Tas Cru: Keeping the Blues Alive

March 21st, 2014, 3:00 pm by Greg
Tas Cru and Jeremy Walz

Tas Cru and Jeremy Walz

Story and photographs by Wanda Callagy

After settling a little upon their return from Memphis, the members of Tas Cru & the Tortured Souls are off and running to various new projects, but one wonders if the Rum Boogie Café will ever be the same.

Guy Nirelli had traveled from the Buffalo area, and Dick Earl Erickson came from Utah, traveling the path down South with gigs and events for the Keeping the Blues Alive program that Tas Cru keeps going. They visited with Wichita Blues Society members, recorded at the Juke Joint Chapel at the Shack Up Inn and performed at a wide variety of venues from KOLR-TV in Missouri to the Drop Zone in Leslie Arkansas.

In Memphis, the band played three nights at the Rum Boogie Cafe – one night with the Memphis Blues Society, and they opened up the Blues Foundation’s week-long International Blues Challenge by holding an all-night jam with proceeds going to Generation Blues programs, which offers opportunity for music scholarships, camps and lessons.

Read the rest of this entry »


LIVE: “Memphis” @ Proctors, 4/17/12

April 18th, 2012, 4:00 pm by Greg
Memphis @ Proctors

Review by Greg Haymes
Photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk

From “Show Boat” to “South Pacific” to “West Side Story,” the theme of racial prejudice has run through some of Broadway’s most beloved musicals.

What primarily sets “Memphis” apart from them is that the music itself – and not just the plotline or song lyrics – hammers home the theme. Rhythm ‘n’ blues was “race music” until white teenagers began to embrace it in the 1950s, and that’s a central focal point here.

Penned by David Bryan (of Bon Jovi), the music of “Memphis” credibly simulates a fairly wide range of vintage rhythm ‘n’ blues, gospel and blues, although it never quite locks into the distinctive Memphis soul stew sound. “Someday,” for example, is pretty much a bouncy, straight-up Motown ditty that could have been a hit for Diana Ross & the Supremes.

Read the rest of this entry »

RIP: Jim Dickinson, 1941-2009

August 17th, 2009, 1:58 pm by Greg

jimDickinsonMemphis icon and master musician Jim Dickinson died Saturday at the age of 67. He was never a household name – not even close. But he was a behind-the-scenes player with enormous talent, and his various credits as a music and producer would fill pages.

The short version goes something like this:

He was a much in-demand session musician who recorded with the likes of Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and the Rolling Stones.

As a producer, he was at the helm for some of the best work by John Hiatt, Big Star, the Replacements, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Toots Hibbert and Ry Cooder.

His sons – Cody and Luther – are two-thirds of the North Mississippi Allstars.

Caffe LenaCartoonist John CaldwellThe Cock'N'Bull RestaurantHolly & EvanJim Gaudet and the Railroad BoysAdvertise on Nippertown!Capital Repertory TheaterThe Sanctuary For Independent Media