Blues Bytes

What's New

June 2011

an associate Order these featured CDs today:

Sweet Claudette

Ruff Kutt Blues Band

The Soul of John Black

Mojo Watson

Elam McKnight

Lightnin' Malcolm

Hamilton Loomis

35 Years of Stony Plain

Grady Champion

Harry Manx and Kevin Breit

Hidden History of Mississippi Blues


Sweet ClaudetteShaking Up The Bucket (B4Reel) is the fourth CD from Sweet Claudette, and she wrote seven of the nine tracks on it. Claudette was nominated for a Detroit Black Music Award in 2010, and has previously been named as one of the five Alabama women of the blues 2005-2010, so you just know that she is the real deal.

This particular CD moves from funk to jazz to blues in it’s various styles and it contains a good mix of original music. As well as the standard guitar, bass, drums set up, there are a host of other instruments here, including sax and flute, and all of the musicians are good.

The album opens with the title track, “Shaking Up The Bucket,” a jazz funk instrumental that gets the listener’s body moving. It then moves into a slow jazzy blues, “Sending You To Man School,” which shows what a good voice this lady has, a little like Sade. This track also showcases Deblon Jackson’s soft, intuitive, flute playing.

“Dance And Party” is a blues hustle, initially driven by Brian Smith’s harmonica, and with some interesting twists and turns to it. This is followed by “Been There, Done That,” a nice bluesy ballad that gently carries the listener along on a tide of low-key, beautiful guitar work in a tale of lost love and a man long gone.

Track five, “Ain’t Gonna Wash Your Dirty Clothes,” is a tale of a cheating man and the woman whose money he is spending – great lyrics and understated keyboard work.

Things slow down, and the harmonica is back, with “Movin’ On.” Claudette’s voice on this one takes on a style like Oklahoma’s Dorothy Ellis (Miss Blues), and it’s suits her very, very well. This is the bluesiest track on the album (at eight minutes and 59 seconds it’s also the longest) and my absolute favourite here – I could listen to this all night long!

A switch to soul-funk backing sees “My Ford Taurus” come into the CD, with a brass section working hard and providing classy assistance to some country blues rock. The brass sections stays in the groove for the follow up track, “Crying Over Same Man,” and it’s still there for the last track, “The Chicken,” laying down a good bass for the funky rhythm section – more funky soul than blues, maybe leaning a little towards jazz at time, but good music nonetheless.

This is a CD with a complete mix of music, and all of it good – but having said that, I’d love to hear Claudette make a complete album of tracks like “Movin’ On.”

--- Terry Clear

Susan SantosYou maybe haven’t heard of Susan Santos & Papa’s Red Band, and that’s not surprising as they are based in Madrid, Spain. However, if you make an effort to check out SPRB on Grasout Records you’ll be pleasantly surprised, especially if you like good rocking blues. Ten tracks of good music and all of it original, written by Susan Santos.

Susan Santos looks more like a folk singer, but when she picks up her left-handed guitar and starts to play and sing, you realise she is far removed from the folk scene and well into the rocking blues. The band is normally a trio, made up of Susan (guitar & vocal), David Fernandez on drums, and Hector Rojo on the bass – they are joined on track four by Norman Hogue on trombone and on track eight by Francisco Simon on guitar.

The CD opens with “Take Me Home,” a medium-fast paced rocker with a great bass line supporting the guitar and vocals of the leader with a song based on wanting to go back home on the train. Track two, “Good Man,” is more or less the same pace, or perhaps just a little slower, but an equally good track.
Unusually, for a Spanish based blues band, the vocals are in very clear, almost unaccented, English.

“On A Quiet Sea,” track three, slows things down to almost a ballad pace and an acoustic flavour, with a song about the sea and beaches, before the speed comes back up a little with “Love me, Kill Me” which has a slight rockabilly feel to it, especially with the sound of the double bass being played by Hector Rojo.

Track five reverts to good rocking blues with “Tell Me Lies,” although the lyrics suggest that she doesn’t want to be told lies! Onto “Rainy Day Blues” and some lovely slide guitar at the start, before the tempo gets up and running with a fast boogie beat.

“Love Tattoo” takes the listener back to fast paced rocking blues with a song from a woman deeply in love with her man, who writes his name on her skin, and then things slow down again for track eight, “Hot Sticky Night.” Living in Madrid in the summer would give you a particular insight into hot sticky nights!

