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THE SOUL TRUTH Reviewed in The New York Times
8/22/2005
Jon Pareles reviews The Soul Truth in the August 22, 2005 edition of The New York Times.

THE SOUL TRUTH Reviewed in The New York Times

THE SOUL TRUTH Reviewed in The New York Times

THE NEW YORK TIMES

August 22, 2005

 

The Soul Truth
Shemekia Copeland

Shemekia Copeland has no patience with the wrong kind of men on "The Soul Truth" (Alligator). She doesn't just leave them; she tells them exactly why she's going, what they did wrong and how much better she's going to feel when she's back on her own. Ms. Copeland is the 26-year-old daughter of the bluesman Johnny Clyde Copeland, who grew up in Texas and moved to New York City, and she was born to belt. She has a big, bright voice with a switchblade rasp, and on "The Soul Truth" she finds the ideal settings for it.

Ms. Copeland has sung plenty of blues on previous albums, but "The Soul Truth" is unabashed 1960's soul. The album is produced by Steve Cropper, the guitarist and songwriter from the great Stax Records studio band in the 1960's. He collaborated on some of the songwriting, and his guitar is at the center of arrangements with a lean backbeat, rollicking piano (by Chuck Leavell from the Allman Brothers Band and the Rolling Stones) and an ever-alert horn section. Unlike many soul-revival productions, the album supplies her with songs worthy of the treatment.

The melodies are chiseled and the lyrics are tough and funny: "Breakin' Out" compares divorce to a jailbreak, while in "All About You," which Ms. Copeland helped write, she realizes that "We're all through, because I could never love you as much as you do." Even when she's complaining about the state of the airwaves in "Who Stole My Radio?" - "I want passion, I want feeling/ I want to be rocked from the floor to the ceiling" - her terms are amorous and uncompromising. JON PARELES

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SHEMEKIA COPELAND’S “WHO STOLE MY RADIO” #2 MOST ADDED SONG AT AAA RADIO
8/10/2005
“Who Stole My Radio?,” the lead single from singing sensation Shemekia Copeland’s THE SOUL TRUTH (produced by Steve Cropper), was the #2 Most Added song on the AAA radio format for the week of August 8, 2005.

SHEMEKIA COPELAND’S “WHO STOLE MY RADIO” #2 MOST ADDED SONG AT AAA RADIO

SHEMEKIA COPELAND’S “WHO STOLE MY RADIO” #2 MOST ADDED SONG AT AAA RADIO

“Who Stole My Radio?,” the lead single from singing sensation Shemekia Copeland’s THE SOUL TRUTH (produced by Steve Cropper), was the #2 Most Added song on the AAA radio format for the week of August 8, 2005. This is an exciting development for the CD, which will be released on August 16, 2005. Upcoming press for the CD includes features, reviews, and/or mentions in “Billboard,” “The Wall Street Journal,” “Paste,” “Harp,” “Vanity Fair,” “OffBeat,” “Relix,” “Entertainment Weekly,” “Jazziz,” “For Me” and many other publications around the country. In addition, the 53rd Annaul “DownBeat” Critics Poll named Shemekia their “Rising Star Blues Artist.”

 

Also out on August 16 is FLASH FORWARD from Chicago’s beloved Siegel-Schwall Band. Corky Siegel, Jim Schwall, Rollo Radford and legendary drummer Sam Lay recorded their first studio album in 30 years, featuring their signature brand of fun-loving blues. “Ice” magazine, “Blueswax,” “Billboard” and many other publications will help celebrate the release of this remarkable recording.

 

 

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DETROIT JUNIOR OCTOBER 26, 1931 – AUGUST 9, 2005
8/9/2005
Legendary and beloved blues pianist, vocalist and songwriter Emery “Detroit Junior” Williams, Jr., died at his Chicago home on August 9, 2005 of heart failure. He was 73. Over the course of his 50-plus year career, Detroit Junior led his own bands and appeared as a solo performer, in addition to playing in bands with Howlin’ Wolf and Eddie Shaw. He wrote hundreds of songs, had numerous local successful 45s, as well as writing hits recorded by Albert King and Koko Taylor.

