Artist biogs K - L
On this page: Catfish Keith, Dave Kelly, Alamo Leal, Lazy Lester, Big Joe Louis...
November 2004, October 2006 CATFISH KEITH
Keith is hands-down one of the finest acoustic bluesmen in America."
Mark E. Gallo, Blues Review
Cutting-edge blues singer, songwriter and slide guitarist
utting-edge blues singer, songwriter and slide guitarist
RA Catfish Keith
was born in East Chicago, Indiana on February 9th, 1962. He first heard
blues as a child while living in "The Harbor," a working-class, steel
mill town, hearing Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Buddy Guy on the radio.
When he picked up the guitar as a teenager, he was inspired to pursue the deep
delta blues after being converted by Son House. Following high school in
Davenport, Iowa, Catfish hit the road, embarking on a lifelong quest as a solo
performer of American roots music.
took him to the Caribbean, where in the Virgin Islands he crewed briefly on a
sailboat, soaking up a wealth of island sounds. Rhythms of Jazz, Calypso,
Reggae and the music of Joseph Spence gave Catfish inspiration to reach new
musical heights. Though he grew up on the Mississippi River, Catfish
earned his moniker from a West Indian lobster diving partner who, after seeing
him swim, dubbed him "Catfish-Swimmin'-Around," and
In 1984, at age
22, Catfish recorded his first album (on Kicking Mule), Catfish Blues.
The all-solo debut established him as a new force in acoustic blues, reaching
Number One on independent worldwide radio charts. This enabled Catfish to
play and tour continually, learning directly from legends such as Johnny Shines,
David Honeyboy Edwards, Jesse Mae Hemphill and Henry Townsend.
Penny Cahill married in 1988 and soon formed Fish Tail Records. In
1991, Pepper in My Shoe! was released to tremendous acclaim,
sparking international interest and extensive touring in the UK and Europe.
Embraced as a true blues star, The Guardian called Catfish "a solo
revelation" who was "Breaking new ground for blues."
Headlining major festivals and concerts, Catfish was featured on the covers of Blues
Life (Austria/Germany), Blueprint (UK), and Block
(Netherlands). In the US, Catfish tours from coast-to-coast and packs
houses with his dynamic, foot-stomping stage show. Feature articles and
reviews in Blues Revue Quarterly, Acoustic Guitar, Living Blues,
Blues Access and many others, testify to his love of, and dedication to
carrying on his musical message to excited audiences the world over.
was followed by Jitterbug Swing which was
nominated for a W. C. Handy Award for "BEST ACOUSTIC BLUES ALBUM OF
1992." Catfish was also honoured to perform at the Handy Awards show,
where he appeared alongside Robert Cray, Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, Buddy Guy,
Johnny Copeland, Delbert McClinton and others. The British Blues
Connection nominated Catfish for "BEST OVERSEAS ARTIST," calling him
"The new slide king of the National steel guitar."
was released in 1993, further exploring Catfish's string-twanging
style for an ever-growing following of devoted fans. James Jensen in Dirty
Linen writes: "Catfish will give you goose bumps and leave you
howling for more!" That same year a concert video by
Catfish Keith was produced for the American Blues video series, as
Catfish continued to tour over 150 days a year.
Catfish Keith's fifth solo album, Fresh Catfish, was nominated for a W. C. Handy Award for "BEST ACOUSTIC BLUES ALBUM OF 1995." This disc displays the drive and swing of a true blues performer on the vanguard of today's music scene.
For more information about Catfish Keith check out the website at www.catfishkeith.com
April 2003, June 2004, May 2008 DAVE KELLY
A solo acoustic set from a master of British blues.
60's acoustic blues pioneer , Blues Band slide-guitar star RA, successful solo artist.....
began his professional careers in 1966, following his sister Jo Ann Kelly
playing folk clubs. He has developed his skills such that he is now generally
acknowledged as the best blues slide guitarist the UK has produced as well as
being an excellent blues vocalist. His experience in this field of music has won
him acclaim from some of the greats, many of whom he has played and recorded
with: Howlin Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Son House, Buddy Guy, Muddy Waters, to
mention but a few.
the late sixties he switched to electric guitar with the John Dummer Blues Band,
returning to acoustic playing in the seventies and eventually becoming a founder
member of the Blues Band in 1979 with Paul Jones, Tom McGuinness and Rob
Kelly is the joint lead singer in the Blues Band sharing the duties with Paul
Jones. The Blues Band have been playing for more than 20 years with more than
two thousand gigs and umpteen albums to their name. 2002 saw the release of two
new CDs for The Blues Band.
has, however, always maintained his musical identity outside of the Blues Band
with various other projects. The mid eighties saw him touring regularly with his
Dave Kelly Band, particularly in Europe and releasing four albums under that
In 1993 he released his first solo album for four years, the much-acclaimed When the Blues Come to Call. Dave brought out his latest solo album ‘Resting My Bones’- old favourites mixed with Dave’s newly penned, heart-felt songs.
has been voted Best Acoustic Artist in the BBC polls 1992,1994,1996,1997 and
1998. He is an honorary patron of the London Guitar College with Hank Marvin.”
July & Dec 2002, October 2005 ALAMO LEAL
"One of the most talented guitarists on the British scene" British Blues Connection
Alamo has been part of the UK and European blues scene for 15 years, building a solid reputation with his live performances and respect from fellow musicians.
