Awards, Blues Hall of Fame, International Blues Challenge and Keeping the Blues Alive Awards–make it the international center of blues music. Its HART Fund provides the blues community with medical assistance while its Sound Healthcare program offers musicians health insurance access. Blues in the Schools programs and Generation Blues scholarships expose new generations to blues music. Throughout the year, the Foundation staff serves the worldwide Blues community with answers, contact information and news.

2014 Blues Hall of Fame Inductees


R.L. Burnside was a champion of Mississippi hill country blues who was able to energize rock audiences just as he did local juke joint revelers. He achieved crossover success by attracting a cult following among young college-age crowds with his infectious rhythms and good humor, and by agreeing with his producers at Fat Possum Records to collaborate with indie rock musicians and to submit his blues to sampling, scratching and digital programming. Although his 1990s studio product caused some reviewers and listeners to define his sound as progressive blues, Burnside himself was a traditional bluesman who never changed the way he played, and entertained live audiences as he always had.

Burnside was born in the Harmantown community near Oxford, Mississippi — where he would later become an Ole Miss favorite and Fat Possum artist — on November 23, 1926. He sometimes said his initials stood for Robert Lee, but he was also called “Rule,” and Social Security records cite his name as Rural or Rural L. Burnside. His musical inspiration came from his neighbor, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Ranie Burnette, and he entertained at house parties, juke joints and local gatherings in the Holly Springs area while working in the cotton fields and catching and selling fish. Burnside also lived for a few years in Chicago where he grew close to another influence, Muddy Waters. His first recordings, made in 1968 by folklorist George Mitchell, appeared on Arhoolie Records and, as his reputation grew, he made many more records and began traveling to appear at blues festivals and clubs, in the U.S. and overseas. He usually performed alone with his guitar but, as patriarch of a growing brood of musicians, he began playing with his sons and other family members, and the addition of hard-driving drumming to the rhythm of his guitar grooves gave his music an electric edge that bode well for expanding his audiences.

Six of Burnside’s later albums, some of them done with Jon Spencer or Tom Rothrock, made the Billboard blues charts. With this success, a spate of Burnside albums appeared on various labels, the result of tapes Burnside had happily agreed to make during earlier years for any fan who showed up with a tape machine. He died at St. Francis Hospital in Memphis on September 1, 2005. The family blues legacy has been carried on by sons Duwayne, Garry and Daniel, grandsons Cedric and Kent, and several other Burnsides.

Big Jay McNeely became the act no one wanted to follow during the “honkers and shouters” era of rhythm & blues that preceded rock ‘n’ roll, when the gunslingers of the trade wielded saxophones, not electric guitars. McNeely, “The Wild Man of the Saxophone,” launched sonic assaults while lying on his back, walking the bar or leading a procession out the door, driving his young audiences into a frenzy. While less acrobatic now that he’s in his eighties, McNeely has still maintained his instrumental prowess and his talent for exciting a crowd.

Born on April 29, 1927, in Watts, when the neighborhood had yet to be incorporated into the city of Los Angeles, Cecil James McNeely played jazz and classical music in high school. He graduated into the rocking world of R&B at the Barrelhouse, a club co-owned by Johnny Otis, who hired McNeely to play on a recording session in 1948. Savoy Records’ A&R man Ralph Bass signed McNeely to a contract and label owner Herman Lubinsky gave him the name “Big Jay.” His Savoy instrumental Deacon’s Hop hit No. 1 on Billboard‘s “race music” charts in 1949. McNeely continued to record for other labels, including Exclusive, Aladdin and Federal, but it was as a live act, both locally and on tour, that he had his greatest impact. The Los Angeles Sentinel reported in 1955 that the “inimitable brand of excitement imparted by his music was recently studied by a psychiatric board engaged in youth activities.” Varying and expanding his show, he added doo-wop groups to the revue and performed with glow-in-the-dark instruments and strobe lights. His over-the-top showmanship reportedly influenced a youngster who saw McNeely’s show in Seattle named James (later Jimi) Hendrix.

