"FIREBREWED" is ten (10) powerful tunes plus a bonus track, all featuring "Big Daddy & Red Hot Java's patented minstry of "Booty Quakin' Soul Shakin' Progressive Urban Blues." It's a Blues gumbo peppered with Soul, Funk, Jazz, Hip Hop, and Rock, but still very much BLUES! Here's a rundown:
The title cut, "Firebrewed," is about man's natural taste for angelic women with a develish side.
"Shake Your Hips" pays tribute to Slim Harpo in a most gyrating way.
"Thousand Shades Of Blue" explores the depths of fractured romance.
"Blood Stain'd Blues" tells the story of a Federal Prison death row inmate.
"Blues For An Angel" pays tribute to all those dearly departed who help us here on earth.
"Fireman's Stomp" two-steps it's way through the life of a fireman... even more engaging since September 11th.
"Louise" is a testimony to one of Big Daddy's favorite Irish women.
"This Is My Blues Too" lets the world know if we all share our burden(s) it's much lighter.
"Willie's Slide" tells the story of "Tallahassee Tight," one of "Tampa Red's" sidekicks.
"Ain't Nothin' But A Party" answers the question of what happens when the party never stops.
Plus there's a bonus track.
BIG DADDY & RED HOT JAVA (the band): "Big Daddy & Red Hot Java" plays "Booty Quakin' Soul Shakin' Progressive Urban Blues." Says lead vocalist Randall "Big Daddy" Webster of Chicago Illinois, "I think we've found the perfect mix of Soul, Hip Hop, Funk and Rock built over a solid foundation of Blues. Our ministry of Blues covers a lot of turf. Some say we play Blues where New Orleans and Chicago meet. They (the media) called it 'Progressive Urban Blues' during our June 2000 and July 2001 European tours. I guess it fits. All I know is it's always time to testify with our ministry of Blues! And with Kez (Adams) on sax and Saunders (Sermons) on trombone, and Forrest (Greene) on guitar, we've got some serious kick. I'm very excited about our lineup, the new CD 'Firebrewed' and our recent summer 2001 European tour! It was our sixth international tour. What better way to celebrate than with a Wang Dang Doodle!"
"Big Daddy & Red Hot Java's" concerts feature cuts from their critically acclaimed CD "The 24th Hour" including "Red Hot Java," "Married To Mizery," "Southern Belle From Hell," "Wes' Whiplash," and "New Cadillac." Both "Dirty Old Town" and "New Cadillac" hit the Irish Blues charts back in 1997. All the tunes from their new CD, "Firebrewed" are also unleashed; including "Fireman's Stomp," "This is my Blues Too," "Firebrewed," and "Willies' Slide." Mix in a few Blues classics and you've got a primal combination suited for a wild voodoo jitterbug night! Better "buckle up" folks!
LEAD GUITARIST Forrest "Gump" Greene from the swamps of Wakulla, Florida (home of Tarzan and The Swamp Thing movies) says, "There's powerful energy when we play -- almost as if we're channeling the entire Blues heritage. It definitely feels like we're wired and percolating!" Adds Greene, "I'm most excited about what we're doing now. It's fresh, deep and VERY real!"
DRUMMER number sixteen (Big Daddy & Red Hot Java has had 16 different drummers) J. "General" Mills displays his talented hand and footwork every night. Incredibly this Hollywood, Florida native isn't phased by the past drummer turnover in Red Hot Java. Says Mills; "I'm straight with it. This isn't some slacker gig chunking out shuffles all night. You've got to play multiple rhythms, have impeccable time, lock into a serious groove, snap a thunderous foot, and do it all with Jazz sensitivities and an ear toward improvisation. It's a welcome challenge." Mills has played everything from Gospel to R&B to Hip Hop in various bands, but has found a home with Blues and "Big Daddy & Red Hot Java."
BASSIST John "Big Tone" Toney of Miami, Florida earned his nickname with his rock solid bass playing. He and drummer J. "General" Mills have teamed up in several bands over the last couple years finally finding a home with "Big Daddy & Red Hot Java." Toney's virtuoso playing has been compared to the best in the world (Larry Graham, Jaco Pistoria), but he never sacrifices the groove... it shakes you to the very core? such that you can't stand still. Says "Big Tone, "when everyone is up undulating and gyrating we just lay it down fat and hard. You'll feel it... oh yaaaaaaaa!"
SAXAPHONIST Kez "Thing" Adams plays both alto and tenor? sometimes at the same time. This young gun from Miami has major league chops honed since he was a child through his studies at Florida A&M University School of Music. Adams says, "Big Daddy has it going on. He gives us the perfect pocket to lay our parts down, and when it's time to blow he gives us space." Adams tasteful licks, monster solos, and terrific dynamics punctuate each performance.
TROMBONIST Saunders "Preacha" Sermons plays with the dexterity of a valve player. Intricate licks pour out of his bell, and together with Kez "Thing" Adams, he zaps all hits and pops, and brings sizzle to the "Big Daddy & Red Hot Java" mix. Says Sermons, "Kez and I have locked our harmonies for years, and this band gives a chance to work it. Big Daddy is twice as old as the rest of us, but you'd never know it by his energy on stage.
