R.J. Mischo & His Red Hot Blues Band
@ Biscuits & Blues, February 18, 1997

Listening to R.J. and his band perform is just like turning back the clock and being transported to a south side Chicago blues club in the mid 1950's. They play that authentic electric Chicago blues that is hard to get enough of. With R.J. on harmonica, Jeremy Johnson on guitar, Steve "Slim" Erickson on drums and Scot Sutherland on bass, this band puts out a "big" sound of traditional Chicago blues. The lead guitar playing of Jeremy is just outstanding and complements R.J.'s powerful harp playing.

R.J. uses a tongue blocking technique on the harmonica similar to the old Chicago masters - Little Walter, Big Walter Horton and Sonyboy Williamson II. You aren't just blowing or sucking on the harmonica, you are using your tongue in the face of the harp. This style increases the tone allowing you to get a bigger, fatter sound. That technique, combined with an old crystal microphone played through any tube amp, is what helps give you that deep, throaty harp sound. Carey Bell and William Clarke would be other good examples of a similar sound from contemporary harmonica players.

The show at Biscuits featured a combination of original songs and many classic blues standards by Little Walter and Rice Miller. The song Tell Me Mama had nice funky beat and a new song with R.J. on chromatic harp was like hearing an entire horn section playing with the band. Boy was this some fun music!

Watch out if you are a musician and are in the audience when R.J. is on stage. He just might call you up so come prepared. Local trumpet player Gene Adams got up for a few numbers during the first set. He played just like he was a member of the band. He plays jazz trumpet with Dick and Jane's Big Brass Band (they were up stairs playing prior to the show), and also plays with the group Red Beans and Rice (you can catch them over at the Loring Bar or Niki's). During the second set Sonny Thompson (former bass player for Prince) came up and played a nice, funky lead guitar on Stormy Monday. And Scotty Reed from UBX was up for a harp number during 3rd set. There are always pleasant surprises at R.J.'s shows.

R.J. has a new album coming out in April featuring Jeremy on guitar and R.J. on harmonica along with Billy Black, Richard Innes and Barrelhouse Chuck, with production by Jerry Hall and Lynwood Slim. It will be released on CrossCut Records in Europe and should be available in America later this summer. If it is anything like their live shows and the recent live recording Rough 'n' Touch (1996 live in Germany also on CrossCut), we are in for some great blues! You can also listen to R.J. on two other albums Ready to Go!, with Kid (Teddy) Morgan, Bruce McCabe and Percy Strother re-released on CD in 1994 from Blue Loon Records and Gonna Rock Tonight, 1994 also on Blue Loon Records.

Mailbox E-mail Ray Stiles at: mnblues@aol.com

Table of Contents:
Return To Home Page | Calendar | Spotlight | Live Reviews | New Reviews | Photo Gallery
CD Reviews | New CD Releases | Blues Links | Blues Bios | Blues Artists | Blues Clubs | Blues Jams

Free web pages from GeoCities

Copyright © 1997 by Ray M. Stiles
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, or any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.