The album closes with two rockers, one with a fairly quick tempo, and one slower – “Bad” is the up-tempo number and the last track, “Are You Ready,” is the slower number.

This is a very good effort from a band of good musicians and it deserves a listen – if you like rocking blues, then you’ll like this one!

---Terry Clear

Ruff KuttThe Ruff Kutt Blues Band is the brainchild of James Goode. Goode is a Texas blues fan and founder of the Rockabilly Hall of Fame band, The Excels. Having retired from his regular job as a coach, Goode sought a way to express his creativity and came up with the idea of recording an album of pure Texas blues, with proceeds from the sales going to the HART Fund, a service provided by the Blues Foundation to provide medical and dental care and funeral expenses to blues musicians.

Bass player Goode drafted a stellar cast of musicians to play on his record, called Mill Block Blues (Katy Mae Productions), including the amazing Anson Funderburgh (who also co-produced), keyboardist Gentleman Jon Street, harmonica player Hash Brown, and Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones. They are joined by local Dallas legends Dempsey Crenshaw (vocals, harmonica), Michael Schaefer (vocals, guitar), accordion player Christian Dozzler, and drummer Wes Starr, among others.

Although the set consists of 13 original songs, the music is good old fashioned Texas blues. Jones, Crenshaw, and Schaefer alternate lead vocals on most of the tracks, with Sugar Mama, and Kenny Daniel each taking a song apiece. Crenshaw shines on tracks like the swinging opening cut, “Cuts Like A Knife” and the slow burner, “Daddy Sang The Blues.” Jones sings on two tracks, including the zydeco-flavored “Now You See Me,” and the funky “She’s Gone.”

Schafer does a fine job on “Drown on Dry Land” and the country blues closer “I’m on My Own,” backed by Crenshaw on harmonica. Kenny Daniel’s ragged vocal is a great fit on the enjoyable “Rock When You Need To,” and Sugar Mama’s passionate vocal on the inspirational “Oh Lord” is a highlight. Drummer Richardson does a masterful job on the soulful “Living Without You.”

As might be expected, Funderburgh’s fretwork is first-rate. It’s been awhile since we’ve heard anything from him and its great to hear him again. Jones also does a fine job on his four tracks. The production work by Funderburgh and keyboardist Street is superlative as well.

If you like Texas blues, or Texas music in general, you need to check out Mill Block Blues. It’s a rarity to get this much great talent together in one setting. Hats off to James Goode for pulling this one off. Can’t wait for the encore.

--- Graham Clarke

TSOJBGood Thang (Yellow Dog Records) is the latest release from John “JB” Bigham, aka The Soul of John Black, and continues Bigham’s exploration of blues and classic soul, mixed with rock, funk, and hip-hop. As stated in previous reviews, Bigham’s musical resume’ is an impressive one, including stints with Miles Davis, Dr. Dre, Eminem, Fishbone, and Nikki Costa (who contributes vocals on this release).

Fans of classic soul and R&B will be right at home with Good Thang. “How Can I” recalls the spacey funk and soul of late ’60s/early ’70s Sly Stone, and the opening cut, “Digital Blues,” brings to mind the synth-flavored R&B of the ’80s and Bigham sounds a lot like Prince on the vocal side.

Sandwiched between these two tracks is the irresistible title track, a refreshing look at Bigham’s embracing of the domestic life with his fiancée and new baby, that would be a hit record if there was any justice in the world. “Oh That Feeling” is a frenetic track about lost love.

“My Brother” takes things more toward the blues side of things, with Bigham’s acoustic guitar opening the track before it jumps into the electric mode. “Strawberry Lady,” another potential hit in a perfect world, also features Bigham’s acoustic guitar over a catchy pop rhythm and hook. “Lil’ Mama’s In The Kitchen,” like the title track, is an autobiographical track, but this one cops a little bit of the melody of Brook Benton’s version of “Rainy Night In Georgia.” You can almost smell the breakfast cooking on the stove.

The jazzy “New York to LA,” one of two tracks penned by Bigham and frequent collaborator Christopher Thomas, was inspired by Duke Ellington, according to the liner notes. “I Love It” is a good, rowdy, fun rocker that will raise you to your feet, and the tranquil “Dream (Turn Off the Phone)” closes the disc.

Music fans who long for those glory days of soul and R&B will enjoy The Soul of John Black. Nobody blends the vintage sounds of soul and blues with the modern era sounds as well as John “JB” Bigham does. Good Thang ranks with his best work so far. Something tells me the best is still yet to come.

