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This is where you can find out the latest news on your favorite artists. If you have any news on any artists please e-mail them to

June 15th,2006
The Queen of The Blues will be coming out with a new album this summer. She also made a few appearances at the Chicago Blues Festival recently. For more information on Koko's new album then go to While you are at her website make sure that you check out her Celebrity Aid Foundation. She is also now the co-host of The Blues You Can Use Radio Show in Gary,Indiana 88.7 FM. If you would like to hear it but you do not live in the Gary Indiana area then you can go to and listen to their shows. That is all for Blues News today. Make sure you tune in to the next Jay Dee's Blues Revue.
Willie Kent passes away at age 70
By Jason George
Tribune staff reporter
Published March 2, 2006, 10:42 PM CST

By the time Willie Kent arrived in Chicago in 1952, two facts were certain: The 16-year-old wanted to sing the blues, and with a life already full of strife and sorrow, he had earned that right.

"I was choppin' and pickin' cotton way before I was the age of 9," he sang on "Born in the Delta" on his CD "Comin' Alive!"

Born in 1936, in the Mississippi Delta town of Inverness, Mr. Kent worked at gas stations in Florida and Memphis, Tenn., before coming to Chicago. It was in the smoky clubs here that he would take a childhood love of music, ingrained after turning an ear toward a Helena, Ark., radio station's "King Biscuit Time" Delta blues music show, and turn it into a six-decade career as one of the blues' most prominent bass guitarists, earning him repeated W.C. Handy Awards and countless rousing receptions.

Mr. Kent, 70, died Thursday at his home in the Englewood neighborhood. The cause, according to friends, was cancer.

Big Ray Stewart, who played with Mr. Kent for several years, called his friend "the godfather" of traditional Chicago blues.

"Willie Kent was the last traditional blues player in Chicago," he said. "Any time you could find Willie Kent in the club, you could always find two things: a lot of lying and a lot of laughing."

After arriving in Chicago, Mr. Kent hung out in clubs and started playing music by sitting in with a friend's band. He switched from guitar to bass when the band's bassist showed up for a gig too drunk to play, and he quickly found himself in demand, backing up Chicago blues greats such as Little Walter, Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf.

"I was raised in church," Mr. Kent told the Tribune in 2002. "My mother, she didn't drink, she didn't smoke, she didn't do nothing but go to church. We sang in the choir, so that's where it came from, 'cause that's where I started singing - in church."

From those beginnings Mr. Kent brought in the influences of the blues and the music of his adopted Chicago, he said on his Web site.

"It's a sound emerging from the deep blues tradition, a hypnotic body-tempo rhythm drawing you into the music's core. It's that most human of all poetry, the Mississippi Delta 12-bar blues," he said. "It's the balanced, clean sound of Chicago's West Side, where each separate musician creates the ensemble, and where simple musical lines burst into labyrinths of controlled passion. It's a shout, a melody, a ringing, honest voice crying out love and pain."

In the 2002 interview Mr. Kent stressed the simplicity of what he was trying to do on the four strings of his bass.

"So many people now [are] playing so much funk, it doesn't even sound like the blues," Mr. Kent told the Tribune in 2002. "I don't do a lot of solos, I don't do a lot of funk. I try play a no-nonsense sound."

Information on services was not available Thursday evening.

Courtesy of the Chicago Tribune

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