Arts, Entertainment, Living

Blue Revue Juke Joint - Solomon Burke

Tuesday, 15 March 2011 12:00 AM Written by

Here's an interesting and fun feature from Blues Revue magazine -- a video jukebox, this one a tribute to Solomon Burke.

Yes, this might be my shortest post ever!

Join the conversation:

Mississippi bluesman Big Jack Johnson dies

Monday, 14 March 2011 10:51 AM Written by

Big_Jack_Johnson_Aug_2010_copy_copyI regret to report that Mississippi bluesman Big Jack Johnson, 70, has died. His condition was serious enough over the weekend that there had been an erroneous report of his death on Saturday, which I repeated here yesterday, then corrected.

Sadly, Johnson did not recover, and died early this morning in Memphis, according to several sources close to the Johnson family. There's not a lot of information available yet about his death, but he had apparently had some health issues for a while.

Johnson was one of the last of the deep-blues musicians out of the Clarksdale area of Mississippi. He's probably most widely know for being a part of the Jelly Roll Kings, a Mississippi trio made of of Johnson, Sam Carr and Frank Frost. But he also had a local reputation as a tough, hard-working singer and guitarist in the best of the deep blues tradition, and didn't really tour much beyond the Clarksdale, Miss., area until the mid-'90s or so.

He also played bass and blues mandolin, and was  nicknamed the "Oil Man" because his day job for years was driving an oil truck.

Johnson was the sole survivor of the major blues artists featured in the 1992 movie, "Deep Blues," based on the fine blues book by Robert Palmer

Johnson had worked and recorded most recently with the Cornlickers, a band with roots in both Harrisburg and Clarksdale. In a phone call this morning, Cornlickers drummer Dale Wise  asked that I pass on the information that the proceeds from Big Jack's last two CDs and a third yet to be released will all go to the Johnson family. Johnson, like many old bluesmen, had no real health insurance, or funds for burial, so these kinds of sales are important. The last two CDs, "Katrina" and "Juke Joint Saturday Night," can be found on CD Baby.

When I started working on this information about Big Jack yesterday, he was a distant blues figure, but now he seems a lot closer. I wish I'd had the chance to meet him. 

Here's a nice tribute from the Bob Corritore Blues Newsletter:

RIP Big Jack Johnson - July 30, 1940 to March 14, 2011. Sad news came in from Dave Riley and Amy Brat that legendary Mississippi guitarist/mandolinist/vocalist Big Jack Johnson has passed away this morning at 6am in his hometown of Clarksdale, Mississippi after a long battle with heath issues. He was 70 years old. Note that there were some disturbing premature false announcements of Big Jack's passing 3 days before his actual passing. Big Jack's inventive, energetic, Delta-rooted guitar, rich confident vocals, down home songwriting, and larger than life stage presence made him one of the most celebrated bluesmen of Mississippi. His long music career included much national and international touring, many amazing record releases, and a huge amount of praise and respect. Big Jack was born in Lambert, Mississippi in the summer of 1940, and learned guitar from his father at age 13. He rose to prominence in the early 1960s working as a key member of the legendary Jelly Roll Kings, a champion blues band which also included Frank Frost and Sam Carr. Big Jack first appeared on record in the 1960s as the guitarist on two famous Frank Frost albums; Hey Boss Man on the Phillips International label (an offshoot of Sun Records) from 1962, and My Back Scratcher on Jewel from 1966. In the late 1970s, Michael Frank debuted his Earwig Music label with The Jelly Roll Kings / Rockin' The Juke Joint Down which also was a recording debut for Big Jack's great vocals. Soon afterward, Big Jack Johnson would start a solo career for himself, independent of the Jelly Roll Kings. His solo debut album, Oil Man (Big Jack used to hold down a day gig delivering oil barrels in Mississippi) on the Earwig label was released in 1987. This led to additional CDs for Earwig, a nice run with M.C. Records, and additional recordings for Rooster Blues, P-Vine Records, Right Coast Recording, and Big Jack Music. There was also a nice Jelly Roll Kings reunion album called Off Yonder Wall that came out in 1997 on the Fat Possum Records. Additionally, Big Jack appeared in the influential 1992 documentary movie Deep Blues. He was a popular festival and club entertainer, a warm and hospitable person, and an amazing musician. Big Jack Johnson was the last original member of the Jelly Roll Kings. His passing leaves a gap in the blues that will never again be filled. To see his amazing performance of "Catfish Blues" from the movie Deep Blues, click here.  Thanks for all the great music Big Jack. You are loved!

