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2010 Blues Fest -- Friday, July 2: Bandshell (“Blues in the Blood”) PDF Print E-mail
Music - Mississippi Valley Blues Festival
Written by Administrator   
Wednesday, 23 June 2010 05:47

Every act on both stages Friday is a descendant of a blues legend.

The Kinsey Report, 5 p.m.

Kinsey ReportThe Kinsey brothers -- guitarist/vocalist Donald, drummer Ralph, and bassist Kenneth -- developed their funk-oriented blues sound from a lifetime of working together on stage and in the studio. Their father and musical mentor, the late Mississippi-born Lester "Big Daddy" Kinsey, introduced his sons to gospel and blues early on. As youngsters, they saw firsthand the emotional power of music in their grandfather's church in Gary, Indiana. By the time Donald was 13, he was an accomplished guitarist who performed with Big Daddy around Gary. During the late 1960s, Big Daddy began taking the family act on the road. In 1972, Albert King recruited Donald as his rhythm guitarist.

In 1975, Donald and Ralph formed the heavy-metal group White Lightning, cutting an album for Island Records and touring nationally. At an Island Records reception in New York, Donald met reggae superstar Bob Marley, who in turn introduced him to Peter Tosh. Tosh invited Donald to sit in on the recording of Legalize It. After touring with Tosh for a year, Marley asked Donald to overdub some guitar parts for Rastaman Vibration. Donald moved to Jamaica in 1976 and toured with Marley.

The Kinsey Report came together in 1984, with Donald returning home to join Ralph in re-forming the family band with Big Daddy. Youngest brother Kenneth took over the bass slot. The band, Big Daddy Kinsey & the Kinsey Report, combined the sons' rock-influenced sound and their father's Mississippi Delta-blues roots. The Kinsey Report's debut album for Alligator Records, 1988's Edge of the City, led to three Blues Music Award nominations. Downbeat declared: "The band is telepathically tight, and its impact is devastating." And that description stands true today for the Kinsey Report -- the brothers plus guitarist Nick Byrd -- with their mix of fiery guitars, funky rhythms, streetwise lyrics, and boundless energy. -- Karen McFarland

To read a 2008 River Cities' Reader article on the Kinsey Report, visit

Mud Morganfield, 7 p.m.

Mud MorganfieldHis real name is Larry Williams, but this firstborn son of blues icon Muddy Waters (McKinley Morganfield) was raised with the names "Mud Jr." and "Little Mud." Now 56, Mud Morganfield has a voice that's uncanny in its resemblance to his father's.

Similar to the early life of Muddy Waters, Mud Morganfield was a truck driver with a passion for music. In his spare time, Mud Morganfield would sing with local soul groups. But it wasn't until after the funeral of his father in 1983 (where he met his half-brother Big Bill Morganfield for the first time) that Mud Morganfield immersed himself in the blues. He performed in the clubs of Chicago's South Side but has otherwise kept a low profile.

In July 2007 Mud stepped out into the limelight playing a show with Big Bill Morganfield at the Muddy Waters Memorial Festival in Westmont, Illinois, and then went on to his own set at the Chicago Blues Festival in 2008. This was followed by sold-out tours of Europe and South America.

Mud Morganfield takes pride in re-creating the sound of his father. So be prepared for a set of deep Chicago blues when Mud Morganfield hits the stage. He's bringing a great band of bluesmen from Chicago to play with him, including Eddie Taylor Jr. on guitar, Harmonica Hinds, and Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith (son of Willie "Big Eyes" Smith) on drums. -- Karen McFarland

Bernard Allison, 9 p.m.

Bernard AllisonIn keeping with our "Blues in the Blood" theme night, Bernard Allison is the son of the late, great Luther Allison. Bernard was born in Chicago on November 26, 1965, the youngest of nine children. Running around the stage as his father played had a profound effect on Bernard. He states that he was about seven years old when he decided he wanted to be like his father. He didn't start playing 'til he was roughly 10 years old.

Bernard made his first appearance on record at age 13, when he played on a live LP his father recorded in Peoria, Illinois. Luther bought Bernard his first guitar, a Fender Stratocaster, but also told him to get an education first. Bernard joined his father on stage at the 1983 Chicago Blues Festival. One week after graduating from high school, Bernard got a call from Koko Taylor asking him to be the lead guitarist in her band. He played with Koko's band for three years. Then in 1989, Bernard recorded with his father in Europe and lived there for a while, playing in his father's band. Luther and Bernard both can be heard tearing it up at the 1989 Chicago Blues Festival that was released on Luther Allison's album Let's Try It Again on Ruf Records. One year later, Bernard released his first solo album, appropriately entitled The Next Generation. I don't mean to slight any other blues performers, and there are thousands of great musicians, but Luther Allison is in my opinion the greatest blues performer that has ever graced a stage! Bernard has definitely inherited some amazing genes from his father, and even though he doesn't like to be compared to his father, he doesn't have to be, because he is getting great on his own! -- Steve Heston

Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials, 11 p.m.

Lil' Ed & the Blues ImperialsLil' Ed, although small in stature, is a true giant of the blues, and among the very last authentic West Side Chicago bluesmen. His band includes himself on lead guitar, his half-brother James "Pookie" Young on bass, Mike Garrett on rhythm guitar, and Kelly Littleton on drums. Lil' Ed's storybook rise in the blues world has taken him from working in a car wash to entertaining thousands of his fans all over the world, leading to an appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien (in a hilarious film with Lil' Ed teaching Conan how to play the blues).

Lil' Ed was born in Chicago on April 4, 1955, and was surrounded by the blues growing up. He was playing guitar, drums, and bass by the time he was 12. Along with Pookie, Ed received lessons and support from his famous blues-playing, slide-guitarist uncle, J.B. Hutto. Ed says that J.B. taught him everything he knows and wouldn't be where he is today without him. Ed met up with Alligator Records President Bruce Iglauer at a time when Iglauer was looking for local talent for an anthology of some of Chicago's younger blues musicians. The band showed up expecting to cut two songs; they had never been in a recording studio before. After doing those songs, the place was jumping with excitement. Lil' Ed had the engineer and all of the Alligator staffers begging for more, and Iglauer offered the band a full-album contract on the spot. The end result was 30 songs in three hours with no overdubs and no second takes.

If you want to see a band that is guaranteed to get you up on your feet dancing, then you don't want to miss Lil' Ed & the Blues Imperials! -- Steve Heston

To read a 2005 River Cities' Reader article on Lil' Ed, visit

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