As musical trends changed, McNeely recruited a singer, Little Sonny Warner, for his band, and together they recorded his best-remembered song, the blues ballad There is Something on Your Mind, a 1959 hit which bore no trace of McNeely’s raucous honking. Within a few years, though, finding fewer outlets for his music, he took a job at the post office and continued the Jehovah’s Witness ministry he had adopted in his youth. In the 1980s a revival of interest in vintage R&B led to his return to the stage, as he excited a new generation of audiences around the world. McNeely was profiled in the 1995 Jim Dawson book Nervous Man Nervous: Big Jay McNeely & the Rise of the Honking Tenor Saxophone.

Eddie Shaw continues to build upon his unparalleled career as a Chicago blues saxophonist/bandleader in a city where guitar, harmonica and piano players have long ruled the roost. A multiple Blues Music Award winner and perpetual nominee in the Instrumentalist–Horn category, Shaw has blown his industrial-strength sax with the likes of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters and Magic Sam. And with his Wolf Gang he has racked up the most road mileage of all Chicago bands over the past four decades, crisscrossing the country from Maine, where his upbeat, high-energy blues is a particular favorite, to countless points south and west.

Shaw, born March 20, 1937, in Stringtown, Mississippi, learned saxophone at school in nearby Greenville, Mississippi, the hub of blues activity in the Delta. He continued at Mississippi Vocational College (now Mississippi Valley State University) in Itta Bena, meanwhile working or sitting in with Little Milton, Ike Turner, Charlie Booker, Elmore James and others, including Muddy Waters when he brought his band down from Chicago. Muddy was so impressed that he offered Shaw a spot in the band, and before long the sax phenom was a Windy City resident. His most significant work in establishing himself in Chicago, both in the clubs and in the studio, came with Magic Sam and Howlin’ Wolf. Shaw also ran a laundry business, an air conditioning service and blues clubs on the West Side. After Wolf died in 1976, Shaw took over the band, with Hubert Sumlin on guitar, and initiated a tireless touring itinerary. His son Eddie “Vaan” Shaw, Jr., soon assumed guitar duties and, along with bassist Shorty Gilbert, has now been with the Wolf Gang for more than 30 years. Shaw has recorded for Alligator, Rooster Blues, Delmark, Wolf, North Atlantic and other labels, and has found time in the studio to do sessions with Jimmy Dawkins, Willie Kent, Lonnie Shields, John Primer, Sunnyland Slim, George Thorogood, Big Head Todd and a growing list of others. His son Stan Shaw is a veteran Hollywood actor, and father Eddie made his own big screen debut in the 2007 film Honeydripper.

Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson was an acclaimed alto saxist who fit in comfortably in a variety of blues, jazz and R&B settings. A contemporary and admirer of Charlie Parker, he contributed to the first wave of bebop, but achieved his greatest popularity with his unique singing voice, which combined full-bodied blues shouting with a quirky, broken squeal. Vinson, born in Houston on December 18, 1917, played locally with the bands of Chester Boone and Milt Larkin before he was recruited to join trumpeter Cootie Williams’ orchestra in New York in 1942. Three of the records he made singing with Williams (Cherry Red Blues, Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t and Somebody’s Got to Go) made the Top Ten of Billboard magazine’s Harlem Hit Parade charts in 1944-45 and he won Esquire magazine’s jazz poll in the “New Stars” vocalist category. Leaving Williams to front his own band, Vinson scored more Billboard hits with the 1947 Mercury double-sider Old Maid Boogie/Kidney Stew Blues and his 1948 waxing of Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red on King. Other favorites included his original version of the standard Person to Person, his cover of Big Bill Broonzy’s Just a Dream, and a number of tunes, such as Cleanhead Blues, touting his trademark baldness. (He shaved his head to maintain the look after first losing his hair to a lye-based hair straightener treatment gone awry.)

