By Ken Wallis, Blues & Roots Radio
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Crack Open a Blues Book
“Nowadays…the mighty river of the blues uncoils in the ear of the planet”
-Alan Lomax, The Land Where the Blues Began
And so begins a book called The Language of the Blues, from Alcorub to Zuzu written by Debra DeSalvo. It’s a delightful book that you might think is simply an encyclopedia of blues terms and their meanings but instead it’s a read that takes you to the real origins and definitions of a host of blues terms, from A to Z (by the way, that’s Zed in Canada, not Zee).
Even though the terms are listed in alphabetic order, this is not a blues dictionary. It’s crammed with lyrics, bios of blues greats and what they meant when they sang some of the most famous songs in the blues world. Debra DeSalvo poured over historical documents and interviewed such blues legends as Jimmie Vaughan, Robben Ford, Bonnie Raitt, Bob Margolin and Hubert Sumlin to put together a fun-filled ride through the double-meaning words used in blues tunes. There are photos of the blues legends and the book kicks off with a foreword by Dr. John.
It's a straight forward revelation of terms that are a lot lewder than one might think. It sure is an eye-opener as you romp through the blues alphabet but you’re guaranteed to come out knowing a lot more about the blues than you did before you read this book. It was originally published in 2006 by Billboard Books and is still available on Amazon.
The Maple Blues Awards
The Toronto Blues Society presents the Maple Blues Awards and the countdown has just begun. The MBAs as they’re affectionately called, promote blues music and salute achievements in the blues industry. All awards, excluding instrumental categories, are voted upon by blues fans across Canada with online voting taking place in November. Anyone can sign up and vote for their blues favourites.
The nominees are selected by a distinguished panel of approximately 50 blues experts form across Canada who form the MBA Nominating Panel, and I’m proud to say I’m one of them. Initial nominations are now taking place and the list of nominations will be revealed shortly so voting can start in November. We’ll post the list when it’s available..
This year’s MBAs will take place Monday, January 15th, 2018, at Koerner Hall in Toronto and it’s gonna be quite the celebration as its the 20th Annual edition. It’s your opportunity to rub elbows with Canada’s blues greats as the award show features on stage performances from numerous blues artists. And if that doesn’t sate your plate, hang in after the show for the annual blues jam which rocks Koerner Hall until the wee hours.
For more information go to http://torontobluessociety.com/about-maple-blues-awards/
Western Canadian Blues Awards
I’d really like to send a shout-out to Winnipeg Blues artist Big Dave McLean who was selected as the Blues Artist of the Year at this year’s Western Canadian Music Awards in Edmonton.
Big Dave has been a favourite of mine for years.
His raspy voice and clever lyrics have kept me listening to every cd he releases. One of his CDs has the light-hearted title Faded But Not Gone and his covers of Going to New York and Dust My Broom on the cd For the Blues Always, still leave me breathless. He takes ole fashioned blues and shapes it into a modern-day must-listen-to.
His latest cd, "The Devil You Know" is a masterpiece.
When Big Dave takes the mic, you’re gonna pay attention.
The other nominees were Harpdog Brown, James Buddy Rogers, Kenny 'Blues Boss" Wayne, Ryan McNally and Steve Kozak Band.
Recent Blues Happenings
And it sure was a happening as Blues Source attended the new season of The Mighty Duck Blues Band. It was a rollicking affair with the band featuring Gary Kendall, Dave Curry, Canada Dave Torosian and Jim Casson.
The featured guest was Jack de Keyzer who put on guitar clinic of the blues at the Bar Upstairs in St. Catharines.
Don’t forget both Jack and the Mighty Duck Blues Band have released new CDs! Jack talks about his new cd, the Best of Jack de Keyzer, Volume 1 on Blues Blast airing Tuesday 4-6 Oct 10 on 101.5 The Hawk Fm and also on Thursday 8-10 on Blues And Roots Radio Essential.
For October, the Duck Band continues Saturday afternoon blues with
Lance Anderson, Jake Chisholm, Dylan Wickens and Paul James as special guests.
Jack de Keyzer has two special upcoming shows – one in Hamilton and one in Brantford
More Blues Music
More blues music breaks out in St. Catharines at Monty’s Gastropub on Ontario Street with Blues Etc and special guests. The October line up features Shawn Kellerman, Raoul Bheneja & Darren Gallen, Mark Stafford & Darren Poole, and then it’s Sean Pinchin.
Here’s a look at the entire Fall season
Jake Chisholm and the Skyliners appear every Monday night at the Skyliner at 1426 Queen West, Toronto …
And Sunday afternoons in Toronto present Blues at the Goose in the Blue Goose Tavern with Big Groove featuring Gary Kendall and Mike Fitzpatrick of Downchild and a line up of special guests.
And whatever you do, don’t miss out on one the last great blues festivals of the year, the Canal Bank Shuffle in Thorold, taking place Thursday October 12th through Sunday October 15th.
The lineup promises to be one of the best ever as the Shuffle celebrates its 16th year.
And finally… the Matt Weidinger Trio appears in Ancaster at the Coach and Lantern on Thursday October 19th.
We’ll be back next week with another blues blog. Who knows what me might cover? Whatever you do, keep your ears pinned to Blues and Roots Radio. You might as well listen to the best online station!