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Early Blues Interview
Ian Siegal,
- on tour with The Mississippi Mudbloods:
Cody Dickinson, Luther Dickinson and Carwyn Ellis


Ian Siegal © Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

"Whether fronting his superb band or solo, sitting on a stool with his old resonator, his performances are captivating – the hottest property on the European blues scene. In the shadow of the British Blues Scene stalks the lovechild of Howlin' Wolf and Big Mama Thornton"   Mojo Magazine

"You should be very proud to have this young man in your own country. You have someone right here who can really sing the Deep Blues. He got church in his voice. If my Daddy were alive today he'd say “That's my boy!”   Big Bill Morganfield

“The closest thing I’ve heard to Chester Burnett.”    Jeff Beck

"I don't have to tell him nothin', he got it.”   Hubert Sumlin

"A natural talent - born to it"    Bob Margolin

I was only able to spend a brief time with Ian just before his set at the 5th Carlisle Blues & Rock Festival 2012. 

© Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Alan:   I interviewed you here in Carlisle two years ago when you were on tour with Ben Prestage. 

Ian:    That's right. 

Alan:  You said when you met Ben for the first time you gelled straightaway, was this the same when you first met Cody & Luther Dickinson? 

Ian:    Well, yes, we first met in Memphis and Mississippi in 2010 and we really hit it off.   

Alan:   So this was when you first worked with Cody when he produced The Skinny, recorded at the Dickinson's Zebra Ranch studio near Coldwater, Mississippi, how did you get to record there in the first place? 

Ian:    Initially it was my manager, Richard Pavitt, who met Cody and my name cropped up in conversation in terms of our similarities in tastes musically and I was a fan of the All Stars and it just grew out of that.  I went over to Memphis to meet Cody to see if we could get along and talk musically, and we did.  Three or so months later I was back there in the studio recording. 

Alan:   You were touring in July this year with the Mississippi Mudbloods including Alvin Youngblood Hart. Although I realise he’s not here now as he’s touring himself in the States, is he going to continue joining in with the Mudbloods? 

Ian:    Hopefully yeah.  We have Carwyn Ellis with us this time who is an incredible musician, as easily as good as Alvin and he does his own thing as well.  There’s no reason why Alvin shouldn’t, and I really hope he wants to come back as it’s a pleasure to work with him, because of his presence and because I’m a huge fan of his too. 

Carwyn Ellis © Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Alan:   Is Carl a friend of Cody & Luther? 

Ian:    Yes, I’m learning the history as we go along but they’ve known each other for a long time actually.

Alan:   It must be a close community over in the North Mississippi Hill country. 

Ian:    No, Carl is from here and they met him in London.  He’s just been playing with the Pretenders and he plays with Edwyn Collins quite regularly. So they all met in London when the Mississippi Allstars first started coming out about 12 years ago when I first heard of them.  They all met at a party in London where they met loads of other people I happened to know as well. 

Ian and Luther Dickinson © Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Luther:  It is of course a close knit community here in London!! 

Ian:    The blues scene is of course a small world.   

Alan:   How did the name “Mississippi Mudbloods” come about? 

Ian:    I think I came up with that one.  I’d just seen a Harry Potter movie and "Mudbloods"  must have been in the back of my brain somewhere. 

Alan:   My daughter thought it would be that, she'll be pleased!! 

Ian:    The term definitely comes from J K Rowling but I thought it was applicable to us as we’ve got such a variety of backgrounds and with the UK/US thing it seemed to make sense. 

Alan:   A quote about your latest album: "In a scene where too much blues tastes the same, Candy Store Kid is an explosion of colours and flavours", now was the 'candy' easy to make, did it all come together very easily? 

Cody Dickinson © Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.Ian:    I automatically want to say that it was all really easy, and everything just fell together and I put very little effort into the format, but in reality what happened was Cody did a lot pre-production and a great deal of thought, mental preparation and physical preparation for it which allowed me to just relax and feel like it was all falling together, but really Cody’s production should be credited for creating that environment.  We did just get into a room and started playing and it did just come together.  You know, a meeting of minds musically.  The environment had to be set up for us to do that and Cody really put that together. 

Alan:   Presumably through Cody & Luther you came across Garry Burnside and Lightin Malcolm? 

Ian:    That’s right, yeah.  For the first album, The Skinny, Cody invited them down and this time Malcolm came as well and I’d been a fan of his for a long time. 

Alan:   Now the Gospel singers Stefanie Bolton, Sharisse Norman and Shontelle Norman, didn't they come from Royal Studios, Memphis

Ian:    Royal, yes!  These guys had already come across them as they’d just started singing with the All Stars and Willie Mitchell’s son, Boo Mitchell, who runs the studios now had discovered them and they certainly are the best backing group. 

Alan:   They certainly add something. 

Ian:    Yeah, they are amazing.  There are two sisters as part of the trio and that seems to be what makes the difference. 

Alan:   I listened to the Paul Jones show on Radio 2 on Monday and he played 'The Fear' from the Candy Store Kid album and you mentioned the Johnny Cash influence - my wife wondered if there was also a bit of a Leonard Cohen influence? 

Ian:    I’ve never really listened to Leonard Cohen.  I’ve got nothing against him but he’s not really on my radar. 

Alan:   I thought more of the Johnny Cash influence I must admit. 

Ian:    Yeah, Paul Jones got it right. 

Alan:   This is your 4th appearance at the 5th Carlisle Blues Festival, you are clearly one of Carlisle's favourites, Carlisle must be one of yours? 

Ian:    Yeah, it’s a great place to play and they put a great deal of effort in, and I like to support that as much as possible.  Without people like that we wouldn’t survive. 

Alan:   Any plans for a US tour with the Mississippi Mudbloods

Ian:    There’s a lot of talk about that but I’m taking a long break after this tour and I’m not sure I’ll be playing much next year at all.  But I really hope so in the future, yes.   It’s all in discussion at the moment and we’ve been taken by surprise a little at the response to this album.  We knew it was going to be good but it’s been exceptionally so.    So I think there’ll certainly be some interest. 

Alan:   It seems to me that the album has moulded very much into an American sound and I know it’s gone down very well there.  No. 1 blues album on I-Tunes. 

Ian:    Briefly! 

Alan:   I also promised to be brief as I know you are on stage shortly  – Ian, thank you very much. 

Ian:    My pleasure, yeah, I've got to get on stage .....

© Copyright 2012 Alan White. All Rights Reserved.

Candy Store Kid
Ian Siegal & The Mississippi Mudbloods

Ian Siegal, Cody Dickinson, Luther Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart
with special guests Garry Burnside and Lightnin' Malcolm

Nugene Records NUG1204  www.nugenerecords.com

"Life isn't just one flavour. Music shouldn't all have the same taste. In the right hands, the blues can be a rainbow, and with Candy Store Kid, Ian Siegal has just painted his masterpiece".

Check out an Earlyblues interview with Ian in 2010 when on tour with Ben Prestage
(including a selection of YouTube video clips and previous albums)

Check out photos of Ian Siegal at the 5th Carlisle Blues Festival 2012

Return to Blues Interviews List

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