1939– Owner Max Moore began Interstate Grocer Company in Helena, AR.
1941– In November KFFA, 1360AM, the first local radio station in Helena, Arkansas went on the air. Soon after its first broadcast Sonny Boy Williamson and Robert Jr Lockwood approached owner Sam Anderson about a local blues program. Anderson sent Lockwood and Williamson to Max Moore about possible sponsorship of the show. He agreed but only if they would endorse his product. The first King Biscuit Time radio program took place November 21st, 1941. King Biscuit Time aired everyday from noon til 12:15pm. The time normally when sharecroppers would be breaking for lunch and could tune in.
The King Biscuit Entertainers were Sonny Boy Williamson, Robert Jr Lockwood, James “Peck” Curtis and Dudlow Taylor. Later members included Pinetop Perkins, Willie Love, Robert Nighthawk and Houston Stackhouse. King Biscuit Time also would tour local towns and stores giving concerts and promoting their flour and cornmeal.
1947– King Biscuit Flour introduced Sonny Boy Corn Meal with Sonny Boy Williamson’s image on the label.
1951– “Sunshine” Sonny Payne became the host for King Biscuit Time, and still holds that position today. The show could be heard within a 50 to 80 mile radius that included much of the Mississippi Delta and north to Memphis. It was also the first regular radio show to feature live blues performances. Also one of the earliest examples of integrated radio in the South.
1973– Syndicated radio show King Biscuit Flower Hour began. Taking its name from the blues radio show King Biscuit Time sponsored by King Biscuit Flour.
1979– Max Moore passed away and King Biscuit Time was cancelled.
1986– King Biscuit Time is revived and the first “official” King Biscuit Blues Festival takes place.
1987– The Sonny Boy Blues Society was established to promote and preserve the cultural heritage of the Delta Blues.
1992– Station KFFA won a Peabody Award for the program as “a local music program of historic and contemporary interest.”
2005– Festival was re-named The Arkansas Blues & Heritage Festival due to a dispute over use the name King Biscuit. A management company in New York claimed to have exclusive rights and was asking an exorbitant amount of money to sell it back to The Sonny Boy Blues Society. If the blues society would have continued to use the name there stood the very real possibility of a lawsuit. A lawsuit of course the society would no way be able to fight or pay.
2006– King Biscuit Flower Hour tapes were acquired by Wolfgang’s Vault. A private music company established in 2003 dedicated to the restoration of live concert recordings.
2010– In a surprise announcement from the main stage at the opening of the festival, Bill Sagan founder and CEO of Wolfgang’s Vault said, “On behalf of the whole Wolfgang’s Vault family of companies, including King Biscuit, we are pleased to announce a rekindled partnership between King Biscuit and the Blues Festival. It is our pleasure to announce that beginning next year, 2011, this Blues Festival will once again be named the King Biscuit Blues Festival in honor of the great historical music legacy we share.”
2011– The name King Biscuit Blues Festival is returned to its rightful place. Bubba Sullivan, founding member of Sonny Boy Blues Society and owner of Bubba’s Blues Corner explained how happy and thankful they were to have the name back home. Quote: “This festival is all about our history, and the name King Biscuit Blues Festival was a big part of that history. We look forward to once again being able to promote the event as the King Biscuit Blues Festival.”
2014– May 13th King Biscuit Time celebrated its 17,000 broadcast. KBT has more broadcast than the Grand Ole Opry and American Bandstand.
2016– Oct 5 thru 8 The King Biscuit Blues Festival, Helena, Arkansas w/Charlie Musselwhite, Kenny Brown, Sonny Landreth, Mark “Muleman” Massey, Robert Kimbrough, Bob Margolin, Willie Cobbs, John Mayhall, Toronzo Cannon, Vasti Jackson, Anson Funderburgh & the Rockets and many more.
