Mother Blues–from the Local Music Project

Sure, they opened for Led Zeppelin, but that was only one night in Mother Blues’s long career.  Ringleader Patrick Hazell wrote the best summary of the the band’s history.


These guys rocked hard.  Hazell, a great pianist and harp player, has an ideal voice for shouting blues and a ton of soul. He’s in just about every Iowa music Hall of Fame that matters.  With Blue Rhythm Recordings, he became one of the first Iowa musicians to start his own label.


The version of the band I remember was the one with Joe Price and Bo Ramsey from the early 70’s.  Both have put together really successful careers since. A world-class bluesman, Price quit his day job 40 years ago, and still tours with his talented wife Vicki.  Both have records available via the Local Music Project.


Ramsey, besides his own bands and records, has produced Lucinda Williams, and works with his wife, Pieta Brown.  Ramsey’s playing in recent years is notable mostly for his taste and restraint, but back in the day, he cut loose.


Hazell, who sadly seems to seldom perform anymore, kept a solo career for many years after Mother Blues.   He’s also taken on some fascinating projects.  For instance, he got permission to spend the night in a pavilion in Vicksburg National Cemetery, and recorded his improvisations.


He also composed music made by ringing the church bells  in Burlington, Iowa, and coordinated the city-wide event, later taking his idea to Russia.  He recorded a one-off project with Bob Dorr and Molly Nova of the Blue Band that you have to hear to believe.  Recordings of these projects, as well as a selection of his ambient music, are available thru the Local Music Project.



You can get free downloads of all this stuff, tho you may have to get a library card or move to Iowa City to do it.

–John Hiett

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