RANDALL "BIG DADDY" WEBSTER (the boss): Growing up in Wheaton, Illinois (also home to Jim and John Belushi), he snuck into the Windy City's (Chicago) most notorious Blues clubs. They soaked in the music of Muddy Waters, Otis Span, Junior Wells, Big Joe Turner, and other Blues legends holding school on stage.
Webster would often jump the "L" (elevated train) to Maxwell Street where itinerant Bluesmen plied their trade on the corner. Webster's first guitar, a Harmony Stratatone, came from Duke's pawnshop north of the old market. He scavenged record bins for vintage vinyl from his new Blues heroes. But eventually Chicago Top-40 radio on WLS and WCFL stole his ears.
The teenage Webster learned how to run a P.A. system frequently working for are Blues bands in the very clubs he once sneaked into as a child. During one sound check with Otis Rush, the band suddenly stopped mid-song only to hear Webster belting out a verse of Mojo. They chuckled loudly, and then Rush said, "Not bad for a skinny white kid!" The Blues flame was lit again and Webster never looked back musically.
Webster polished his vocal skills in the late 1970's singing jingles for Chicago area radio stations, and sitting in with most any Blues band that would have him. Wrapping his four-octave tenor voice around tunes, Webster frequently was called the "Pavarotti of Blues." His vocal acrobatics and expressive singing style wrenched every bit of emotion out of each tune. Eventually he landed at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where Webster hosted a noon hour Big Band Blues radio show on WCIL-AM. Periodically he'd record St. Louis Bluesmen, and itinerant Blues folk musicians who lived in shanties overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and Wabash rivers. These Bluesmen are descendents of minstrels who traveled the nation's waterways. Using an old dreadnought acoustic guitar given to him by Will "Big House" Staughton, Webster picked tunes with his newfound Blues friends. When they ran out of covers tunes, they made them up. This was the beginning of Webster's Blues songwriting.
By the early 1980's Webster migrated back to Chicago occasionally hosting a midnight Blues show for WAUR-FM, an oldies radio station. His guitar soon gathered dust. In 1985 a business opportunity in Tallahassee, Florida brought south. Suffering through too many of Chicago's brutal winters, the Sunshine state was appealing. Once in Tallahassee, Webster hit the Blues jams to check out the scene. As his Tallahassee Blues circle grew, so did the idea of developing a horn based Blues band. By 1986 the "Mighty Big Blues Band" was born. With 5 horns, 3 backup singers, lead and rhythm guitarists, keys, bass and drums; the 13 piece group earned it's name and reputation with a "wall of sound" belting out Blues and Soul classics. Their "Big Band" sound instantly captured audiences. During this tenure, master Blues harp player Lincoln "Chicago Beau" Beauchamp dubbed Webster "Big Daddy" while doing a show together. Beau marveled at Webster belting out tunes over his horn section saying, "The only thing bigger than 'Big Daddy' is his voice!" Unfortunately, keeping "The Mighty Big Blues Band" together was difficult and the band folded after one CD and three successful years.
Next up was a 5-piece Soul/Funk group, "The Jive Rockets." Exploring music by the Isley Brothers, James Brown, Al Green, Bobby Blue Bland, and other Blues-based crossover artists brought a contemporary flare to "Big Daddy's" sound. Webster has written over 300 tunes, performing many of them live.
After a year with "The Jive Rockets" Webster jumped ship to the Jazz-fusion group "Zing" looking to push his "musical envelope," but he never left the Blues behind. His formally trained "Zing" band mates helped Webster polish his guitar work and songwriting skills, and he learned how to put it all on paper.
Before long the Blues beckoned again. Big Daddy" searched for the right musicians to play in his new group "Red Hot Java." He wanted to meld his Chicago roots with the New Orleans musical gumbo he tasted on numerous trips there. Original "Red Hot Java" bassist Michael "Crash" Grief and drummer Ron "Bruno" Wilson were refugees from "The Mighty Big Blues Band." Guitarist Curtis "Cortez" Hightman played with Webster at several Blues jams. When they convened for a session it was magical. With a couple gigs under their belt, they recorded a live CD at the venerable Dave's CC Club, a Tallahassee landmark "jook joint." Three years and two European tours later came their first studio CD "The 24th Hour" featuring 9 Webster penned tunes and two covers. The critically acclaimed 1997 release charted an Irish tune turned Blues, "Dirty Old Town." Now going on their 7th year "Big Daddy & Red Hot Java" has added a horn section. Their summer 2001 CD release "Firebrewed" features 9 "Big Daddy" tunes and a Slim Harpo inspired tune. The current Red Hot Java lineup includes Forrest "Gump" Greene on lead guitar, J. "General" Mills on drums, John "Big Tone" Toney on bass, Kez "It's YourThing" Adams on alto and tenor sax, and Saunders "Preacha" Sermons on trombone.
Webster is a founding member of the Apalachee Blues Society, and on their board of directors. He performs "Blues-In-Schools" programs for elementary through college level students, sometimes with Blues legend Charles Atkins at Florida State University. Remaining true to the Blues heritage, Randall "Big Daddy" Webster has developed an original style called Progressive Urban Blues, which features Soul, Funk, R&B, Jazz, and Hip Hop influences. His solo shows combine original and classic Blues and the stories behind the music for "Big Daddy's Blues Stories."