Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Book Review:”Death’s Door: A Billy Boyle WWII Mystery” by James R. Benn

Many would argue that the Mystery is the most challenging form of genre fiction to write and write well. Not only is the author required to employ all the usual craft of writing an entertaining story; interesting plot, passable prose, character development, a riveting sense of place, but also a puzzle for the reader, and a puzzle that, as Raymond Chandler put it, “ The solution, once revealed, must seem to have been inevitable.” It helps, too, if the author can work into the story topics that are pertinent socially. Hammett did it by centering his stories on the corruption of small and large town politics. The modern master Walter Mosley does it by drawing scenes that depict the disadvantages that minorities face in daily life, and he does it while never seeming to preach.

Deaths Door

If the mystery is the most challenging form of genre fiction, then historical fiction must be a close second. In historical fiction the challenge is first an in-depth knowledge and understanding of the era, the characters and the events of the time the author uses to center his story upon. On first glance it may look easy. But it never is. With historical fiction the writer must assume that the reader is more than a little familiar with the actual history, therefore playing loose with the facts, events and characters is rarely allowed.

James R. Benn has managed to not only write a first rate mystery, but also convey very accurately an era from history. Benn’s Billy Boyle mysteries are always entertaining, filled with riveting characters, and beautifully plotted stories. Boyle and his supporting cast of characters are finely drawn and period correct and his dialog is often humorous. Billy Boyle is a Boston police detective turned Allied intelligence agent during World War II. He is distantly related to General Eisenhower and, as his name would suggest, is an old time Boston Irish cop.

Death's Door (Billy Boyle World War II Mystery) is the seventh mystery in Benn’s historical series (after A Mortal Terror ). Boyle and Kaz, his Polish partner who is a count in exile, are ordered to Rome to investigate the death of an American monsignor in the neutral Vatican. The Death’s Door of the title is one of the five entrances to Saint Peter's Basilica. Wild Bill Donovan, head of the OSS, who would go on to found the CIA after the war, has assigned Boyle to the case. The fact that Vatican city sits in Nazi occupied Rome, and that Vatican City is a neutral state is only one obstacle that Boyle and Kaz must overcome.

At the time the story takes place, early 1944, the allied armies are bogged down in southern Italy and it is from there that Boyle and Kaz are smuggled into Rome and the Vatican disguised as priests. They are assisted by Lt. John Hamilton, the real-life pseudonym of the actor and author Sterling Hayden. That Hayden/Hamilton actually worked for Wild Bill Donovan and the OSS and later the CIA is only one of the marvelous historical facts that Benn peppers the story in. Hayden in actuality spent part of his undercover service sailing with supplies from Italy to Yugoslav partisans and parachuting into fascist Croatia so including him as the ships master smuggling Boyle into Rome was a great touch.

When Boyle accepts the assignment,he has ulterior motives. His lover, Diana Seaton, a British spy  has been captured by the Nazis and is being held in Rome. If that isn’t distraction enough, once in the Vatican he must navigate the various political factions of the Catholic church – though neutral, there were staunch supporters of the Nazis as well as pro-allied factions – and he also finds that the Vatican is full of escaped POWs and other refugees from the German occupation including Jews, Gypsies, and British diplomats. Further, he must walk a fine line in maintaining the Vatican's neutrality lest the Nazis be given an excuse to invade.

“Death’s Door” Audiobook sample.

Today most people assume that Vatican City has been an independent state for a millennium or more. In fact, it only became a separate entity from Italy in 1929. To give the reader an idea of just how small Vatican City is, it encompasses around 110 acres. In St. Peter’s Square, the border consists of a white line painted on the ground. According to the Lateran Treaty, certain properties of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most notably Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies.These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the character and mission of the Holy See. Castel Gandolfo and the named basilicas are patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State and not by Italian police. During WWII the fragile neutrality of The Vatican must be understood to under take any kind of understanding – and lay to rest some misconceptions of Pope Pius XII and the rest of the church – of the times and events. The threat of invasion, first by the Mussolini fascists, then by the Nazis was very real. The Pope did feel that The Vatican must remain strictly neutral. Unfortunately, he was often neutral by omission by not condemning  the atrocities taking place in Europe. The killing of 1.8 million Catholic Poles or for that matter, the killing of another million by the Soviets either. As Benn points out in the Authors Notes, when he did speak out, the language was so circuitous as to be robbed of any real meaning. Because of these facts, history, or at least ‘popular history’ often paints Pius XII as a collaborator when a closer look actually acquits him of complicity in these crimes.

