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Preview: Tom Muck's Blog: Blues

Tom Muck's Blog: Blues

Tom Muck's Blog


Robert Johnson Guitars

Sun, 17 Jul 2016 16:34:00 GMT

We'll never know what guitars Robert Johnson used on the recordings from 1936 and 1937, but there are various theories out there as well as a few known facts. The two known pictures of Robert Johnson show two different guitars: a studio portrait taken on Beale Street in Memphis shows him with a 1929 Gibson L1 This guitar may or may not have belonged to him. The self portrait with the cigarette dangling from his mouth shows what appears to be a Kalamazoo KG14, or similar Gibson-made guitar from the same period (the Carson Robison guitars made by Gibson had the same configuration). The KG14 is essentially a budget model L1 or L0, with ladder bracing instead of x-bracing, and no truss rod. They sold out of mail order catalogs for about $12.75, whereas the L1 sold for about $35-50. The KG14 became available in 1936. This is a picture of my late '30s Kalamazoo: To further complicate matters, Don Law, who supervised the sessions, stated that Johnson used a borrowed guitar for some of the San Antonio sessions (1936) at the Gunter Hotel. Johnson recorded 13 takes (still existing) on November 23, 1936, but was in jail after that day's session. Apparently, during the arrest the guitar was not available any more (broken, confiscated, or lost), and when recording was resumed on November 26, the studio obtained a guitar for Johnson to use on the remaining 9 still existing takes. It could be anything. Stephen LeVere, who oversaw the mastering of the Complete Recordings, postulates that the San Antonio sessions sound like a flattop whereas the Dallas sessions sound like an archtop. Johnson probably used his own guitar for the Dallas sessions. It is known that Johnson liked the Kalamazoo archtop guitars, so this is plausible, and it does sound like an archtop to my ears as well. Johnny Shines stated that Johnson liked Kalamazoo and Stella guitars, and also mentioned that both he and Johnson had Kalamazoos with f-holes (archtop) and liked archtops, so the theory holds water (Johnny Shines interview). To my ears, the Nov. 23, 1936 takes sound like a bigger body flattop, like a Stella, whereas the songs recorded on the 26th and 27th sound like a smaller bodied guitar like the Kalamazoo. Johnson had some of the best acoustic guitar sounds on record, for my money, in addition to being one of the greatest players of acoustic blues, but there are 3 distinct guitar sounds among the various recordings. The only thing this proves is that Johnson's sound came from his fingers, and the guitar he used is not important. This page lists his songs, recording dates, and master numbers, among other things and is a work in progress: Robert Johnson songs. Johnson recorded 59 takes of 29 songs, of which 42 takes still remain. Maybe someday others will be found, but it's likely many of the masters were destroyed during the war for the metal. Update: Among the 17 missing songs are 2nd takes of Terraplane Blues, Walkin Blues, Preachin' blues, and Hellhound on my Trail, and a third take of Milkcow's Calf Blues. One thing I will say about the guitar sound, I think the Gibson L1 shape and size is perfect for blues. Every guitar I've played in this configuration, including my own Martin CEO7 and my Kalamazoo KG14, sound amazing. The best sounding guitars I've heard have been old 1920's and 1930's Gibson L1 guitars. Whether or not he used something like this is open to speculation. Update:The other question is, what sounds more like a Robert Johnson recording today, an 80 year old guitar with 80 year old wood (which was brand-spanking new when Robert Johnson recorded) or a brand new guitar built in a similar style to the old 30's guitars? Update: Here is "Kind Hearted Woman Blues" from the San Antonio sessions: Kind Hearted Woman Blues. "Me and the Devil Blues", recorded in Dallas, uses the same tune, but you can here the difference in guitar tone. It has a more "ringing" tone, and the bass is more percussive sounding: Me and the Devil Blues. Below is my Kalamazoo KG31, which may or may not be the type used by Robert on the Dallas sessions (or was it a KG2[...]

