Sparta summer concerts ends with a bang — Frank Bang

Frank Bang & the Cook County Kings

SPARTA — The Sparta Summer Concert Series finishes up the 2018 season with a bang! Frank Bang, that is, this Friday evening, when Sparta welcomes back Frank Bang & The Cook County Kings. Visiting Sparta while on the East Coast leg of their summer tour, this driving Chicago blues band is sure to get the crowd off their feet. Frank “Bang” Blinkal, former Buddy Guy guitarist and leader of Frank Bang & the Secret Stash, has been leading his group of top-notch seasoned bluesmen and traveling the country playing tunes from their latest recording “The Blues Don’t Care.”
“I have been waiting to make this record with the Cook County Kings my whole life,“ Bang said.
Frank Bang was born and raised in Chicago, worked his way up through the ranks to play with blues master and legend Buddy Guy as 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 includes Brian “BJ” Jones, who has recorded with blues greats Junior Wells, James Cotton and Otis Rush. “BJ” was the drummer in Magic Slim and The Teardrops, with partner in crime Andre Howard on bass. Besides Magic Slim, 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 greats and touring with Lurrie Bell and John Primer, he 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 King 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," Bang said. "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 will pick up on that.”
Acoustic Wolves, local artists from Sussex County, will open the show. The group features founding members Jeff Hemmerlin and George Unverzagt, now reunited to continue a common labor of love - their music! Since the 1980's, this duo has played all sorts of folk, classic rock, country, bluegrass, traditional and other assorted styles of music.
This FREE concert on Friday August 24th will begin at 7PM, rain or shine (shine preferred), at The Nicholson Pavilion, Dykstra Park, 22 Woodport Road , Sparta, NJ. Please visit for more information and weather updates.