Archive for the ‘Houston Blues Society’ Tag

Looking Back To Beale Street, January 21, 2010   Leave a comment

Beale Street, Memphis (January 21, 2010) Image by kenne

The Houston Blues Society annually selects local musicians to participate in the International Blues Challenge in Memphis.
We were there in support of our good friend, Sonny Boy Terry. 

— kenne

Sonny Boy Terry — Image by kenne

Little Joe Washington, RIP   Leave a comment

little-joe-washington-3-8-0300108-5-blog-iiHouston Blues Legend, Little Joe Washington, — 2003 Image by kenne

From the Houston Blues Society’s Newsletter:

On Wednesday afternoon, bluesman Little Joe Washington passed on, leaving a hole in the blues community’s heart that belies his diminutive 5′ 5″ frame. One of Third Ward’s legendary blues guitarists, comprising Albert Collins, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Joe “Guitar” Hughes, Little Joe displayed a raw and sparkling talent that earned great respect from his peers.

It’s true to say that he knew more than a few dark days in his 75 years, but with surprising tenacity he’d always bounce back to delight audiences with his virtuoso guitar skills, often finishing his set by running around the room and using his hat for a tip jar before disappearing into the night on a rickety bicycle.


Roger Wood wrote of the Third Ward eccentric guitarist in his 2003 book on Houston blues, Down In Houston: Bayou City Blues:

“I first picked up a guitar when I was playing drums with Albert Collins. I taught myself after that,” Washington explains. “I figure it out on my own.” Once he began to experiment with the guitar, however, the diminutive and now perpetually scruffy-looking fellow developed a unique style that is best described as raw and unpredictable — some would say wild. “I play with my teeth, my tongue, my head. I used to hang on the rafters when I was in Old Mexico,” he said.

“. . . Little Joe Washington has evolved into a Houston folk hero of sorts.”

Always Two Steps From The Blues — Texas Johnny Brown, RIP   6 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATexas Johnny Brown at Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, 2001

Texas Johnny BrownTexas Johnny Brown at Miller Outdoor Theater, Houston, 2001 — It was a hot-humid night in Houston when Johnny left the stage giving his performance a very personal “Texas Johnny” touch. 

Billy Blues Texas Johnny Brown'99 blog IITexas Johnny Brown at Billy Blues in Houston, 1999 — Images by kenne

Another Houston Blues Legend has passed away. KPFT program host, James Nagel (The Blues Hound) has written the following on the Texas Johnny Brown website:

“It is with great sadness and heavy heart that we share the news of the passing of an American treasure and true blues legend. John Riley Brown, better known as Texas Johnny Brown, was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer this past April and after a short but gallant fight with the disease passed away this afternoon (Monday, July 1) at the age of 85 at his home in Houston, Texas. 

With a career that spanned over six decades, Texas Johnny Brown played or recorded with a virtual who’s who of the blues world, including Amos Milburn, Ruth Brown, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Junior Parker, Lavelle White, Buddy Ace and Joe Hinton. One of the all time beautiful blues classics, “Two Steps From The Blues,” was penned by Johnny and considered by many as one of the finest blues songs ever written. His CD, “Nothin’ But The Truth,” on his own Choctaw Creek Records, was nominated for a W.C. Handy Blues Award in 1999 for Comeback Album of the Year. 

His accolades are many, but his true legacy lay behind his beautiful smile, warm heart and undying love for his family, fans and the music that brought all of us so much joy.

Final arrangements are pending. Please keep this blues giant and his family in your thoughts and prayers. May God bless Texas Johnny Brown.”

Although made famous by another blues legend, Bobby “Blue” Bland (Bland just past away June 23rd), “Two Steps from The Blues” was written by Johnny Brown and played by him on that hot-humid night in 2001 at the Miller Outdoor Theater, as pictured above. Like most blues lovers in Houston, when I think of “Two Steps from The Blues,” I think Brown, not Bland. (Too bad Wikipedia doesn’t even mention Brown when giving credit to the song. Somebody needs to take care of this!)

Over the years, blues lovers have had much for which to be thankful, and even with the loss of Texas Johnny Brown, the blues is alive and well. If you don’t think so, here’s one reason — on the 2001 billing at the Miller Outdoor Theater was Diunna Greenleaf and playing with her was a 16 year-old kid out of Austin, Texas, Gary Clark, Jr. If you don’t know about this young man, you need to.


Texas Johnny Brown Photo02 blogTexas Johnny Brown at Houston’s Big Easy, 2005 — Image by kenne

Happy 420 Day   1 comment

Yesterday was 420 Day and with a posting on the Houston Blues Society’s Facebook page by Guy Schwartz (The New Jack Hippies), it brought back memories of Houston’s Rhythm Room.

Rythem Room 3-8-0300053 Tommie Lee Bradley blogTommie Lee Bradley, Guy Schwartz & The New Jack Hippies at  The Rhythm Room,– Image by kenne March 8, 2003

The Rhythm Room

There was a place
Somewhere near downtown
Always rock’n
Embracing the sound
Echoing in time
Without an hour clock.
Down in old H-town.

More than a room,
The grandest of joints
Rhythm was its fame
So no need to point
For people all knew
Blues was its claim
Down in old H-town.