Tube amps

Tue, 14 Apr 2015 11:37:12 GMT

As a guitar player, to me there is nothing better than the sound of a good tube amp. Tubes have a special sound that you can't achieve with solid state components. Most of the greatest recorded guitar sounds ever were through tube amps. I'd rather play guitar through an old amp component removed from a TV or radio from the 50's than through any modern solid state amplifier. Back in the late 70's when I started playing, I had a solid state amp (because it was cheap) but I found an old Heathkit tube preamplifier with several 12AX7s in it to warm up the sound. I still remember being able to ride my bike up to Radio Shack and use their tube tester to test tubes. Those days are long gone.With a good tube amp, you can set the amp for a good crunchy tone when pushed hard, then just back off the volume control on the guitar to play clean tones.  For blues players who don't have the amp overdriven as much as rock players, the overdriven sound is much more subtle. A good tube amp is like an extension of the guitar--it's like playing another instrument at the same time and trying to get the best music out of both. Every tube amp I've played has a "sweet spot" where it sounds best. Some amps have a great sound in several places. An old Marshall head was always best with everything on 10. For smaller venues when you can't reach the sweet spot, a pedal can boost the signal going into the amp to give it a slightly overdriven sound even though the volume is low. It's not quite the same as cranking the amp, though, but sometimes you don't have a choice.Different output tubes (aka amplifier tubes, power amp tubes) have different tonal characteristics. The 6V6 tubes were used in Fender amps in the 60's and have a clean tone until pushed hard, then have a nice breakup. Depending on the amp and the circuit used, they can sound "mushy" when pushed too hard, like in an old Princeton, but I've recently heard a Swart Spacetone that sounds pretty darned good even when pushed to 10. One 6V6 puts out roughly 5 watts or so, and some amps have two in a push-pull circuit putting out about 10-14 watts. Fender Deluxe "blackface" had 2, and is one of the Holy Grail amps for guitar players.A 6L6 is like a big brother to the 6V6, and puts out about double the output. Some amps that use the 6L6 are the old Fender Bassman, and newer EVH amps.  Loud American amps mostly had 6L6 tubes in the old days.EL84 tubes have a more glassy sound (some say it sounds like an ice pick) but produces a more definite mid-range "crunch" when pushed hard. It puts out about 6-7 watts, but a push-pull pair can put out 14-20 watts or more, depending on the circuit. The Fender Blues Junior uses EL84 tubes.EL34 tubes are the EL84's bigger brother, and used in Marshall amps and clones. They have that great rock "crunch" when pushed hard, and glassy clean tones when the volume is backed off. Marshall amps were essentially clones of the Fender Bassman, only using EL34 tubes instead of 6L6 tubes, and utilizing closed back cabinets.One tube you don't see very often is a 6973, used in some old Supro and Gretsch amps. I think this tube might have the best sound of all, but I don't own one of these amps. Yet. It sounds somewhat like a cross between the 6V6 and EL34, getting a pretty nice clean sound, but a moderate overdrive when cranked to 10, not as crunchy as an EL34, but not as mushy as a 6V6.These days I have different tube amps for different venues. For small gigs I bring my VHT Special 6; hand-wired point-to-point like the old days, but made in China. It might be the most well-made mass-produced amp out there without going to a boutique amp builder. The VHT takes a 6V6, but it can be swapped out for a 6L6, EL34, or with an adapter, an EL84. I keep an EL34 in mine, and it sounds great. It's a simple amp with no reverb or effects of any kind. For slightly larger gigs I use a Bugera V22, which I picked up ridiculously cheap. It has a great natural sound, somewhere between and old Vox a[...]

iTunes and Media players? Do they all suck?

Thu, 26 Jun 2014 18:40:59 GMT

Any good audio players out there? I'm giving up on iTunes and Media Player. The geniuses at Apple and Microsoft have made them both unusable. I can't figure out how to do the most basic things. Where are the menus? How do you repeat a song? Play a CD? I have to use Google every time I need to do something.

Blues jams and my latest gigs

Thu, 27 Aug 2009 00:28:39 GMT

I haven't been posting much lately, mostly because I've been pretty busy with life. I got a new job back in Nov. 2007, after 8 years at my previous company, and have been trying to cut back on some of my other outside work. The biggest change has been that I've gotten back into music. I played in a band all through the 80's and 90's, but gave it up for about 10 years and didn't play much at all, not even at home. A couple years back I started getting buying new equipment -- guitars, mostly. I got rid of some of my older, loud equipment and got some stuff to use in smaller clubs. Back in January, I started going to local blues jams. This has been a lot of fun, and I usually go to 2 or 3 every week now -- Sunday nights at Bangkok Blues in Falls Church, VA, and Thursday nights at the Zoo Bar in Washington, DC are the two main ones for me. The music in both venues is varied, but mostly top-notch. Some nights are really great for blues music. I also occasionally trek down to the Country Store in St. Mary's County, MD or the Beach Cove in Chesapeake Beach, MD. There are some other local blues jams that I have not tried yet, but will likely get out to play at soon.

