DarielB – Flying Under the Radar

Chucktown’s Annual Beach Music & Shag Fest Set for August 25 & 26

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 9, 2012

The seventh annual Charleston Beach Music & Shag Festival will be held on August 25 and 26 in the ballroom of the North Charleston Performing Arts Center, which is connected to the Embassy Suites, organizer Harriett Grady has announced.

The two-day event will feature six powerhouse acts, shag workshop and deejays: on Saturday, brush up on your shagging at a workshop with Jerry and Barbara Wade, 1 p.m.; Rickey Godfrey Band at 3 p.m.; the Castaways at 5:30 p.m.; and Carolina Soul Band at 8 p.m. Deejay Gerry Scott will spin tunes for shaggers in between performances.

On Sunday, deejay Betty Brown begins at 1 p.m. and returns between acts. The Fantastic Shakers start at 2 p.m.; the Johnny Rawls Blues Band – with Rickey Godfrey sitting on guitar – takes the stage at 4 p.m.; and the mighty Tams close out the entertainment at 5:30 p.m. Betty Brown returns to the deejay booth at 7 p.m.

The Festival is being presented by The Beach Music & Shag Preservation Society of South Carolina (BMSPSSC) along with Big Mamma Entertainment of Charleston, S.C.

The mighty mighty Tams.

In a telephone interview, Grady said she formed the BMSPSSC back in 2006 at the urging of Diane Pope, manager of the original Joe Pope Tams and wife of original member Charles Pope. “She [Diane Pope] talked to me for several years asking me to have a beach festival in Charleston,” explains Grady. “She said there was not a beach music festival here and she thought there should be. She said she had been thinking about it over and over and she thought I should be the one to do it. So about that same time an investor came along and said every one in Charleston pointed at me to help get a Beach Festival going.

“Well, with two strong people coming at me I decided to try it. I coined the name Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival that first year and it stuck. That was in 2006 and I have continued every year on my own having the Charleston Beach Music and Shag Festival. The Joe Pope Tams have been in all but one of them.”

Festival sponsors include Strom Altman Suzuki of Charleston; Coast magazine and Alternatives NewsMagazine (myrtlebeachalternatives.com) of Myrtle Beach; music blog DarielB-Flying Under the Radar (darielb.wordpress.com). According to Grady, she is still seeking and accepting sponsors for the event.

BMSPSSC is a private nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization formed to promote, preserve and perpetuate the S.C. state dance, the shag, and South Carolina’s most popular music, beach music. Festival tickets are $20 per day for BMSPSSC members and $25 for nonmembers. Two-day tickets are $35/members and $45/nonmembers. Tickets may be purchased online at http://www.bmspssc.com or http://www.pivotsbeachclub.com. Special Festival rates are available at the adjoining Embassy Suites. For more information, call 843-814-0101.

Bo Schronce Talks about Music & More at Sunset River Marketplace – April 23

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on April 13, 2012

This is going to be a lot of fun, so I thought I’d share it with you. Sunset River Marketplace,

Bo Schronce, founder of N.C. group the Fantastic Shakers (photo Dariel Bendin)

the very cool gallery in Calabash, N.C. where I hang out so much, is bringing in Bo Schronce  to speak at their next Creative Exchange event on Monday, April 23 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Bo formed  the Fantastic Shakers back in 1978, so you know he’s got decades of stories to share.

Growing up in Lincolnton, N.C. Bo Schronce first started singing at church, but he admits candidly that he liked the attention that came with being the lead singer in a band. His very first group was the Little Logan Hot Dog Band (He was Little Logan). A few other small bands followed including Bo & the Fugitives and Nobody’s Perfect.  In the mid 70s, he joined the Catalinas, one of the Carolinas’ definitive beach bands. In fact, it was Bo’s vocals recorded on what has become the band’s signature tune “Summertime’s Calling Me.”

However, Bo Schronce is best known for his Fantastic Shakers, which, by the way, he co-founded with keyboard player Dino Fair, now with the popular S.C. powerhouse trio, Sea-Cruz. The Shakers are known throughout the region for beach hits such as, “Myrtle Beach Days,” “Shakin’ the Shack,” and the classic ballad, “Where Do I Go.”

With the Shakers, Bo has built one of the most versatile bands around. Five lead vocalists, three horns and what seems to be a limitless song list of original and cover tunes mean this group is always in demand.

They have performed at Lincoln Center in New York City, where blues fans and radio station deejays welcomed them warmly. “After they heard  ‘Shakin’ the Shack,’ we got in big with the N.Y. blues stations,” said Bo. “I didn’t know how to handle it. I’m just a redneck farm boy from N.C. who knows how to sing.”

Bo Schronce’s vocals are well known and respected throughout the industry. Nashville guitarist and vocalist Rickey Godfrey says, “I think Bo Schronce is easily the most talented, versatile singer in beach music. He can do everything … and he does!”

Jim Quick, front man for the Coastline band and King Tyrone & the Graveyard Ramblers agrees. “ Bo has a voice that is the representation of the greatest songs in beach music. He’s a performer who can’t be compared to any other I’ve known, a southern gentleman … A father figure, a tutor, a singer’s singer, a show man a nd a dear friend. He’s a red-neck badass, a family man, and the hardest worker in and out of the music scene … a man of truths and a man of the most audacious lies an ear can absorb.”

How’s that for a ringing endorsement, Bo?

The Fantastic Shakers have been guests of honor at both North and South Carolina gubernatorial events. Myrtle Beach has presented them with the key to the city. They have also played the American Bop Association Convention in Cincinnati, Ohio. The band’s gigs take them from the Carolinas and Virginia, beyond to Maryland, Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. Bo Schronce has taken home three Carolina Beach Music Academy (CBMA) awards for Male Vocalist of the Year. The band has five Group Album awards to their credit, plus other honors for singles and blues albums, including a 2011 Song of the Year award and 2011 Blues Song award for their hit single, “I Still Do.”

Despite all this, they cut back their play dates a little bit each year.  “I want time for my family,” says Bo. “I love to garden, I love to fish and I’ve got my dogs – a competition pack of beagles that I take out whenever I can.”

Since opening in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has become an active supporter of performing, literary and visual arts in the area. The gallery hosted Brunswick Arts Council’s Evening of Miniature Masterpieces fundraiser multiple times and is a regular sponsor for the Friday evening Summer Concert Series at Ocean Isle Beach.

