Saturday, August 29, 2009

LV BANKS, Magic Slim, Kingston Mines

Last Friday night my "Hey let's go hear some blues buddy" Jim and I picked up LV Banks and headed to Kingston Mines.  Magic Slim and the Teardrops were playing in the south room and Joanna Connor was in the north room. They play one room (Magic) for an hour then everyone goes over to the next room for an hour (Joanna). Back and forth it goes until 4am. They start at 9pm. We caught two sets of Magic. I pulled into my driveway at 3am. It was a long Night.
                                                                                                  (Pictured  Magic Slim & L V Banks)

If anyone knows anything about Chicago they know that parking anywhere in Lincoln Park Friday night is nearly impossible. Let me rephrase that, if you want to park in a parking garage for 20 bucks go ahead or park illegally, but be prepared for about $150.00 parking ticket. Recently the city of Chicago sold all the parking meters to a private company. The new company raised the fees. What they forgot to do was increase the size of the coin boxes. The company cannot empty the cash fast enough and the city has issued more tickets than usual. I have friends that live within a ten minute walk of the Mines. Their house is in a very expensive area of the city. In this area of town you cannot touch a property for less than 1.5 mil. Pete and his wife always invite me to visit. My favorite reply is, "Where do I Park?” They solved the problem. Now when I come over they let me park on the apron of their garage. In Chicago almost everyone has an alley and the garages empty into the alleys. parking in that spot saved us money. We piled into a cab that was driven by a guy from Somalia. In Chicago cabs are driven by guys from Somalia. It is a rule. We took a cab because it was raining. Short 5 minute ride 10 bucks. Wild and short just like a tilt-a-whirl.

(Pictured left Jim K & LV Banks)

Kingston Mines has very tight and large security. His name is BJ. I do not know why people connected with the blues use initials instead of names. You know LV, BJ, BB. I told BJ that we were with LV. BJ gave us a free pass. The Mines charges a $15 cover. LV saved us $75. We entered through swinging doors and there it was the infamous Kingston Mines. The place is not much of a show palace. It’s just a bar, bunch of tables and some Mississippi river boat scenes on the walls, but it is the most famous blues club period. Frank the emcee climbed the three steps up to the stage and explained about fire rules, dancing and his dad doc. Doc And LV go way back and have not seen each other for 20 years. Doc started the mines about 200 years ago. I’m just kidding Doc, about 60 years ago. If there was a blues kingdom Doc would be King. He is BLUES royalty. The list of musicians he employed during those past years are as thick as a Chicago Phone book. Name one that's not on the list.

Magic Slim is a very large man at about 6 and 1/2 feet. When Magic saw LV he smiled from ear to ear. LV and Magic gigged together in the mid 60's. LV told me later about a woman they were both involved with. I do not know if that's true or not. Sure sounds like a good blues story.

John McDonald, Magic's guitar player, and my "hey let's go hear some blues buddy” Jim struck up a nice lengthy conversation. John told Jim that the group is on the road for three months and home for two weeks. Then that cycle repeats. That is a grueling schedule. They are a hardworking bunch.

Magic’s band took the stage. I listen to a lot of blues bands and in my opinion can tell from the first four beats if the group has been schooled in the blues. Magic’s band has three college professors and each member holds a Doctorate Degree with a discipline in Bluesology. Magic's band kicked and kicked it hard. They are a force to be reckoned with.

Believe me when I say,” Magic is traditional West Side Chicago blues”. He makes the guitar sing as much as he does. I’ll quote Magic and say his favorite catch phrase “I ain’t lying.”
He is well worth the cost of admission and is very approachable. He is one of the old school blues men. As we say in the business he is “THE REAL DEAL.”


Blues Me Or Lose Me,
Terry “Gatorman” Lape
CD "Mark of The Gator"
Gatorman Merchandise
Bookmark us at

© Copyright Terrance B. Lape all rights reserved. Reproduction of this website, in whole or in part, in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited. All use is subject to our Terms of Use.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

I thought it might be fun to post various pictures of players in the Chicago Blues Scene.