Bigger news is that through these blues jams I've joined a couple of local bands -- The Alpha Dog Blues Band and the Southside Georgetown Bluesbreakers. Alpha Dog plays regularly at the Cowboy Cafe, JVs, and 219 Restaurant. The Bluesbreakers have played one gig at the DC Blues Society fish fry this past month.

Through the jams I've met a lot of great people and fine musicians. Some cool local DC bands to check out if you can are Idle Americans, Big Boy Little Band, Swampkeepers, Hot Rods and Old Gas, and the Andy Poxon Band.

Alpha Dog Blues Band is playing the following dates:

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Selling my Marshall

Mon, 03 Mar 2008 22:43:24 GMT

(image) I've finally decided to sell my old 100 watt Marshall head and 412 cabinet. It has been sitting around my house now for almost 10 years without any use, so it doesn't make sense to keep it any more. On top of that, the townhouse I live in is small and too close to neighbors to play guitar at any decent volume. The eBay link is here.. It can't hurt to try to drive some traffic to it. :-) It got a lot of good use back in the 80's and 90's, but it's time to find a new owner. If I ever get in a situation where I need volume, I'll have to pick up another one on eBay, I guess. . . .

Talas and Dave Constantino

Sun, 22 Jul 2007 16:52:18 GMT

I was doing a little Googling and found that one of my favorite guitar players -- Dave Constantino -- has a new CD out. This is his first studio release since he was in Talas in the late-70's/early 80's. For people in Buffalo, NY, Talas was a sensation. They could play 6 nights a week around the area and still pack a place like Kleinhans Music Hall when they wanted to do a showcase. When big-name bands like Aerosmith came into town, Talas would frequently be the opening band. They also did a tour with Van Halen and played 29 cities. For those of us in local bands, Talas was a band that we all looked up to and wanted to be like. As an aspiring guitar player, I would go to Talas shows 2 or 3 nights every week, and eventually saw them over 300 times. They never disappointed and had hundreds of songs in their repertoire. Talas consisted of Dave Constantino on guitar, Billy Sheehan on bass, and Paul Varga on drums. The music was hard rock, but with a melodic edge to it, or pop with a hard rock edge...take your pick. Dave's original band -- The Tweeds -- was around the area in the 60's and had a regional hit single called "Thing of the Past", which was a Beatle-esque ballad. When Talas broke up in the early 80's, Dave re-formed The Tweeds with Paul Varga and played smaller clubs with small amps for that 60's sound, and sometimes even a box to beat on instead of a drum to get that early Elvis sound. Talas had a few regular gigs, including Monday nights at Harvey and Corky's Stage One, a small local bar that was also the place to be on any given night. They would have free drinks until 10PM, and Talas would get on about midnight and play until 3AM or later. Harvey Weinstein eventually went on to become a big name movie distributor, but back then he was a concert promoter in Western NY. Talas would also allow other bands to open up for them, including touring bands promoting records. One night, I was fortunate enough to see U2 opening for Talas at Stage One on a tour promoting one of their early albums. At the time I remember thinking they were one of the cooler bands who came through, but they have since gone onto bigger things. I was at Stage One on a Monday night seeing Talas the night John Lennon was shot, and Talas did a set of Lennon tunes to close the night. Talas had a few reunion shows after many years of being apart -- in 1997 they played Kleinhans Music Hall in Buffalo, which was later released as a live CD called If We Only Knew Then What We Know Now. I didn't know about that show, unfortunately. Then in 2001 they did a reunion show on the waterfront in June in Buffalo, which was later released as a live DVD. I was there that night, along with about 18,000 people. What an amazing night that was. They did all the old Talas classics like "Thickhead" and "Sink Your Teeth" and some of the most popular cover tunes they used to do back in the 70's/80's like "Battlescar", "Stealin'", and "Helter Skelter". The highlight of my years seeing Talas -- and one of my own personal musical highlights -- was one New Year's Eve at a club called the Lone Star, when Dave called me up on stage to do a song with them. That was an amazing experience I'll never forget. During the first set he stuck his guitar neck out into the crowd and let me finger the chords as he strummed the guitar. Then in the next set, he called me up. A couple of my band mates were there, along with most of my friends. We did the old Sammy Hagar tune "One Way to Rock", and it sounded great from where I stood. It was very cool to be on stage jamming with Billy, Dave, and Paul. They didn't know me, as I didn't talk much, but still they took a chance and let me do a song. I'm grateful for that. The new CD is more bluesy than the songs that Dave did in Talas, but has a much more prominent guitar. I highly recommend it. Dave's guitar is always tasteful, and remi[...]

