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Announcement: An Outdoor Social-Distancing Blues Concert featuring Larry McCray Band
Friday July 24 at 7pm
Parking Lot of Faith United Methodist Church 209 East Jefferson Street Coleman, Michigan (approx. 10 miles northeast of Mt. Pleasant)
donation: $10 (half of which goes to Midland area flood victims)
contact: ann.sigsby@gmail.com

If you are attending: 
1. Bring your own lawn chair
2. Bring and WEAR a facemask and bandana - there IS still a pandemic going on and this does not need to be the cause of any disease transmission!
3. Maintain safe distancing between you and anyone who is not part of your immediate household. 

Also, there might be folks who would like to donate on-line (Go Fund Me) for the Midland area flood victims.  Here is the link: https://gf.me/u/ycg96q

COMMON GROUND POSTPONED to 2021

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.

Little Richard, Founding Father of Rock Who Broke Musical Barriers, Dead at 87
Pianist-singer behind “Tutti Frutti,” “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Long Tall Sally” set the template that a generation of musicians would follow


Little Richard, the massively influential rock and roll pioneer whose early hits inspired a generation of musicians, has died at 87.

Little Richard, a founding father of rock and roll whose fervent shrieks, flamboyant garb, and joyful, gender-bending persona embodied the spirit and sound of that new art form, died Saturday May 9, 2020. .

Starting with “Tutti Frutti” in 1956, Little Richard cut a series of unstoppable hits – “Long Tall Sally” and “Rip It Up” that same year, “Lucille” in 1957, and “Good Golly Miss Molly” in 1958 – driven by his simple, pumping piano, gospel-influenced vocal exclamations and sexually charged (often gibberish) lyrics.

Although he never hit the top 10 again after 1958, Little Richard’s influence was massive. The Beatles recorded several of his songs, including “Long Tall Sally,” and Paul McCartney’s singing on those tracks – and the Beatles’ own “I’m Down” – paid tribute to Little Richard’s shredded-throat style. His songs became part of the rock and roll canon, covered over the decades by everyone from the Everly Brothers, the Kinks, and Creedence Clearwater Revival to Elvis Costello and the Scorpions
Little Richard’s stage persona – his pompadours, asexual makeup and glass-bead shirts – also set the standard for rock and roll showmanship.

Born Richard Wayne Penniman on December 5th, 1932, in Macon, Georgia, he was one of 12 children and grew up around uncles who were preachers. Although he sang in a nearby church, his father Bud wasn’t supportive of his son’s music and accused him of being gay, resulting in Penniman leaving home at 13 and moving in with a white family in Macon. But music stayed with him: One of his boyhood friends was Otis Redding, and Penniman heard R&B, blues and country while working at a concession stand at the Macon City Auditorium.

During a low point, he sent a tape with a rough version of a bawdy novelty song called “Tutti Frutti” to Specialty Records in Chicago. He came up with the song’s famed chorus — “a wop bob alu bob a wop bam boom” — while bored washing dishes. He also cowrote “Long Tall Sally” while working that same job.

By coincidence, label owner and producer Art Rupe was in search of a lead singer for some tracks he wanted to cut in New Orleans, and Penniman’s howling delivery fit the bill. In September 1955, the musician cut a lyrically cleaned-up version of “Tutti Frutti,” which became his first hit, peaking at 17 on the pop chart.

Its followup, “Long Tall Sally,” hit Number Six, becoming his the highest-placing hit of his career. For just over a year, the musician released one relentless and arresting smash after another. From “Long Tall Sally” to “Slippin’ and Slidin,’” Little Richard’s hits – a glorious mix of boogie, gospel, and jump blues sounded like he never stood still. With his trademark pompadour and makeup (which he once said he started wearing so that he would be less “threatening” while playing white clubs), he was instantly on the level of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis and other early rock icons.

By the 1970s, Little Richard was making a respectable living on the rock oldies circuit, immortalized in a searing, sweaty performance in the 1973 documentary Let the Good Times Roll. During this time, he also became addicted to marijuana and cocaine while, at the same time, returning to his gospel roots.

Little Richard also dismantled sexual stereotypes in rock & roll, even if he confused many of his fans along the way. During his teen years and into his early rock stardom, his stereotypical flamboyant personality made some speculate about his sexuality, even if he never publicly came out. But that flamboyance didn’t derail his career.

In the years before his death, Little Richard, who was by then based in Nashville, still performed periodically. Onstage, though, the physicality of old was gone: Thanks to hip replacement surgery in 2009, he could only perform sitting down at his piano. But his rock and roll spirit never left him. “I’m sorry I can’t do it like it’s supposed to be done,” he told one audience in 2012. After the audience screamed back in encouragement, he said – with a very Little Richard squeal — “Oh, you gonna make me scream like a white girl!”

Penniman was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Recording Academy and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.

Musician Norman Jackson, Who Sought Smiles with the Blues, Dies at 68

Norman Jackson, a versatile musician — known as The Soul Man although he played blues, R&B, rock and gospel — was an ordained minister at age 22. He died at 68 on April 15 in Springfield, Missouri.

Rick Shortt was one of his oldest friends. They forged a 30-year friendship that began with 12-year-old Shortt listening and watching through windows at the Bar Next Door, Shortt said. They kept in touch through the years, and during Jackson’s last decade, they worked together to expand the reach of the Norman Jackson Band.

“The world needed to see him,” said Shortt, the dynamic saxophonist and gymnastic performer. The band placed third at the International Blues Challenge in 2016 and played all over Europe as well as South Korea.

Wherever they went, Shortt said, Jackson brought his mantra along: “He always said, ‘What comes from the heart reaches the heart,’ and he lived that.”

Jackson played numerous free shows for charities, nursing homes and schools.

Jackson was born in Canton, Ohio, and grew up on the South Side of Chicago. His father was a minister; Sam Cooke came to the Jackson home from time to time. Jackson also said he met BB King in the neighborhood and saw him perform. Norman Jackson said in a 2012 News-Leader story. “Man, I sat there and watched that man play that guitar, and I said, ‘That’s what I want to do,’” Jackson said.

He said his own singing style came from Cooke, the Staples, Curtis Mayfield, the Emotions, Mighty Clouds of Joy and others.

Brenda Seely, past president of the Blues Society of the Ozarks, said Jackson’s nickname, The Soul Man, came from his work to build up people, Seely said. “He would try to sing to them and reach their souls — I think that’s what they (people) meant.”

Jackson moved to Springfield, Missouri about 1990 and joined Don Shipps' band within two or three years, Shortt said.

In 2018, vocalist Conita Silva paired with Jackson as a duo, Vanity Box. They went to the IBC and placed among the top 25 duos in 2019. This year, they entered but did not place.

Hunt also played with Vanity Box more recently for eight months and played at IBC in 2020. “I had an education in soul music like I probably would never have again.”

The Norman Jackson Band’s third-place showing in 2016 was the band’s highest achievement at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis. Jackson was 64 and told the News-Leader in 2016 he considered the blues a gift from God. “I have been there with other musicians, great musicians, but with the band I have now, we play because we love it.”

This year on February 8, at The Riff, the Norman Jackson Band played to a jubilant crowd, with people approaching Jackson for accolades and hugs.

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.