Some key historical characters that Benn makes use of in the novel are Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty who is one of Billy Boyle’s main contacts in the Vatican. O’Flaherty had set up an organization to hide an estimated 4,000 escaped POW’s and Jews, along with Italian antifascists. It is estimated that he also hid some 5,000 Roman Jews inside the Vatican and in church properties, including the Popes summer residence; Castel Gondolfo. Working along side the real-life O’Flaherty was Monsignor Monti who worked tirelessly to aid, feed and hide refuges. At the direction of Pius XII, he organized the Pontificia Commissione di Assistenza with the express purpose of assisting the refuges. In 1963 Monsignor Monti would become Pope Paul VI. These actions, as well as many others acquit the Pope, who in reality had very few options to remaining silent and still protecting the Vatican’s neutrality. Any invasion of the Vatican would have the immediate effect of turning over these refuges to Germans as well as removing any protection from all Catholics in reach of the Nazis.

Also key to the plot is Boyle joining forces with a Colonel Erich Remke of the German Abwehr (military intelligence) to communicate to the allies that the Abwehr were plotting the assassination of Hitler and they just wanted assurances that the allies wouldn’t take advantage of the resulting power vacuum to invade, but allow for an ordered surrender. Remke is fictional, but the plot against Hitler is very real and they did try and communicate this to the allies using the Vatican and Pope Pius.

James R BennBenn’s research is admirable and the expert way in which he uses this historical data to tell a riveting story is brilliant. The story has the feel of an old time adventure story, and Benn’s marvelous dialog bring the characters to life. If this is your first taste of James R. Benn and Billy Boyle, then I dare you not to read the other six novels. Historical Mysteries just don’t get any better than this.

Benn lives in Hadlyme, Connecticut, with his wife Deborah Mandel, a psychotherapist who offers many insights into the motivations of his characters. He’s a graduate of the University of Connecticut and a member of the Mystery Writers of America, and the Author's Guild.


Article first published as Book Review: Death’s Door: A Billy Boyle WWII Mystery by James R. Benn on Blogcritics.


The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Album Review: “Reggae Golden Jubilee”

First came ska, that wonderful marriage of Caribbean mento, calypso, jazz and R&B characterized by a walking bass line accented with rhythms on the upbeat. In the early 1960s, ska was the dominant music genre of Jamaica and found wide recognition in British mod bands. Ska morphed into Rocksteady around 1966 made popular by vocal harmony groups such as The Gaylads, The Maytals and The Paragons. Johnny Nash, the American soul singer had an international smash hit in 1968 with "Hold Me Tight".

Reggae Golden Jubilee

Reggae as a musical term first appeared in print with the 1968 rocksteady hit "Do the Reggay" by The Maytals. While owing obvious debts to both ska and rocksteady, reggae, the music itself, was faster than rocksteady, but tighter and more complex than ska. Reggae is most easily recognized by the rhythmic accents on the off-beat, usually played by guitar or piano (or both), known as the skank. This pattern accents the second and fourth beat in each bar (or the "and"s of each beat depending on how the music is counted) and combines with the drums emphasis on beat three to create a unique feel and sense of phrasing in contrast to most other popular genres focus on beat one, the "downbeat".

“Easy Snappin’” Theo Beckford
This slower tempo and the use of syncopated, melodic bass lines that differentiates reggae from other music make it a music form that is totally original, yet familiar in sound. As Edward Seaga, the Jamaican prime minister said, “Jamaican popular music demonstrated a triumph of creativity by borrowing nothing to build something.”

The word “Reggae” itself is open to a few interpretations. Reggae artist Derrick Morgan stated: “We didn't like the name rock steady, so I tried a different version of 'Fat Man'. It changed the beat again, it used the organ to creep. Bunny Lee, the producer, liked that. He created the sound with the organ and the rhythm guitar. It sounded like 'reggae, reggae' and that name just took off.

“Independent Jamaica” by Lord Creator
Reggae historian Steve Barrow credits Clancy Eccles of The Dynamites with altering the Jamaican patois word streggae (loose woman) into reggae. However, Toots Hibbert said, “There's a word we used to use in Jamaica called 'streggae'. If a gal is walking and the guys look at her and say 'Man, she's streggae' it means she don't dress well, she look raggedy. The girls would say that about the men too. This one morning me and my two friends were playing and I said, 'OK man, let's do the reggay.' It was just something that came out of my mouth. So we just start singing 'Do the reggay, do the reggay' and created a beat. People tell me later that we had given the sound its name. Before that people had called it blue-beat and all kind of other things. And no reference would be complete without consulting Bob Marley, who claimed that the word reggae came from a Spanish term for "the king's music". The liner notes of To the King, a compilation of Christian gospel reggae, suggest that the word reggae was derived from the Latin regi meaning "to the king".