Creative Exchange is an interactive community event held at Sunset River Marketplace. The gallery is located at 10283 Beach Drive SW (Hwy. 179) in Calabash, N.C. The Bo Schronce presentation takes place from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There is a $7 fee and, due to limited seating, reservations are required. This event is expected to fill up quickly, so get your spot early.

For more information, call 910-575-5999. If you’d like to be notified about upcoming Creative Exchange, Coffee With the Authors or other gallery events, send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace.com. Gallery news is also posted on the website: www.sunsetrivermarketplace.com.

Stocking Stuffers: Music Picks to Keep You Groovin’ Through 2012

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on December 12, 2011

This is the time of year when I sit back with a nog while all y’all tell me what’s cool, hip and happenin’ in the world of music. This year I’ve asked a mix of special friends to share their music picks with us. Enjoy!
Mike Farris
mikefarrismusic.com
Mike Farris. Intense, talented and on fire, this Nashville boy is one of the most exciting performers I’ve ever seen. Check out his picks.
Various Artists
Cosimo Matassa Story (import)
Proper Box (2007)
If you really want to take a peek inside the birthing room of rock & roll, look behind this curtain! Between the 40s and 60s everything that came out of New Orleans was recorded at Cosimo’s J&M Studio. Way too often overlooked, New Orleans and her amazing musicians laid the foundation for rock & roll. If you don’t like this box set, we can never be friends.

Various Artists
Goodbye Babylon (Box Set)
Dust-to-Digital (2003)
Sacred music grown in the hot southern dust. One of the greatest box sets ever put together. Makes me proud to be a southern boy.
From Amazon: Goodbye Babylon is a 6 CD gospel reissue collection. 5 CDs contain 135 songs from 1902-1960 and the 6th disc is comprised of 25 sermons recorded between 1926-1941. Also included is a 200 page book complete with Bible verses, lyric transcriptions, and notes for each recording, plus over 200 illustrations … Sound restoration and mastering by Airshow Mastering, the team that restored the “Anthology of American Folk Music” (Smithsonian Folkways, 1997), and won a Grammy® for their work on “Screamin’ and Hollerin’ the Blues: The Worlds of Charley Patton” (Revenant, 2002). – Reverently packed in raw cotton and housed in a deluxe 8″ x 11″ x 2.5″ cedar box. Notes and essays by musicologists and scholars, including several Grammy® winners. – Contributors include Lynn Abbott, David Evans, Ray Funk, Anthony Heilbut, Kip Lornell, Luigi Monge, Paul Oliver, Opal Louis Nations, Bruce Nemerov, Guido van Rijn, Ken Romanowski, Tony Russell, Doug Seroff, Dick Spottswood, Warren Steel, David Tibet, Gayle Dean Wardlow, and Charles Wolfe.

Bill Withers
Still Bill (DVD)
New Video Group (2011)
Still Bill (documentary)- I know this is not technically a record. It’s a film….and I haven’t even seen this yet, but I can still safely say that it’s a must watch. Bill Withers is one of the great songwriters of our time and a true artist intent on steering his own wheel. Ride on, Bill……ride on.

Brian Rutenberg
brianrutenbergart.com
Brian Rutenberg. Before he grew into his true self as a sought after N.Y.C. artist, this Myrtle Beach boy was a drummer. I knew his picks would be cool, but I had no idea how cool.

Youssou N’Dour
The Lion
Virgin Records (1989)
My first recommendation is the fabulous Senegalese singer/ percussionist Youssou N’Dour whom I saw in concert at S.O.B’s in N.Y.C. in the late 80s. His soulful rhythm, smooth ambient keyboards (somewhat akin to Brian Eno), and musical voice are fabulous. I enjoy many of his albums but my favorite is 1989’s The Lion (Virgin), songs like “Bes” and “My Daughter (Sama Doom)” make me smile. His music also takes me back to the blissful days when I met my wife Katie. Now we have children and they like the same songs.
Robert Shaw & the Robert Shaw Festival Singers
Rachmaninoff Vespers
Teldec (1990)
If you want to be transported through music then Rachmaninoff’s Vespers are a must. They are sublime. Go somewhere you can be totally alone for an hour, shut the lights off, and listen. I also enjoy just looking out a window (preferably on a gloomy day) or a long drive with this recording. My ongoing studies of the late Canadian pianist/philosopher Glenn Gould involve long stretches of driving in Ontario and the Vespers are a perfect soundtrack. Another listening place might be the parking area that juts out onto the beach by the Cherry Grove Inn around 54th/55th Ave N. in North Myrtle Beach. I am not sure if it is still there but watching the surf to these Vespers would be nice; “Bless The Lord,” “O My Soul” and “O Serene Light” reaffirm what it means to be a human being.
Robert Plant
Principle of Moments
Rhino (1983)
Finally I am listening a lot to Robert Plant’s second solo album Principle of Moments released the year I graduated from high school in Myrtle Beach,. Although the drums are not Bonham they are played by Phil Collins with some heavy down beat and the unadorned clarity that Bonham mastered. There was a remaster released in 2007 which I play in my studio a lot. “In the Mood” and “Big Log” are still fabulous songs.
Clair DeLune
bluesmoonradio.blogspot.com
Clair DeLune. Music historian, writer and professor, producer and host of Blues Moon Radio … I love all that Clair does, and I’m grateful for her participation.
Various Artists
Bummed Out Christmas
Rhino (1989)
The Bummed Out Christmas CD seems an odd choice because it is topically dreary, not cheery. As the host of Blues Moon Radio, I talk with a number of people each year who are not upbeat about the holidays. Contrary to popular belief, blues music does not depress one, it is one’s “ticket” for climbing out of a pit of despair and can improve your mood, so I recommend Bummed Out Christmas to all.
This CD fits the bill two ways: For most, it is an over-the-top array of songs so wildly absurd they are laugh out loud funny, thus a welcome break from standard treacly holiday pap . For those in a deep funk, it has been known to provide a balanced perspective – even if only from a “misery loves company” or “someone has it worse” perspective. The most requested holiday song on my radio show each year is “Christmas In Jail,” by the Youngsters, which begins with the ominous “I was in the wrong lane, feeling no pain.” It acts as an ersatz public service announcement – reminding us of our duty to not drive if drinking, but entertains as it informs.
Demetria Taylor
Bad Girl
Delmark (2011)
Bluesman Eddie Taylor’s much-covered classic, “Bad Boy,” is given a twist by his daughter, Demetria. Eddie Taylor, who was not as well-known – yet was integral to the Chicago scene as Jimmy Reed’s guitarist – introduced Reed to that now-famous shuffling style. Eddie Taylor has influenced more people than know his name, including his own children, three of whom work actively in Blues music. This year Taylor’s daughter, Demetria, rises above the “Blues Legacy” tag with her vocals on “Bad Girl,” earning her place in the blues world as a powerhouse of song. It is nominated for Best CD of 2011 Lunie Award on Blues Moon Radio.
Laurence “Luckyman” Beall
The Huntsville Sessions
Turbine Incredible (2010)
Last but not least… indeed this is most likely my absolute favorite find of the year…
Laurence Luckyman Beall is the freshest, most invigorating artist to appear on Blues Moon Radio this year. His work is highly energized and he puts more sound out solo than most artists with backing bands. Sporting the Western-style dress and duck-tail hairstyle that emerged when Rock’n’Roll was young, Beall (pronounced ‘Bell’) is serious about his folio of Blues, Rockabilly and Americana that would get any mule kicking in its stall. Those who see Beall perform are impressed and charmed by his vibrant personality as well as his intense musicianship, comprised of powerful lyrics and melody, and a unique approach to electric chicken-pickin’ guitar work. His CD is the most commented on by Blues Moon Radio’s listeners this year… and many have become enthusiastic converts to “the Luckified.”
Sam Hannaford
SouthBySoutheast.org
Co-founder and past president of the nonprofit South By Southeast music organization, this guy is responsible for making top drawer music (and musicians) accessible to the Carolina coast. Love you, Sam.
Otis Redding
The Definitive Collection (4CD set)
Rhino Records (1993)
After having half finished reading “Bill Graham Presents,” the autobiography/biography of Bill Graham, I realized that he and I have two things in common. One, we have helped put on music concerts (not that I put myself 1000th in the same company of this great Rock Icon), and number two, that Otis Redding was our favorite all time performer. Unlike Bill, I never had the pleasure of seeing Otis live, but this four-CD set is a very definitive representation of his short but significant contribution to popular music – helping to bridge the racial and music genre gaps that existed until the 1960s.

