Linsey Alexander

Linsey AlexanderBeen There Done That
Delmark Records

Been There Done That is a sensational recording by bluesman Linsey Alexander who has worked the clubs of Chicago since moving there from Mississippi in the 1950s. It is his debut on the Delmark label, though he has released a number of solo efforts on smaller labels that probably did not get the attention out of the Windy City that this masterful artist truly deserves. Alexander is not about flash. He is not a guitarist that is going to strike out as many notes as he can in little time. This is tasty blues done right, being played by a well-toned band that completely shines on each and every track, including some well-known Chicago artists such as guitarist Mike Wheeler, keyboardist Roosevelt Purifoy and on three selections harmonica ace Billy Branch. There is also a lot of emphasis provided to the music by the LA Horns.

The music is straight forward and filled with emotion and often a little tongue-in-cheek humor. Alexander works to perfection the collaboration between his voice and the band. He throws in dashes of soul and funk with the blues, but regardless it all comes across as Chicago blues as you’ve come to know and love.

All but one of the dozen tracks had Alexander’s hand as part of the songwriting. The lone exception being Willie Kent’s number “Looks Like It’s Going To Rain,” a true highlight on the album as he pays tribute to his good friend who passed away in 2006, with The LA Horns bringing the song to life alongside Alexander’s guitar. Other tracks of note have to include “Big Woman” where he playfully sings about his over-sized girl-friend who he has to take to Lake Michigan to give her a bath and because he couldn’t buy a Cadillac she would fit into, had to buy a bus instead. But he still loves her as she “smells like butter, but tastes like cream.” Billy Branch and Roosevelt Purifoy are superb alongside Alexander’s guitar on the opening “Bad Man.” The three of them blend nicely without ever stepping on one another. The soulfulness of “Been There Done That” has a flavor that makes it sit right beside some of the very best songs of Little Milton or Johnnie Taylor. But to be honest, I cannot find a single track on this disc I do not enjoy.

Been There Done That is without doubt an album that brings out the very best of the blues. A guitarist and vocalist of top shelf form who has put in more than half a century developing his craft that absolutely excels. Double thumbs up to Delmark for bringing yet another over the top Chicago musician to the forefront. Highly recommended!

Total Time: 62:37

Raffle Ticket / Bad Man / Been There Done That / I Had A Dream / Looks Like It’s Going To Rain / My Mama Gave Me The Blues / Going Back To My Old Time Used To Be / The Same Thing I Could Tell Myself / Big Woman / Going Up On The Roof / I’m Moving / Saving Robert Johnson


Vance Kelly

Vance KellyTell Me Why: His Best 15 Songs
Wolf Records

Vance Kelly is a seasoned Chicago-based blues artist who plays some very fine guitar and has a distinctly soulful voice. Having worked around the Windy City for the past few decades, including a stint in A.C. Reed’s band, he has developed a strong fan base and has released a handful of recordings on the German Wolf label, known for showcasing often overlooked Chicago blues artists.

His latest recording with his unit The Backstreet Blues Band, Tell Me Why, is subtitled as His Best 15 Songs which notes audience favorites from his career and offers cover gems from artists such as Z.Z. Hill, Bobby Bland, Junior Parker, Sir Mack Rice and others compiled from his previous Wolf releases. There are also four newly recorded numbers including takes of Prince’s “Purple Rain” and Billy Roberts’ “Hey Joe” (best known for the cover by Jimi Hendrix). Both of these tracks truly allow Kelly to stretch out on his guitar. He can work it with a number of notes, but really draws out the emotional emphasis in everything he plays. And Kelly does not just perform covers of other musicians’ music; he’s also a capable and gifted songwriter, penning several original tracks on this outing.

The Backstreet Blues Band currently is made up of keyboardist John Walls, Mark Miller on bass and Shawn Lewis throwing down multiple instruments including drums, guitar and harmonica. But over the years, and displayed on several tracks here, Kelly has employed some monster Chicago musicians such as Big James Montgomery on trombone, guitarist John Primer, sax master Eddie Shaw and harp ace Billy Branch, among others.

This is a fine collection for anybody looking for an introduction to Vance Kelly and his soulful Chicago blues.

