Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout: Jimmy Reed Tribute
Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout: Jimmy Reed Tribute - Featuring Kim Wilson, Kenny Neal, Lazy Lester, Little Charlie Baty, Rick Estrin & Joe Louis Walker
January 12, 2013
$25 / $30
$25 / $30
This year's event will be a Tribute to iconic blues trendsetter James Mathis Reed (known to the world as Jimmy Reed). Born in Dunlieth, MS and raised in Leland, MS, Jimmy became childhood friends with guitarist Eddie Taylor, who taught Jimmy the rudiments of blues guitar. Jimmy picked up the harmonica by listening to Sonny Boy Williamson's King Biscuit Time on the radio, broadcast out of nearby Helena, AR. When Taylor moved to Chicago in the early fifties, Reed followed suit to Gary, IN and the two reconnected, starting a band with John & Grace Brim. When Jimmy accompanied Eddie on some sides for Vee Jay Records, the label owners heard something they liked out of Reed instead of Taylor and immediately signed Jimmy to a contract.
Reed and Taylor with Earl Phillips on drums became a hit making machine and churned out several chart busters. These songs remained on the charts for up to 98 weeks and reached number three through twelve spots on R & B and Pop charts in fifties through early sixties. Reed was one of the only blues men to have a rock and roll audience when Chuck Berry,Elvis and Little Richard ruled the airwaves.
Unfortunately, Reed never caught on in the sixties UK blues boom as much as Muddy Waters,John Lee Hooker and BB King, though the Rolling Stones covered many of his songs on early LPs and copped the perfect Jimmy Reed feel on their own"SPIDER AND THE FLY". The Yardbirds,Van Morrison, The Grateful Dead, Etta James, Elvis Presley, Bill Cosby,Steve Miller and Niel Young have all recorded numerous covers of Reed hits.Jimmy Vaughn and Omar Dykes recorded Jimmy Reed Highway a couple years back to great acclaim.Artists like ZZ Top, Delbert McClinton(who backed up Reed as a teen), Johnny Winter( who recorded with Reed)and The Fabulous Thunderbirds regularly site Reed's music as shaping their sound. Reed performed his last shows in SF,CA at Savoy Tivoli and died at age fifty on Aug. 29,1976 in a hotel in Oakland,CA.of respiratory failure as a result of epilepsy, a week shy of his fifty-first birthday. "BIG BOSS MAN" and "BRIGHT LIGHTS, BIG CITY" were both voted into Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll
THESE ARE ALL MUSICIANS WHOSE STYLES ARE SHAPED BY JIMMY'S MUSIC:
LAZY LESTER- at 79 years young(not a stretch) is the last of the Louisiana Swamp blues masters. Lester was born Leslie Johnson in Torras,LA in June,30, 1933 and learned music as a youngster. Hearing Jimmy Reed became his calling to blues Lester begin playing in bands on guitar,drums and harmonica, hiring a young Buddy Guy, recording with Johnny Winter in early sixties, but mainly hooking up with Lightnin Slim in Crowley,LA and recording many classic sides for Jay Miller at Excello Records. These recordings have gone on to become classics in many genres, though they're considered blues, songs like "SUGAR COATED LOVE","I HEAR YOU KNOCKIN", "I"M A LOVER NOT A FIGHTER","SAME THING COULD HAPPEN TO YOU","IF YOU THINK I LOST YOU","SAD SAD CITY" and "PONDEROSA STOMP"(that the famed New Orleans event is named after). Acts like Fabulous Thunderbirds,Johnny Winter, Lou Ann Barton, Freddy Fender, The Kinks, Dwight Yoakam and countless blues bands recorded Lazy's songs. He's the last of the great Swamp Blues kings like his contemporaries Slim Harpo,Lightnin Slim, Katie Webster, Tabby Thomas, Lonesome Sundown, Jimmy Anderson( probably the greatest Jimmy Reed mimic of all) and Guitar Gable. Lester also recorded with every artist on this list. Lester's still got it!