--- Graham Clarke

Mojo WatsonMojo Watson returns with a bang on his latest release, Geechy Woman (Watashea Records), which features compositions either by Watson, or by his father, the ’50s/’60s R&B singer K.C. Mojo Watson, along with the younger Watson’s interpretation on some familiar blues and rock tunes in a format similar to Watson’s previous effort, 2007’s 18th & Agnes.

Watson’s originals lean toward the Hendrix side of the blues with some sizzling lead guitar fills and solos. Watson’s vocals are highly reminiscent of Hendrix’s as well, not so much in sound, but in delivery. On the sizzling “Janvier a’ Paris” and the psychedelic instrumental “Gypsies, Grifters, and Groupies” (and also, of course, on the cover of “Dolly Dagger”), the Hendrix vibe is really strong. The title track combines all of the above with a sweaty, swampy groove so vivid, you can feel the humidity.

The cover tunes reveal Watson’s versatility and he easily moves from different blues styles on these familiar songs, which include Elmore James’ “Sunnyland,” a masterful eight-minute-plus slow-burn reading of B.B. King’s “Sweet Sixteen,” Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor,” and a fine unplugged take on Lightnin’ Hopkins’ “Hello Central No. 209.” Watson’s updated recreations of his father’s blues/R&B tunes (“Ladies Man,” “Please Tell Me Why,” and “My Christmas Present To My Baby.”) are all first-rate, mixing rock, blues, and R&B pretty smoothly.

Mojo Watson’s fourth release is his best to date. Hopefully, Geechy Woman will give the Colorado bluesman the success he deserves. Listeners can’t go wrong with this mix of the traditional and modern blues. Stop by CD Baby and check this disc out.

--- Graham Clarke

Elam McKnight - Bob BogdalI loved Elam McKnight’s previous release, Supa Good, but I think Zombie Nation (Desert Highway Records), his recent collaboration with Bob Bogdal, may be even better. Let’s just call his newest release “Supa Gooder” and be done with it. McKnight’s previous three releases have all earned raves for their originality, fire, and grit, and Bogdal’s previous release was a haunting expansion of the Hill Country sound (Under the Kudzu). Zombie Nation sticks to the basics….no bells and whistles here…just a scorching set of blues that will rock your world.

McKnight and Bogdal cover a lot of ground on this release, mixing good old Delta blues (“ZombieFication” and “No Hard Feelings” both feature some smoking slide guitar), Hill Country (“Tom Cat Kitten,” “Blues Make Me Happy”), and even a couple of rockers (“Pojo’s Place,” “I Hate You”). There’s a trio of acoustic numbers as well – the countryish “19 Days,” “Red Wheelbarrow,” and the closer, “Hocus Pocus.” “Brother To A Stone” combines electric Delta blues and harp (reminiscent of “Key To The Highway”) with philosophical lyrics and soulful chick singers.

McKnight’s guitar work is impressive as he moves from electric to acoustic to resonator with ease, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Bogdal blew the back off his harmonica during this session. These guys complement each other so well, you would think they were joined at the hip. Let’s hope that Zombie Nation doesn’t prove to be their only collaboration. Seek this one out at all costs.

--- Graham Clarke

RB StonesRB Stone has covered a lot of ground during his life, working on the railroad as a youngster. At 23, he sold everything but a guitar and his harmonica and moved from Ohio to Colorado to play music and to become a cowboy. Over time, he has continued his music career, having recorded 15 albums and toured 32 countries and five continents. His latest release, Lonesome Traveler’s Blues (Middle Mountain Music), is proof that even cowboys get the blues.

Lonesome Traveler’s Blues offers ten original tracks from Stone and others that mostly focus on blues. It’s a versatile set that includes the rocking “Mississippi Woman,” the smooth title track, the acoustic “Fairweather Friends,” the blues boogie tune, “Ain’t Gonna Bring Me Down,” with some great harp from Stone and slide guitar from Billy Crain.

The autobiographical “Born into the Blues” is another great straight blues tune with more Chicago-style fretwork from Crain. “The Devil’s Satisfied” is an anti-drug song that showcases Glen Kuykendall on National guitar, and “Master of the Craft” extols the praises (and dangers) of a beautiful woman. “Find Yourself a Fool” is a nice 8-bar slow blues, which is followed by the humorous “Man With a Minivan.” Closing out the disc is the funky soul workout, “Don’t Be Mean.”

