Miss Blues
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Miss Blues


Band Blues Americana


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"Primal Scream - The Emergence of an Honest Voice"

(Part of an article for Southwest Blues Magazine - Oct 2007)
The purest honesty test I know is the human voice in song as evaluated through the human ear by people who value integrity above technology and gimmickry. The voice needn't be the strongest or the prettiest, because honesty trumps those qualities every time. A voice that can connect you emotionally with truth, evokes inside the listener feelings of passion and not without compassion, feelings of lust but not without love, feelings of fear, but not without courage. Such a voice reveals the pity and power in a person's soul and tells us who they are beyond the clothes, the flesh, the words and the masks. Such a voice often tells us who we are as well. Dorothy Ellis has such a voice.

The cool thing about an honest voice is that it can convey its value on the first note and it doesn't matter who's listening. Human beings are innately aware when they come upon the real thing. There's a Western movie where a guy who has never seen a real wild Indian warrior asks a veteran how he'll know one if he sees one. "Don't worry", says the Vet. "You'll just know".

I've seen it a hundred times with Dorothy Ellis. Whether it be Wyoming Cowboys, or Nebraska farmers, kids, teens or rich Barbie and Ken skiers, they just know. - Carl Gustafson - SW Blues Mag

"This Lady can Sing!"

Miss Blues is a living blues legend. This lady CAN SING!!! Songbirds have nothing on her. If you like your blues with attitude and spice, you’ll love Miss Blues. And she can cook!!!

Miss Blues and her blues band have played festivals all over the United States and the world! She was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in 2004! In 2007, Miss Blues was voted the Best Blues Band in Oklahoma and received a "Woody" award from the Oklahoma Gazette which called her "the state’s first lady of the blues - all soul and she lets you know it! Belting out songs in a signature way that her many admirers have come to call the Texas Shout!" Miss Blues has been featured (cover story) in both the February 2000 and October 2007 issues of Southwest Blues Magazine. She was also a featured artist at the 2007 Arkansas Heritage and Blues Festival (formerly known as the King Biscuit Blues Festival), in addition to headlining many other blues venues and festivals all over the United States and Europe. One blues reporter recently said:

"[Miss Blues] was probably the most sincerely performed set of the long weekend that I witnessed. It was drenched in authenticity and performed with a passion that I haven’t seen in years! These are the moments I cherish most about the King Biscuit."
Dave Warford, Professional Freelance Music Reporter,
"A Blues Travelogue: The King Biscuit Blues Festival 2007"
- King Biscuit Blues Fest

"Jazz in June"

June 28, Dorothy "Miss Blues" Ellis granted an interview right before her clinic at the Norman Institute for the Performing Arts, 2795 Broce Drive. "My earliest musical memory is hearing my mother sing 'Drifting and Drifting.' That was recorded by Charles Brown the same year I was born in 1935," she said. "That was her favorite blues song at the time and she moaned and groaned it every night. I was probably 2 or 3." She smiled fondly.
Miss Blues confessed there's no music she doesn't dig. "I even loves me some Snoop Doggy Dog. I like that video where he turns into a dog." The Doggfather wasn't even a pup when Miss Blues bought her first record. It was "Goodnight, Irene" by Lead Belly. "He was supposed to be a Blues Man, but when I got that record home, I didn't like it at all," she said. "To me he's a Folk Man."
Miss Blues has been singing the blues for over 60 years. Quite possibly she's seen it all. "I've seen people turn back flips in the audience, landing on a pool table. One woman was over in the corner once and stripped off all her clothes," Miss Blues testified. She was cracking herself up and me too. "Ed's Hurricane Lounge in Tulsa is the wildest place I ever played. Some wild, wild women there. There was this striptease lady who would halve matches, put them on her nipples, light 'em and twirl 'em around," Miss Blues said.
"But on the serious side, one time I had a whole room full of cowboys and Indians crying after hearing me sing 'Stormy Monday,'" she said. "It was at the Pinedale Blues festival in Wyo-ming. Both men and women crying

- Norman Transript

"Oklahoma Blues Inductee"

The WONDERFUL “Miss Blues” (inductee of the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame from Sept 2004) brought depth to the day and brought tears to the eyes of the crowd as she explained the TRUE meaning of Stormy Monday, she was superb AND 70 + !!!

- Pinedale Blues Festival

"Watermelon Slim says:"

"My long-time friend and musical colleague Miss Blues, aka Dorothy
Ellis, is the Wise Woman you should have met when you were much
younger. The juke joint is open, y'all! Miss Blues brings wit, insight
and a spine-tingling blues shout to your stage."

"Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame member Dorothy Ellis, aka Miss Blues, is a
funny, witty, but absolutely relentless persecutor of the blues! Most
highly reccommended."

