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JERRY LAWSON

JUST A MORTAL MAN

The ‘Jerry Lawson Legacy Project,’ an exclusive series for Blues America, explores the history of Jerry Lawson and the legendary Persuasions in chronological order as explained in a biographical commentary by Jerry and Julie Lawson with special guests.

Jerry Lawson is arguably one of the most important figures in the genre of a’cappella (singing without the use of instrumental accompaniment). For more then 40 years, Lawson was the lead singer, producer, arranger and founding member of the Persuasions, the most famous a’cappella group to date, and the only performers of their genre to earn worldwide mainstream success. Jerry Lawson and the Persuasions have undoubtedly done more to popularize a’capella then anyone else before or since. Lawson launched a solo career in 2004 soon after releasing an album with Talk of the Town and appearing on CBS's the Sing-Off. At the age of 71, he is releasing his first solo album on Nashville Red Beet Records, 'Just a Mortal Man.'

Blues America is a public radio series broadcasting weekly from the Chico Chism Studio in Phoenix and providing an outlet for Blues artists to share their stories. There's nothing like it!

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68

Show 68: Oct 21 to Oct 27, 2016

BILLY BOY ARNOLD

OCT

2016

Billy Boy Arnold is one of a handful of musicians still standing to talk about the vibrant and important Chicago blues scene of the 1950’s. He was first inspired by John Lee Sonny Boy Williamson who he considered to be the most important purveyor of modern blues harmonica. After several meetings with Sonny Boy, while only a teenager, he cut his first two sides for the cool label before meeting Ellas McDaniel. Soon after, Arnold was in the studio with McDaniel cutting the two-sided smash “Bo Diddley/I'm a Man” for Checker which forever branded McDaniel with the moniker, Bo Diddley. This session led to Arnolds own hits for Veejay Records, “I Wish You Would” and “I Ain’t Got You.” Both hits put Arnold on the map and were later covered by British rockers the Yardbirds.

MUST LISTEN

78

Show 78: JAN 13 to JAN 20, 2017

CEDRIC BURNSIDE PROJECT

JAN

2017

Cedric Burnside is a 4-time Blues Music Award Drummer of the Year who grew-up in rural Northern Mississippi, without a TV or radio, across the street from Junior Kimbrough’s Juke Joint and under the wing of his famous Grandfather, RL Burnside. After many years of touring and recording with RL Burnside, Cedric continued to keep hill country blues alive with his own endeavor, the Cedric Burnside Project featuring his lifelong friend, guitar ace Trenton Ayers. Trenton is the son of Junior Kimbrough guitarist, Little Joe Ayers. Together the dynamic duo has released a handful of critically acclaimed albums with the latest effort being Descendants of Hill Country which was nominated for a Grammy Award.    

93R

Show 93R: May 11 to May 18, 2017

HENRY GRAY

MAY

2017

This week your host, Drew Verbis is escorting Henry Gray to Memphis to receive his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. 92 year old multi Grammy-nominated blues piano master, Henry Gray, is a living legend and a national treasure whose recording career spans seven decades. Despite his vibrant solo career, he is often remembered for his significant contribution to post-war Chicago blues during his time as a session player for Chess Records and a member of the Howlin’ Wolf band. In 2016, shortly after the release of his critically acclaimed Delta Groove Records called ‘The Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest,’ Henry was awarded a lifetime achievement award in Chicago.

May 10 2017

Drew at Henry's house in Baton Rouge

May 10 2017

Drew and Henry Memphis Bound

May 10 2017

Henry finds a Piano in Memphis

May 10 2017

Henry is inducted into the Hall of Fame

94

Show 94: MAY 18 to MAY 25, 2017

PRIMER & CORRITORE

MAY

2017

John Primer and Bob Corritore are two of the top names in the blues who celebrate their sophomore studio collaboration for Delta Groove Records with “Ain’t Nothin You Can Do.” John Primer is a living legend who credits Sammy Lawhorn as a mentor and cut his teeth on the tough Chicago scene with Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Magic Slim before breaking out as a dynamic and popular solo artist. His album “Muddy Waters 100” was nominated for a Grammy award and was widely regarded as the best blues album of 2015. Bob Corritore is a well-respected producer who has emerged as one of the top sidemen in the business. His versatility on the harmonica can summon the spirit of Walter Horton or shuffle with his contemporary peers.

