Get this crazy baby off my head!


Tinsley Ellis

Tinsley Ellis - Storm Warning - 1994 - Alligator

Southern blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis may speak no evil, but he sings and plays with the conviction of, as Billboard wrote, “...a man possessed.” Over the course of 11 albums and literally thousands of live performances, Ellis easily ranks as one of today’s most electrifying blues-rock guitarists and vocalists. He attacks his music with rock power and blues feeling, in the same tradition as his Deep South musical heroes Duane Allman and Freddie King and his old friends Derek Trucks and Warren Haynes. Atlanta Magazine declared Ellis “the most significant blues artist to emerge from Atlanta since Blind Willie McTell.” Since first hitting the national scene with his Alligator Records debut GEORGIA BLUE in 1988, Ellis has toured non-stop and continued to release one critically acclaimed album after another. Tinsley’s hometown paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, calls his music “a potent, amazing trip through electric blues-rock.” Rolling Stone says he plays “feral blues guitar...non-stop gigging has sharpened his six-string to a razor’s edge...his eloquence dazzles...he achieves pyrotechnics that rival early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.” And now, following up on the success of his 2007 CD, MOMENT OF TRUTH, Ellis returns with SPEAK NO EVIL. Produced by Ellis, SPEAK NO EVIL is the most guitar-driven album of his career. It features his fiercest, most brutally honest and hard-hitting original songs to date. The soulfulness and expressiveness of his guitar playing are ferocious and relentless, but when the mood calls for it, can be gentle and melodic. The depth of Ellis’ songwriting, while not unexpected, is certainly beyond anything he’s done before. Ellis seems to be pouring his soul into each and every performance with unguarded, raw emotion. With rip-roaring songs that are both poignant and humorous, SPEAK NO EVIL is as wide-ranging and inspired a recording as Ellis has ever made, and one of the most satisfying Southern blues-rock albums in ages. Tinsley Ellis wears his Southern roots proudly. Born in Atlanta in 1957, he grew up in southern Florida and first played guitar at age eight. He found the blues through the back door of British Invasion bands like The Yardbirds, The Animals, Cream, and The Rolling Stones. He especially loved the Kings — Freddie, B.B. and Albert — and spent hours immersing himself in their music. His love for the blues solidified when he was 14. At a B.B. King performance, Tinsley sat mesmerized in the front row. When B.B. broke a string on Lucille, he changed it without missing a beat, and handed the broken string to Ellis. After the show, B.B. came out and talked with fans, further impressing Tinsley with his warmt and down-to-earth attitude. By now Tinsley’s fate was sealed; he had to become a blues guitarist. And yes, he still has that string. Already an accomplished teenaged musician, Ellis left Florida and returned to Atlanta in 1975. He soon joined the Alley Cats, a gritty blues band that included Preston Hubbard (of Fabulous Thunderbirds fame). In 1981, along with veteran blues singer and harpist Chicago Bob Nelson, Tinsley formed The Heartfixers, a group that would become Atlanta’s top-drawing blues band. Upon hearing Live At The Moonshadow (Landslide), the band’s second release, The Washington Post declared, “Tinsley Ellis is a legitimate guitar hero.” After cutting two more Heartfixers albums for Landslide, Cool On It (featuring Tinsley’s vocal debut) and Tore Up (with vocals by blues shouter Nappy Brown), Ellis was ready to head out on his own. Ellis sent a copy of the master tape for his solo debut to Bruce Iglauer at Alligator Records. “I had heard Cool On It,” recalls Iglauer, “and I was amazed. I hadn’t heard Tinsley before, but he played like the guys with huge international reputations. It wasn’t just his raw power; it was his taste and maturity that got to me. It had the power of rock but felt like the blues. I knew I wanted to hear more of this guy.” GEORGIA BLUE, Tinsley’s first Alligator release, hit an unprepared public by surprise in 1988. Critics and fans quickly agreed that a new and original guitar hero had emerged. “It’s hard to overstate the raw power of his music,” raved The Chicago Sun-Times. Before long, Alligator arranged to reissue COOL ON IT and TORE UP, thus exposing Tinsley’s blistering earlier music to a growing fan base. Tinsley’s subsequent releases — 1989’s FANNING THE FLAMES, 1992’s TROUBLE TIME, 1994’s STORM WARNING, and 1997’s FIRE IT UP — further expanded the guitarist’s hero status. By now his talents as a songwriter equaled his guitar prowess. Guitar World said, “Ellis stands alongside Stevie Ray Vaughan and Johnny Winter, and that ain’t just hype.” Guests like Peter Buck (R.E.M.), guitarist Derek Trucks and keyboardist Chuck Leavell (The Rolling Stones) joined him in the studio. Producers Eddy Offord (John Lennon, Yoko Ono, Yes) and even the legendary Tom Dowd (The Allman Brothers, Ray Charles) helped Ellis hone his studio sound. Features and reviews ran in Rolling Stone, The Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and in many other national and regional publications. His largest audience by far came when NBC Sports ran a feature on Atlanta’s best blues guitarist during their 1996 Summer Olympic coverage, viewed by millions of people all over the world. A move to Capricorn Records in 2000 saw Ellis revisiting his Southern roots with Kingpin. Unfortunately, the label folded soon after the CD’s release. In 2002, he joined the Telarc label, producing two well-received albums of soul-drenched blues-rock, Hell Or High Water and The Hard Way. All the while, Ellis never stopped touring. “A musician never got famous staying home,” he’s quick to note. Ellis’ 2005 return to Alligator, the searing guitar-fueled LIVE-HIGHWAYMAN, was the live recording his fans had been demanding for years. Recorded at a packed club just outside Chicago, the CD took Ellis’ extended soloing and heartfelt vocals to staggering heights. The Chicago Tribune said, “incendiary live performances, inspired, original and funky.” His return to the studio in 2007 produced MOMENT OF TRUTH, an album The Chicago Tribune called “incendiary.” Averaging over 150 live shows a year, Ellis has played in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Europe, Australia and South America. He has shared stages with almost every major blues star, including Stevie Ray Vaughan, Otis Rush, Willie Dixon, Son Seals, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins and many others. Whether he’s out with his own band or sharing stages with major artists like Buddy Guy, The Allman Brothers, Gov’t Mule or Widespread Panic, he always digs deep and plays, as Guitar Player says, “…as if his life depended on it.” With SPEAK NO EVIL and continued non-stop touring, Ellis will bring his monumental guitar work and intensely powerful vocals to rock and blues fans all over the world, letting his songs and his guitar do the talking. – [This biography was provided by the artist or their representative.] © 1996-2013, Amazon.com, Inc. or its affiliates http://www.amazon.com/Tinsley-Ellis/e/B000APTNAS/ref=ac_dtp_sa_bio