The Room now gone
Replaced by many
So to the sound
Losing out to money
Rhythm in the blues
Forever to be found
Down in old H-town.


(First Posted Jun 13, 2010)

The following images were taken March 2003 at one of KPFT‘s Joe’s Roadhouse live shows from the Rhythm Room; followed by the Guy Schwartz and The New Jack Hippies video, “Roll My Own.” 


Rythem Room 3-8-0300058 Joe & Guy blogJoe Montes Introducing Guy Schwartz and The New Jack Hippies 

Rythem Room 3-8-0300043 New Jack Hippies blogGuy Schwartz and The New Jack Hippies

Rythem Room 3-8-0300052 Tommie & Guy blogTommy Lee Bradley & Guy Schwartz 

Rythem Room 3-8-0300059 New Jack Hippies blogGuy Schwartz & The New Jack Hippies

Rythem Room 3-8-0300063 Gloria Edwards & Guy blogGloria (Soul Queen of Texas) Edwards & Guy Schwartz 

Rythem Room 3-8-0300068 gloria & guy blogGloria (Queen of Soul) Edwards & Guy Schwartz 

Rythem Room 3-8-0300072 Trudy Lynn blogTrudy Lynn & The New Jack Hippies

Rythem Room 3-8-0300078 Trudy & Guy blogTrudy Lynn & Guy Schwartz 

Guy Schwartz – I Roll My Own (weed music video)


Martin Miglioretti, Photographer And Blues Lover, RIP   4 comments


Image by Martin Miglioretti


Blues In All Its Colors by Martin Miglioretti


Image by Martin Miglioretti

Last week I learned via Facebook that a fellow Blues lover and photographer, Martin Miglioretti pasted away in Houston at age 58. 
Martin was very well-known in the Houston Blues community. In 2009 Martin began a series of poster tributes to Houston blues,
“Blues In All Its Colors.” For Martin, the blues was more than just blue; it’s a rainbow of colors. The posters borrowed from the vintage “boxing-style” posters.

Another love of Miglioretti’s was photographing classic cars. Hot Rod magazine said, “This guy takes photorealism to the extreme.”
Equally well-known in both blues and hot rod circles, Martin will be sorely missed. The Houston Blues Society’s logo was created by Martin.


Houston Blues Society Logo By Miglioretti

Martin Miglioretti, Rich DelGrosso & Sonny Boy Terry

Martin Miglioretti, Rich DelGrosso & Sonny Boy Terry — Image by Jenny Jerome


DuPree at 26th International Blues Challenge   Leave a comment

Stevie DuPree and Travis Stephenson

If you like delta/New Orleans storytelling blues you have no choice but to love Stevie DuPree. Stevie was the Houston Blues Societies duo/solo entry at the International Blues Challenge this past week. Better known to his Houston fans as Stevie DuPree and The Delta Flyers, did good on Beale Street but lost to a very “bigger than life” blues man from Canada. Andersen is well known on the east coast and much of Canada. In the end, as was said often during the IBC event, all the musicians there were winners.


(Photo Set)

International Blues Challenge Report   Leave a comment

We arrived in Memphis for the International Blues Challenge (IBC) midday, Thursday (January 21, 2010) not knowing what to expect, but with high hopes that the Houston Blues Society’s representatives (The Sonny Boy Terry Band and DuPree) would come back winners.

After picking up our tickets and IBC program, we attempted to check into our hotel, but the rooms were not ready, so we began walking down Main Street to Beale Street.  And, whom should we meet on the way, none other than KPFT’s Blues Hound and Baby Girl (James and Colleen Nagel). They were on their way to Alcenia’s, a soul food dining delight, and not lacking bravado we ask if we could go with them – of course, they welcomed our company.

After ordering from the menu and the usual casual conversation, the Blues Hound pulled out his “cheat-sheet” (my term) while asking, “ . . . have you done your homework?’ While feeling like I had missed the assignment, he proceeds to let us know that he had gone online and identified the bands he wanted to try and see during the IBC event. Now I know why the Blues Hound is such a musicologist and has a great blues show on KPFT – he does his homework! To say the least, the food and conversation was great, right down to the sweet-potato pie.

The Sonny Boy Terry Band was scheduled early in the competition at the Club Chill. So, after checking into the hotel and relaxing a bit, we walked the six blocks to Club Chill, arriving in plenty of time to help gather up support for the band and check out some of the other bands. Not knowing who all would be there from Houston, it was pleasant to see that a good number had made it up from Houston – I’m told it was one of the largest groups every. How nice!

The band did a super job in what I feel was a good venue for them.  (I will add however, the smoke was almost too much.) Good venue and great performance or not, the IBC process is strictly a “luck of the drew” call.  The IBC takes place in eleven clubs, ten bands in each.  Only the winner from each club goes to the finals and as it turned out for the Sonny Boy Terry Band, they were grouped with the IBC winner, Grady Champion – a group with a lot of style, but little more.

Although the process was questionable and easy to criticize, it’s a given when you decide to participate in the Houston Blues Society competition. Still, both the HBS entries are much better today because of having been part of the IBC competition. They made us proud to be from Houston.


(Photo Set)

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