Whatever the origins of the word, the music has significantly shaped the political, social and economic DNA of Jamaica. As 2012 marks the island's 50th year of independence, and  Reggae Golden Jubilee: Origins Of Jamaican Music is one of the most definitive collections ever compiled.

“Rock Steady” by Alton Ellis
VP Records has assembled extensive liner notes, Deluxe Packaging & 100 of the Island's Most Celebrated Hits From Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff,  Bob Marley, Yellowman, Shaggy, Buju Banton, Sean Paul and so many more. Whats more, each song was hand picked by Edward Seaga, who is the longest serving member of Jamaica's Parliament and the only surviving member of the legislature that drafted Jamaica's Constitution in 1962. He has hand picked 100 of the most significant songs to emerge from the country to celebrate the island's half-century turn of liberation. As a former record company owner and producer, Mr. Seaga was a major pioneering force in the birth and development of the Jamaican music industry, especially the ska movement in the 1960s.
“It’s Alright” Bob Marley & The Wailers (1970)

To accompany the music, Seaga has written extensive liner notes and track-by-track notations in the box set's 64-page booklet. The commemorative 6" x 12" songbook package also includes iconic photographs from Jamaica's
first fifty years, a preface from VP Records President Christopher Chin and a foreword from radio personality Dermot Hussey and reggae historian John Masouri.

There are songs here that you’ll probably remember. There are songs here you SHOULD remember and there are a lot of songs that even the ardent music collector will hear for the first time. Pick it up, you won’t regret it, mon.

Here’s the track listings:


Disc One
1. Easy Snapping (Original Version) -- Theophilus Beckford
2. Dumplings -- Byron Lee & The Dragonaires
3. Manny Oh -- Higgs & Wilson
4. Oh Carolina -- The Folkes Brothers
5. They Got To Go -- Prince Buster
6. Independent Jamaica -- Lord Creator
7. Black Head Chinaman -- Price Buster

“Israelites” Desmond Dekker 1969

8. Blazing Fire -- Derrick Morgan
9. Wash Wash -- Prince Buster
10. Sammy Dead -- Eric 'Monty' Morris
11. My Boy Lollipop -- Millie Smalls
12. Carry Go Bring Come -- Justin Hinds & The Dominoes
13. Occupation -- Don Drummond & The Skatalites
14. Little Did You Know - The Techniques
15. Dancing Mood -- Delroy Wilson
16. Rough And Tough -- Stranger Cole
17. Take It Easy -- Hopeton Lewis
18. Every Night -- Chuck & Joe White
19. Rock Steady -- Alton Ellis
20. Tougher Than Tough (Rudie In Court) -- Derrick Morgan with
Desmond Dekker & The Aces
21. No More Heartaches -- The Beltones
22. The Tide Is High -- The Paragons
23. Trench Town Rock -- Bob Marley & The Wailers
24. Israelites (a.k.a. Poor Me Israelites) -- Desmond Dekker & The Aces
25. Sweet And Dandy -- The Maytals
26. Everything Crash -- The Ethiopians
27. Satta Massa Gana -- The Abyssinians
28. Fire Corner -- King Stitt
29. Java Dub -- Impact All Stars
30. Hypocrite -- The Heptones
“Marcus Garvey” by Winston 'Burning Spear' Rodney
Disc 2
31. Wear You To The Ball -- U- Roy & The Paragons
32. Cherry Oh Baby -- Eric Donaldson
33. 54-46 Was My Number (Stick It Up Mister) -- Toots & The Maytals
34. Them A Fi Get A Beatin' -- Peter Tosh
35. Many Rivers To Cross -- Jimmy Cliff
36. The Sun Shines For Me -- Bob Andy
37. Marcus Garvey -- Winston 'Burning Spear' Rodney
38. Fade Away -- Junior Byles
39. Lady With The Star Light -- Ken Boothe
40. Right Time -- Mighty Diamonds
41. Police And Thieves -- Junior Murvin
42. Ram Goat Liver -- Pluto Shervington
43. We De People/ The Power And The Glory -- Ernie Smith
44. Two Sevens Clash -- Culture
45. It's Alright -- Bob Marley
46. Forward Ever -- Jacob Miller
“Push Comes To Shove” Freddie McGregor

47. My Number One -- Gregory Isaacs
48. Money In My Pocket -- Dennis Brown
49. Kaya -- Bob Marley
50. Rub-A-Dub Style -- Michigan & Smiley
51. Uptown Top Ranking -- Althea & Donna
52. Land Of My Birth -- Eric Donaldson
53. Silly Games -- Janet Kay
54. Someone Loves You Honey -- June 'J.C.' Lodge
55. Guess Who's Coming To Dinner -- Black Uhuru
56. Arlene -- General Echo
“You Don't Love Me (No, No, No)” Dawn Penn

Disc 3

57. Over Me -- Yellowman
58. One Two -- Sister Nancy
59. Pass The Dutchie -- Musical Youth
60. I'm Getting Married In The Morning -- Yellowman
61. Try Jah Love -- Third World
62. Push Comes To Shove -- Freddie McGregor
63. Love Has Found Its Way -- Dennis Brown
64. Cottage In Negril -- Tyrone Taylor
65. Every Time A Ear De Soun' -- Mutabaruka
66. Electric Boogie -- Marcia Griffiths
67. Under Me Sleng Teng -- Wayne Smith
68. Greetings -- Half Pint
69. No Way Better Than Yard -- Admiral Bailey
70. Wild World -- Maxi Priest
71. Cover Me -- Tinga Stewart & Ninjaman
72. Wild Gilbert -- Lovindeer
73. Pocomania Day -- Lovindeer & Chalice

“Wild World” by Maxi Priest

74. Good Thing Going -- Sugar Minott
75. One Blood -- Junior Reid
76. Twice My Age -- Shabba Ranks & Krystal
77. Hello Africa -- Garnett Silk
78. Murder She Wrote -- Chaka Demus & Pliers

Disc 4
79. Putting Up A Resistance -- Beres Hammond
80. You Don't Love Me (No, No, No) -- Dawn Penn
81. Murderer -- Buju Banton
82. Tour -- Capleton
83. Lord Give Me Strength -- Luciano
84. Untold Stories -- Buju Banton
85. Fed Up -- Rodney ' Bounty Killer' Price
86. Sycamore Tree -- Lady Saw
87. Black Woman & Child -- Sizzla
88. Who Am I (Sim Simma) -- Beenie Man

“Black Woman And Child” by Sizzla

89. Down By The River -- Morgan Heritage
90. Virtuous Woman -- Warrior King
91. Gimme The Light -- Sean Paul
92. Pon De River, Pon De Bank -- Elephant Man
93. Welcome To Jamrock -- Damian 'Jr. Gong' Marley
94. She's Royal -- Tarrus Riley
95. True Reflections -- Jah Cure
96. Roots -- Etana
97. Boombastic -- Shaggy
98. Lioness On The Rise -- Queen Ifrica
99. On The Rock -- Mavado
100. The Harder They Come -- Jimmy Cliff

  • Audio CD (November 6, 2012) Original Release Date: 2012
  • Number of Discs: 4 Format: Box set Label: V.P. Records
  • ASIN: B0096HQFYI

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Book Review: “Black Crow White Lie” by Candi Sary

Candi Sary’s debut novel, Black Crow White Lie, is a kind of metaphysical coming of age novel that doesn’t require a belief in the metaphysical, super natural or any other new age philosophy. Its beauty, much like Richard Bach’s early works; Jonathan Livingston Seagull, A Bridge Across Forever, Illusions, is in its revealing the universal strength and self-confidence to be found in the human spirit.

Black Crow

Told with the simple prose and narration of a thirteen year old, street smart boy – though that sounds a paradox, it is an apt description of Carson Calley and perhaps all of us – there is at once a naiveté and a native wisdom that is endearing and admirable. It’s to Sary’s credit that she draws characters who seem to stand way over the mainstream line, yet are readily identifiable and easy to empathize with. The author has penned an emotionally stirring tale of heartbreak, growth and acceptance that bodes well for her future.

Carson Calley is a young boy, entering his teen years, living a nonconventional life. He and his mother, ‘Juliette Bravo’ as she has legally changed her name to, live in a series of Hollywood motels. This is not the Hollywood of glamour, but the Hollywood of seedy characters, seedy bars and seedy motels. His mother makes her living telling fortunes. She spends her nights in bars and drinks too much and leaves Carson to raise himself. But she tells Carson stories and helps him understand just how special he is.

We were Indians – California Indians. This pale skin was once native brown. And these legs of yours were once big and strong so that you could run after deer and shoot them with your arrows, and then bring the meat back to me. You were destined to be a great medicine man, the great healer who would take away all the pain and disease of our people.

And now that their spirits are reunited, she tells Carson, he is once again destined to be the great healer of this generation. But for the time being, the only healing he does is to cure his mothers hangovers. When he puts his hand near her head he can feel the tiny stars emanate from his hands and they heel her in a way that he doesn’t fully understand. He doesn’t remember the first time he used the stars, but as his mother tells him, he just knew he had them in him.

Carson was ten when his mother first told him the above story, and though he sometimes wishes that he and his mother had a more conventional life, it is easier for him to accept and appreciate his life the way it is knowing the stories and knowing his destiny is to be a great healer, someone super special. In almost all other ways, Carson is just a normal boy. He’s skinny and a bit nerdy and takes a lot of bullying for this fact, along with his second hand cloths, his not having a father, the stories he relates about his life, told to him by his mother. He’s also got anger problems. When frustrated, he oft time breaks things, strikes out violently but he figures this must be the downside to his healing gift. He makes do with the flamboyant and funky people of Hollywood in place of a family. One of his favorite haunts is The House Of Freaks, a tattoo shop run by a scary-cool guy named Faris with a bald, but tattooed head, in fact every inch of Faris except his face is covered in tattoos. Faris listens with a practiced ear to Carson’s stories about his life, his mother and even his growing crush on Rose Lewis – the bitchiest girl in fourth grade. Faris becomes a father figure to Carson giving quiet advice and guiding him through Hollywood life. His other best friend is Casper, a tall, lanky albino that runs a head shop.

One day, after learning that Casper is deaf in one ear, the result of an odd encounter with a bush while high on mushrooms, Carson calls the stars from his hands and heals Casper. Casper is amazed and offers the use of a room in his head shop for Carson to heal people as a business. At first Carson is reluctant and doesn’t have faith in himself, but after healing colic in a baby that Rose is baby sitting for, Carson’s confidence grows and he goes into business with Casper. He eventually tells his mom and she encourages him to use his gift. She also hires another healer to guide Carson in the ways of healing. Pretty soon, Carson has a huge underground following and a Hollywood starlet comes to him and is healed from cancer and his reputation grows to the extent that he wants to save the money to visit his fathers grave in Washington D.C.

His mother has told him stories of his father too. Not only does he have the blood of his mother, a psychic in his veins, but his father was a great military hero and was a super spy for the government. He was such a finely trained killer that he could sit perfectly still for hours until a crow would land near him, taken in by his perfect stillness. Then his father would swiftly grab the crow and wring its neck before you could hardly see him move. As Carson learns the power and extent of his healing gift he dreams of going to Washington D.C. to the Cemetery Of Heroes and raising his father from the dead so that he can bring him back to Hollywood and have a normal life.

As Carson matures, he begins to think that all may not be as he thinks. He starts to see his mother as an alcoholic, instead of a tortured soul. She spends more and more time away from him and the motel rooms, and more time with her boy friend, Jackson. When she is hospitalized after a long drinking binge and Carson tries to heal her, and Faris doubts the truth, Carson’s confidence is further shaken.Then, after witnessing some of her fortunetelling he begins to think she is not always honest with her clients and that, perhaps, she makes things up to please them. When, to celebrate his thirteenth birthday, he gets a tattoo of a black crow on his arm, to honor his dead heroic father, and his mother doesn’t even notice his disillusionment grows deeper.

As his confidence is further shaken, and he begins to doubt that he even has a healing gift Carson sets out on a journey of discovery. To ultimately find the truth among the white lies. To see if he really is a special human being. He’ll also have to confront and ultimately atone for his anger and destructive actions.

What Candi Sary has penned in a short 160 pages is a modern parable. It lays bare the souls needs to find itself unique, it explores love even when lies exist and most of all, as Carson matures and grows, it shows us that inside of us all can exist a tiny seed, a gift that makes us special if only we’ll believe in it and let it take root.

Candi SaryCandi Sary is a graduate of UC Irvine and grew up in San Pedro, California. She’s been a finalist in several writing competitions and Black Crow White Lie was a top finalist in the 2009 William Faulkner – William Wisdom Writing Competition and a semi finalist for 2010 in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award. This is her first novel, published by Casperian Books, and independent publisher out of Sacramento, Calif. who specialize in genre, main-stream, literary and experimental works.