Ana Popovic at Buddy Guy's Legends. These were taken by JPK

Green Room

Green Room

Green room

Gatorman Introduces Ana to Buddy Guy

Ana Green room

Main Stage

Main Stage

Main Stage

Billy Branch at Artis's and some shots at Cool River Pro Jam session.

Nick Charles (Muddy Waters Ex Bassman) & Billy

Cool River Pro Jam session

Billy Arrives At Pro Jam Session

Next we have Smilin' Bobby. Can you tell how he got his name? Yours truly in the bottom photo with the guy in the red shirt. My 40th B-Day party at the club called Edwins , which just so happens to be within walking distance of my house. Get this Al Capone once owned it. Google Miami gardens Peotone, Illinois for more info on Edwins.

Artis's --------------------------------Chicago Blues Fest

Watseka New Years Eve 2009


Edwin's My 40 B-day party

Next We have Wolf Recording Artist L V BAnks. All these shots were taken at my hangout Cool River Draught House and Eatery at the Thursday Night Pro Jam Session.

Tony Medina On Harp Pro Jam

Mark Keys, Chomps Drums, LV, me ,Billy King

L V with Albert Castiglia Band Friday Night

Pro Jam Session

Cyrus Hayes and Lady Lee Pictures

Walter Scott--- Cyrus ---Darryl Wright

Lady Lee with Walter Scott

Yours Truly

If you really want to see a vast collection of Blues Artists photos go to Hampton Photos
They have over 35,000 different shots and they are all for sale.
Go here

Terrance "Gatorman" Lape

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Blues in the US Navy USS Chicago Style

Blues in the US Navy USS Chicago Style

Modern day Chicago blues artists have a backup band and these sidemen are the time keepers. Any major Blues artist will tell you that without a great rhythm section the show “just don’t cut it”. Whether on the stage, or in the studio, side men have to lay down a solid groove for whoever that artist is. A side man can make or break an artist and it is essential that all work as team. How does a rhythm section keep time? It comes from an inner clock inherent in everyone.

I thought long and hard about this question; how does one develop their clock? I came to the conclusion that mine was developed or wound during Boot Camp in the US Navy.

I enlisted in the navy on July 20th 1972. I thrust my right hand up in the air and stated the following;

“I, Terrance B. Lape due solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies foreign and domestic. That I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, and that I will obey the orders of the president of the United States and the officers appointed over me according to the regulations, and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me god.”

I reported to Great Lakes Naval Base September of that year. I had a full 12 weeks ahead of basic training AKA “Boot Camp”. Talk about culture shock, the very first morning I was awaken by the sound of two metal garbage cans. The company commander had his billy club and was rotating it inside those cans. It was 5:00 am. You gotta be kidding me, I muttered under my breath. The company commander heard me and rushed over to me, pulled myself and the mattress out of the rack (bed). I tumbled onto the floor (deck) and then he tossed the scratchy wool blanket over me. “Sailor you better be on that grinder (asphalt parking lot) in 15 minutes or your gonna be in a world of hurt.” I was there in ten. That grinder was the place where the company learned how to march. Why in the world did sailors have to march? Swim yes, march no. It was, at the time, beyond my comprehension. I learned anyway.

Those twelve weeks in boot camp were focused on team work. If one team member screwed up the whole team suffered. The way we suffered was with the dreaded grinder. I swear I wore out my freshly issued boondockers (black boots) with all that marching. If the company (team) went to another building like the mess hall or sickbay or a classroom we marched and it was double time, a running march. When we marched someone called the cadence. A form of answer and call work song like this;

Caller : Let me hear the sound of yo' left (company stomps)
Caller : sound of yo' right (company stomps)

Caller : Let me hear the sound of yo' left (company stomps)
Caller : sound of yo' right (company stomps)

Caller : Double it up (stomps twice)

Caller : double it up (stomps twice)

Caller : Now stomp your left and drag yo' right
Platoon : boots cost money you big dummy

caller : Now stomp your left and drag yo' right
Platoon : boots cost money you big dummy

Come to think of it the marching cadences were a form of blues. They were song to keep time, to sync the company, to tap a sort of timing in your head that has to be tapped into. We got to be pretty good at marching and did some very fancy footwork. We could fold a column of men back through another column without hitting each other. We were very adept at side marching, 45 degree turns and similar maneuvers.

