Archives for posts with tag: Marion James

See where the goal is at and support Marion James funeral this Saturday at Marion James Queen of The Blues gofundme site.

New! Official press release update below regarding funeral:

metro 50th marion james 01

Well, there are a whole lot of things about Jimi that were peculiar about him that we laugh about. So really, Jimi he was kind. One of the habits, I guess it’s natural for a person to do it but, I noticed that he never did like to wear no shoes. He would just walk barefooted you know.” – Marion James on Jimi Hendrix, September 2015

The Nashville Bridge: Do you think you will get up and sing with Jack Pearson?

Oh yes, I mean, you know, if it comes to that, I think I can cover it.” – Marion James on upcoming Musician’s Reunion Show, September 2015

Nashville’s Queen of The Blues, Marion James once known as “House Rockin’ James” back in the day when Jefferson Street was jumping with Live Music passed away where she always called home: Nashville, Tennessee on December 31, 2015.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 062 small

Marion James, photo – Brad Hardisty

Marion James kept busy helping others through The Marion James Musicians Aid Society as well as planning events such as the Annual Musicians Reunion which featured legendary Nashville Blues and related genre Artists as well as featuring more recently established artists ranging from Alabama’s Debbie Bond to local guitar and vocal legend Regi Wooten.

The first tribute to Marion James to be released was written by Nate Rau at The Tennessean which covered a great overview of her 60 year career.  There are great quotes by those who worked the closest to her, David Flynn [current President of The Musicians Aid Society] which has helped in times of need, the older musicians that trace their lineage to Jefferson Street for close to twenty years and Lorenzo Washington [Jefferson Street Sound] who released her last official recording, “Back In The Day” whose lyrics were about the biggest passion in her life; to tell the “Historia” [Marion liked to use the Spanish version of the word]as she used to say of Jefferson Street and the importance of the Jefferson Street scene in the history of Nashville’s musical past .

She was the strongest ambassador of the great sounds that came out of North Nashville during the time that she recorded the top ten hit in 1965 “That’s My Man” written by her late husband, James “Buzzard” Stewart. The single was re-released on vinyl as a limited edition recently on Record Store Day in the United Kingdom with the original Excello label.

“Buzz” Stewart was known as a great horn arranger and putting together a great band that backed Marion. The band featured great young players, like Jimi Hendrix who stayed in Nashville after being discharged from Fort Campbell, Kentucky along with a young Billy Cox [Jimi Hendrix].

Upon hearing of Marion’s passing, Billy Cox remembered one time, not too long ago, when he was in Los Angeles and Marion’s name came up.  He said it was surprising how many players were in Marion’s band at one time or another back in the day including Billy Cox saying that Marion also took him under her wing as a young musician.

Billy Cox is featured in the photograph of Marion James’ band that is on the cover of Night Train To Nashville Volume Two 1945 -1970 which was taken in 1971 after Jim Hendrix had passed away.

Marion James was included in The Country Music Hall Of Fame exhibit “Night Train To Nashville” as well.

Marion James even recorded a song by Billy Cox, “Find Out (What You Want)” for Nashville label K&J Records.

30th reunion 29 bw

Marion James at 30th Annual Musicians Reunion and Benefit, photo- Brad Hardisty

Marion James had a story about every great musician that set foot on Jefferson Street. One time she talked about riding with her girlfriend in the back of Arthur Gunter’s [“Baby Let’s Play House”] big car that he kept shined up for many years after receiving the royalties from Elvis Presley’s recording of his song which he had originally released on Nashville’s Excello records. She described how you had to keep your feet up since you could see the road through the rusted-out floor boards.

In recent years, Marion James had released recordings in the United Sates and Italy, most recently Northside Soul [Ellersoul Records] was recognized as one of the greatest blues recordings to come out in 2012.

While continuing her Musicians Awards show as well as the Musician’s Reunion, Marion was currently fundraising to erect a statue of Jim Hendrix outside the current Elks Lodge on Jefferson Street which was once The Baron Club, sight of the infamous guitar dual instigated by Jimi [Jimmy back then] Hendrix versus Johnny Jones who was headlining the club. During that fateful night, by all accounts, Johnny Jones got the best of Jimi but that was way before his days in New York City or London.

metro 50th marion james 02

Marion James, “Nashville’s Queen of the Blues” sings “24 Hours A Day” at Metro 50th Concert, photo – Brad Hardisty

Marion James last large stage performance was to over ten thousand fans as one of the headliners at the Nashville Metro 50th celebration outdoor concert which also included Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush and Del McCoury.

Marion became well known not only as a performer and recording artist but a songwriter and over the last two years she had been working on a gospel song which she hoped to include on a future full length recording.

Marion also hoped to one day return to the road in Italy where she had fond memories of performing in the past.

Marion James funeral will take place where her heart was at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2708 Jefferson St, Nashville, TN 37208 next to the Elks Lodge where her committee had been working tirelessly with support from the community to enshrine the Jimi Hendrix Nashville legacy this Saturday, January 9th 2016 at 11:00 AM.

A Marion James gofundme page has been established by current President of The Marion James Musicians Aid Society, David Flynn to help with the proceeding while longtime friend and music entrepreneur, Lorenzo Washington [Jefferson Street Sound] is working with Marion’s family members to make sure that all the details are complete that Marion had asked for.