KIM WILSON-is thought by many aspiring harp players to be the greatest harmonica man his generation. Wilson is also one of the great singers in blues and R & B.Kim moved from Santa Barbara and joined guitarist Jimmy Vaughn's Fabulous Thunderbirds in Austin ,TX in 1974 and proceeded to make history, becoming a powerful one-two punch in the blues scene. The T-Birds became the house band at the legendary Antones' Home Of The Blues nightclub and backed or opened for acts such as Muddy Waters(who called Kim the next Little Walter), Jimmy Reed & Eddie Taylor, James Cotton, Otis Rush, Buddy Guy & Jr. Wells, Albert King, Albert Collins and more then can fill this page. They signed with CBS and put out a hit album and title track"TOUGH ENUFF" that ruled the airwaves and MTV thru much of the eighties. KIm and Jimmy struck more gold with "WRAP IT UP" off the same LP. This was at a time when Jimmy's little brother Stevie Ray Vaughn was skyrocketing to fame and blues rock was played on FM radio on a regular rotation. Eventually Jimmy left the band and Kim maintained the T-Birds as a viable drawing act on the circuit. Kim organized the music, along with Steve Jordan , for the film "Cadillac Records", about Chess Records. This soundtrack was nominated for a Grammy. The T-Birds were one of the earlier contemporary blues bands to infuse the Jimmy Reed sound as their musical bedrock("SHE"S TOUGH"."YOU"RE HUMBUGGIN ME")
JOE LOUIS WALKER-hails from SF,CA where he heard blues as a teen, soaking up T Bone Walker,Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, BB King, Pete Johnson and Albert Ammons and others. Soon ,guitar in hand he was jamming with John Lee,Jimi Hendrix, Earl Hooker, his good friend Micheal Bloomfield, the Soul Stirrers, Thelonious Monk, Otis Rush, John Mayall, Steve Miller and Charlie Musselwhite. After his buddy Bloomfield's death in the mid-seventies, Walker was scared away by the dangerous worlds of drugs he found himself inhabiting. Joe went back to college and didn't re-emerge back into the blues world till his Hightone record release "COLD IS THE NIGHT". There's been no stopping Joe on his uphill trajectory ever since.Walker has since played most major blues & jazz festivals all over the globe. JLW has played the Kennedy Center Honors twice, the Bush Inauguration in 2000. On his GREAT GUITARS cd he featured Bonnie Raitt, Buddy Guy, Taj Mahal, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Otis Rush, Scotty Moore, Robert Lockwood, Jr., Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Steve Cropper, Tower Of Power, and Ike Turner as guests. Joe has recorded as a guest on James Cotton's Grammy winning DEEP IN THE BLUES CD, Branford Marsallis , Otis Grand, Little Charlie & the Nightcats and Tower Of Power Horns. Joe has recorded for Polygram,Verve,Telarc,Hightone and his newest, "HELLFIRE" on Alligator. Walker can also play racked harp while playing guitar and perform Jimmy Reed numbers on his regular performances.
RICK ESTRIN & LITTLE CHARLIE BATY-guitarist and harmonica player Charles Baty[was attending University of California Berkeley and studying mathematics when he formed Little Charlie & the Nightcats with harpist and vocalist Rick Estrin in 1976. SF native Estrin was first turned onto blues through his older sister's Jimmy Reed records but before long Rick found Little Walter/Muddy Waters sound and saw his future in music.The band's music relied chiefly on electric urban blues of the Chicago variety, but mixed in with other compatible styles, including early rock and roll, soul, surf music, swing, jump blues, and western swing.The Nightcats issued their debut album, All the Way Crazy, in 1987, including the songs "Poor Tarzan", "Suicide Blues" and "When Girls Do It". The following album Disturbing the Peace (1988), included "That's My Girl", "My Money's Green", "She's Talking" and "Nervous". The records help established them on the blues festival and club circuits, and they began touring the country extensively, playing a number of international venues. They have played at the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1980 and 1982, the Montreal International Jazz Festival, the San Diego, California Street Scene and Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival plus the Juneau Jazz & Classics Festival in 2002.Their 1993 album, Night Vision was produced and played on by Joe Louis Walker. It featured "My Next Ex-Wife," a witty blues-rocker that won Estrin a W.C. Handy Award for 'Song of the Year', highlighting his steadily growing reputation for songwriting prowess.
