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Mark Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout
Jan 04-Jan 6, 2013
A star-studded tribute to legendary bluesman Jimmy Reed
Friday, January 4
8pm $30 & 10pm $20
Saturday, January 5
8pm $30 & 10pm $30
Sunday, January 6
6pm $30 & 8pm $20
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 and 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.
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.
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” and “You’re Buggin’ Me”)
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!
JOE LOUIS WALKER
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.