  • Paperback: 162 pages Publisher: Casperian Books LLC (October 1, 2012)
  • Language: English ISBN-10: 193408137X ISBN-13: 978-1934081372


Article first published as Book Review: Black Crow White Lie by Candi Sary on Blogcritics.

The Dirty Lowdown

Copyright © 2012 Robert Carraher All Rights Reserved

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Jack Johnson Mailing List



data-cke-saved-src=Hurricane Sandy Images - Courtesy of Danny Clinch and

After years of touring and surfing along the East Coast, I have made so many great friends. It is heartbreaking to see the images and hear their stories. I just made donations to help recover and relief efforts for Hurricane Sandy. Below is a list of groups you can support. If you can't donate money, you can donate food, supplies or your time. Our East Coast family, friends and neighbors need our help.

Aloha- Jack

In the wake of the devastation caused by Hurricane Sandy, Jack Johnson announces his support of immediate relief and long-term recovery efforts in the affected areas. Throughout the East Coast, tens of thousands are displaced from their homes and over 600,000 people are still without power as the relief efforts continue.

Jack has donated to six organizations working hard to provide food, water, medicine and on-the-ground support for thousands affected by the largest Atlantic hurricane on record. Donations will be distributed among the Food Bank for New York City, the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, Save the Children, Waves for Water, GlobalGiving and Direct Relief International. These organizations are responding quickly to the immediate needs of those affected but are still in need of funds to support their vital relief and ongoing recovery efforts.

The announcement of Jack’s donation is timely, as a strong winter storm hit the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast this week, bringing heavy rain, high winds, and snow, affecting areas already impacted by Hurricane Sandy and complicating recovery efforts. To help combat the cold weather, Jack is also shipping 3000 warm sweatshirts and thermal shirts from his merchandise warehouse to the non-profit organization
Waves for Water
for distribution to coastal communities on the East Coast.

Jack is encouraging others to support relief & recovery efforts in any way they can. He is asking people to consider donating food, supplies, time or money to organizations working on the ground in local communities.

See below for a list of organizations to support.

More on How You Can Help Hurricane Sandy Relief and Recovery Efforts

Donate Food and Supplies –

  • You Give Goods: Support an existing food drive or create your own, and purchase needed goods easily online.
  • Food Bank for New York City: Accepting food and donations to distribute critical food supplies to soup kitchens, food pantries, and senior centers. Collecting non-perishable food donations, such as cereal, canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and water.
  • Community FoodBank of New Jersey: Sends ready-to-eat meals and water to shelters in the areas affected by the hurricane. In addition to monetary support, it is accepting donations of canned tuna, peanut butter, granola bars, diapers, and baby food.
  • Occupy Sandy Relief: A coordinated relief effort dedicated to implementing aid and establishing hubs for neighborhood resource distribution in affected areas.

Donate Time –

  • HandsOn Network: An expansive database of organizations with which you can volunteer to aid in the rescue and relief of communities in the Northeastern US.
  • NYC Service: An organization that can match you with organizations in New York City that are assisting with the relief efforts.
  • Jersey Cares: Register to help in the coming weeks as projects request volunteers. Water, blankets and non-perishable food will likely be requested in the days to come.

Donate Money –

  • Save the Children - Hurricane Sandy Children in Emergency Fund: Distributing hygiene kits, warm clothing, blankets, baby cribs, and baby food. The organization also sets up “child-friendly” areas in the shelters where kids can play and recover from emotional distress. Text HURRICANE to 20222 to donate $10 to Hurricane Sandy Relief.
  • Waves for Water - Hurricane Sandy Relief Initiative: Organizing and mobilizing a strategic response initiative for the victims of Hurricane Sandy from first responder assistance to rubble removal and ultimately the rebuilding efforts.
  • GlobalGiving - Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund: Supporting disaster recovery and relief efforts in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy in the Caribbean islands and the US. Initial funds will help victims get necessary supplies including food, fuel, clean water, hygiene products, and shelter. Text SANDY to 80088 to donate $10 to Hurricane Sandy Relief Fund.
  • Direct Relief International - Hurricane Sandy Response: A medical relief organization sending shipments of medicine, medical supplies, nutritionals, and personal care items to partner health care clinics across the east coast and to dozens of health centers across Haiti treating people affected by Hurricane Sandy. 100% of every dollar donated will go to people affected by Hurricane Sandy.