I served and lived on a guided missile cruiser oddly enough it was the USS Chicago Cg-11. I was assigned to the weapons department and the subdivision 6th Division. That division operated and maintained two 5” gun mounts. It took a coordinated effort to shoot those guns. One of the gun mounts was manned by sailors and the other was manned by marines. It was essential for the survival of all the crew that the gun personnel worked together as a team. That crew had to get the timing just right, after all lives were at stake.

There was certain horror firing that gun, but there was a certain beauty to it also. The gun crews worked like a precision clock movement. Load the gun, close the breech, and pull the trigger. When that gun fired there was no mistaking it. BOOM; wait 33 seconds, BOOM and over and over again. The marines were always much faster than the sailors. The last part of the firing sequence was mine, pull the trigger. If I pulled it at the wrong time, the bullet would fire prematurely with tragic consequences. My timing had to be just right. No second chances. It was not an assignment I took lightly.

Timing is a big issue in our everyday lives. Look at a car engine, construction of a steel skyscraper, people walking down the street. Everything has timing. A blues musician has to follow that inner clock and in order to follow that clock he has to focus. I have always said that all successful people have one thing in common and that one thing is focus. It does not matter if that person is an athlete, entertainer, politician, business CEO or numerous other occupations. When the focus is adjusted and operating correctly they enter a place called the zone. Those of you who have hit that zone know what I am referring to. It is the ultimate high without any form of chemicals. Some musicians call it; the groove, playing in the pocket, synched up, kicking it, rocking the house.

In that zone moment an artist knows that something magical is happening and in that moment he knows his purpose, the true meaning of his very existence. All that marching taught me this; a group of individuals with a singular purpose can accomplish anything.
If any veteran out there is a blues lover let me know.
If you have spent time in the "Zone" tell me about it.

Terrance B. Lape AKA Gatorman

Bookmark us at
© Copyright Terrance B. Lape all rights reserved. Reproduction of this website, in whole or in part, in any form or medium without express written permission is prohibited. All use is subject to our Terms of Use.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Bill's Blues Bar is one of those clubs that has seen a lot of different players. Anybody who is anybody in the Chicago Blues scene has played there at one time or another. It is another shotgun type bar with a bar along one side and tables on the other. The stage is just inside the building street side. with a huge storefront window. I played there this past Friday with my friend L V Banks. L V has played the joint so many times he can't remember how many, but he told me when I asked, "A bunch." I have written about L v in previous posts for the American Blues Blog.

His regular drummer Brian called me late Tuesday and asked if I could play. I never miss an oppurtunity to play bass for one of Chiacgo's legendary blues men. When L V saw me walk in a huge smile came upon his face. He likes the way I play bass. L V is a lumpty lump type blues guy.

I arrived at 8:00 pm for a 8:30 start. There was a group ahead of us called Neither/Nor. I sat at the bar, mid section, ordered a coke and decided to listen. I could not figure out what they were playing. I guess I am not at the intellectual level to understand their kind of music. A woman sitting next to me told me they are filling up a musical space. Filling up a space yes but with music no. Noise yes, music no. The best I can say is if they were playing Avant Garde Jazz then that is what they were doing. I can't critique Avante Garde Jazz, for that matter I do not think anyone is capable of that job. I once met a free form jazz artist named Hal Russell. Hal played vibraphone at a Cajun restaurant I frequented back in the mid eighties. He invited my wife and I to a free concert that was held in the attic of a house he rented. The concert utilized various types of instruments including garbage can lids. That was my first introduction into free form Jazz and my last. Hal actually made a living at it. I guess some people like that kind of music.

The band stopped promptly at 8:30. By the time they were off the stage we did not play until 9:15. LV Banks is a blues man that has paid his dues and it really bugs me when fans walk up and demand that he play other artist's music . Play some BB King, Elmore James this guy asked.
I don't think fans request BB to play L V's music. We played a solid hour set and then took a 20 minute break. after the break we played about 20 more minutes and then called it a night. Bill's Blues Bar is an anchor in the Chicago land blues scene and should be made an historical Land mark. I had a really great time at Bill's Blues Bar and you will also.

