Probably the greatest blues artist of them all was born 10th June 1910 so last night's STAR BLUES marked Howlin' Wolfs centenary. He was the link from Charley Patton to the Rolling Stones and when signing to Sun Records Sam Phillips regarded him as "the soul of a man" with a bigger talent than Elvis Presley. Patton showed him guitar and Alex Rice Miller (2nd Sonny Boy Williamson) taught him harp; he ran with Robert Johnson and loved fishing. The Stones refused to go on prime time tv to promote their number 1 cover of his "Red Rooster" unless he also got a spot; his mother threw him out just about as soon as he could walk and rejected him again at the end of his life when he tried a reunion - she hated his godlessness and the blues. We went to his recordings in Memphis for Sam Phillips and to his classic sides done in Chicago for Chess. Nuff said.
The Alligator label is starting a new project with digital downloads, the first is "The Best Of Michael Burks" and we had some "Voodoo" from him last night. He has a warm voice and fluid playing style with plenty of fans hereabouts. Similar skills were on offer from Phil Gates making his debut with us, and Phillip Walker from 1979 and Larry Garner off his highly rated recent set "Here Today Gone Tomorrow". Eddie Burns was off Hastings Street in Detroit and that man Sonny Boy said "Help Me" in Chicago. As for piano blues Romeo Nelsons signature piece "Head Rag Hop" had spoken parts by Tampa Red and the female impersonator Frankie Half-Pint Jackson. A fine cut from the Vee-Jay catalogue of Blind Boys Of Alabama kept up the gospel end of things.
I struggled in the heat yesterday with a broken aircon and I almost did the show topless however I know many of you expect the white tee-shirt and I really didn't want to leave you with the wrong image if you're off to sleep. We'll see how we get on next week and I'd love to have your company at 10pm (BST) for more STAR BLUES. For those wanting more tomfoolery and sounds like folk, country, soul, reggae and rock that you won't hear anywhere else on radio - I'm doing a show tonight (Monday 31st) at 7pm (BST). I'll have a black tee-shirt and a real rarity from the Rolling Stones. Please feel free to stop by, you'll be very welcome -until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.