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How Black Lives Are Important To Me

Without being political, I feel it now important that I weigh in on the current tense racial controversy that is now occurring in our country and around the world. From the beginning of my musical career, starting from my first guitar lessons at age 9, black musicians were the ones that influenced and inspired me from Day 1. They were always the ones that accepted me later on in my career. When I was in the 4th grade, my dad had a nervous breakdown and was institutionalized for about four months. This left my mom having to work her full time job along with the chore of raising me. One story I heard about was when she was meeting with a black gentleman at a government agency in New Jersey to discuss any public assistance that may or may not have been available. During their conversation, the subject came up of whether or not I could or should continue with my guitar lessons.This wonderful man said that my guitar lessons were the one thing that should not stop. I get emotional just thinking about that. From the first B.B. King lick I heard at age 15 through now, black musicians have been my biggest influences, whether I knew it or not. Even during the English Invasion of the early 60’s I was, as many were, influenced by black music. That’s another story for another millenium.
From the time I sat down at age 21 with 75 year old Georgia Bluesman, Willie Guy Rainey, I was always encouraged to keep going. He called me “New Jersey”. He said, “New Jersey… we’re gonna go play the Blues and drive that car until the wheels fall off!”  My first recording sessions also began at age 21 playing guitar on albums and 45rpm records with black gospel groups, as well as performing with them at iconic Atlanta black churches deeply embedded in the Civil Rights movement. The late Reverend Joseph Lowery and Georgia Congressman John Lewis were in the audience now and then. I would later remind them of that when we would meet up later during my broadcasting career.  Some of those early 70’s recording sessions surfaced as a result of legendary R&B producer Fred Mendohlson, of the famous black R&B record label, Savoy Records. He took a liking to me and gave me a shot. As time went on, I had opportunities to open shows, perform on festivals, and occasionally sit in with black musicians who were pioneers and legends. Never once did they not encourage me or make me feel inferior. Not so with many (not all) white musicians, booking agents, venue owners, promoters, and DJ’s. Along the way, there were some self appointed divas and so called music industry authorities who made it a point to snub, badmouth, ignore, or at least attempt to stand in the way. They know who they are. It didn’t work.
There are so many wonderful interactions I could list, but a few included the time in Cleveland, that early Delta Bluesman Robert Johnson’s adopted son, Robert Lockwood, Jr. looked me in the eye on his 88th birthday and said “Don’t Quit”! There is the time when my friend and Jimi Hendrix’ brother-in law, Guitar Shorty, sat with me for dinner when we opened for him in Chicago. He then turned me on to a gig the next week in Indiana that he had to cancel due to a tour schedule change.The time my youngest son and I had breakfast with the legendary Pinetop Perkins in Clarksdale, MS. also rates high on the list. Early Sun Records artist, Little Milton, got me onstage with him in Florida, as did longtime Howlin’ Wolf guitarist Hubert Sumlin, a favorite of Eric Clapton, by inviting me up during his set in Ohio in 2008. That was where I met longtime Muddy Waters band member, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, who I toured with four times as a duo and recorded a live CD with in 2010 in Pennsylvania. I owe a big Thank You to his manager, Patricia Morgan for making that happen. When opening in Chicago for the wonderful Austin artist, W.C. Clark, as he was walking onstage for his set as I was walking off he told me, “We’re all in this thing together.” I’m sure he told Stevie Ray Vaughn that somewhere along the line, someone who he greatly inspired and influenced.
Several times have I been grateful to do full sets with my good friends, Johnny Rawls, Dr. Mac Arnold, Carl Weathersby, Robert Lee Coleman, Little Jimmy Reed, along with James and Lucky Peterson. Another great memory was when the late harmonica master, Carey Bell, who heard one of my solo acoustic sets in Florida literally told me, “Man, I could do some shit witch you”! Other wonderful interactions over the years include Magic Slim, Bobby Rush, Snooky Pryor, Kenny Neal, Jimmy Lee Robinson, Sonny Rhodes, Cephas & Wiggins, Luther “Houserocker” Johnson, Sandra Hall, Francine Reed, Larry McCray, Lazy Lester, Bob Stroger, Bernard Allison, Larry Garner, James Armstrong, Eddie Shaw, Eddie Kirkland, Dave Myers, Buddy Guy, B.B. King, and the late Oklahoma Bluesman, D.C. Minner, where my 15 year involvement with he and his widow, Selby Minner’s 30 years of the Rentiesville Dusk ’til Dawn Blues Festival got me to the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame. I don’t claim to be a true Blues musician, but when I sat in with the iconic North Mississippi Bluesman, Junior Kimbrough, at his Holly Springs, MS juke joint back in the 90’s and he asked me, “Boy! How do you play the Blues like that and not drink!” That made me feel pretty damned good!  Not that I searched for or deserved any or all of what I just told you, but it happened anyway. So there’s that!
#blacklivesmatter #alllivesmatter

