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December 15, 2002

Mo's Musings 12-15-02

After a great night of Sonoma County Blues, I was thinking to myself how much I've missed our own. I've been burnin' up Hwy 101 for some time now chasin' that Bay Area blues down there and I've come to realize how homesick I really am.

Don't get me wrong...the blues scene is just awesome down there and some nights it's the ONLY alternative. But after a night of 2nd Saturday Blues with SonomaTunes All-Star Blues Band, I really must say...I've missed the whole scene up here.

I've been really wanting to somehow connect all these great local blues resources we have right here in this county:
Sonoma County Blues Society
Sonoma Tunes.com
Blues With Bowker - blues every Sunday evening on KRSH 95.9 - 7 pm -10 pm
Northbay Music
Musicians Helping Musicians

The list goes on, I'm sure. Just those alone, if combined, could prove to be the cure for what ails our local music scene. LIVE BLUES in particular.

I’m sittin’ here listenin’ to “Blues with Bowker” on the KRSH and he has his dear old friend Charlie Musselwhite on the show. I think he’s been on there for at least 2 hours of the three. He’s been jamming’ in the studio, pluggin’ his show on New Year’s Eve and talkin’ about his life. It’s great. You know I love Charlie and am a huge fan but it dawned on me....

What if Bill could do that for all our local greats! Each week feature someone from our Sonoma County. Let them do some live studio songs, acoustic of course, interview them and plug their shows and what not. Wouldn’t that be awesome?! Also…I think he should allot at least an hour of his weekly show just to local BLUES. I’ve called and emailed several times to no avail. I know radio stations have to follow a certain program but I have a feeling that Bill Bowker is the “Blues with Bowker” sole programmer. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

Just think of it...Phil Ajioka and Homero in the studio jammin’, talkin’, listening’ to their CDs and pluggin’ their CD release party. Wouldn’t that be grand? Shoot we have enough talent ‘round here to keep Bill busy for eons.

A Blues Showdown for a chance to go off to Memphis and compete in an International Blues Showdown would be awesome too! I was at one of the shows in Arizona at the Rhythm Room, and the Phoenix Blues Society organized it.

Man...the talent that went through that place I couldn't believe!! I swear I saw the reincarnation of Sonny Terry on that day. Thanks MORGAN CITY GENERAL from Tucson! They should've won, HANDS DOWN! A lot of blues content. Not funkified or rocked up. Just pure raw blues with two guitars and a harp.

It was well planned and very organized. Great job Phoenix Blues Society!!! Of course...our local Sonoma County musicians could beat what they sent. Love ya, Bad News Blues Band. Good Luck to you!! I'd hate to be the judges, Yikes!

Shoot...we have so much great blues talent right here in Sonoma County and it would be so awesome to send our own to compete! Let's think on this one for a short spell, shall we?

I went out to our local record stores today to see what they had to offer as far as da blues is concerned. I first saw Danny Sorentino lookin' through the rock section and told him how much I was enjoying his new release "FOUR CHORD WONDERS.” Didn't find what I was lookin' for so off to The Last Record Store to check out its great used blues section and found Steve Barbieri lookin' through da blues. What are the odds of finding these two guys that I just saw playing together the other night, in two different record stores at almost the exact time! Of course I had to go on and on about how much I enjoyed his performance the other night. Man he can sing AND play some great guitar.

Steve had some great news. He, Kent Fossgreen (Michael Barclay Blues Band, among others), Steve Judkins (Steve Judkins Band) and Rick Cutler were in the studio recording a song of Ralph Bryan's. It is going to be on the Ralph Bryan Tribute CD coming out. I would love to see Ralph's song "So Sad To Be Lonesome" makes it on there. The one that has Judkins and Ralph with Gary Silva, Carl Bowers and Tony Lufrano on it. You can find out ALL the details on this awesome project put together by Evan Palmerston by CLICKING HERE.

I still would love to see the poem Elena, Ralph's daughter, wrote for her daddy, published on his website. I think it's appropriate. We love and miss you, Ralph!!