More on Adam Gussow

Sat, 23 Jun 2007 15:27:23 GMT

I posted about blues harmonica wizard Adam Gussow back in March, but this past week I got to meet and have a lesson with him. If you have seen any of his "Adam Gussow's Dirty-South Blues Harp Channel" Youtube videos, you know that he is not only a great musician, but an accessible and effective teacher as well. His Youtube videos have now grown to over 80 with thousands of views for each, and he has his own site In addition, his new book, Journeyman's Road: Modern Blues Lives From Faulkner's Mississippi to Post-9/11 New York, has just come out, which I'm looking forward to reading. The in-person lesson was for a small harmonica group in Washington, DC (about 15 people) that was basically 3 hours of the same intensity that his video lessons have. If you are interested in harmonica in any way, start with Adam's channel on Youtube.

Harmonica lessons on Youtube -- Adam Gussow

Mon, 12 Mar 2007 01:31:48 GMT

Adam Gussow is one of the top blues harmonica players in the world today, and he has been posting lessons and great music videos like crazy on Youtube. The harmonica community is currently ecstatic about this, with good reason -- Adam is a marvelous teacher and shares much of his accumulated knowledge in these videos. Some of them features some really gutsy amplified harp playing, while others focus on acoustic playing. There are lessons on setting up harmonicas for overblowing, tuning harmonicas out of the box, vibrato, rhythm, and a wealth of little tidbits of info that don't fall into any category. In short, he's giving away the store. The videos are each around 8-10 minutes long and take place in Adam's living room, office, his car, and at a crossroads in Mississippi. The latest (#24) is a front porch slow acoustic blues lesson that shows blues harmonica as it is meant to be. This is from Adam, and posted on a blues mailing list:

A couple of weeks ago I decided on a whim to share some of my accumulated knowledge of the harp. So I figured out how to transfer footage from my digital videocam to my MacBook and compress it for export, and then I filmed and uploaded a couple of free-form harp lessons to YouTube entitled "Blues Harmonica Secrets Revealed."

One thing led to another. Now, two weeks later, I seem to have created my own channel at YouTube, with 20+ lessons in the can, 250 subscribers, and more than 35,000 combined hits. Just yesterday I decided to supplement the lessons by uploading a bunch of Satan and Adam videos, since there wasn't a single bit of footage of my duo on the web. I dug deep into the archives and found some stuff from the days when we were playing the Harlem street, plus our appearance at the 1993 Philadelphia Folk Festival. Later today I'm going to upload some stuff from a 1992 gig in Syracuse that will hopefully convince people that I'm NOT lying when I call Sterling the greatest one-man blues band in the history of the blues. It's late-night, end-of-set stuff where he's throwing down the way he used to on 125th Street in Harlem--stuff we never really got onto our CDs. But I've got the videotape to prove it.

I also found a video of outtakes featuring my harp teacher, the late (and legendary) Nat Riddles in a Richmond-area cable show called "Blues TV."

Here's my YouTube URL, for anybody interested in checking out all this stuff:

If you have any interest at all in learning harmonica or brushing up on techniques, or just hearing some good music, check out the videos and subscribe to the series.

Update 6/23/2007: More on Adam Gussow...

Clarksdale vacation report, year two

Sun, 17 Sep 2006 18:42:01 GMT

Life of a road musician

Sun, 03 Sep 2006 19:37:57 GMT

I wrote about harmonica virtuoso Jason Ricci on my blog a while back. It has always been amazing to me how some people can rise to the top and become successful while others more talented are often neglected or have to work like dogs to make a living. It has always been the case, unfortunately. A band I played with for over 10 years could never break out the grind of being a part-time local band. We all had day jobs because none of us had the willingness to take a chance on a shot that might never happen. A new article at Mercury News ( talks about Ricci's trials and tribulations on the road playing 300-320 nights a year for little money:

"Everyone keeps telling me they know someone, or they can help me, but nothing ever happens. I'm going to play 320 nights this year for a few hundred dollars a night. I'm getting really tired of it. I don't think it's ever going to happen."