Here's a video of Big Jack from the 1992 film, "Deep Blues"

Join the conversation:

Kick it off Healthy!

Monday, 14 March 2011 09:57 AM Written by


Happy Monday everyone!!!

Have you all recovered from your St. Patrick's weekend festivities??? You may be dragging a bit from the time change ... blame it on that instead of the fun weekend you had!

My kiddos were draggin this morning! They are usually early risers ... not this morning! But they are looking forward to dinner tonight - Healthy Sliders! A friend of mine passed this recipe to me. It is originally from Health magazine. I changed it a wee little bit and everyone in the family LOVES them. However, my disclaimer is this ... my kids love feta! I am talkin pouring it in a bowl and eating it with their fingers! If your kids do not enjoy feta, leave it out.  Just add enough of the feta to the portion they will not eat. And voila!!! Everyone is happy!

The slider in the pic is a little dark - i.e. the meat is dark for ground turkey. I am sure I have said it before - the hubby will NOT eat ground turkey! So we substituted lean beef and the results were delish!

I hope you enjoy this dinner. It is an easy, healthy and wonderful way to start the week!

Join the conversation:

Laughing with the 'Laugh-In' gang

Monday, 14 March 2011 01:00 AM Written by

Joanne_WorleyPASADENA, Calif. -- Yesterday's TV Week featured a story on the PBS show "The Best of Laugh-In" (10 p.m. Tuesday, WQED-TV), but I ran out of space to get in what some of the old gang is up to now.

Ruth Buzzi lives on a ranch in Texas but Jo Anne Worley (pictured, right) recently shot an episode of HBO's "Curb Your Enthusiasm," which will air as part of the new season later this year.

"I just recently did 'Wicked' here in Los Angeles," Ms. Worley said, "and I'm also working on my own one-man show called, strangely enough, 'Keep Laughin.' Oh, where did I get that title?"

And star Lily Tomlin dreams of the role she'd like to continue to play. Read more after the jump. ...

Join the conversation:


If you didn't get the chance to grab one of those designer dresses from Target's GO International collection over the past five years, now is your second chance. Yesterday, Target reintroduced customers to the GO International designers by offering 34 dresses from 17 of the designers for a limited time.

In stores and at until April 10, 2011, the dresses range from $25 to $50, and include the following designers: Luella Bartley, Tara Jarmon, Paul & Joe, Behnaz Sarafpour, Proenza Schouler, Libertine, Alice Temperley, Erin Fetherston, Jovovich-Hawk, Rogan, Richard Chai, Jonathan Saunders, Thakoon, Tracy Feith, Rodarte, Zac Posen and Tucker.

I suggest you get to the stores and immediately because these are sure to sell out just as fast as they did the first time they were available.

Be sure to check back on Wednesday for another Clutch post!

Join the conversation:

Big Jack Johnson correction

Sunday, 13 March 2011 09:11 PM Written by

I have removed the previous post, in which I wrote about the death of bluesman Big Jack Johnson.  I'm now told that although he has been ill, he has not died. I had based my report on several other web reports, which seemed reliable.

My apologies to Mr. Johnson and his family. And best wishes for Big Jack's recovery.


Join the conversation:

Weekly Menu for the Week of Mar. 14

Friday, 11 March 2011 08:55 PM Written by

Welcome to my weekly menu!!!

This is the week everyone claims to be Irish! While you are searching for your pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, stop by your local grocery and save even more money by taking advantage of the weekly specials featured on the menu this week!

We are kicking things off with Healthy Sliders – little burgers that are soooo good! Tuesday, we will have Chicken Diana – a recipe shared by my wonderful neighbor Miss Boo! Wednesday, it is one of my favorite ways to eat a pork chop – coated in panko breadcrumbs and served with a wasabi and ginger sauce ...! A perfect substitute for pork would Tilapia or any other fish!