Total Time: 79:02

Twenty Four Hours / Wall To Wall / Foot Loose & Fancy Free / Doing My Own Thang / Members Only / I Stay Mad / Purple Rain / Drivin’ Wheel / Tell Me Why / Love Of Mine / Bad Taste In My Mouth / You Steppin’ Out / Highway Here I Come / Mustang Sally / Hey Joe

It is with extreme heavy heart that the CBA notes the passing of two important members of our blues family, Ardis Hedrick and Dick Pawlack. Both played pivotal roles within our organization in their own ways and we will be eternally grateful for both.

Ardis Hedrick was one of the prime shakers and movers of the early Cascade Blues Association years. A board member including a period as Vice President and editor of the BluesNotes. Ardis created the newspaper format that the BluesNotes still uses today. Many of those early issues were crafted by Ardis and her team in her home’s basement, using the detailed and tedious manner of pasting each issue together by hand. It was also her idea to sell advertising in the BluesNotes to help make it a self-sustaining project. A lifelong music lover, she also served many years with Positively Entertainment & Dining as a contributing writer bringing to attention many of our local musicians and their CDs.

Dick Pawlack

Dick Pawlack

Dick Pawlack was a supporting member of the Cascade Blues Association for a number of years. He had a passion for the blues and could be found in attendance endlessly at numerous shows and events. Aside from being a supporting member, Dick was also a benefactor to the organization, donating many items for raffles, silent auctions and giveaways, including his own hand-blown glass pieces and the ever-popular oversized harmonicas that he had signed by musicians. Before he passed, Dick made a contribution through the CBA to the Memphis-based The Blues Foundation, sending them a personally-made quilt pieced together from festival t-shirts and another one of his large harmonicas that may be destined a place in The Blues Foundation’s Blues Hall of Fame. A celebration of life for Dick will be held at Duff’s Garage on Tuesday, March 12th.




Kevin Selfe and the Tornadoes February 24

Hi everybody! So, I have some really big news to share with you this month…we have signed a recording deal with world renown blues label, Delta Groove! The new CD entitled Long Walk Home is set to be released worldwide on February 19 and features 11 songs, all originals. Lots of incredible musicians on it including my band mates Jimi Bott and Allen Markel, Mitch Kashmar, Gene Taylor, Doug James, Joe McCarthy, Brad Ulrich, Steve Kerin, Chris Mercer, and Dover Weinberg. So very excited and honored to be a part of the Delta Groove family! I wanted to say thanks to Jimi and Allen, and all the musicians for putting in many hours of hard work and effort that went into making this happen. And also wanted to say thanks to Randy Chortkoff of Delta Groove for believing in me and giving us this opportunity! For more information about the CD and about the band and upcoming schedules, please feel free to visit or

And speaking of upcoming schedules, now since we have the CD coming out, we’ve got to have a big party! On Sunday, February 24, we will have a CD release party at Duff’s Garage in SE Portland from 7-10pm. In addition to Jimi, Allen, and me, many musicians from the recording will be joining us on stage including Mitch Kashmar, Joe McCarthy, Brad Ulrich, Steve Kerin, Chris Mercer, and Dover Weinberg. Cover for the show is $12, and since it is a CBA co-sponsored show, members can get a $1 discount at the door.

This month marks six years since I packed up everything I owned and moved from Virginia to Portland without knowing a soul. Since then, I have made lifelong friends, experienced happiness inside and outside of music, grown both as a musician and as a person, have become part of a loving blues community. I can’t thank you all enough for welcoming me, accepting me, and showing your support over these six years. I am, and will be, forever grateful. Thank you all!

Hey Everybody,…Nice seein’ you again. Just wanted to throw out a BIG THANK YOU to all those who made donations that helped us get to Memphis! We appreciate each and every one of you.

The new cd is finished, and we’ll be announcing a cd release party somewhere soon.

Thanks for your support of Franco Paletta and The Stingers, and LIVE BLUES MUSIC!!! See y’all in the clubs!

Hey Blues Lovers. The Gustos want to thank the CBA for having us up to play at the Jan. meeting. We had an awesome time as always. Hope you all had a great holiday season. Just wanted to get a quick note in to let everyone know, that in addition to our show at the super cool Duff’s Garage on Feb. 21st, we will also be rockin’ that Soul Brand Gusto Music all night in Salem on Feb. 9th, 9pm at the newly rejuvenated Duffy’s Hangar. Look forward to seeing you guys out there as we get up to Portland more. You guys got gusto! See you soon.

