â€œâ€¦Elvin has become one of the most respected and beloved artists to come out of the 60â€™s blues-rock explosionâ€ â€“ All About Jazz
\"â€¦careening slide and razor-edged bursts, all delivered with unflagging enthusiasm and wit.â€ â€“ Rolling Stone Magazine
\"Bishop is a good-hearted soul whose life mission is to entertain to the best of his ability.\" â€“ Downbeat Magazine
\"The Blues Rolls On\" harks back to Elvin Bishop\'s roots, paying tribute to the musicians who inspired him and who also helped give him his start. Supported by an all-star cast of blues royalty featuring B.B. King, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, George Thorogood, James Cotton, Kim Wilson, Tommy Castro, John NÃ©meth, Angela Strehli, plus many more; Bishop leads the way through a smoldering set of searing blues and rollicking R&B. While Bishop handles a majority of the vocals, he graciously steps aside on several numbers in order to allow his guests ample room to strut their stuff, including rising star and vocal powerhouse John Nemeth, as well as other distinguished personnel that include George Thorogood, Angela Strehli, Ronnie Baker Brooks and R.C. Carrier. With over 45 years of blues experience under his belt, Bishop is widely recognized and highly respected as a slide guitar master with a history dating all the way back to his electrifying and groundbreaking work in the 60\'s with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. By assembling a dizzying array of musical talent - age 9 through 82, Bishop has collected together a lifetimeâ€™s worth of education in the blues into one complete cohesive package; thereby allowing him the opportunity to present and pass along to the younger generation some of what the older guys gave to him. â€œThe Blues Rolls Onâ€ is another defining moment in Bishopâ€™s long career - a crowning achievement and welcome reminder for all of us that the blues is still alive and well.
â€œThe Blues Rolls Onâ€ is about what a beautiful thing it is how the blues continues to flow from one generation to the next. Itâ€™s some tunes from guys who helped me early in my career â€“ Junior Wells, Hound Dog Taylor, Paul Butterfield and others, sung by some dynamite guys coming up now. Some of these fellas are fairly unknown now, but wonâ€™t be long. I also asked some really famous guys like B.B. King, James Cotton, Kim Wilson, George Thorogood, Tommy Castro, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks to participate. â€œ
Elvin Bishopâ€™s recordings have always been extra full of a blues-drenched, rocking, good-timing vibe thatâ€™s called many a listener to â€œparty â€˜til the cows come home!â€ over the last four-plus decades and carved himself and his signature songs a beloved place in the music scene. But â€œThe Blues Rolls Onâ€ is different, and special. Itâ€™s Elvinâ€™s celebration of both his inspirations and the ongoing bearers of the blues torch. Elvin has gathered a dizzying guest roster aged 9 through 82, and applied them and his songwriterâ€™s and musicianâ€™s skills to a cohesive, well-rounded and personally meaningful repertoire, recorded in settings ranging from Jacksonville, Florida through Clarksdale, Mississippi all the way to a cruise ship off the Mexican coast. He harkens back to his youth in Tulsa and the blues radio that caught his ear, through his years in Chicago where he attended the University of Chicago and got his serious blues education in the cityâ€™s ghetto streets, bars and the homes of some generous mentors like Little Smokey Smothers and Sammy Lawhorn, through the Paul Butterfield Blues Band epoch to his solo career as a master of blues and a hero to southern rockers. â€œThe Blues Rolls Onâ€ makes it as easy to be excited about the future of the blues as it is to appreciate its past and what the blues have meant to Elvin Bishop.
The Blues Rolls On: Kim Wilson and Warren Haynes help Elvin set the theme. â€œEverybody knows and loves Kim Wilson from his work with the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Thatâ€™s the best third position harp playing I ever heard on â€˜The Blues Rolls On.â€™ Warren and Elvin each add some dynamic slide guitar.