"Miss Blues is a 60-year link to all of the great traditions of the
seminal Southern American musical form."

Watermelon Slim
- Northern Blues Artist

"Blues Babe of all Blues Babes"

Taj Mahal quotes:

"Miss Blues is the Blues Babe of all Blues Babes." - Taj Mahal - International Blues Artist

"A Trooper Aint Always a Man"

I recall a festival where a relatively famous songstress sat backstage in her elaborate motorhome tending her dogs and being pampered by her husband. She put on an anemic show and went her way complaining about having to use a port-a-potty. Miss Blues arrived having ridden two days on a Greyhound bus with fried chicken stashed in her purse and a supply of Jack Daniels incognito in a squeeze bottle. During her blistering performance, the people in the front row looked like weather channel reporters during hurricane Katrina. She signed autographs, garnered a new supply of chicken, took a belt of vodka from a fan, and got back on a Greyhound and went home. She was paid exactly one-fifth of what the promoted gal got. A shame. She was five times the entertainment value. - Blind Dog Smokin

"Andrew Jr Boy Jones"

"Miss Blues is the real deal!" - USA National Blues Musician - Played with Freddie King for over 10 years.

"Miss Blues - Bad Prospects"

I’m a huge fan of Dorothy Ellis – aka Miss Blues – songwriter, singer and author, and this album, Bad Prospects, is, to my mind, her best yet. Miss Blues had been gigging for somewhere in the region of 60 years before she released her first recording, and it’s just a pity that she waited so long – why didn’t she start recording 40 or 50 years ago??

This latest CD, Bad Prospects, comprises nine tracks in total, seven of which are written by Miss Blues – one of the others is written by Chris Henson, who plays guitar on the track, and the other by Don Skinner, who contributes the bass playing and some of the vocals. Henson and Skinner also appear on most of the other tracks on guitar and bass. All of the musicians featured here are top class. As well as Henson and Skinner the others are worthy of mention too – Rob Hibbard, Mark Lyon, Ron Harmon, Joe Skinner, Mike Hardwick, T.Z. Wright, Robert Riggs, Frank Zona and Jim Johnson.

The album opens with the Miss Blues original, “Blood Running Cold,” a song about a relationship going wrong (as in most of the best blues songs down through the years) – the song is full of expression and emotion, and if you didn’t know before, then you know now that this woman has lived the blues. “Billie’s Blues” follows up --- a slow, moody, atmospheric, number so representative of this woman’s talents.

Track three is the title track of the album, a number about poverty and the struggle to stay afloat in life, and then the tempo picks up with track four, “Rub Board Boogie” – and I have to say that Miss Blues is a rub board maestro! Joe Skinner comes to the fore on the organ here and I really wish that the track was far longer than it’s one minute and forty nine seconds.

“Trapped” is the fifth Dorothy Ellis penned track – and it’s at least as good as the previous four, if not better. This is the blues at it’s best – not reliant on cover versions, but using the familiar themes of love and relationships as people have done since the blues started.

The only instrumental comes up next, “Midnight City”, written by Chris Henson – smoky, jazzy, bluesy and good. Saxophone from Frank Zona adds to the flavour of the piano and organ supplied by T.Z.Wright and Chris Henson’s guitar above the rhythm section of Don and Joe Skinner.

Miss Blues resurrects a couple of numbers from earlier CDs – “Sinking, Sinking, Sinking” and “Cold Mountains,” and gives both of them a slightly different feel, and Don Skinner adds “It’s Gonna Rain” where he and Dorothy share the vocals to very good effect – this track has a compulsive driving beat to it, with Ron Harmon on the organ and Chris Henson laying down some more good guitar.

Bad Prospects is one CD that every lover of the blues should have a listen to.

--- Terry Clear

- Blues Bytes

"Miss Blues - Bad Prospects"

Imagine discovering Muddy Waters. Actually, at some point, we all did. That is how I feel about being introduced to Dorothy Ellis, known as “Miss Blues.” She is currently well known regionally in Oklahoma as a singer, songwriter, and author, but right from the first listen to her third CD, it is clear that here is an artist with depth and special talent. The first time you heard Muddy Waters, didn’t you just feel it and know it? Same here!

The album liner notes provide no bio information, but her websites reveal that Miss Blues had been performing for around 60 years before she released her first recording. Liner notes are also usually full of hyperbole to be taken with a grain of salt. Not this time, take this as the gospel truth: “Miss Blues is a traditional blues artist you must get to know.” For purists, here is a gold mine of a find! By the way, she was inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 2004.