DETROIT JUNIOR OCTOBER 26, 1931 – AUGUST 9, 2005

Legendary and beloved blues pianist, vocalist and songwriter Emery “Detroit Junior” Williams, Jr., died at his Chicago home on August 9, 2005 of heart failure. He was 73. Over the course of his 50-plus year career, Detroit Junior led his own bands and appeared as a solo performer, in addition to playing in bands with Howlin’ Wolf and Eddie Shaw. He wrote hundreds of songs, had numerous local successful 45s, as well as writing hits recorded by Albert King and Koko Taylor.

 

He was a wildly entertaining performer in his own right as well, gigging constantly and recording on scores of other artists’ albums as well as four full albums under his own name. Two of his songs have become blues standards: “Call My Job,” which was a hit for Albert King, and the perennial favorite, “Money Tree.” Koko Taylor has recorded three of his tunes: “Tired Of That,” “Thanks, But No Thanks,” and “Never Trust A Man.”  His rambunctious personality, raspy voice and untamed stage antics (including playing the piano standing up, on his knees and from underneath the piano) earned him many fans and friends around the world.

 

Emery Williams, Jr. was already an experienced entertainer and piano player when he came to Chicago in 1956 from Detroit.  He was originally from Haynes, Arkansas where he was born on October 26, 1931, and spent his childhood in southern Illinois. He had led his own band, the Blues Chaps, since he was 19, playing clubs in Pontiac and Flint, Michigan. For three years they were the house band at The Circle Club in Detroit, backing touring stars like Roscoe Gordon, Eddie Boyd, John Lee Hooker and Amos Milburn. Milburn was Junior’s idol, and his humorous blues about the evils of alcohol inspired some of Junior’s best songwriting.

Blues musician Eddie Boyd first brought Junior to Chicago in the early 1950s, hoping to line up a contract for him with Chess Records. The Chess deal didn’t work out at first, but Junior fell in with J.T Brown, the city’s leading blues sax man. They landed a gig at Club 99, then at the legendary Squeeze Club. Junior quickly won a following with his percussive piano and energetic stage show. He paired up with harp man Little Mack Simmons, and they settled into a steady gig as house band at Cadillac Baby’s South Side club. He recorded his first single, “Money Tree” backed with “So Unhappy” in 1960 for the Bea & Baby label. That record marked the first appearance of “Detroit Junior;” before that time he had been known as Little Junior Williams, and when the record became a local hit, the nickname stuck.

Chess Records, sensing they had missed something, signed Junior, but subsequent singles didn’t sell, and he cut for Foxy, CL and Palos before waxing his next hit, the original “Call My Job,” on U.S.A., in 1965. The flipside, “The Way I Feel,” a spontaneous and sensitive piano solo, proved that Junior had talent for deep blues as well as novelty tunes.


During the ‘60s, Junior gigged with Mack Simmons, Eddie Taylor, Sam Lay and Johnny Twist. From 1968 on, he toured and recorded with the late Howlin’ Wolf, playing everywhere from college auditoriums to Big Duke’s Flamingo. When Wolf died in 1976, Junior stuck with the band, The Wolf Gang, under the leadership of sax man Eddie Shaw for a number of years.

 

Detroit Junior’s first full album under his own name, “Chicago Urban Blues” (on the Blues On Blues label) came out in the early 1970s. Alligator Records included four of his songs on the “Living Chicago Blues, Volume 6” anthology in 1980. The album helped establish him as a successful solo performing career. From 1995 through 2004, Detroit Junior released four CDs under his own name, three for Blue Suit Records: “Turn Up The Heat” (1995), “Take Out The Time” (1997), and “Live At The Toledo Museum Of Modern Art” (2004). His most recent CD was 2004’s “Blues On The Internet” on Delmark.

In the last few years, Junior often appeared on the Chicago’s North Side at clubs like Kingston Mines, even after losing a leg to diabetes. He was filmed for Martin Scosese’s PBS series, “The Blues,” and kept on writing and performing up until his death.