In early 2008, Baty announced he was entering "soft" retirement. Baty performs with Mark Hummel on many of his Harp Blowouts, Blues Survivors gigs and special projects like Golden State Lone Star Revue with guitarist Anson Funderburgh.. Estrin continued with the band re-billed as Rick Estrin & the Nightcats. Baty was replaced on guitar by Chris 'Kid' Andersen (born 1980), originally from Telemark, Norway. Andersen had played backing Charlie Musselwhite as well as fronting his own band.
MARK HUMMEL-has just finished his blues memoir "Big Road Blues:12 Bars On I-80" on MountainTop Press."This book ought to be required reading for ANY aspiring blues musician. Hummel's been on the road since 1984 and released 18 albums and CDs since starting out. His latest is a BACK PORCH MUSIC, an all acoustic cd. Hummel has recorded for Flying Fish,Tone Cool and ElectroFi Record(his current) labels since the early 90s. Mark's been nominated for three years in a row for Best Harmonica by the BMA Awards. Hummel's has been performing and producing the BLUES HARMONICA BLOWOUTS in CA. since 1991 and has performed with these multi artists events with the top players in the genre all across the planet. Hummel worked with Jimmy Reed mainstay guitarist Eddie Taylor in 1982 and saw and met Jimmy Reed two night before Jimmy's demise in 1976. Hummel says the first blues he heard was Reed's HONEST I DO when he heard it on the radio as a nine year old in Los Angeles.
"Mark Hummel came of age in the early 70s, at the height of rock and roll,like many of his peers went and bought a harmonica and hasn't stopped playing since. A specialist in West Coast Blues he's a seasoned showman who knows more than a thing or two about how to please an audience." says THE NEW YORKER
RON THOMPSON-grew up in SF Bay Area and learned firsthand from the blues masters he accompanied and recorded behind. Such legends and icons as KC Douglas,LIttle Joe Blue, John Lee Hooker, JIMMY REED, Big Mama Thornton, Lowell Fulson, Jimmy Rogers, Roy Brown, Luther Tucker, Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton, Paul Butterfield, Snooky Pryor and many more. Ron plays guitar,piano,harmonica(in a rack like he learned from Reed). In 1980 Ron formed his own trio 'Ron Thompson and the Resistors" who continue to perform to this day. In the early eighties they won many prestigious Bammie Awards and drew lines around the block wherever they performed. Ron has also been a long standing member of Fleetwood Mac drummer Mick Fleetwood's offshoot bands and has recorded several albums with Mick over the years. The Blaster's copied Ron's arrangement of "I'M SHAKIN"(though it's originally a Little Willie John song). Thompson plays some of the wickedest slide this side of Elmore James, as well as singing the blues like a man possessed. Ron's Jimmy Reed influenced harp, guitar and vocal delivery is a must on this Blowout!
Rounding out the GOLDEN STATE-LONE STAR Revue are RW GRIGSBY on bass & famed Texas drummer WES STARR(Anson And The Rockets). Between these two old Rome,GA cronies, they've played with a who's who of famed musicians-Omar & the Howlers,Jr. Brown,Jimmy Vaughn,Asleep At The Wheel,Gary Primich,Mike Morgan & the Crawl,Carlene Carter,Hal Ketchum,Earl King,James Cotton,Kim Wilson and many more.Wes also recorded on JIMMY REED HIGHWAY, a tribute CD Omar and Jimmy Vaughn made for Reed's contribution to popular music.