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Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys Live at The Big Bull Falls Blues Festival

By Richard Ludmerer
In CD Reviews INDIE Blues
Jan 29th, 2016

W142Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys

Live at The Big Bull Falls Blues Festival

Nevermore Records

Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys just hosted the Tuesday night jam on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. Born and raised in Chicago guitarist Reverend Richard Raven has been playing the blues since he first saw Freddie King in 1971. The Reverend has opened for B.B. King, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Koko Taylor, Junior Wells, Magic Slim, Elvin Bishop, William Clarke, and Tommy Castro; just to name a few. The Reverend released his first album “Slow Burn” in 1998. Today he is a resident of Appleton, Wisconsin.

Reverend Raven and The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys’ 2010 recording “Shake Your Boogie” resulted in a 2011 Blues Blast Award nomination for both “Best Blues Band” and “Best Song”. They were also voted “Best Blues Band” by The Shepherd Express Reader’s Poll in 2012 and 2014. They won the Wisconsin Music Industry (WAMI) award for “Best Blues Band” a total of seven times, the last time being in 2015.

Live at Big Bull is The Rev’s fifth album overall. Currently The Altar Boys consist of Raven, guitar and vocals; PT Pedersen SC, bass; Robert Lee Sellers Jr., drums, “Pork Chop” Danny Moore, formerly with Willie Nelson’s band, piano; and Westside Andy Linderman or Benny Rickun, harmonica. Big Al Groth guests on saxophone.

The Rev has received many accolades for his guitar playing. The band opens with the first of several songs paying tribute to those slide guitarists who have inspired him. “Hot and Heavy” is from Earl Hooker while “Hawaiian Boogie” is from Elmore James. Covered also are “Diving Duck Blues” from Sleepy John Estes and Muddy Waters’ “She’s Nineteen Years Old”.

“Chicken Heads” is from Bobby Rush. Both “Walking to Chicago” and “Stomping and Shouting” were written by Gerry Hundt also of Appleton, WI. Raven’s originals include “You Didn’t Even Say Goodbye”, “My Life” and “Looking For Love”.

Reverend Raven and The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys are one of those bands that you never want to miss when they’re in town. This great set is just some of what you will hear at one of their live shows.

Richard Ludmerer







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