Frank Bang & the Cook County Kings come to Sparta


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— It’s the real deal in Chicago blues when Frank Bang & The Cook County Kings roll into town this Friday evening, July 14, for the Sparta Summer Concert Series. Frank “Bang” Blinkal, former Buddy Guy Guitarist and Leader of Frank Bang & the Secret Stash, has recently released his new record “The Blues Don’t Care”. This marks Frank Bang’s first true “Blues” recording in the Blues journey man’s 25 year career. “I have been waiting to make this record as Frank Bang & the Cook County Kings my whole life. “

Frank was born and raised in Chicago, worked his way up through the ranks to play with Blues Master and Legend Buddy Guy. He was Buddy’s guitar player for 5 years.

“I always was the blues guitarist in every band I played in, no matter Funk, or Rock …I was always the Blues guy in the band.” The love of his Chicago Blues led him to Buddy Guy’s Legends. “I started there in 1991, I did everything from change the merchandise, to paint the place. I even cooked brunch two Blues Festival weekends with Sam Guy, Buddy’s brother. Between Buddy Guy, Magic Slim and The Teardrops and just the club ‘Legends’, my life was changed forever. It all came full circle when I joined Buddy Guy’s band at the end of 1999. It was an incredible experience, playing with Buddy every night for 5 years. Touring every summer with B.B. King, seeing the world, playing with your idols and inspiring the greats that inspired me. It was an amazing experience.”

Frank Bang & the Secret Stash was a blues rock band. Now Bang is back with his first ever Blues record. Frank Bang & the Cook County Kings “The Blues Don’t Care”. “We recorded all 10 tracks in one day! That wasn’t the plan it’s just how it happened!” explains Bang. “All my favorite Blues records were live. We just rolled and recorded, almost everything was a first take. “

The Blues Don’t Care features a who’s who of great Chicago Blues Sidemen. Besides Bang, The Rhythm section of Brian “BJ” Jones has recorded with Blues Greats Junior Wells, James Cotton, Otis Rush. “BJ” was the drummer in Magic Slim and The Teardrops with partner in crime Andre Howard on Bass. Besides Magic Slim and The Teardrops, Andre played with Lonnie Brooks, Lucky Peterson, Sly Johnson and Chico Banks. The great foundation they bring to the music is only highlighted by the great Blues background vocals they sing throughout the disc. Added to the mix is Piano Great Donnie Nichilo a former Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Alumni and founding member of The Mighty Blue Kings. Donnie added the perfect spice on every song. Last, but not least is Harmonica Player Russ Green. Russ not only grew up in Chicago learning from the great’s and touring with Lurrie Bell and John Primer. Russ also won a BMA for producing “Best New Artist Big Lou Johnson.” One only wonders, if Russ Green won’t win a BMA award himself after hearing him tear into these songs. Together Frank Bang & the Cook County Kings have nailed it! First take! A great Blues record, recorded “Live” with a vibe that’s straight off the stage of a Chicago Blues Club at Midnight.

“I wanted to remember the records of yesterday while recording this disc. I thought about Buddy, Junior Wells, AC Reed, Otis Spann, Magic Slim and Otis Rush. No long solos like the old records, that’s for the stage. Not this disc. And the material was easy, 25 years in the making. This whole recording was a great time, and that is the band’s motto on stage: let’s have a great time playing together. And the crowds are picking up on that.”

No doubt, the music fans at The Nicholson Pavilion will pick up on the blues vibe. Opening the show is the funk/blues/jazz group Bobolink, a trio of young players from Sparta featuring Aaron Burgos on guitar & vocals, James Carolan on drums and Jordan Stackhouse on bass & vocals.

The concert begins at 7pm in Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road, Sparta. In the event of rain, the show will move inside to the Mohawk Avenue School, right next door. Please see www.spartaarts.org for more information.



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