RJ Spangler's Blues Four featuring Bill Heid, Keith Kaminski, Pat Prouty wsg Johnnie Bassett
RJ Spangler is Detroit to the bone. Not only is our foremost revivalist of authentic classic R&B talent, he's also a hell of a drummer. Every move that he makes is informed by his love & passion for the music of this city. This collaboration with Bill Heid is a wonderful addition to both of their extensive catalogs.
I first started playing little gigs around Detroit with Bill Heid way back in 1985. We had a regular Sunday gig at the Tap Room on the eastside with James O'Donnell and Kurt Krahnke. We were mixing up swing, bop & blues, much like we do to this day, because that is what we like to do. Back then Bill was turning me onto lots of cool records which over the years have influenced me greatly.
At this point it might be germane to mention that Bill Heid is quite a musician & singer. Born & raised in Pittsburgh, PA, he grew up digging serious jazz, blues & doo wop. He lived in Chicago for a number of years, recording with Koko Taylor (twice), Fenton Robinson (twice) and Roy Buchanan, all on the Alligator label. He has recorded for many labels since including impulce!, Black Magic, Cannonball, Wetside, Savant and many more. He is now a journeyman having backed the likes of David "Fathead" Newman, Jimmy Witherspoon, Big Jay McNeely. Bill lived in Detroit for over two decades where he created a large following of serious musicians. I count myself to be one of them.
By the early 1990's Bill was often living for long periods of time in either LA or Osaka, Japan. Upon returning one year, I hired him on a little private party gig. He was blown away by the guitar player that was on the gig with us, the now legendary Johnnie Bassett. After a Heid style interview with Johnnie on the first break, Bill came back and told me that Johnnie was the guitar on all those old Fortune Records sides that he'd turned me onto a few years previously. That was basically the start of Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents, a name that Bill had devised.
"You Know I Can't Refuse" refers to a tune that Bill has been singing with us all these years. It was originally on one of those old Fortune sides, by the Five Dollars, backed by Joe Weaver & the Blue Notes (featuring Johnnie on guitar). It should be noted that Alberta Adams' only son, James Drayton, was the baritone singer on that record. I have been professionally linked to Alberta for about 15 years now so the title is appropriate indeed.
Except for the boogie composed by Bill on the spot, these are all cover tunes that we would do in the course of any gig with Bill & the cats. Blues tunes by Floyd Dixon, Jimmy Witherspoon, etc. As we had never recorded these tunes and with Bill, now living between Baltimore and Shanghai, it was a rare chance to record them for posterity. You hold the results in your hand. I sincerely hope that you dig these wonderful old tunes as much as we have. <~ a re-write