100

Show 100: JUL 28 to AUG 04, 2017

SUGARAY RAYFORD

JUL

2017

Standing 6’ 5” 300 pounds, Sugaray Rayford is a formidable force. Critics consider Sugaray Rayford to be one of the greatest and last blues shouters; in the same league, as: Big Mama Thornton, Jimmy Rushing, Big Joe Turner. His critically acclaimed sophomore release was on Delta Groove and featured a host of famed talent, including Kim Wilson and Kid Anderson. Rayford’s powerful voice also leads the all-star revue project, The Mannish Boys appearing on their last two albums and winning a Blues Award in 2013. He’s been nominated for numerous B.B. King entertainer of the year awards considering his hard-working tour schedule, fine body of solo work and high profile featured performances on some of the industry’s top charting albums.

110

Show 110: OCT 06 to OCT 12, 2017

TOMMY CASTRO

OCT

2017

Alligator recording artist Tommy Castro is a Westcoast blues legend who is one of the most recognizable names in the business. The 2010 BB King Entertainer of the Year harkens back to a simpler time during his San Jose roots on his latest nostalgic studio album, ‘Stompin’ Ground,’ recorded at Kid Andersens Greaseland studios. Since starting his recording career with Warner Brother’s recording artist, the Dynatones, he’s released 15 solo albums; most of which for Alligator and Blind Pig Records and built a remarkable legacy that includes winning 6 Blues Music Awards, touring with B.B. King, recording John Lee Hookers last session and working as the house band for three seasons of NBC’s comedy showcase.

113

Show 113: OCT 27 to NOV 03, 2017

ROCKIN' JOHNNY

OCT

2017

Rockin Johnny cut his teeth on the Chicago scene with the likes of Jewtown Burkes and the Taildragger. Since then he’s released 7 critically acclaimed albums, most on famed Delmark Records. Johnny led one of the most requested house bands in Chicago working with Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Willie Buck, Paul De Lay and many more, before relocating to California. He just released his second studio effort as a Californian, both recorded at the renowned Greaseland. His latest is Neoprene Fedora, a theme which represents his assimilation into Westcoast culture. The album features Kid Andersen, Aki Kumar and Alabama Mike among others and features a smashing version of Johnny Littlejohn’s ABC hit, Guitar King.

116

Show 116: NOV 17 to NOV 23, 2017

MOJO MARK CIHLAR

NOV

2017

Mojo Mark Cihlar is a Chicago native who cut his teeth performing guitar and harmonica with some of most legendary players of his day like Kansas City Red, Big Smokey Smothers, Eddie King, and Little Arthur Duncan. After 30 years on the scene, he still performs traditional Chicago blues with the great Willie Buck, the Taildragger or a combination of his own band. In 2010, he was featured on the legendary Eddie C. Campbell’s award winning Delmark studio release. In 2016, he celebrated the release of his own project, co-produced with his brother, Grant, called Chicago Blues Party.

117

Show 117: DEC 01 to DEC 07, 2017

TAIL DRAGGER

DEC

2017

When the Howlin’ Wolf gives you a name it sticks. He told Arkansas native, Crawlin’ James Yancey to stop draggin’ his tail and from that day, the Tail Dragger was born on the Chicago blues scene. He took tips from Mad Dog Lester Davenport, Lee Shot Williams and Chico Chism before becoming one of Chicago’s most formidable singers and hiring a gamut of top talents to back him including Willie Kent, Little Mack Simmons, Johnny B Moore, Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell, and Eddie Shaw. Later, he frequently molded young white players; some have moved-on to make significant contributions to the blues, like Bob Corritore and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin.

121

Show 121: DEC 29 to JAN 05, 2018

JOHN TEFTELLER

JAN

2018

John Tefteller is a world-renowned collector of rare records and 78’s but in particular, pre-war classic blues and more specifically, the Paramount blues catalog. John spends much of his time traveling around the world in search of rare records. In 2009, the New York Times featured John in a major soft news feature. In 2013, John made headline news by purchasing a Tommy Johnson 78 on eBay for $37, 100. John is often mentioned or used for source reference in music news and publications. In 2004, John began putting out a blues calendar which features rare blues advertising illustrations from the 1920’s and is accompanied by a rare classic blues CD compilation.    

123

Show 123: JAN 18 to JAN 25, 2018

SWEET PEA ATKINSON

JAN

2018

Sweet Pea Atkinson is a veteran singer who rose to fame when his Detroit-based soul funk band Was (Not Was) scored a top ten Billboard pop hit in 1989 called, ‘Walk the Dinosaur.’  Following this success, he spent the next few decades as a member of the Boneshakers and performing with the likes of Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson. In 2017, working with Keb Mo, he released his first solo studio album in 30 years, a contemporary blues-soul project called ‘Get What You Deserve’ for famed Blue Note Records.  