UPDATE Jan. 5. 2015:

Contacts:

David Flynn davidflynn10@yahoo.com

Funeral services for Marion James, Nashville’s “Queen of the Blues,” will be held this Saturday. At 10 a.m. a horse-drawn carriage will convey her casket from Smith Brothers Funeral Directors, 706 Monroe Street, to the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2708 Jefferson Street.  A one hour visitation at the church featuring music will begin at 11 a.m. and the service will start at noon.  Several ministers and a series of speakers will celebrate the life of Ms. James.  She died of a massive stroke on December 31, 2015.

Marion James, 81, was officially declared “Queen of the Blues” by the Nashville mayor’s office last September after a lifetime of blues music and of helping others. She had a national top-ten hit, “That’s My Man”, in 1966, and recorded a number of CD’s over the years including Northside Soul released in 2012.  Jimi Hendrix got his professional start as a member of her band.  Ms. James founded the Marion James Musicians Aid Society, which for decades has helped musicians in need.  Her Musicians Reunion, a fundraising all-day blues festival, celebrated its 32nd year in 2015.

A gofundme account has been set up for those who want to help with her funeral expenses. The link is:  https://www.gofundme.com/marionjames .

  • 30th reunion 13 bw

    Marion James – Nashville’s Queen of the Blues at 30th reunion, photo – Brad Hardisty

    Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Marion James also talks about music back in the day and Jimi Hendrix.

Marion James,

Marion James, “Nashville’s Queen of the Blues” sings “24 Hours A Day” at Metro 50th Concert, photo – Brad Hardisty

This Sunday, September 6th, will mark the 32nd Annual Musician’s Reunion at The Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar in Printers Alley. Nearly a full day event, music will be starting at 3pm with the doors opening 30 minutes early. This year there will be over 20 Artists from Nashville’s storied past Jefferson Street scene to current up and coming Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Gospel and Soul.

Featured Artists will be recently signed nationally known Nashville act The Andy T Nick Nixon Band [Alligator Records] as well as local favorite Jack Pearson and many others.

Marion James - Nashville's Queen of the Blues at 30th reunion, photo - Brad Hardisty

Marion James – Nashville’s Queen of the Blues at 30th reunion, photo – Brad Hardisty

The first Musician’s Reunion show that celebrated the heyday of the Jefferson Street Sound and honored those that had passed away during the year was so popular the first time that it has become an annual event.Marion James “Nashville’s Queen Of The Blues” spearheads the event with the support of the Nashville Blues Music Community. Marion James is known for having Jimi Hendrix in her backing band back in the day as well as the top ten hit “That’s My Man” [Excello]. That song was re-released on 7 inch vinyl with the original Excello label on Record Store Day in 2014 in England and sold out quick. Copies can be found occasionally through Ebay as well as all of Marion James catalog .

marion James Hound DogMarion James went on to release a couple more singles with songs written by Larry Lee [Jimi Hendrix – Gypsys, Suns and Rainbows] who performed with Jimi at Woodstock as well as long time Jimi Hendrix bassist Billy Cox who also worked with Marion back in the day.

Marion James thats my manMarion has recorded a string of CD’s over the last two decades and continues to perform at special events around Nashville. Marion discussed a little of this and a little of that with The Nashville Bridge.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: How many years have you done the Annual Musicians Reunion Show?

Marion James: This is the 32nd.

Regi Wooten at 2013 Musicians Reunion, photo - Brad Hardisty

Regi Wooten at 2013 Musicians Reunion, photo – Brad Hardisty

TNB: What was your favorite one that you did, what year?

MJ: Well, my favorite one was the first one.

TNB: What drives you to put these shows together?

MJ: I’m just used to it. I’ve been in show business for practically all my life. My husband [Buzz Stewart], he was a Musician and also an Arranger. So, it inspired me to go on to sing in the music field.

TNB: How many records did you actually have out? Has it been three singles and several albums in the last ten or twenty years?

Marion James find out what you wantMJ: Yeah, about three singles. The rest of them were CD’s. Not records.

TNB: What are your favorite songs to sing right now?

MJ: There is one of them that I am looking forward to recording again before this year’s out. It’s one of my friends who has been into the music for a long, long time. He sung this song and it was a hit called “I Need your Love So Bad” by Little Willie John. I really like that tune.

TNB: Little Willie John, cool! You’ll have some originals as well that you are working on?

John Richards at 30th Musicians Reunion, photo - Brad Hardisty

John Richards at 30th Musicians Reunion, photo – Brad Hardisty

MJ: Yes, I have. I’ve got two songs that I have wrote.

TNB: What’s been your favorite time, musically, in Nashville? Do you like it now or did you prefer it back in the 60’s or 70’s?

MJ: I liked the 60’s and the 70’s. If you are speaking of music, some of these songs that they’re singing now, they are getting’ away with a lot. I mean, back in the day we had to sing the melody right and the songs tell a story. But nowadays, you got a few that will get up and take one line and sing it one line all the way through and get away with it. But, back in the day we didn’t do that. We sung our songs and we played our music.

TNB: Back in the day, I know that’s a theme that brings back to memory the Jefferson Street scene. You also recorded a song called “Back In The Day” a couple of years ago. Do you remember how it was when there were a lot of clubs and a lot of things were going on?

