Raven Desmond Songs represents the coming together of two reknowned Chicago music talents. Originally teaming up to write songs for the Blue Watusis, a progressive blues group they co-led in the early 1990's,releasing the critically acclaimed "Welcome to the House of the Blues",they have since expanded their songwriting repertoire to include country, rock, soul, and gospel and have 5 post-Watusis cds "New Country and Blues", "More New Country" ,"Shake It Down",the compilation "Best of the Blues" and their latest "Live From Chicago".
Frank Raven is a veteran of legendary Chicago bands bohemia, Slammin'Watusis, The Blue Watusis, Iggy Yokam and His Famous Pogo Ponies, and The Frank Raven Band.'The Frank Raven Band's "Chicago Breakdown", Frank Raven and Dave Menet's "Cadillac Baby...Live & Raw" both feature songs written by Frank Raven and Jim Desmond. His solo recordings include the highly acclaimed "The Sadness of Winter" and "This Dream's on Me". As a guest soloist he has played on countless recordings for groups such as The Insiders, The Juleps, Texas Rubies, Pat Hall & The Fat Guys and Prong.
Jim Desmond is an important and charismatic figure on the Chicago music scene. Playing and writing in many different musical genres he is known for his powerful voice, his outrageous performance style, and his witty, literate take on songwriting. His blues influenced Desmond group was one of the highlights of the '80s-era Chicago punk scene. His solo recordings include original songs on the WLUP "Chicago Rocks" cd and his early signature song "God Made Me Do It" was featured on the indie compilation "Jay's Garage". His 7-piece r&b group The Hightones released "7 x 7" and he also performed with rock band The L & L All Stars who featured two Raven Desmond songs.
"Raven Desmond Songs return to the roots of the Blues."
Reviewer: Illinois Entertainer Dec 2005/Sweet Home/Beverly Zeldin-Palmer
"Shake It Down" is the latest from local acoustic blues duo Raven Desmond Songs.Frank Raven(harp,vocals)and Jim Desmond(guitar,vocals) are Chicago stalwarts,with a Zappa-esque bent.Formerly songwriters and co-leaders of the progressive blues group the Blue Watusis,in their current incarnation, they return to the roots of the blues,with some wacky '60s-style acoustic tunes.
Here's some info on The Blue Watusis
"Chicago Live and Real" is a compolation of original modern Chicago Blues songs,of all styles & tempos,written by Frank Raven & Jim Desmond featured on the cds "Chicago the Blues Today" & "Live at Lounge Ax".
"Chicago The Blues Today" is the "lost" Blue Watusis cd consisting of previously unreleased studio & live tracks recorded from 1992 to 1994.
"Live at Lounge Ax" is a rare treasure unearthed during the search for "Chicago the Blues Today".
The Blue Watusis ,our original band bio circa 1992. "A rockin Chicago band of the 90's with it's roots in the classic Chicago Blues tradition.At the core of the Blue Watusis are Raven,Desmond and d'Buddah,pioneers of the alternative Chicago rock scene,who bring a rockin' edge to the Chicago blues styles they grew up with.The energetic presentation and interplay of Desmond and Raven's personalities,vocals and harps are driven by the snarling attack of d'Buddah,Slattery and Susala.The Blue Watusis are celebrating the release of their first recording"Welcome to the House of the Blues",an eight song cassette of original Raven/Desmond songs produced,engineered and mixed by Jay O'Rourke."
Review of "Welcome to the House of the Blues".
#105 sept. /oct. 1992
by Bill Dahl
Comprised of Chicago blues & roThe Blue Watusis "Chicago the Blues Today" review by Stuart A.Hamilton at www.zeitgeist- scot.co.uk June 2 2007.
There's a rather unsavoury bunch staring out of the cover, almost as if the John Travolta movie "Wild Hogs" had been made into a sleazy blues album. And this is certainly a low down mean n' nasty record. Just the way I like it!
Fronted by twin vocalists and harp players Frank Raven and Jim Desmond who've also written all the tunes save a solitary cover of 'Can't Judge A Book', this is a blast from start to finish. A bit like a trashy Fabulous Thunderbirds, it's the sound of your best night out ever, as well as the morning after. You can almost taste the stale beer from here.
It's the fast and furious tunes that work best for me although I will defend any slow number to the death if it goes by the name of 'I Lost My Job, My Baby And I'm Workin' On My Mind' as one does here. Back on the fast track, 'Rock And Roll Man', '9x12' and 'Youth Is Wasted On The Young Blues' are nigh on irresistable but if you have a yen for a slow blues then may I draw your attention to the delights of 'Ax Murder Mama'. If you go looking for your blues a little on the nasty side of town then is where you want to be.ck veterans, the Blue Watusis bid Welcome to the House of the Blues on their new self-produced cassette. With Jim Desmond and Frank Raven switching off on vocals and harp duties, the all original set also showcases the stinging lead guitar of Lee D'Budda. Desmond's convincingly lived-in pipes power the shuffling I'm A Howlin' Wolf, and an introspective Chicago Breakdown, while Raven delivers the doomy minor key title track.