July 2001 Issue
King Biscuit Blues Festival: Looking Good!
October 4th, 5th & 6th
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Legendary blues radio host "Sunshine" Sonny Payne announced the lineup for the 2001 King Biscuit Blues Festival before an enthusiastic crowd on Tuesday, June 19th at KBBF Headquarters in Helena. The three day event, which will be held from Thursday, October 4th through Saturday, October 6th
this year, features 54 acts on four stages representing the best of contemporary and traditional American music.

Nearly 60 years have passed since Robert Lockwood, Jr., and Pinetop Perkins helped Sonny Boy II set the Delta ablaze with live blues on the King Biscuit Time radio show, but both entertainers will return to lead the Festival roster this October.  Lockwood's fellow Turkey Scratch, Arkansas, native-Levon Helm-will appear with his sizzling new band "The Barnburners," and festival favorites
like Bobby Rush, Billy Lee Riley and Guitar Shorty will be back to orchestrate the fun.  Veteran performers but Helena newcomers include Snooks Eaglin, Marcia Ball, Paul Geremia and Lou Pride. And additional rewards await this year's festival goers, as our good friends at the Isle of Capri Casino, the Festival's Sustaining Corporate Partner, finish negotiations with two more
internationally known artists whose participation in King Biscuit 2001 will be announced later this summer.

If the excitement of this entertainment extravaganza isn't enough to leave you breathless, don't forget the astonishing ticket price (**FREE**,) the outstanding food and crafts and the unmatched opportunities for people-watching-all on the levee banks of the Mississippi River in historic downtown Helena, Arkansas, the land where the blues began.

This good time is made possible by an unstoppable force combined of area citizens and the SBBS. Some board members of SBBS were the original 1986 co-founders of King Biscuit Blues Festival who wanted to create a venue to celebrate the blues-rich heritage of the area. The Festival's volunteer staff works year round to make this special event happen in October, and their
commitment to keeping the entertainment free has remained unshaken in the face of spiraling costs.  As SBBS President Rayne Gordon reminds us, "This priceless music should be available to everyone, and free admission is the best way to achieve that goal."

Festival volunteers receive valuable economic and strategic assistance from the business world, and we are proud to count among our benefactors the Isle of Capri Casino Entertainment Resort (Primary Partner,) and Cable Rep Advertising, Delta Cultural Center, Southwestern Bell, Daily World, Champion Awards, Budweiser, Coco Distributing, Coca-Cola Bottling, Entergy, Mountain Valley
Water, First National Bank of Phillips County, Bradfield Printing, John McConnell, Reliant Energy and Xerox (Corporate Sponsors. The Delta Cultural Center serves as a partner with King Biscuit Blues Festival and the Sonny Boy Blues Society in the promotion and preservation of the Delta Blues and provides information to thousands of visitors each year about our activities.

As the Festival builds momentum and more news is released, you may want to keep informed by visiting our website at  Additional information about the Festival, the artists and opportunities to participate follow this performance schedule.

2001 Artist Lineup

Main Stage

         Thursday October 4
 2:00/2:45 Bruce Page & the Blues Heavyweights
 3:00/4:00 Johnny Moeller
 4:15/5:20 Billy Lee Riley
 5:45/6:50 The Rockin' Highliners
 7:15/8:20 Janiva Magness
 8:50/9:55 Larry McCray
10:25/11:40 Anson & the Rockets w/Sam Myers
         Friday October 5
12:00/1:00 Eddie Cotton
 1:20/2:20 Sam Carr's Delta Jukes
 2:40/3:40 Guitar Shorty
 4:00/5:10 Billy Branch & The SOB's
 5:35/6:40 Pinetop Perkins w/Rusty Zinn
 7:10/8:20 Lou Pride
 8:50/10:00 Brian Lee
10:30/11:45 Marcia Ball
         Saturday October 6
12:00/12:45 Larry Garner
 1:00/2:00 Billy Boy Arnold
 2:20/3:20 Jimmy Johnson
 3:45/5:00 Robert Jr. Lockwood
 5:20/6:30 Levon Helm  & The Barnburners
 7:00/8:10 Snooks Eaglin
 8:30/10:30  Special Guests Sponsored by Isle of Capri Casino Entertainment Resort
 10:45/11:55 Bobby Rush

Houston Stackhouse Acoustic Stage

         Friday October 5
12:00/1:00  Richard Johnston
1:20/2:20 Karen Tyler & Valerie Washington
2:40/3:40 Robert Jones
4:00/5:00 Jimmie Lee Robinson
            Saturday October 6
12:00/1:00  Othra Turner
1:20/2:20 Paul Geremia
2:40/3:40 Eddie Cusic
4:00/5:00 Paul Oscher

