August 2011

The dog days are here. As I write this the humidity is nearing 80% and the temps are gonna’ be soaring. I hope it cools off some by the time this gets published. It wasn’t long ago I was wishin' it would warm up a bit. From frigid to par boiling in no time flat.

Blues on the Chippewa is right around the corner, August 6 & 7. The FOURTH Annual celebration of good times and great tunes in Durand’s Memorial Park will be featuring 15 bands on the stage and another entertaining at the Arts & Crafts fair on Saturday morning. There’s free admission, free camping, concessions on the grounds and a joyful noise will fill the air for two solid days & nights. Add to that a Classic Car & Motorcycle show and all they are requesting is a free-will donation to benefit the Pepin County Food Pantry.

Tuesday Night Blues in Eau Claire will be swingin’ in to its final month of the summer with the first ever show outside Owen Park’s Sarge Boyd Bandshell. Due to a “scheduling” conflict with another group, August 2 will see us move to Phoenix Park on the other side of the river for one night. Featuring Pete Neuman & The Real Deal we’ll be rockin' to some great stuff from this excellent power trio. Their influences include: Rory Gallagher, Son Seals, the Jimi Hendrix Experience, Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Tab Benoit, Chris Duarte and even Bob Marley. Pete says, “Luther Allison might have said it best, ‘Leave your ego, play the music, love the people.’” If you like your music with a blues backbone - sit back, buckle up and enjoy the ride. No phoney baloney gimmicks here, just genuine and honest music from the Real Deal.

Back to Owen Park for the rest of the month TNB will be presenting Aug. 9 The Love Buzzards, Aug. 16 will be The Sue Orfield Band, followed on Aug. 23 with another power trio Ross William Perry and his band.

For the grand finale of our 3 season of Tuesday Night Blues we will be bringing you the band voted Best Of The Valley thee years running, Mojo Lemon. So be sure to make it to TNB. Amazing how fast summer goes by in our neck of the woods.

So today’s history lesson is about one of the most influential blues men of the 50’s. While not known as much for his singing, though he recorded plenty, you can’t have listened to the radio for the last 50 years without hearing some of his tunes. One of the first albums I bought when I got home in ’69 was Johnny Winters self titled, his first and I still think his best, but playing bass on that album was a man named Willy Dixon. The first I had ever heard of a man who became a musical hero to me. Here’s a little about him:

He is the Blues . . . and was certainly the single most important presence on the postwar Chicago scene. What distinguished Willie Dixon from most other Delta blues men of his day was his ability to read, write, compose, and arrange music -- talents that were to destine him for legendary status among the blues makers. Dixon was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, in 1915 and was influenced as a child by his mother -- a writer of religious poetry -- and the local gospel scene. But it was boxing, not music, that brought Dixon to Chicago in 1936. He was an upstart professional fighter who for a time sparred with the great Joe Louis. Dixon played upright bass with several Chicago bands through 1948, when he signed with Chess Records, working primarily as a songwriter, but also as a studio musician, producer, and talent scout.

Except for a brief time with Cobra Records in the late 1950's, Dixon remained with Chess through the 1960's, where he contributed such blues standards as Hoochie Coochie Man, I Just Want To Make Love To You, Evil, Spoonful, I Ain't Superstitious, Little Red Rooster, Back Door Man, I Can't Quit You Baby, You Shook Me, The Seventh Son, and Wang Dang Doodle. Dixon died in Burbank, California, in 1992.

In that short list of songs, many recordings and big hits were made by the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and The Doors, just to name a few. Blues men from Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf to The Allman Brothers and Eric Clapton have recorded his tunes. Check him out!

Thanks for lending me an ear. See ya round!