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New Releases by Alligator Records

Good morning everybody….

Today's the day our two new releases hit the street: Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials' RATTLESHAKE and Cephas & Wiggins' SHOULDER TO SHOULDER. Coming from two opposite ends of the blues spectrum, both releases showcase authentic blues from masterful musicians. If you haven't already, please listen and plan your CD reviews, feature stories, radio and television bookings.

RATTLESHAKE is Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials' breakthrough. This is greasy Chicago West Side blues from one of the very last authentic West Side players. Ed Williams, of course, is the nephew of the late "Slidewinder" himself, guitarist J.B. Hutto. Listen to their version of "Leavin' Here," an old Motown song once performed by the Isley Brothers and later covered by The Who. The potent combination of blues and rock will leave you breathless. If the Ramones were a Chicago blues band, they just may have sounded something like this.

Many of you caught Ed back in April when he joined Conan O'Brien in Chicago for a hilarious skit whereby Ed teaches Conan the finer points of being a bluesman. The two played off each other perfectly. The "Late Night" staff loved Ed, and they've invited him and the whole band back for a full performance on the show on July 12. And "Weekend Edition," National Public Radio's Saturday morning flagship program, will feature an interview with Ed sometime in early July as well. More specific information will follow.

SHOULDER TO SHOULDER is a remarkable recording from the masters of the acoustic Piedmont blues. Guitarist John Cephas and harmonicist Phil Wiggins have been together for almost 30 years. Their telepathic interplay, soulful singing, elegant songwriting and remarkable performances have been delighting music fans since day one. While the Piedmont style of blues goes way back, the sound of the CD is contemporary and joyful.

Cephas & Wiggins have played all over the world, even performing at President Clinton's 1997 inaugural party. John received a national Heritage Fellowship Award in 1989; the highest honor the United States government offers a traditional artist. John's gently rolling guitar and Wiggins' roller-coaster harmonica are a hard combination to beat, and SHOULDER TO SHOULDER is a remarkable and rewarding CD.

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