Archive for the ‘The Big Easy’ Tag

The Blues Always Tells A Story!   Leave a comment

The Blues Always Tells a Story!

At a February of 2009 fundraiser
for Diunna Greenleaf, Mean Gene Kelton
was one of several musicians playing for the cause.
In addition to being a great musician,
Mean Gene is a master storyteller
in the oral tradition of what I refer to as
“Rural Mississippi Backporch” style — I love it!

In this video, Mean Gene shares a Dallas Texas gig experience
he and his band had traveled with Diunna, before going into
playing, “I Play the Blues for a Livin’.”

kenne

Video at the Big Easy in Houston, Texas

Listening to Texas Johnny Brown This Morning   Leave a comment

Diunna Benefit  5518 Texas Johnny Brown blogTexas Johnny Brown (February 22, 1928 – July 1, 2013) at the Big Easy, Houston, Texas (February 15, 2009)
— Image by kenne 

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,

Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,

I heard a Negro play.

Down on Lenox Avenue the other night

By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light

He did a lazy sway. . . .

He did a lazy sway. . . .

To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.

With his ebony hands on each ivory key

He made that poor piano moan with melody.

O Blues!

Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool

He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.

Sweet Blues!

Coming from a black man’s soul.

O Blues!

In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone

I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—

“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,

Ain’t got nobody but ma self.

I’sgwine to quit ma frownin’

And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

— from The Weary Blues by Langston Hughes

Jonn Del Toro Richardson Is “The Real Deal”   2 comments

Diunna BenefitHouston Legend, Earl Gilliam and Jonn Richardson at the Big East, (February 15, 2009) — Image by kenne

Lately I have been listening to an Otis Taylor CD. Coincidentally, my friend Jonn Del Toro Richardson posts on Facebook a Otis Taylor, Gary Moore & Jonn Richardson video from 2006 — karma!

I’ve followed the musical career of Jonn over the last decade. The Blues world has a lot of great Bluesmen, but few as good, yet not recognized as Jonn. Yes, among Blues musicians Jonn is admired for his talent, but for many Blues fans he is under the radar. For years Jonn has toured with better known musicians, and collaborated on releasing CDs, but no solo CD — it’s time for his own CD!

Now there’s an opportunity to help Jonn reach his funding goal to produce his first solo album. Click here for more information. 

Here are three of videos of Jonn I have done — yes, he is the “REAL DEAL!”

IBC Blues Jam, 2010

The Real Deal with Rich DelGrosso at Ken & Mary’s Blues Project, 2011

Diunna Greenleaf & Blue Mercy @ Rhythm & Roots Concert Series In Tucson, 2012 — Jonn and Diunna bring it on home in this video!

WE LOVE YOU, JONN!

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.

kenne

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

Ray Bonneville @ Ken & Mary’s Blues Project   3 comments

I believe that all the little things in life add up to one’s life. So, it’s important to get them right; otherwise, nothing else matters.  I’m here to tell you that Ken and Mary Harris have been getting it right for a long time.

They love people, and they love the Blues, and for years now have been doing a lot of little things that have been adding up in the form of the “Blues Project.”

Several times a year, Ken and Mary open their home to friends and their guests to experience the best in blues music this side of Texas. Sadly, many have no idea what they are missing, and sometimes it can get lonely in the promise land by yourself.

Even so, Ken and Mary’s Blues Project remains a portal to the Blues, through which many enter in their East Texas travels. One recent traveler (November 14, 2009) was an eclectic singer-songwriter, Ray Bonneville. I use the word eclectic, as in free, simply because there is something about Ray and his music that causes one to recoil at the thought of putting him in a box.

Just as Ray may write about a place he has lived, e.g., New Orleans, he is not from there. He is a traveler in other people’s reality, writing stories that serve as a portal to his existence.

“Firefly comin’ this way
a flickering light is to say
time ain’t but this long
here tonight, tomorrow gone.”

— from “Goin’ By Feel”

As a fellow traveler in the reality of others, I hope our paths will cross again soon.

kenne

(Oh, I almost forgot — HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Ken!)

(Photo Set)

Mean Gene Kelton Shares Story of Dallas Gig with Diunna Greenleaf   4 comments

The Blues Always Tells a Story!

At last Sunday’s fundraiser for Diunna Greenleaf, Mean Gene Kelton was one of several musicians playing for the cause.  In addition to being a great musician, Mean Gene is a master storyteller in the oral tradition of what I refer to as “Rural Mississippi Backporch” style — I love it!

In this video Mean Gene shares a Dallas gig experience (This was not a “gig from hell,” but it should be in his about to be published, “Gigs from Hell.”) he and his band had traveled with Diunna, before going into “I Play the Blues for a Livin’.”

kenne

Video

Posted February 20, 2009 by kenneturner in Blues, Music

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