Texas Rhody Blues, featuring Jimmie Vaughan and Duke Robillard, is the third Knickerbocker All-Stars CD release. The project was supported by the Knickerbocker Music Center, a non-profit organization formed in partnership with the Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School. The Knickerbocker Music Center will have an exciting performance venue and an exceptional center for music education.
This CD has its roots in The Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals of the late 1950s and early ‘60s which turned many white soul searchers on to blues, rhythm and blues, and jump blues. In 1963, Blues at Newport was recorded live at the Newport Folk Festival, which featured many of the greatest folk and delta blues musicians. A young woman attending college in Boston heard it and was hooked. Her name is Bonnie Raitt. The next Newport Folk Festival brought in two of the most influential Texas bluesmen: Lightnin’ Hopkins and Mance Lipscomb.
The talented guitarist, Mike Bloomfield who deserves much more recognition for pioneering blues music, offered blues workshops at the festival with Lipscomb and Hopkins. Bloomfield performed with Paul Butterfield and made rock ‘n’ roll history when he handed Bob Dylan a Fender Stratocaster and Dylan played three “electrified” songs with Sam Lay, Barry Goldberg and Al Kooper.
A young Rhode Island blues aficionado also was hooked. His name is Duke Robillard. The Texas/Rhody blues connection was further developed when Rhode Islander Johnny Nicholas joined Asleep at the Wheel as vocalist and won a Grammy in 1978. At the time, Roomful of Blues, the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the Cobras – Stevie Ray Vaughan’s band – were the hottest acts to play in Austin and Westerly, RI. Rhode Islander Fran Christina, the original Roomful drummer, joined the Thunderbirds followed by Roomful’s bass player, the late Preston Hubbard. When Jimmie Vaughan left the Thunderbirds, Robillard took over on guitar for three years.
The climax of the Texas/Rhody Connection came when Stevie Ray played with the Roomful Horns at Carnegie Hall in 1997.
Texas Rhody Blues is a celebration of the great Texas Bluesmen and the generation of tremendous blues musicians who followed, of which there are too many to list. There is no question that Jimmie Vaughan and Duke Robillard should be hall of famers and the bookends of the Texas/Rhody blues connection. Please play this recording loud! – JP Sheerar
Artists Featured on Knickerbocker All-Star Recordings
Al Copley • Duke Robillard • Jimmie Vaughan • Ricky King Russell • Rich Lataille • Curtis Salgado • Sugaray Rayford • Willie J Laws • Brian Templeton • Brad Hallen • Johnny Nicholas • Mark Teixeira • Monster Mike Welch • Sax Gordon Beadle • Matt McCabe • Al Basile • Sugar Ray Norcia • Bruce Bears • Doug James • Doc Chanonhouse • Carl Querfurth • Dennis Cook • Fran Christina • Bobby Christina • Dave Maxwell • Nick Adams • Bob Worthington • Malford Milligan • JP Sheerar • Mike O'Connell