“Ellis unleashes a torrent of dazzling musicianship pitched somewhere between the exhilarating volatility of rock ‘n’ roll and the passion of urban blues.” – Los Angeles Times

“Blistering, inspired roadhouse blues and passionate Southern rock… supercharged guitar and gritty, soulful vocals.” – Relix

“Atlanta’s Tinsley Ellis sings like a man possessed and wields a ferocious lead guitar…one of today’s premier blues/rock players.” – Billboard

A powerful blues guitarist and an excellent vocalist, Tinsley Ellis dominates his fourth Alligator CD as a leader. His backup band (guitarist Oliver Wood, bassist James Ferguson, drummer Stuart Gibson and occasional organist/pianist Stuart Grimes) does a fine job of inspiring the leader, while slide guitarist Derek Trucks and Albey Scholl on harmonica make notable guest appearances. While Ellis often plays quite passionately and hints at rock, he also performs an occasional quieter piece that shows his more traditional and introspective side. There is plenty of spirit on this generally rousing set. © Scott Yanow © 2013 AllMusic, a division of All Media Network, LLC. | All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/album/storm-warning-mw0000117958

STORM WARNING serves notice to everybody that a six-string master has come into his own. Featuring 12 songs - including six Tinsley originals - recorded live in the studio, the album opens with the explosive To The Devil For A Dime, rips straight into the non-stop energy of Cut You Loose, and then moves effortlessly into the mournful slow blues of A Quitter Never Wins (subsequently covered by Jonny Lang.) For the rest of the ride, Ellis takes on the Junior Wells classic, Early In The Morning, and Freddie King's Side Tracked and he shines on his own stand out compositions, The Next Miss Wrong, When I Howl, and the radio single Wanted Man, featuring the recording debut of 14-year old slide guitar sensation, Derek Trucks (who also features in the fiery instrumental Panhead). STORM WARNING also boasts the keyboard talents of Chuck Leavell (featured player with the Allman Brothers, the Rolling Stones, and Eric Clapton) on five songs. ...Alligator Records

“Storm Warning” may not be Tinsley Ellis’ most guitar orientated album but it’s a great Memphis influenced soul blues album with R&B vibes and hints of bluegrass and country. Tinsley’s hometown paper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, calls his music “a potent, amazing trip through electric blues-rock.” Rolling Stone says he plays “feral blues guitar...non-stop gigging has sharpened his six-string to a razor’s edge...his eloquence dazzles...he achieves pyrotechnics that rival early Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton.” Check out T.E’s “Hell Or High Water” album on this blog and listen to his “Cool On It” album [All tracks @ 320 Kbps: File size = 121 Mb]


