BLUES HARMONICA BLOWOUT® SERIES
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This series was started in 1991 and has grown to become an international event, having played festivals and theatres like Nottonden Blues Fest (Norway), San Francisco Blues Fest., Chicago Blues Fest., Ultimate Rhythm & Blues Cruise, Pocanos Blues Fest., Mississippi Valley Blues Fest., American Music Fest. (Fitzgeralds), BB King's (NYC), Heritage Blues Fest., NY R & B Fest., King Biscuit Blues Fest., El Dorado Blues and Brews (Reno, NV), Edmonton Blues Fest., Yoshi's NiteClub, Monterey Jazz Fest., North Atlantic Blues Fest., and many other venues that have been sell-out shows.
A list of performers that have played would take many pages but the short list is: John Mayall, John Hammond, Norton Buffalo, Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton, Huey Lewis, Curtis Salgado, Kim Wilson, Watermelon Slim, Sugar Ray Norcia, Kenny Neal, James Harman, Fingers Taylor, Snooky Pryor, Dave Earl, Rod Piazza, Magic Dick, William Clarke, Rick Estrin, Paul DeLay, Billy Branch, Lazy Lester, Carey Bell, Little Sonny, Paul Osher, Lee Oskar, Cephas and Wiggins, Gary Primich, Paul Rischell and Annie Raines, Carlos Del Junco, Sam Myers and many more! All the acts excepting acoustic duos are backed by the Blues Survivors. This is a sampling of some of the packages available to either tour through or fly in to your event. See if the package is already booked on the road by checking the Blowouts listed on our Calendar page.
GIANTS OF THE BLUES HARP WORLD
JAMES COTTON - to many, is the last of the old guard 1950s Chicago Blues Harmonica greats. Cotton's bio reads like a who's who of Blues history: raised by Sonny Boy Williamson (Rice Miller) from age 12 to 15, at 17 yrs. old played in Howlin Wolf's band plus recorded his own sides at Sun Records in Memphis. Took Little Walters spot in Muddy Waters' band in 1957, then stayed 12 yrs., recording the historic LIVE AT NEWPORT LP on Chess records in 1960, among other great Muddy records. In 1966 Cotton started one of the great Chicago blues bands of all time with Luther Tucker, Francis Clay, Bob Anderson & others. They became one of the most in demand Chicago blues bands on the rock ballroom circuit. Cotton's band played regularly with Butterfield's band, Janis Joplin, Electric Flag, Jefferson Airplane, Grateful Dead & every other 60s rock band in rock ballrooms all over the US ,thanks to manager Albert Grossman (Bob Dylan, Janis Joplin). Cotton remains a certified blues icon to this day and has won Grammys & Blues Awards galore! www.jamescottonsuperharp.com
CHARLIE MUSSELWHITE - is one of the most recognized names in Blues harmonica. Born in 1944 , Musselwhite has traveled the long road from backwoods Mississippi to a teenaged upbringing in Memphis, where he first heard and learned the blues from it's originators. On to the south side of Chicago, Charlie served his apprenticeship with Johnny Young & Big Walter Horton. By the mid '70s he & Paul Butterfield were the two trendsetting white bluesblowers in the biz. In the mid-'90s Charlie Musselwhite signed with Alligator Records and had a string of successful recordings. Musselwhite has recently hit his stride with Real World (Peter Gabriel's label) -- his newest being DELTA HARDWARE, a throwback to his early '60s sound with a little funky Mississippi mud in the grooves. Charlie Musselwhite has received several Grammy nominations and won 19 W.C. Handy Awards. Not bad for a southern country boy from Kosciusko, MS. www.charliemusselwhite.com
SUPERSTARS OF THE BLUES HARP
MAGIC DICK - is the original harp man from the J. Geils Band, whose many hits flooded the airwaves during the 1970s and 1980s. Chart-toppers like "FreezeFrame", "Centerfold", "First I Look At The Purse", "Must a Got Lost", "Give It To Me" and Magic Dick's own "Wammer Jammer" were in the Top Ten off and on for 20 years and made them one of the few top bands(other then WAR) that featured a harmonica prominently in the frontline. Dick went on to start "Bluestime" with J. Geils after the original band broke up, making two CDs for Rounder Records. | www.magicdick.com
- hails from the Blues heavy Windy City of Chicago. Jerry started his career with Muddy Waters,whom he worked with for 12 years. After the band left Muddy, over a managerial dispute, Jerry started the Legendary Blues Band,with Pinetop Perkins, Willie "Big Eyes" Smith. Louis Myers and Calvin Jones. It was only after leaving Ronnie Earl and the Broadcastasters, Portnoy got the call of a lifetime, when Eric Clapton asked him top join his band. Portnoy played harp for four years with Clapton all over the world and recorded on the "Live At Albert Hall","From The Cradle" and "Me and Mr. Johnson" discs. Portnoy's Harmonica Masterclass series has proved to be a huge selling instructional disc. | www.jerryportnoy.com/
