Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne – Doin’ It Mighty Fine!

At the age of 75, Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne has cooked up a fine blues gumbo of 13 songs that range from boogie woogie to a compelling blues rendition of a Lynyrd Skynyrd classic. An expat from the United States who has lived and recorded in Canada since the 1980’s, the Blues Boss released his eleventh studio album, GO, JUST DO IT!, a couple of weeks ago to a chorus of applause from across the blues spectrum. With talent on the keyboards, and a soulful energetic voice, Kenny reminds us with some stunning riffs and rolls that the piano and other keyboard instruments have been as vital a part of the blues over the years as the electric guitar.

My personal favorite on the recording is the title cut that features a vocal duet performance with Canadian Dawn Tyler Watson, a rising blues star in her own right. It’s a funky upbeat tune with lots of horns that sends a message that resonates in my life; don’t let folks tell what you can’t do……Go…just do it!

Another song that made me sit up and listen on the album is You’re In For A Big Surprise. It is 60’s style martini bar jazzy blues number that is splendidly delivered by Kenny and Grammy Award winning Diane Schuur. The keyboard playing is stellar and the horns are terrific. It brought back memories of Nina Simone and that is nevah a bad thing!!

Additionally, That’s the Way She Is is a great roadhouse blues tune that I will be giving a lot of spins during my radio shows. I also enjoyed the boogie woogie instrumental Let the Rock Roll as well as Lost & Found, Motor Mouth Woman, and You Did a Number on Me. Kenny also takes on the Lynyrd Skynyrd classic They Call Me the Breeze and produces a great bluzin’ cover.

Kenny was ably assisted on the recording by a slew of talented musicians including horn players Jerry Cook and Vince Mai (Powder Blues), guitarist Yuji Ihara (Boogie Patrol), renown harmonica player Sherman Doucette, Russell Jackson on bass (B.B. King), Joey “the Pocket” Dimarco on drums (Studebaker John) , Barry Sharbo on tamborine, and additional vocals by Julie Masi (Parachute Club) and Kenny’s son Corey Spruell.

So…if ya wanna hear one of the great singing and piano talents of the blues (and a member of the Boogie Woogie Hall of Fame) givin’ it all he has….buy this album……GO, JUST DO IT!

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne – Go, Just Do It (2020 Stony Plain Records)


Ben Vee is an internet DJ and writer from New Orleans that now lives in Connecticut with his wife Annette. He started spinning records back in the 1970’s and has been writing about the roadhouse blues since 2011. He does two roadhouse blues shows each week on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com and he writes about the blues when the urge strikes on http://www.benveeblues.com.

Ben Vee’s Late July Roadhouse Blues Bin

The summer is blowin’ by and here are some of the albums that I am listening to (song links to Spotify or Youtube are in blue):

The Kokomo Kings – Fighting Fire with Gasoline (2019)

The Kokomo Kings new album Fighting Fire with Gasoline heralds the return of the era when rock & roll and the blues were essentially the same genre. Upbeat and fun, I really enjoyed EVERY tune on this recording done by a mix of band members from Sweden and Denmark. I don’t know if it is somethin’ in the water, but there are a number of great new bands coming out of Copenhagen and Stockholm and the Kokomo Kings are one of the best. The band features Martin Abrahamsson (vocals and guitar), Magnus Lanshammar (bass and guitar), Ronni Boysen (guitar), and Daniel Winerö (drums).

The album is packed with great rockin’ boogie blues tunes that will get your hips and feet movin’ including A Big Pile of Fish, Fighting Fire With Gasoline, Fooled by the City Lights, I Thought I was a Patient Man, If I was an Alien, Tornadohead, and The Fish Won’t Bite. Really loved Heatwave which has a Fabulous Thunderbirds feel to it. And my personal favorite is Tied to the Tracks that has some nice guitar riffs and a Mississippi Hill Country sound.

The influence of Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry pervades the album and I know both are in blues heaven smilin’ down on this fantastic recording. Now…if only I can persuade them to send me a t-shirt with the album cover on it…my summer will be complete!!!

Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind – My Chops Are Rolling (Ellersoul Records 2019)

Since releasing his first recording in 1995, Jason Ricci has earned a reputation as one of the best harmonica players in the music business with two awards (2010 & 2018) from the prestigious Blues Music Foundation for his talent on the instrument. On his second release for Ellersoul Records, My Chops Are Rolling, Jason Ricci & the Bad Kind again lay down some badass roadhouse blues.

I was captivated by the tune The Way That I Hurt Myself that has echoes of Led Zeppelin in the performance. The song highlights Jason’s voice as well as some badass harpin’ and also shines the musical spotlight on the incredible guitar playing of John Lisi.

Additionally, Jason does a stellar instrumental cover of Led Zepp’s Going to California on the album. I also enjoyed Break In the Rain and a song he recorded with his wife, Kaitlin Dibble, entitled If You Should Lose Me. It is a great cover of a song originally performed by Barbara Lynn back in the late 1960’s.

Jason & I share a love for the New Orleans Saints and he put his admiration into words and music on Who Dat Nation! All you Saints fan should give it a listen! And Atlanta Falcon fans might want to avoid the explicit version he also includes 😛

Blue Moon Marquee – Bare Knuckles & Brawn (Factor Canada 2019)

Harkening back to the era of the blues cabaret, Blue Moon Marquee modernizes the sound on their new CD, Bare Knuckles & Brawn. A.W. Cardinal makes it work with gritty vocals and guitar playing and Jasmine Collette lays down some badass upright bass riffs as well as vocals. They are the core of a band that features guest appearances by Darcy Phillips (keyboards), Jerry Cook (Tenor & Bari Sax, Clarinet), Jimmy “Hollywood” Badger (Drums), Jack Garton (trumpet), and Paul Pigat (guitar).

Overall, this is well produced album with a laid back ambiance and a jazzy feel that still maintains an adherence to the blues. I really enjoyed 52nd Street Strut, As I Lay Dying, and the sultry feel of Big Black Mamba. Big Smoke is a great blues tune and Fever Flickering Flame conjures up scenes of a packed dance floor at a 1920 speakeasy. The haunting use of the trumpet and sparse piano licks perfectly frame Jasmine’s voice on Hard Times Hit Parade. And I loved the western swing guitar playing of Paul on The Red Devil Himself.

This is the perfect album to share with friends, a fine cigar, and a dirty martini. Let me know when ya do!!!

Travellin’ Blue Kings – Wired Up (Donor Productions 2019)

A European band that helps defines what I term as the roadhouse blues, the Travellin’ Blue Kings kick out some solid tunes on their new album Wired Up. This four piece band consists of Stephan Hermsen (vocals, harp, guitar), Jimmy HontelĂ© (guitar), Winne Penninckx (bass), and Marc Gijbels (drums).


This is another album where I loved EVERY cut. Particular favorites are Get It Done, Ninety Minutes, Into the Night, Straight Eight, and The Way It Used to Be. The instrumental title cut Wired Up is also a badass tune featuring some awesome guitar playing.

They are also the first band that I have seen that identify themselves as being from Benelux, an economic union of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg. The Travellin’ Blue Kings are doing their part to promote Benelux with one of the best roadhouse blues albums of 2019!


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