I have just about everything Bobby Womack has recorded, so I am at loss to explain why I thought his 1975 song Jealous Love was done by Syl Johnson for the Robert Cray version in last night’s 1990s blues album survey. I am suitably humbled. Elsewhere STAR BLUES heavily reflected the electric dominance of our music during the decade with just small pockets of down-home and acoustic sounds. Cray has been recording for thirty years and has a remarkable consistency that sees him (even as we speak) on the cover of the newest issue of Living Blues. Within the pages he’s pictured with B. B. King whose ‘Blues on the Bayou’ project was full of lovely relaxed unforced performances. My review in B&R at the time remarked on how it was the first whole album worthy of his talent.
Michael Hill’s Blues Mob currently have no record deal, yet their “Can’t Recall A Time” from their debut “Bloodlines” had a still-relevant social message showing blues has a vibrant future. Similarly at the envelope of the blues, Mighty Mo Rodgers’ big-label debut drew its influences from a number of places including the new-world and Alvin YoungBlood Hart and Corey Harris brought new sensibilities to traditional forms of blues. At the moment a couple of high-profile “blues” players have said the music is boring and needs to change, presumably by adding more free-form instrumental grandstanding – I think our music is in great shape with a younger generation that includes Robert Randolph and the Homemade Jamz band. This is a discussion that happens every now and again when second rate rock guitarists turn to blues to make a quick buck and then want to move on to the real money in the mainstream.
The other side to the 90s blues scene was the almost total replacement of vinyl with compact disc and with the indecent haste box-sets were assembled and pushed out to celebrate the legacy or make us buy stuff for a second time depending on your perspective. By their nature those projects were missing from Living Blues survey and I plan to do a fifth show in the series of four to “catch up” with the milestones for blues since 1970. That’ll be in a fortnight on 31st October and next week we’ll look at the Noughties decade, so I hope you’ll bring your best ears, the music and white tee-shirt is down to me; until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that will take care of you.