MJ: Yes, it was very much active. You had a lot of musicians and there had been a lot of vocalists that was doin’ it at that time.

TNB: You could probably go see somebody play live about every night back then.

Debbie Bond, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond, photo – Brad Hardisty

MJ: Yeah, they had a club just about every other block on Jefferson Street back in the day. They had a different act in each club. You went in and you really enjoyed it because it wasn’t the same thing all the time. So, if you go out on the weekend and say “Well, I’m goin’ clubbin’,” you could start from 6th and Jefferson all the way out to 31st in Centennial which was a Dinner Club. There was a different act all the way.

TNB: Wow. What were some of the big names that you really liked listening to?

MJ: There was Little Richard, Otis Redding and Hank Crawford was going to school at Tennessee State University. On Sunday, Hank would have the jam session at 28th and Jefferson in a little Restaurant there they called Hayes Rendezvous and all the students would go there at three o clock on Sunday and they would have a jam. All the musicians would come in and play. There was a musician, Charlie Dungers, that would play up and down Jefferson Street and he was great. He went away from here for a while and he was playing all over Europe and then he decided to come back home and play his music and also he taught at Tennessee State University. I think it was strange he was still teachin’.

TNB: I remember now that you’ve told me about Jimi Hendrix playing with your band back then for a while. Do you have any funny stories that you remember?

MJ: Well there are a whole lot of things about Jimi that were peculiar about him that we laugh about. So really, Jimi he was kind. One of the habits, I guess it’s natural for a person to do it but, I noticed that he never did like to wear no shoes. He would just walk barefooted you know.

TNB: I’d heard that he carried his guitar around either without a case or in a paper bag or something. He didn’t ever have a guitar case.

marion james night trainMJ: Yeah, yeah, he did odd things like that. He really did, you know. Like I said, he was a nice guy, very nice to go around with also. He was on the quiet side. I don’t know how you would say it but he never was a person that was always on a run all the time. He was just calm and quiet, you know.

TNB: Now when he got on stage though he kind of commanded the stage quite a bit, didn’t he?

MJ: Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes, he did.

TNB: He liked to show off a little bit I guess.

Samuel L. Dismuke Jr., 30th Annual Musicians Reunion Show photo - Brad Hardisty

Samuel L. Dismuke Jr., 30th Annual Musicians Reunion Show photo – Brad Hardisty

MJ: He loved to show off and play that guitar. He came up with that act with trying to play the guitar with his mouth and all like that. He was a pretty good showman, you know.

TNB: Who are you looking forward to playing at the Musician’s Reunion show that is coming up?

MJ: I’m looking at Jack Pearson and Scott Holt. They are my two favorites when it comes to playing guitar. Jack Pearson was on one of my CD’s that I recorded. He did a marvelous job.

TNB: Do you think you will get up and sing with Jack Pearson?

Courtesy Marion James

Courtesy Marion James

MJ: Oh yes, I mean, you know, if it comes to that, I think I can cover it.

  • Brad Hardisty Nashville, TN

All photos © Brad Hardisty

nashville bridgeThe Nashville Bridge was rolled out in 2010 at the suggestion of my sister who said that I needed to share my rock and roll and country and rhythm and blues Americana post punk California life with the rest of the world. My first blog printed photo was a portion of a shot I took of The Cumberland River and the bridges crossing into downtown that I took with a 5 mg Fuji auto focus while visiting Nashville in 2006 and wondering if I would ever move here. It is a picture that means a lot to me. I visited Nashville quite often from Birmingham before deciding to move up here and make roots in January of 2008.

Although I did want to just editorialize and conjecture my thoughts on all things music since becoming a music conduit starting at the age of four when I saw The Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show and then cemented when I banged on garage doors beginning at age five to get in and listen to Count Five (“Psychotic Reaction”) and other San Jose area bands practice their next hit singles. Now,with the blog, I knew I needed pictures to tell the story.

back then, yy eyes were wide open and my neuro senses were in overdrive at age five and six watching a bunch of teenage guys hammer through guitar amps making loud music with girls hanging out until the cops would arrive and shut the whole thing down. I got to get mad at having to quiet down with the rest of the band and older kids.

Well, that’s how it started and this is where I am at right now: Nashville! There is a story behind of every picture that means anything to me.

mike farris 100102 bwWhen I started the blog, I just had a Nikon 12 mg auto-focus camera which was difficult sometimes, especially on band close-ups with lots of lights. Mike Farris was kind enough to let me shoot him down by the Cumberland River after talking about the Nashville Flood and his then current album. Mike Farris & The Cumberland Saints project to benefit flood victims at Crema  in 2010 with the Nikon.

Needless to say, I had to rely on kind contributing support of great photographers in and around Nashville and Birmingham for photos when possible for the blog and my articles in Performer Magazine.

jeff beck ryman 03 smallNext, I got an HTC Evo 4G phone that actually got some decent shots now and then. Sometimes, it was the only camera available and it would have to do.  The pics I took of Jeff Beck at The Ryman actually turned out fairly interesting.

record store day 2013 069Finally, it was time to get a reliable camera to get some decent concert shots, so, I gathered my limited budget and bought a Canon EOS Rebel T3i about six months ago. It really paid off on Record Store Day this last April when I was shooting multiple bands at several locations.  The photo of Tyler Davis of Chrome Pony at The Groove was all you could ask for. The red hair contrasting with the blue sky was superb.

nbn 2010 Peelander Z 02The Nikon camera could be difficult with a lot of action, this shot of Peelander Z at Exit/In during Next Big Nashville 2010 made the best of the cameras limitations,  tracers and all, while Peelander Red crowd-surfed, bass guitar in towl.

paul mccartney coachellaOkay, here was a tough one for the Nikon. Paul McCartney in Palm Desert, California at Coachella 2009 from 30 yards away, my only usable shot of a real Beatle so far. I wish I was the guy shooting that picture down front.