Vinson’s later recordings retained his characteristic warmth and humor and included albums with backing by Cannonball Adderley, Jay McShann, Mike Bloomfield and Roomful of Blues, collaborations with Count Basie, Joe Turner, T-Bone Walker and Oscar Peterson, and vocal and instrumental spots on sessions with Johnny Otis and others. He played alongside many other top names in blues and jazz at different points during his long career, from accompanying Big Bill and Lil Green to hiring a young John Coltrane as a sideman. Following his years in New York, Vinson returned to Houston and spent time in Detroit and Kansas City before settling in Los Angeles to enjoy a career revival during his last two decades, recording prolifically and making several European tours. “Mr. Cleanhead” died in Los Angeles on July 2, 1988.

Robert Pete Williams made his first recordings in the Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola in 1959 while serving time for murder. Folklorist Dr. Harry Oster was in search of work songs but found instead one of the most original blues artists ever in Williams, who wailed and played guitar with ominous passion and intensity in a visceral style outside the bounds of traditional musical structure, rhyme and meter. Oster’s co-worker Richard Allen noted, “He did unorthodox things. He’d be in three modes at once.” Williams often made up lyrics and improvised accompaniments (picked rather than chorded) as he played, and his subject matter could be stark and disturbing. In one of his best known songs, Grown So Ugly, he looks in the mirror and moans, “I got so ugly I don’t even know myself.” The spontaneous nature of his music made it all but inimitable and it was fitting that one of the few musicians to cover Grown So Ugly was an equally unconventional rock icon, Captain Beefheart.

Robert Williams, who added the nickname Pete as a teenager, was born in Zachary, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge, on March 14, 1914. He played music at local gatherings but made his living by farming and working at a dairy, a lumber yard and other odd jobs until he shot a man, in self-defense, he claimed, in a barroom altercation. He entered Angola in 1956 and earned a work parole in 1959 with the support of Oster and others (in a scenario reminiscent of Lead Belly. After songs from his prison sessions appeared on the Louisiana Folklore Society label, the burgeoning folk-blues revival was ready to welcome Williams. His photo appeared in the national press along with news of an invitation to appear at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival. But the parole board refused him permission to travel, and he continued to work on a local farm until his time was served. His long-anticipated Newport debut in 1964 was recorded by Vanguard, and during the 1960s and ’70s he saw albums released on Folk Lyric, Arhoolie, Bluesville, Takoma and several European labels. He performed widely at folk and blues clubs and various festivals, endearing himself in the process to an international audience who found him anything but murderous. His music made him famous among a select segment of the blues world but not prosperous at home; his jobs during his years of freedom included collecting and selling scrap iron. Williams died on December 31, 1980, in Rosedale, Louisiana.

Individuals (Business, Academic, Media & Production)

Mike Kappus has been the kind of manager and booking agent any musician would want, and the blues world is filled with musicians who wish they could have been represented by his Rosebud Agency. The example he set guiding careers, booking jobs, finding record deals and championing artists’ rights with dedication and drive made him one of the most respected men in the business. To do his most effective work, however, Kappus kept his roster select and small, and in so doing, he was able to elevate the careers of John Lee Hooker, Robert Cray and others to new heights. Hooker, who served as best man at Kappus’ wedding, once said, “Mr. Kappus has done more for me than any agent I ever had . . . He is a very strong young man. He don’t back down.”