ODDS ‘n ENDS:
*Even though we ain’t the biggest Lil’ Ed fans out there… word from the ‘ole blueshound in Columbus is Lil Ed & the Blues Imperials at Natalie’s Coal Fired Pizza was off the charts! Natalie’s books lots and lots of “live” music. Tommy Castro is there Monday Oct 10th.
*back to dey roots… Word is The Rolling Stones will release their latest album “Blue & Lonesome” come Dec 2nd. Needless to say it looks plenty bluzsy.
The latest edition of Living Blues just arrived and it has not just one, but two articles about the Blues in Elkins. Page 6 under BLUES NEWS is Augusta Blues Week 2016 by Frank Matheis. Talks how this annual event started in 1983 at Davis & Elkins College was the first summer workshop in the United States to focus on blues music, folklore, craft and dance.
The second article is also by Frank Matheis and is on page 8. BREAKING OUT, an excellent full spread on young bluesman Marcus Cartwright, includes a great photo jamming with Jerron “Blind Boy” Paxton and Phil Wiggins on the porch of Halliehurst mansion. Marcus who served as one of the many instructors at this year Augusta Blues Week certainly sounds like someone all should check out first chance. We actually overlooked him during Juke Joint Fest. The 22 year old was born in Stuttgart, Arkansas and now lives in Amite City, Louisiana. Matheis says, “at first you might think you had encountered a perfectly stereotyped, Hollywood blues character, but Marcus Cartwright is the real deal.” Along with incredible skills, he claims to have 13 or 14 girlfriends, no children, been shot at, and seen his share of entering and fleeing out “my husband just now left” back doors….
*Lady D @ Southern Comfort Café:
We’re ushering in Fall at the home of some of the area’s best ‘comfort’ “soul” food! Southern Comfort Cafe is welcoming Lady D and guitarist Dan Bailey for an evening of R&B,Jazz and a touch of Blues. Let Chef Tina Greene and her staff do the cooking on this Friday evening with delicious comfort food that is also good for the soul! Music from 7-9pm. Come out and support this small, local business! Don’t want to sit back and dine to some jazzy tunes? Get your order to go! Either way…SUPPORT – SUPPORT – SUPPORT!
Southern Comfort Café
1055 South Fayette St.
Beckley, WV 25801
Directly across from Family Dollar! They allow parking on their lot for Southern Comfort Café.
Pastor, Storyteller and Blues Activist, Rev. Robert B Jones is at Marietta High School, Marietta, OH Friday Oct 7th (tonite), 7:30pm. “Perhaps the world’s most highly educated blues musician, an ordained minister, a longtime DJ, and a living encyclopedia of blues history, the Reverend Robert Jones is comfortable among juke joint loud talkers, fancy-hatted church ladies, and PhDs alike.” James Fraher, award winning blues photographer. From Mid-Ohio Valley BJFM Society. Click HERE for more.
TOMORROW & THE NEXT DAY:
Chris Sutton is at The Bluegrass Kitchen Saturday (tomorrow) Oct 8th. A really good place with really good food and of course with a really good bluesman.
Greg Abate will be at Washington Square in Clarksburg both Saturday Oct 8th and Sunday Oct 9th. Sunday show will include Dr James Moore in a special tribute to the late, legendary saxophonist Phil Woods. For more go to WVJS or firstname.lastname@example.org
Court Street Grill
Thursday Oct 13th Kofi Baker’s CREAM Experience. Call 740-992-6524 for tix and/or dinner reservations.
Friday Oct 14th Shouts & Whispers via Athens, OH features smooth blues and R&B. showtime 8pm
Saturday Oct 15th Chris Sutton at Bobby G’s, Huntington. showtime 7pm
*and once again we’re keeping friends in Florida, Georgia, the Carolinas and who knows where else, in our thoughts and prayers as we’re still Trying to Reason With Hurricane Season.
**don’t look as if we’ll be doing any updates next couple weeks as we’ll be on the road…