Ahoy shipmates, 

The USS Nevermore has returned to port Milwaukee after a long three week tour filled with an endless sea of gleaming hotel pools, Cracker Barrel restaurants, dancing dervishes, and lots of great blues friends.   Big shout outs to Dr Mike, Blues Bobby, Peter Laurro, Barb at the Rooster, Tony (are you fahking kidding me?) Holman, Gary Anton, Nikki at the Little Bar, Big Mike, Ken, Kirsch, Kahuna, Steve Dougherty, Walter Gordon, Clarence, Marty Bacon, Piano Bob, Hal Yeagy, Albertina,  Ole Harve and my cousins Linda, Alice and Ron.  Westside Andy, PT and Craig tore it up as usual.  The dance floors were full and we sold out a bunch of rooms thanks to the efforts of Kris Raymond at Record Events and Betsie Brown at Blind Raccoon.   Big Fun but we’re glad to be home and ready to swing it up on at the Friday Night Swing Dance at the Knights of Columbus Hall in West Aliis, WI on at 8pm to help us shake the shack. 

 Sunday we return to The Hill Tavern in Omro, WI at 3pm to 6pm 

Our new CD “My Life” sits at # 14 on the Roots Music Reports Top 50 Blues Albums this week

It’s at  # 14 on the Living Blues Magazine Chart

It’s at # 2  on the Chicago and # 1 on the  Wisconsin Charts

It’s # 10 on the Sirius Radio’s Rack of Blues and # 7 on BB King’s Bluesville 

And # 2 on Gil Anthony’s Blues Power Show

Get your copy at:  CDBaby.com

Or come out to The Friday Night Swing Dance and get a deal on multiple purchases of all or our music and shirts, hats etc....

Here’s a couple new reviews


My Life

Nevermore Records

     Reverend Raven and the Chain Smokin' Altar Boys are celebrating their 20th anniversary with this collection of previously-recorded and newly re-recorded songs. Their history with pure, no-nonsense blues comes with an instant attraction. Rev Raven sings and plays guitar; his sidemen include four different harmonica players, saxophone, bass, drums, piano and organ. Together, the different variations of the band bring jump, swing, and fun to their album. Raven sings with a gritty baritone voice; he's been doing this since 1971. Born and raised on the South Side of Chicago, but the band is a Milwaukee institution. Raven settled there after his time with the U.S. Navy.

     The album's autobiographical title track, "My Life," employs a barrelhouse piano two-step rhythm as the leader tells about how things have come around. He's been around the world, but attributes his fortune to family and friends. Later, with his boogaloo "Looking for Love," Raven expresses the need that everyone has for finding the right formula. And his "Slow Burn" echoes the same kind of thinking as he sings about keeping the fires burning. As Raven closes out the album with "I'm Your Honeyboy," he reminds us that blues maintains its purebred structure just so that folks can tell it like it is. Raven and his crew do a great job of keeping the flame burning.

                                                                 --Jim Santella

From The Netherlands and Belgium 

The Reverend is now with his Chain Smokin 'Altar Boys on an eighth album. Our pastor compiles a compilation album from his four previous releases. Luckily he remixed a lot of songs and even re-recorded them. After more than twenty years richly upholstered musical material enough for a handsome and exciting Chicago blues album. Born and raised in the Westside of Chicago, the Reverend has been playing the blues since 1971 when he first saw Freddie King playing at the Kinetic Theater in Chicago. After serving for fifteen years in the Navy, Chief Reverend moved to Milwaukee where he began a long collaboration with Madison Slim, who for a long time was a harmonica player for Jimmy Rogers.

