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2003 News March 21, 2019   
October 11 & 12, 2003

Jimmy Thackery and Tab Benoit

October 5, 2003

Who was "Your" favorite last night at the Guitar Extravaganza held at the State Theater in Modesto, will be the first question out of many mouths this morning for those who went, or those who should of went.

My answer would be hmmmmmm, all of them!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The show opened up with a really kick ass set as Mofo Party Band (www.mofopartyband.com) as the opening band. John's vocals and harp playing and vocals filled the old State Theater and brought knew life in to her the likes that haven't been seen in many years. They received the first of many standing tributes and justly deserved in all respects. As with all openers from John and Bill their set never lasts long enough. Mofo opened with huge amounts of energy and set the tone and energy level for the night. Mofo Party Band started the show with a bang and by the end of the night with an incredible jam session by all performers ended with an incredible explosion. Not sure what the guitar smashing was all about and thought it a little odd and out of place for a blues show, but what a night. Rene came out and continued the high-energy show with awesome guitar playing, pure vocals and music. Jeremy Norris joined Rene with INCREDIBLE guitar picking and vocals. Have I mentioned the keyboards that were an incredible mix into the music? Throughout the whole night the ivories were kept hot to the point of melting, an incredible awesome addition to the show.

Kenny Blue Ray always brings a wonderful show of traditional hard charging electric blues and is a great reminder of where electric blues came from. Keep it going KENNY!!!!! Ok, now, lets talk about Laura Chavez. I would rather listen, but in this media, all I can do is talk. Two words "LITTLE WING!" If you weren't there, I am not going to tell you. SHAME ON YOU! As a couple people sitting around me said, "That was worth the whole ticket price to listen to her play that song. Laura came out on stage and just took over. After a standing ovation (not the only one for her that night) she kept up with this RAW BLUES GUITAR sound that was incredible. Jeremy said, "She's not a great guitar player cause she is a female, SHE'S A GREAT GUITAR PLAYER BECAUSE SHE CAN PLAY THE GUITAR!!!!!!!!!! Keep an eye out for her. My hopes "LC" as she proudly outlines on her guitar strap, will be around in the years to come. Daniel Castro walks on stage looking good, sounding good, and playing good as always. He just doesn't know how AND WOULDN'T put on a bad show. Daniel surrounds himself with the top notch band members that have every bit the talent and dedication to not only the music they so obviously love, but true loyal dedication to his fans and the his fans give that love back. Daniel, you are on your way brother! We need another CD and soon. I can't get enough. The final jam session surprised a few in the audience when John Clifton from Mofo walked out with a guitar. How many knew he could play. And I do mean play. I think it would have been incredible if John had thrown his incredible harp playing, but it was a "GUITAR EXTRAVAGANZA", and the sound of that many guitars on stage jamming was electrifying. I guess I am partial to John's harp playing. GO BROTHER BILL!!!!!!!

The sound system and technicians were TOP-NOTCH, never forget about the sound guys, they can make or break a concert. And with TOP NOTCH performers on stage, it was very obvious we were able to enjoy them with TOP NOTCH sound engineers!!!!! THANK YOU

The staff at the STATE is wonderful, I think it is a great venue only lacking in ample dance spaces. But as blues fans, we will dance in our chairs if we have too!!!!! We will dance on each other! We are blues people, "We don't need no stinkin' dance floor".

I would like to write a little about the supporting musicians. Daniel's bass player, Rene's bass player (AND SINGS TOO) and then MOFO's are nothing but the best. Not your everyday bass playing, but true performers and technicians of the bass!!! These guys should put on a clinic. The concerts wouldn't be the same without them. Drummers always get the glory and the two we had that night, WOW, oh WOW, oh WOW, oh WOW is all I can say. If I were to give a negative to the whole show had to been the guitar smashing. My girl was right up front on the stage where he was doing his horror show and really scared a couple of girls with the violence portrayed and they were turned off by the display. In my views, we are blues people, not heavy metal rockers. We understand what joy and beauty a guitar can give. To destroy it on stage when I know many kids that would love to have a guitar. To see one destroy on stage then have the performer run off stage is at a minimum a little weird for the blues crowd. The show could use a little less John Black on stage also.