The liner notes continue, “She is rapidly becoming known by blues [fans] the world over, and for good reason. She is the real deal all the way to the bottom of her soul. Her vocals are spellbinding, and with her heart-wrenching delivery of each song, she paints a tapestry that takes the listener on a journey through the pain and suffering that has been the first-hand story of her life.” From a Carl Gustafson interview, Ellis is quoted, “I developed a primal scream crying out for, and to, all my sisters, who sometimes suffer in silence with no-good men folk….”

The album, with nine songs of which seven are written by Miss Blues, is further made a winning standout release by her crack band, The Blue Notes. Robb Hibbard deftly plays most lead guitar, Chris Henson plays some rhythm guitar and lead on the great, jazzy instrumental track he wrote, “Midnight Cry.” Don Skinner co-produced, wrote and sings “It’s Gonna Rain,” and plays bass on all tracks. Joe Skinner is the other co-producer who also drums on several cuts, trading off with Mike Hardwick. Mark Lyon – rhythm guitar, Ron Harmon along with T.Z. Wright - keyboards, Robert Riggs - harmonica, Frank Zona – Saxophone, and Jim Johnson – rhythm guitar on one track – round out the studio crew.

“Blood Running Cold” opens the set with an instantly likeable full band sound. Then, the voice seals the deal! “...she gives you something you actually need, an honest voice in a distorted world.... expressing the pain and feeling of those who suffered,” writes Gustafson. In this song about a relationship going wrong, you realize, visualize and actualize that this woman has lived the blues.

“Billie’s Blues” comes next, a slow, moody blues with Robb Hibbard showcasing his fret board talents. Similarly, track three, the title track, is a slow number about poverty and struggle.

“Rub Board Boogie” with Miss Blues as a rub board expert has Joe Skinner on the accompanying organ instrumental. Too bad it is only one minute and forty nine seconds long.

Love turns to hate in another Ellis original “Trapped (in a bad situation).” This may be the best cut, but it is really hard to like one more than the others – that is how good this CD is!

“Bad Prospects” is a title that reflects the mood of the lyrics, but “Abnormally Great Prospects” would be the apropos phrase for chances of finding a real, deep-blues CD! Simply, do not miss this one!

- Skye Dobro Walker - BluesBlast Mag


CD - "Sittin In"
CD - "Reminiscence of the Blues"
CD - "On the Front Porch"
CD - "Bad Prospects" - 2008



Miss Blues hails from Direct, Texas. The town got its name when some Jack Leg Preacher came to town and declared "Everybody born in this town is going direct to hell". Influenced by her mother, Carrie, Miss Blues began singing the blues in 1943.

"I developed my signature style of singing from an incident that happened to my mom when I was three or four. She left my dad and moved us from Paris, Texas to Wellington, Texas. He found us and broke in. He had a dirk knife and tried to kill my mother, but she grabbed the knife and broke it. Amazing Strength! I developed a primal scream crying out for and to all my sisters, who sometimes suffer in silence with no-good men folk."
Such passion and power in a child didn't go unnoticed and a man named Earl Shambolee, who ran a little barrel house on the plantation, asked her to sing for everybody on Easter Sunday 1943. Earl said he'd pay her $2.50 which was near a week's wages. Little Rabbit looked like her daddy and was big and grown beyond her seven years of age. There was an old fiddler named McCoy and a sometimes guitarist named Credelle who provided the music and accompanied Rabbit while she sang "Good Mornin' Blues" and was thereafter billed as Little Miss Blues.

The late forties found her belting the blues in her cousin's beer garden in Oklahoma City. In the late 50's, Miss Blues teamed with guitarist Little Eddie Taylor and formed the Rocking Aces Band. The band opened for some of the rock and roll and blues legends, including Bo Diddley and Jackie Wilson. In other events, Miss Blues has shared the stage with Taj Mahal, Kenny Neal, Koko Taylor and Watermelon Slim,Little Joe Blue, Drink Small, and Richard "Groove" Holmes.

One of Miss Blues's cds titled"Miss Blues Sittin' In with Blinddog Smokin' (the road warriors from Laramie, Wyoming)"captures an "unrefined energy and personality of this eclectic gathering.
The sincerity and fire of Miss Blues served as the matrix in which this session was recorded. Some of her comments and laughter remain so the listener can gain insight into the uncontrived soul of this special lady."

On September 5th, 2004, at the Dusk till Dawn Blues Festival in Rentiesville, Ok, Miss Blues was inducted in the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame. Miss Blues is devoted to bringing the gutsy down- home blues experience. It's really, "Blues with an Attitude"!

Dorothy Ellis sings with a passion that reclaims the emotion for all women who have been in the grip of heartache. Miss Blues not only sings the blues, she is the blues.

Don't miss comments by Taj Mahal, Watermelon Slim, Andrew Boy Jones as well as reviews by Skye Dobro Walker with BluesBlast Magazine and more.