1 To the Devil for a Dime - Chris Long 4:20
2 Cut You Loose - Mel London / Michael B. London 5:24
3 A Quitter Never Wins - Tinsley Ellis / Margaret Sampson 6:11
4 Panhead - Tinsley Ellis 3:15
5 The Next Miss Wrong - Cleveland / Tinsley Ellis 2:45
6 Early in the Morning - Junior Wells 6:10
7 When I Howl - Tinsley Ellis 3:52
8 Side Tracked - Freddie King / Sonny Thompson 3:04
9 Wanted Man - Tinsley Ellis 3:45
10 The Sun Is Shining - Jimmy Reed 4:04
11 Bush Doctor - Tinsley Ellis 3:05
12 Mercy, Mercy, Mercy - Joe Zawinul 5:55


Tinsley Ellis – Guitars, Maracas, Vocals
Oliver Wood – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Derek Trucks – Slide Guitar on Tracks 4, 9
James Ferguson – Bass
Chuck Leavell – Organ, Piano on Tracks 1, 3, 4, 5, 9
Stuart Grimes – Drums, Backing Vocals
Count M’Butu – Percussion on Track 11
Albey Scholl – Harmonica on Track 10


A hard-rocking, high-voltage blues guitarist most often compared to Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tinsley Ellis is hardly one of the legions of imitators that comparison might imply. Schooled in a variety of Southern musical styles, Ellis draws not only from fiery Vaughan-style blues-rock, but also Texas bluesmen like Freddie King and Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, the soulful blues of B.B. King, the funky grit of Memphis soul, and numerous other electric bluesmen. Ellis has been praised in many quarters for the relentless, storming intensity of his sound, and criticized in others for his relative lack of pacing and dynamic contrast (he's also been dubbed a much stronger guitarist than vocalist). Yet no matter which side of the fence one falls on, it's generally acknowledged that Ellis remains a formidable instrumentalist and a genuine student of the blues. Tinsley Ellis was born in Atlanta in 1957, and spent most of his childhood in southern Florida. He began playing guitar in elementary school, first discovering the blues through the flagship bands of the British blues boom: John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers, the Peter Green-led Fleetwood Mac, the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones, and so on. He soon moved on to a wide variety of original sources, becoming especially fond of B.B. King and Freddie King. After high school, Ellis moved back to Atlanta in 1975 to attend Emory University, and soon found work on the local music scene, joining a bar band called the Alley Cats (which also featured future Fabulous Thunderbird Preston Hubbard). In 1981, Ellis co-founded the Heartfixers with singer/harmonica player Chicago Bob Nelson, and they recorded an eponymous debut album for the tiny Southland imprint. They soon signed with the slightly larger Landslide and issued Live at the Moon Shadow in 1983, by which point they were one of the most popular live blues acts in the South. However, Nelson left the group shortly after the album's release, and Ellis took over lead vocal chores. The Heartfixers' first project in their new incarnation was backing up blues shouter Nappy Brown on his well-received 1984 comeback album Tore Up. Ellis debuted his vocals on record on the Heartfixers' 1986 LP Cool on It, which brought him to the attention of Alligator Records. Ellis left the Heartfixers to sign with Alligator as a solo artist in 1988, and they picked up his solo debut Georgia Blue for distribution. The album helped make Ellis a fixture on the blues circuit, and he toured heavily behind it, establishing a hard-working pattern he would follow for most of his career. The follow-up, Fanning the Flames, appeared in 1989 and explored similar territory. Released in 1992, Trouble Time helped land Ellis on album rock radio thanks to the track "Highwayman," but it was 1994's Storm Warning that really broke Ellis to a wider blues-rock audience, earning more media attention than any of his previous recordings; additionally, guitar prodigy Jonny Lang later covered Ellis' "A Quitter Never Wins" on Lie to Me. For 1997's Fire It Up, Ellis worked with legendary blues-rock producer Tom Dowd (the Allman Brothers, Derek & the Dominos), as well as Booker T. & the MG's bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn. Ellis subsequently left Alligator and signed with Capricorn; unfortunately, shortly after the release of 2000's Kingpin, Capricorn went bankrupt, leaving the album high and dry. Still, Ellis soon caught on with Telarc, releasing his initial disc Hell or High Water on the label in 2002, followed by The Hard Way in 2004. One year later, Ellis was back with Alligator, putting out the live set Live! Highwayman and 2007's Moment of Truth, the first studio album to contain original material since Hell or High Water. Ellis toured relentlessly behind the album, and re-entered the studio in early 2009. Speak No Evil was issued in October of that year. Steve Huey © 2012 Rovi Corporation. All Rights Reserved http://www.allmusic.com/artist/tinsley-ellis-p339/biography


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


P/W is aoofc

Unknown said...

Hi Paul
thanks for this one, very enjoyable. gave a couple of tracks a spin on the blues show last night (went down well)
cheers Pierre

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

Hi,Pierre. TE's a very good musician. I'm glad the trax went down ok. I wasn't sure if the SQ on that album is up to scratch. TVM & TTU soon...Paul