The Kinsey Report

Sweet Jesus, we are coming home! The pagans may have celebrated Friday the 13th, January 2006 in their dark ways, but for River Rant, church was held at The Ark in Ann Arbor, where we stood witness to the holiest blues band in the country.

And we don't say this lightly. We've seen many of the living masters: Robert Cray, Sonny Seals, Buddy Guy, Matt "Guitar" Murphy, Lonnie Brooks, to name a few. Back in the college day, Rick's American Cafe in East Lansing would host the Chicago greats. Many a night was spent absorbing 10 cent Old Style drafts and bacon-grease slide guitar blues. But a sad transformation occurred: the bar changed management, and the new owners determined college students would fill the cash drawers regardless of who entertained them. So why pay internationally recognized musicians when you can make more money by hiring a college student DJ to spin Moby cd's? It was a damn shame.

The Kinsey Report is the varsity squad of shot n' a beer and broken guitar string blues. Raised by Mississippi blues purest "Big Daddy" Lester Kinsey, sons' Donald, Kenny, and Ralph grew up playing in their father's band. Oldest son Donald broke from the family in the 1970's and became Bob Marley's guitarist. The prodigal son returned to the fold in the early '80's and added a reggae funkgrove to their sound.

After going to Kinsey Report shows for years in East Lansing, the last time we saw them was in Jackson Hole, Wyoming in 1992 at the Mangy Moose . Then everything fell apart. We moved to the back corner of nowhere for 10 years and lived under a cow pie. Big Daddy died in 1995, right when the genre began to fade in popularity. The band quit recording and for a while, stopped touring.

They're back, and sound better than ever. New member White Lightning is a blues guitar virtuoso. His dirty riffs crack thick and deep and come from a forboding place- like a certain Mississippi delta crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil. He's got the mojo hand, and must've paid a hell of a price to get it.

Here's a juicy piece of old school rockin' blues, served raw with a whiskey shot.

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