WHY WE HONOR THEM
OBHOF INDUCTEES 2015
LAYCE BAKER JR.
Pittsburg, California blues guitar legend, Layce Baker Jr was born on .June 19, 1955 on the Choctaw Nation Reservation in Haskell County, Oklahoma. Layce has been playing the blues for nearly 40 years. Baker, aka “Iceman” learned to play the guitar by watching his father perform. He formed his first band at the age of 12 and at 14, performed at both Pittsburg Central Junior High and Pittsburg High School. Layce went on to perform in nightclubs with another Pittsburg legend, Rosie Gaines. Gaines later join Prince and the New Power Generation.
Layce Baker and the Black Diamond Blues Band was awarded the Bay Area Blues Society West Coast Blues Hall of Fame, Blues Band of the Year 2004 and the Central Valley Blues Musician of the Year 2005. Layce Baker Jr. continued the family tradition of sharing his music and has assisted Layce Baker lll in developing his talent as a consumate keyboardist. He has already also been inducted into the Bay Area Blues Society West Coast Blues Hall of Fame.
Layce has been a featured performer at Sacramento Blues Society events including its 25th Anniversary celebration with an unforgettable show stealing performance. Baker has performed with legends such as Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland, Cleveland Jones and the Temptations Revue, Little David Thompson, KoKo Taylor, Archie Bell and the Drells, Johnny Taylor, Lowell Fulsom, The Whispers and The California Malibus. Other notable performances include the 2000 Bay Area Music Awards with the Caravan All-Stars, Elvin Bishop, Santana and Huey Lewis and the News. Layce was the headliner at the House of Blues DisneyWorld, Terra Blues in New York, Biscuits & Blues in San Francisco, Warm Daddy’s in Philadelphia, PA; and Ziggy’s in Denver, Co.
Layce has toured with Jimmy McCracklin performing at the Lucern Blues Festival in Switzerland; The,Le Merridean in Paris France and the Legendary Blues Cruise in 2006. While touring with the legendary Sonny Rhodes, Layce performed at the Monterey Blues Festival and the Portland River Festival.
Layce and the Black Diamond Band can be found Friday evenings and throughout Bay Area clubs on Saturday nights. Ongoing gigs include The Calistoga Inn in Calistoga, Ca; Biscuits and Blues in San Francisco, Ca; JJ’s Blues in Santa Jose, Ca and the Northern California Blues Festival scene.
Baker’s early influences came from this father who loved listening to great blues legends such as Lightin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Jimmy Reed, T-Bone Walker and any other blues legends that an Oklahoma Bluesman and Bootlegger could get access to without a television. During Layce’s teen years in Oklahoma, his fathers acquaintance with Bo Diddley and T-Bone Walker influenced his guitar playing and led to the organization of a band which included T-Bone Walkers sons. In his early adult years, Layce has become a major bluesman in the Northern California and bay area music scene. His influences include Albert King, Albert Collins, and Jimi Hendrix, You will hear some of these influences as he plays on his latest CD’s, Blues Simplicity or The Iceman. You can hear Delta, Texas, and Chicago style blues in the Black Diamond Band. Layce is an entertaining showman who mixes his blues with a little R&B.
Youtube: search Layceb / email@example.com / myspace.com/laycebaker
Phone contact Layce 925-752-0026.
Crossroads Learning Experience
Crossroads Learning Experience is the culmination of the talents
and passions of David Berntson, Tulsa musician and educator.
He is a Certified Alcohol and Drug counselor and a Certified
Prevention specialist, teaching Prevention Education classes,
counseling at adolescent treatment centers, facilitating Aftercare
Groups for chemical dependency units, coordinating after-school
groups for teens and elementary school children, and providing
substance abuse training to Child Welfare and Social Workers for
the state of Oklahoma.
David is also an accomplished Blues musician and blends his
passion for teaching with his passion for blues through his unique
“Blues in the Schools” program. Blending blues music with
character education, he presents his curriculum to diverse groups
ranging in age from Kindergarten-12th grade and from traditional
classrooms to teenagers who are incarcerated at L.E. Rader Center,
Oklahoma’s maximum security juvenile detention facility. He has
presented programs across the USA and Europe and has been the
keynote speaker for the Oklahoma Teen Conference and a
presenter at the National Prevention Symposium, always using the
harmonica as a means of connecting with the participants.