Keep an eye out for this CD 'cause it will be a doosey! Hopefully there will be some sort of release-party-memorial-benefit for Elena's college-fund thingy.

Found this bit on an on-line events search site. Thought people might enjoy this short bio on ELI'S MILE HIGH CLUB. I sure miss the old girl and it saddens me to think of her cold and empty. Nothin' but the blues spirits lurking around.

"As Joe Louis Walker would sing...
'You can have a lotta fun..
At the Mile High Club!'

Funky Fun
No matter how cool the attitudes and atmosphere of the Bay Area, you can count on this club to stay hot, as it has since Eli Thornton bought it in the '70s. Eli's was formerly a creamery, which it definitely isn't now (though you never outgrow your need for beer and wine, and it has those) as well as a juke joint, which it still evokes with its no-frills interior.

Blue Home
After Thornton was shot by a jealous lover, the jukebox was replaced with live performers. Among them was guitarist Troyce Key, who took over the club and hosted local and visiting bluesmen. Eli's reputation as the dance-friendly "Home of West Coast Blues" has been sustained by current owner Linda Lowrance, an arts and culture activist."

---Jeff Kaliss

Thanks for lettin' me ramble.

Posted by Mo at 02:29 PM | Comments (1)

December 10, 2002

Mo's Musings 12-10-02

Check this out...

I got this newsletter from "Mighty" Mike Schermer. CLICK HERE for his website. It included something that caught my eye. A CD called San Francisco Bay's Best Blues Vol. 1. It's got several of my favorites from abroad (S.F.) like ANTHONY PAULE, DANIEL CASTRO and MIGHTY MIKE! It was done by...aah hell, I'll just copy and paste what Mike had to say on this matter. He said it all so well.

Thanks for the tip Mighty Mike! I REALLY need to catch up this guy. I also wouldn't mind pickin' up his new CD at the same time. Go to his great site and get on his mailing list. A lot of fun to read!
I love the part when Mike says "musically rich area.” I have always said the same. Maybe someone should talk to this guy at Raw records about doing a North Bay or Sonoma County Blues CD. Got enough talent for many.

Here’s the item from Mike’s newsletter:

"In other news...Raw Records, based in the Pacific Northwest, has just released a nifty little blues compilation called "Best of SF Bay Blues Vol. 1" featuring 17 known and need-to-be-known Bay Area artists. My song "Annabelle" was chosen as one cut and appears in the clean-up spot in the order which I'm quite happy about. While it may be debatable as to whether this CD is truly a "best of" this rich musical area or not, keep in mind this is only Vol. 1. Congratulations to Producer Michael Cobb and the talented and hard-working John Lee Sanders for getting it together. Great Job guys! For more info or to purchase got to Raw Records.”

Club News
Seems HEALDSBURG BAR & GRILL is tryin' their hand at LIVE music, once again. It looks like a website is in store too.

I have a feeling that Nick REALLY missed it when the music stop playing there. Live music that is. He was always out there enjoying it when bands were there. He's a blues fan and he always seemed excited when da blues came through. A gracious host and always treated them like royalty. I have heard and seen as much.
Let's keep an eye out for blues in Healdsburg.

LA STRADA, formally known as Domenic's, is once again doin' live music. This week is Paul McNight, Elvis-Rick Lenci, Shannon Rider, Poyntlyss Sistars and Murphy's Lawyer. I'm pretty much clueless on this except for Poyntlyss Sistars. R&B covers mostly.

Let's get some blues booked in this roomy club. I wonder if they did anything to the inside. Didn't need it. Nice place located at Stony Point and Todd Roads in Santa Rosa, phone (707) 585-1111.

BLUESVILLE, in Oakland on Jack London Square, closed their doors. I saw some real good shows in that place. Joe Louis Walker with our LEVI LLOYD was Levi like we've never seen before. I tell no lie there. Just ask anyone that was there, they'll tell you. Rusty Zinn's "The Chill" show was the best Zinn I've seen yet.