Stone is a fine singer with a weathered vocal style. He also plays acoustic guitar and harmonica. In addition to Crain and Kuykendall, the backing band includes Jared “Jay” Palmer (bass), Spencer Strand (drums), David Sappington (drums), and Ed Adkins (upright bass). Lonesome Traveler’s Blues is a nice smooth set of great songs from a confident veteran that will please fans of blues and roots music.

--- Graham Clarke

Lightnin' MalcolmLightnin’ Malcolm has performed with Cedric Burnside since 2006 and has released a pair of well-received discs, including 2008’s 2 Man Wrecking Crew. Malcolm signed with Ruf Records earlier this year and has just issued his debut recording as a solo artist. Renegade features Malcolm in a similar guitar/drums setting, only with Cameron Kimbrough in the drummer’s seat. Young Kimbrough, grandson of Junior, provides boundless energy and versatility on the drums behind Malcolm’s 13 tracks.

Though Malcolm throws in elements of funk, soul, rock, and even reggae into his brand of blues (even incorporating a horn section and a rapper), the unmistakable core of his music is that infectious, hypnotic Mississippi Hill Country rhythm. On “Guilty Man,” Malcolm uses a spoken-word intro that brings to mind R.L. Burnside’s “Bad Luck City,” then those horns kick in and you’ve got a whole new ballgame and the track becomes a workout of ’70s era funk/soul. The swaggering rockers “So Many Women” and “My Lyin’ Ass” both feature that droning rhythm and Malcolm’s jagged guitar leads.

“Last Night I Held an Angel” is a grungy soul number with some pop leanings, while “Precious Jewel” smoothes things out with a taut reggae beat and the return of the horn section, along with background vocals by Nadirah Shakoor. Malcolm shows a talent for penning these catchy soulful tracks, and others like “Tell You Girl.” Rapper J Grubbz contributes to the funky “North Mississippi.” There’s also a pair of tough instrumentals….the title track and “Foxfire Ranch.”

Renegade shows that there’s still plenty to be mined from the Hill Country blues sound. Lightnin’ Malcolm shows himself to be adept at mixing and even updating this style with funk, soul, and rock, making it look easy in the process. This is a powerful, confident, relentless set that guarantees we’ll be hearing more from Malcolm in the future and we will be looking forward to every bit of it.

--- Graham Clarke

Hamilton LoomisThe music of Texas guitarist Hamilton Loomis encompasses not only the blues, but healthy doses of rock, funk, and soul. The blues is at the heart of it, however, as Loomis has proved over the course of six previous releases, including two for Blind Pig. During his young life, Loomis has learned the ropes from a broad list of blues artists, ranging from Johnny Copeland, Gatemouth Brown, and Albert Collins, but it was Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer Bo Diddley who served as mentor, supporter, and friend. Diddley’s words, “Innovate, don’t imitate,” inspired Loomis and helped to shape his creativity.

Loomis’ latest release, on his own Ham-Bone Records, is Live In England, and if you’re not familiar with his talents, prepare to be impressed. Loomis is a supremely gifted guitarist and singer. This set was recorded at Famous Monday Blues in Oxford and at Liverpool Marina in Liverpool all live with no overdubs. The set list will be mostly familiar to longtime Loomis fans and will serve as a great introduction to newcomers. Loomis plays guitar and harmonica, while the rest of his band is rounded out by Stratton Doyle (sax, keyboards), Kent Beatty (bass), and Jamie Little (drums).

Truly, there’s not a bad cut on the disc, but the cream of the crop includes “Workin’ Real Hard,” “Best Worst Day,” “Bow Wow,” “Time,” and “Get My Blues On.” Best of all is the “Bo Diddley - Who Do You Love Medley,” paying tribute to his mentor. Throughout the disc, Loomis plays guitar like a man possessed with just the right mix of rock and blues, plus a few added excerpts from songs that you will be familiar with from artists like Stevie Wonder and the Meters.

The production is marvelous, with sound so clear that you feel like you’re there….the energy of the band and the enthusiasm of the crowd comes through loud and clear. Whether or not you feel like you were present, you will certainly wish you were there after hearing it.

If you missed Live In England the first time around in 2009, it’s not too late to check it out. You’ll be glad you did.

