Monday, November 16, 2009

Chicago Blues: CD Review, Superhero

Candye Kane - Superhero (Delta Groove Music, 2009)
By Steve "Fly" Klein, Chicago Blues News

Kane is a powerful singer who belts out a song with the best of them. And you can hear her influences: Ruth Brown, Big Mama Thornton, Etta James, and Bessie Smith. This 2008 nominee for Best Contemporary Blues Female by the Blues Foundation, writes most of her material on this CD (some with the help of Laura Chavez).

The 15 songs presented here run through a gamut of blues styles: hard-driving urban blues, roots rock, early R&B and a jazzy barroom blues ("Don't Cry For Me New Jersey") that reminds me of Kurt Weill channeled through Norah Jones.

For you true blues fans, check out the up-tempo "Hey! Toughen Up!" and Willie Dixon's classic, "You Need Love." A real stand out is the killer guitar work of co-producer Laura Chavez. She really puts her Strat through its paces with a playing style that has a Texas blues flavor.

Kane sings the last song a cappella (a self-healing mantra called "I'm Going To Be Just Fine"). It recalls her life threatening situation in February 2008 when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Thinking she was a goner, she didn't believe she would ever record or do another live show again. Although her chances were slim, Kane went through treatment and incredibly was told she was cancer free a year later. Now she is back singing better than ever.

I really liked this CD. Candye Kane (her real name -- God love those parents from the 60s) is the real deal. She is a brassy, kickin' singer who lives up to the title "The Toughest Girl Alive."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Veteran's day tribute

Veteran's day celebration and in honor of our Veterans I'm offering this. If you see a veteran say thank you. "God Bless Them All" A tribute to teamwork and my personal favorites. It's not the blues, but man oh man. Enough Said Gatorman

Dimension Weekly Magazine - Jimmy Warren Interview

Dimension Weekly Jimmy Warren Interview

“A powerful guitarist with a great bluesy feel….”
“The smoothness is like a meeting of Miles Davis and B.B. King….”
“Doesn’t get much better when it comes to the blues….”
“Jimmy has a helluva sound….”
"Smokin Hot"
Jimmy Warren Band
The Jimmy Warren Band has some pretty devoted fans in high places in the music industry, as well as a loyal fan base at home and on tour. Their sound and style is diverse but can best be described as a mix of blues and rock, which has come to be known as “Warrenized blues.” Lead guitarist, Jimmy Warren, is a seasoned musician who plays with heart and passion.

DW: Tell us more about your sound and the meaning of “Warrenized blues.”

JW: Well, I don’t really think my style can be categorized as any one type. I like to call it mix bag music. I love variety, and I play everything from lowdown slow blues to rockin Southside shuffles. But mostly, it’s a real mix of blues, rock, and my own personal emotion and creativity – that’s what I mean by “Warrenized blues.”

DW: Who are some of your favorite artists?

JW: I have great respect for the founding artists in the Blues genre, such as Son House, Memphis Slim, BB King, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Robert Johnson, Blind Lemon, Jefferson and so many, many others. I also love the smooth jazz sound of Jeff Golub, Fourplay, and Wayman Tisdale. The smooth soulful sound of Sade knocks me out; the heartfelt passion of Michael McDonald stirs my soul; but the power and grit in a Steve Lukather solo…forget about it!
Jimmy Playing Guitar

DW: What artists influenced your guitar playing?

JW: Early on guitarists like Buck Dharma, Neal Schon, Ted Nugent, Eddie Van Halen, and Frank Marino captured my attention. Then one day I was watching an interview with Robert Cray. What he said had a profound influence on me, and took me down a whole new path. Cray's advice to aspiring guitarists was "You really should learn some blues first." He was speaking about how the blues is at the core of everything, and if you can get it in you it would mold you and move you in new ways, as well as taking you places you've never been musically. Well, I took his advice and fell in love with the musical style and form of the blues, and I found an expressive outlet for my life. As I dove into the blues I was molding my sound and style. It doesn't matter if I'm doing a jazz tune or a country song, people know without a doubt that my anchor is the blues. It is at the core of who I am.

DW: What’s coming up for you?

