Dedicated to the passion, promotion and education of the Blues; Live, Virtual, International. For all blues fans, DJ's, musicians, promoters, educators, and 501(C)3's who appreciate eclectic, discriminating, genuine, fresh and often random articles.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bessie's Last Drive

It's a long old road, but I know I'm gonna find the end.
- Bessie Smith

Born in Chattanooga, TN, Bessie Smith sang on street corners, until she was old enough to join a traveling theater company as a dancer in 1912. The Moses Stokes theater company was home to one of the first classic blues singers, Ma Rainey. It was she who taught Bessie about stage presence.

Bessie made her debut with Columbia Records singing Downhearted Blues in the early 1920's. Her recording of St. Louis Blues is considered by critics to be one of the finest from the era.

"The Empress of Blues" was in her early 40's when she passed away from injuries sustained in an auto accident. Her last performance was given in Memphis on Sept. 26, 1937. Late that night, Richard Morgan and Bessie Smith were in a tragic car accident headed South on Highway 61. They never made it to their next destination.

Cynthia Blank-Reid, an associate professor at Drexel University College of Nursing, in Philadelphia, recently reviewed the circumstances of the accident, treatment, and resulting death of the singer. Bessie's fatal crash and the surrounding rumors are clarified, compared and contrasted to the actual treatment and the probable treatment of today.

Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday and Mahalia Jackson claim Bessies influence. Her grave was unmarked until 1970. It was Janis Joplin who paid for the gravestone.

(Cover Art - Phil Hays; Picture courtesy of TN History For Kids)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Midnight Flyer

Can you guess who is in the picture?

On the left is a guitar icon, inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2009 and will be playing on Valentines Day with Eric Clapton (for those of you who want to plan in advance). Most can guess Jeff Beck circa the 1970's. So, who is the guy with Jeff Beck?

The man with him, has made his own contribution to music, especially the blues genre, and like Beck, is still at it. Can't guess?

He's a syndicated DJ, writer/reviewer, producer, co-founder of the Boise Blues Society, creator of, Norman Davis. Davis began his career in radio in the 1950's and still produces a great weekly show, including an on demand podcast for blues lovers. Midnight Flyer 59b


Norman clearly gets the blues, as reflected in his programming. To quote from his webpage;

Blues comes in all shapes and sizes.

There's blues for good times

and blues for hard times

Electric blues, acoustic blues,

city blues and country blues,

cold blues, hot blues,

pour yourself a shot blues.

(Courtesy of

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Blues Blast

It's not the Olympics, but blues aficionados who enjoyed Buddy Guy's video for the presentation in Copenhagen will have something to look forward to in The Windy City. The Second Annual 2009 Blues Blast Music Awards will be held in Sweet Home Chicago on October 29th.

Over 20 confirmed artists will perform to a standing room only crowd at Buddy Guy's infamous club, Legends. Kenny Neal's, "Let Life Flow," and B.B. King's, "See That My Grave is Kept Clean," are among the list of nominees for Best Blues Song. Eden Brent and Nick Moss & The Flip Tops are in contention for 3 awards each. Local favorites include Lurrie Bell, Shirley Johnson and "Blues in the Schools" founder, Billy Branch. Two up and coming bands, The Kilborn Alley Blues Band and Cedric Burnside & Lightnin' Malcolm both vie for the Sean Costello Rising Star Award. Shemekia Copeland and Janiva Magness will both look to take home the Best Contemporary Blues Recording award.

Tickets are $25, general admission and first come first served. They aren't kidding when they say arrive early. Even if it's standing room, location is everything.