Night Time: Vocalists John NÃ©meth and Angela Strehli join Elvin to evoke Ray Charles, whom he vividly remembers seeing during his Tulsa youth. â€œI went to see Ray Charles at the Big Ten Ballroom in 1958. They would stretch a rope from the front to the back and white people had to stand on the left of the rope, black people on the right. He had his great band with all the fantastic horn players and the Raelettes and put on a show Iâ€™ll never forget. I wouldnâ€™t have had the nerve to record a Ray Charles song if I hadnâ€™t had the help of two of my favorite singers in the world â€“ John is originally from Boise, Idaho, has three albums out, sings and plays harmonica, everything he does is just right and he tears this song up royally. Angela Strehli from Texas, whose latest album is BLUE HIGHWAY, is a very nice person and her singing has that soulful ring of truth.â€
Yonders Wall: Over four decades after Elvin recorded this with Paul Butterfield, he collaborated with longtime good friend guitarist/vocalist Ronnie Baker Brooks and the Tommy Castro Band on the October 2007 Legendary R & B Cruise off the Pacific coast of Mexico. The genesis of this song really reflects the way the blues does roll on, from Big Boy Crudup via Elmore James to Paul Butterfield to Tommy and Ronnie. â€œWhen they sing the line â€˜your man went to the war,â€™ I think they all could have been talking about different wars â€“ World War II, Korea, Vietnam and now Iraq.â€
Struttinâ€™ My Stuff: With members of his â€˜70s band and special guests, Elvin pulls â€œStruttinâ€™â€ into the 21st century! â€œI jammed with the Allman Brothers Band at the Beacon Theater in 2007, for the first time since the days of Duane and Dickie. It was with Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks. Wow â€“ unbelievable musicians. When Warren told me he used to play Struttinâ€™ My Stuff as a sixteen-year-old in a bar band, I said, â€˜we gotta do it.â€™ Itâ€™s not exactly blues, but itâ€™s a good example of how the music flows from one generation to the next, and boy did they tear it up.â€
Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket: Elvin got this one from drummer-vocalist-bandleader Roy Milton, who shares an Oklahoma connection â€“ Roy was born on an Indian reservation there in 1907. B.B. King collaborates and reminisces; the relaxed swing but deep overall feel of the song and the clear, genuine rapport between Elvin and B.B. make this a highlight. â€œB.B.â€™s the most important guy in the blues. Iâ€™ve been listening to him since the fifties and have known him since we played together at the old Fillmore in the mid-sixties. He was nice enough to invite me to his room at the Fairmont Hotel, where I found him on his bed surrounded by sheet music, working away on scales and exercises. After we had a long talk, he called up a barbeque place in Oakland and had two orders of â€˜dry-friedâ€™ ribs delivered. Oh yeah! B.B. provided a great example for a young musician like myself â€“ he taught me a lot about developing a habit of self-improvement and valuing the music over some of the BS aspects of the music business.â€
Whoâ€™s The Fool: Elvinâ€™s slide guitar playing is supplemented by John NÃ©methâ€™s vocals, and fast-rising Norwegian-turned-Californian Kid Andersen (taking the first solo) and Mighty Mike Schermer (handling the other solo duties) on guitar. â€œWhoâ€™s The Foolâ€ by Singinâ€™ Sammy Ward was a hit in Chicago, and probably not much of anywhere else. Butterfield used to sing it a lot, but never recorded it.