 

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NEW CDS FROM SHEMEKIA COPELAND AND THE SIEGEL-SCHWALL BAND ON THE WAY!
7/13/2005
Alligator Records has set an August 16 release date for new CDs from roots/blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland and Chicago’s beloved Siegel-Schwall Band.

NEW CDS FROM SHEMEKIA COPELAND AND THE SIEGEL-SCHWALL BAND ON THE WAY!

Legendary Stax guitarist/songwriter/producer Steve Cropper produced Copeland’s THE SOUL TRUTH, flavoring the recording with solid doses of Memphis soul and punching horns. FLASH FORWARD is the first studio album from The Siegel-Schwall Band in 30 years.

 

Shemekia Copeland’s THE SOUL TRUTH is the funkiest, deepest, and most exciting statement yet from the woman CNN calls, “a legend in the making.” “Billboard” agrees, saying Shemekia has “extraordinary talent, Copeland is a vocalist who knows few stylistic limitations. She’s a true blues diva.” The album is musically steeped in the spirit of classic Memphis soul but is lyrically up-to-the-minute, featuring Shemekia’s powerful, emotional vocals over a blistering band with horns punching in all the right places, THE SOUL TRUTH is a tour-de-force of rock, soul and blues.

 

Born in Harlem, New York in 1979, Shemekia came to her singing career slowly. Her father, the late Texas blues guitar legend Johnny Clyde Copeland, recognized his daughter’s talent early on. He even brought her on stage to sing at Harlem’s famed Cotton Club when she was just eight. At that time Shemekia’s embarrassment outweighed her desire to sing. But when she was 15 and her father’s health began to slow him down, she received the calling. “It was like a switch went off in my head,” recalls Shemekia, “and I wanted to sing. It became a want and a need. I had to do it.” Within a year she was touring with her father.

 

Shemekia stepped out of her father’s shadow in 1998 when Alligator released TURN THE HEAT UP to massive popular and critical acclaim, with rave reviews running in newspapers and magazine across the country. In 2000 she returned with WICKED, then followed that with her Dr. John-produced release, TALKING TO STRANGERS in 2002. On the strength of these recordings, Copeland has appeared twice on “Late Night With Conan O’Brien,” and also performed on National Public Radio’s “Weekend Edition” and the “CBS Saturday Early Show.” She’s appeared on “Austin City Limits and the “Late Show With David Letterman” (along with B.B. King), was featured in the Martin Scorsese-produced concert film “Lightning In A Bottle,” the PBS television series “The Blues” and even opened a show for the Rolling Stones in Chicago. She’s toured the U.S., Canada, Europe and Australia.

 

With the powerful and radio-friendly songs on THE SOUL TRUTH and continued non-stop touring, Shemekia will continue to reach fans across all musical genres. Throughout CD, Shemekia Copeland delivers music for both seasoned blues and soul lovers and new fans. “I want people who love hip-hop to know where it came from,” she told “Vibe” magazine. “My music is rooted in blues, but it’s different. I’m singing about my era. I’m here and I’m singing about now and not yesterday.”

 

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It’s been over 40 years since harmonicist/pianist/vocalist Corky Siegel and guitarist/vocalist Jim Schwall met and formed The Siegel-Schwall Band, one of Chicago’s most beloved blues groups. From the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s, The Siegel-Schwall Band recorded ten critically acclaimed albums, performed constantly, and shared stages with artists such as The Allman Brothers, Janis Joplin, and Jefferson Airplane. Their subtle, acoustic-flavored blues, original songs and inventive interpretations of classics by Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon and other blues greats were their calling card, fusing urban blues and folk into their own unique sound. In addition to their recordings, the band was renowned for their high energy, good-time live shows. In 1968, they defied boundaries by combining blues and classical music with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and established themselves as one of the most adventurous blues bands around.

 

In  1987 the group reunited and released the joyous THE SIEGEL-SCHWALL REUNION CONCERT on Alligator Records, with fans and critics alike heralding their return. FLASH FORWARD, The Siegel-Schwall Band’s new CD, and their first full album of new material in 30 years, picks up right where they left off, featuring their signature brand of fun-loving blues. Their “extended vacation” from recording (as founding member Corky Siegel calls it) has brought a new sense of inspiration to their music.