That's the end of the Bill's Blues Bar story. I have a humorous piece I'd like to share

"What Is A Blues Man?"

A bluesman has to live up a dusty dirt road and must get up early in the morning or at least everything important in his life happens then. A real blues man is at least fifty years old and never, ever has any money. He will always ask if he can hold a twenty. He gives a spiel about how he will pay you back on the first which by the way never arrives. He will always have enough money to buy a beer, some cognac, and cigarettes. Real bluesmen have at least ten kids by six different women. You can recognize those women because they are the ones in the parking lot of the venue he is currently performing in and they are also the ones spontaneously brawling in that same lot. You can spot a true blues man because he is always in a hurry. He is constantly looking over his shoulder to see if his new or old wife is chasing him. She always is and with a gun. He knows that at any moment it may be his last. Why not enjoy it while he can? A Blues man spends his entire adult life like a gypsy or Bedouin. His whole life is about the road. He’d spend a night in that town then another in that town and on and on. Like a sailor with a girl in every port, he has his share of overnight accommodations and as a result of his shenanigans he has children running around and chasing him. They all claim he is their father. He of course would deny each and every one. He allows some to get close, but only if they have the potential of becoming his future side men. He uses them and hopes they will understand when he pockets the money he was supposed to pay them. It’s a lot cheaper that way and equals more money in his pocket. His excuse for not paying these kin sidemen is that the van needs brakes. Funny every time he uses those brakes he has to down shift.


Terrance Lape
Look for my Cd at*
Photos by Kathy Crnich

Saturday, August 22, 2009

DVD Review; "Full Moon Lightnin'"

Before I start I must inform the readers that I am a BLUES FANATIC. I would not be writing this review unless this DVD is the real thing. These are real people with real problems and it is the blues. Blues can fall anywhere between happy and sad. This runs more on the sad side, but that is to be expected considering the subject matter.

One man searches for his family and another man searches for a way to put his sorrow behind. Floyd Lee is a blues man of extraordinary talents and, after 60 years, returns to his roots in the hope of finding family he never knew. Joel Poluck is a young upcoming blues artist that uses song to heal from the loss of his soul mate.

John Gardiner was the driving force behind this project. He handled the role of editor, cinematographer, producer and director. One of those tasks would tend to overwhelm any one person. Judging from this DVD "Blues" Documentary, John handled those with ease. The story is concise and to the point. The editing is top notch and the direction is very easy to follow.

"Full Moon Lightnin'' is a journey into the blues that very few people take. I enjoyed it from the first scene of Floyd Lee dropping a needle on a record to the last parting shot of Floyd Lee saying "I may be almost gone, but the blues lives on. Mark that."
The soundtrack can stand on it's own two feet and along with the DVD presents a total package that belongs in any blues fanatics catalog. The music is the down home real deal stuff ladies and gentlemen, The real stuff. I recommend you buy it now.

Terry "Gatorman" Lape

All things Gator.

"Mark Of The Gator"

Bookmark us at
© Copyright Terrance B. Lape all rights reserved. Reproduction of this website, in whole or in part, in any form or medium without express permission
is prohibited and subject to our Terms of Use.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kelly Richie

My week is filled with Music. Previous readers of my posts know what a great time can be had at one particular venue; the “Cool River Draughthouse and Eatery.” I can hear music literally 24/7, but sometimes I just have to cool my jets. Thursday night is one night that I really look forward to. You will always find me hanging at that club. It is a great place not only to play, but to pick up new story ideas. A journalist/musician would have to be pretty stupid not to take advantage of the networking capabilities available in that venue. I have listened to some great artist’s and have made some lifelong friendships there. The owner Mike and I have become close friends and we share info about different acts and venues. I might add that Mike and I are “Blues Fanatics” plain and simple. We have closed a couple of west side clubs these past few months. I shared with him Kelly Richie.

