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Local and State News

CABS Blues Brawl for 2020 Cancelled

In the interest of safety, the CABS Board has elected not to hold our Annual Blues Brawl for 2020. We considered the idea of doing a virtual Blues Brawl, but felt it would detract from the overall presentation of our performers. Let’s face it, the blues is always more exciting when it’s live and in person.  We understand there will be a lot of disappointed CABS members. Please believe us when we say it wasn’t an easy decision and we share in your disappointment. We miss hearing live blues and we miss seeing all of our incredible members. Please join us in sending good energy that 2021 will be a much better year where we can congregate and dance to together to the blues again. In the meantime, stay safe and keep the blues alive in your hearts!


The Common Ground music festival has been postponed to 2021 due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. This will be the first summer in 21 years that Common Ground has not been held, organizers stated. The concerts have been rescheduled to July 9-10, 2021. Anyone who has already purchased tickets can roll their tickets over or request a refund. Instructions on both options will be emailed to people who purchased tickets.

Blink-182 will still headline the festival, and organizers are working to reschedule other artists, organizers said. This would have been the first year Common Ground was held entirely at Cooley Law School Stadium. In past years, the festival was spread over several days at Adado Riverfront Park. Nelly, The Used, Grandson, The Legal Immigrants, Baby Bash, DJ Jazzy Jeff and Juvenile were booked to perform this year at the festival.

National News and Beyond

Winners of the 2020 Blues Music Awards

Winners of the 2020 Blues Music Awards
The Blues Foundation broadcast the 2020 Blues Music Awards virtually, with Christone “Kingfish” Ingram cleaning up, winning five awards. He won three awards for his debut album, Kingfish, as well as two performer awards – Best Contemporary Blues Male Artist and for Instrumentalist-Guitar. Nick Moss and his band also had a successful evening, winning three awards.

The star-studded evening included Warren Hayes, Beth Hart, Fantastic Negrito, Ken’ Mo’, and Ruthie Foster were amongst the presenters. Due to the restrictions in place due to COVID-19, the annual gala held in Memphis had to be canceled, but instead, blues fans around the world were able to enjoy the show from the comfort of their own homes.

The winners of the evening were as follows:

BB King Entertainer of the Year
Sugaray Rayford

Album of the Year
Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Band of the Year
The Nick Moss Band feat. Dennis Gruenling

Song of the Year
“Lucky Guy,” written by Nick Moss

Best Emerging Artist Album
Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Acoustic Blues Album
This Guitar and Tonight, Bob Margolin

Acoustic Blues Artist
Doug MacLeod

Blues Rock Album
Masterpiece, Albert Castiglia

Blues Rock Artist
Eric Gales

Contemporary Blues Album
Kingfish, Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Contemporary Blues Female Artist
Shemekia Copeland

Contemporary Blues Male Artist
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Historical Blues Album
Cadillac Baby’s Bea & Baby Records – Definitive Collection, Earwig Music

Soul Blues Album
Sitting on Top of the Blues, Bobby Rush

Soul Blues Female Artist
Bettye LaVette

Soul Blues Male Artist
Sugaray Rayford

Traditional Blues Album
Lucky Guy! The Nick Moss Band Featuring Dennis Gruenling

Traditional Blues Female Artist
Sue Foley

Traditional Blues Male Artist
Jimmie Vaughan

Instrumentalist Bass
Michael “Mudcat” Ward

Instrumentalist Drums
Cedric Burnside

Instrumentalist Guitar
Christone “Kingfish” Ingram

Instrumentalist Harmonica
Rick Estrin

Instrumentalist Horn
Vanessa Collier

Instrumentalist Piano
Victor Wainwright

Instrumentalist Vocals
Mavis Staples

Bonnie Pointer of Pointer Sisters has Passed

Patricia Eva "Bonnie" Pointer (July 11, 1950 – June 8, 2020) was an American singer, most notable for being a member of the Grammy Award–winning vocal group, The Pointer Sisters. Pointer scored several moderate solo hits after leaving the Pointers in 1977, including a disco cover of The Elgins' "Heaven Must Have Sent You" which became a U.S. top 20 pop hit on September 1, 1979.