In addition blues lovers, the show was only about 40% sold I assume by scanning the audience, if we are going to have more wonderful shows like this, we have to get out and support these performers. An ole saying about the blues, "If you want to go broke fast, becomes a blues player." I am hoping to change that. I want a performer to know that when they bring the troops to the valley to entertain, eager and LARGE audiences will greet them. So this is a shame on all you blues lovers that didn't go. I would suggest buy a ticket even if you don't plan on going. Get a shirt; I saw lots of Daniel Castro and Mofo Shirts last night, but not enough. And no CVBLUES shirts! All in all, the best high energy, high power, blues show I have seen in a long time and am waiting this weekend to attend the Central Valley Blues Festival in Merced. Visit WWW.CVBLUES.ORG for more info on this event and the performers in the California with links to EVERYTHING!!!!


Spotlight Theater, 1622 19th Street
Every 1st and 3rd Wednesday

Hey Don

I was wondering if you could do me a favor.  I'm a member of the Bakersfield Blues Preservation Society, and we need to get the word out to the people of Bakersfield about our group.  We meet every 1st and 3rd Wednesday at the Spotlight Theater, which is at 1622 19th Street in Bakersfield.  The meetings are from 7:00 to 10:00 p.m.  Nat Dove, who is a world reknown blues pianist, is the Director.  Anyone interested can contact Nat at 661-324-0046, email is BBPSociety@hotmail.com, or they can call me at 661-831-9259 for any further information.  We NEED more members to keep this worthwhile blues society alive.

Thanks for your help in keeping the blues alive and kicking in the Valley.

Bob Nelson

Mainstreet Hanford's Thursday Night Market Street Scene
Thursday June 19, 2003

The keyboard & percussion duo of "Jambalaya Jeff" Levine (keyboards) and Kevin "Skillet" McHatton perform authentic renditions of "Naw'lens" ("New Orleans") R & B standards ala Professor Longhair, Dr. John, Funky Metors, Neville Bros., etc. as well as a few surprising arrangements of Pop and Rock classics that'll make ya hollah, "Bon Temps Roulette!"

Pat "the Hat" will add guitar, Blues harmonicas, vocals, & a touch of Voodoo to the mix for an evening of "geuarawnteed gyration and libation!"

6 P.M. 'til ???  Downtown Hanford on Irwin Street, under the neon Fox Theatre marquee.

1921 - 2003

Fresno Bee Article, May 24
May 11, 2003

The family of "Harmonica Slim" would greatly appreciate it if you would post this brief message on the CVBS site or e-mail it out to our blues loving friends in the valley.

Thank you, lil Len (Soul Blues)

As we all know Richard Riley S. Riggins a.k.a. "Harmonica Slim" passed away Sunday, May 4, 2003.  He will be deeply missed by all who knew and loved him.  We are organizing the funeral at this time and any cash donations would be greatly appreciated.

Please send to:

Sterling Funeral Homeaa
1146 "B" Street
Fresno CA  93706

We will contact the CVBS site with any new information in regards to funeral.

Thank you,  The Family of "Harmonica Slim"
May 6, 2003

Well, everyone, I received some sad news this morning.  One of our Valleys Blues Legends has passed away.  Harmonica Slim, (Richard Riley Riggins) had a heart attack Sunday, May 4th.  He was 82 years old.  His presence in the blues scene has been a blessing we will all miss.  I feel very fortunate to have played with him on many occasions with Chris Millar's Blues West.  He always had a smile and was happy to see everyone.  I loved it when he would stand up and shake around and see the audience go crazy.  I'm sure more will be said about him and I will pass along any info that comes my way.

