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Blues Stories

89 stories found. Showing page 1 of 3.

Time's still on her side: Irma Thomas brings the soul to this year's Jazz Festival

By Bill Holdship

Published: 9/2/2009

Types: Music, Blues

Editor's note: This is the complete transcript of an interview that appeared in the paper edition of Metro Times in an abridged form. Unlike a lot of musical royalty, Irma Thomas never called herself the "Soul Queen of New Orleans." That title was given to her by the citizens of one of th...[MORE]

Agent double-o-soul : Melvin Davis put soul music on hold for a dependable post office gig. Then Europe discovered him.

By Michael Hurtt

Published: 8/12/2009

Types: Music, Blues

The song, pressed on the local Wheel City label, is one of the most obscure in the history of recorded Detroit soul music. Yet when the band breaks into its intro, the packed house of testifying dancers erupts, and when Melvin Davis sings that first line, they're right there with him. They know ever...[MORE]

When Joe Henry met Mose Allison: The former Detroiter is coaxing a legend back to the studio

By W. Kim Heron

Published: 7/22/2009

Types: Music, Blues

"Well, a young man, he ain't got nothing in the world these days." Or so a young man named Mose Allison sang in his backcountry half-sung, half-spoken twang in a New York studio in 1957, inaugurating a singular recording career. The song, then just "Blue Blues," on an album that ...[MORE]

Etta James vs. Sasha Fierce: Who's the tougher diva?: 'At Last,' in honor of Etta’s D-town performance, the ultimate diva catfight. It's claws for concern!

By Serene Dominic

Published: 4/29/2009

Types: Music, Blues

Awwww! We're a nation of apologists all right, saying exactly what's on our minds one minute and then furiously backpedaling the next because someone's feelings got hurt. Foobah! Etta James still has every right to be pissed, getting passed over to perform her signature song, "At Last," at Pre...[MORE]

Mr. Excitement: Meet Detroiter Bobby Murray, a guitar hero you've never heard of

By Don Waller

Published: 4/29/2009

Types: Music, Blues

"When I was a kid, we moved about every three years, so it kind of prepared me for the life of a touring musician."So says Bobby Murray, who finally settled down — at least in a sense — in Detroit more than a decade ago, although he's not as well-known as many other prominent local...[MORE]

New Year Blues

By Vic Doucette

Published: 12/31/2008

Types: Music, Blues

A sure sign of the calendar's fresh start is the 15th annual Anti-Freeze Blues Festival, always held the first weekend of January at the Magic Bag in Ferndale. This year's lineup promises two great shows to help bring in 2009. Friday's big draw is the Siegel-Schwall Band of Chicago, which has c...[MORE]

Captured for life: A Detroit narrative in photos by a true Motor City original

By Bill Holdship

Published: 10/1/2008

Types: Music, Blues

Every picture tells a story," some dude sang ages ago. That's certainly the case with Little Sonny Willis, the "new king of the blues harmonica" and one of Detroit's most unsung musical legends, who's documented damn near every facet of his life with photographs while, by association, also documenti...[MORE]

Daddy Plays Old-Time New Orleans Jazz: Chapter 1: Things Daddy told me

By Larry Gabriel

Published: 8/27/2008

Types: Music, Blues

CHAPTER 1 All Gabriels know who they are and where they came from; they know Gabriel tradition and they are proud of the Gabriel name. We are teaching our children about who we are and where we came from so that they can be a part of the tradition and can keep the ball rolling. —Anth...[MORE]

Are you experienced?: Will Motor City guitar hero and blues scholar Cetan Clawson revive the power trio concept for a new generation?

By Bill Holdship

Published: 4/30/2008

Types: Music, Blues

Cetan Clawson has an incredibly positive and powerful energy in person.The just-turned-20-year-old musician, who made his live debut in the sixth grade, has made a name for himself locally in the last two years by gigging constantly and displaying a guitar virtuosity and an onstage showmanship...[MORE]

Buckets of melody : Jewels and Binoculars are steeped in jazz — and Dylan

By W. Kim Heron

Published: 4/16/2008

Types: Music, Blues

There's been a major movement in jazz to mine the pop of the '60s and later for new songs to play alongside such standard fare as "All the Things You Are" and "Take the A Train." And there's been a minor movement to dig into old-as-the-hills tunes, from Robert Johnson's blues to ...[MORE]

