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The Helena Arkansas Daily World - Helena, AR
  • Ready for the blues

  • For the second consecutive year, the Legendary Blues Festival Committee will present a stellar line-up of internationally renowned artists. Over 10,000 people are expected to attend the Second annual Arkansas-Mississippi Outdoor Legendary Blues Festival.
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  • For the second consecutive year, the Legendary Blues Festival Committee will present a stellar line-up of internationally renowned artists. Over 10,000 people are expected to attend the Second annual Arkansas-Mississippi Outdoor Legendary Blues Festival. This music explosion will be held Saturday, Aug. 31 in downtown Helena and will feature Grammy Award winners, Harold Melvin's Blue Notes, The Great Latimore, Sweet Angel and Carl Sims. “Back in 1998, 1999 and 2000 we put together a blues fest in Marianna where there were more people visiting than residing in the area,” recalls Raymond Simes, general manager of Radio Station Delta Force 3. According to Simes over 10,000 people showed up to that 2-flat bed event that was held in a field surrounded by “people and cars as far as the eye could see,” as quoted by the Marianna paper. Simes stated that he was trying to decide whether or not to continue to host the event in Marianna or bring it to Helena-West Helena, a decision that has since been made. “We're going to hold the second annual Legendary Blue Festival in Helena this year in hopes to get back to our roots with the help and support of the community,” said Sims. Harold Melvin's Blue Notes were previously known as Harold Melvin and Blue Notes and featured Apollo legend Teddy Pendergrass. Among their credits include the Grammy Award-winning classic soul hits, “Love I Lost,” “Bad Luck,” “Wake Up Everybody,” “If You Don't Know Me By Now” and many more. Benjamin "Benny" Latimore (born Sept. 7, 1939 in Charleston, Tenn.) known professionally simply as Latimore, is an American R&B singer, songwriter and pianist. He was influenced by country music, his Baptist Church choir and of course, the Blues. His first professional experience came as a pianist for various Florida-based groups including Joe Henderson and Steve Alaimo. He first recorded around 1965 for Henry Stone's Dade record label in Miami. In the early 1970s he moved to the Glades label, and had his first major hit in 1973 with a jazzy reworking of T-Bone Walker's "Stormy Monday", which reached #27 on the R&B chart. He hit the top of the charts with "Let's Straighten It Out" – a No. 1 R&B hit that also reached No. 31 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart. He followed it up with more hits including "Keep The Home Fire Burnin" and "Somethin' 'Bout 'Cha”. Born in Memphis, Tenn. in 1964, Sweet Angel is one of few who did not get her professional start by singing in church. Sweet Angel has been compared to Dinah Washington, Irma Thomas, Denise LaSalle and Millie Jackson. Sweet Angel's love and appreciation for good music stemmed from her childhood. Her music is currently classified in the Southern Soul genre, although her music doesn't sound like any other Southern Soul currently being produced. This has been the fact since her very first album in 2007. In March 2010, Sweet Angel won her first national award. The West Coast Blues Hall of Fame & Awards Show 2010 presented her with R&B Female Artist of the Year for “Don't Let the Clean Up Woman Pick Up Your Man.” Carl Sims began performing when he was 16 years old singing for the original Bar-Kays back in the mid-60s. The Bar-Kays took Arthur Conley's place as opening act for the Otis Redding Revue. A plane crash in Milwaukee, Wis. in 1967 killed Redding and several of the Bar-Kays. Carl along with James Alexander the bass player for the group luckily took a commercial flight out of Cleveland, Ohio to join the group in Milwaukee, because there was no room on Otis' private plane. Carl began his solo career with a couple of hits "Trapped" and "17 Days of Loving.” The festival will start at noon, and the gates will open at 11a.m. “Blues lovers just can't get enough of those down home blues,” said Simes. For more information visit www.force3radio.com.

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