I woke up Saturday morning and checked my Facebook page. I use Facebook to help monitor the music scene and also use it for story ideas. Lately I have been looking at women guitar slingers. Kelly Richie is one such artist. I have been trying to check out her act for a couple of months. Saturday there was a message telling me that she would be performing in Laporte, Indiana. Laporte is 100 miles from my house. Kelly Richie was to perform at 6pm

I packed my notebook, camera, folding deck chair and off I went. An hour and a half later I was there. The fest was held in Fox Memorial park on the shores of I think Fish trap lake. It is truly a beautiful setting. The park has a natural bowl shape that affords everyone a very nice view. The promoter of the fest was SDY Promotions and the main mover and shaker was Shane. I did not get his last name, but he is to be commended for the wonderful job he did putting the fest together. The sound was handled by Audio One* from Laporte (219-561-1169) with Tommy spinning the dials. Shane made a great choose in choosing Tommy and his company. They know what to do and they do it very well. The sound I heard from the audience side was crisp and clean. I extend Kudos to Tommy and Audio One.

Kelly kicked off at the exact time. I sat there pen in hand ready for a great show and it was not great, but rather indescribable. I was stunned. Kelly Richie is in the top ten of not only women guitar slingers, but men slingers as well. Wait a minute make that the top five. Yours truly considers her to be the top guitar slinger I have ever seen or heard period. I’m sure I’ll get comments about that, but hey that’s my opinion.

An attempt to put into words what I saw and heard is futile, because the written word can not accurately describe my experience, but the written word is the only media I have to convey to you what transpired.

I have finally found my guitar hero and it is Kelly. I had seen Stevie Ray Vaughn in a banquet hall prior to his hit record “Pride and Joy”. He was a brand new upcoming guitarist at that time. He was backing up Albert Collins in an eighty seat venue. The feeling I got watching Stevie came back to me watching Kelly. When you see an artist that is destined for stardom you just know. I was awestruck and folks I am pretty jaded when it comes to guitar players’ young or old. With the arrival of the computer age anyone can learn to play guitar, but few of them can ever expect to approach the Guitar wizardry that Kelly does.

Jimmy Hendrix’s version of “Hey Joe”, has been beaten to death by so many artist’s that I personally am tired of it. Kelly you changed my outlook entirely. Your approach was extraordinary. During your performance the audience rushed the stage. Could it be a coincident that the first day of Woodstock took place forty years ago to the day of your performance? I looked up in the sky and saw a cloud formation that looked like Jimmy, strat in hand playing along. He strummed that strat while mouthing the words “You go girl”. I am not saying that Kelly copied the song, but rather far from it, she owned it and happily shared ownership with us. The first thirty seconds set the tracks for the musical train journey. The next ten minutes took yours truly and all those in attendance on a psychedelic ride. Jimmy was the initial conductor, but Kelly was the engineer. She took that song originally first recorded by the Los Angeles group “The Leaves” in 1965 and stood it on its head. I am going on record here when I say Kelly is a Guitar Goddess. The fluidity of her guitar playing was haunting and like a true artist, exquisite. Sometimes magical things happen on stage and this performance was one of those moments.

Kelly’s vocals are very reminiscent of a Cincinnatian. That is not a bad thing, but rather a wonderful one. Her voice is spot on and a true delight to hear. She can sing very sultry in one moment and then in the next blues out right from the gut.

In composing this post I utilized not only her live performance at the blues fest, but also information from her electronic press kit. Her songwriting ability is top notch. I love the John Lee Hooker style opening riff in “My Baby’s Gone Crazy”. “The Longest Yard” is pure artistry at its best. It is a haunting instrumental that reminds me of some of the great instrumental songs that precede hers. Kelly almost bought me to tears with this song. I will not try to pigeon hole it comparing it to a song that has been performed before. It is way beyond that. “Tears Like Rain” is an example of the blues on steroids. Kelly plays the blues like some of the great sixties super rock groups. You know the ones that had the private jets and the backstage extravagant buffets that almost bankrupted the music industry. Her vocals on “Tears Like Rain” are extremely bluesy and her guitar, utilizing octaves, is thrilling. The sound she achieves with that Stratocaster and deluxe reverb amp is truly amazing. Her lead guitar riffs are mind-blowing and awe-inspiring. I had a bottle of water in hand and just as I was trying to take a sip she broke out into a lead solo that dropped my jaw. I could not take a drink, because I was totally focused on her.