 

In addition to founders Siegel and Schwall, the band includes longtime bassist Rollo Radford, who has performed and/or recorded with music legends such as Dinah Washington, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters and Sun Ra, and legendary blues drummer Sam Lay, whose lengthy resume includes stints with Little Walter, Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Howlin’ Wolf, B.B. King, and Ray Charles. Sam was also a member of the original Paul Butterfield Blues Band, and backed Bob Dylan during his first electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965. He also played on Dylan’s “Highway 61 Revisited” album.

 

Corky Siegel and Jim Schwall met in Chicago in 1964 while both were in the Roosevelt University Jazz Band. The pair soon discovered their mutual love for the blues and eventually began performing as a duo, with Corky on harmonica and piano and Jim on guitar. They played every Thursday night at Chicago’s Pepper’s Lounge, often jamming with blues luminaries including Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Junior Wells and James Cotton.

 

In 1965, Vanguard Records signed the band to a deal, releasing “The Siegel-Schwall Blues Band” in 1966. That same year, Chicago Symphony Orchestra conductor Seiji Ozawa, who frequented Siegel-Schwall’s gigs, approached the band. “Ozawa wanted my band to jam with his band, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra,” Corky relates. Sure enough, the first jam took place in 1968, when Siegel-Schwall and the Chicago Symphony played William Russo’s “Three Pieces For Blues Band And Symphony Orchestra,” and it was a smash success.

 

Between 1967 and 1974, the group performed at the Fillmore West in San Francisco and scores of clubs and festivals, and played an important part in the era’s blues revival movement while gaining new fans along the way. The band signed to RCA-Wooden Nickel in 1971, releasing five albums on the label before splitting up in 1974.

 

Based on the success of 1988’s THE SIEGEL-SCHWALL REUNION CONCERT show and album, The Siegel-Schwall Band decided to join forces once again. Since then, The Siegel-Schwall Band has continued to play a number of live dates, including a triumphant appearance at the 2004 San Francisco Blues Festival.

 

With the release of their new CD FLASH FORWARD, The Siegel-Schwall Band leaves no doubt that their “extended vacation” is over, and they are ready to add another chapter to their impressive musical story. It’s the welcome return to recording of a beloved blues band that continues to inspire music fans everywhere.

 

 

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Guitarist Harry Hypolite -- Played With Clifton and C.J. Chenier -- Dies In Car Crash
6/23/2005
Guitarist Harry Hypolite, 68, died in a car accident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. Hypolite played in Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band, and later with C.J. Chenier. He recorded on two of C.J.'s Alligator albums: "Too Much Fun" and "The Big Squeeze." Hypolite recorded one CD under his own name, 2001's "Louisiana Country Boy," for Analogue Productions.

Guitarist Harry Hypolite -- Played With Clifton and C.J. Chenier -- Dies In Car Crash

Guitarist Harry Hypolite, 68, died in a car accident in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on Wednesday, June 22, 2005. Hypolite played in Clifton Chenier's Red Hot Louisiana Band, and later with C.J. Chenier. He recorded on two of C.J.'s Alligator albums: "Too Much Fun" and "The Big Squeeze." Hypolite recorded one CD under his own name, 2001's "Louisiana Country Boy," for Analogue Productions.

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CITY OF ATLANTA PRESENTS TINSLEY ELLIS WITH PHOENIX AWARD!
6/21/2005
Atlanta native/resident and celebrated blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis received a coveted Phoenix Award from the city of Atlanta during his hometown performance at the Variety Playhouse on Saturday, June 25. Ellis released his very first live CD, LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN, on Chicago's Alligator Records label. Atlanta’s Director of Cultural Affairs, Camille Love, presented the Phoenix Award – the highest and most prestigious award the City of Atlanta has to give. “GuitarOne” magazine said Ellis has “monstrous guitar chops. Words like ‘feral,’ ‘incendiary,’ and ‘fiery’…are more than appropriate when he takes the stage.”

CITY OF ATLANTA PRESENTS TINSLEY ELLIS WITH PHOENIX AWARD!