Bonnie and youngest sister June began singing together as teenagers and in 1969 the duo had co-founded The Pointers (otherwise known as The Pair). After Anita joined the duo that same year, they changed their name to The Pointer Sisters and recorded several singles for Atlantic Records between 1971 and 1972. In December 1972, they recruited oldest sister Ruth and released their debut album as The Pointer Sisters in 1973. Their self-titled debut yielded the hit "Yes We Can Can". Between 1973 and 1977, the Pointers donned 1940s fashions and sang in a style reminiscent of The Andrews Sisters. As well they melded the sounds of R&B, funk, rock and roll, gospel, country and soul.

Anita and Bonnie wrote the group's crossover country hit, "Fairytale," in 1974, which also became a Top 20 pop hit and won the group their first Grammy for Best Vocal by a Duo or Group, Country. Anita and Bonnie also were nominated for Best Country Song at the same ceremony. In 1977, Bonnie left the group to begin a solo career. The remaining sisters continued scoring hits from the late 1970s to the mid-1980s and had a major breakthrough with their 1983 album Break Out.

In 1978, Bonnie signed with Motown and in the same year, Bonnie released "Heaven Must Have Sent You," which reached No. 11 on Billboard Hot 100 chart. She released three solo albums, including two self-titled albums for Motown, before retiring from the studio.

Reviewing her 1978 self-titled LP, Robert Christgau wrote in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies (1981): "Thanks to (co-producer) Berry Gordy and the miracle of modern multitracking, Bonnie makes like the Marvelettes of your dreams for an entire side. People didn't conceive vocals this intricate and funky back in Motown's prime, much less overdub them single-larynxed, and the result is remakes that outdo the originals—by Brenda Holloway and the Elgins—and originals that stand alongside. The other side comprises originals of more diminutive stature co-written by (co-producer) Jeffrey Bowen."

Bonnie appeared on Soul Train on March 2, 1985 (Season 14, Episode 20). She still continued to perform, and reunited with her sisters on two separate occasions: when the group received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1994 and during a Las Vegas performance in 1996 singing “Jump) (for My Love)". At the beginning of 2008, she embarked on a European tour, and has been working on her autobiography. Pointer performed at the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City on Saturday, October 25, 2008. She also starred in Monte Hellman's 2010 romantic thriller Road to Nowhere.

Bonnie Pointer died on June 8, 2020 at 69 years old.

Blues Guitarist Peter Green, Co-founder of Fleetwood Mac, Has Passed

Blues guitarist Peter Green, a co-founder of the band Fleetwood Mac, died at the age of 73 on July 25, 2020.

Representatives of Green's family on Saturday stated, "It is with great sadness that the family of Peter Green announces his death this weekend peacefully in his sleep.”

Green was known for his blues guitar sound even prior to the forming of Fleetwood Mac. He replaced Eric Clapton in John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers in 1965. In 1967, Green and fellow Bluesbreakers members, drummer Mick Fleetwood and bassist John McVie, formed Fleetwood Mac, along with guitarist Jeremy Spencer.

Green's direction can be heard on the group's early albums including their self-titled debut in 1968. He wrote "Albatross," the groups only No. 1 hit on the United Kingdom's singles chart. Green was also behind "Oh Well," "Man of the World," and "Black Magic Woman," the last of which Santana popularized with a cover version.

Green left the band in 1970 following a period of erratic behavior and drug use. His behavior was later diagnosed as schizophrenia and he was hospitalized for some time. Green returned to music in the late '70s, composing and recording albums on his own.
Green was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998, alongside seven other members of Fleetwood Mac.

In February, before the coronavirus shut down large scale gatherings, Mick Fleetwood held a tribute concert for Green in London, featuring a lineup of artists who were influenced by Green's work.

Fleetwood told Rolling Stone that he put the tribute concert together because "I wanted people to know that I did not form this band — Peter Green did. And I wanted to celebrate those early years of Fleetwood Mac, which started this massive ball that went down the road over the last 50 years."

Joseph Thomas Porcar, American Jazz Drummer Performing with Toto Dies at Age 90.


Joseph Thomas Porcaro (April 29, 1930 – July 6, 2020) was an American jazz drummer performing with the group Toto.

