A Taste of the Blue Rose

cover image for A Taste of the Blue Rose

This 16-song CD features nine Portland-area artists, each with their own angle on the blues. Spanning the generations from 19-year-old guitar sensation Jesse Schmunk (now known as Jesse Young)to 73-year-old "discovery" O.C. Thomas , the CD presents a "taste test" of the Portland blues.

Plans are afoot to make a second volume of the "Blue Rose." If you are a Pacific Northwest blues musician, and would like to be considered for thesecond volume of the "Blue Rose," then please send your material to Flying Heart Records, 4015 NE 12th Ave., Portland OR 97212, and mark it Blue Rose. It will get listened to!

The reviews have been very positive. Read what Curtis Waterbury wrote about it in citysearch.com .

The CD is available from Flying Heart via mail order (see the Catalogue ) or from Amazon.com, Music Millennium, and Burnside Distribution Co.

Please note: These songs can be downloaded from the net -- CD Baby has them for sure.
O.C.Thomas, 1998 photo

O.C. Thomas liked playing his 65-dollar Truetone guitar in his basement and singing the blues. He moved to Portland from rural Mississippi in the 1940s. He gave his first and only public performance on Saturday, March 10th, 2001 at the Aladdin Theatre, as part of the Second Annual Willamette Delta Blues Showcase. He died on October 4th, 2001, aged 76 years. He was a terrific role model and an inspiring bluesman. "Toe Joe" will be remembered as the real deal, or "Mr. Authentic" as John Foyston of the Oregonian called him.

Mel Solomon smiling, in a polka-dot shirt and hat, 1998 photo by Jan Chciuk-Celt

Mel Solomon (1933-2014) was revered on the Portland blues scene. He said of himself: "I'm just a country boy from Shreveport, Louisiana, born and raised on gospel speeches and blues." The three songs he contributed to "A Taste of the Blue Rose" were his only recordings as a front man, although blues historians will note that he was one of Hank Ballard's Midnighters back when. He also worked with Bobby "Blue" Bland for a few months, as well as the Rocks of Harmony and the Silvertones. He settled in Portland in 1971 and worked for the Freightliner Corporation. He didn't really get back into singing until 1985, when he retired from Freightliner. He won two Muddy Awards from the Cascade Blues Association, for "Best New Blues Act" in 1991 and for "Best Male Vocalist" in 2001

Mel Solomon was born on June 29th, 1933 in Coushatta, Louisiana, near Shreveport. He was the eldest of eleven children. He died on June 23rd, 2014, just a week short of his 81st birthday, of diabetes.

Lily Wilde, 1998 photo

Lily Wilde is a sensational singer who is taking Portland by storm with her Jumpin' Jubilee Orchestra. She comes from a very musical background and has an impressive résumé which includes singing with Stevie Wonder.

She has her own webpage.

Bob Shoemaker, 1998 photo

Bob Shoemaker is a master of the National steel guitar. His own personal style has been called "Columbia Delta Blues." The Acoustic Rainbow sampler says of Bob's style and Towny's composition: "Soft, yet musically rugged, well performed and lyrically poetic ... we highly recommend it. We were struck by the raw, loose and very professional atmosphere of the entire CD project. The CD is filled with rich songs just like the one featured here."

Jan Celt, 1998 photo

Jan Celt is the project's producer and appears in his own right on two tracks.

Find out more about Jan.

Johnnie Ward, 1998 photo

Johnnie Ward is a prolific songwriter with a delightful sense of humor.

Rich Halley, 1998 photo

Rich Halley is an important creative jazz artist, with numerous albums out under his own name or with the Lizard Brothers. He has three CDs on Louie Records -- entitled Coyotes In the City by Rich and his trio, featuring Clyde Reed on bass and Dave Storrs on drums; Objects by the Rich Halley Trio; and The Blue Rims by the Rich Halley Quartet.

Norman Moody, 1998 photo

Norman Moody is a bluesman who plays in Portland and Eugene, and writes his own songs.

Chris Newman, 1998 photo

Chris Newman is a prodigious talent on the Northwest rock scene.

Find out more about Chris.

This excellent CD is currently available at Portland record shops (Music Millennium, Locals Only) and may be mail ordered from Flying Heart. See the Catalogue. It may also be ordered through Amazon.com.

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last updated April 11th, 2016 by Jan Chciuk-Celt