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XM'S BLUESVILLE SHOW BROADCASTS THE HOLMES BROTHERS
6/21/2005
XM Satellite Radio’s Bluesville program will broadcast the Holmes Brothers’ performances live on Sunday, June 26, 2005 from 5:45 – 7:00pm. The Holmes Brothers will be performing at the National Capitol BBQ Battle in Washington, D.C. Critics hailed their latest CD, SIMPLE TRUTHS, as the best of their career. The group recently picked up the prestigious 2005 W.C. Handy Blues Award for “Blues Band of the Year.” In 2004, The Holmes Brothers appeared on Late Night with Conan O’Brien and performed with Willie Nelson on his television special, “Willie Nelson & Friends: Outlaws and Angels.”

XM'S BLUESVILLE SHOW BROADCASTS THE HOLMES BROTHERS

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KOKO TAYLOR AND SHEMEKIA COPELAND TO HAVE SONGS FEATURED IN FILMS
6/21/2005
Queen of the Blues Koko Taylor and vocalist Shemekia Copeland will each have one a song featured in upcoming Hollywood films. Taylor’s “I’m A Woman” will appear in the film “Grilled,” starring Ray Romano. Copeland’s “Turn The Heat Up” will be heard during “The Thing About My Folks” starring Peter Falk, Olympia Dukakis and Paul Reiser.

KOKO TAYLOR AND SHEMEKIA COPELAND TO HAVE SONGS FEATURED IN FILMS

Taylor recently headlined the Chicago Blues Festival, performing in front of an adoring hometown audience of over 100,000. Copeland will release her new cd, THE SOUL TRUTH, produced by legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, on August 16, 2005. That same day, Alligator will release FLASH FORWARD, the first studio album in 30 years from Chicago’s beloved Siegel-Schwall Band.

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Tinsley Ellis' LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN Reviewed in Billboard
6/21/2005
Writer Philip Van Vleck reviews the new Tinsley Ellis CD, LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN, in Billboard issue #26.

GuitarOne Praises Tinsley Ellis's LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN
6/20/2005
Writer Sean McDevitt, in the August 2005 issue of GuitarOne magazine, raves about the new Tinsley Ellis CD, LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN.

GuitarOne Praises Tinsley Ellis's LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN

GuitarOne

August 2005

Tinsley Ellis/Live-Highwayman

You can't read about Tinsley Ellis's monstrous guitar chops without encountering words like "feral," "incendiary," and "fiery." But, as demonstrated on this release -- the guitarist's first for the label since 1997 -- those adjectives are more than appropriate, especially when he takes the stage. HOT LICK: Ellis's guitar threatens to combust on "The Axe."

--Sean McDevitt

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TINSLEY ELLIS' LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN RECEIVES RAVE REVIEW IN GUITAR WORLD
6/14/2005
Writer Alan Paul, the August 2005 issue of Guitar World magazine, raves about Tinsley Ellis new CD, "Live-Highwayman."

TINSLEY ELLIS' LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN RECEIVES RAVE REVIEW IN GUITAR WORLD

TINSLEY ELLIS' LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN RECEIVES RAVE REVIEW IN GUITAR WORLD

GUITAR WORLD
August 2005
by Alan Paul

Live-Highwayman

"Tinsley Ellis has been slogging it out on the road for two decades, so it's no surprise that the bluesman sounds so comfortable on his first live album. Ellis is in complete control of his band, his instrument and his crowd, and his playing sparkles with depth and subtlety. Whether playing deep, slow blues or uptempo rockers, Ellis rides a gorgeously fat, pure tube tone, nodding to the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughan and David Gilmour without veering off his true course. After 10 albums in 20 years, Ellis turns in a peak performance."

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MAVIS STAPLES DAY IN CHICAGO JUNE 12, 2005!
5/18/2005
In an honor unlike any other, the City of Chicago presented Mavis Staples with a proclamation declaring Sunday, June 12 “Mavis Staples Day” throughout Chicago. That evening, Staples headlined the annual Chicago Blues Festival in front of an audience of over 100,000 people.

MAVIS STAPLES DAY IN CHICAGO JUNE 12, 2005!

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