Of course on Thursday – St. Patrick's Day – we will slow cook the traditional meal of Corned Beef and Cabbage. This includes potatoes and baby carrots and is so simple and delicious. You will want to celebrate St. Pat's Day more than once a year. Don't forget that the perfect reinvention of these leftovers will be Reuben Sandwiches. Whip them up while you are working around the house attempting to get all of your Spring Cleaning done ... Spring is coming right????

If you would like to receive an email notification when the menu has been published please follow the link below and sign-up!

You can also follow the menu on Facebook and Twitter!!! Go to Kristen Kill Reisinger's Menus That Save on Facebook and click like!!! You will receive updates and pics throughout the week. Also follow the menu on Twitter - @menusthatsave.

ALWAYS check your coupons!!! Not only the ones we receive in our newspapers and mid-week mailers but also online! Check out

Follow the plan so you can save time, money, and a few calories! Remember – cooking our own food is healthier than ordering in and eating out any day!!! Your family, wallet and waistline will thank you!

I hope you all enjoy your week, the recipes and the savings!


Healthy Sliders
Sweet Potato Fries
Sliced Apples with Caramel Dip

Healthy Sliders – courtesy of LAP adapted from

¼ cup of fresh parsley
1 lb. ground turkey
¾ t. pepper
½ t. salt
1 T. Worcestershire
1 T. Dijon
1 t. garlic powder
1.75 oz. of crumbled feta
¼ cup chopped red onion
Slider rolls

Combine all of the ingredients and shape into sliders – little tiny burgers! You can either cook these in an iron skillet or on the grill or even a regular skillet. This is very quick!!! And oh so healthy!

Sweet Potato Fries

3-4 large sweet potatoes
Olive oil
Kosher salt

Slice the potatoes into long strips. Toss with olive oil to coat and salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and bake in a 400°oven for about 25-30 minutes – depending on how thick your slices are. Don't be afraid to dip the fries into the caramel sauce you have for the apples ... truly sinful!


Chicken Diana
Green Beans
Wild Rice

Chicken Diana – courtesy of Miss Boo

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded out
3/4 cup melted butter
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cloves garlic crushed
8 crushed Ritz Crackers
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

Put melted butter, paprika, lemon juice & garlic in saucepan. Heat to medium. Place chicken in baking dish. Pour 1 T. of the butter mixture over each piece. Cook for 20 minutes at 350. Reserve remaining butter sauce.

In small bowl crush Ritz crackers and add parmesan cheese. After the 20 minutes, put 1 T. of the crushed crackers over each piece of chicken. Add an additional 1 T. of butter mixture over the chicken topped with the cracker mixture and bake another 10 minutes.


Panko-Crusted Pork Chops
Steamed Rice
Sugar Snap Peas

Panko-Crusted Pork Chops (Adapted from Cooking Light – this is one of our favorites and can be used with fish)

2/3 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
1 large egg white, lightly beaten
4 boneless center-cut loin pork chops (about 1/2 inch thick)
1 t. canola oil
Cooking spray
1/8 t. salt
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1/3 cup chicken broth
2 T. cooking sherry
2 T. soy sauce
2 t. sugar
1 t. wasabi paste
1/3 cup thinly sliced green onions

Place panko in a shallow dish. Place egg white in another shallow dish. Dip pork in egg white; dredge in panko.
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat; add pork. Cook for 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove pork from pan; sprinkle with salt.
Reduce heat to medium. Add ginger to pan; cook 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Combine broth and the next 4 ingredients (through wasabi) in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add broth mixture to pan, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in green onions. Spoon sauce over pork.


Corned Beef and Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage – Consider doubling if you have a large crock-pot

1 3-lb. corned beef brisket with spice packet
1 bottle of beer (Guinness stout if you have it)
1 bay leaf
1 T. of peppercorns
5 whole cloves of garlic, peeled
¾ of a large head of cabbage cut into chunks
Small bag of small red potatoes cut into chunks
Bag of baby carrots

Place the corned beef brisket in a crock-pot. Sprinkle the seasoning packet over the brisket. Pour in the beer and add water so that the brisket is completely covered with liquid. Add the bay leaf, peppercorns and garlic cloves. Cover and cook on low 8-10 hours.