There are outtakes of many of his more popular tunes that I find very interesting, as well as enjoying the songs heard on the radio back in the day and now. He is timeless. Unfortunately, he died the week after he recorded “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” and never got to hear his biggest hit on the radio.

Laura Nyro
Laura Nyro Live At The Bottom Line
Cypress Records (1989)
Always a huge fan of Laura, I was gifted this out of production CD a few years ago (it’s available on eBay). Known mostly for her pop hits recorded by The Fifth Dimension, Barbra Streisand, Blood Sweat and Tears and others such as “Stoney End,” “Wedding Bell Blues,” “And When I Die,” and “Stoned Soul Picnic,” Laura’s emotive piano playing and vocal phrasing have always touched me. This is a great example live of those qualities as exemplified on songs such as “The Confession,” “My Innocence/Sophia” and “Broken Rainbow.” She also mixes in R&B covers of “High Heeled Sneakers,” “La La Means I Love You” and “Up On The Roof.” She has influenced many singers.
The Duhks
The Duhks
Sugar Hill Records (2005)
Having seen these multi-talented young musicians at Merlefest in 2005, I bought their CD immediately. I have rarely been as impressed by a group that offered so much a diversity and cultural music mixture. Running the gamut from Celtic, Portuguese, Cajun, Rock N’ Roll, as well as Black Sea Island Gospel music, these folks tear it up. Jesse Havey’s vocals are unreal, along with fellow band member Tania Elizabeth. “Death Came A Knockin”, “Dance Hall Girls”, “True Religion”, and “ The Waggoner’s Lad” stand out to me especially. I am unsure if they are still playing, but even with a change in membership, they put on a great show.
Mike Taylor
HolidayBand.com
Singer/songwriter and band leader for Southern soul/variety group, the Holiday Band, Mike has lived and breathed music since he was a kid. One of my faves.
Chicago
What’s It Gonna Be Santa?
Rhino (2003)
Twenty of the best arrangements of Christmas songs ever. Every song has a unique flavor, the changes are NOT traditional and the playing and singing is off the chart. I don’t usually like Christmas CDs much, but I love this one. You must listen two or three times to get used to the vibe.

Pete Lauro
Mary4Music.com
Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro reviews blues and indie music at Mary 4 Music, and I’m always happy to listen to his picks. Yeah!
Hubert Sumlin
Healing Feeling
Blacktop Records (1990)
This is one of my favorite CDS simply for the fact that it introduced me to the person who has become my all time favorite blues vocalist – Darrell Nulisch. While at a friend’s house, he happened to be playing the CD and when the song “Play It Cool” came on I was blown away. I asked him to let me see the CD jacket and bought it the very next day. It’s almost 12 years old and I still listen to it very regularly.

Roomful Of Blues
That’s Right
Alligator Records (2003)
You could easily put on a three-day blues festival just using the great musicians that have been a part of Roomful of Blues over the last 40 or some years. Through it all, the band has remained in tact and is still headlining blues festivals themselves. This is one of my favorite discs of theirs because it featured the debut of Mark DuFresne who I feel gave them back the punch they needed in a front man. This is real good stuff.
Downchild Blues Band
I Need A Hat
Linus Entertainment (2009)
This is another one of those bands that’s been around forever. As the story goes, they were supposedly the influence for the Blues Brothers. This Canadian band, led by Donny Walsh, has more discs out than I care to count, and this – their latest release – is one of their very best.

Pat Patterson
LargeTime.net
The S.C. Internet radio station owner (along with wife Robin) of Large Time Network is one of my favorite deejays, and has a wonderful collection of obscure music.
Rickey Godfrey
Nasty Man
Serenity Hill (2010)
There is a lot of good music available right now, but I have three favorites. I am a Rickey Godfrey fan through and through. His latest release Nasty Man is “Nasty” but in a good way!! Rickey is so talented and his talent shines with each song from his vocal ability to his amazing guitar licks. This CD should be in your collection right now. I feel that only Rickey could get away with the title “Nasty Man” and then on top of that pull off “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” one of my favorites, as well as “When You’re Cool (The Sun Shines All The Time).” Only Rickey can make the blues shine.
Craig Woolard Band
Main Street People
Sisbro (2010)
Also on my list is Main Street People on Sisbro Records from The Craig Woolard Band. Beside the obvious songs on the charts “Your Love Is Amazing,” “Impossible,” and “Beachaholic,” there are some other great songs as well. “Soulful Kind Of Love,” I’m In Love With The Girl Next Door” and “Main Street People.” You can’t go wrong with this CD.

