Get this crazy baby off my head!


Kirk Fletcher

Kirk Fletcher - Shades Of Blue - 2003 - Crosscut

Kirk plays the blues sounds of the 1950s and '60s like a seasoned blues veteran. A great album of old-fashioned Chicago blues with beautiful touches of R&B, and soul. Kirk's influences include B.B.King, Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, and many more. He has worked with Charlie Musselwhite and Kim Wilson, among others, and the experience has obviously paid off. This album is in the great traditional Chicago blues style. Kirk has a beautiful, seemingly simple, fluid guitar style, which is a joy to listen to. Like other great guitarists like Eric Bibb, Tab Benoit, or Robert Cray, he never gets overly complex, or plays any unnecessary frills. He doesn't need to. His playing is uncontrived, and straightforward, and very impressive. Kirk and his experienced band cover blues classics by B.B. King, Willie Dixon, and Magic Sam. He also does some great takes on R&B classics like Percy Mayfield's "The River's Invitation" and Booker T. & the MG's "Hip Hug Her". "Shades Of Blue" is HR by A.O.O.F.C. N.B: Album is also available with three bonus tracks, not included here. Check out Kirk "Eli" Fletcher's "I'm Here & I'm Gone" album @ KFLETCH/IH&IG It is also worth listening to Janiva Magness' great "Blues Ain't Pretty" album on which Kirk Fletcher plays some beautiful cool guitar


01. Blues For Boo Boo - Kirk Fletcher
02. Bad Boy - Eddie Taylor
03. Welfare Blues - James H. Dawkins
04. Don't Go No Further - Willie Dixon
05. Club Zanzibar - Kirk Fletcher
06. That's Why I'm Cryin' - Samuel Maghett
07. Worried Man Blues - Finis Tasby
08. Country Girl - Riley B. King
09. Down Home Woman - Mark Goldberg
10. Stranded in St. Louis - Deadric Malone
11. Little By Little - Amos Blakemore
12. My Home Is A Prison - Jay D. Miller
13. The River's Invitation - Percy Mayfield
14. Hip Hug Her - Stephen Lee Cropper / Donald V. Dunn / Al Jackson Jr. / Booker T. Jones Jr.


Kirk Fletcher - guitar
Jeff Turmes - bass (4,6,11) / guitar (4,14)
Ronnie James Weber - bass (2,3,5,7,8,9,10,12,13)
Red Young - piano & organ
Kenny Sara - drums (1,4,6,11,14)
Richard Innes - drums (2,3,5,7,8,9,10,12,13)
Kim Wilson - harmonica & vocals (2,5,8,10,12)
Janiva Magness - vocals (4,6,11)
Finis Tasby - vocals (3,9,7,13)