Be sure to sign up for Jack's newsletter, facebook and twitter for the latest and greatest news.
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MySpace | All At Once

Mud Morganfield Set to Appear on BBC Two’s Acclaimed Music TV Series, “Later with Jools Holland,” Airing in the UK on November 20 and 23

Mark Pucci Media


November 7, 2012

Contact: Mark Pucci (770) 804-9555 /




Mud Morganfield Set to Appear on BBC Two’s Acclaimed Music TV Series, “Later with Jools Holland,” Airing in the UK on November 20 and 23



LONDON, UK – Severn Records artist Mud Morganfield continues to make a big splash “across the pond” in England with the announcement that he’ll appear on BBC Two’s flagship music TV program, “Later with Jools Holland,” airing in the UK on Tuesday November 20 and Friday 23.


The invitation to play on the long-running TV show came from the host, himself, acclaimed pianist Jools Holland, who caught Mud's performance at the London Blues Festival in June and offered him the slot after seeing Morganfield play. Holland also joined Mud and his band onstage at the Festival for a fantastic rendition of Mud’s legendary father's signature song, “Got My Mojo Working.” 


“I am ever so grateful for the blessing,” said Mud Morganfield about being on the TV show.  “Here I find myself again in a great moment of my life. I am thrilled and overwhelmed, to say the least, to appear on the Jools Holland show. This is what an artist lives for: awards, write-ups in magazines, being on stage with great people and having fun in the blues. To add to all these great things, I represent the blues that my farther passed down to me.  I thank Mr. Holland and everyone else who made this happen.”


The BBC Two TV appearance is part of Mud Morganfield’s upcoming UK shows this month that will feature him backed by some of England’s top blues talent: West Weston - harp, Ronni Buysack-Boysen - guitar, Ian Jennings - double bass, Mike Hellier - drums and Eric Ranzoni - keyboards. His nine-date UK tour starts on the 22nd November at the Swindon Arts Centre and continues across England until the 1st December. 


Mud’s UK tour also comes at a time when he’ll be the subject of an upcoming cover feature in the December/January issue of well-respected British magazine, Blues Matters, due out the end of November. He’ll be joined in that cover feature by the son of another blues icon, John Lee Hooker, Jr. The Blues Matters cover story can be previewed  here.


Morganfield continues to be on a major roll since the March, 2012, release of his new album for Severn Records, Son of the Seventh Son, which recently was one of the big winners at the Fifth Annual Blues Blast Music Awards, getting the nod for “Traditional Blues CD of the Year” and also winning the “Sean Costello Rising Star Award” in recognition of his achievements this year. It’s the latest accolade for the blues singer, who also recently appeared on the cover of Living Blues magazine and was invited onstage to sing with TV actor-cum-bluesman Hugh Laurie (“House”) for his show at Chicago’s Park West nightclub.


Son of the Seventh Son is the Severn Records label debut from Larry “Mud” Morganfield, son of the legendary Muddy Waters. Severn Records is distributed nationally by City Hall Records. Recorded in Chicago and produced by Bob Corritore, Son of the Seventh Son features Mud Morganfield’s earthy, soulful vocals backed by a cadre of blues all-stars, including Kenny Smith on drums, Rick Kreher and Billy Flynn on guitar, Barrelhouse Chuck on keyboards, E.G. McDaniel on bass, and Harmonica Hines and Bob Corritore on harp.


Chicago-based Mud Morganfield is the eldest son of the blues icon and bears a striking vocal and physical resemblance to his illustrious father. He has toured all over the world spreading the gospel of blues just like his daddy did and continues to support the release of  his new album with tour dates both in the U.S. and internationally, as well.


To download a hi-res color photo of Mud Morganfield taken at the Great British R&B Festival in 2011 (photo credit: Alan White), click on this link:


For more information on Mud Morganfield, visit and


More info on Mud and the UK band here:  .


More info on “Later with Jools Holland” program:


Thursday, 22/11/2012, Swindon Arts Centre, Swindon


Friday, 23/11/2012, Keighley Blues Club, Keighley


Saturday, 24/11/2012, Boisdale, London


Monday, 26/11/2012, Norwich Arts Centre, Norfolk


Tuesday, 27/11/2012, The Stables, Milton Keynes


Wednesday, 28/11/2012, Blues Kitchen, London


Thursday, 29/11/2012, The Flowerpot, Derby


Friday, 30/11/2012, Palladium Club, Devon 


Saturday, 01/12/2012, John Phillips Hall, University of Wales

2010 Thelonious Monk Competition Winner, Vocalist CÉCILE McLORIN SALVANT, Signs with Mack Avenue Records

new logo


 Mack Avenue logo


 2010 Thelonious Monk Competition Winner,

Signs with Mack Avenue Records  

Photo Credit: John Abbott


Debut Album Set For Mid-2013 Release


Read The New York Times Sunday Arts & Leisure Feature


"Cécile McLorin Salvant, who recently turned 23 and is still mostly unknown to jazz audiences, though not for much longer...Ms. Salvant is as serious as a library, and never corny...she radiates authority and delivers a set with almost a dramatic arc." - The New York Times