His playing is a revelation, and at times seems beyond human capacity, hitting notes that few other players can find. Sometimes he stretches out impossibly long blue notes. Then he fires off a machine-gun-fast, perfectly precise volley to get people dancing.

At one point, he does a tribute to great harmonica players, including Little Walter and Magic Dick, wrapping their hardest riffs inside even harder ones of his own, orchestrating a solo symphony of five songs simultaneously.

And he doesn't just do it for an hour or two, like most performers. He runs at top speed for four hours a night, playing and singing, with barely a break between songs.

"He is to the harmonica what Eddie Van Halen was to the guitar," said Robert Bonfiglio, one of the world's most respected classical harmonica players, who saw Ricci play for the first time in Denver last month at the 43rd annual convention of the Society for the Preservation and Advancement of the Harmonica. "He has changed the instrument. It will never be seen the same way again. Players after him will want to sound like that."

I finally saw Jason a couple months ago locally and was blown away, not only by the amazing virtuosity of his playing, but also by his willingness to hang out with the fans and talk shop. His band is hot, and the music is original and catchy. Hopefully the word will get out on Jason Ricci and New Blood. The times seem right:

At a time when harmonicas have been getting the most recognition in years -- from "American Idol" winner Taylor Hicks to "America's Got Talent" runner-up L.D. Miller -- Ricci has been packing blues clubs across the country. He's played more than 300 shows each of the past five years.

I've been focusing more and more recently on my own harmonica playing, but I do it strictly for fun and love of music. I have come to the realization a long time ago that I have neither the drive nor the talent to ever become a full-time musician. Still, listening to Jason's playing has only made my own playing stronger.

Jason's site is at Stop by and buy a CD, or check out the tour schedule for a show near you.

On vacation

Wed, 09 Aug 2006 23:25:33 GMT

I'll be on vacation from now until August 16, so if anyone has any reason to contact me please use the contact form. I won't be checking email very often.

I will be doing the same thing I did last year -- a blues/poker vacation. The Sunflower River Blues and Gospel festival was a great time last year, and I had to do it again.

Harmonica jam class

Fri, 07 Apr 2006 21:30:00 GMT

I had the pleasure of attending a Dennis Gruenling/Allen Holmes Jam Class (harmonica workshop/lesson/jam) last Wednesday night in DC at the old Archie Edwards barbershop. It was the first workshop I've gone to, having taught myself blues harp through trial and error, and I was very impressed with the level of instruction and techniques shown in short span of 4 hours. There was also an impromptu jam session where we all got to take a 12-bar solo. I missed a lot by not taking the instrument seriously when I started. When I learned guitar, I played endless scales and patterns to improve speed, knowledge, and improvisational ability, but when I learned harmonica, I just started playing along with songs right away. The problem with that method is that I don't know how to play a simple scale, even though I can play along with almost anything by Little Walter or Big Walter. One of the handouts from Allen was a listing of the blues scales in all harmonica positions, which will be handy for drilling on techniques. Allen displayed a huge knowledge of the instrument and relating music theory to it. Also, Dennis covered tongue-blocking extensively, and opened up a whole new can of worms for me to get a handle on. I'll definitely be going to more of these and recommend it to anyone interested in the harmonica.

Jason Ricci

Sat, 04 Mar 2006 16:28:47 GMT

In case you've been wondering if my Now Playing pod is stuck, it's not. I've been listening almost exclusively to Jason Ricci since I discovered his music a couple weeks ago. The man is an amazing musician. As a harmonica player myself, I really appreciate the talent he has. The harmonica is an easy instrument to pick up and play along with a blues song, but to really make a musical statement with it requires a huge amount of natural talent and understanding of melody and rhythm, along with a natural feeling. The stuff he is playing is mind-blowing. There have not really been a lot of harmonica players that can be considered great musicians -- playing stuff that could be transcribed as music and sound good on any instrument. Little Walter is one that comes to mind that I consider truly great, but there aren't many more. Until now, that is. Jason's stuff at times sounds like an electric guitar, swing clarinet, or a saxiphone. The music can be described equally as blues, funk, rock, and jazz, but always with a blues feeling to it. He has the phrasing, tone, and rythymic complexity of Little Walter, but has taken it to a new level. Check out Hip Shake (sounds like ZZ Top or John Lee Hooker on steroids -- the first 60 second harmonica intro is amazing, but about 5 minutes in he lays down a solo that builds from some tasty Little Walter-esque blues into an intense explosion of notes) and I'm Just a Playboy from, and when you're hooked, look at the whole list of live performances. Jason's new site (built in Dreamweaver, apparently) is at and some of his CD tracks are at