Guys like Kirk "Eli" Fletcher shouldn't be rare and unusual in the blues, but as most blues fans already know, they are. Kirk is a young African-American man who has embraced and thoroughly immersed himself in the music of his parents, and grandparents: the blues sounds of the 1950s and '60s. Inspired by B.B. King's "Live At the Regal", his investigation of the blues began, and like a snowball rolling down a snowy mountain, has been picking up speed and gaining mass ever since. And he's young, VERY young by blues standards - he's just turned 27. Robert Jr. Lockwood has been eligible for Social Security retirement checks almost as long as Kirk has been on this earth. At a time when most of those playing traditional blues are on the far side of the retirement fence, it's only been in the last few years that Kirk has only been old enough to buy himself a beer in most of the clubs he plays. And he probably still gets asked for identification. Yet close your eyes, and you're there. It's the sound of blues as it was played when giants like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf and T-Bone Walker and Little Walter still towered over the blues landscape. Kirk not only "gets it", he's got it, that hard-to-define thing that makes each note and every phrase he plays on his guitar come out just right, so that it all sound exactly like the blues and nothing else. Like most blues players who have come along in the last half century or so, Kirk didn't learn the blues sitting at the feet of the masters, or making a deal with the devil at the crossroads - he learned in the CD age by listening to reissues of vintage recordings. But while the way people learn the blues may have changed over the years, the foundation hasn't; as the son of a Baptist minister, he began absorbing the rhythms and phrases that lie at the basis of all great blues at an early age, listening to gospel in his father's church. His blues indoctrination started out like many young players, first with contemporary sounds, then hearing something in it that led him back a generation. And once there, finding something else that led back yet another generation, another layer deeper, another obscure recording further into the web of blues. Picking up the finer points at every step along the way, mixing and matching and coming up with something that comes out sounding fresh and exciting, while unmistakably and undeniably 100% blues. In Kirk's relatively short time playing music, he's made some big waves and impressed a lot of the right people. Coming up through the ranks of the West Coast blues scene, he's spent valuable time with Al Blake (former frontman of the legendary Hollywood Fats Band), Richard "Lynwood Slim" Duran, and Junior Watson among others. Eventually he was hand-picked for Kim Wilson's Blues Revue, the modern day equivalent of joining, say, Muddy Waters' band in the 1950s. From there he was recruited for veteran harp man Charlie Musselwhite's band. Kirk had arrived. Yet up to that point he hadn't led his own band. That soon changed, when with help from Wilson, Blake and Duran among others, he recorded a CD for England's JSP label in 1999. Blues producer and promoter Randy Chortkoff (a talented harp player and bandleader in his own right) became aware Fletcher's talents through his association with Kim Wilson. Chortkoff has played a role in a number high-profile blues careers - among them Billy Boy Arnold, Jody Williams, the late King Ernest, and Finis Tasby, and his instincts have seldom let him down. After working with Fletcher on a number of live projects, Chortkoff put his money where his mouth was, and decided to produce a recording that fully showcased Fletcher's many talents...the recording you're probably listening to right now. He pulled together the hottest and most experienced West Coast blues veterans to provide support, and began a series of recording sessions that resulted in this CD, with guests Kim Wilson, Finis Tasby, and Janiva Magness on board to handle the vocals. Fletcher covers a lot of ground here, from the bouncing shuffle of "Club Zanzibar" (named after a Chicago joint Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf and Little Walter used to play) to the jazzy organ trio sound of "Blues For Boo Boo", to the bare-bones juke joint funk of "Stranded In St. Louis", with a healthy dose of West Coast swing thrown in for good measure, plus a lot more. Along the way he also pulls off the slippery feat of capturing the essence of those classic sounds while always playing with real fire, excitement, and creativity. So sit back and enjoy the latest from a young man blues fans will no doubt be listening to for a long time to come, Kirk "Eli" Fletcher. © Scott Dirks, © 2006 Delta Groove Productions. All Rights Reserved


You’ve got to hand it to the West Coast. From the late Hollywood Fats to Junior Watson to Nick Curran, the left coast scene has produced some of the most exciting guitar-driven blues of recent times. Prepare to add one more name to this vaunted group: Kirk Fletcher. On his latest release, Shades of Blue, he delivers exactly what most blues fans are looking for in a modern blues album - respect for the past with a foot in the future. The story goes that Fletcher got hooked on the blues by repeatedly listening to a copy of B.B. King’s Live At The Regal, and it’s clear that he has mastered many of the licks and sonic booms of the blues heyday. To put it simply, the kid can flat out play. Fletcher mixes up guitar styles rather well and is not afraid to let his influences show. Whether playing a jazzy instrumental in the style of Duke Robillard (“Blues for Boo Boo”, “Club Zanzibar”) or old-school T-Bone Walker licks, you can tell that he has studied and lifted from the best. On several tracks he employs a tactic that would prove smart for any young bluesman: If given the chance, work with Kim Wilson. The blues veteran’s incredible harp playing adds real guts to these tracks, and his lived-in vocals are the perfect complement to Fletcher’s guitar. Several other artists contribute vocals as well, including Finis Tasby who channels the vocal tone of a young B.B. King on his four appearances. The standout tracks are too numerous to mention, but the real highlight is the young guitar slinger’s take on a reworking of “Worried Man Blues.” He borrows Elmore James’ famous “Dust My Broom” riff and tone and makes the tune absolutely soar. I dare you too keep your ass in your seat when this track cues up on the disk. Kirk Fletcher is a real beacon of hope for those of us looking for the next great blues guitar player. And this album, along with several others from the Golden State, just goes to prove that you can play the blues in the land of Manifest Destiny. © Dan Trink, Play Blues Guitar.com

