Welcome the seasoned Blues Prophets! These guys have been rocking the scene for four decades and show no signs of slowing down.
As a teenager, David "DW" Gill learned to play his blues harp down by the train tracks. He must have picked Jeff Davison from one of the first trains through, because Jeff keeps the band together with a steady locomotion shuffle rhythm. Follow that with a walloping dose of Doug Wainoris on heartfelt guitar, Jake Isaacson on absolute Chicago piano & organ, and Jack Tukey on a tasty bass. Absorb the timeless soul that these blue tunes bring those who listen, especially from the likes of these prophets.
The Blues Prophets began as “The New England Blues Prophets” rehearsing in the basement of a house in Norridgewock, Maine in 1976. Live music was everywhere in those years. The Prophets were introducing local audiences to a new music genre. To the band’s amazement, patrons embraced a combo that played the blues, and nothing but the blues. Songwriter Larry John McNally wrote, “This is good-time music for dancing and having fun, not for crying in your beer.”
The band traveled to the four corners of Chicago, played many stages in New Orleans, Boston, Washington, D.C., throughout Maine and New England, constantly honing their craft. During their travels, the boys worked with legends of the day like Muddy Waters & Koko Taylor. One memory is James Cotton sitting with harps scattered about a small table at Theresa’s Club, asking if the band knew various titles. Of course, they knew them…they worshipped all of Cotton’s records! Eddie Shaw, the saxophonist with Howlin’ Wolf, Magic Sam & his own Wolf Gang, delivered on a promise made over a year earlier, giving the band a gig when they visited Chicago. There, the Blues Prophets backed up Otis Rush for one incredible 9 pm to 5 am engagement at the West Side’s 1815 Club.
In the 70’s & 80’s, the Prophets became an institution on the club scene from Maine to Boston. One night, just before closing time, Bonnie Raitt walked in to a crowded Portland watering hole where the Prophets were playing. The owners locked the doors and the band jammed with Miss Bonnie until the wee hours. In an effort to expose their home state to the real deal, the band hired Jimmy Johnson for a seven night club tour to gig with the Prophets. Through careful planning and rehearsals, Jimmy set the bar high as a skilled professional, making the tour a success.
Quint Davis, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival promoter was quoted when booking the 1979 Festival, “A great young blues band from…Maine? I have to have them at the festival.” The band did perform at the 10th anniversary Jazz Fest, plus numerous club dates. During two nights at legendary Tipitina’s, the Prophets shared the stage with the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the celebrated Professor Longhair. “Fess” requested to play first because the second band began at midnight and he wanted “to get some sleep”. Knowing this was not wise, yet not wanting to deny the 60 year old icon, the Prophets agreed to play the late show. This was before the Alligator release of “Crawfish Fiesta”, and in opening for the Blues Prophets, he tore the roof off the place with his new band. Professor Longhair died less than one year later, leaving a rich indelible impression from this momentous night.
“Keep on Jukin’” pays tribute to music the Blues Prophets have been devoted to for more than forty years. Today, combined with his earthy vocal style, Doug Wainoris continues making great guitar sounds. These talents garnered him a role in the 1998 Telarc recording, “The Songs of Willie Dixon.” Jamie “Jake” Isaacson plays some of the best blues piano around while co-producing the twenty-year-old North Atlantic Blues Festival. Able voiced drummer Jeff Davison, along with Jack Tukey’s tasteful and solid bass, create an effervescent pocket for carrying the groove. Harmonica marvel “DW” Gill penned and expressively vocalized several respectable blues tunes on the CD.
The band hopes that some may become blues classics for another generation.
The Blues Prophets would like to dedicate this recording to Rob Roy, Bobby Hunt and Billy Sherman, three superb bass players who assisted in developing the group’s early authentic sound. The band also acknowledges Andrea Re, Andy Swift, “Bongo” Bob Noyes, Ron Dunbar, Mike McEachern, Roy Constantine, Steve “Bucky” Jones, Dean “The Bean” Bureau, George “Moe” Cates, Steven Roy and Bob Colwell for their contribution.
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