Rayshard Brooks Did Not Deserve To Die

Something has to change! This young man who fell asleep in his car and had been drinking should have never ended up dead. While not denying that there are so many potential dangers for the driver and to others, there is no way sleeping in your car or driving while possibly intoxicated should be a death sentence. It appears to me that he was in an alcoholic blackout. He needed help more so than he needed law enforcement, or he at least deserved the chance to have interacted with officers capable of recognizing that fact. Even if he ran away with a taser… So what!! They had his address so he would eventually be located. While talking to the police in the video, he kept telling the officers that he was about 15 or so miles away in another town. He was convinced of that. Being a recovering alcoholic for close to 37 years (One day at a time), I know the scenario. It is entirely possible that Rayshard Brooks, had his life been spared, would wake up not remembering any of what happened. He could have then been presented with some available life choices moving forward. Whether or not he would be willing to listen or to choose any of those recommendations wouldn’t be up to any of us, but at least he would be alive to decide for himself, and would also be around for his little girl’s birthday this weekend. I, along with millions of others, would have been willing to sit and tell this young man our stories of how we found a way out, as many did for me back in 1983, as well as a New York City Wall Street executive did for an Akron medical doctor back in 1935… 85 years ago this week. That is another story (Google it if you don’t know), so there’s that. This is a systemic problem that needs immediate attention. Immediate means NOW!

Podcast #30 – Please Be With Me

Podcast #30 – Please Be With Me

This song was originally recorded by the group, Cowboy, of Macon, Georgia’s Capricorn Records. Cowboy consisted of Scott Boyer and Tommy Talton.Their version featured a guest appearance by the late Duane Allman on dobro, which was also released on the first Duane Allman: An Anthology in 1972. The song was also released in 1975 by Eric Clapton on his 461 OCEAN BOULEVARD album. Boyer and Talton were also two of the musicians appearing on Gregg Allman’s LAID BACK album, and were part of the band later on for the Gregg Allman Tour, and are featured on the live album of the same name.


(This is a previous post that I think needs to be re shared)
Why are there no simple answers to simple questions anymore? The driver’s side door lock went out and needed to be replaced on my 09 Chevy Silverado Pickup.The part is referred to as a door lock actuator. When purchasing this part, it is one unit containing the actuator and the door lock for approximately $185.00. That’s easy enough to understand.

In speaking to the service writer at Day Chevrolet in Acworth, GA, he tells me me that they would need to diagnose the problem to see if it is the lock or the actuator that is faulty. Why would that matter if both parts are one unit? If the door lock isn’t working, and the remedy is to make the repair with the one part that serves two functions, why the extra wasted conversation?

What could have been a simple answer in saying that the unit would need to be replaced because it all is the same part would have been sufficient. With his useless diagnostic answer. Instead of a satisfactory simple answer, I now have more questions. Does that mean you are going to fix the bad section of the single part and charge me less, or are you going to waste my time, and probably charge more money in running a bogus diagnosis? Or is the one part really two parts and you don’t really know what you are talking about? 

He then said there would be twenty cars ahead of me, and that if I left the vehicle, he might have it done by the same time a day later. That was an understandable option. The cost to install the part; however, would be $150.00. In that case, I bought the part for $165.00 at the dealership, with the nice parts guy giving me a discount. I then went to my buddy, Doug, at G&S in Kennesaw, GA. He had me in and out in under two hours for $90.00, and he didn’t have to diagnose anything.

Feature by Shawn Poole of Backstreets.com (February 11, 2020)

Shawn Poole‎ to The Wild & The Innocent with Jim Rotolo
February 11 at 1:29 AM

THE MAN’S JUST BOPPIN’ THE BLUES: Today is National Get Out Your Guitar Day here in the U.S. Not a bad day for such a celebration, especially since this day also marks the births of folk/blues guitarist-singer-songwriter-activist Josh White, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Gene Vincent, and modern-day guitar-slinger Sheryl Crow.