Ray Wylie HubbardThe Americana Festival 2010 was a real eye opener seeing fans traveling from as far away as Australia to see Hayes Carll play a set at The Basement.  Ray Wylie Hubbard was hot that year and the Nikon played with the light a little bit and this photo only worked with some grit in it. I figured it was an “Americana” picture. Maybe it’s just all the facial hair, but, he looks like a smiling Jerry Garcia to me.

inf cat 10 2nd heavycream 02Infinity Cat Records had a 10th Anniversary celebration last year and Heavy Cream headlined the second night at The Zombie Shop. The HTC Evo did some kind of funky light thing when a flash went off at the same time from another camera across the room. There is no photo editing. You can’t duplicate that. That’s a real motha fo ya!

ibma 2010 rodney dillard 01IBMA fans and musicians are absolutely some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Rodney Dillard was one of The Darlings on The Andy Griffith Show and is still laying it down on the Martin Guitar with The Dillards as he did here at the 2010 conference taken with the Nikon.

mike farris grimeys 02Kenny Vaughan is probably one of the most iconic guitarists in Nashville today with a portfolio of work includes Marty Stuart, Lucinda Williams and other varied projects including his recent solo record. Mike Farris had one of the biggest bands ever at Grimeys for this in-store with Kenny Vaughan on guitar. I was standing right next to him holding the care above and behind my shoulder to get this one with the Nikon. He kind of reminds me of Angus Young’s other brother from a different mother the way he is holding that SG.

tristan dunn 01Tristan Dunn is a musician from Birmingham, Alabama that I have known for several years now. He can play guitar, keys like his favorite – Billy Powell and blows harp like Topper Price. I got some great shots of him in front of the Johnny Cash wall before it got damaged and then updated. He is autistic, but, he doesn’t use that as a conversation piece or to get sympathy, he just lets the music do the talking. I have ran into so many big name Country Artists when I run around with him when he visits that I am beginning to think he has a high profile Guardian Angel like Hank Williams or Buck Owens.

Frank Fairfield 02Frank Fairfield did an in-store at Grimeys in 2011 and I kind of pushed the HTC Evo as far is it could go with antique sepia tones being the theme. I think Frank is from California’s Central Valley where I grew up. His music is best heard on vinyl 78’s. I have yet to talk to him about Fresno’s famous Di Cicco’s Pizza. Okay…now I’m hungry.

uncle dave 2012 blind boy 01 expJeron “Blind Boy” Paxton made the cover of Living Blues Magazine even before any kind of real record release and just a lot of You Tube buzz. He specializes in music from the early 1900’s and is a master on old banjos, guitars, ragtime piano and just about anything he touches. He was hanging out in Murfreesboro at Uncle Dave Macon Days last year jamming with people that had no idea who he was. I guess they thought he just wandered in from some boxcar in a train yard. The photo was taken with the HTC Evo.

metro 50th marion james 01Okay, here is backstage with my newer phone, the Samsung Galaxy S III. This is Marion James, Nashville’s “Queen of The Blues” getting ready to go onstage at Nashville’s Metro 50th Celebration downtown. Marion had a top 10 Billboard hit back in the 60’s with “That’s My Man” on Excello Records. She has multiple connections to Jimi Hendrix. Jimi played guitar for her when he lived in Nashville in the early 60’s. Also, she recorded two more singles back during that time with Hendrix tie-ins. One song was written by Billy Cox, bassist for Jimi Hendrix and Marion as well as another song written by Larry Lee who was the second guitarist in Jimi Hendrix’s band, Gypsies, Suns & Rainbows that played at Woodstock. She knew and knows them all. Marion works hard to keep the Rythm & Blues scene alive in Nashville.

rev peyton show 032013 062 smallOkay, back to some newer shots with the Canon.  Reverend Peyton at his recent show at Exit/In provided the opportunity to learn more about the camera’s capabilities. The Rev’s management contacted me after seeing the post to email photos for their use.

rose pink 03 smallRight before Christmas, when I was just breaking the Canon in, I met Mississippi Rosealee aka Rosalind Wilcox who lives in Clarksdale, Mississippi i.e “The Crossroads.” Rosealee is well known in the community as both an artist with her space called Sun House right near Ground Zero and as a musician that includes playing drums for two historic Mississippi Blues musicians, L.C. Ulmer and Robert Belfour. In fact, L.C. Ulmer wrote a song for her called “Rosalee” and is on the M Is For Mississippi soundtrack. She let me set up a shot of her at Hopson’s Commissary that reminded me a little of the first Crosby, Stills and Nash album.

record store day 2013 053 smallOkay, I personally think this is the best candid of Tristen, that I just happened to take at The Groove, Record Store Day 2013 with the Canon. The most important thing is that she liked the picture too. Man, I want to shoot Nikki Lane. Wait, I did get a couple before they closed the set a couple of nights before Record Store Day.