Kirk ‘Eli’ Fletcher is a rare bird on the blues scene, an African-American man, still in his twenties who has thoroughly immersed himself in the classic blues sounds of the 1950s and 1960s. The son of a Baptist minister, Kirk's introduction to the blues came as a teenager, through his older brother's copy of B.B. King's ‘Live At the Regal album, and he hasn't looked back since. In a relatively short time playing music, he's impressed a lot of the right people. Coming up through the ranks of the West Coast blues scene, he's spent valuable time with Al Blake (former front man of the Hollywood Fats Band), Richard ‘Lynwood Slim’ Duran and Junior Watson, among others. Eventually he joined Kim Wilson's Blues Revue, from there he was recruited for Charlie Musselwhite's band. While continuing to work as one of the most sought after guitarists on the West Coast blues scene, he hooked up with blues harp player and producer Randy Chortkoff, which resulted in this CD. As he doesn’t sing, Kirk is supported on vocals by veteran West Coast vocalist Finis Tasby, with Kim Wilson on vocals and harp and representing the distaff side, singer Janiva Magness. This album was originally released in Germany in 2003 on Crosscut, this reissue includes three extra tracks as indicated in the track listing, stretching it out to a big seventy plus minutes. Opening with the instrumental ‘Blues For Boo Boo’, Fletcher’s sparky guitar and Rod Young’s big toned Hammond gives this number a jazzy, organ trio feel. Fletcher gets the classic Vee Jay sound spot on and Wilson’s vocals and harp set the tone for a classy reading of Eddie Taylor’s Bad Boy’. Janiva Magness handles the vocals on ‘Don’t Go No Further’; Fletcher opens on acoustic then switches to electric on a romping run through this Willie Dixon classic. ‘Club Zanzibar’ is a spot-on Little Walter and the Aces style instrumental with Wilson on harp and Fletcher doing the Louis Myers bit – nice one! Tasby handles the vocals on his own composition ‘Worried Man Blues’; Fletcher plays a charging Elmore-style riff and the whole thing jells to produce a 50s style retro classic. Kim provides the vocals on a harp-fuelled reading of B.B. King’s ‘Country Girl’; Tasby steps up to the plate for a laid back ‘Down Home Woman’ and ‘Stranded In St. Louis’ is a slow groove with Wilson on vocals. ‘My Home Is A Prison’ is, as you would expect an Excello style slowie, Tasby is in best Percy Mayfield mode for Mr Percy’s ‘Rivers Invitation’ and ‘Hip Hug Her’ is a Booker T. Memphis groovin’ instrumental. Of the bonus cuts; B.B.’s You Don’t Know features Janiva on vox and Fletcher has the B.B. lines straight up, ‘Club Zanzibar’ is, well just an alt take and ‘Don’t Go No Further’ is an all-acoustic reading. Kirk Fletcher is a young man with a big reputation in the making, he exudes class and style, knows all the classic licks but never resorts to mere copying, always with his own take in his trick bag. If this CD does not cement his reputation then I may just be a simian’s relation! © Phil Wight, Blues & Rhythm Magazine