The opening song 'Handyman' is a nice shuffle that is immediately colored by Cadillac Pete's blues harp. The rumba tunes from 'Bee Hive Baby' will populate a lot of dance floors. The magnificent guitar riffs also accrue in the swinging 'Creature Of Habit'. Harmonica, a virtuoso Madison Slim, with swirling style, gives shape to the West Coast inspired '' Bad Little Girls ''. The tight groove from 'I Want To Love You' and the swinging 'Once The Woman Start Talking' are the next highlights. And there are the skate. Just listen to the great autobiographical title track, where Danny Moore comes in the spotlight with his Barrelhouse piano tunes. Benny Rickun is next with his blues harp in the swinging and exciting Chicago blues track 'Here Comes My Baby'. From the blues pestle 'Big Bee' it goes fast to the swinging 'Looking For Love', where saxophonist Big Al Groth and again pianist Danny Moore bring the beacons to him. From the shuffle 'Slow Burn' and the activating 'Someday When I'm Dead And Gone' it's going to a first slow blues in the form of 'I Can Do You Right' and the rumba inspired 'She's Moving On'. As a closing, Reverend Raven treats us to an unlikely game of boogie woogie.  Superb!

Their eighth album is a compilation of original songs from all four studio sessions remixed or re-recorded as a new version with a new lineup. Simply titled 'My Life', the new studio album from Milwaukee institution, Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys, celebrates 20 years as one of the nation's hardest working road band. The quartet of blues veterans, led by Raven, have played every tavern, gin joint and cool club in the Mid-West and Florida and enjoyed just about most of them.

This is really a blast of a release!

Philip Verhaege   

You can purchase our cds at the following stores:

The Exclusive Company in Greenfield, WI (they also carry our t-shirts) 

Rolling Stone Records, 7300 W. Irving Road, Chicago, IL @ https://www.rollingstonesmusic.com

DWM Music, 3 Bedford Court, Iowa City, IA 52240




Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys Nail It On ‘My Life’

'My Life' is an album that’s ahead of its time by staying behind the times.

The blues took an interesting leap in the 1960s, quickly going from traditional black American artists to the Rolling Stones and their straight blues covers, to The Paul Butterfield Blues Band and John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, who moved the blues needle right into Cream, who used the blues to segue into manic jams.

Before the 1960s ended, Led Zeppelin would release its debut album, and the blues was officially something almost completely different than it had been at the start of the decade. In the span of a decade, the blues became completely reinvented, its limits pushed to something very different from its origins. Those 1960s bands had the swagger of the blues, but it’s questionable to what extent Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson, or any of the Kings might have recognized their music. Boundaries had been pushed and the blues exploded into something completely new and different from what it had been.

But what if it hadn’t changed? That question is answered by Reverend Raven and the Chain Smoking Altar Boys. My Life is a blues album that sounds like it could have come out of the mid-1960s. It’s what the blues might have been had it not have become a departure point for acrobatic musicianship, breakneck tempos, and often-ridiculous lyrics.

My Life is a band revisiting its catalog. Reverend Raven takes original songs from his band’s four studio albums and uses various lineups to reinterpret the tracks. If you’re not familiar with Reverend Raven’s work, it’s a great and fun way to easily cover a lot of ground. The album plays like a live show. Reverend Raven is the common thread, providing guitar and laid-back vocals.

The laid-back vibe is what separates the album from so much of that later 60s blues rock. The sound is reminiscent of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, with lots of impressive harmonica work and guitar solos that show flash, but that don’t overpower the songs.

The songs represent a survey of the blues. “Handyman,” the lead-off track is jazzy, featuring lots of impossibly clean guitar. “Creature of Habit” is a bluesier rockabilly take on “Stray Cat Strut.” “I Can Do You Right” is a slow blues with a huge organ sound that will make you feel like it’s Sunday. “My Life” is pure Elmore James. But where The Paul Butterfield Blues Band pushed that classic riff to its limits on “Look Over Yonder Wall,” Reverend Raven lets it breathe.

Lots of incredible music came out of the 1960s blues revival. But the time was so fertile, and creativity was so strong, that no one really dwelt in the sounds. Instead, artists built and built and built. My Life captures a moment that never was, or at least wasn’t long enough, in a fun, interesting way. It’s an album that’s ahead of its time by staying behind the times.

My Life – Twentieth Anniversary – Reverend Raven & The Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys
Label:                  Nevermore Records
Tracks:                16
Running Time:     65 Minutes


Our new cd "My Life" was released on February 9th and the reviews are coming in from around the worlds  It contains 16 originals from our previous cds that have been remixed or recorded with a new lineup of musicians that includes, Westside Andy, Madison Slim, Cadillac Pete Rahn, Benny Rickun, Big Al Groth, Jimmy Voegeli, Mickey Larson, Danny Moore, Ron Kovach, Andre Maritato, PT Pedersen SC, Brad Bill, Jeff Roberts, Spencer and Craig Panosh and Victor Span.  Recorded at Making Sausage Studios in Milwaukee and engineered by Steve Hamilton. 