Berntson is a master of Chicago, Mississippi Delta style and jump
blues. For over 20 years, he has also taught blues harmonica
classes through adult continuing education and presented to groups
looking for activity that is both entertaining, stimulating and fun! As an
endorsee for Hohner harmonicas, Berntson is able to provide
harmonicas for his programs.
He and slide guitarist Bob Parker, known as the Duo-Sonics,
regularly perform in the Tulsa area. Berntson has played with
several Tulsa area bands, including the Tulsa Blues Club House
Band, the Hydramatics, and Blue Combo.
David’s gifts at connecting with people, especially children, and his
passion for blues and empowering young people are apparent in
every one of his presentations
Crossroads Learning Experience
is a Tulsa area educator and musician. Berntson has played blues harmonica for over 30 years, currently playing in a duo with guitarist Bob Parker. As a Prevention Educator and Drug/Alcohol Counselor, he has many opportunities to share his enthusiasm and passion for the Blues with young people. In partnership with state and local Arts organizations, Blues societies, and private funding, Berntson presents his unique “Blues in Schools” program at festivals, workshops, rehab centers, summer camps and schools, including alternative schools for at-risk students. In January, 2006, he was presented the “Keeping Blues Alive in Education” award by the National Blues Foundation in Memphis for his Blues education programs around the country. Berntson’s gifts at connecting with people and his passion for Blues are apparent in every one of his presentations.
JIMMY ‘CHANK’ NOLEN
Jimmy Nolen (April 3, 1934 – December 18, 1983) was an American guitarist, known for his distinctive “chicken scratch” lead guitar playing in James Brown’s bands. In its survey of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” the English magazine Mojo ranks Nolen number twelve.
Early life and career
Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States, Nolen took up the guitar at the age of 14, teaching himself on a Harmony Acoustic guitar. Having played the violin since the age of 9, Nolen already had a sound musical foundation upon which to base his T-Bone Walker-inspired guitar playing. Nolen was “discovered” in a club in Tulsa, Oklahoma by Jimmy Wilson, a blues singer famous for his 1953 hit “Tin Pan Alley.” Soon afterward, Wilson offered Nolen a job in his band. He took Nolen back to Los Angeles, California to play in a studio band with popular southern California players Monte Easter (trumpet) and Chuck Higgins (tenor saxophone). During this period Nolen recorded his own commercially unsuccessful singles, mostly for King Records’ Federal subsidiary, on which he both sang and played period-inspired blues songs.
In 1957 Nolen began to play for Johnny Otis, replacing the ailing Pete “Guitar” Lewis. He was the principal behind Otis’ hit “Willie and the Hand Jive.” He remained in Otis’ band until 1959 when he formed his own group, The Jimmy Nolen Band. They performed in small clubs and ballrooms in California and Arizona’s “chitlin’ circuit”, backing many of the blues greats that passed through California. The principal influences that inspired his guitar technique were, T-Bone Walker, B.B. King and Lowell Fulson. The Jimmy Nolen band was popular but never released any records since their primary purpose was to work as live backup for more famous acts. In the early 1960s Nolen began playing with the backing band for harmonica legend George “Harmonica” Smith.
James Brown (1965-1970)
In 1965, Nolen joined the James Brown band at the recommendation of Les Buie, Brown’s guitar player at that time. Buie had grown tired of the road and recommended Nolen as a replacement when the band was in Los Angeles. Like saxophone player Maceo Parker, trombonist Fred Wesley and drummers Clyde Stubblefield and John “Jabo” Starks, Nolen was a staple in James Brown’s band. He played with James from 1965 until 1970, when the entire band quit in response to Brown’s erratic behavior, withholding of wages, and demeaning treatment.
The J.B.’s/Maceo and All the King’s Men era (1972-1973)
During this time Nolen began to tour with Maceo Parker’s group Maceo & All the King’s Men. James replied to the mass resignation of his musicians by hiring a then-juvenile band called the Pacemakers who were based out of Cincinnati, Ohio. This band was composed of the young but heavy-hitting William “Bootsy” Collins on bass, his brother Phelps “Catfish” Collins on guitar, Robert McCullough on saxophone, Clayton Gunnels on trombone, and Frank Waddy on drums. The new band was named The J.B.’s and marked a new era for James Brown. Months after this new band was formed Starks and Stubblefield returned; this lineup can be heard on Brown’s album Soul Brother Number One. Despite this band’s undeniable talent for playing breakneck funk, it were relatively short-lived as a group, as the Collins brothers soon left to join George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic organization. In 1972 Nolen returned to play with The J.B.’s.
Nolen remained with Brown until December 18, 1983, when he died of a heart attack in Atlanta, Georgia.
The “chicken scratch” sound
Nolen developed a style of picking known as “chicken scratch,” in which the guitar strings are pressed lightly against the fingerboard and then quickly released just enough to get a muted “scratching” sound that is produced by rapid rhythmic strumming of the opposite hand near the bridge. This new guitar style was affected not only by Nolen’s choice of two and three note chord voicings of augmented 7th and 9th chords, but also by his strumming straight 16th note patterns, as in James Brown’s “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag.” Nolen’s choices of guitars and amplifiers also affected the sound for which he would be nicknamed. In his first recordings with James Brown, Nolen used a Gibson ES-175 and an ES-5 switchmaster, both hollow body jazz guitars equipped with single coil P-90s. He also relied on a Gibson Les Paul Recording model with single coil pickups, an Acoustic Black Widow, and a Fresher Straighter, which were also single coil instruments. The single coil pickups on these guitars produced a thin “chanky” sound; Nolen ran these guitars through a Fender Twin Reverb with the treble set at 8 out of 10. The result of these factors was a rhythm guitar sound that seemed to float somewhere between the low-end thump of the electric bass and the cutting tone of the snare and hi-hats, with a rhythmically melodic feel that fell deep in the pocket. A good example of such tone would be in James Brown’s “I Got You (I Feel Good)” and “I’ve Got The Feeling.” Nolen had been experimenting with the sound prior to his joining James Brown: it can be heard on the Johnny Otis song “Willie And The Hand Jive” (1958) and an obscure 45 RPM single called “Swinging Peter Gunn Theme (Parts 1&2), released in 1960 on the Fidelity label, a subsidiary of Art Rupe’s Specialty Records.
Hip hop legacy
Despite the fact that Nolen defined the guitar style which influenced decades of guitarists and funk groups to follow, including Earth Wind and Fire, Tower of Power, Chic, George Clinton, and more, his influence on other forms of contemporary popular music such as hip hop is often overlooked. James Brown cuts such as “Papas Got a Brand New Bag,” “I Got You (I Feel Good),” “It’s a Man’s Man’s Man’s World,” “Cold Sweat,” “Bring it Up (Hipster’s Avenue),” “Ain’t it Funky,” “Funky Drummer,” and “The Boss” have been sampled, mimicked and otherwise utilized by countless producers, DJs, and MCs. Eric B., the producer/DJ associated with Rakim Allah’s early recordings, was known for his use of James Brown samples, most of which featured Nolen, “Jabo” Starks and/or Clyde Stubblefield. A good example of this would be “Move the Crowd”, in which Eric B. sampled Brown’s 1969 recording “Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud” featuring the aforementioned lineup, or the 1973 “Blind Man Can See it” for Eric B. and Rakim’s “?.” The Bomb Squad, Public Enemy’s production group, is another name on the lengthy list of producers that have relied heavily on James Brown grooves assisted by Nolen’s “chicken scratch” style: Brown’s 1973 “Make it Good to Yourself” was the part of the foundation on which Public Enemy laid their cut “1 Million Bottlebags.”
Lead Singer, Guitarist and Harmonica is Cecil Gray. He has been playing guitar for 35 years and started at the age of 15, playing gospel music for his aunt. He has played throughout the west in the mid seventies with several rock and blues bands. One of Cecil’s main influences is the late great Jimmy Reed that can be heard in some of Cecil’s original material played by the band. He also likes to listen to Jimmy Hendrix, Johnny Winters and Robin Trower.
The Red Dawn Blues Band was founded in October 2002. This all Indian blues band plays a wide array of blues music, but what makes them unique is that all their songs on their latest CD are originals. Cecil Gray, the bands lead singer/songwriter wanted to present his old musical friends in a new musical venture.
“Indian Boy, Indian Girl” was released around April 2003 and was nominated for the Native American Music Awards in the blues category. Since then, the band has enjoyed playing in clubs and festivals in Oklahoma, Florida and Kansas. Red Dawn was nominated a second time in the Native American Music Awards blues category with their new cd, “Indian Harmony”. Their songs reflect their Indian heritage and culture about every day life.
The Band took the stage at the 7th Annual Native American Music Awards Ceremony 2004 to accept their award for the Best Blues/Jazz Recording category. Cecil Gray and his band was nominated by Anadarko resident and NAMMYS Advisory Board member Adeline “Allie” Chaddlesone for the group’s recently released CD “Indian Harmony”. “I’m so happy. I knew they could win it because their music is so good”, Allie stated.
Friends of the Rentiesville Blues Festival INDUCTEES
The Blackwells,(aka Harry and the Hippies,Haywire) are said to be one of the
best bands in upper Northern CA area. These unsung heros of the mountains are diverse enough to tackle any gig. Playing a wide
variety of Original Traditional music with an emphasis on kicking ass!
Harry & Debbie Blackwell have played together for many years with
an enormous song list including obscure blues covers, originals and a whole lot more..They have
opened for Charlie Musslewhite, Joanna Connor, Little Charlie and the
Nightcats and the late Red Archibald and the Internationls , Big Brother and The Holding Co.as well as doin a stint as cabaret musicians @ John Ascuagas Nugget,Horizon Casino Resort, and Atlantis Casino Resort in Reno and So.Lake Tahoe as part of The band “Turquoise”.
This professional band consists of five seasoned musicians who
simply love to play and entertain their audiences.The band has played
many venues this last year and is currently enjoying this years music season! They will play 2 shows this coming railroad days in Dunsmuir Ca (See Schedule)
They are now regulars at DC Minners, Dusk Till Dawn Blues Festival in
Rentiesville Oklahoma now entering its 21st year,during Labor day weekend ( www.dcminnerblues.com),
where they share the stage or performed with,Johnny Rawls, Guitar Shorty,
Rory Block, Rosie Ledet & the Zydeco Playboys,James Peterson and Watermelon Slim.Harry and Debbie will be going back to Ok where Harry will once again back up Mississippi Soul singer, Johnny Rawls as well as doing their own set with their Oklahoma band!
They are the hardest working band
in the Siskiyou County Northern Ca area
This high energy Psychedelic Rocking Blues Band delivers the goods every time!
Check out the Band on myspace,facebook and watch live performances on You Tube/debbieblackwell5!
ROGER HURRICANE WILSON
Four decades ago he taught hundreds of people to play guitar. In 1972 he
began playing professionally. He’s jammed with Les Paul, Hubert Sumlin,
Stevie Ray Vaughn, Albert Collins, Roy Buchanan, Savoy Brown, Magic Slim, Michael
Burkes, and Charlie Musselwhite just to name a few. He’s shared the
stage doing shows with B.B. King, Buddy Guy, Little Milton, John Mayall,
Marcia Ball, Delbert McClinton, Taj Mahal, Leon Russell, and Edgar
Winter among many others. With 10 CD’s on the market, Roger, with his
band, as well as solo, is working overtime, performing 200+ nights a year.
“This boy knows what he’s doing!” …Hubert Sumlin
“This guy plays some great blues!” …Les Paul
JOHN ‘WOLFMAN BLACK’ WOOTEN
One of the most loyal members of the team of volunteers who put the festival together ‘on the ground’. Wolfman comes in weeks early, cuts crass and weed eats and manicures the place for everybody. He learned how from Ray Tubbs. Maybe he already knew from cutting so many lawns all these years. But Wolf, founder of his band Dues Paid, is a fine vocalist and drummer. He has a great shuffle, critical for any blues drummer
This is one of original ‘can do’ people. He and D.C. and Ray Tubbs all shared a great level of determination. Wolfman was a DJ, and comes here from Bartlesville. He is also legally blind. Many people don’t get how he can cut grass, go fishing and horse riding by himself…. but the is a r true friend of the Rentiesvill Blues Festival and we are proud to induct John ‘Wolfman Black’ Wooten.