Thursday, June 29, 2006

Musings from Mr. Solid

By John Lee

To me, the 4th of July weekend usually means a good time spent at The Waterfront Blues Festival ( on the beautiful Willamette River in downtown Portland, Oregon. Not this year! In 2006 I’ll be checkin’ it out on line on KBOO-Fm 90.7 ( This year the line-up is funkified with many artists from New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. From opening night’s headliner Doctor John, to the final act on the 4th, the Soul Queen of New Orleans Irma Thomas (Irma will also sing the National Anthem just before the traditional fireworks display), this fest promises to be a funky good time. Check out the schedule on the Fest web site. The two stages that broadcast back and forth are the Miller Stage (MS) and the Credit Union Blues Stage (CU). The broadcast runs from Friday June 30th to Tuesday July 4th from 12:oo PM to 10:15 PM daily. I hope you dig it as much as I do!

If you have read my musings before you know that I’m a big fan of radio. There are two on-line radio shows that really knock me out. Blues Before Sunrise (, is broadcast out of Chicago Sunday mornings on WBEZ 91.5 FM (, midnight to 5:00 AM and 10:00 PM to 3:00 AM Saturday nights/Sunday mornings Pacific Time. Host Steve Cushing takes you on a varied trip from the 1920s to about 1970 featuring seminal recordings by the giants of the genre. A recent show had a segment of harmonica great “Little” Walter Jacobs as a sideman with many different blues artists like Floyd Jones and Otis Rush, not just the sessions with Muddy Waters. Sometimes I listen to the show on Alabama Public Radio ( Mr. Cushing always plays something I’ve never heard before. Now that’s sweet! Do yourself a favor and check out Blues Before Sunrise.

Beale Street Caravan ( is a Blues Foundation-produced weekly show of live recordings from clubs and festivals around America. Recent shows have featured the likes of Eddie Floyd, The Blind Boys of Alabama, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds. The group I proudly belong to, The Crossroads Band, was the guest artist on a November 2005 show. It was a recording of the band's 2005 Waterfront Blues Festival set. The show also has some real hip features like the segment on songwriters called "SOS-Songwriters of Soul." Both Percy and Curtis Mayfield were highlighted on two shows not long ago. Unlike Blues Before Sunrise, Beale Street Caravan is pre-recorded and plays at different times on many different radio stations. Check out the shows “find a station” section on their web site to find a station and time that’s good for you. This great show is based out of Memphis.

I have a handful of internet radio stations I listen to from time to time. Next time in this space, I’ll lay them on you.


July Blues Birthdays

James Cotton - July 1, 1935
John Lee (yours truly!) - July 1, 1948
Joe Willie “Pinetop” Perkins - July 7, 1913
George “Buddy” Guy - July 30, 1936
Willie Dixon - July 1, 1915 (died 1992)
Louis Jordan - July 8, 1908 (died 1975)
“Champion” Jack Dupree - July 4, 10, or 23, 1908, 1909, or 1910 (died 1992)
Mike Bloomfield- July 28,1943 (died 1981)

Electric bassist John "Mr. Solid" Lee was born in Alaska and has been active in the Seattle blues scene for about 30 years. He currently plays with the Crossroads Band. Photo by Mike Coyote.

No comments: