JUST A MORTAL MAN
The ‘Jerry Lawson Legacy Project,’ an exclusive series for Blues America, explores the history of Jerry Lawson and the legendary Persuasions in chronological order as explained in a biographical commentary by Jerry and Julie Lawson with special guests.
Jerry Lawson is arguably one of the most important figures in the genre of a’cappella (singing without the use of instrumental accompaniment). For more then 40 years, Lawson was the lead singer, producer, arranger and founding member of the Persuasions, the most famous a’cappella group to date, and the only performers of their genre to earn worldwide mainstream success. Jerry Lawson and the Persuasions have undoubtedly done more to popularize a’capella then anyone else before or since. Lawson launched a solo career in 2004 soon after releasing an album with Talk of the Town and appearing on CBS's the Sing-Off. At the age of 71, he is releasing his first solo album on Nashville Red Beet Records, 'Just a Mortal Man.'
Blues America is a public radio series broadcasting weekly from the Chico Chism Studio in Phoenix and providing an outlet for Blues artists to share their stories. There's nothing like it!
WHERE THE BLUES TALKS
THE BLUES IS A FEELING
THE BLUES IS LIFE
THE BLUES IS STORIES AND LEGENDS
THE BLUES IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF AMERICA
IT IS OUR HISTORY AND NATIONAL STANDARD
EVERYTHING STARTED FROM THE BLUES
IT'S TIME NOW FOR BLUES AMERICA
BROADCASTING COAST TO COAST
LET'S TALK ABOUT SOME BLUES, SHALL WE
KEEP THE BLUES ALIVE
Southwest Musical Arts Foundation
FUNDING AND PROMOTIONAL CONSIDERATION MADE POSSIBLE BY:
Show 78: JAN 13 to JAN 20, 2017
CEDRIC BURNSIDE PROJECT
Cedric Burnside is a 4-time Blues Music Award Drummer of the Year who grew-up in rural Northern Mississippi, without a TV or radio, across the street from Junior Kimbrough’s Juke Joint and under the wing of his famous Grandfather, RL Burnside. After many years of touring and recording with RL Burnside, Cedric continued to keep hill country blues alive with his own endeavor, the Cedric Burnside Project featuring his lifelong friend, guitar ace Trenton Ayers. Trenton is the son of Junior Kimbrough guitarist, Little Joe Ayers. Together the dynamic duo has released a handful of critically acclaimed albums with the latest effort being Descendants of Hill Country which was nominated for a Grammy Award.
Show 93R: May 11 to May 18, 2017
This week your host, Drew Verbis is escorting Henry Gray to Memphis to receive his induction into the Blues Hall of Fame. 92 year old multi Grammy-nominated blues piano master, Henry Gray, is a living legend and a national treasure whose recording career spans seven decades. Despite his vibrant solo career, he is often remembered for his significant contribution to post-war Chicago blues during his time as a session player for Chess Records and a member of the Howlin’ Wolf band. In 2016, shortly after the release of his critically acclaimed Delta Groove Records called ‘The Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest,’ Henry was awarded a lifetime achievement award in Chicago.
May 10 2017
Drew at Henry's house in Baton Rouge
May 10 2017
Drew and Henry Memphis Bound
May 10 2017
Henry finds a Piano in Memphis
May 10 2017
Henry is inducted into the Hall of Fame
Show 113: OCT 27 to NOV 03, 2017
Rockin Johnny cut his teeth on the Chicago scene with the likes of Jewtown Burkes and the Taildragger. Since then he’s released 7 critically acclaimed albums, most on famed Delmark Records. Johnny led one of the most requested house bands in Chicago working with Billy Boy Arnold, Jimmie Lee Robinson, Willie Buck, Paul De Lay and many more, before relocating to California. He just released his second studio effort as a Californian, both recorded at the renowned Greaseland. His latest is Neoprene Fedora, a theme which represents his assimilation into Westcoast culture. The album features Kid Andersen, Aki Kumar and Alabama Mike among others and features a smashing version of Johnny Littlejohn’s ABC hit, Guitar King.
Show 117: DEC 01 to DEC 07, 2017
When the Howlin’ Wolf gives you a name it sticks. He told Arkansas native, Crawlin’ James Yancey to stop draggin’ his tail and from that day, the Tail Dragger was born on the Chicago blues scene. He took tips from Mad Dog Lester Davenport, Lee Shot Williams and Chico Chism before becoming one of Chicago’s most formidable singers and hiring a gamut of top talents to back him including Willie Kent, Little Mack Simmons, Johnny B Moore, Carey Bell, Lurrie Bell, and Eddie Shaw. Later, he frequently molded young white players; some have moved-on to make significant contributions to the blues, like Bob Corritore and Rockin’ Johnny Burgin.
Show 121: DEC 29 to JAN 05, 2018
John Tefteller is a world-renowned collector of rare records and 78’s but in particular, pre-war classic blues and more specifically, the Paramount blues catalog. John spends much of his time traveling around the world in search of rare records. In 2009, the New York Times featured John in a major soft news feature. In 2013, John made headline news by purchasing a Tommy Johnson 78 on eBay for $37, 100. John is often mentioned or used for source reference in music news and publications. In 2004, John began putting out a blues calendar which features rare blues advertising illustrations from the 1920’s and is accompanied by a rare classic blues CD compilation.
Show 123: JAN 18 to JAN 25, 2018
SWEET PEA ATKINSON
Sweet Pea Atkinson is a veteran singer who rose to fame when his Detroit-based soul funk band Was (Not Was) scored a top ten Billboard pop hit in 1989 called, ‘Walk the Dinosaur.’ Following this success, he spent the next few decades as a member of the Boneshakers and performing with the likes of Lyle Lovett, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson. In 2017, working with Keb Mo, he released his first solo studio album in 30 years, a contemporary blues-soul project called ‘Get What You Deserve’ for famed Blue Note Records.
Show 127: FEB 16 to FEB 22, 2018
George Bowman is a famed singer in his home state of Arizona where he is a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and connected to his cities long legacy of blues and soul going back to the days of Dyke & the Blazers. After moving to Arizona from Mississippi, George befriended famed funk icon Dyke Christian and became hooked on the groove. Shortly after he formed a band, Memphis Soul and began to cut singles and opening for Charles Brown and Taj Mahal. George has recorded several full-length studio albums including ‘Badd Boy’ which featured renowned guitarist Lucius Parr. Recently George collaborated with Bob Corritore on a single for the upcoming Delta Groove Records release, ‘Don’t Let the Devil Ride.’
Show 129: MAR 02 to MAR 07, 2018
Quique Gómez is an international blues star from Spain. He migrated to Chicago in search of his blues hero’s and found regular work with legends like the Tail Dragger, Willie Buck, Eddie C Campbell, Bob Stroger and today’s second special guest, Rockin Johnny Burgin. As a harmonica ace and crooner, Quique has cut over 12 records in the traditional post-war Chicago blues style.
Show 131: MAR 16 to MAR 22, 2018
Nick Moss is a formidable Chicago blues guitarist who cut his teeth with Jimmy Dawkins, Jimmy Rogers and Willie Big Eyes Smith before cutting solo records for his own critically acclaimed Blue Bella Records. He started on bass with Barrelhouse Chuck before switching instruments. Recently, he found a natural home with Chicago’s powerhouse record label, Alligator. Releasing premiere album for the label, The High Cost of Low Living with longtime bandmate, Dennis Grueling. Dennis is a harmonica ace from New Jersey who brings commanding vocals and raw harp to the Nick Moss band.
Show 133: APR 1 to APR 6, 2018
Blues guitar ace, Bernard Allison marks his return to Ruf records with “Let It Go”, another solid studio album to his already distinguished recording career. Bernard is the son of legendary blues icon, Luther Allison. Like his father, he molded his passion for blues and skills as a band leader in front of audiences in France. Today he is one of the top talents on the scene and like his father, he is leading the contemporary blues charge for the next generation of players while bearing the traditional blues torch passed down by his father.