Lost and found blues -- amazing Son House discovery

Sat, 14 Jan 2006 18:18:39 GMT

Many people think that when a recording is made and record/cd is issued, that the sounds are preserved for posterity. The same is true of motion pictures, books, plays, stories, etc. This is simply not the case. It takes a dedicated effort off people with interest in a particular subject to keep something alive. Many films have been lost over time (mostly from the silent era and the 30's and 40's) because film stock simply deteriorated, or copies of the films have disappeared over time. The classic example is the Lon Chaney movie London After Midnight, which has been much sought after for years, and still never found. I bring this up because as a lover of the blues, it is exciting that rarities are occasionally turning up. Just 3 years ago, several photos and recordings were found, including a pristine copy of the only known photo of Charley Patton. What is cool about it is that the only previously known copy of the photo was a grainy head-shot. Now we have a full body shot of Charley sitting in a chair holding the guitar. Amazing stuff. Many other photos have recently turned up as well, including a rare shot of Skip James, one of my favorite bluesmen. Also found in 2002 were copies of 4 previously lost songs from King Solomon Hill and Blind Joe Reynolds, two of the most legendary blues performers of the 20s/30s. King Solomon Hill is a guy who has controversy around him as to who he even is, although most people are now convinced that it is actually a guy named Joe Holmes, as outlined in the book Chasin' That Devil Music. These were long considered among the Holy Grails of blues recordings. So far these songs have turned up on some Yazoo compilations (Times Ain't Like They Used To Be volumes 5-8). They are amazing recordings. Many of the blues records made in 20s and 30s only had a few thousand pressings, and most records over time become lost, damaged, or were simply thrown away. It is only through the efforts of some die-hard fans beginning in the early 60s that many famous blues recordings were found. These students, musicians, and record collectors went door-to-door looking for old 78s, and some even tracked down country records like birth certificates and death certificates. Without these guys, my CD collection would be miniscule. ;-)Until the mid-80s, nobody knew what Robert Johnson looked like. Two photos were found shortly before the release of the Robert Johnson boxed set. In the late 90s, a new version of a Robert Johnson song was found -- Travelin' Riverside Blues -- and put on the King of the Delta Blues Singers CD. If you have the 41 song compilation Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings, you are missing this rarity. There are still many alternate takes of songs that may or may not have ever existed. In September 2005 (which I just found out about), the Holy Grail of lost blues records was found -- Son House's "Mississippi County Farm Blues" with the flipside "Clarksdale Moan". Son House is often regarded as the direct lineage between blues and rock and roll, having been one of the main influences of Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson. These two previously lost recordings are the only two known lost Son House songs from the 1930 session in Wisconson that produced some of the most classic blues recordings of all time, featuring Son House, Willie Brown, Louise Johnson, and Charley Patton. They have not yet been issued on CD, but I can hardly wait for the Yazoo release of The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, which will include these two songs. Update: 4/6/2006: Finally got my copy of the Son House lost takes on "The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of", which came out on CD this week. The songs live up to the legend -- "Clarksdale Moan" is [...]

Blues Vacation Report

Mon, 29 Aug 2005 12:06:03 GMT

Blues vacation

Sat, 06 Aug 2005 20:22:33 GMT

Vacation time! I'll be out for about a week until August 15. If anyone needs to get in touch with me, the best place is via my contact form at This is best because of the thousands of spams I get. On my vacation I doubt I'll be going through the mounds and mounds of email that I get, but I will be checking my contact ticket system for emergencies.

I'll be a blues traveler for a week -- heading to Mississippi to go on a tour of some of the sites down there -- and ending up at the Sunflower Blues Festival in Clarksdale, Mississippi to see some great blues. Little Milton was scheduled to play, but died this past week. RIP Milton. 92 year old Honey Boy Edwards will be playing. He was one of Robert Johnson's contemporaries in the 30s, and has numerous stories of Johnson. Also in town will be Charlie Musselwhite, Sam Carr, and Pinetop Perkins, who is also in his 90s. Also, there is a documentary filming all week at the Ground Zero blues club in downtown Clarksdale by the guy who did Deep Blues and Last of the Mississippi Jukes. Ground Zero is part owned by the actor Morgan Freeman.

In between blues we'll be playing some poker at the Horseshoe and also in Biloxi upon arrival. Wish me luck. ;-)