Kappus got his start booking bands in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, where he was born in May 24, 1950. He later worked for two Milwaukee agencies, TGC Productions, and Contemporary Talent, and brought a number of blues acts to town, including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon and Freddie King, in addition to booking a blues stage at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. He relocated to San Francisco to join the Keystone Music Agency and in 1976 he founded Rosebud. Kappus’ personal management clients have included Hooker, Cray, John Hammond, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, J.J. Cale and Trombone Shorty. As a booking agency, Rosebud also represented Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, George Thorogood, Allen Toussaint, Albert Collins, Pops and Mavis Staples, Ben Harper, Ruthie Foster and others. At the end of 2013 Kappus, a recipient of multiple Keeping the Blues Alive awards, closed the booking business of Rosebud but he continues his management work, as well as his service to nonprofit groups. Kappus has aided environmental, educational, human rights and cross-cultural organizations with his volunteer work. He originated the idea for and initially funded The Blues Foundation’s HART Fund which since 2003 has paid medical and funeral expenses for blues musicians in need.

Don Robey built one of the most formidable entertainment empires in the independent music business with his Duke and Peacock labels, Buffalo Booking Agency, Lion Music publishing company, nightclubs, and other associated activities. His hardnosed business tactics made him a controversial figure, but many of his artists, including his first Peacock signee, Gatemouth Brown, and longtime Duke star Bobby Bland, who recorded for Duke for 20 years, spoke of him with admiration and respect.

Robey was born in Houston on November 1, 1903, to a white mother and black father, a professional chef. Robey, who lived with his mother on a cotton farm as a teenager, dropped out of high school to pursue a gambling career. He chauffeured and labored on the docks in Galveston before he worked at or owned a series of restaurants and nightclubs in Houston in the 1930s, including the Sweet Dreams Cafe, Lenox Club and Harlem Grill, a large dance hall where he and partner Morris Merritt brought in top-flight big band entertainment. Robey and Merritt were longtime associates in promotion and management and were later joined by Evelyn Johnson in the Buffalo Booking Agency. Robey learned more of the business during a stay in Los Angeles, and back in Houston he opened the upscale Bronze Peacock Dinner Club, another major performance venue. In 1949 Robey launched Peacock Records and later acquired Duke and added the Back Beat, Sure Shot and Song Bird labels. At one point his company was regarded as the most successful black-owned record business in America, with multiple hits by Big Mama Thornton, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Johnny Ace, O.V. Wright, and a sterling roster of gospel acts including the Dixie Hummingbirds, Five Blind Boys and Sensational Nightingales. The labels’ performers were signed to booking and management contracts as well, as was B.B. King. Under the pseudonym Deadric (his middle name) Malone (his wife’s maiden name), Robey published many songs he wrote or bought outright from songwriters. Robey’s operations at times also included a record store, pressing plant and print shop. Robey sold his firm to ABC in 1973 and stayed on as a consultant, but his new position did not last long. He died of heart failure at St. Luke’s Hospital in Houston on June 16, 1975.

Dick Shurman is widely recognized in the blues community not only for the quality and care evident in his record productions and writings but also for his love for the music and the artists who sing and play it. His producing credits include albums by Albert Collins, Johnny Winter, Magic Slim, Charlie Musselwhite, Earl Hooker, Fenton Robinson, Roy Buchanan, Eddie C. Campbell and Lurrie Bell, and his bibliography includes articles for Blues Unlimited, Living Blues and Juke Blues, book chapters, and over 100 album liner notes. He has compiled numerous reissues and put in decades of service with the Chicago Blues Festival advisory committee. What makes his accomplishments even more remarkable is that he has compiled this Hall of Fame-quality blues resume while holding down non-music-related full-time jobs in a library system.

Shurman was born May 23, 1950, in Los Alamos, New Mexico, and lived in Milwaukee and Madison, Wisconsin, before Boeing offered his father a job in Seattle. Inspired by blues he discovered on the radio, on records and with friends in Seattle, Shurman headed straight for blues mecca when he enrolled at the University of Chicago in 1968. He began befriending blues artists, submitting articles to Blues Unlimited, and making tapes in the clubs (including some by Earl Hooker that were released on LP), but found himself so drawn to the clubs that he decided it would interfere with his studies. He returned to Seattle to earn his degrees, including a master’s in library science from the University of Washington. With the degree he was able to return to the Chicago area and start work at a suburban library, enabling him to earn a living without depending on income from the blues.