It's a shame. They kinda strayed from live music to DJ towards the end there. Too bad. Nice atmosphere and decent sound. Dance floor was average but smack in the front of the stage. Just the way I like them. They even had a smoking room with a pool table. The place had its fill of blues photos on the walls too. Listen to me…I'm talkin’ like someone just died!

Well it just goes to show ya...da blues will never die 'cause this news here proves it! For those of you who didn't know...The historic blues club, ELI'S MILE HIGH CLUB in Oakland, closed its doors some months back. Shoot, it might even be a year or more now. This was a sad, sad day. We all heard it was on the market but thought there was time. I was kinda hopin' for one last big blues shindig for the ol’ gal. One day, she was closed due to "plumbing problems" and never reopened her doors. Not even one last "Hurrah" for this historic BLUES monument. Oh...if only the walls could talk. I've heard a few stories and heard the recordings and I only wish someone would write a book on that era of Oakland Blues!

Well the good news is, or the rumor is, that a saint from up above has bought it and reopening it. I'm pretty sure that it stayin' blues is the idea. That was floatin' around for awhile and then I got a blues article/newsletter from Joseph Jordan.

Joseph writes for various magazines and does all kinds of things to keep us bluesers informed. He writes an article, or two, every month for this great magazine, SOUTHLAND BLUES out of Long Beach. It is a great publication chock-full of mucho blues info, calendar, interviews of local musicians, classifieds, reviews, you name it. All in the Southland. It's a big area they cover. Great new website too.

I wish we could pull our resources together and do something like this. We need it badly. Did you know that by my calculations, probably 2/3 of the blues fans I talk to out there, do not, or do they care to, own a computer. They spend their time looking for blues shows in 3-4 papers or hope for word on a radio show (yeah right!) or word of mouth. Oh yeah, and calling around to different clubs. Fun!

We've got a lot of resources. They just need to come together. Shoot, we've got a radio station and DJ that has a blues show. Just think of that power alone! (Yikes!) Anyhow…there's the link to their new site and here's the great news from the man himself, Joseph Jordan. Thanks Joseph!

Nope...the blues will never die.

Here it is:

"BEST NEWS I'VE HEARD ALL MONTH NOTE: Frank Klein, possessor of a W.C. Handy Award for "Best Blues Club" for his righteous spot, Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco, has just announced he's taking over management of the long-shuttered, legendary Oakland blues venue, Eli's Mile High Club. More news about this remarkable development as it happens."

Thanks for lettin' me ramble.

Posted by Mo at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

December 09, 2002

Mo's Musings 12-9-02

I'm sittin' here listenin' to THE BUDDY KING BAND.

Remember them?!

I just miss the heck outta Roy Andersen. He was a hidden treasure here in Sonoma County amongst the many great guitarists. He was a gem that few knew of. Those of us that did get the great fortune to hear him play just new, this guy deserved much more. I didn't know Roy personally but do know that he touched many lives whether through being a mentor, family man, friend or great guitarist.

What a great band that was. One of my first to hear on the local blues scene. That was when I first started steppin' out some few years back. Victor Brain, who's still 'round doin' his thang, was the drummer. David Schrader, who's really around doin' his thang, played sax. Don Cobb, who I don't know what he's up to, played dat bass and sang. What a great singer indeed.

Yep, sure miss Roy…

I heard that a memorial is being arranged for January and let's keep our ears open for that. Someone please make sure they get that info to our Calendar mistress.

Found a great write-up on our Volker Strifler in Blues Revue. It was for his new CD and I kinda felt proud reading it. Of course we all know it should be a full story complete with interview, 8" x 10" glossy, front cover and the whole bit!, but we'll settle for this, I guess. It's the issue with Magic Slim and Poppa Chubby on the front. That's quite a sight in itself. What a contrast!

Let me quote a couple from Blues Revue reviewer Hal Horowitz:

"Volker Strifler Band is a album brimming with great writing and emotionally powered performances….He's a remarkably talented guitarist who deserves to move out of the shadows and into the spotlight.” You can read the full review by CLICKING HERE.

...Aaah shoot..I've been saying that for at least a few years now. Thanks Hal, but more importantly..Thank You Volker! Check out his website for more and also his calendar is freshened up.