Robert Lockwood, Jr. Heritage Stage

         Friday October 5
5:30/6:30 Eb Davis
 7:00/8:10 Sam Lay
 8:40/9:50 Alvin "Youngblood" Hart
10:00/11:30 John Primer
         Saturday October 6
5:30/6:30 Abu Talib (AKA Freddie Robinson) & Gary "Alaska" Sloan
7:00/8:10 Jody Williams
8:40/9:50 Wallace Coleman
10:20/11:30  John Weston

Gospel Stage

          Saturday, October 6  From 1:00 P.M. - 8:00 P.M.
 Central High School Chorus
 Apostolic Church Choir
 Queen Elizabeth & Christian Harmonizers
 Dixie Wonders
 New Life Singers
 Judge L. T. Simes Spiritual Seven
 Shinning Stars
 Jordan Wonders
 Bro. Cooks & Hughes Singers
 Salem Harmonizers
 Suns of Wonders
 Spirit of Memphis
 Fantastic Sounds

Volunteer Recruitment
Due to a computer failure all emails that were sent to Teena in the month of May are gone. Anyone who sent an email and has not received a response, PLEASE contact Teena again at I wish to thank everyone who has volunteered to work during the festival.  Keep 'em coming!  We are still in dire need of volunteers for the beverage tents especially on Friday and Saturday nights. If you can help out during these times, please email me at or call me at 870-338-8101 or 870-338-8979.

KBBF Merchandise
The 2001 Official King Biscuit Blues Festival poster is now on sale. Signed and numbered posters are available but going fast at $30.00. Unsigned posters cost $20.00. Bumper stickers are available through the KBBF Office located at 210 Cherry Street for 2.50 each. If you would like one mailed to you, send $4.00 to KBBF, PO Box 118, Helena, AR, 72342-0118. If you're interested in
purchasing a poster please call the King Biscuit Blues Festival Office at 870-338-8798 or email

A Note from Liz Harrison, Director

With all of the incredible talent this year's festival reflects (as in all previous years) this writer did not feel comfortable highlighting a particular artist. How is it possible to choose? Robert Jr., Pinetop Perkins, Marcia Ball, John Weston--well, you've seen the lineup now. But Snooks Eaglin's bio really impacted me. I've been told that it is rare for Snooks Eaglin to perform at a festival, and I feel extremely fortunate. Not only am I Festival Director of the most awesome blues festival around, but I also get to experience this tremendous talent my first year. I know that my opportunity to hear Snooks Eaglin live at another venue is limited, at best.  Can life get any better?'s the story that touched me so profoundly. What do you think?

A blind, eccentric virtuoso of the electric guitar who at 64, plays with more intensity, taste, mastery, and musical command than most anyone you can think of, Snooks Eaglin is a highly anticipated addition to this year's King Biscuit Blues Festival Artist Lineup. Snooks was born Fird Eaglin Jr., January 21, 1936 in New Orleans. At 19 months he lost his sight following an operation for a brain tumor that required a two and a half year stay in the hospital. Eaglin's father, a harmonica player, gave him a guitar at the age of five, and young Snooks taught himself to play by replicating songs off the radio and phonograph. His guitar playing developed rapidly and he was singing and playing in area Baptist churches by the time he was ten. Four years later he dropped out of the school for the blind to become a full-time musician, often playing on the streets as well as the clubs of New Orleans.

Eaglin's first regular gig was with the Flamingoes in 1952, a seven-piece horn combo started by 13-year-old Allen Toussaint on piano. It was also Toussaint's first band. As much as his blindness may have made his life difficult in other ways, the younger Eaglin used it to his advantage to invent an original playing style that no one yet has deciphered. With a voice that is an extraordinary blend of hoarseness and velvet subtlety, roughness and wistfulness; and a dazzling
guitar technique marked by jagged, staccato leads, fast intricate swingy runs and rhythmic chord clusters, Eaglin's solo playing almost sounds like a complete orchestra. In fact, there are few guitarists in his class. "He's one of the most naturally talented people I've ever met", says keyboardist/producer Ron Levy. "He can play any song just off the top of his head. If he can think about it and hear it in his head, he can play it perfectly."

A Word from the Editor
This is the month for computers going down. Yes, my computer crashed also, taking with it all of the email addresses of people who subscribed between May 28th and July 3rd.   If you're reading this on our web page, please subscribe again. If you are not sure, subscribe again. This list is like the King Biscuit Blues Festival, the more the merrier. Please send a blank email to

Until our next update, I wish you Peace, Love & KBBF,

Jerry Wenzel
Media & Public Relations Director, Editor 870-338-8831 or

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