Show 137: MAY 4 to MAY 11, 2018
Mud Morganfield is the eldest son of the legendary Muddy Waters. He has never lived in the country; he was born and raised in the inner city of Chicago during the Motown era making his path into the blues much different from his famous father. When he commands the stage the similarities of his powerful vocals with that of his father is uncanny; giving blues fans a sense that the spirit of Muddy Waters is alive. In 2015, Mud earned a Blues Music Award for his album, ‘For Pops.’ Mud celebrates the release of his critically acclaimed fourth studio effort, ‘They Call Me Mud’ on Severn records.
Show 142: JUNE 1 to JUNE 7, 2018
Johnny Tucker started playing in the local clubs of Fresno during the early 60’s with his family band. Later, he cut his teeth as a drummer for Phillip Walker. This put Johnny on the road and he would later work with Floyd Dixon, Robert Cray, Johnny Otis, Lowell Folson, Johnny Copeland and many more. In the late 90’s he cut a studio album with James Thomas before launching a solo career with the release of “Why You Lookin’ at Me” some years later. Today he celebrates a long career in Big Jon Atkinson’s vintage 1-track studio to cut the downhome blues project, Seven Day blues released on the High John label.
Show 144: JUNE 15 to JUNE 21, 2018
Remembering the legendary Eddy Clearwater (1935 – 2018). Born in Mississippi, raised in Alabama and entered the blues scene in the early 1950’s Chicago behind Magic Sam before cutting sides for his uncle, Houston Harrington on the small Atomic-H label. During the early 80’s, Eddy would forever be known as the Chief, from the popular title of his Rooster Records Label debut which featured the exciting showman in a Native American headdress and riding a horse. He would continue to impress fans worldwide, releasing 17 albums, being nominated for a Grammy Award and winning a handful of blues music awards.
Show 146: JUNE 29 to JULY 7, 2018
Shawn Holt is an international blues star who carries on the tradition and family legacy of his father, the legendary Magic Slim. He picked up the guitar and performed with dad at only 17, before becoming the leader of his dads famous band, the Teardrops that featured Shawn's famous uncle, Nick Holt and the great John Primer. Shawn performs out sold-out venues around the world and released his debut studio effort for Blind Pig records, 'Daddy Told Me" that won a blues music award.
Show 148: JULY 13 to JULY 20, 2018
"Long-Tall" Marcia Ball earned world-wide fame as a two-fisted barrelhouse piano player who delivers a fiery twist of Louisiana swamp blues and Texas stomp-rock. The award winning Southern piano player has been cutting critically acclaimed studio records since the mid-80’s. Her latest effort is called, Shine Bright, produced by Steve Berlin of Los Lobos and available everywhere from Chicago’s renowned, Alligator records. In 2018, she was inducted into the Austin City Limits Hall of Fame.
Show 149: JULY 20 to JULY 27, 2018
Walter “Wolfman” Washington cut his teeth backing the legendary R&B legend, Lee Dorsey (Ya Ya) who took the young teen on the road and legendary venues like the Apollo theatre. Later, Wolfman learned details about singing and the music biz while backing Johnny Adams for many years. He released critically acclaimed records during the 80’s and 90’s for some of the top labels of the day, like Rounder and Point Blank. The New Orleans native is rooted in deep blues but cut many funk grooves and naturally commands deep soul ballads with tremendous feeling. His debut studio effort for Anti-Records is a stripped down bluesy contemporary-Jazz project called “My Future is My Past.”
Heard on this Episode
Don't Let the Devil Ride
Don't Let the Devil Ride
Going Down the Road
Show 152: AUG 10 to AUG 17, 2018
Intervew by Alan Lomax
At the Red Cross
Josh White/Pinewood Tom
Silicosis is Killing Me
Dom Flemons is a multi-instrumentalist and native of Arizona who emerged onto the roots scene as the co-founder of the Grammy-Award winning folk band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. After leaving the group to pursue a solo career he quickly lived up to his moniker as the American Songster performing in front of music coinsures around the world, including at Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry. Recently he teamed with the Smithsonian Folkways label to produce his latest studio effort titled, Black Cowboy. A roots experience that highlights the forgotten culture and history of African American Cowboys.