Down on the corner: Blues hounds, soul shouters and rock ’n’ rollers entertain folks under the blue-grey Detroit sky

By Michael Hurtt

Published: 9/26/2007

Types: Music, Blues

With its overgrown weeds, bushes and trees, the corner of St. Aubin and Frederick in Detroit could be rural Mississippi. Particularly on a Sunday evening when raw blues and billowing barbeque smoke from the grills of John's Carpet House fills the air. "Do y'all have a bass player with you?" ask...[MORE]

Jeffrey Morgan’s Media Blackout

By Jeffrey Morgan

Published: 1/17/2007

Types: Music, Blues

Although many an obit opined how James Brown got his second wind after he appeared in The Blues Brothers, few — if any — mentioned just how marginalized his mainstream career had actually become by that point. Building on the heady heights of the ’60s, Soul Brother No. 1 released a steady stream of...[MORE]

Pagliacci in the hood

By W. Kim Heron

Published: 1/10/2007

Types: Music, Blues

Metro Times: We keep looking at Motown from different perspectives. There’s the "Berry Gordy’s production line" angle. The "ambitious stars" angle. The "background musicians" angle. Now your book is putting the focus on the lyrics. Herb Jordan: When I spoke with Smokey...[MORE]

Motor City Cribs: Detroit soul artists Dwele’s Southfield dwelling

By Doug Coombe

Published: 10/18/2006

Types: Music, Blues

Detroit soul singing booty-magnet and Virgin recording artist Dwele had just been handed the keys to his killer new split-level ranch in Southfield when he had to hit the road to support saxophonist Boney James on a promo tour (Dwele appears on James’ new album). He returned home a couple of w...[MORE]

The great pretender: Welcome to Justin Timberlake’s soul-free simulacrum of everything good about ’80s R&B

By Bret McCabe

Published: 10/18/2006

Types: Music, Blues

To any one of the many people who bought Justin Timberlake’s FutureSex/LoveSounds (Jive) in the last month: Sorry. Not because you did — please, spend your money any way you see fit — but because nobody adequately warned you about one song on it, and some of the young and feckle...[MORE]

Motor City Cribs: Way-out wah-wah man Dennis Coffey comes home

By Doug Coombe

Published: 10/11/2006

Types: Music, Blues

Legendary session guitarist Dennis Coffey has probably spent more time playing in Detroit studios and clubs than you’ve spent sleeping. During his heyday in the late ’60s and early ’70s, Dennis would play as many as 18 sessions a week and do a few live gigs on top of that. His tripped-out wah-wah gu...[MORE]

Motor City Cribs: Nathaniel Mayer’s east side roost

By Doug Coombe

Published: 9/6/2006

Types: Music, Blues

Briny R&B song-and-dance man Nathaniel Mayer scaled the pop charts in 1962 — as an 18-year-old — with “Village of Love,” a single on Detroit’s now-celebrated Fortune Records. That same year, Nathaniel’s parents purchased this home on the D’s east side, a...[MORE]

Warm-up bands

By Metro Times staff

Published: 1/25/2006

Types: Music, Blues

This week, the city of Ferndale becomes a haven for pentatonic scales and hot licks. It's the annual Ferndale Blues Festival, and it's a Detroit blues bacchanalia. But rather than flapping our gums, we figured we'd direct your attention to the truly important information: Who's playin'? Friday...[MORE]

Burnin’ the blues: Mike Boulan got inspired, then he got a label

By Keith A. Owens

Published: 12/28/2005

Types: Music, Blues

The infatuation started about 25 years ago when an insistent friend promised, “You’re really going to like this, trust me.” And even though Mike Boulan thought blues “was about some old guy sitting on a porch,” he let himself be dragged to the Royal Oak Music Theatre w...[MORE]

Digging the roots

By Monica Price

Published: 12/14/2005

Types: Music, Blues

While many Detroit area musicians continue to wax poetic about the ’60s, Nick Schillace rhapsodizes about the songs of an older, darker decade. When asked about his influences, the 35-year-old guitarist, teacher and musicologist name-checks Depression-era country, blues and folk artists li...[MORE]

Top of the pops: Renaldo ‘Obie’ Benson had the world dancing, and then he shook it with ‘What’s Going On’

By Don Waller

Published: 11/9/2005

Types: Music, Blues

“I Can’t Help Myself.” “Reach Out I’ll Be There.” “Standing In the Shadows of Love.” “Bernadette.” “Ask the Lonely.” “Baby I Need Your Loving.” “Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever.” “Ain’t No Woman (Like the...[MORE]

The morning after: Jill Jack has played every bar in this damn town, so why should we care?

