We finished our contribution to Black History Month with the fifth show in a quartet. Living Blues magazine chose essential blues albums for the for decades since 1970 and last night we looked at how blues has changed in this period as well as at how blues is already in the main stream in adverts and as part of tv show soundtracks.
Case in point being Etta James' "I Just Wanna Make Love To You" via the soft drink advert is now on a colleague's ring tone even though he won't have anything to do with blues. Similarly Ray Charles' "Mess Around" now promotes a well known chemist with cute kids and grubby faces. Taj Mahal's "You Can't Always Get What You Want" has been in Hugh Laurie's "House" and so on.
There's a fifty year limit on song reproduction copyright that's opened up dozens of cd reissues of classic blues and r&b from late 40's and 50's - there's a number of labels formed to put these songs into the marketplace. Personally I'm not sure about buying things when you can't be sure the artist (or family) has got their dues. Stick to the big name reissue labels like Ace would be my advice because of the research done to ensure everyone gets paid who should. STAR BLUES last night made mention because the situation has changed the landscape for blues making things readily available that you could only dream of just a few years before.
Hardworking live acts in Britain and Europe have kept the word out there so we were pleased to celebrate the Blues Band, Dr. Feelgood and Mike Sanchez in particular. Big names courted by the rock press like Gary Moore, B. B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt made sure our music could be found in non-blues places. Tom Jones as we speak is in the album charts reflecting the visibility of gospel so we went to the original of his cover of Johnny Cash's "Gods Gonna cut You Down" for our sacred spot; and then to Eric Bibb's uplifting bucolic piece "Shingle by Shingle". Mitch Woods' tribute to the New Orleans sound that shaped Rock'n'Roll was called Crescent City flyer with rippling piano and solid sticksmanship off Earl Palmer at age 82.
Next Sunday every track will be from a cd not played before and released in 2010. If you've not been naughty you can use the show to build your Santa list - don't forget Santa knows and he'll check the list twice. I've got another white tee-shirt in my box if you've got the ears. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you