record store day 2013 023 smallThere it is…man, I could do better, Nikki thinks about what she is wearing, the shot, everything, I would love to do a couple hours of shooting with Nikki. Well, Nikki, if you e-mail me, I’m there! Nikki, your neo-classic country meets retro cool thing is sublime.

bang ok bang jan 2012 08Okay, the earliest shots with the Canon were the Bang Ok Bang set at the High Watt in August of 2012. I was still learning how to work with the frame speed and all that. Now, just for knowledge of the game: I did shoot 35 Millimeter on a Canon back in the day. This photo was taken in auto-mode and it caught some drum moves all in the same frame from drummer Abby Hairston. I still think it’s cool, in an art crawl kind of way.

debbie bond mando blues 04082013 028 smallOkay, I have been out to a couple of tapings of the Mando Blues Show. That is an adventure in itself, most notably, talking to Futureman about Return To Forever’s Romantic Warrior album and the merits of Lenny Williams’ drums on that. It is one of the famous Wooten’s favorite examples of drums. He said Lenny’s drums sound like a Timpani. Alabama drummer, Dave Crenshaw played drums for Debbie Bond that night and it looks like I set up this shot, but, I didn’t. The Canon again.

tyler bryant exitin 070 smallOkay, one more and I will let you go. There is a story behind this one too. I ran into Tyler Bryant at Cafe Coco before Tyler Bryant & The Shakedown were going to play at Exit/In. We talked about when he opened for Jeff Beck at The Ryman and he knew I was going to be down front shooting some photos. When I arrived at The Exit/In, Brad Whitford from Aerosmith was talking to his son Graham Whitford, the other guitarist in the Shakedown near the merch booth before everybody started showing up. He was wearing a baseball cap and being very incognito. He looked at me and realized I knew who he was. I could tell he was there just to support his son and didn’t want to draw any attention to himself. So, I just gave him the “Nashville” nod of recognition and didn’t approach or say anything. I kept his cover for him. You see, that is how we do it in Nashville. We let each other relax and feel at home. I got some great shots of the band and got one of the best color shots ever with the Canon of Graham on stage.

I’m happy with the pictures I am getting with the Canon T3i and so is my Editor at Performer Magazine. Even the bands and artists have given me kudos. Maybe next year, I’ll go for a full frame Nikon or Canon.

Well, The Nashville Bridge is almost three years old. I have been writing for over two years for Performer Magazine and a few other scattered published articles. Thanks for indulging me with my lifetime passion for music. Thanks for reading The Nashville Bridge on your laptop, iphone, ipad or droid. I make it as easy to view and read as possible.

“It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock and roll!” – AC/DC

All photos © Brad Hardisty

–          Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 049 small“Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!”

The Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards started up about 4:30 in Printers Alley just a few doors down from Jimi Hendrix’s old gig with Billy Cox back in the day at The Black Poodle inside Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar which boogies all week long with Blues, Jazz and plenty of fretboard sweat.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 056 smallGil Gann was hot and MC for the night cuttin’ it up and gettin’ down on the guitar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 014 smallPhase 6 acted as house band, while the all-stars rotated on and off the stage like a Pancake Buffet Breakfast at Shoney’s.

The awards show is sponsored by The Marion James Musicians Aid Society which helps musicians in need, especially from the rich rhythm and blues heritage that was on and off Jefferson Street from the fifties through the mid-seventies.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 009Tina Brown really started getting things going like Tina Turner on an Etta James afternoon. Tina has a strong voice and personality to match.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 016 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 107 smallPhase 6 features two generations of serious players; Samuel Dismuke on bass and Samuel Dismuke Jr. on dual duty as vocalist and Trombonist. Long time collaborator Eddie Carter still kicks it on the drums.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 089 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 013 smallAlabama Blues master, Debbie Bond, played her first set in Nashville at The Jazz and Blues Awards warming up the crowd with a teaser song early on before coming back and playing a set later on in the show. When Debbie Bond took the stage for her full set with Moe Denham sitting in on Hammond B3, she brought some serious Alabama roots with a little of her Willie King experience as well as some Eddie Hinton style Muscle Shoals groove to the local Blues venue. It was a welcome change to what could be considered a get your game on attitude among Nashville’s players.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 052 smallAwards were given out in several categories to artists that gig in and around Nashville. Jefferson Street Sound Artist, Don Adams won best Bassist while Regi Wooten won best Jazz Guitarist of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 104 smallRegi Wooten did a barnburner abbreviated set starting out with a laidback jazz version of “Crystal Blue Persuasion” taking the band as far as he could with some John McLaughlin sans Vernon Reid go where you wanna go Lead guitar work that turned it up a notch. Regi’s band, The Wooten Brothers, which tear down the house every Wednesday night at 3rd & Lindsley, took home Best Live band of the year.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 115 smallNashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 109 smallLola Brown sang backup for Marion James before taking the spotlight herself later with her backup band Area Black featuring Jerome Preston on Bass after Jerome finished a set with Regi Wooten. Lola put it all out there after winning R&B Vocalist of the Year. Lola really brought the church into the boogie bar.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 068 smallMarion James took home a pair of awards which were judged by local Blues and Jazz Artists as well as some special attendees for Female Blues Singer of the Year as well as her recent Ellersoul release, Northside Soul for album of the year. Northside Soul has garnished some national recognition with rave reviews in several publications as well as awards from B.B. King’s Sirius Radio Channel and a Top Ten on the Living Blues Charts.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 081 smallMarion James’s set was a barnburner with her singing from her gut, old school, Otis Redding reborn experience thrown into, “I Just Want To Make Love To You.” Marion is the heart and soul of Nashville R&B history having released three singles on three different labels back in the day, one written by her husband Buzz Stewart on Excello, the top ten hit, “That’s My Man” as well as two other songs by two individuals tied to Jimi Hendrix who used to play guitar for her back when, Billy Cox and Larry Lee.

