We opened up the listener vote last night for the STAR BLUES Artist of 2010 with suggestions coming in by phone, email and Facebook. The winner will be announced live on the Boxing Day show and published in the imminent Gary Blue's Almanac. Some of the candidates made a showing in the playlist: Eric Clapton, Solomon Burke, Tom Jones, Mavis Staples.
There were new tracks from Tas Cru, Sweet Angel and the Delta Flyers and first outings for Willie Anderson and John Lee Henley. Thanks to our rock god Neil Jones we also had a chance to spin the single “Hard Times” by Eric Clapton not due until 27th December. Three of my favourite albums of the year are all by “women of a certain age” if I may be so bold: Mavis Staples, Bettye LaVette and Dana Gillespie each one a welcome antidote to the over-produced preening queens you can see on the reality talent shows.
For many the appeal of our music is in the song and how it touches and we revisited Wendell Holmes' song about his recovery from cancer called “Fair weather friends” and Charlie Musselwhite wrote for the first time (“Sad and beautiful world”) how he felt when his mother was murdered at Christmas in 2005. Marie Knight brought her gospel offering as a neat contrast to the Tom Jones version of “Burning Hell” that out-hookered John Lee Hooker's original. West Coast pianist Kenny Blues Boss Wayne had to migrate north of the border to Canada to get a recording break but he now has his props and the go at Amos Milburn's “Let me go home whiskey” was proof indeed.
This upcoming Sunday we will survey those Grammy nominations in the blues categories, I'll bring my white tee-shirt if you bring your best ears. Until then, take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.