It has debuted at # 9 on the Living Blues Magazine Radio Chart for March 2018.  It's number # 2 on the Roots Music Radio Chicago Blues Charts for the third week in a row and #17 on the Top 30 Blues CDs for the week of 3/5/18.  Seven of our songs are in the top 20 for the Chicago Radio Blues Charts too.  You can help out by calling your local blues radio station and asking them to play My Life by Reverend Raven & the Chain Smoking Altar Boys.  Go to www.Mary4music.com/radio.html for the nearest radio station.




"Top 30 CD for Dec/Jan/Feb" Blues Power

"Your new CD is great" Gil Anthony/Blues Power

"Top Ten Pick" Smokestack Lightning 

"Sounds excellent" Mark Thompson/Suncoast Blues Society


"Here Comes My Baby" collectively account for nearly three minutes (4:16 total time) of the track and from what I just heard, I want them spliced  2-3 times. WOW! Reverend's at disc's best with some all out rippin' guitar licks;"together, quadrupled in length and played over


"We are in the presence of a Chicago-born artist, currently based in Milwaukee who has scoured the Midwest and Florida up and down with a dream line up to perfectly perform a most traditional blues..."  - Cesar, Blues Again (Mar 01, 2018).


"Tasty stuff from some of the hardest working blues road warriors out there, it’s time for them to be less of local Milwaukee treat and let the word get out.  Hot stuff." - Midwest Record Review, Midwest Record Review (Feb 02, 2018).


"This is an album I would suggest getting several copies of...that first copy is sure to wear out quickly. "  - Bill Wilson, Reflections in Blue (Feb 01, 2018).


"Every aspect of the album is everything you could ever wish for from a Blues album so my recommendation is that this is the album you have to have in your collection and there is no better way to kick off 2018. Blues can be interpreted in many ways but then again we want it to remain Blues not some shallow imitation. Trust me this truly is the skinny." - Peter Merrett, PBS 106.7FM Melbourne, Australia (Jan 29, 2018).


"Reverend Raven “My Life”! Twenty years of the best of the best. Just ace top drawer! Better check it out." - Blue Barry, Smokey Mountain Blues Society (Jan 18, 2018).


"What can I say? This is some great stuff to commemorate 20 years of some of the blues worlds best music from one of my all time favorite artists and his band. As I said earlier, this is blues the way blues were meant to be played. Run do not walk, and go buy this one NOW! You will not regret it!"


"Picking only sixteen cuts was arguably tough to do, but Reverend Raven And The Chain Smoking Altar Boys and “My Life” effectively traces the history of one of the Midwest’s , er, “smokin-est” blues bands ever to lay down a groove! Roll back the rug, and dance your ass off until….next time! Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society." - Sheryl & Don Crow, Nashville Blues Society (Feb 23, 2018).


"Reverend Raven & the Altar Boys have been playing originals for over twenty years with a nod to Slim Harpo, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, Junior Wells & the three Kings. They are still working on their mission today: "to spread the gospel of the Blues ...". 'My Life' is an excellent compilation album that, in view of the line-up, cannot be missed by any blues enthusiast!"  - Eric Schuurmans, Rootstime (Belgium) (Feb 17, 2018).


“Recommendation: " This amazing collection belongs in your library, regardless of your musical tastes. Get it before it’s gone."”


"This eighth album from our pastor is a compilation album with old songs in a new mix and in some cases re-recorded. It is mainly Chicago blues that hits the clock here. In the style of, for example, Little Charlie & The Nightcats or The Fabulous Thunderbirds." - Peter Marinus, Blues Magazine (Feb 14, 2018).


"As their name implies these guys are smokin’ hot. This is highly recommended Chicago blues".  - Richard Ludmerer, Making a Scene (Feb 14, 2018).


Get your copy by sending $17.50 to Nevermore Records, 3851 E. Holmes Avenue, Cudahy, WI 53110



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