--- Graham Clarke

Stony PlainIn 1976, Holger Petersen and Alvin Jahns founded Stony Plain Records in Edmonton, Alberta. Since that time, the label has released over 400 albums of blues, R&B, folk, country, bluegrass, and rock, and has received six Grammy nominations, ten Juno Awards, and many Blues Music Awards, and Petersen has become renowned throughout Canada for his national radio show, “Saturday Night Blues,” and for founding the Edmonton Folk Music Festival. In commemoration of their longevity, the label has released a commemorative 2 CD/1 DVD set called 35 Years of Stony Plain.

The set consists of one CD that focuses on songwriters from various genres. Blues artists highlighted on this disc include Maria Muldaur (“The Diplomat”), the late Jeff Healey (“The Wildcat”), Harry Manx and Kevin Breit (“Looking for a Brand New World,” from their latest release), Sunny and her Joy Boys (“Strictly From Dixie”), Amos Garrett (“Get Way Back”), and the New Guitar Summit (Duke Robillard, Jay Geils, and Gerry Beaudoin performing “Shivers”). There are also some fine non-blues tunes from artists like Emmylou Harris, Corb Lund, Steve Earle, David Wilcox, and Asleep at the Wheel.

The second CD is made up of blues, R&B, swing, and jazz …. but mostly blues. There are some great tracks here from label stalwart Robillard (“Stomp The Blues Tonight”), recent signee Joe Louis Walker (“Black Widow Spider”), Kenny “Blues Boss” Wayne (“Heaven Send Me An Angel,” from the piano man’s soon-to-be-released album), the late Rosco Gordon (“No More Doggin’”), lap steel wizard Sonny Rhodes (“Honey Do Woman”), and Billy Boy Arnold (“Hello Stranger”). There are also five previously unreleased tracks on the blues disc….one from the late Canadian bluesman Richard Newell (“King Biscuit Boy”), and four outstanding tracks from blues legend Robert Nighthawk’s last session from 1965 in Toronto with slide work that will bring tears to your eyes.

The DVD includes performances from Jay McShann & Johnnie Johnson (“Going To Kansas City”), Ronnie Earl & the Broadcasters (“Bobby’s Bop”), Robillard (“Workin’ Hard for My Uncle”), Long John Baldry (“Shake That Thing”), and Canadian blues institution Downchild (“Bop ‘til I Drop”).

What’s most noteworthy about this set is the amazing diversity of the label’s roster over the years, even when confined to a single genre. There are multiple styles of blues present and all are amazingly well-represented. Holger Petersen has been recognized for years in Canada for his contributions to blues and roots music. It’s time that he gets a nod from their southern neighbor for doing his part to keep the blues alive.

This is an excellent set of blues (and other genres) that deserves a place in any music lover’s collection.

--- Graham Clarke

Grady ChampionGrady Champion, the 2010 IBC winner, has been knocking on the door to the next level of blues stardom for quite some time now, but with his latest release, Dreamin’ (GSM Music Group), he should be poised to kick the door in. For his fifth release, The Canton, MS native has joined forces with another Mississippi native and rising star, Zac Harmon, who co-produced the disc with drummer Christopher Troy. The result is a slicker product that incorporates R&B into the mix (a genre Champion is completely comfortable with), but also still retains the down-home grit that Champion brings to his live performances.

The opening cut is a high-powered remake of “My Rooster Is King,” which first appeared on his 1999 Shanachie release, Payin’ For My Sins, that really shows Champion at his best with a brash, confident vocal and some torrid harmonica. The title cut is next up and it’s a soulful mid-tempo workout on the R&B side that teams with Champion with background singers Sue Ann Carwell and Cedric Goodman, and features a sinewy Harmon guitar break. “Weight of the World” is a gentle ballad that should make some noise on radio. “Guilty as Charged” finds Champion lamenting breaking his lover’s heart. Champion’s harp and a fiery solo from guitarist Gregg Wright are standouts on this track.

“Same Train” brings Champion back to the blues in full force with its driving boogie rhythm, slide guitar from Wright, and Champion’s gritty vocal. Listeners might find themselves on their feet dancing to the salacious “Make That Monkey Jump.” “Cross That Bridge” is a southern soul tune, co-written by Champion and composer A.D. Prestage, a Canton resident who penned “Shade Tree Mechanic” for Z.Z. Hill back in the day. “Thank You for Giving Me the Blues” is a masterful slow blues with Champion’s testifying vocal punctuated by Harmon’s crisp guitar fills.