Dip Ferrell & the Truetones
Along For the Vibe
Arcade Records (2011)

The new CD from Dip Ferrell And The Truetones, Along For The Vibe, on Arcade Records is awesome. The shag tunes “Hey Girl” and “Love Monkey” will make you lay some leather down on the dance floor. Two beautiful ballads “Baby Come Back To Me” and “I’m Way Too Proud” have great story lines, yes songs do have story lines and these certainly do. Not only that, but the music is fabulous and makes for a true slow dance.

Stuff the stockings with these CDs and you can’t go wrong!!! I simply put them in and hit “Play” without skipping to the next song, and that to me makes a great “Stocking Stuffer” and CD. Merry Christmas and happy listening!!!!
Sheila Cain
http://www.live365.com/stations/
beaumontblues
Head honcho and radio host for Blues City Radio, Sheila Cain found time to give us her faves, despite the fact that she was in the middle of moving her life to Denver. Check out her radio show.
Karen Lovely
Still The Rain
Pretty Pear Records (2011)
Being a blues enthusiast, my number one pick this Christmas has to be Karen Lovely’s latest CD, Still The Rain. I’ve listened to every track over and over again and still can’t get enough.

The title track “Still The Rain” is contemporary blues at it’s very best. But don’t overlook one single song on this CD. Every one is a winner in my book. Tracks from this CD have kept Karen Lovely at the number one spot on Blues City Radio for the past eight weeks straight with no signs of slowing down.
Karen Lovely has the potential to become a blues phenom!
Etta James
Icon
Geffen Records (2010)
I don’t generally buy “collection” type CDs, but Etta James is the exception to the rule on this one.
Her CD Icon, a 12-song sampler spans the best of Etta over her illustrious career.

From “At Last” to “I’d Rather Go Blind,” this CD highlights her many hits. There’s just something about her sultry, soulful voice and lyrics that takes one on a musical journey that is hard (if not impossible) to duplicate. This is a “Must Have” CD for anyone who loves, blues, soul and R&B. I guarantee it will not be re-gifted.

Thanks to all my pals who contributed here. Happy Holidays to all!

Summer’s Last Blast Was a Blast!

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 21, 2011

Last Saturday, Sept. 17, I went to Greenville, S.C. (Piedmont, I suppose is more accurate) for the inaugural Summer’s Last Blast & Blues Festival sponsored by Sparkle City Blues, Treeline Entertainment and DeLisle & Associates.

The lineup was superb. Beverly “Guitar” Watkins, Cee Cee James Band featuring guitarist Rickey Godfrey, J Edwards Band, Freddy Vanderford with guitarist Brandon Turner and the Shades, the Matt Walsh Band and the King Bees.

Dave Harrison, who puts out the monthly BluzNdaBlood podcast, drove from Roanoke, Va. for it. He likes catching the Festivals while they’re still small. The week before the Festival he put out a preview show that you might want to hear. Dave does a great job.

All the acts were super, and especially fun for me because I’d never seen Cee Cee James, Freddie Vanderford, the King Bees, Matt Walsh or the headliner, Beverly “Guitar” Watkins before.

I’m going to post some photos taken by my blues sista, Mary Anne McLaurin, along with links to some videos.

She D’Ambrosio and Tim DeLisle put the fledgling festival together, and I think they did a great job. Can’t wait until next year.

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins. So cool to watch her work that guitar ... and super vocals! (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Seriously underrated guitarist Brandon Turner with Piedmont bluesman Freddie Vanderford. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Juke Joint Johnny (harp) played with the King Bees and also Miss Beverly. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

The King Bees stinging and singing. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Matt Walsh is from N.C. but plays southside Chicago music. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Nashville's Rickey Godfrey is currently featured in the Cee Cee James Band, who BTW will be playing the King Biscuit Festival this year. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

J Edwards has a voice that you have to hear to believe. (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Tom "T-Bird" Toglio, drummer with J Edwards Band. (Photo Dariel Bendin)

Road Trip: Summer’s Last Blast & Blues Fest

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on September 7, 2011

She D’Ambrosio is a talent scout, booking agent and all around lover of blues music. It’s been on her bucket list for quite some time now to put together a blues festival for the Upstate of South Carolina, and this month it’s finally come to pass.

On Saturday, Sept. 17, the inaugural Summer’s Last Blast & Blues Festival will take place at the Pavilion at Acadia in Piedmont, S.C. (a suburb of Greenville). The lineup is extraordinary, especially for the ultra-reasonable ticket price of $15 per person (free for kids under 12).

Headlining is the incredible Beverly “Guitar” Watkins and her band; then there’s Cee Cee James featuring the inimitable Rickey Godfrey on guitar; the Matt Walsh Blues Band; Freddie Vanderford with Brandon Turner and the Shades; singer songwriter J Edwards and his kick-ass band; and the King Bees. YEAH!

Beverly "Guitar" Watkins (Photo David Baerst)

Beverly “Guitar” Watkins was born in Atlanta, Ga. in 1939, and she can play the pants off musicians half her age. She says, “My style is real Lightnin’’ Hopkins lowdown blues. I call it hard classic blues, stompin’ blues, railroad smokin’ blues.”

D’Ambrosio can’t wait to bring her to the Upstate. ‘Beverly is a national treasure,” she tells me. “She’s got a style all her own and she’s so charismatic. Wait till people see her with that guitar over her head.”

Watkins was a junior in high school when she joined Piano red and the Meter-tones. Later she played with Eddie Tigner and the Ink Spots and other groups, becoming a fixture at the Underground Atlanta.

She would go on to work with James Brown, B.B. King and Ray Charles, becoming well-known throughout the blues community. But like so many other roots musicians, she had little airplay, and wouldn’t achieve success until the advent of the Internet. Re-discovered by Tim Duffy, founder of the nonprofit Music Maker Relief Foundation, she joined Koko Taylor on the women of Blues “Hot Mamas” tour in 1998. Her debut CD, Back In Business (1999), earned her a W.C. Handy Award nomination in 2000, and she was on her way. A bout with cancer a few years later couldn’t keep her down, and she’s back touring and getting the kudos she deserves.

Cee Cee James

Originally from Portland, Ore., Cee Cee James was 12 when she put together her first band. She discovered blues early, but went on to explore R&B and her native cherokee roots. “Hiking in the mountains outside San Diego,” she says, “I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan whispering to me from the Heavens… “Go back to your roots girl. go back to what you do best,” which I intuitively knew was blues, low-down roots and soul.”