In more recent times, Marion has released three solid albums in the last dozen years that not only spotlight her voice, but, some excellent songwriting that would not only put her in the spot as “Nashville’s Queen of The Blues” but within an elite group of two or three as Queen of The Blues from a last Blues woman standing viewpoint since the passing of Precious Bryant in January.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 062 smallThe Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards is something a very down home event in complete contrast to the glitz and glam of the Country music industry. Marion James almost singlehandedly has wanted to support recognition for the Blues and R&B community of Nashville.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 004 smallMarion James has this to say: “Down through the years, everyone has come through or stumbled upon Nashville, Tennessee to either visit or make their mark in the music industry. Some who have made their way to Music City think that it is all about country music…OH NO!!!

R&B, Jazz and the Blues have been around for more than just some time.  Matter of fact Jazz and Blues are all around you in all of the music.  So we are actually not hard to find.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 034 smallThere have been a number of very good musicians that come through Nashville.  Some could read, some couldn’t, some could  write it down on paper, and some only needed to hear your idea and could play it the first go round.  It really didn’t matter because they were very well seasoned and could accommodate any artists that needed them.

Most of our Legends like, Jimi Hendrix, Johnny Jones, Cab Calloway, Ray Charles, Charles Dungey, Milt Turner, Ted Jarrett, just to name a few, have passed on and we must turn the baton over to some of the younger generation, who are worthy, to carry the torch and pave a new way out of what they were brought up on…Jazz, R&B and Blues, and carry on the tradition of the root of it all and with some new and original twists added.

We must continue to raise funds and support these new comers as if we taught them ourselves, as if we have rubbed off on them and put a little of our soul into their soul so that WE may live on in them. Knowing that they will continue in what we love so much and that is “THE MUSIC.”

This is why I love giving the Jazz and Blues Awards event every year.  It is an annual event that shows our younger people that we see them, we recognize them, we are watching them, but most importantly we are encouraging them.

So move over Country music and make room for our up and coming talent and artists. Offer them a hand up and a way to succeed. Allow them to keep the music coming and growing. Let’s keep them in the spotlight, because there is a Jazz, Blues and R&B artist standing in the wings, waiting for you to reach out and give them a helping hand.”

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

metro 50th sam bush del mccoury 03Last Saturday, Nashville celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Metro Government with a little get together of several thousand people on a rare warm spring day for this year with a celebration of music that included everything from Barbershop Quartet to a Night Train To Nashville All-Star Tribute for the grand finale.

The park in front of the courthouse has proven to be a good place to gather downtown just a few blocks north of Broadway.

Emmylou Harris kicked things off before Barbershop and String Quartets took a turn at the microphone.

metro 50th sam bush del mccoury 01Things finally kicked up a notch with one of the twin highlights of the afternoon as Sam Bush and Del McCoury jammed for several numbers trading off flat-picking and mandolin on well-known standards.

metro 50th sam bush del mccoury 02For some, this was the reason for hanging at the front of the stage while for others the rare appearance of many of Nashville’s classic R&B era was the reason to party.

metro 50th brenda lee mayor karl dean 01Before that, Brenda Lee walked up to the podium and addressed the crowd on what Nashville has meant for her and her career. It’s a great place to live as well as a chance ticket to stardom.

metro 50th jimmy church 01Jimmy Church kicked the Night Train section off with Bobby Hebb’s “Sunny” which is the quintessential song from the classic Jefferson Street years.

metro 50th marion james 02Marion James’ did the classic, “24 Hours A Day” with Michael Gray from The Country Music Hall of Fame talking about each song that was chosen and the artists that made them big.

The Valentines made a rare appearance as well as the McCrary Sisters.

metro 50th marion james 01It was a great afternoon break and an opportunity for parents to expose their children to some great live music.

– Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com

The new Jimi Hendrix Anthology West Coast Seattle Boy bonus DVD Voodoo Child answers a lot of questions about Jimi’s time in Nashville, which for the most part is an unknown piece of the puzzle.  Jimi not only formed his first band The King Kasuals with Billy Cox on Bass  while in Nashville but it was here that he cut his teeth with some of the best Rhythm and Blues acts of the day.

Jimi Hendrix at Ft. Campbell, KY

The first step to Nashville for the Seattle, Washington native was joining the Military. “I was 18. I figured I would have to go into the Army sooner or later, so I walked into the first recruiting office I saw and volunteered. I wanted to get everything over with before I got into music as a career so they wouldn’t call me up in the middle of something that might be happening. “

Jimi wasn’t able to sign up as a musician because he had no formal musical training so he joined the most elite outfit he could. The 101st Airborne Division, The Screaming Eagles of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky. He wrote home “Well Dad, here I am exactly where I wanted to go in the 101st Airborne.”