May 6, 2003

Saturday April 5, 2003

This Saturday, April 5th, a special event to support Families of Fallen Soldiers. This will be a Poker Run Rally which starts at the Farmers Market parking lot at the corner of Shaw Ave. and Blackstone and ends up at the Country Oak Steakhouse in Auberry.  There Deja Blues will be providing the entertainment from 2pm to 5pm at the Country Oaks Steakhouse.  Bikers, Car Clubs, individuals, everyone is invited to participate.  Signups start at 10am at the Farmers Market parking lot.  Please pass the word to everyone you can.  This is one of the best ways to support our troops laying their lives on the line for all of us.  Stay tuned for more info coming this week on either KMJ news radio, or Channel 47 TV.

E-mail inquiries may be sent to Don at don@cvblues.org

Merced Multicultural ARTs Center
645 West Main Street
Merced, CA  95340
(209) 388-1090
Blues & Brews '03
Friday April 25, 2003

Back In 1990, the late Albert "King of the Telecaster" Collins caught Steve Johnson in a Manhattan blues club and was so impressed by the killer style and sounds Johnson could extract from his ‘62 Stratocaster, "The Iceman" asked Johnson to open on his tours.  Soon after, Johnson drew serious music industry attention by winning Guitar Player magazine’s prestigious "Ultimate Guitar Competition" as "1992 Best Blues Guitarist".  Since then, Johnson has produced six CDs for Virgin Records and his just released "Blues from the Road House, Live at the Great Notch" on the Dixiefrog label.  This year has also seen a Johnson tune aired on NBC’s "Ed" and a theme song/title track contribution for the Discovery Channel’s upcoming special about the 10th anniversary of Jessie James’ West Coast Choppers.  Johnson, a Merced native and BOBtones original, musically resurrects the "BOBs" a couple times a year for West Coast performances.  Proceeds from this event go to Artree; a county-wide arts in education program.

This sure-fire sell-out event is a reunion of good friends,
good beers, good pizzas, good times... good golly!
Tickets: $12. ~ Doors and beer taps open at 6:00 ~ Live Blues 7:30-11:00

Tickets for each event go on sale 3-4 weeks in advance at the following Merced outlets: Yosemite Floral in the Raley’s Shopping Center, ‘G’ Street at Yosemite Ave. ~ Kissin’ Kouzins in the Bear Creek Galeria, ‘G’ Street at NE Bear Creek Drive ~ The Multicultural Arts Center, 645 West Main Street.  For information and credit card purchases, call (209) 388-1090.  E-mail inquiries may be sent to Billy Taylor stage@elite.net

Porky's Rib House
February 26, 2003

I just want to reinforce Don's statement about last night. Ron Thompson is a major talent and we in Fresno are blessed two-fold by his weekly gig at Porky's: we have the honor and pleasure of hearing Ron and his band play the best music for us to groove to, plus, there is no cover charge. Couple this with the fact that all of us working people (some of us with kids at home) appreciate the early hours of his show (6:00-(9:00pm), how can we go wrong?! The staff at Porky's is friendly and eager to serve. There is enough space in this establishement for entertainment, family dining and a roomy dance floor. What else could the people of Fresno ask for in week-night entertainment?

Personally, I'd like to thank Ron for sharing his extraordinary talent with us. The energy of his music, the finesse and skill behind every song makes the exeperience of his show an event everytime I see him. I urge all of you that have yet to come out to Porky's on Thursday to see Ron, Chris and Richard play, plan an evening out with a couple of friends for an evening of musical enjoyment. You won't be sorry that you came out....you'll be sorry you hadn't come to previous shows.

Keep smiling through the Blues people......