Guitarist Kirk Fletcher weighs in with another diverse set ranging from smooth- sheened , West Coast-flavored outings to rootsy evocations of Chicago . He is not, however, a vocalist, so the ultimate success of the disc depends on the singers he’s chosen to enlist to his cause. And they’re a stellar crew. Janiva Magness contributes her insinuating warble to Jr. Wells’ “Little By Little”, the Magic Sam chestnut “That’s Why I’m Crying”, Willie Dixon’s “Don’t Go No Further”, and BB’s “You Don’t Know” (although she sounds oddly stiff on the last one.) Finis Tasby’s gutsy tenor squall adds urgency to “Down Home Woman”, Jimmy Dawkins’ “Welfare Blues”, asomeaht -too-sprightly take on Percy Mayfield’s “River’s Invitation”, and his own broomdusting “Worried Man Blues”. Fletcher’s old bandleader Kim Wilson delivers Eddie Taylor’s “Bad Boy” with an uncanny feel for Taylor ’s vocal timbre and phrasing, and he sounds appropriately bereft on Slim Harpo’s “My Home Is APrison” (sung through a bullet mic that makes him sound eerily like Big Walter Horton). He also contributes tasteful, wide-mouthed harp work throughout – especially on his own “Club Zanzibar”, on which he invokes both Big and Little Walter with uncanny verisimilitude. If there’s a flaw to this outing, it’s that Fletcher is just a tad too tasteful – in his zeal to bring his full talent to bear on as wide a stylistic range as possible, he occasionally sounds as if he’s trying to transport the blues from the gin mill to the musicology seminar. But in today’s world of “ blooze ” overkill, that’s hardly a fatal flaw. As the twenty-something Californian continues to grow into his music, he’ll no doubt attain the confidence to give his passions free rein alongside his impeccable musical intelligence. © David Whiteis, Living Blues

New Blues label Delta Groove's follow-up project (the Mannish Boys 'That Represent Man was their debut in the Blues) shines a spotlight on Kirk Fletcher , one of today's premier young Blues guitar slingers. Only in his late twenties, Fletcher is currently the guitarist in the Fabulous Thunderbirds and the Kim Wilson Blues Revue . Before that he traveled with Charlie Musselwhite . Before that, he was an important member of Kim Wilson's Blues Revue. Before that, he recorded his debut CD on JSP in 1999. Before that, he was tapped to play guitar behind Lynnwood Slim , and then the resurrected Hollywood Fats Band with Junior Watson . Before that, this son of a Baptist minister was growing up in L.A. where he was exposed to music from Gospel to the deepest Blues. Because T-Bird boss Wilson sings and plays on six of the 17 tunes, Thunderbird bassist Ronnie Weber and Blues Revue drummer Richard Innes handle the rhythm section on ten songs, much of this record is grounded in Fletcher's love of traditional Chicago Blues. The title here tells it all. Fletcher is about to deal out all shades of the Blues. Though the disc opens with Fletcher and organist Red Young tradin' punches on "Blues For Boo Boo," a song that recalls Ronnie Earl/Bruce Katz 's foot tappin', Jazz guitar and organ work, Fletcher quickly shifts gears to Chicago Blues. The follow-up song, Eddie Taylor 's "Bad Boy," brings in Wilson and the Blues Revue rhythm section. From there, Fletcher calls in West Coast Blues belter Finis Tasby to toughen Jimmy Dawkins ' "Welfare Blues" and Blues diva Janiva Magness to tear it up on Willie Dixon 's "Don't Go No Further." By the album's fifth song, "Club Zanzibar," a Wilson/Fletcher composition that honors the storied Blues joint where Muddy ,Wolf , and Little Walter cut heads, Fletcher's devotion to time honored Blues is obvious. His solos here and elsewhere show that Fletcher has done his Blues guitar homework. Throughout his guitar work you can hear snatches of Chicago string masters like Jimmy Rogers, Dave and Loius Myers ,Luther Tucker , Jimmy Reed, and Buddy Guy . Fletcher has also assimilated the essence of Little Milton , all the Kings, and Hubert Sumlin . Simmer that with the modernistic West Coast guitar of Junior Watson, Hollywood Fats, and the many others and there is no denying the Blues guitar history that is present in every note Fletcher plays. Then, Fletcher and Magness dig into a sexy exploration of Magic Sam 's "That's Why I'm Cryin'," while Fletcher and Tasby accelerate an Elmore James approach on "Worried Man Blues." Kim jumps back with his Sonny Boy acoustic harmonica on two tunes, B.B. King 's "Country Girl" and his quintessential slow Blues thesis on "Stranded In St.Louis." As the CD winds down, Magness lets her vocal power slowly ooze on Junior Wells' "Little By Little" and Tasby tells a soul filled tale on Percy Mayfield 's "The River's Invitation." When Fletcher and Wilson slow the pace on "My Home Is A Prison," Fletcher picks his color tones from the red mud of Mississippi. The CD ends as it began, an instrumental, jazzy organ/guitar delight on Booker T and the MGs ' "Hip Hug Her." But it's not over yet. Fletcher includes three bonus tracks, B.B.'s "You Don't Know," and alternate takes on "Club Zanzibar" and "Don't Go No Further." Because so many of the tunes here offer a tireless variety of Blues sounds Fletcher studies, this is the perfect record for the shuffle button. © Art Tipaldi, Blues Wax

