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The Magic City Blues Society is a 501 (c ) (3) organization that was founded on January 10, 1993. At that time there was a small group of people who wanted to do more to bring the Blues to Birmingham. It all came together at about the same time that the citizens of the community living under the shadow of the world’s largest iron statue, Vulcan, protested the bare butt that Vulcan so proudly displayed.

Today, the membership of the Magic City Blues Society has grown from a select few to over 100. And if you are reading this and not a member, WE WANT YOU!!! The purposes of the Magic City Blues Society are, and not limited to:

  1. To encourage the performance of the Blues
  2. To encourage the preservation of the Blues
  3. To develop an appreciation of the Blues within the community
  4. To participate in other charitable, literary, or cultural activities within the community consistent with the purposes of the Society.

Blues Music is very much a part of Southern life and history, deserving recognition as a valid and historical folk art form.

The Society hosts a variety of events throughout the year, bringing in national acts as well as supporting our local musicians. From events like Junkyard Juke, the Phelan Park Music Series, the Blues Ball, and Blues Stages (our house concert series), the Magic City Blues Society is working hard to promote our mission to preserving the Blues.

And as for Vulcan, he still proudly watches over our city with a bare butt!

The Magic City Blues Society is keepin’ the Blues alive in the ‘Ham – Nothin’ Butt the Blues!!!!

"Blues From The Burgh 5"
A CD Compilation Celebrating The Music Of Western PA
Produced By: The Blues Society Of Western PA
By Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro © May 2019

"Blues In The Burgh 5" is a compilation CD that contains thirteen tracks by thirteen different bands.  Although all the tracks are original, some of them are not actually performed by the writer and although some of the bands may not actually reside in Western PA - or anywhere in PA for that matter, they are all indeed member bands of the Western PA Blues Society.

Since this is a compilation CD I want to make sure that I touch on all the tracks and mention all the bands and their members.  That said, my comments will have to be brief.

"Accidental Theft" (Barbara Blue) is performed by "The Queen Of Beale Street" and now "Blues Music Award Winner" Barbara Blue on vocals; Scott Scharrad, Will McFarlane and Dave Smith on guitar; and Buernard "Pretty" Pudie on drums. With a world-class lineup like that, you gotta know there's some serious rhythm, lead and slide guitar and blues-belting going on. Yeah! There really is.

 "Xtra Xtra" (Jill West) is performed by Jill West on vocals; and Blues Attack, who consist of: Greg Krupa on guitar; Hank Refetto on bass; Nick Crano on drums; and Steve Binsberger on keyboards.  Being a fan of Jill West & Blues Attack for about twenty-five years now, I knew this would be a smoker.  Just like Barbara did in the above track, Jill is belting the hell out of the blues on the vocals, Greg's laying down some crazy good blues guitar licks and a non-credited harmonica is absolutely on fire.

"Bad Attitude" (Max Schang) is an all-out rocker by a power trio consisting of Max Schang on guitar; Tim Graziaon on bass; and Jim Richley on drums.  Make sure you're dancin' shoes are on for this one.

"Bed And A Bottle" (Cheryl Rinovato) is a concert hall quality performance put on by: vocalist Stevee Wellons; guitarist Cheryl Rinovato; keyboardist Steve Binsberger; bassist Jim Spears; and drummer Allen Muckle.  I'm only four tracks into the field here but I'm calling this masterfully done ballad one of the front runners for the disc's best track.  Steve and Steve nailed the vocals and the organ leads.

"Bottle Full Of Blues" (Jeff Fetterman) is a scorching slow blues number by the Jeff Fetterman Group that includes: Jeff on guitar and vocals; John McGuire on drums; Ralph Reitinger III on bass; and Anthony Brown on keyboards.  With the guys in that oh so perfect slow blues groove behind him, Jeff takes this one and runs with it.  His emotion-filled vocals and stinging blues guitar licks are totally masterful.  It's songs like this that I often say are "Song Of The Year" worthy.  WOW!  

There is no question in my mind that when this one comes on you will "Shake That Thing" (Dan Bubien) of yours - and if I'm wrong, you should call a doctor.  This one features Dan Bubien on slide guitar & vocals; Shawn Mazzer on guitar; Christian Caputo on bass; Mark Pollern on drums & percussion; and Charlie Barath on harmonica.  Collectively they are called The Delta Struts and collectively they are absolutely on fire.

"Ordinary Guy" (Bubs McKeg) is performed by the Aces: Bob "Bubs" McKeg on guitar & vocals; Terry Bates on drums; Mike Sweeney on bass; John DeCola on keyboards; Frank Glove on lead guitar; and Charlie Barath on harmonica.  This is a well done medium tempo shuffle that I really would love to hear the original version of.  Somehow the mix on this just didn't do the well-performed song justice.

This next track is done by another fabulous "Lady Of The Blues" (Steve Nestor) - Miss Freddye.  Joining this fabulous Blues Music Award nominated vocalist are: Kid Anderson on guitar; Endre Tarezy on bass; June Core on drums; Eric Spaulding on tenor & baritone saxes; John Holblaib on trumpet; and one hell of an unnamed organ player.  Since I can use one word, being brief on describing a song has never been easier....POWERFUL!   

"Ease Me Down" (Mike Sweeney) is performed by: Jimmy Adler on guitar
and vocals; June Core on drums; Kid Anderson on bass and Jim Pugh on keyboards.  When a talented vocalist and guitarist like Jimmy Adler surrounds himself with three Blues Music Award nominees/winners you should expect nothing less than perfection.  FYI - by clicking this link you can read my review of Jimmy's 2015 release titled "Grease Alley" - which also features these same band mates...

"We Walk On" (Mike Sweeney) is performed by Hoodoo Drugstore and they are: Bob "Bubs" McKeg on lead vocals; Robert Peckman on vocals & percussion; Larry Seifers on harmonica; Jim Daugherty on slide guitar; and Mike Sweeney on bass. This is a percussion powered call and response/Gospel style song that was very easy to sit back and get peacefully lost in.

"Mama She Knows" is soulfully performed by Lori Russo & The Uppercuts who are: Lori on vocals; Frank Glove on guitar; Larry Seifers on piano and organ; Mike Sweeney on bass and Bob Breide on percussion. It's a foot tapper, sing-a-long type song that features outstanding harmony vocals.

"Down To Memphis" is an original by The Nied's Hotel Band and they are: John Vento on vocals; Tim Hadley and Jim McCullough on guitar; Russ Oblinger on bass; Ron Beitle on drums; Fred Delu on keyboards; and Ed Jonnet on saxophone.  If the term "Memphis Soul" means something to you then you'll know how good this one is.  

"You Can't Fix Lonely" is smoking original by The Aris Paul Band who consist of: Aris on guitar and vocals; Johnny Rooster on harmonica; Alexander Peck on drums; and Tyan Masters on bass.  Ya know those kinds of songs where the band goes full throttle from start to finish causing the audience to go absolutely nuts? Yeah, this is that song. 

As brief as I may have been, here's a sentence that applies to all thirteen tracks.  Every track was excellent and worthy of airplay.

To find out more about  "Blues In The Burgh 5" - and the bands that were a part of it - just go to, and if you'd like a copy for airplay just contact Jonnye at  As usual, please tell them that you were referred by The Blewzzman.

Peter "Blewzzman" Lauro
                                  Blues Editor @
                                 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive Recipient

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