“Laugh, Smile, Cry” is reminiscent of a classic Ray Charles ’50s tune, with Champion’s confident vocals answered by the background singers (a la the Raelettes), but Champion’s countrified harmonica adds a whole other layer to the song. The funky “Walk With Me, Baby” is a sequel of sorts to the Slim Harpo classic, “Baby, Scratch My Back,” with Harmon giving a sly vocal and Champion blowing the harp like there’s no tomorrow.

I can’t say enough about the excellent backing band of Harmon (guitar, drums), Troy (drums, keyboards) and Wright (guitar), and those wonderful background vocals from Carwell and Goodman. If Grady Champion doesn’t strike gold with Dreamin’, then there’s absolutely no justice in the world.

--- Graham Clarke

Harry Manx - Kevin BreitStrictly Whatever (Stony Plain Records), the third and latest collaboration from guitar masters Harry Manx and Kevin Breit, may be one of the most eclectic guitar albums you will hear this year or any other. Manx and Breit play an amazing array of stringed instruments on this disc, which dazzles from start to finish.

The pair more or less alternate lead vocals on 11 tracks, with two instrumentals thrown in, plus they wrote all but two of the songs (Breit wrote six, Manx three). These originals include the Dylan-esque “Nothing I Can Do,” the deliciously funky “Looking For A Brand New World,” the spunky “Little Ukelele,” and a couple of tracks that will bring to mind Brothers In Arms-era Dire Straits (“Do Not Stand At My Grave and Weep” and “There Was A Girl”).

The two covers are an atmospheric restructuring of Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny,” and John Lee Hooker’s “Mr. Lucky,” and the two instrumentals are the outer spacey “Hippy Trippy,” which may be the first time you ever hear electric sitar (courtesy of Breit), and the stunning “Note To Self” which features Manx on National Steel.

As stated above, these guys play all manners of guitars, ukulele, mandolin, electric sitar (Breit), banjo, and Mohan Veena (Manx). These 13 tracks are a perfect blend of folk, country, and blues and include some of the best, most diverse guitar work you’ve run across in quite a while. As on previous releases by Manx, this set will appeal to more than blues fans, which is how it should be.

--- Graham Clarke

Mississippi BluesFor nearly ten years, Roger Stolle has had a birds-eye view of the Mississippi Blues scene from his Cat Head Blues & Folk Art Store in Clarksdale, MS. Visitors to the area consider him the “go-to guy” as far as information on the local blues scene. He’s also been witness to some wonderful music at various locations in the area, has organized several local blues festivals, and has interviewed many Delta blues musicians for various periodicals (most notably Blues Revue).

Recently, Stolle completed Hidden History of Mississippi Blues (The History Press), a book that ranks with the best on its subject, the blues of the Mississippi Delta. Stolle traces the music back to its origins, through its development in the cotton fields and plantations of the area, its first appearance on record (as “race records”) on labels like Paramount, to its exposure through air waves on radio stations like WDIA in Memphis and WROX in Clarksdale (all the way through today’s satellite radio stations). Stolle also does an extensive study on the history of the crossroads in the music, and he also takes a look at the venue where the music can still be heard in its purest form – the juke joint.

Best of all, Stolle also includes interviews with several artists that have continue the traditions of the Mississippi Delta blues scene, including Honeyboy Edwards, T-Model Ford, L.C. Ulmer, Jimmy “Duck” Holmes, The Mississippi, Robert “Bilbo” Walker, the late Sam Carr, Mark “Mule Man” Massey, Robert “Wolfman” Belfour, Cedell Davis, and Big George Brock. Most of these interviews originally appeared in Blues Revue, but Stolle has added some new information. These fascinating interviews are worth getting the book by themselves.

Interspersed throughout the book are some wonderful black and white and color photos from Lou Bopp that really add flavor to the book. My favorite shots are of Big George Brock in his King of the Blues regal garb and of the youthful-looking octogenarian L.C. Ulmer sitting on his guitar.

What Roger Stolle has accomplished with Hidden History of Mississippi Blues is to produce a concise, but comprehensive history of the music that played a vital role in the development of nearly all other forms of American music. It’s a book that will appeal both to newcomers to the blues and to the grizzled veterans who think they’ve seen and read it all. This book is absolutely essential reading for any blues fan.

--- Graham Clarke
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