A former contributing editor with Living Blues, Shurman interviewed a number of artists he would later produce in the studio, including Albert Collins, Otis Rush, Jody Williams, Johnny Heartsman, Andrew Brown and Lee Shot Williams. His rapport with the musicians extended beyond the studios and clubs as he developed lasting personal friendships, just as he did with a worldwide network of blues aficionados. He continues to produce and write with insight and to display his well-known talents as a punster and as a font of blues anecdotes, printable and otherwise.

Classic of Blues Literature

Dream Boogie: The Triumph of Sam Cooke, by Peter Guralnick (Little, Brown and Company, 2005)

Dream Boogie is the fourth book by Peter Guralnick, America’s premier music biographer, to attain Blues Hall of Fame status. In this meticulously researched and detailed 750-page opus, Guralnick delves into the mind, music and soul of Sam Cooke and follows his trail, stop by stop, from his gospel days to his crossover to R&B and pop stardom to his tragic and controversial demise in a Los Angeles motel. Cooke’s talent extended to the blues and he especially admired Charles Brown, as Guralnick notes; Cooke even invited Brown to play piano on one of his sessions. The changing social landscape that soul, gospel and blues singers traversed in the 1960s is one of many fascinating themes in the book, along with the complex nature of Cooke’s personality. A champion of independence, freedom and equality, Cooke also had his demons, foibles, and a ruthless business side. Guralnick lays bare the details as no one has done before or since.

Classic of Blues Recording: Single or Album Track

After Hours – Erskine Hawkins and His Orchestra (Bluebird, 1940)

As a counterpoint to the boogie woogie piano craze of the era, trumpeter-bandleader Erskine Hawkins turned pianist Avery Parrish loose to wax a slow, atmospheric instrumental blues on a June 10, 1940, session in New York. Hawkins and his horn men come in only at the end of the song, leaving it a showcase for Parrish’s moody pianistics. The lastingly popular (and often rereleased) After Hours (first issued as Bluebird B-10879) earned the unofficial title of the “Negro national anthem” and was a tune every club or lounge pianist needed to know, regardless of their race or preferred musical genre. It also served as a theme for several radio programs. The record brought national fame to Parrish, a member of Hawkins’ band dating back to its ‘Bama State Collegians origins in Birmingham, but in 1943 he was hit over the head with a bar stool and was never able to perform again.

Catfish Blues – Robert Petway (Bluebird, 1941)

Delta blues guitarist Robert Petway helped establish an enduring downhome blues theme with his March 28, 1941, recording of Catfish Blues in Chicago (Bluebird B8838). Many other bluesmen have since sung their own renditions of Petway’s line, “Well, if was a catfish, mama, I said swimmin’ deep down in deep blue sea, all these gals now, sweet mama, settin’ out hooks for me, settin’ out hooks for me . . .” Petway’s friend Tommy McClennan recorded a similar Deep Blue Sea Blues later in 1941, and Muddy Waters most famously reworked the catfish verse as the opening line of his smoldering classic Rollin’ Stone in 1950. Kokomo Arnold had earlier (1935) sung, “I’d rather be a catfish down in the Gulf of Mexico.” None of the other versions, however, were carried by such a propulsive rhythmic drive as Petway provided on this flailing guitar workout.

High Water Everywhere, Parts I & II – Charley Patton (Paramount, 1930)

Often regarded as Delta blues king Charley Patton’s masterpiece, the two-part High Water Everywhere is a dramatic account of the flooding that inundated parts of the Mississippi Delta and Arkansas in 1927 (and perhaps later). Patton sings of the devastation and death and works over his guitar with a force that builds as the song progresses, bringing an immediacy to an event that occurred some two and a half years before the session. Perhaps one reason, as Patton scholar Dr. David Evans has suggested, is that Part II, in which the scene shifts from Mississippi to Arkansas, may have been inspired by flood waters that threatened Arkansas again in January 1930. The date for this session is usually reported as circa October 1929 but Paramount discographers now believe it was early February 1930. The record was released as Paramount 12909 in April of 1930.