Her current blues band includes songwriting partner and husband Rob “Slideboy” Andrews and Nashville’s hot rockin’ bluesman Rickey Godfrey wailing on his Telecaster. This act is going to blow the sky open.

“Cee Cee James is a vocal volcano,” says D’Ambrosio. “There’s this gut-wrenching quality … Her originals come from walking through fire … and there’s just not enough to say about Rickey Godfrey. It’s an honor for us to have him here.”

J Edwards Band is going to shock a lot of people at this show. A popular Columbia, S.C. musician, he just isn’t well-known outside the area. But this boy can sing. His raw, rough, heart-wrenching vocals will stop you in your tracks.

In a matter-of-fact style that I’ve come to expect from She D’Ambrosio, she says bluntly, “J’s voice is my crack cocaine. He’s got a voice like no other. Once you’ve heard ‘I’ve Got a Woman,’ you know what I mean.”

Matt Walsh’s sound is rooted in the old-school blues of south-side Chicago in the fifties. He first gained national notoriety in 2006 when former guitarist for Muddy Waters Bob Margolin interviewed him for Blues Revue magazine. Since then Matt shared the stage or opened for Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Pinetop Perkins and others. This guy’s on his way up! Catch him while you can!

The King Bees out of N.C were formed by guitarist/organist Hound Dog Baskerville and singer/song-writer/bassist, Queen Bee Penny Zamagni. They have a musical pedigree I can’t even imagine. They have sat in with or backed up so many blues giants:Bo Diddley, Tinsley Ellis, Billy Branch, Mojo Buford, Big Jack Johnson, Sam Carr, Frank Frost, Lazy Lester, Ronnie Earl … the list goes on.

“When you hear that voice come out of Penny, who stands  all of five feet … you wonder where it comes from,” says D’Ambrosio as she talks about the King Bees.

Harpman Freddie Vanderford is doing his part to keep the blues alive. In 2010 he received the Jean Laney Harris Folk  Heritage Award for  sharing the tradition of Piedmont blues harp. For the Summer’s Last Blast festival, he’s playing with iconic guitarist Brandon Turner and the Shades.

“Brandon Turner is one of the most underrated guitarists in the U.S. I can’t wait for this show,” She tells me.

“We have people coming fro Atlanta, Charlotte, Virginia, the Carolina beaches,” she goes on. “We’re hoping to have a lot of locals, too. We have a lot of talent in this area, but we wanted to bring in acts from out of the area, too … give people a chance to see someone that maybe they haven’t been able to see before.”

This is a family-friendly festival. Food vendors will be selling homemade ice cream, funnel cakes, hot dogs, barbecue, beer, wine, soda, tea, lemonade and more.

Vendor spots are still available for $25. As a further incentive, this year’s vendors will be able to return next year for the same price.

The Summer’s Last Blast & Blues Festival is produced by Treeline Music, Sparkle City Blues and De Lisle and Associates.

The Pavilion at Acadia is located at 102 Fathers Way in Piedmont, S.C. For more information, log onto the website at http://www.summerslastbluesfest.com, email summerblues@treelinemusic.com or visit them on Facebook.

Port City Gets a Groove On

Posted in Interviews, Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on July 11, 2011


Being a fine old southern city, Wilmington, N.C. is steeped in tradition, and one of its favorites is the upcoming Cape Fear Blues Festival set for July 29 – 31.

Three days of blues in the Port City will include live concerts, a blues workshop, an all-day blues jam, a guitar raffle and the always popular Blues Cruise aboard Wilmington’s Henrietta III.

Nashville's Rickey Godfrey (Photo Mary Anne McLaurin)

Headlining the main deck on the Friday night Cruise will be Nashville guitarist Rickey Godfrey and his band.

“Rickey is a consummate entertainer,” said Cape Fear Blues Society president Lan Nichols in a telephone interview. “He’s a master on guitar … and has a really emotional voice. Rickey reads his audience and knows exactly what to give.”

Godfrey, who has been blind since birth, has been nominated for both guitarist and keyboard player of the year by the Music City Blues Society. He’s touring now as a featured guitarist with the Cee Cee James Band, so this is a rare opportunity to see the Rickey Godfrey Blues Band.
Above the main deck, fans will be treated to the retro blues of Wilmington’s own wildly popular Ten Dollar Thrill. Up in the atrium will be acoustic storyteller Tampa Blue.

Cruisers will be noshing on heavy appetizers provided by Angie’s of Chris’s Restaurant and no doubt enjoying the three different cash bars.

Get to the Blues Cruise a little early so you can enjoy Rick Tobey on the dock before you board.

The boat departs promptly at 7:30 p.m., but be sure to get there early enough to enjoy blues veteran Rick Tobey singing his unique brand of Chickenhead blues on the dock before boarding.

The Henrietta III will return to dock by around 9:30, and you’ll want to head right over to  the Port City’s favorite blues saloon, the Rusty Nail, where The Treblemakers will be rockin’ the room with their electric blues/classic surf sounds!
Presented by the Cape Fear Blues Society, the Festival has a reputation for bringing top talent to town while it also showcases the best in local and regional blues artists.

According to Nichols, this year is no exception. Saturday begins with a free

Guitarist Eric Manning is presenting this year's blues workshop.

blues workshop conducted by Raleigh-based guitarist Eric Manning and sponsored by longtime Festival supporter Finkelstein Music. Following the workshop will be a performance, also free, by Manning’s band, E-Train & the Rusted Rails, at The Cellar in downtown Wilmington.

The Festival’s Saturday headliner is Studebaker John & the Hawks (The name refers to a Studebaker Hawk, a car he still owns).

“John is a triple threat,” said Nichols. “He plays great guitar, harmonica and has an excellent voice, too. He’s got a lot of old-school Chicago in his sound, but can rock out, too.”

Born in Chicago as John Grimaldi, he started playing harmonica at about seven years old, and was greatly influenced by Chicago’s famed Maxwell Street. He learned guitar after watching a single electrified slide guitar performance of Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers.

Studebaker John & the Hawks headline the Saturday night concert at the Rusty Nail. YAY!

Currently on tour through the U.S. and Canada, Studebaker John talked by phone about his newest CD, Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings’ That’s the Way You Do (Delmark 2010). The 15-track recording is essentially a tribute to all the musicians who performed on Maxwell Street.

“It was a labor of love for me. I started thinking about it years ago, when I was on a bigger blues label, but they didn’t think it was commercial.

