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James 'Yank' Rachell Tribute CD In The Works

By Mandolin Cafe
September 23, 2005 - 6:45 am

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A CD-ROM is being created to honor the memory, life, and music of James 'Yank' Rachell, the legendary Blues Mandolin man. The CD will feature acoustic and electric versions of the songs that Yank wrote and performed throughout his life, as well as photos and stories/commentary from some of the many folks who performed with and knew Yank.

Mike Butler, who developed the concept and is heading the project, reports he's received commitments from the following artists: two-time Handy nominee Andra Faye--who is doing her own recording as well as with her act--Saffire the Uppity Blues Women, John Sebastian, The Nighthawks, Phil Wigggins of Cephas and Wiggins, and local artists Jason Brolin; Steve Brown; Mike Butler; Charlie Cheeseman; Dave Clawson; Ron Coffman; Governor Davis; Benito DiBartoli; Tim Duffy; Terry Glass; Jake Hopping; Daryl Jones; Tim Messersmith; Jerome Mills; Rev. Peyton; Sheena Rachell and members of the Rachell family; Steve Robbins; Al Stone; Allen Stratyner; Pat Webb; and James Valdez.

Rich DelGrosso, contributing writer for Blues Revue Magazine and Steve James will also be participating in the musical portion of the project, and there will be recordings of Yank himself, speaking, playing and singing. Chris Sautter, Attorney at Law and Yank's friend, is acting as legal advisor and assisting with contacting the national acts. Al Stone, recording engineer and owner of King Media Service Studios, is recording the project in Indianapolis. Jan Kline is overseeing the interactive ROM portion of the Tribute.

Butler developed the idea for the project shortly after he read a story on Dick Waterman in the Smithsonian magazine. The story included a photograph that Waterman had taken of Yank, and its publication made him realize just how popular and well-known Yank is worldwide.

"If you're a country blues fan then you are a Yank fan. He was the ultimate sideman. Since most around Indy didn't seem to think of Yank as a big deal, I thought I would make a little keepsake-type recording for myself and to give to anybody who wanted it and put it on a mandolin website for free downloading, etc. I did a three-song demo and then it just took off on its own." When completed, the CD will be made available for sale, and all profits will go to the Rachell family. The projected release date is March, 2006.

Additional information:
Jan Kline, Editor & Publisher
Indiana Blues Monthly
7920 E. 126th St., Fishers, IN, 46038

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