I've long thought that every parent has a responsibility to their children to let them have good music while growing and the best legacy to leave them is the ability to then go on to choose for themselves. So on any given evening you'll find music by Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Bobby Bland, T-Bone Walker and Sister Rosetta Tharpe round at the Blue's place.
Bobby will be 80 this Wednesday and STAR BLUES had a nice opportunity to wish him well with a full sampling of his vocal gifts and show evidence of his importance in music - from the age of the 78 to the age of the download. His recent career got a boost in 2008 as the subject of Mick Hucknall's tribute album and we had Mick's go at "I Pity The Fool" by way of introduction. Bobby's classic Duke recordings were also on show with "Farther On Up the Road" and "Two Steps from The Blues", the latter being graced with meticulous arrangements from Joe Scott. His work for Malaco (where he still records) included the lovely sensitive reading afforded the Larry Addison song "Members Only". The feature was rounded out with one of the duet pieces Bland did with BB King in the Seventies: their version of Louis Jordan's "Let The Good Times Roll". Van Morrison has long been a fan of Bobby's and STAR BLUES did not pass up the chance to hear Van's live rendition of "Ain't Nothin You Can Do". Bobby has a warm, throaty style that is comforting even in the deepest heartache, a pleasure akin to lying in front of an open fire on a winter's evening wrapped in sheepskin.
At the top end of the show, Nick Curran was in the songbook of Nappy Brown for "Don't Be Angry" and we wished Nick well after his diagnosis of mouth cancer and the prognosis is good I understand. Teeny Tucker had a birthday and she wanted to hear her dad's "Hi-Heel Sneakers" while Kenn from Scotland asked for some Mick Green - I was more than happy to oblige on both fronts.
Francis Wilford-Smith died in December and in addition to being a broadcaster and champion of piano blues, he had a formidable collection of 78s. I believe he was compiling a major anthology of boogie woogie and blues that will be released later this year. STAR BLUES had a classic 1954 piece from Memphis Slim in Francis' honour. The other member of the piano pair was Mike Sanchez with a splendid romp ("Let The Loving Begin") off his "Women and Cadillacs" album. Over in the Gospel tent, Blind Willie Johnson spoke to us across the ages with "Lay Your Love On Me" with gruff vocal and deft slide playing. We had a 1940 offering from "The Guitar Wizard" Tampa Red and the two hours were up in a trice.
I couldn't have asked for better company and I thank-you as always for your hospitality and kind invitation. With God willing, we will have the chance to spend another two hours together at the Home of the 9-5 No-Repeat Workday, Cambridge and Ely's Star Radio next Sunday night at 10pm (GMT). I hope you can be there, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you