"She has poise, elegance, soul, humor, sensuality, power, virtuosity, range, insight, intelligence, depth and grace. Yeah." - Wynton Marsalis


"I've never heard a singer of her generation who has such a command of styles ranging from Bessie Smith to Betty Carter. To have an artist with such a handle on jazz vocabulary while being extremely expressive and soulful, that's very rare." - Aaron Diehl


Mack Avenue Records is proud to announce the signing of Cécile McLorin Salvant, winner of the 2010 Thelonious Monk International Jazz Vocals Competition. The announcement comes as the 23-year-old prepares for her debut album in 2013, titled Woman Child.


"Recording for Mack Avenue has been a truly wonderful experience," reflects Salvant. "As a young artist, I have found the support and encouragement that is paramount in this stage of my development."


Al Pryor, Mack Avenue Record's Executive Vice President of A&R, said, "Cécile has the preternatural ability to delve deeply into the core of a song and then serve it up to an audience. Calling on the vocal techniques of Ella, Sarah and Betty Carter, together with the intelligence of Billie Holiday's phrasing and the wisdom of Bessie Smith's lyricism, she heralds a new generation of female jazz vocalists. We are thrilled to partner with Cécile as she adds the vocation of recording artist to her journey as a jazz singer and performing artist who will undoubtedly contribute to the legacy of those artists who came before her."


Salvant was born and raised in Miami, Florida of a French mother and a Haitian father. She began classical piano studies at age five, and began singing in the Miami Choral Society at age eight. Early on, she developed an interest in classical voice, began studying with private instructors, and later with Edward Walker, vocal teacher at the University of Miami.


In 2007, Salvant moved to Aix-en-Provence, France, to study law as well as classical and baroque voice at the Darius Milhaud Conservatory. It was in Aix-en-Provence, with reedist and teacher Jean-François Bonnel, that she began learning about improvisation, instrumental and vocal repertoire ranging from the 1910s on, and sang with her first band. In 2009, after a series of concerts in Paris, she recorded her first project Cécile (self-released), with Jean-François Bonnel's Paris Quintet. A year later, she won the Thelonious Monk Competition in Washington D.C., judged by Patti Austin, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, Al Jarreau and Dianne Reeves.


With performance experience in Europe as well as the United States, Salvant has been accompanied by renowned musicians such as Jean-Francois Bonnel, Rodney Whitaker, Aaron Diehl, Dan Nimmer, Sadao Watanabe, Jacky Terrasson (with a noted collaboration on his latest album, Gouache), Archie Shepp, and Jonathan Batiste, among others. She has performed at numerous festivals, including Jazz à Vienne, Ascona, Whitley Bay, Montauban, Foix, the Spoleto Jazz Festival, and the Detroit Jazz Festival; with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra in New York's Rose Hall and Chicago's Symphony Center; and with her own band at the Kennedy Center. Additionally, for the second consecutive year, her sole voice can be heard backing the CHANEL® "Chance" ad campaign. 


On her forthcoming album, Woman Child, Salvant continues her approach in performing unique interpretations of unknown and scarcely recorded jazz and blues compositions (with a theatrical execution). The project features label mates Aaron Diehl and Rodney Whitaker (Diehl's Mack Avenue debut is set for February 19 release) as well as Herlin Riley and James Chirillo. The project is slated for mid-2013 release (exact time frame to be announced). 


Upcoming Cécile McLorin Salvant Appearances: 


November 16 / Ritz Kinam - w/Aaron Diehl / Petion-Ville, Haiti


November 20 / Pierre Hotel - 2012 History Makers Gala w/Jonathan Batiste / New York, NY


December 17 / l'Olympia of Paris w/Jacky Terrasson / Paris, France


December 29 / The Kings Arts Complex
- Jazz on the Ave - The Holidays - w/Aaron Diehl /
Columbus, OH


February 2, 2013 / Allen Room - Lincoln Center's American Songbook / New York, NY



For more information on Cécile McLorin Salvant, please visit:



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Ted Kurland Associates




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