February 20, 2003

I would like to thank everyone who showed up at Porkys Ribs last night.  We had a great turn out.  But as they say, it can only get better.  The thing I keep pushing into everyones head is we know we all can't go every week.  So to keep a gig like this going all of us who did go need to tell everyone what they missed.  To experience such an intimate up close show with such a great talent as Ron Thompson and the musicians backing him, Chris Millar and Richard Cropper, needs to be shared with all.  For being in mid week, and starting at 6pm, thats what everyone has been asking for so please PASS IT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!

Keep on Groovin'
Don Heflin

Posted February 17, 2003

This is a response to my request for info on Ron Thompson's gig at Porkys Ribs....

Hi Don

Well ole R.T. kicked ass at Porky's last Thursday and we all dug it - all 12 of us including the wait staff!  They're already talking about letting him go cause they don't make as much through the dinner time to offset what they pay him.  Chris Millar & Richard Cropper backed him up - how could it get any better?  The only other true "blues lovers" that were there was Randy and his girlfriend and another couple I've seen out but don't know.

PASS THE WORD that unless this gig sees some more support, it'll probably go by the wayside and that'd be a real shame.  Besides Ron, they have great food, reasonable and lots of it.  They also are unusually attentive to their patrons, which is a nice change from some places I've been.  So there it is.  Not in the Bee, only in your newsletter.  I've told all I know and I certainly hope we can keep it going.

Thanks, Pat Leeper

I want to thank Pat for this info and urge all of you out there who wish to keep the Blues Alive in and around Fresno to support Ron Thompson on this new venture with Porkys Ribs.  Ron is a world renowned performer who always puts 110 percent into his performance whether there is 1 or 1000 in attendance.  He always has the best musicians surrounding him to make the experience the best possible.  Hope to see you all there this next Thursday, Feb 20th 6pm to 9pm.  It's an early show, which everyone has been asking for. :) :) :)

Keep on Groovin'
Don Heflin

Posted February 17, 2003
Butterfield's Brewing Co.
March 28, 2003

This is the band's first Fresno performance.

It is a six piece band consisting of Bass - Mike Berkowitz, Drums - Steve Bengston, Guitar - Rod Borges, Conga/percussion - Ron Gibian, Sax - Nathan Ketner, Harmonica/vocals - Roger Gonzales

It is a funky, soulful, blusey, jazzy kind o' thang. So y'all come!!!

Contact Roger Gonzales at 559-269-4643 or theontheflyband@yahoo.com

February 2, 2003
Club Fred

Vince Warner of Kjewl Radio is putting on a Benefit Party for John and Bill Clifton of the Mofo Party Band this Sunday, Feb 2nd at 4 pm. If you don't remember, they were jumped outside of Butterfields Brewery on New Year's Eve after their gig. They both suffered injuries that sent them to the hospital and both missed work due to this event. We all know how hard times are right now and to have unexpected hospital bills and short paychecks to boot puts them in a tuff situation. These guys are the hardest working blues band I know, bring nothing but good times to all there fans, so I hope everyone comes out to support this benefit. Hopefully this will help, they have about $2000 worth of Bills and lost wages between them.

Lets Go Bowling has volunteered their time as well as the band Ragged Glory as well as some other Rock bands. There will also be an open Jam and Mofo will probablly do something too, one way or another.

The show starts at 4:00pm this Sunday at Club Fred

January 28, 2003
Club Fred

The CVBS would like to invite everyone to Club Fred in Fresno for our first Blues Society Meeting and Jam Session. I'm not sure what will go on but we will take it as it happens to see if we can get some input as to what you out there would like to see the CVBS to achieve in the coming year. Deja Blues will be hosting the jam session this time but we want to have a different band host at each monthly meeting. The meeting will be on the last Tuesday of each month. We will take it as it comes to see how it works out. I'm sure we will need to get enough people out to sustain a position on Fred's calendar each month so tell everyone and come on out for some good blues and info on the blues. Any Blues Band who would like to host this event in the future, please contact me at don@cvblues.org


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