Young Jimi with Red Danelectro

Jimi wanted to succeed for the sake of his family name as a member of the Screaming Eagles in the U.S. Army. One of the first requests home was to send his guitar, “P.S. Please send my guitar as soon as you can. I really need it now.”

The one thing that Jimi gave up when he went into the military was about to become what he always wanted; music would become the center focus of his life. He was in the military for thirteen months when he got his ankle caught in a sky hook and he broke it. He had become frustrated with the military life and the inability to play music and decided to tell them he hurt his back too. They let him out,  July 2, 1962, just prior to the troop increase in Vietnam.

Photo Date 1963, probably at Del Morocco, Jimmy (Jimi) ,notice Epiphone Coronet, Silvertone Amp, Billy Cox, 3rd down, Nice Fender Jazz Bass, Fender Amp. Jimi was notorious for letting his stuff go into hawk.

Jimi became more serious about the guitar while still in the Army and decided to head south of Kentucky a few short miles to Nashville to see if he could earn money playing the guitar.  He moved into a housing development during the civil rights movement.  In fact he was arrested once along with Billy Cox in 1962. “Every Sunday we would go down to watch the race riots. We took a picnic basket because they wouldn’t serve us in the restaurant…Sometimes if there was a good movie on Sunday there wouldn’t be any race riots.”

The Bonnevilles, 1962, Clarksville, TN at The Pink Poodle just prior to move to Nashville.

Ft. Campbell had been where Jimi had become friends with  Billy Cox, a Bass player born in West Virginia, raised in Pittsburg, PA who also settled into Nashville for the music opportunities.

Together. they formed The King Kasuals. The band played at clubs like the Del Morocco on Jefferson Street as well as gigs on Printers Alley. Jimi did get a little studio time, but, engineers found him too experimental when he got to recording as a back up musician and Jimi had a hard time making some extra money as a studio musician.

Mid-60’s Nashville Civil Rights March

Hendrix waited for his Army buddy and bassist Billy Cox to get out and together they came down the road to Nashville to form their first band – King Kasuals. King Kasuals became the house band of the now-gone Club Del Morocco (the owner of which ended up bailing the two out of jail after a Civil Rights demonstration downtown!). Hendrix played at so many of the clubs in Printers Alley and along Jefferson Street – places where the likes of Etta James and James Brown were performing. Hendrix took his guitar everywhere in Nashville – on the bus, to the store, on a walk. Nashville is where he really developed his guitar playing. He said so himself: “That’s where I learned to play really…Nashville.” – 365nashville.com

“Hendrix credits Nashville as the place that he really learned how to play guitar. That still freaks out most people who think of Nashville as just country music,” says Joe Chambers, the founder of the Musicians Hall of Fame in Nashville.

Chambers recounts how in 1962 Hendrix wound up at the army base at Ft. Campbell, Kentucky, and met fellow musician Billy Cox. They became fast friends and a short time after moved to Nashville, some 60 miles away, and lived together on Jefferson Street, above a beauty shop called Joyce’s House of Glamour.

“I actually saw Jimi Hendrix one night at Printer’s Alley. He was in his private’s uniform,” says Norbert Putnam, a musician, studio owner and producer with a long list of credits in Nashville.

Hendrix soaked up the style of the blues players in the bars along Jefferson Street. “You gotta be pretty good to get their attention,” Chambers recalls his friend Billy Cox saying. “Jimi went to sleep with his guitar on, woke up with it on, walked out the door with it, and went to the movie theater with it.”

Jimi with Buddy and Stacey “Shotgun” Nashville TV Taping

Some of the first video footage ever shot of Hendrix was on Nashville’s WLAC Channel 5 television show Night Train. You can see him on a 1965 clip backing up Buddy & Stacy, looking freaky and sliding his hand over the front of his guitar’s neck. Chambers says Hendrix and Cox played the clubs on Jefferson as well as the club circuit from Murfreesboro to Tullahoma. – From Rock In The Country: Nashville’s Secret History By Davis Inman 12/17/2010, American Songwriter

King Kasuals, Jimi, Billy

Jimi left Nashville to be near his Grandmother in Vancouver in December of 1962 and played with a band called Bobbie Taylor and The Vancouvers, that featured Tommy Chong of comedy team, Cheech & Chong, until heading back to the south in the spring of 1963.

The gigs continued with Billy Cox and the band. Jimi continued developing his chops and playing wherever and whenever he could.

Jimi Hendrix did some uncredited session work while in Nashville and also played for current “Nashville’s Queen of The Blues” Marion James and Roscoe Shelton before leaving Nashville. Billy Cox also played bass for Marion James who still resides in Nashville and is signed to Ellersoul Records.

Billy Cox wrote two songs for Frank Howard & The Commanders and both Billy and Jimi played on the sessions for “I’m So Glad” and “I’m Sorry For You” during those Nashville days.

Billy Cox stated in a Nashville Scene interview in 2010 that he is in the process of writing a book about his time with Jimi Hendrix in Nashville; nobody could tell the story better than Billy and he hopes to clarify between myth and legend what happened in those early times.

