Wednesday, August 28, 1996

Ponty Bone and the Squeezetones ~ 1996 & 2002

Ponty Bone is a Texan accordionist who has led his 1980s band, the Squeezetones to international popularity over a twenty year period.

Originally from San Antonio, Texas, Bone began studying accordion when he was only 5 years old. Later, he learned to play trumpet also. Ponty attended Texas Tech in Lubbock. Early in his career Bone became a member of the Joe Ely Band.

By the mid 1980s Ponty Bone had formed his own band, Ponty Bone & the Squeezetones. The group's early style ranged through Russian gypsy dances, reggae-blues, Tex-Mex polkas, and Cajun boogie. In 1987, early in their career, the group made their singular appearance on the PBS music television program Austin City Limits, as part of a "Squeezebox Special" episode with Queen Ida and Santiago Jimenez, Jr.

With his band, Ponty has shared the stage with such artists as The Clash, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers, King Flaco Jiménez, Linda Ronstadt and Ronnie Lane.
Bone's album, "Fantasize" has been described as drawing from Tex-Mex, rock, blues, R & B, zydeco, and even Caribbean music to create a whole new style.

Tuesday, August 6, 1996

Big Mike Griffin ~ 1996 & 2000

Nashville's aptly named Big Mike Griffin (6'10", 350 lbs.) is a no-holds-barred blues guitarist new to the 1990s blues scene. Griffin grew up in Lawton, Oklahoma, and regularly traveled 125 miles as a teen to hear blues in Dallas and Fort Worth clubs. Griffin was influenced by the second generation of blues artists, like Albert King, Mike Bloomfield, Albert Collins and the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. After the local economy turned sour, he left for Nashville. Initially, he did session guitar work for country artists and played anywhere he could, eventually building his own Unknown Blues Band. After releasing a self-produced album that sold well in Nashville, the band signed with Malaco/Waldoxy Records in 1992. They had already earned a reputation beyond Nashville's city limits, playing at such prestigious festivals as the W.C. Handy Blues Festival in Memphis and the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Arkansas. The band toured incessantly and developed East and West Coast followings before recording Gimme What I Got Comin' in 1993, which was a hit among blues fans and DJs. Griffin played a month-long tour of Europe that year with labelmates Denise LaSalle, Little Milton, and Artie "Blues Boy" White. Griffin's unique, economical guitar style can also be heard on White's Different Shades of Blue album and James Peterson's Don't Let the Devil Ride. His three albums for Malaco include Back on the Streets Again (1992), Gimme What I Got Comin' (1993), and Sittin' Here With Nothing (1995). All are outstanding efforts that incorporate Griffin's gift for humorous storytelling and blend elements of jazz, funk, and swamp rock into his arrangements. ~ Richard Skelly, All Music Guide

Tuesday, July 9, 1996

Elvin Bishop, Gentleman Hog Farmer ~ 1996

Elvin Bishop was born in Glendale, California and grew up on a farm near Elliott, Iowa. His family moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma when he was ten. There he attended Will Rogers High School and moved to Chicago in 1960 after he won a National Merit Scholarship to the University of Chicago, where he studied physics. He met harmonica player Paul Butterfield in 1963 in the neighborhood of Hyde Park and joined his blues band, with whom he remained for five years. Their third album, The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, takes its name from Bishop's nickname. In 1968 he went solo and formed the Elvin Bishop Group, also standing in for Mike Bloomfield on The Live Adventures of Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper.

Over the years, Bishop has recorded with many blues artists including Clifton Chenier, Little Smokey Smothers, John Lee Hooker,Bo Diddley and toured with B. B. King.

In 1976 Bishop released his most memorable single, "Fooled Around and Fell In Love", which peaked at #3 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, about his love affair with the late Jenny Villarin, the mother of his late daughter Selina Bishop.

In 2000, Bishop's daughter Selina and ex-wife Jennifer Villarin were murdered in California. In 2005, Bishop released his first new CD in five years, Gettin' My Groove Back on Alligator records.

Ed Early is Elvin's "main man" on slide trombone, here's a Trick's Alleyfest Revue bonus featuring Ed and his own band.

Monday, June 24, 1996

Ronnie Dawson ~ 1996

Ronnie Dawson,"The Blond Bomber," was an ace Rock-a-billy artist. Born in Dallas, 1939,he grew up in Waxahachie, a typical small Texas town. He played the bass fiddle and guitar in the Assembly of God church in Waxahachie and later formed his own group called Ronnie Dee & the D Men.He won the Big D Jamboree Talent Program several times and was offered a regular spot on the show.

He was offered a contract with Dick Clark's Swan Records just as the payola scandal broke. As a studio musician, he can be heard playing drums on the hit records "Hey! Baby" by Bruce Channel and "Hey Paula" by Paul and Paula. Although he never made it big in the 50's, he made a comfortable living writing and playing in commercials for Aunt Jamima, Hungary Jack, Jaxx Beer and CiCi's Pizza.

Although he remained little-known in his native country, Dawson was hailed as a rock pioneer in England. His mid-'80s rediscovery led to Dawson's name and songs winding up in a variety of places. In 1995, Dawson made a triumphant appearance on Late Night with Conan O'Brien.

In 2002, Dawson was diagnosed with throat cancer and fans in the U.S. and abroad held benefit concerts to help him pay for medical costs. The Blonde Bomber finally succumbed on September 30, 2003. He was 64.

Here Ronnie Talks about his background and rocks out!