Never one to shirk from a challenge, I rolled up the sleeves of my white tee-shirt to combine the highlights of the show that never was, with a highly talented birthday bunch, with late new additions from two long-standing favourites: Eric Bibb and Lady Bianca. Don't shout it too loudly but I think we got away with it.
Otis Grand, Otis Clay, Pink Anderson, Big John Wrencher, Little Johnny Taylor and Magic Sam had birth anniversary greetings from the full range of colours in the STAR BLUES pallette. Big John Wrencher's go at the Little Walter song was recorded at the Sunday market held in Chicago's Maxwell Street until 1994. His August 1964 live street corner performance was ably supported by stinging guitar from Robert Nighthawk. The track was available because it had been captured for a documentary film.
You'd find it hard to credit almost sixty years have intervened since Little Johnny Watson brought his wild guitar to the studio for the first time on his third session as a leading man. There can be few other players able to shred his axe as thoroughly or distinctively as Johnny Watson. Fans of guitar had further pleasures from Johnnie Bassett and Fred McDowell in differing styles.
Lady Bianca has a unique style when she leads from the front on her chosen instrument (piano), she was at the top of her game for the track we chose from her brand new project. Eric Bibb's new one features fiddle on a number of songs and his angelic voice added subtle shades to a song written by Harrison Kennedy. Ace Records has issued the second volume of Johnny Otis sides and we had no hesitation in marking his recent death with the landmark "Cold Shot" track taken from his 1969 album of same name. With Lady B in the piano slot, we went to Candye Kane for some 1999 recordings done live in Belgium - we also have a special prayer for her now she has a recurrence of her cancer. She has a big heart and balls enough to take on a Bessie Smith classic too.
Next week Paul Jones will celebrate his 70th birthday and so STAR BLUES will repeat the conversation I had with him on Christmas Day. He and I chewed the fat about the Blues Band, his role at the head of the British blues scene and some titbits of gossip. Until then at 10pm (GMT) on Sunday take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you
|Three Time Loser||Otis Grand||1||Hipster Blues||Otis Grand||BLISS STREET|
|Heatin' Me Up||David Dee||20||Goin' Fishin'||David Dee||ICHIBAN|
|Money Back Guarantee||Johnnie Bassett||4||Party My Blues Away||Johnnie Bassett||CANNONBALL|
|Crawling King Snake||Doors, The||8||L.A. Woman [40th Anniversary]||Doors, The||Rhino Records|
|Crawling King Snake||John Lee Hooker||11||The Roots Of The Doors||Various Artists||SNAPPER MUSIC|
|Space Guitar||Young John Watson||10||The History Of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 3 - The Rocknroll Years||Various Artists||Rhythm and Blues Records|
|Bad to Worse||Grainne Duffy||4||Out Of The Dark||Grainne Duffy||CDCG|
|Oh What A Dream||Ruth Brown||3||Miss Rhythm - Greatest Hits And More||Ruth Brown||SEQUEL|
|I Cant Make It Alone||Otis Clay||4||Hi Masters||Otis Clay||HI|
|Part Time Love||Little Johnnie Taylor||21||Birth Of Soul Vol. 1||Various Artists||Kent (U.K.)|
|Cold Shot||the Johnny Otis Show||14||Johnny Otis Story, Vol.2||Johnny Otis||ACE|
|I'm Tough (Tough As I Want To Be)||Phillip Walker||1||The Best Of Phillip Walker||Phillip Walker||HIGH TONE|
|Can't Hold Out Much Longer||Big John Wrencher||2||And This Is Maxwell Street||Various Artists||CATFISH|
|All Your Love||Magic Sam||14||Chicago Boss Guitars||Various Artists||FLYRIGHT|
|Every Day In The Week Blues||Pink Anderson & Simmie Dooley||3||Heavy Hitters Vol. 1||Various Artists||PIGMEAT RECORDS|
|Could Be Me Could Be You||Eric Bibb||6||Deeper in the Well||Eric Bibb||HARMONICA MUNDI|
|Wished I Was In Heaven Sitting Down||Mississippi Fred McDowell||3||The First Recordings||Mississippi Fred McDowell||Rounder|
|Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning||Rev. Robert B. Jones Snr.||10||The Time Of The Preacher||Rev. Robert B. Jones Snr.||ROJO|
|Stealin'||Lady Bianca||5||Servin' Notice||Lady Bianca||MAGIC-O|
|Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle Of Beer||Candye Kane & Sue Palmer||2||One Night In Belgium||Candye Kane & Sue Palmer|
|Ode To Fess||Henry Butler||12||Homeland||Henry Butler||BASIN STREET RECORDS|
|Rocking Boogie Party||Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne||12||An Old Rock On A Roll||Kenny 'Blues Boss' Wayne|