After forty years on the road DUTCH MASON is still The Prime Minister Of The Blues, and it's not a title he expects to relinquish anytime soon.

"I'm gonna keep doing it as long as I can," vows the 57-year-old Mason, a Juno Award winner who makes his home in Nova Scotia, and made his reputation in these parts in the '70s as leader of the house band at Toronto's Colonial Tavern.

Life isn't getting any easier for him. The arthritis and gout that has plagued him for the past two decades forced him to abandon the guitar fifteen years ago, and Mason says his hands lack strength because he's in constant pain.

"I can't close my hands," admits Mason from Toronto. "I'll never be able to play again. At least it has its good points: I don't have to carry around a big amp."

The ailment that has since moved into his legs and feet has certainly not stopped him from rendering his versions of ALBERT COLLINS, ALBERT KING and FREDDIE KING classics that pepper his set, although he disavows any intention of trying his luck South of the border.

"I have no interest," says Mason, who has released ten acclaimed albums over the years, and plans to head to the studio this Spring to record his eleventh.

"I've never even bothered. I don't want to ever leave Canada. I don't even want to leave Nova Scotia, but I'll travel across Canada (to tour)."

He reportedly inherited the nickname Prime Minister Of The Blues from B.B. KING after a lengthy jam session, and still calls the Memphis bluesman "the best in the business."

"Everything he does just sounds right," says Mason.

An infrequent songwriter himself, Mason says the reason Canada doesn't enjoy similar status to Louisiana or Chicago as a seminal blues territory has more to do with geography than talent.

"You can write a song about Duluth, Minnesota and it has a ring to it," he says. " It's pretty hard to write a song about Moose Jaw. They have those neat little names, and we don't. `The Mississauga Blues' sounds silly."



1992 -- Various Artists, Canadian Blues Masters

1993 -- Various Artists, Caught In The Attic

THANKS: Doug Foley

©1996, 1999 Nick Krewen, Octopus Media Ink


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