Brazilian born, Alamo was exposed to the blues at the age of twelve. He continues to explore the roots of the blues, listening to the rhythms he heard on the streets of Rio as a child and mixing them with early and contemporary folk music.
Alamo has played major festivals and clubs on a regular basis with his band, sharing the billing with the likes of Luther Allison, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, Larry Garner, Otis Grand and Buddy Guy.
February 2004 LAZY LESTER
Lazy Lester (a.k.a Leslie Johnson) has been
called a "National Treasure," the "High Sheriff of
Louisiana" and "a nut” and is a member of the Louisiana Hall of
Fame. Lester's high-pitched harmonica and 'lazy' vocals are blues archetypes and
he has been often imitated but never duplicated. As one of the key creators of
the South Louisiana swamp blues sound in the 1950s, blues fans worldwide prize
his early singles.
blues originated in the Baton Rouge area where
musicians like Slim Harpo, Lightnin' Slim, Lonesome Sundown, and Lazy Lester
developed a unique, rocking, Cajun-influenced blues style, captured after 1948
on Excello records recorded in Lake
Charles, Louisiana. It appealed particularly to British rockers of the
1960s (the Rolling Stones covered Harpo's "I'm a King Bee," for
instance, and the Kinks recorded Lazy Lester's
first hit single "I'm a Lover Not a Fighter") and eventually
contributed to the development of Zydeco.
in 1933 and raised outside of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Lester was initially
influenced by Jimmy Reed and Little Walter. But his entree into playing
professionally came when he met Excello star Lightnin' Slim while riding on a
bus sometime in the mid-1950s. The two became close friends, with Slim taking
Lester under his wing. Lester emerged on the blues scene playing harmonica with
Lightnin' Slim, who would introduce Lester's solos with his trademark,
"Play your harmonica, son." Soon legendary Excello producer Jay
Miller found that Lester was equally talented on guitar and drums, and he became
a stalwart of Miller's session bands. Lester appeared on Miller-produced songs
by Lightnin' Slim, Slim Harpo, Katie Webster, Lonesome Sundown and others.
personality prompted Miller to dub him "Lazy Lester."
harmonica riffs were crisp and articulate, his vocals a bit 'mushmouthed.'
When Miller gave him a chance to record as a leader, Lester produced a series of
swamp blues classics that were hits on Southern R&B radio. His tunes
have been covered time and time again. Apart from The Kinks, Anson
Funderburgh cut Talk To You By Hand, the
Fabulous Thunderbirds recorded Sugar Coated Love, and dozens of
other bands have cut his tunes.
blues tastes changed in the 1960s, Lester's style of swamp blues became a bit
old fashioned for younger R&B audiences. From the mid-1960s to the
mid-1980s Lester lived in obscurity, first in Louisiana and later relocating to
Pontiac, Michigan to be closer to his friend Lightnin' Slim. In 1987 Lester
emerged from musical retirement and toured England. The Flyright label
began an extensive reissue program of Lester's Excello recordings. A new album, Lazy
Lester Rides Again was recorded by the English Blue Horizon label (later
released in the U.S. on the Kingsnake label). In 1988 Lester recorded Harp
and Soul for Alligator.
The album featured Lester's harp-fuelled swamp blues and brought him to the
largest audience of his career.
recent albums for Antone's and Texas Music labels continued to showcase Lester's
talents as an instrumentalist and performer. Lazy Lester continues to perform
and record his light-hearted style of '50s Louisiana swamp blues in clubs and
April 2004 BIG JOE LOUIS
Blues capture the flavour of the windy city's Blues...an authentic flavour, and
was born in Jamaica, West
Indies, and moved to the UK during the 1970s. His band The Blues Kings
were formed 18 years ago and have taken their special kind of real down-home
blues to venues the length and breadth of the UK and Ireland and with great
success in virtually every country in Western Europe and Scandinavia.
Blues Awards include: Best Male Vocalist in 1993, 1994 and nominations for Best
Band 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 Best Guitarist 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996,
1997, and 1998 Best Male Vocalist 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998
For more information about Big Joe Louis check out the website at www.fridhammar.com/louis.html