Porcaro recorded with Natalie Cole, Don Ellis, Stan Getz, Freddie Hubbard, Gladys Knight, Madonna, The Monkees, Gerry Mulligan, Pink Floyd, Howard Roberts, Frank Sinatra, Nancy Sinatra, and Sarah Vaughan. He performed film scores with James Newton Howard, John Williams, Jerry Goldsmith, James Horner, Danny Elfman, John Frizzell and his son Steve Porcaro. With educator and drummer Ralph Humphrey, he was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Music Academy (LAMA) in Pasadena, California, which is now called the Los Angeles College of Music (LACM).

Born April 29, 1930 in New Britain, Ct., Joe Porcaro began playing drums at the age of five. By the mid-'60s, he was gigging around nearby Hartford in jazz clubs and concert halls even doing a stint on the road with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra .When his childhood friend and fellow percussionist Emil Richards, told him there were better opportunities in Los Angeles. He and his family made the move in 1966 and, within a few months he was playing with Chet Baker. Porcaro's versatility with various percussion instruments led to a prolific stint as a session musician, often working as part of orchestras contracted for TV shows like Mission Impossible, Hawaii Five-0 and Daktari.

His three sons were in the rock band Toto: drummer Jeff (1954–1992); bassist Mike (1955–2015); and keyboardist Steve (b. 1957), who still is a session musician and programmer. Joe contributed additional percussion to every Toto album from Turn Back through Kingdom of Desire. He also had a daughter, Joleen Porcaro Duddy (actress and designer), whose children, Chase and Paige Duddy, formed the electronic duo XYLO. Joseph Porcaro outlived two of his sons: Jeff, Toto’s drummer, died in 1992 (aged 38). And Mike, the band's bass player, passed in 2015 (aged 59).

Porcaro led a group with Emil Richards, a native of Hartford who played vibraphone and collected percussion instruments from around the world.

He died aged 90, on July 6, 2020.

Grammy-winning 1970s Soul Singer Betty Wright Passes at 66

Betty Wright, the Grammy-winning soul singer and songwriter whose influential 1970s hits included “Clean Up Woman" and “Where is the Love,” has died at age 66.

Wright died at her home in Miami on Sunday, May 10, 2020 several media outlets reported.

Wright was born in Miami on December  21, 1953 and started singing gospel at the age of two, with her siblings in the group Echoes of Joy. When they broke up, Wright was only 11. After switching to R&B she was signed aged 12. Her first hit was Girls Can’t Do What the Guys Do – the track later sampled by Beyoncé – which reached No33 in the US in 1968.

Wright had her breakthrough with 1971's “Clean Up Woman,” which combined elements of funk, soul and R&B.
Recorded when Wright was just 17, the song would be a top 10 hit on the Billboard R&B and pop charts, and its familiar grooves would be used and reused in the sampling era of future decades.

She started singing with the family gospel group, Echoes of Joy, and released her solo debut album, “My First Time Around,” at age 15 in 1968. The album yielded a top 40 hit, “Girls Can't Do What the Guys Do.”

After “Clean Up Woman,” she would have her first hit she wrote herself with “Baby Sitter,” a 1973 hit that showed off her so-called “whistle register” vocals, an ultra-high singing style later employed by Mariah Carey and others.

With members of K.C. and the Sunshine Band, she co-wrote her 1975 proto-disco hit, “Where is the Love,” which would win her a Grammy for best R&B song.

A career lull in the late 1970s and early 1980s prompted Wright to start her own label in 1985, leading to a gold album, “Mother Wit,” in 1987 and the comeback hit “No Pain (No Gain)”

Wright’s classic hit “Where Is the Love,” was crowned Best R&B Song during the 1976 Grammys, she was later named the Rhythm and Blues Foundation Pioneer for Individual Artists in 2000.

Her riff from “Clean Up Woman” created a life-long legacy as the cut has been sampled by other artists including SWV, Sublime, Willie D, Afrika Bambaattaa, and Chance the Rapper. Her first hit, “Girls Can’t Do What Guys Do,” was later sampled for Beyonce’s “Upgrade U.”
She spent much of the rest of her life as a producer and mentor to younger artists, many of whom were singing her praises after her death.