It’s Tight Like That – Tampa Red & Georgia Tom (Vocalion, 1928)

Guitarist Tampa Red and pianist Georgia Tom joined together in a playful vocal duet to rework of a hot street slang phrase of the 1920s into a genre-crossing national hit. It’s Tight Like That, a prime example of the good-time music known as hokum, was cut in Chicago on October 24, 1928 (Vocalion 1216), and was widely recorded by blues, jazz and country artists, including several sequels by Tampa Red (Hudson Whittaker) and Georgia Tom (Thomas A. Dorsey, who was later to be hailed as “the father of gospel music”).

Milk Cow Blues – Kokomo Arnold (Decca, 1934)

Milk Cow Blues (Decca 7026), a solo performance by slide guitarist James “Kokomo” Arnold, was one of the biggest blues hits to come out of Chicago in the 1930s. Decca kept it in print with a popular reissue in 1946 and in the meantime it was adapted not only by other bluesmen, but by Western swing bands, including Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys and Johnnie Lee Wills. Elvis Presley recorded a Wills-influenced version on Sun in 1954 and it has been covered many times since by artists ranging from Willie Nelson to Aerosmith. Arnold’s song, recorded on September 10, 1934, is not the same as earlier Milk Cow Blues by Sleepy John Estes and Freddie Spruell, and is recognizable both for its “If you see my milk cow, please drive her home” lyrics and Arnold’s influential phrasing of “You gonna need my help some day.” Robert Johnson answered it in 1937 with Milkcow Calf’s Blues, the last song he ever recorded.

Classic of Blues Recording: Album

Hawk Squat! – J.B. Hutto (Delmark, 1969)

In his liner notes to Hawk Squat! (Delmark DS-617), producer Bob Koester called J.B. Hutto and the Hawks “the most exciting, roughest blues band in Chicago,” and he set out to capture the Hutto sound he heard at Turner’s Blue Lounge in the South Side ghetto. The power of Hutto’s roared, sometimes almost unintelligible vocals, ripping slide guitar, and hard-hitting band work emphatically drove home the point on these sessions. Joining Frank Kirkland, Lee Jackson and other Hawks on the tracks were special guests Sunnyland Slim and, from Delmark’s modern jazz roster, Maurice McIntyre blowing his tenor sax in a blues mode. One track, Hutto’s popular Hip-Shakin’ — which is missing from some pressings of the original LP — was recorded at a club, Mother Blues, in 1966, and the rest came from two studio dates in 1968. Although often cited as a 1968 release, Blues Unlimited magazine reported a delayed release date of 1969.

Moanin’ in the Moonlight – Howlin’ Wolf (Chess, 1959)

Moanin’ in the Moonlight (Chess 1434) was the first compilation of Wolf’s work to be issued on LP, in 1959, and marks the fifth time the Blues Hall of Fame has inducted a Wolf album on Chess. As with most of his other Chess LPs, this was a collection of singles, here including four of the five tracks that hit the Billboard charts as 78s or 45s in the ’50s — the double-sided 1951 Memphis recording of Moanin’ at Midnight/How Many More Years, plus Smokestack Lightnin’ and I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) from 1956 Chicago sessions. Other tracks are just as highly regarded as classics today, including Forty Four, No Place to Go and Evil. Adding to Wolf’s unmatched ferocity is a brilliant pack of sidemen, including guitarists Jody Williams, Hubert Sumlin, Willie Johnson and the unsung Lee Cooper. This music is all available today, of course, on multiple reissue sets, but for an introduction back in 1959, Chess could hardly have done better.

© Copyright 2014 The Blues Foundation All rights reserved.