Black Gal: â€œI loved Zydeco Blues, especially Clifton Chenierâ€™s music. He was a good hanginâ€™ out buddy, and I got to play on one of his albums in the early 1970s. â€œBlack Galâ€ is one of Cliftonâ€™s best blues, sung by R.C. Carrier, who played rub-board for Clifton, with accordion by Andre Thierry, the hottest young Zydeco player on the West Coast.â€
Oklahoma: This typically wry autobiographical tale of his roots and journey features just â€œme and my foot.â€
Come On In This House: This Junior Wells song is a Clarksdale recording with a band from Tupelo, Mississippi, Homemade Jamz. â€œTheyâ€™re a young group. [At the time of the session, guitarist/vocalist Ryan Perry was fourteen, bassist Kyle Perry was eleven, and their drummer sister Taya was all of nine years old.] The kids, their mom and dad, theyâ€™re the nicest family in the world, and on their way to success.â€
I Found Out: James Cotton, saxophonist Terry Hanck and John NÃ©meth are part of this version of a little-known but locally popular 1966 45 by Junior Wells. â€œI got with Junior through Sammy Lawhorn, a sweet guy with a sweet guitar style. We used to practice together and hang out. Sammy was playing with Junior, but Muddy Waters called him to do a tour down south. He told me Junior wanted me to play with him for two weeks and he showed me the songs. So I tried my best to learn them and the next Tuesday I went down to the Blue Flame Club. I introduced myself to Junior and it was plain that this was the first he had heard about it â€“ Sammy was scared to tell him. He took me in the back, pulled out his harmonica, and checked me out to see if I knew the tunes. He was really nice. He let me do the gig. I was pretty green, but it worked out okay... I met James Cotton, one of the greatest harmonica players in the history of blues, when he was with the Muddy Waters Band in 1960 and weâ€™re still good friends. This is the first recording weâ€™ve made together since 1963. Terry Hanck is a great tenor sax man, bandleader, songwriter and singer who deserves to be a lot better known.â€
Send You Back To Georgia: Hound Dog Taylor made this Timmy Shaw record his own; here Elvin and George Thorogood honor the colorful Chicago slide master who was another early bandleader for Elvin. â€œHound Dog played in small clubs with no stages, and set up the instruments right down on the floor with the people, just like the juke joints down south. Hound Dog would be hollerinâ€™ and sweatinâ€™ and really jamminâ€™ with the people. George Thorogood told me he used to open for Hound Dog a lot when he started out, and I can see a lot of Hound Dog in him, the way he just goes for it, and he can hit notes on the guitar that are musically â€˜wrongâ€™ and make people love it.â€
Honest I Do: Elvin goes back to the beginnings of his Blues Awareness in Tulsa for this nod to Jimmy Reed, in the company of John NÃ©meth on harmonica and ex-John Lee Hooker guitarist and Chicago-to-California transplant, Rich Kirch, playing the answer figures. â€œThe one thing they couldnâ€™t segregate was the airwaves, and I still remember some of the first blues I ever heard, on WLAC in Nashville late at night when I was supposed to be sleeping. Jimmy Reedâ€™s high wailing harmonica cutting through the static to the orange glow of the radioâ€™s tubes in the dark.â€ As usual on this song, Elvin lets his slide guitar handle the â€œsinging.â€
In Elvinâ€™s words, â€œIâ€™ve been at it for over 45 years â€“ Iâ€™m amazingly lucky to have met so many great musicians and beautiful people in the blues. I bet Iâ€™m the only guy in the world who has played with Big Joe Williams, Little Walter, Jimi Hendrix and Derek Trucks. Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, when I did, the odds were low Iâ€™d ever grow up to be a blues musician. When I heard blues, I said this is where the good part of rock and roll is coming from! It was like a billion volts shooting through my body â€“ and I went after it like a dog on a bone.â€ Elvin sees â€œThe Blues Rolls Onâ€ as â€œa chance to pass along to the younger generation some of what the older guys gave me.â€ But heâ€™s due some thanks too, for pulling together a project where greatness and love are on equal and obvious display. With all the distinguished artists involved, numerous touches like B.B. Kingâ€™s easy geniality and Elvinâ€™s own substantial musical foundation and sure guiding hand remind the listener that only Elvin Bishop could have made this package of delights what it is: a joy to hear, an invitation to a lot of smiling, foot tapping and dancing, and a cornerstone of his legacy. â€“ Dick Shurman (blues producer and historian)