127

Show 127: FEB 16 to FEB 22, 2018

GEORGE BOWMAN

FEB

2018

George Bowman is a famed singer in his home state of Arizona where he is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and connected to his cities long legacy of blues and soul going back to the days of Dyke & the Blazers. After moving to Arizona from Mississippi, George befriended famed funk icon Dyke Christian and became hooked on the groove. Shortly after he formed a band, Memphis Soul and began to cut singles and opening for Charles Brown and Taj Mahal. George has recorded several full-length studio albums including ‘Badd Boy’ which featured renowned guitarist Lucius Parr. Recently George collaborated with Bob Corritore on a single for the upcoming Delta Groove Records release, ‘Don’t Let the Devil Ride.’

129

Show 129: MAR 02 to MAR 07, 2018

QUIQUE GOMEZ

MAR

2018

Quique Gómez is an international blues star from Spain. He migrated to Chicago in search of his blues hero’s and found regular work with legends like the Tail Dragger, Willie Buck, Eddie C Campbell, Bob Stroger and today’s second special guest, Rockin Johnny Burgin.  As a harmonica ace and crooner, Quique has cut over 12 records in the traditional post-war Chicago blues style.

131

Show 131: MAR 16 to MAR 22, 2018

NICK MOSS

DENNIS GRUENLING

MAR

2018

Nick Moss is a formidable Chicago blues guitarist who cut his teeth with Jimmy Dawkins, Jimmy Rogers and Willie Big Eyes Smith before cutting solo records for his own critically acclaimed Blue Bella Records. He started on bass with Barrelhouse Chuck before switching instruments. Recently, he found a natural home with Chicago’s powerhouse record label, Alligator. Releasing premiere album for the label, The High Cost of Low Living with longtime bandmate, Dennis Grueling. Dennis is a harmonica ace from New Jersey who brings commanding vocals and raw harp to the Nick Moss band.

133

Show 133: APR 1 to APR 6, 2018

BERNARD ALLISON

APR

2018

Blues guitar ace, Bernard Allison marks his return to Ruf records with “Let It Go”, another solid studio album to his already distinguished recording career. Bernard is the son of legendary blues icon, Luther Allison. Like his father, he molded his passion for blues and skills as a band leader in front of audiences in France. Today he is one of the top talents on the scene and like his father, he is leading the contemporary blues charge for the next generation of players while bearing the traditional blues torch passed down by his father.

135

Show 135: APR 13 to APR 19, 2018

CURTIS SALGADO

APR

2018

With a career spanning forty years, award-winning soul, blues and R&B star, Curtis Salgado is a one-of-a-kind talent whose music is as compelling as his story. From co-fronting The Robert Cray Band to leading his own band (and recording nine solo albums) to helping transform John Belushi into "Joliet" Jake Blues to touring the country with Steve Miller and Santana, he is a true musical giant. In 2013 he won the coveted BMA for B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year—the highest honor the blues world has to offer. His latest studio effort for Alligator records is a stripped-down traditional blues project cut with his long-time friend and guitarist, Alan Hager.

Heard on this Episode

BRAND NEW

Blues

Breezy Rodio

Make Me Blue

Sometimes the Blues

Delmark Records

2018

BLUES at

The Break

BLUES

KickOff

Willie Jackson

I'll Throw it Back

TYB Blues

Indie

2018

Mud Morganfield

Howlin Wolf

They Call Me Mudd

Severn Records

2018

137

Show 137: MAY 4 to MAY 11, 2018

MUD MORGANFIELD

MAY

2018

Mud Morganfield is the eldest son of the legendary Muddy Waters. He has never lived in the country; he was born and raised in the inner city of Chicago during the Motown era making his path into the blues much different from his famous father. When he commands the stage the similarities of his powerful vocals with that of his father is uncanny; giving blues fans a sense that the spirit of Muddy Waters is alive. In 2015, Mud earned a Blues Music Award for his album, ‘For Pops.’ Mud celebrates the release of his critically acclaimed fourth studio effort, ‘They Call Me Mud’ on Severn records.

BLUES

Soundbite

Muddy Waters

Interview

1971

WAYWAY

Back Blues

Tampa Red

It Hurts Me Too

B-8635-B

Bluebird Records

1940

 
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