This year’s Blind Raccoon Nola Blue Collection Volume Four features thirty-four compositions from clients of Blind Raccoon, some of whom are also on Nola Blue Records & Blue Heart Records (a partnership with Blind Raccoon & Nola Blue Records). Proceeds from digital sales benefit MusiCares.
"Betsie Brown (Blind Raccoon) and I are truly proud that our annual compilation has become such a worldwide favorite," says Sallie Bengtson, president of Nola Blue Records. "A collection of blues and roots music in its many forms and subgenres, it is a wonderful representation of new and recently-released music. Highlights of this year's collection include thirteen new and currently unreleased tracks from projects forthcoming in 2022, as well as recently-released favorites."
Volume Four includes tunes from the nonagenarian actor, Dick Van Dyke, Grammy nominee, Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, 12-time Blues Music Award nominee Trudy Lynn, Canadians, David Gogo and David Rotundo, and UK-based artist, Wily Bo Walker, plus artists from the states of MN, NJ, WA, CA, TX, TN, PA, NY, IL, MI, CO, VA, & LA.
Dick Van Dyke’s tune is from “Step Back In Time” (2017 Bixmix Records). Here is backstory of the project:
A friendly, familiar face around Malibu, Dick Van Dyke befriended Leslie and Bill Bixler after helping fundraise for the local school where Bill led the Orchestral Music program. Leslie, a new mother, was at that time writing music and working with kids. She asked him to consider performing her "I'm A Pirate" song and he agreed. They had so much fun working and improvising together that Dick participated on several more of Leslie’s productions, including Rhythm Train with Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
Later, Dick approached Bill, (a jazz saxophonist, writer, and producer) about his love of old blues standards and one thing led to another culminating in Bill producing an album of Dick’s picks, ”Step Back In Time.” Employing the talents of LA’s finest studio musicians and top-notch arrangements provided by David Enos, Bill crafted an album that shows a little seen side of Dick Van Dyke’s musical talent--in the natural, emotional feel he brings to these melodies.
The unmistakable personality of this larger-than-life talent (who just turned 96) is captured here in these beloved old songs, in particular, “THE VIPER” which Dick would watch performed on Broadway after starring in The Music Man. Dick satisfied an old wish to play that character, as well as the more somber and dramatically powerful narrator of “Brother, can you spare a dime?” "Old Folks" will squeeze your heart strings, and "Rockin' Chair" will bring chuckles. This collection is a rare gem, highlighting a littleknown side of Dick Van Dyke as he steps into his jazz singer personna at the ripe old age of ninety-six.
Photo Credits: (1) "Blind Raccoon and Nola Blue Collection Vol. 4, (2) Miss Bix, (3) Donna Herula, (4) Teresa James, (5) Tiffany Pollack, (6) Blind Lemon Pledge, (7) Wily Bo Walker, (8) Michele D’Amour (unknown/website).