With tracks from 6 new albums, 4 Grammy Winners, 3 birthdays and an obit, the STAR BLUES show last night gave evidence of a very busy blues scene in this new decade. The Grammy awards were announced last week and yesterday was our first chance to celebrate with the winners: the five disc set of Complete Recordings of Little Walter deservedly won in Best Historical category, neatly following his induction into the Rock'n'Roll Hall of fame in 2008. Ramblin' Jack Elliott took the Traditional prize for his collection of Depression-era songs from which we took "Richland Woman" last night. Buckwheat Zydeco got recognition with the award for best Cajun & Zydeco album for his splendid Alligator set "Lay My Burden Down". In December it was announced that Michael Jackson would get a Lifetime Achievement Grammy, somewhat overshadowing the same honour to be bestowed on 95 year-old Honeyboy Edwards. We marked his glorious career with a down-home track he did in 2007 for Earwig.
Fresh from the shrink-wrap came Michael Roach, Eric Bibb, Mahalia Jackson, Lucky Peterson, Erick Hovey and Jimi Hendrix. The latter is from a project of previously unissued stuff, though I am pretty sure there are more to come.(If you have the Alan Douglas produced items that Polydor put out in the 70s, you'll know what I mean as those tracks were cut at the same sessions). Messrs Bibb and Roach will most likely be vying for the same pocket money but you really should try to hear both men celebrate a long-lost art form as songster -blues-troubadour. Lucky Peterson is now on the JSP label, he's still a "youngster" we think he's been around a while because Willie Dixon found him at age three playing keyboards. The instrumental piano piece "Lucky's 88" got him into our piano blues spot. A survey of Mahalia Jackson's work from 1951 is out next month on the new Superbird label - the first dozen tracks are long out of print last out on Columbia and Del Taylor's guys have added five more songs to the set. She ofcourse held down the Gospel tent. Erick Hovey did the seemingly impossible by being tight yet loose; his singing and playing style is laid back in the best JJ Cale tradition, yet his band is as tight as the proverbial ducks rear-end.
Jody Williams just turned 75, Otis Clay will have a birthday this week and Johnny Guitar Watson would have celebrated too - music from all on STAR BLUES yesterday. The obit. came in first thing in the morning - Sir John Dankworth's death was announced by his wife, Cleo Laine. Though much of their work lies outside our purview, I found an old 60's EP to show mastery on "T'Aint What You Do". I have a small personal recollection of Cleo and Johnny coming to my primary school when I was five or six. They were generous in their enthusiasm for making music at the earliest opportunities for every child. We won't see his like again.
This upcoming week I'll try to show how many blues love songs there are and if you want to request or dedicate anything, please let me know. I hope we get chance to spend another two hours together this Valentine's day at 10pm (GMT) from the home of the 9-5 No Repeat Workday, your Cambridge & Ely's Star Radio - Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.