Her band includes Jimmy V on bass and Bryan Meyers on Drums. They are great sidemen who throw it down and play in the pocket. They are a solid foundation for Kelly’s virtuosity. They have just enough flash that the audience knows they are there, but they do not steal the spotlight like so many others try to. Kelly and her group complement each other and that is the way it should be. Jimmy on bass is a well seasoned bass man that has been with Kelly for four years. Bryan is the newest member of the troupe having only been with her for four months. You wouldn’t know it given the way he holds the groove. They are both outstanding musicians in their own right. I have always said that the whole sound starts with the kick drum and Byran knows how to kick it.

Kelly has broken or may I say tore down the gender wall of guitar players. She ended her performance by flashing the peace sign. Pretty cool considering that she is the “Warrior Princess of the blues.”

Look out Buddy and Eric there is a new kid on the block and she is kicking butt and taking names.

I will be back at Kelly’s performance again and again and again. I think I’m turning into a groupie. Oh what the H—E-- double hockey sticks for Kelly, I am one. After this performance I stopped in at The Cool River Club and told Mike all about it.

One closing thought, an artist that knows where the zone is, and realizes that the path to greatness has to happen in that zone will go right to the top. Kelly owns the zone.


Terrance "Gatorman" Lape

Need "Gatorman" Merchandise then get it here

Laurie Morvan

The "Freinds of the blues" main man James Walker sent an email inviting me to see Laurie Morvan at the Kankakee Elks club. She was touring in the area and FOB had caught her on a rest over night. I must admit that I was pretty tired and debated whether or not to attend. I had contacted her camp in the past, but sadly I had forgotten she was coming. I checked her website and was intrigued by her story.

Laurie is an Illinoisan that now makes her home just outside of Long Beach. She moved to California to work in the aerospace industry. She has an Electrical Engineering degree and utilized it for three years. She told me that she teaches at the College level in Long Beach. She also confided in me that the teaching job helps her with tour costs.
She invited me to a one on one sit down while she restrung (Ernie Ball.10) her re-issue 1956 Stratocaster. She is a wonderful individual to talk to and would certainly become a close friend if circumstances were different. We talked about schools she attended, Guitars and role models. I was very excited about her performance as I choose a table in back.

The people started to file in one by one and the one-hundred seat banquet room filled up quite quickly. I had chosen a table of ten and I was the only one there until Jack and Jean Miller joined me. Jack, Jean and I started to talk and it turns out we both had visited Singapore, small world. Sister Ellen Thomas sat down and introduced herself. She was not dressed as a nun so I immediately though along the terms of the slang hip style of talking brother and sister. Not the case, she actually was a Nun. I had to watch my mouth after that. It seems that Laurie's whole family was in attendance. When they found out who I was, man oh man did I get an earful. I was introduced to Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, Cousins, her Mother and Step father and on and on and on. I jokingly started a family tree with my notebook. It was a family reunion. I might add that Laurie's Mother was just as nice as she was.

Laurie took the stage and exploded into song. Her guitar work is extraordinary and her vocals, along with her backing Vocalist Lisa Grubbs, were beautifully done. Their combined vocals were song with a take no prisoners attitude. Very strong and definitive.

Laurie talked to her audience frequently. I like when an artist communicates stories about how a song was written. "Skinny Women Chicks" was written as a response to those old time blues men who beat the song "Big Legged Woman" to death.
"Kicking Down Doors" was one of my favorites.
Laurie Morvan is an unstoppable blues artist and I will see her again I'm sure. I was told that Lisa also plays bass. I got her number.

Terry "Gatorman" Lape

PS. Writing for a blues blog is "Not just a job it's an adventure".

Lisa Grubbs, Gatorman, Laurie Morvan