Exceptional. By now, there isn't much that hasn't already been said about Kirk Fletcher , but whether or not you've heard his name and his playing, rest assured that modern blues does not get any better than this. Fletcher has been making a name for himself for a handful of years by running across the country with Kim Wilson and Charlie Musselwhite, as well as roaming up and down the West Coast with various blues outfits, and he recently joined Wilson as a member of The Fabulous Thunderbirds. As a guitar player, Kirk understands the less-is-more rule as much as knowing that tone coloration adds more to a project than pyrotechnic ability. There's little doubt that Fletcher has firmly planted himself in the upper-echelon of today's blues guitarists, and that lofty status comes from knowing what to play, when to play, and where to step forward for maximum effect. With Kim Wilson, Finis Tasby, and Janiva Magness all joining in to offer stunning vocals, Fletcher turns in the perfect sideman performance with his guitar - he lays back adding brilliant old-school touches, and when the time comes to step out, he makes fully-matured musical statements by building solos laced with passion and closes them with an intensity that lingers. Wilson's harp and gripping vocals feature on Bad Boy, My Home Is A Prison, Country Girl and Stranded , Finis Tasby delivers a storming Welfare Blues, Down Home Woman , and a powerfully potent take on The River's Invitation , and Janiva Magness handles Don't Go No Further, That's Why I'm Cryin' plus a smoldering Little By Little . Although this disc is under Fletcher's name, it's not a platform for his playing as much as a fully-realized group effort with some of the finest names in blues today. This newly-released domestic issue from the Delta Groove label also adds three bonus tracks not available on the original Crosscut version; B.B. King's You Don't Know plus alternate takes of Club Zanzibar and Don't Go No Further . Whether it's a grinding slow blues, a fuse-blowing shuffle, or a rumbling Chicago stomp, Kirk Fletcher knows how to lay back and simmer, but when he steps out to leave his mark, he's doing some of the most serious blues guitar talking heard in years. Lord have mercy! © Craig Ruskey


Guitarist Kirk "Eli" Fletcher is, ironically, a rare presence on today's blues scene: a young African-American man who has thoroughly immersed himself in the classic blues sounds of the 1950s and '60s. Son of a Baptist minister, Kirk's introduction to the blues came as a teenager, through his older brother's copy of B.B. King's "Live At the Regal", and he hasn't looked back since. In Kirk's relatively short time playing music, he's made some big waves and impressed a lot of the right people.Coming up through the ranks of the West Coast blues scene, he spent valuable time with Al Blake (former front man of the legendary Hollywood Fats Band, now leading The Hollywood Blue Flames), Richard "Lynwood Slim" Duran, and Junior Watson, among others. Eventually Kirk was hand-picked for Kim Wilson's Blues Revue, the modern day equivalent of joining, say, Muddy Waters' band in the 1950s. From there he was recruited for veteran harp man Charlie Musselwhite's band, and not long afterwards, with help from Wilson, Blake and Duran among others, he recorded his first CD, for England's JSP label. While continuing to work as one of the most sought after 'hired hands' on the West Coast blues scene, he began an association with blues producer and promoter Randy Chortkoff, which resulted in Kirk's most recent solo CD, "Shades Of Blue". On that project Kirk was supported by some the hottest and most experienced West Coast blues veterans, among them vocalist Finis Tasby, an association that laid the groundwork for The Mannish Boys, with whom Fletcher has been appearing and recording ever since, whenever he’s not busy with The Hollywood Blue Flames, or his main band these days, The Fabulous Thunderbirds. © 2006 Delta Groove Productions. All Rights Reserved


bullfrog said...

dead link, will you please re-post, thanks

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,bulfrog! Thanks. ALT LINK @

Thanks to Bandit