Remove brisket and cover with foil to keep warm.

CAREFULLY – pour the juice from the crock-pot into a stockpot and boil the potatoes, carrots and cabbage for about 20 minutes until tender. You could add the veggies to the crock-pot and turn on HIGH but it will take a little longer to cook through.

Serve with a nice grainy mustard and Irish soda bread or Rye bread! Oh yeah – and your favorite beer – green if you like!

Leftovers - Grab some sauerkraut, Swiss cheese and Thousand Island dressing for Reuben Sandwiches over the weekend!


Spinach and Feta-Stuffed Focaccia
Fresh Fruit Salad

Spinach and Feta-Stuffed Focaccia (adapted from Cooking Light)

1 T. olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 box of frozen spinach
¾ cup crumbled feta cheese
3 T. pine nuts toasted (optional)
2 T. fresh lemon juice
½ t. chopped oregano
¼ t. salt
Dash of ground red pepper
1 (13.8 oz.) can of refrigerated pizza crust dough
Cooking spray
1 egg, beaten
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 450˚.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté 1 minute. Add spinach and sauté another minute. Remove from heat and stir in feta and next 6 ingredients (through red pepper).

Place dough on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Pat dough into a 15 x 12 inch rectangle. Spread spinach mixture lengthwise over half of the dough leaving a one-inch border. Fold over the other half of the dough and press edges together with a fork. Cut diagonal slits in top of the dough.

Brush beaten egg over the crust. Sprinkle with Parmesan. Bake at 450˚ for 15 minutes or until golden.


And now for the shopping list. As always, double check your pantry, fridge and freezer to see if you already have any of the items listed below. This will reduce your spending and create less waste! And NEVER shop without a plan!


Parsley – or could use dried
Red onion
Lettuce for sandwiches
Apples and caramel dip
3-4 large sweet potatoes
2 Lemons
Green onions
Green cabbage
Small bag of small red potatoes
Bag of baby carrots

Crumbled feta
Slider rolls – mini hamburger buns
Parmesan cheese

Worcestershire Sauce
Dijon Mustard
Garlic Powder
Olive oil
Canola oil
Cooking spray
Cooking sherry
Bay leaf

Canned Goods/Ethnic Foods/Dry Goods
Wild rice
Brown or white rice
Chicken broth
Soy sauce
Wasabi paste
Pine nuts – optional

Seafood/Meat Case/Butcher
1 lb. ground turkey – GE special – could also use ground beef
6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 boneless center-cut pork chops
3 lb. corned beef brisket with spice packet

Frozen Foods
Green beans
Sugar snap peas
Box of spinach

Pizza crust

Panko bread crumbs – might be found in the ethnic section as well

Ritz Crackers

Bottle of beer – make it your favorite – Guiness would be best!

Join the conversation:

McKeesport native Vince Melocchi has been staging works in California for years, but Pittsburgh remains close to the heart of his works.

20110311Vince_200His latest play, "Julia," has been running at the Pacific Resident Theatre in Venice, Calif. since December, but moves to New York City when it becomes part of the America's Off Broadway Festival. The event, which features works from non-profit theaters across the country, will be held at the three-space 59e59 theaters on 59th Street.

"Julia," directed by Guillermo Cienfueges, will have a four-week run beginning April 21. The Los Angeles Times noted "the play has the low-key feel of real life," and looks at a 50-year-old love, lost and reclaimed. And it's set it Western Pennsylvania.

Mr. Melocchi said his group is currently raising funds to help defray the cost of travel and staging in New York. Contributions are tax-deductible and can be made through Kickstarter.

So far, 50 backers have pledged $3,546 toward the goal of $6,000. Incentives range from a ticket to the "Julia" cast "Bon Voyage" party, to a signed copy of the play, to a ticket for the show in either L.A. or New York.

Join the conversation: