Ralph's World

Ralph's World

The recently announced induction of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame has brought attention once again to the indie film documentary, “Born In Chicago,” shown at this past year’s Chicago Blues Festival.

Born In Chicago chronicles the journey - both physical and spiritual - of middle class suburban kids to Chicago’s inner city where they learned the blues at the feet of such great Chicago blues masters as Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf.

The original line-up of the PBB – vocalist/harmonica player Paul Butterfield, drummer Sam Lay, organist Mark Naftalin, bassist Jerome Arnold, lead guitarist Mike Bloomfield and rhythm guitarist Elvin Bishop -- will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at ceremonies set for Cleveland’s Public Hall on April 18.

In the wake of news of the PBB’s induction, "Born In Chicago" participant Sam Lay - who with Paul Butterfield and Jerome Arnold backed Bob Dylan up when he famously “went electric” at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival and recorded with Dylan for his “Highway 61 Revisited” album – recently reflected on that period of his career. "We were part of an interracial mainstream blues band that made history,” Lay said.

PBB’s Elvin Bishop added “It’s for two reasons that I’m really proud to have been a part of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It was the first real indication that black and white people could work together in a band like that and it was the way the blues first crossed over to the general public. Before that, the blues was kind of a small department of ‘folk music.’ When I first got together with Butterfield, Sam, [Mike] Bloomfield, Mark [Naftalin] and those guys I was square as a pool table and twice as green."

Perhaps now, Chicago-born  Butterfield – who died of an accidental drug overdose at age 44 in 1987 -- will get his just due for the groundbreaking music he made and for being a pioneer in breaking down racial barriers and helping to bring the blues music forged on the South Side of Chicago to mainstream American audiences.

View an extended trailer of “Born In Chicago” online at: http://vimeo.com/user31442447/review/104111418/ce6454eb7f

“Ralph’s World’ Videos Make Public Debut

When local rocker Ralph Covert’s children’s music project, “Ralph’s World,” was signed to Disney, Covert wrote, produced and recorded over 80 songs for their English language schools in China, where the curriculum is very music driven. Some of them Ralph sang himself, and others featured the female voices of Anna Fermin and Laura Doherty.

The songs were written in close conjunction with the lesson plans, incorporating specific sentence structures, vocabulary lists, and in many cases Disney characters. Classroom videos were created using footage from Disney films and shorts. Nine of those videos are now available for viewing on YouTube: ralphsworld.com/new-videos.html


• Here is a pair of “hold the date” suggestions for musical events coming up…

• “Rock ‘N’ Roll for Cancer Cure” is being planned by independent event promoter Kevin LeBonte for Feb. 21 at Rossier Hall (1421 W. 37th Ave.) in Hobart with proceeds benefitting The Lymphoma Research Foundation. Performing are the local artists: State Road 8 (progressive rock), Recklezz Abandon (classic rock), Krang (punk rock), and multi-instrumentalist Matt Daley. Donation is $10. More info: (219) 228-0580.

• The Humane Society of Northwest Indiana has announced their annual fundraiser for homeless animals - “Pet Rock 2015.”  The event will happen March 28 at County Line Orchard with live performances by Crawpuppies Acoustic, Tomfoolery Fun Club comedians Rudy Ruiz and Marci Deloney and the critically acclaimed ensemble The Bluz Brothers: Chicago’s Premier Tribute to Jake & Elwood.

Along with the entertainment is an extensive silent and live auction for musical memorabilia and autographed items, including a band-signed guitar from Foreigner and other things donated by Ted Nugent, Charlie Daniels, Paul Rodgers, Bad Company and other major music stars. More: humanesocietynorthwestindiana.org or facebook.com/PetRock2015.

• Chicago female-fronted hard rockers Romantic Rebel may not be releasing its self-titled album until April 14 (Pavement/Sony), but they are already pushing its first single, “Believe,” to radio stations nationwide. The band - Marcus Lee (drums), Danny D (bass), Alex Vincent (guitar) and KT Paige (vocals) – are currently on the road building a fan base while opening shows for the likes of Buckcherry, Tantric and other established national acts. More: RomanticRebelBand.com.

• Live Nation has booked Chicago’s multi-platinum rockers Fall Out Boy for a hometown stop on July 11 at Midwest Bank Amphitheatre during their “Boys of Zummer” tour which kicks off in early June and packages the band with hip-hop artist Wiz Khalifa (wizkhalifa.com).

Fall Out Boy - Patrick Stump (vocals/guitar), Pete Wentz (bass), Joe Trohman (guitar) and Andy Hurley (drums) – will be touring in support of a just released sixth studio album, “American Beauty/American Psycho,” which includes the already certified platinum first single, “Centuries,” which the band performed at the recent “41st annual People’s Choice Awards.” Tickets are now on sale. More: falloutboy.com.

• Grammy Award winning songwriter Jim Peterik will be heard at 6 p.m. today on Lakeshore Public Radio (89.1FM) talking about his new biography “Through The Eye Of The Tiger” when he guests on the station’s creative arts program, “A Look At The Arts.”

Also on Lakeshore, “Midwest BEAT with Tom Lounges” features a live interview with band leader Peppy Castro of the veteran ‘60s psychedelic group The Blues Magoos at 6 p.m. Tuesday. Beatles tribute group American English will be the program’s guest on Feb. 10, followed by national country/blues artist Anne McCue on Feb. 17. All shows air at 6 p.m. Lakeshore Public Radio may be streamed live in real time online at: lakeshorepublicmedia.org.


Entertainment Editor/Features Reporter

Eloise is A&E Editor and a food, entertainment and features writer for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.