“Then last year, I was working at St. George Records, playing a session for Delta Slim, and these two musicians – Rick Kreher on guitar and Steve Cushing on drums – were there and I thought that maybe we could do it.

“The three of us were able to conjure up a sound.

“I wanted it to be a tribute, but still original.  It’s the same line-up as Hound Dog Taylor: two guitars, drum, and harmonica … I’ve always been a fan of Less Is More.”

His Rusty Nail show on Saturday night will include tunes from the new CD as well as the full band sound of Studebaker John & the Hawks.  Don’t miss this one!

Opening for Studebaker John, by the way, is local acoustic fave, Spider Mike Bochey, so get there early.

The Sunday blues jam starts at noon, and this is always a great event. There are a lot of great players in Wilmington, and they come out of the woodwork for this event, so get ready to be entertained. Bring a lawn chair, but leave your coolers home. There will be plenty of food and drink for sale.

The Jam ends at 6 p.m. with the Finkelstein Music Guitar Giveaway—a Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet guitar ($850 value). Raffle tickets cost $1 each with proceeds supporting the projects and programs of the Cape Fear Blues Society.

Raffle tickets are available at Finkelstein Music and The Rusty Nail.

For more information about the Cape Fear Blues Festival visit http://www.capefearblues.org or call 910-350-8822.
©Dariel Bendin.

Festival Schedule
Friday, July 29
5:30 p.m. Live blues on the dock. (Water St. at Dock St.) Blues soloist Rick Tobey will  treat you to the blues,  Chickenhead style, as you wait to board.
7 p.m. Boarding begins.
7:30 p.m.  Blues Cruise on the Henrietta III! Headliner Rickey Godfrey brings his gritty, soulful blues to the main deck. Wilmington’s own Ten Dollar Bill will be rockin’ the party deck. Storyteller Tampa Blue will be in the atrium. Tickets are $49 (www.wilmingtontickets.com). Or call 910-350-8822.
9 p.m. Post-Cruise Party featuring The Treblemakers at the Rusty Nail, 1310 S. 5th Ave. (910-251-1888).
Saturday, July 30
11 a.m. Blues workshop sponsored by Finkelstein Music: blues guitarist/vocalist/ songwriter Eric Manning followed by an outdoor set of  jump blues and rockabilly from Manning’s band E-Train & the Rusted Rail at The Cellar, 35 N. Front St. Free.
8 p.m. Festival concert. Headliner Studebaker John & the Hawks. A night of electric blues from a Chicago legend. Opening act Spider Mike Bochey, at the Rusty Nail, 1310 S. 5th Ave. (910-251-1888). Tickets $8 advance/$10 at the door.(www.capefearblues.org or http://www.wilmingtontickets.com)
Sunday, July 31
Noon – 6 p.m. All-day blues jam under the tent at the Rusty Nail. Free.
6 p.m. Guitar raffle announced. Note: you don’t have to be on hand to win! Raffle tickets are $1 each or six for $5. A steal!

Tix Now On Sale For Cape Fear Blues Festival July 29 – 31

Posted in Live Performance Previews/Reviews by darielb on June 15, 2011

This summer marks year 16 for the Cape Fear Blues Festival, and once again, I can’t wait!

According to Lan Nichols from Cape Fear Blues Society, they’ve moved away from the big outdoor concert on Saturday to a few different venues. And who doesn’t want to support the blues clubs, after all?

They don’t have all the details worked out yet, so I’m jumping the gun a little bit here, but I wanted to give you plenty of time to get yo tix! This weekend is going bring together Chicago blues, swamp funk, soul blues, electric blues and acoustic blues with some surf rock(?) mixed in to keep us on our toes. Go figure.

Here’s the schedule as it stands now. Friday night, July 29, is the ever popular Cape Fear Blues Cruise, of course. Henrietta III, Wilmington’s largest riverboat, was originally built for dinner cruises and later enlarged to be a casino boat. There are three decks; the lower two have dining and dancing. The upper deck has an enclosed atrium as well as the open deck portion. There will be three different bands playing.

Rickey Godfrey’s blues quartet headlines the Friday night Blues Cruise (Photo © Demian Riley)

My buddy Rickey Godfrey  and his blues quartet will be tearing it up on the main deck of Henrietta III. If you’ve never experienced this Telecaster-wielding, growling, gravelly-throated soulman, you’re in for a treat.

He released a new CD last year, Nasty Man, and let me tell you what just a few folks in the know are saying about it:

“… Nasty Man, a 12-track whoop-up that comes out of the chute kickin’ like a wild bull on Red Bull. From the grungy “I Want Me a Nasty Woman” to the first single from the album, “Don’t Get Your Honey Where You Get Your Money,” this is a fiery, guitar driven and gritty masterpiece. It’s electric blues the way God intended them to be played. Lord have mercy, Miss Percy. Rickey Godfrey has done got nasty on us, and it sounds so good.”

– Michael Buffalo Smith, Universal Music Tribe

“Hard sung vocals, wonderfully amusing lyrics and scorching guitar all make this one a winner.”

– Peter “Blewzzman” Lauro/ Blues Editor at Mary 4 Music

Rickey’s unique brand of hot rockin’ blues and hip-shakin’ soul will keep you boogeying all night long. Yah!

Playing the party deck will be Wilmington faves, Ten Dollar Thrill. These guys are a blast! They’re into everything from  Chicago blues to West Coast swing to rockabilly and good ole rock & roll.

This band gets rave reviews wherever and whenever they play. Check ‘em out on the Henrietta III. I promise you, it’ll be a party!

If you’re into acoustic blues and finger pickin’, don’t miss Tampa Blue on the upper deck.

It’s hard to describe this music in just a few words. In fact, someone asked this Alabama picker what kind of blues he played, and his answer was “Traditional, acoustic, Delta, slide, Piedmont, finger-style, Southern rural, pre-war, country, pre-electric with a touch of spirituals, hollers, rags and American finger-style guitar seasoning.”

Blues fans love the historical fabric of his music along with the storytelling and anecdotes that this southern gem brings to the stage.

Before you even set foot on the Henrietta III, Rick Tobey from the Chickenhead Blues Band will be entertaining on the dock. This well-respected musician won the 2009 Cape Fear Blues Society Solo Blues  Challenge and then the 2010 Triangle Blues Society Solo Blues Challenge. About himself Rick says, “I was born in a south Louisiana chicken coop with a bottle neck on my little finger and a guitar in my hand. Been playin’ dem Chickenhead Blues ever since I could crawl, from the Mississippi Delta to the North Carolina Piedmont, from the Cape Fear River Basin to the Smokey Mountains.”