It’s a perfect day, as well, to inform y’all about a unique guitar-slinging buddy of mine named Roger “Hurricane” Wilson, if you don’t happen to know about him already. Roger is a fellow longtime Springsteen fan who also is a musician himself, performing and teaching in the grand blues tradition. He spent his childhood years in New Jersey and much of his teenage years in Georgia, with summertime returns to the Garden State. The first time he saw Bruce Springsteen perform was in 1971, when Dr. Zoom and the Sonic Boom opened for The Allman Brothers at The Sunshine In. You can read Roger’s personal account of the experience and its lasting impact here:


That account is actually an earlier drafted version of what later became a chapter in his memoir HURRICANE, which can be purchased here:


Both Springsteen and the Allmans were major influences on Roger’s decision to pursue a musical career of his own, as well as on the kind of music he would play. For over four decades now, Roger Wilson has played and taught blues guitar. He’s shared stages with legends like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Jorma Kaukonen and Charlie Musselwhite. The late, great Les Paul once said of Roger, “This guy plays some great blues.”

One of the coolest things about Roger is that he has found a way to record, perform and share with the world whatever music he chooses, whenever he wants to do it. He controls his own online-based record-label, Bluestorm Records, and issues his own home-recorded albums and singles at a steady, prolific clip. He’s not beholden to anyone else but himself in regards to what he wants to say or play and when he wants to do it. In a line of work that’s changed so much during his lifetime, he’s managed to remain a professional, working musician and a productive artist while maintaining a stable, happy home in Georgia with his family. It may not be international pop-superstar success, but it is success nevertheless for someone like Roger who loves, lives and breathes music every day.

Roger’s recent releases include the tribute album ROGER “HURRICANE” WILSON COVERS THE BOSS!


My hands-down favorite from this ten-track set is his version of “Gypsy Biker,” but it is on his latest full-length release, I DID WHAT I WANTED TO,


where I think Roger gets to display fully all of his skills as a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He wrote ten of the twelve songs on this set, including the title track, which sums up his life and the outlook he continues to maintain, now that he’s well into his sixties. Lots of tasty, bluesy guitar work here, too, and a great cover of “Food, Phone, Gas & Lodging,” originally recorded by the undeservedly obscure 1970s Southern-rock band Eric Quincy Tate, another major influence on Roger’s own music. (“I knew them since I was 16. They played my senior-prom in ’72. There’s a whole chapter on them in my book,” he recently informed me.)

One of his latest digital singles, released just last month, is “OK Millennial,”


his crusty, cranky, and at least somewhat tongue-in-cheek response to the whole “OK Boomer” thing. To me, as a Gen-X’er caught in the middle of this particular divide, it feels a little too mean-spirited and reverse-ageist for my tastes, but to each… (and as I noted above, one of Roger’s most admirable qualities is his unabashed usage of the freedom to speak his mind.) On the other hand, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the other digital single he released in late January: a beautiful cover of Gordon Lightfoot’s classic “The Wreck Of The Edmund Fitzgerald,”


the moving true-story ballad that makes for perfect wintertime blues in Roger Wilson’s skilled guitar-wielding hands.

Since 2003, Roger also has been delivering his “Blues In The Schools” presentations in schools, colleges, libraries, community centers and music festivals across the country. He regularly reaches and engages many young minds with an entertaining history of the blues combined with his own musical performances. In 2015, Roger was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in recognition of his “Blues In The Schools” work in that state. His more recent encounters with Steve Van Zandt and the experience of attending several of the TeachRock.org workshops held on Little Steven’s tours with the Disciples of Soul have helped to revitalize and enhance Roger’s school presentations, as can be seen in the attached photos. You can read more about Roger’s “Blues In The Schools” program here:


To learn more about and keep up with Roger Wilson’s many ongoing projects, his live-performance schedule, his many other released recordings and/or how to get “Blues In The Schools” at your school or community center, visit HurricaneWilson.com. Oh, and one other thing I know for sure – whenever and wherever my pal Roger Wilson is, it’s ALWAYS National Get Out Your Guitar Day.

CD Review by Vicente Zumel of La Hora del Blues in Barcelona, Spain

  Roger ‘Hurricane’ Wilson “I Did What I Wanted To!”. Bluestorm 2019.

After fifty years as a professional musician, singer and guitar player Roger “Hurricane” Wilson releases his album number 25, “I Did What I Wanted To!”. The title tells everything about his attitude in front of the music world. The opinion of people or media has never been a decisive one to choose, perform and record the extensive repertoire he has performed over the years. He always selects the music he feels at that particular moment and his faithful audience and followers have understood his attitude and they have always made him know, so he has not need to change his attitude to play the music he feels in every show or recording. All this has allowed him to create and develop a particular style and put his own stamp into the complex blues world. The album includes twelve songs that are a mixture of blues rock, some finger guitar picking and a passionate composition, which clearly show Roger’s passion for blues and honest attitude, which has made him reach a well-deserved reputation thanks to his endless work, that has allowed him to tour all over the world, as well as share stage with such great artists like B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Little Milton, Hubert Sumlin, Charlie Musselwhite or Taj Mahal among others. VERY GOOD. Click Here To Purchase  

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