Archive for the ‘Memphis’ Tag

Ground Zero Blues Club   Leave a comment

Ground Zero Blues Club Memphis (01/21/10) — Abstract Art by kenne

“There are only two kinds of songs; 
there’s the blues,
and there’s zip-a-dee-doo-dah.”

— Townes Van Zandt

Two Friends Win Awards Tonight In Memphis — Congratualtions!   Leave a comment

Diunna Greenleaf 09-14-12Jonn Del Toro Richardson and Diunna Greenleaf — Image by kenne

Tonight, two of our favorite blues musicians, Jonn Del Toro Richardson and Diunna Greenleaf, won awards at the 2017 Blues Music Awards in Memphis — Jonn for Best Emerging Artist Album and Diunna for the Koko Taylor Award (Traditional Blues Female Artist). Congratulations to Jonn and Diunna, we love you both!

— kenne

Do You Want Be To Stay — Diunna Greenleaf, Jonn DelToro Richardson and Bob Corritore Video by kenne

International Blues Challenge Finals   1 comment

After two nights of competition, finalists were selected and performed at The Orpheum Theatre on Saturday evening. The video below contains clips of the finalists. The winning band was the Grady Champion Band, the last band on the video.


Catching Up With A Week That Was   1 comment

Much has happened since going to Memphis to attend the International Blues Challenge. For starters, the NY Times Travel section was two weeks late in providing a good article, “Roll Over, Elvis. Meet Indie Memphis.” We now know we missed a lot.

While in Memphis, the US Supreme Court decision involving the Fair Elections Now Act works against the continued corporate takeover of our government. Are corporations evil? No! Neither are the people who work within their controlling environments. However, with the Supreme Court’s recent decision, it is becoming even more convincing that we need to redesign a poorly designed invention of our culture (corporations). I know this will not be an easy task since most of us are products of the corporate mentality and lifestyle. Still, if we value the mystery and categories of human enterprise, we must find ways to level the playing field. It is important to remember that there is nothing more unequal than the equal treatment of unequals.

Is This A Good Year To Be Born — Newsweek, 1967

The great US historian and activist Howard Zinn, who helped change many Americans’ conscience, passed away this week at age 87. I first learned about Howard Zinn in the late sixties while still in the Army. During this time, frustrated by our continued involvement in Vietnam, I began keeping a scrapbook of articles, opt-ad columns, political cartoons, and photos. During this time, I first read the Zinn quote, “Dissent is the highest form of patriotism,” which has since been carved into my very being. Although many have read his book, The People’s History of the United States, which gives voice to Native Americans, Blacks, women, immigrants, poor laborers, and others not covered in mainstream history, still many only got to know of him through the recent History Channel, The People Speak. A believer in democracy by the people, and in light of the above mentioned US Supreme Court decision, I share this Zinn quote: “If those in charge of our society – politicians, corporate executives, and owners of press and television – can dominate our ideas, they will be secure in their power. They will not need soldiers patrolling the streets. We will control ourselves.”

Pogo — 1967

This past week witnessed two examples of a great leader in action: President Barak Obama’s State of the Union speech and, two days later, his appearance before and discussion with the Republican Caucus. I urge you to make your own judgment by viewing the videos on YouTube.

Lastly, this past week also so the death of J.D. Salinger. Not being a “reader” as a child and young adult, one of the first novels I read (all-be-it because I had to in senior English) in the late ’50s was Catcher In The Rye, and like so many young people of the time, it had a lasting impression. So many of us share a kinship with Holden and the phony world we live in.

“If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you’ll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it if you want to know the truth.” The opening line from Catcher in The Rye.

I will end this posting by sharing an email from brother Tom:

The cat and I were laughing ( As in J.D. Salinger’s story. “The Laughing Man” ) about persons who repeatedly speak of “coming-out” with their BOOK  explaining “IT” all….. And we thought of Theroux’s quote :

“A person becomes a writer because they are DEFICIENT.
They have problems;
They are “crazy”;
They have unhappy families…
They are “eccentric” and…
Not because they read a LOT  of books;
but on the contrary…
Maybe they haven’t read enough books!!!!!!!!
There is a strong irrationality about  THE WRITING LIFE…
Often a writer writes to maintain a need to be HUGGED and told that she is loved.”


Thanks, Tom. We may be far from one another, but we remain on the same wave link.

— kenne

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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