The Treblemakers bring their classic blues/surf rock mix to the Post Cruise Blues Party on Friday night.

Afterward, head to the Post Cruise Blues Party, where the Treblemakers

are the headline act at the Port City’s hottest little juke joint – the Rusty Nail. If you’re not from these parts, you may not know these guys yet, but this five-piece blues band slash surf rock group rocks the room. Party hearty!

Saturday, July 30, begins with the downtown blues workshop sponsored by Finkelstein Music. Blues guitarist Eric Manning will share his knowledge and stories of life on the road and then deliver a kick-butt set at The Cellar with his band, E-Train & the Rusted Nails. This will be a performance for anyone calling himself – or herself– a blues fan.

The main act on Saturday – we’re back at the Rusty Nail again – is a top talent and considered to be one of the most creative ensembles in Blues music today – Studebaker John & the Hawks. Wow!

Saturday’s headliner Studebaker John & the Hawks. (Photo © Linas Abukauskas, Lithuania)

Chicago bluesman Studebaker John (aka John Grimaldi) plays both guitar and harp. He has been recording albums, touring the U.S. and Europe since the seventies. On his latest CD, Studebaker John’s Maxwell Street Kings (Delmark 2010) he pays homage to the early days of Chicago street blues.

I can’t say enough good things about Studebaker John, and it seems I’m not alone:

“It’s rare to hear a blues artist perform three sets of irresistible originals, and it’s even rarer for that artist to stay ‘in the zone’ from first song to last.”

– Thomas J. Cullen, III (Blues Revue magazine)

“John captures the raw energy and grit of the classic blues musicians but pumped up to a rocking energy level. He has a deep understanding of the blues tradition that comes from hanging with the classic Chicago bluesmen, but he’s created his own sound and style from these roots.”

– Bruce Iglauer (Alligator Records)

The opening act for this show is Two of a Kind.

Come Sunday July 31,, and we’re here once again at the Rusty Nail for the All-Day Blues Jam. ‘Bring a lawn chair because this will be outdoors under the tent. You’ll find some of the area’s finest blues musicians come out for this free event.

At day’s end, some lucky duck will win a Gretsch Electromatic Pro Jet guitar ($850 value). Tickets are just $1 each and the proceeds help support the projects and programs of the Cape Fear Blues Society.  The giveaway takes place after 6 p.m. and it’s sponsored by Finkelstein Music.

You can find all the information you need about tickets, times and locations at the Cape Fear Blues Festival website.

The site will continue to be updated as more Festival information becomes available.

Godfrey Performs, Talks About Music at Sunset River Marketplace

Posted in Music Stories by darielb on April 19, 2011

Through story and song, Rickey Godfrey told the audience about his own introduction to music.

Sunset River Marketplace art gallery in Calabash, N.C. featured Nashville musician Rickey Godfrey at its monthly Creative Exchange event last Wednesday, April 13.

The talented multi-instrumentalist played guitar, sang and spoke about songwriting, his introduction to music and his experiences at the School For the Deaf and Blind in Spartanburg, S.C. Blind since birth, Godfrey suffers from Leber Congenital Amaurosis. His older brother, also a musician, has the same inherited retinal degenerative disorder.

Despite the challenges of being blind, Godfrey is considered one of Nashville’s premier blues guitarists and  has been nominated for both Music City Blues Society Guitarist and Keyboard Player of the Year.

During the presentation, Godfrey demonstrated different genres of music, including blues, soul, R&B and performed music from his latest blues CD titled Nasty Man (Serenity Hill/2010). Godfrey’s previous recordings include Once In a Lifetime Love (Mossland/ 2006), Soul Sensations (Mossland/ 2003), and Let the Big Dog Eat (Aartvark Records/1983).

Since opening its doors in 2002, Sunset River Marketplace has actively supported visual, literary and performing arts through its charity events and community presentations such as the Creative Exchange lecture series. For more information or to join the gallery’s contact list for future events, call 910-575-5999 or send an email to lassiter@sunsetrivermarketplace. com. Both Sunset River Marketplace and Rickey Godfrey maintain Facebook pages.

CD Pick: ‘Deep Fried Southern Style’ is Hot!

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on January 12, 2011

What happened? Did the South head south for the winter? The new year’s blustery entrance and record deep freeze are taking their toll on me.  I need some heat.

I’m hungry for somethin’ soulful to warm my innards and Deep Fried Southern Style, the 2010 compilation CD from Shanty’s Records more than satisfies my appetite for smokey old tunes, hot guitar licks and lip-smackin’ vocals. The 21-track disc is a tasty combination of soul-blues, R&B and shag tunes. So whether you’re fixin’ to sit back and enjoy it by yourself or invite a mess of folks over to dance and carry on, get yourself some Southern Style.

Track one is the soulful “A Love To Call Mine” by Johnnie Taylor. Penned by Paul Taylor, it’s from Taylor’s  This Is Your Night album (Malaco Records 1984), and a sweet way to open the album. Track two is another tasty morsel, this time by Oscar Toney Jr., “No More Heartaches,” from his album, Sundazed (Bob Grady Records 2001).

Track three is “Katrina Katrina,” (think “Corina Corina”) by blues piano legend Henry Gray, from his Times Are Gettin’ Hard CD (Lucky Cat Records 2009). After 50 or 60 years, you think it might start to get stale, but Henry’s as real as ever.
Next on the menu is “Memphis Women &  Chicken,” the classic from T. Graham Brown’s T. Brown Graham Live (Aspirion Records 2004). This soul-country tune was written by Gary Nicholson, Dan Penn and Donnie Fritts.

I have to confess here, that I don’t often enjoy compilation albums. I find them disjointed and without a concept.

Not this one.

Producer David Wade, who is also the owner of Shanty’s Records, has done a fine job of selecting tunes. The fledgling label, which he founded in 2010, is based

David Wade (photo Jim Allen)

on the premise of  “bringing back the songs and artists that have slipped through the cracks, or have been forgotten along the way.”

One of my favorite tunes on the disc is the soulful “Can’t Tear Myself Away” by Jamaican born singer/songwriter Ruby  Turner from her 2005 R&B release So Amazing.

Burlington, N.C.’s Holiday Band is represented with another Dan Penn tune, “I’m Your Puppet,” originally performed by James and Bobby Purify in 1966 and later  Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrill.