RICK ESTRIN - has been the harp wizard, frontman, singer, songwriter & master of ceremonies for Alligator recording artists Little Charlie & the Nightcats for over 30 yrs. More then a little of the bands' success can be attributed to Estrin's far reaching skills & humor. Estrin's won the Blues Music award a few times now thanks to his songwriting. Tunes like MY NEXT EX WIFE, DUMP THAT CHUMP, THINKING WITH THE WRONG HEAD and many other songs Rick has written have garnered him fans worldwide. Throw in Rick's colorful stage personna & offbeat humor and you have the makings for one of the most entertaining stage shows on the planet. Estrin is one of the most formidable harp men alive, offered the coveted harp chair in Muddy Waters' band in the early 70s. | www.rickestrin.com
LEE OSKAR - was born in Copenhagen, Denmark, moved to the States in the late sixties,and along with Eric Burdon,went on to become a founding member of the soul-funk-rock group WAR. Hits like "Lowrider", "World Is A Ghetto", "Spill The Wine", "Me And Baby Brother", and "Slippin Into Darkness" were huge records that got national airplay coast to coast and stayed high up in the charts for months. Oskar's unique approach to harmonica has earned him the distinction of being voted 1976's Instrumentalist Of The Year in three major music publications, Billboard, Cashbox and Record World. Lee went on to start the Lee Oskar Harmonica company in 1983,which is second only to Hohner Harmonicas in popularity and sales. | www.leeoskar.com
CURTIS SALGADO - Salgado has been been perfecting his craft since he first began playing professionally in the late 1960s. He fronted his own group, The Nighthawks, inspired John Belushi to create The Blues Brothers, was co-star of The Robert Cray Band and sang and toured with Roomful Of Blues. He released his first of eight solo albums in 1991, hitting the road hard year after year. Salgado and his band toured with The Steve Miller Band and Curtis spent a summer singing with Santana before being sidelined by serious health issues in 2006. He's battled all the way back, and, after a full and complete recovery, has been tearing up concert stages all over the country. | www.curtissalgado.com
LEGENDS OF THE BLUES HARP
BILLY BOY ARNOLD - Starting in the early 1950s, he joined forces with street musician Bo Diddley and played harmonica on the March 2, 1955 recording of the Bo Diddley song "I'm a Man" released by Checker Records. The same day as the Bo Diddley sessions, Billy Boy recorded the self-penned "You Got to Love Me" which was not released until the box set, Chess Blues 1947-1967, in 1992. In 1993, he released the album Back Where I Belong on Alligator Records, followed by Eldorado Cadillac (1995). In 2012, he released Blue and Lonesome and in 2014, he was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Traditional Blues Male Artist of the Year' category. | www.alligator.com
CORKY SIEGEL - Blues harmonica. Few can claim to have forged an entirely original genre of music, but in 1966, Corky Siegel did just that. Guiding the blues of Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters out of the smoky cavern of Big John's and onto the stages of the Chicago Symphony, New York Philharmonic and beyond, the harmonica-playing mad scientist had the tuxedo-and-gown crowd on its feet, clamoring for more of this blues-classical alchemy. These days, the harmonica virtuoso and composer is continent-hopping with Chamber Blues, and as guest from time to time in Dr. L. Subramaniam's Global Fusion, obliterating musical categorization and boundaries in the process. | www.chamberblues.com/
SUGAR RAY NORCIA - started the popular East Coast blues band THE BLUETONES 30 years ago with guitarist Ronnie Earl. They backed Big Walter Horton, Big Joe Turner, Jimmie Rogers, Otis Rush, JB Hutto & countless others in the early '80s all over the North East and recorded two albums for Rounder Records. In 1991 Norcia hooked up with Roomful of Blues and toured the world with the 11 piece band, appearing on their Grammy-nominated Rounder release TURN IT ON, TURN IT UP. Norcia also recorded the Grammy nominated Telarc release SUPER HARPS during his Roomful tenure with harmonica heavywieights Charlie Musselwhite, James Cotton and Billy Branch. | www.sugarray.com/
JAMES HARMAN- was born and raised in Anniston, AL,where he quickly pick up on the black blues and soul music being played on juke boxes and the radio in the Deep South. In Harman's teens, he started playing juke joints and dance clubs throughout the South in the early 1960's,recording many 45s for obscure labels. In 1968 Harman made the move to Southern California, where he eventually became freinds with Canned Heat, The Blasters, Hollywood Fats(who played in Harman's band for quite a spell),and many other famous musicians. Harman's music can be heard on labels like Enigma, Rhino , Black Top, and Cannonball. Harman is a one of a kind showman, vocalist, harp player and comic genius. www.jamesharman.com