Gusto Brothers

Believe it or not, it’s now been a year that Soul Cookin’ – Lloyd Jones, Carlton Jackson, Dover Weinberg, and Dave Kahl – have been holding down the groove at Blackwell’s on Wednesdays and hosting a ridiculous lineup of talent that is mind-boggling. LaRhonda Steele, Karen Lovely, Curtis Salgado, Ural Thomas, Peter Dammann, Richard Arnold, Arietta Ward, Lloyd Allen, Peter Moss, Mike Klinger, Brian Harris, Lisa Mann, Allen Markel, and a whole bunch more have turned this into a veritable who’s who and what’s next kind of night.

From 8:30-11:30pm, the place is jumping with activity – joking, laughter, heckling, encouragement, and applause. It’s all in good fun and everyone gives as good as they receive. Located at 1815 N.E. 41st Avenue, across Sandy Boulevard from the Hollywood Theater, Blackwell’s has a great vibe. Roomy, but intimate, the sound in the club is stellar – strong and even, but not too loud. There’s a good menu – you can even get a night time breakfast – plenty of available parking, central location, and affordable prices. No cover makes this all the more compelling. Come out and join us. We’d love to see you.

For the past few months, the Dover Weinberg Quartet has been extremely fortunate to have had our good friend and world-class guitarist, Alan Hager, join us for some pretty serious music in a not-so-serious setting for our Tuesday nights at Duff’s Garage. Alan always brings the right touch to the stage, whether we’ve delved into the trove of Tommy Johnson, the funkiness of Johnny “Guitar” Watson, the grit of Muddy Waters, or the hard bop of Charlie Parker. He’ll still be working with us for a few more of these in February, but, with the return of Chris Carlson, there are only a couple more chances for you to catch this incredible talent in a fully supportive ensemble of band mates and friends. Thanks, Alan. You’ve elevated our game each time you’re with us. While we’re at it, we’d also like to thank Duff’s owners, Jon and Jennifer Wallace, and bartender, Chris Olson, for giving us a home where we can just do our thing.

The Dover Weinberg Quartet – with the rhythm section of Kelly Dunn and Dave Kahl – sets a solid bar for others, not by their musical capacities and capabilities, alone, but by just playing the tunes for their own sake, finding the joy and adventure in each one, and sharing the goodwill with a very receptive and supportive audience. From 9pm to midnight, you can catch these guys, as well as a bunch of other truly special players who regularly sit in.

While we’re at it, let’s add a welcome home to Chris Carlson and Duffy Bishop. You two have been deeply missed. Maybe you folks ought to come out and say so, yourselves. It’ll only cost you a $3.00 cover charge. Duff’s is located on S.E. 7th Avenue at the corner of Market Street. You can’t miss it. It’s where all the noise and laughter is coming from.

I just want to take a minute to thank the Portland clubs that hired [And paid], Bolt Upright in 2012. Thanks to Montavilla Station for giving us a great place to stage our Sunday Blues Jam. Every week is an exciting mix of new and old friends and great musicianship. Also,The Blue Diamond/The Lodge/Mad Greek Deli/ The M&M Lounge/ and the now closed Knuckleheads. We hope to add to this list of venues in the New Year. I want to also thank my wife Susie and friend Lynn Axtell for helping me continue to perform with Bolt Upright. We’ve been doing it since 2001 so we’re in our 12th year together and I hope to continue for a long while. Also, I personally thank Chad Rupp/Norman Sylvester/Dub DeBrie/Ken M./Angel Bouchet/The Bros.of Baladi/Lady True Blue/LaRhonda Steele/ Sandy Sanders/Kerry Dean Stickler and Danny Hay Davis for hiring me to play with them this past year and to Jeff Knudson for recording our 2012 Bolt Upright disk! Band leaders, please call on me in 2013 if you need a singing drummer! The Beat Goes On!

Lucky 2013 is getting off to a good start for us right here in P-Town!

Starting out the year with our first “Hometown” gig, Friday, Feb 8th at Portland’s funnest place on earth… Duffs Garage!!

We will become “Highway Bound” soon, with winter- fests in the NW & Canada, and summer dates in Denmark, Norway and the U.S. Midwest.

April looks like a “Radio tour” back east too!

Stay in touch at

For “guitar heads”, there is a nice article in Vintage Guitar Magazine this month covering my “gear” setup.

Thanks for listening.

PS – Every Monday at the Muddy Rudder (8105 SE 7th Ave., Portland, OR 97202) 7:30-10:30pm,

I’ll continue the acoustic “Cityfied Country Blues” Piedmont pickin’ by the fireplace!

Lloyd Jones
“Groove Merchant”