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Established 1981


Artist   J.B. Ritchie


Publication   Rollin' & Tumblin   
Date  Wednesday, May 1st, 2002  
Auther   Bill Mcbride

I was born in Chicago. I live in Chicago. There is more than one blues scene in Chicago. Sure, everybody who reads this magazine has some knowledge of the city scene. It's the one that Mick Jagger and Keith Richard flipped over in the 1960's. It's still there. But like any big city, Chicago has suburbs. Lots of them. In those endless miles of little connecting towns there is (and has been for decades) a thriving suburban blues scene. J.B. Ritchie is the Rolling Stones of this scene. He's been at it for the better part of three decades and shows no sign of stopping. Now what exactly is the suburban blues scene? Let's just say that they worship at the same altar (Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, etc.) but they use a slightly different hymn book. The sound is more reminiscent of the blues-rock hybrid popular in the late sixties. By contrast, the city scene usually has more soul and r&b influences. City audiences are populated with well-dressed couples on cell phones. Suburban audiences are in leather and jeans. City stages are filled with dressed-to-kill musicians. Suburban stages are filled with...leather and jeans. It's a different scene, indeed, but not one that should be ignored. J.B. Ritchie's "Power Blues" is a good crash course in leather and jeans blues. From the opening notes of "Rocket 88", the full-speed-ahead mentality is evident. OK, maybe it's not for blues purists, but for blues-rock fans, it's an eye-opening debut disc. This is a power trio (Ritchie on guitar, Frank Bandy on bass and Marty Binder on drums) that takes no prisoners. This disc is meant to be played loud. Real loud. Maybe when you're driving down a quiet country road you want to hear some down-home blues, but when you're stuck in a traffic jam, pop in this cd and pretend you're on the autobahn. (J.B. Ritchie is appearing at the Chicago Bluesfest on May 30th 2002.)


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