Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam

By Steve Newton On May 6, 1985, Vancouver blues legend Jim Byrnes was in the midst of a week-long stint at a nightclub in the West End. That's no big whoop as far as Vancouver music history goes, but considering how much Byrnes has contributed to the city's blues scene since then, I figured it … Continue reading Jim Byrnes on the Vancouver blues scene in ’85 and his idol Magic Sam

Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues, says Willie Dixon was her right arm

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, SEPT. 25, 2003 By Steve Newton When Koko Taylor was a youngster, living with her poverty-stricken family on a sharecropper’s farm in Tennessee, she used to find joy in her meagre existence through the music B. B. King liked to play. It wasn’t King’s own soulful blues that caught … Continue reading Koko Taylor, Queen of the Blues, says Willie Dixon was her right arm

Magic Sam gave Magic Slim his nickname, told him to get his own style

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JULY 1, 1999 By Steve Newton There are few blues guitarists around today who can match the fire and passion of Buddy Guy, but Morris “Magic Slim” Holt is right up there with the best of them. As can be heard on Magic Slim & the Teardrops’ latest CD, … Continue reading Magic Sam gave Magic Slim his nickname, told him to get his own style

Eddy Clearwater took Magic lessons on Chicago’s West Side

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 24, 1999 Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater chose a good guy to hang with when he moved to Chicago’s West Side in 1950. As a budding, 15-year-old bluesman, Clearwater became close friends with Magic Sam, the legendary West Side guitarist who died of a heart attack at the age … Continue reading Eddy Clearwater took Magic lessons on Chicago’s West Side

Chicago blues legend Otis Rush still gets around: “It’s a job, you know, and I got to work.”

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, JUNE 19, 1997 By Steve Newton In conversation, blues legend Otis Rush comes across like one of his classic guitar solos: direct and to the point. He’s no fancy talker, but he gets to the heart of the matter. When the Georgia Straight tracks the 62-year-old musician down at … Continue reading Chicago blues legend Otis Rush still gets around: “It’s a job, you know, and I got to work.”

David Gogo farts in his old record label’s general direction on Dine Under the Stars

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, FEB. 27, 1997 Just two years ago Nanaimo blues-rocker David Gogo seemed to have the music world by the tail. Only 25 years old, he was inked to a worldwide recording deal by EMI Music, which was so pleased about signing Gogo that it manufactured limited-edition double-disc promo versions … Continue reading David Gogo farts in his old record label’s general direction on Dine Under the Stars

B.B. King’s busted guitar string becomes treasure for Tinsley Ellis

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED IN THE GEORGIA STRAIGHT, MARCH 19, 1992 By Steve Newton When one of your biggest idols gives you a souvenir—whether it be a quickly scribbled autograph or a worn-out guitar pick—that thing automatically becomes priceless. I’ve got a two-inch mirror badge that Thin Lizzy guitarist Scott Gorham gave me during my first backstage … Continue reading B.B. King’s busted guitar string becomes treasure for Tinsley Ellis

Chicago bluesman Morris Holt, aka “Magic Slim”, dies at 75

   ORIGINALLY POSTED ON STRAIGHT.COM, FEB. 21, 2013 The blues world lost one of its elder statesmen yesterday when Morris Holt--aka "Magic Slim"--passed away at the age of 75 at a hospital in Philadelphia. He had been under medical care since late last month, when breathing problems caused him to suspend a tour with his … Continue reading Chicago bluesman Morris Holt, aka “Magic Slim”, dies at 75