By Luke Allen Hackney

Published: 10/12/2005

Types: Music, Blues

“You come to realize that you don’t need a lot materialistically when you’re doing what you love,” Jill Jack says, on a beautiful fall afternoon. She’s seated on the front porch of her cozy blue house — the one with the cozy picket fence just off the highway in th...[MORE]

Back in blue: Detroit blues divas discography of what’s currently available

By Michael Murphy

Published: 8/17/2005

Types: Music, Blues

Alberta Adams I’m On The Move — Eastlawn — 2003 Live AA — Eastlawn — 2002 Say Baby Say — Cannonball — 2000 Uncut Detroit II (compilation) — Venture — 2000 Born With the Blues — Cannonball — 1999 T.J. Fowler and his Rockin’ Jump Band (featuring Calvin Frazier) — Savoy Jazz — 1999 Women Bl...[MORE]

Ladies sing the blues: Detroit monarch Alberta Adams and four contemporaries talk ageism, sex and survival in music

By Michael Murphy

Published: 8/17/2005

Types: Music, Blues

It’s a hot, wet July afternoon at Nancy Whiskey’s, and a rich and soulful voice is bouncing off the tin ceiling inside the century-old Corktown bar. Heady blues-belter Lady T is offering up a gut-driven version of “Happy Birthday.” When she adds the “how old are you?...[MORE]

Feel the heat

By Scott Harrison

Published: 7/27/2005

Types: Music, Blues

It’s the 10th anniversary of Heatstock, one of summer’s most anticipated outdoor music events. The annual two-day offering of blues, booze and barbecue has kept the masses coming, and this year will be headlined by blues, rock and soul man extraordinaire, Larry McCray. The festival...[MORE]

Travelin’ shoes: Without this Hubert Sumlin guy, where would Keith Richards or Jimmy Page be? Huh?

By Brian J. Bowe

Published: 6/15/2005

Types: Music, Blues

Longtime Howlin' Wolf collaborator Hubert Sumlin still plays the low-down, dirty blues. But these days, he feels good. "I'm feeling fine. I'm ready to go to work, you know," Sumlin says by phone from his Milwaukee home. "I think this summer's going to be a pretty busy period for me now." And tha...[MORE]

Street hustle: Robert Bradley: From DIY to the majors and happily back again

By Cole Haddon

Published: 6/8/2005

Types: Music, Blues

Born blind, Robert Bradley has lived in music since he was a kid. Not lived with, but in it. The rhythm of the world around him beat in time with his heart, carrying him from his childhood home in Alabama, where he first discovered Elvis and Chuck Berry, to Detroit in 1966, just as race and war iss...[MORE]

Workin’ the Car Wash: With a sizzling new disc on a high-profile label, the Howling Diablos are no longer the Rodney Dangerfields of Detroit

By Brian J. Bowe

Published: 4/13/2005

Types: Music, Blues

Motor City bloozoids the Howling Diablos are such stalwarts of the Motor City music scene that it’s almost easy to take them for granted. Sure, they’ve won armloads of trophies at the Detroit Music Awards and helped give li’l Bobby Ritchie his start. But they’ve been around so long, and have been ...[MORE]

Kirkland’s blues & dues: He left Detroit, but he always looks back

By Michael Murphy

Published: 12/8/2004

Types: Music, Blues

Eddie Kirkland is a roadrunner, baby. The 81-year-old blues man lives much of his life behind the wheel, crisscrossing the nation in a 1978 Ford Country Squire station wagon he affectionately addresses as Bodingle. With his guitars, amp and portable P.A. riding in a roof compartment, he’s one of t...[MORE]

Hard time: The Soledad Brothers’ upward trajectory is back on course, though Johnny Walker lives in a van

By Eric Waggoner

Published: 10/27/2004

Types: Music, Blues

White blues fans — which is to say white fans of blues music — come in a vast array of ideological shades. Hardcore purists, the “appreciation society” dudes, curl their lips in a patronizing sneer if it doesn’t sound like Blind Willie McTell. The upwardly mobile soccer-dad types keep the 10-disc ...[MORE]

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