We probably won't be seeing as much Michael Barclay as we have been. You know, the once a month thing at the ‘Winds. Michael mentioned some time back was that it's going to be every other month instead. I have a feeling he's wanting to explore other things. Small turnout, which I just don't get, makes it hard to pay the band. I don't know, maybe his arm's still bothering him. Probably all the above. I really hate to see this happen. Michael Barclay to me is and always be...The King Of Sonoma County Blues! Get out there and see this wonder and show some love.

Saw Banana at a Barry "The Fish" Melton show last night [December 7, 2002]. That one is a whole review so we won't go into that. WOWSERS!

It was good to see Banana outside of Michael Barclay in a whole 'nother realm. You gotta see Banana with these guys. It was really incredible. He does other stuff and he mentioned he really enjoys playing Bluegrass on his banjo. Now that would a blast. He said to go to his website for more info on "Banana's Gigs" by CLICKING HERE. Just scroll on down once there for the page. He does get around and sometimes plays in a bluegrass band, The David Thom Band, I think. He also plays with Steve Kimock! I count four bands for our Banana. I guess you can call that a Banana Split!

Nope. It's no longer a rumor. It's been certified true. I can't believe it and I'm gonna cry. Terry Hanck is packin' up the family and movin' to Florida! :(I hate when this happens. Why the hell would anybody want to move to Florida for? Especially a Blues Musician! I don't get it. There's no blues in Florida! ;) We're gonna miss you Terry. Yeah, yeah.. you'll be back to gig blah..blah..blah. It'll start out fine then it'll be less and less. They're having a "Moving-Away-To-Florida" shindig at Moe's Alley in Santa Cruz, December 16th. What is that? This Sunday? For more, check out Terry's calendar by CLICKING HERE. Good Luck to Terry and family on their new endeavors.

Got a tip that Blue Haven Blues Band from Reno is scoutin' around tryin' to find gigs in the area. Club owners and bookers take note: Book them! Honestly, I haven't seen them yet but do have their CD "Keepin' The Blues Live" and it's killer partyin' blues stuff. I've heard from some pretty decent blues resources that they're a must. Believe me, one of these "resources" has turned me on to some San Francisco Bay Area greats! (Thanks Linda!) Recorded LIVE at The Alturas Blues Club in Reno so what you hear is what you get. It sounds to me like you get a lot. Book'em! CLICK HERE to go to their website and keep an eye on their calendar for shows in our area. Or just remember the name, Blue Haven.

Yep, La Strada (formally known as Domenic's) in Santa Rosa is booking LIVE music. Hurrah! But it's not quite da blues. Well...Poyntlyss Sistars are supposed to be fun. I haven't seen them yet. They are one of the many our local sax man David Schrader plays with. R&B covers. Shannon Rider is booked at La Strada, I guess that counts. I do see her listed in "Blues" calendars at times. Haven't seen her yet. At any rate…keep an eye for DA BLUES at this place and support it. Centrally located in Sonoma County at Todd Road and Stony Point in Santa Rosa. Don't know who Paul McNight is but he has many shows there thru the week.

Found this all important post from Steve Judkins on the Bay Area Blues Yahoo! Group site. I thought it deserved a mention here and I would think ANYTHING by Judkins should be on this CD, period! ALL the musicians mentioned in these recording sessions Ralph himself thought highly of.

Here's a piece I thought relevant:

"I'm going into the studio next week to put the finishing touches on a song that Ralph Bryan and I recorded March 23rd, 2002, just before he passed, with Gary Silva, Carl Bowers, Tony Lufrano…"So Sad To Be Lonesome." I will also be recording an original song of Ralph's, with long time band mates Rick Cutler, Steve Barbieri, and Kent Fossgreen.

The songs will hopefully be added to the Ralph Bryan Tribute CD with proceeds going to Ralph's 13-year-old daughter Elena's education. Hope to see you soon, Peace....Steve Judkins"

I couldn't have said it better. Thanks Steve!

Thanks for lettin' me ramble.

Posted by Mo at 01:26 PM | Comments (3)