it all started with a simple prayer in 1981 by Rev. Bob McCarton, "Father, how about a Christian Blues Band?" It wasn’t to take place until February 1994 in Passaic County Jail in Paterson, NJ. Rev. John Witherspoon stood at the microphone ready to sing the first song and announced, "We’re Breakin’ The Bondage Blues Band and we’ve come to have church!" And that’s exactly what they did, had church complete with hand clapping, foot stomping, and soul saving.
This group is dedicated to bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the entire world. It makes no difference if they are in a prison, public park, church, music festivals, anywhere. Their songs are original compositions inspired by The Holy Spirit. The words of each song are clear and cannot be misunderstood. Breakin’ The Bondage Blues Band lifts up the Name of Jesus to be revered, praised, and worshiped.
Rev. Bob McCarton (aka The Blues Rev)
Leader, founder, blues harp player, producer, and chief songwriter with contributions from the entire band. He’s convinced that King David was the original Blues Harp player. Rev. Bob is just as comfortable playing those old church hymns on harmonica as he is getting down, gritty, dirty, and bluesy with the Blues of Breakin’ The Bondage. He is a proud Vietnam Vet having served two tours of duty with the 19th Combat Engineer Battalion.
Rev. James Blank (a.k.a. Doc Ivory)
Chief vocalist and keyboardist for B4. Jim was raised by renowned Gospel singer Rev. Joe Scott Jr. and his family. At the age of thirteen, Rev. Jim was taught to turn on the church’s Hammond B3 organ. Having no formal lessons, he was taught to play the organ by the Holy Spirit. Growing up in Evangelist Rev. Scott’s family, Doc Ivory was taught to sing and discern in four part harmony and accompanied his stepfather everywhere. Jim is the pastor of an international outreach ministry.
Brother Ken Neill
Rhythm guitar. His energy levels are legendary, his musical input is valuable. Ken plays on his church’s worship team. In addition he also plays in a wedding band, a multi piece Big Band group, and string bass in a bluegrass group. Before coming to Jesus, Brother Ken played bass guitar in the heavy metal rock group Twisted Sister.
Brother Ken "The Professor" McNeil
Lead guitar. For over 40 years, Ken has played in numerous rock and blues groups. His major influences are Freddie King, Luther Tucker, Buddy Guy just to name a few. Ken shares in the orchestration duties with B4’s song writing. He is a proud Vietnam Vet having served with the First Cavalry Division in Long Range Recon Patrol (LRRP).
Rev. Keith "The Kid" DeGroat
The bass man. Keith comes from a musical family with deep roots in Gospel music. His mother, aunts, and uncles are The Gospelites. Keith had played percussion and bass with The Gospelites prior to joining Breakin’ The Bondage.
Brother Donnie Van Vooren
Drums. Don has been keepin’ the foot over the years with various club bands. He has a wide range of percussion background and brings a laid back attitude to the rhythm section. He’s powerful, in the pocket, and just outright happy to be playing for Jesus.
Brother Rhett Tyler
Guest lead guitarist. Guitarist, songwriter, vocalist, and producer, Rhett is best known for his explosive style of scorching modern blues guitar and high-octane, house-rocking live performances. And when The Blues Rev goes head-to-head on blues harp with Rhett, watch out! You ain’t never heard nutin’ like this before. Call out the fire department!!!
Rev. John Witherspoon, Ray "Lightnin'" Griggs, Frank Robbins, Joe Brennan and Tommy "DC Tommy" Powell all performed on B4's debut CD, "We've Come To Have Church."