Shemekia Copeland performing “Dirty Water” live at Buddy Guy’s Legends in Chicago. Shemekia Copeland is the daughter of the late Texas bluesman, Johnny Copeland. She’s been officially called the new “Queen of the Blues” by none other than Koko Taylor’s daughter, Cookie Taylor! Shemekia has released a new album, “33/13.” I’ve seen Shemekia Copeland perform 3 times so far – she always puts on a great show! I also saw her dad, Johnny Copeland a couple times and he was terrific too! I’ll be featuring something from him sometime down the line.
Today, I’m featuring the “Queen of the Blues,” the late, great Koko Taylor. I got to see her 3 times and she was the best! Of course, I had to pick a version of her signature tune, “Wang Dang Doodle.” I picked this version because Koko also gives a little history. “Wang Dang Doodle” was written for Koko Taylor by Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy plays guitar on the original recording! Both of them join Koko on this performance. Buddy Guy’s solo in the middle is vintage Buddy!
Stephen “Ragga” Marley played a sold out show Saturday night at the Barrymore Theatre in Madison WI. I’m glad I was ushering because there were no tickets to be had anywhere! Stephen’s son, Jo Mersa opened along with Wayne Marshall. Both are talented artists in their own right. Jo Mersa brings more of an urban flavor and style to traditional reggae. Stephen Marley is now an accomplished, experienced performer who knows how to play to a crowd. His set included tracks from his new release, “Revelation Pt. 2 – The Fruit of Life” as well as hits like “No Cigarette Smoking (In My Room)” and also a handful of his father, Bob Marley’s best known songs. It was a fun 3 hour show and a great contact high up in the balcony!
melaniejane performing the Beatles’ “Come Together.” melaniejane is an amazingly talented musician and singer who is often under-appreciated. As a solo artist, she’s appeared with or opened for many noted artists such as Sammy Llanas, Victor DeLorenzo and Alejandro Escovedo. She also plays electric cello, percussion, keyboard, accordion and background vocals as “partner-in-crime” with pat mAcdonald in the power duo, PurgAtory Hill. melaniejane also plays a huge role at the Holiday Music Motel in Sturgeon Bay WI which has become an important artistic hub. This is very cool. Hope you like it.
Freddie King in a live performance of “Goin’ Down.” Today, I’m featuring the song as much as the artist. A lot of people think of Jeff Beck when they hear “Goin’ Down.” It was actually written by Leon Russell and Don Nix and recorded by Freddie King when he was with Russell’s label. Freddie King is one of the “Three Kings” along with BB and Albert. He played with several of Muddy Waters’ sidemen and other Chicago Blues mainstays including Jimmy Rogers, Hound Dog Taylor, Willie Dixon, Memphis Slim and Little Walter. Freddie King was also an influence on many guitarists from Eric Clapton to Stevie Ray Vaughan and his brother Jimmy Vaughan, as well as Luther Allison and his son Bernard Allison.
Johnny Clegg performing “Cruel, Crazy, Beautiful World.” Johnny Clegg played the Barrymore Theatre in Madison WI last Saturday night. Also known as “The White Zulu,” he is an important figure in South African popular music history, with songs that mix Zulu with English lyrics and African with various Western music styles. I got to meet Johnny after the show and had a Jamison with him. He’s a very cool guy and one of the most interesting people you’ll ever talk with! This video gives a taste of the positive vibe of Johnny Clegg’s music and the energy he brings to his shows.
Sky Road Fly’s video for “Sirens Of The City.” Sky Road Fly played a Musicians For WORT benefit last night at the Crystal Corner Bar in Madison WI. Nice crowd and a great show! I was at Sky Road Fly’s first show back in 2011. Dustin is the bass player and I was dating his mom at the time. I don’t see his mom anymore but I’m still friends with Dustin and promised I’d get Sky Road Fly up on Madison Area Blues & More. This song was nominated for Madison Area Music Awards “Alternative Song of the Year” in 2013. For more Sky Road Fly, check out their YouTube channel.