Jimi in Nashville

Imperials drummer Freeman Brown played with Hendrix while he was in Nashville. “There used to be a theater called the Ritz Theater down on Jefferson Street, it was there for the longest. We went to a show one day and Jimi carried his guitar in a shopping bag. He always kept his guitar with him. And every time he would just play, just play, just play; it was kind of like having a little baby to him.” “It was like a third arm, you know. And like he (Freeman) said, I saw him on a bus with it one day, you know, in a shopping bag, in a plastic bag, whatever. That’s the way he was. It was not unusual at all. Not usual at all,” confirms George Yates.

Larry Lee, 2nd guitar with Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock

“Jimi and I, being left-handed guitar players, just talked. We hit it off real smooth,” Yates recalls. “Everybody thought we were brothers. We were skinny, very young, and I guess, women chased us, you know. We played together one time. It was with a group called The Bonnevilles, and I believe Jimi named the group. His manager had us on the road one night, supposedly the three best guitar players in town- me, Jimi, and Larry Lee from Memphis (The same Larry Lee that played with Jimi at Woodstock). The people just went crazy because we were all doing crazy acts, you know, guitar behind the head, biting it with the teeth, falling on my knees, and I have bad knees because of it today. But Jimi was the showman. We were admirers of each other, you know.” – Night Train To Nashville by Tina Robin

It was at this time he met a promoter named Gorgeous George, who got him on as a touring guitarist. “The idea of playing guitar with my teeth came to me in a town in Tennessee.  Down there you have to play with your teeth or else you get shot. Those people were really hard to please.“

The earliest known video of Jimi Hendrix was playing “Shotgun” with Buddy and Stacey  at a Nashville television studio in May 1965.

It was a Soul package that came into Nashville featuring Sam Cooke, Solomon Burke, Jackie Wilson, BB King and Chuck Jackson that kick started his professional career. “I got a little job playing in the backup band.  I learned a lot playing behind all those names every night.”

Jimi’s star across from Country Music Hall of Fame

He went on a 35 day tour covering most all of the south, the Seattle boy was now in the thick of a tour that took him to all parts of the country.  He sent a postcard “Dear Dad, just a few words to let you know I made it to South Carolina. Tell everybody “Hello” with love, Jimmy”

Jimi with The Isley Brothers

While in New York, he entered an amateur contest at the Apollo Theater and won $25 after taking first place.  It was there in New York that The Isley Brothers asked him to stay and play.  He played with them for a while but he was ready to break out of being in the back up position and desired to direct his own career.  He left The Isley Brothers when they made it back to Nashville on a tour stop.

He then joined a band that took him to Atlanta, Georgia where he met Little Richard and was asked to join his band. “Dearest Dad, I received your letter while I was in Atlanta. I’m playing with Little Richard now. We’re going toward the West Coast. We’re in Louisiana now. But my address will be in Los Angeles. “

Jimi with Little Richard

He only played with Little Richard for five months and left after not getting paid for a period of five and a half weeks.  He was ready for a change after the Little Richard stint. “I couldn’t imagine myself for the rest of my life in a shiny Mohair suit with patent leather shoes and a patent leather hairdo to match. “

“I didn’t hear any guitar players doing anything new.  I was bored out of my mind. I wanted my own scene making my own music. I was starting to see you could create a whole new world with the electric guitar because there isn’t a sound like it. “

Curtis Knight and The Squires

He heard music in his mind that he wanted to do but he knew it was going to be hard to find people to do it with.  “I went back to New York and played with this Rhythm and Blues group called Curtis Knight and The Squires. I also played with King Curtis and Joey Dee. “

It was after this period of time in Nashville, travelling with some of the greatest artists of the day that he became what the world knows as Jimi Hendrix. Chas Chandler, bassist for The Animalswas invited, by Keith Richards girlfriend at the time, Linda Keith (she also “loaned” Jimi one of Keith Richard’s guitars to Jimi), to see him play with his band, Jimmy James and The Blue Flames and that is where the usual story of Jimi Hendrix begins.

Band of Gypsies : Billy Cox, Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Miles, who had kept on Jimi for some time to get their own band going.

Although it may have been a short couple of years, his friend Billy Cox would rejoin him with Buddy Miles as Band of Gypsys and they recorded some of the funkiest three piece soul ever done. Billy would be with him at Woodstock and record and perform as a member of his band until he passed away. Billy still lives in Nashville.

Jimi went through many transitions in life, moving several times and being called by many different names, first, Johnny than James, “Buster”, Jimmy, with many knicknames along the way including “Chop Suey” and finally Jimi. Through all the changes, Jimi managed to be very positive as his guitar was like a magic carpet guiding him on his travels.

If Jimi had not joined the Army and started his journey through the south, his story might not have been what it became.  By doing what other great guitarists do, be it Country or otherwise and joining the Nashville scene and becoming a touring musician he accelerated his abilities quickly and became the Voodoo Child with a mojo hand made of gold becoming the most important guitarist of his day, a great songwriter and  the highest paid rock showman of his time.

Many of the quotes that are by Jimi Hendrix, were read by Bootsy Collins and are featured in the Documentary, Jimi Hendrix: Voodoo Child.

” Music is the most important thing. I’m thinking of my future. There has to be something new, and I want to be a part of it. I want to lead an orchestra with excellent musicians. I want to play music which draws pictures of the world and its space.” – Jimi Hendrx

Jimmy James and The Blue Flames

Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN     thenashvillebridge@hotmail.com