Two tracks from the Roadrunners are also included. Track 11 is “Let the Boogie Woogie Roll” written by Nugetre, Ahmet Ertegun and Jerry Wexler; and track 18, “Devil With a Blue Dress On,” made famous by Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels. Vocals on these two are by the late great Earl Gaines. On piano is Jay Spell, who sadly just passed away over New Year’s.

T. Graham Brown is back with his “Brilliant Conversationalist.” This is the original title track from his second album for Capitol Records (1987).
Mark Roberts & Breeze gives us “The Way You Love Me” and  a rockin’ version of the 1997 Wayne Toups tune “Love Me As Hard As You Hurt Me.” The latter is also on his Cover To Cover album (Shanty’s Records 2010).

From Rickey Godfrey comes “G-Man,”  written back in the 80s by Rickey’s brother and sister-in-law, Ronnie Godfrey and Kim Morrison (they’re also singing backup). A little trivia for you, this tune was featured for a bit on G. Gordon Liddy’s Radio America show in the late 90s.

Holly Singletary-Artis, well known throughout the Carolinas as one  of the high-energy vocalists in the now defunct Sammy O’Banion & Mardi Gras,  does a beautiful job on Carlene Carter’s “Come Here You.”

Deep Fried Southern Style is a deliciously rich music gumbo blending all my favorite ingredients – blues, R&B and soul.  I wanted to know how David Wade developed his taste in music.

A deejay since the early seventies, he tells me his first gig was with the Air Force. From there, he went to CBS radio, where he hosted the syndicated Salty Dawg Blues & Review Show.

“I have been fortunate to have been able to deejay all over the world – on military bases,  at American Embassy functions, state functions and more. I spent 21 years in the Air Force, retiring in 1989. Throughout my military career, I was able to keep playing music.

“I also owned Shanty’s Beach & Blues Club in Carolina Beach, N.C., which was nominated for a Cammy is first year of being opened. Shaggin’ Time was also nominated for Internet Radio Show of the Year the same year  – 2009.”

Additional tracks on Deep Fried Southern Style are “Swanee River Rock” written by Ray Charles and performed by Manny Lloyd of Soul Posse; “Airtight Alibi,” another Johnnie Taylor original; “Broken Hearted Melody,” by Eliza (a hit for Sarah Vaughn back in 1959); “Stop Me From Starting This Feeling” by Clinton Horton of the Magnificents; “More Love,” a Smokey Robinson tune sung superbly by Holly Singletary-Artis; “Bubba White’s” by Charleston, S.C.’s Rick Strickland from his 2008 release Island Soul; and “Actions Speak Louder Than Words” by Men of Distinction.

Closing out the CD is the bluesy “You Do Me Wrong” by DieDra from Living the Bluz (RuffPro Records 2010) . That’s her husband Keithan Ruff wailing on the guitar and playing just about everything else on the track, too. I expect you’ll savor Deep Fried Southern Style down to this last tasty bite. I sure did.

Additional album credits: sequencing Midi, Richard Robertson and Terry Nash; engineering, J.K. Loftin/Cape Fear Studios.

CD Pick: ‘Nasty Man’ by Rickey Godfrey

Posted in CD Picks by darielb on November 21, 2010

I’ve been following Rickey Godfrey’s music for quite some time now – since I first heard his soulful rendition of Dan Penn’s “Smoke Filled Room,” which is on his Once In a Lifetime Love CD (2006).  With this new recording, Rickey brings the same raw vocals to the table, but with a focus on the blues. Nasty Man (Serenity Hill 2010)is a self-produced CD and Rickey took the opportunity to showcase his considerable talents: songwriting, vocals, guitar and keyboard.

This CD is just plain fun, more fun, in fact, than it is “nasty.”  I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite tune, but there are a few that stand out for me. The opener, “I Want Me a Nasty Woman,” co-written with Richard Fleming, is classic Godfrey: sharp, edgy lyrics and gutsy vocals punctuated by masterful guitar stylings. Guitar buffs will love the ending. And, by the way, that’s Shaun Murphy from Little Feat AND Bob Seger’s Silver Bullet Band singing backup with Rickey.

“Don’t Argue In the Kitchen” is kind of jazzy, a fast-paced cautionary tale, funny as all getout. Flo and Joe go out to a club, drink a little too much, some chick starts flirting with Joe, and by the time the couple get home again, Flo is still all riled up and pops him over the head with an assortment of cooking paraphernalia. Dangerous place, that kitchen!

Rickey Godfrey at the Rusty Nail, Wilmington, N.C. Nov. 12, 2010

Johnny Jones” is a little bit of a departure. It’s full of sadness at the Oct. 2009 passing of Godfrey’s friend – and Nashville’s guitar legend – Johnny Jones.  After moving from Chicago to Nashville in the early 60s, Jones was working as a studio musician, when R&B icon Ted Jarrett took him under his wing and actually taught him how to read music. He began working at a club called the New Era Club. During this time, a young Jimi Hendrix used to sit in with him, anxious to absorb Jones’ lowdown blues sound. There was said to be a guitar face-off between the two at some point, and if you can find an old copy of The Tennessean (one of the 2003 issues), you can read about it for yourself. Not surprisingly, Rickey’s guitar solos pay homage to the guitar giant, including some of Jones’ own blues guitar licks.

“Let’s Get Busy,” track ten on Nasty Man (co-written with Doug Jones), is a sexy dance tune and it features N.Y. soul singer Angel Rissoff along with Rickey on lead vocals. Their voices are exciting and energetic. They combine with Godfrey’s keyboard and guitar solos plus an unexpected saxophone riff by former Delbert McClinton player Don Wise to deliver a tune that blows me away every time I hear it.

I’m a live music junkie, and I love that one of the resounding themes of this recording is its unrelenting energy. But, even with everything going on – gusty vocals, searing guitar, solid rhythm, flashy keyboards –the players never drown each other out.  Nasty Man is a strong Gotta Have.

Godfrey plays all guitar and keyboard parts. Other players include: drums – George Perelli (Michael McDonald, Larry Gatlin), Michael Grando and Tez Sherrard (Edwin McCain); bass Franklin Wilkie (Marshall Tucker Band), Doug Seibert; saxophone – Don Wise (Delbert McClinton); synthetic horns – Rickey Godfrey; background vocals – Shaun Murphy (Little Feat, Silver Bullet Band),  Ronnie Godfrey (Marshall Tucker Band, Virgil), Kim Morrison, Angel Rissoff (Little Isidore & the Inquisitors, Kenny Vance & the Planotones).