JW: The new CD called “No More Promises,” is due out in early 2010. We’re breaking the mold a bit with 14 fresh, diverse tunes, straight from the heart but packed with guitar. I would describe them as “soulful/creative blues/rock originals.” I can honestly say that if the new CD were a food dish, it would surely be GUMBO.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Joliet Blues Man

I was pretty excited when I heard that a new blues club opened up in a far southwest suburb of Chicago. Last Friday night I was treated to one of the best blue shows ever. T-Bird Huck.  I previously hung out at a club that was cool. This one is even better. The manager, Sterling loves the blues and the other place got rid of the number one fan of the blues, Mike.  It is a dimly lit venue that holds just about 100 people. The staff is very friendly and accommodating. I asked Linda, our waitress for some paper to write this article. She came back with a whole legal pad and pen. She is my favorite pirate or should I say wench she was dressed as one of those because it was the Halloween weekend.  I cannot comment on the quality of cocktails served because I only drink non-alcoholic drinks such as cranberry juice. All drinks are $2 each. They should be at least 4 bucks considering the quality of entertainment that plays there every Friday night.  

T-Bird Huck is an often misunderstood Blues Man. He credits Howlin Wolf as his inspiration. The Bird man told me a story about how a friend and he went to HW’s house and knocked on the door. He was about 20 years old at the time.  The Wolf’s wife answered the door and invited the two of them in. He blabbered something about that HW is the greatest and he was his biggest fan. HW’s wife asked them to sit down. She went and disappeared for a minute and in walked Howlin Wolf.  Greetings were exchanged all around and after that first meet they become friends. T-Bird opened up for Howlin Wolf on numerous occasions and considered him a close friend. T-bird eyes watered when he told me about going to Howlin’ Wolf’s funeral. If it had not been for that knock on the door we may not have had this great blues artist.
T-bird picked up his Telecaster, plucked that guitar and strutted across that stage just like I envision that little red rooster he was singing about. Jimmy (keys) Caleca provided an amazing Hammond M 3 counterpoint to T-Bird’s guitar wizardry. (I never thought I would ever write that word “counterpoint” in a blues post.) Ben Smith, Bassman and Kalbo held the rhythm section in very tight.   I swear T-Bird was channeling the wolf during his performance. It was jammed packed with emotion and a bucketful of pain and absolutely the best rendition of “Little Red Rooster” ever. It is amazing the artistry that the Chicago land area has. It happens all the time around this town. I just wish I was able to hear them all, but I got to sleep once and awhile.  

T-Bird is a musician who absorbs guitar licks like a sponge and plays them in an entirely different blues style. He is a musician’s musician.  During his performance of “Boom, Boom” his shadow fell on a blank wall and that shadow looked like a profile of Stevie Ray. John Lee Hooker and all the “Kings” were manipulating his vocal cords.  Muddy had his right hand and T-Bone held his left.  He performed that song with such intensity and fury that it seemed like some of the candles dimmed in reverence to those departed souls.
“My Own Fault” is a song that is played and played and played over and over again. It has been beat to death.   T-Bird’s version was beyond compare. It sizzled. He sang it like it was the last song he would ever sing. The emotion he bought to this song was as if he was pleading for his life in front of the woman he scorned and she is standing over him with a meat cleaver ready to strike. The thing about T-Bird is the songs that are not his, become his as soon as he picks the first note.  He packs 2,000 pounds of creativity in each and every version and presents them to the audience as an audio delight of raw beauty. He is the Picasso of the Blues.

T-bird plays a damn wicked guitar. He also plays a gut wrenching, full throttle, damn the torpedoes type Mississippi saxophone (Harmonica).  Oh almost forgot, he does a great impression of Vito Corleone from “The Godfather” movie.

You can see and hear T-Bird, Jimmy Caleca and Ben Smith, every Friday night at the D’Blue Room. It is located behind the House of Hughes 201East Maple Street (RT 30) New Lenox, Illinois. 1-815-462-9000 Call ahead to find out who is playing Saturdays, there is always a different act. $5 buck cover pays for the band. It is

worth it, every penny. 
"Jimmy's Blues"  Video has Doug "Rifleman" Horan on bass
"If your Rocking I'm Walking!!!"
Terry "Gatorman" Lape
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Monday, November 2, 2009

A Friday Night in the Blues Capital

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.

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.

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.

Magic was escorted to the stage. He sat in a bar stool mid stage. Mike, the goups manger, handed him his guitar while Magic settled back. BOOM that “workweek waiting for Friday night” note hit. The blues lovers went nuts. He knocked it out of the park, he shoots he scores (insert here all catch phrases you have ever heard to describe excellence in performance).

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"