Joe Louis Walker has been round the block a few times and the only way he's not a superstar is that he ain't as pretty as Robert Cray. I've just about everything he's recorded and no two of his projects are the same. He got armfuls of awards for his "Blues of the Month Club" album and it seemed a fitting opener to STAR BLUES. Then straight back to an era where recording engineers carried clipboards and wore white coats and handlebar moustaches. They almost fainted when Eric Clapton got out his Vox AC30 amp and put it on a chair for his first album for John Mayall. He was loud with a capital *F* and they were about to pull the plug. Luckily Gus Dudgeon was on hand to save the sessions and as far as I'm concerned these were EC's finest sides - he truly played as if his very life depended on it. Otis Grand now has his most satisfying project in 20 years on the starting blocks. Like Dudgeon Otis has recorded his semi acoustic loud, front and centre on his "Blues 65" album. Our choice "Washed My Hand In Muddy Water" heavily featured Sugar Ray Norcia's voice and harp and Grand is happy to share the Kudos with him.
Buddy Guy was an acknowledged influence on Clapton, who fully expected Cream to function as a power trio in the Buddy Guy tradition. Guy's 1962 song "When My Left Eye Jumps" was a perfect example of why - on his day - Buddy could cut anyone. One of the other West Side Chicago masters was Otis Rush. We found him in 1958 for his COBRA single "Double Trouble” Both Rush and Guy had a certain edgy menace to their playing - a style taken to another level by Pat Hare (a troubled man, who started at Sun Records, did time in Muddy Waters band and died in prison). Our other guest who ironically ended his days behind bars was Calvin Leavy. His "Cummins Prison Farm" is thought by many to be the final "proper" blues record of them all. (They subscribe to a theory that blues ended in 1970).
Our 1001 feature was a hit for James Brown in 1967 and a track Albert King cut for Stax in 1969. King is deliciously funky as he stings relentlessly on top of a matchless exhibition of drumming from Al Jackson. Ace added the track as a bonus to their reissue of the "Years Go By" album. While thinking of James Brown, the axe chair was held down by Jimmy Nolen between 1965 and 1970 (remember "Papas Got A Brand New Bag"?). In 1958 he was inked by Federal for some terrific singles, I've made it my business to get them all since discovering his solo work in my earlier treasure trove from pastures North.
Larry Davis and Fenton Robinson can be treated as synonyms for quality and class. Davis did work for Virgo ably kitted out with Fenton's guitar. Mickey Baker is still with us and there's a splendid anthology of his 50s and 60s assists out on Rev-ola: any of the 31 tracks would be a gem, especially the partnership with Larry Dale on "After Hours Blues". Robert Randolph had an album celebrating the sacred steel tradition of the lap steel guitar, we took "Keep Your Lamp Trimmed" as our gospel outing. For obvious reasons we skipped over a piano offering but a couple of fabulous ladies kept us on topic - Beverly "Guitar" Watkins with "Baghdad Blues" on Music Master and the Atlantic cash in of an early track by Barbara Lynn as soon as she looked likely to get star status. I think I may have said before (once or twice or more) that electric blues guitar gets no better than T-Bone Walker and Albert Collins runs him mighty close second in my affections; add in Pee Wee Crayton and the job is almost done.
Both B. B. King and Luther Allison were easy choices and I held back just enough time to go to Elmore James for "Standing At The Crossroads". Then our first STAR BLUES of the winter was done (you did do the clock didn't you?). Our plastic duck family has been reunited and I am already lined up as stunt double to George Clooney in those difficult and dangerous romantic scenes with Angelina Jolie. He can't carry of a white tee shirt like me. They'll only be dangerous if you let Lady Blue find out. With fingers crossed for that I'll report for duty again next Sunday at 10pm (GMT) if you'll be at your place. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take of you.
|Blues Of The Month Club||Joe Louis Walker||1||Blues Of The Month Club||Joe Louis Walker||VERVE|
|All Your Love||Eric Clapton With John Mayall||1||Bluesbreakers Feat. Eric Clapton||John MayallEric Clapton||DERAM|
|Mojo Boogie||J. B. Lenore||9||Blues Guitar Masters||Various Artists||CHARLY|
|Every Dog’s Got His Day||Johnny Copeland||11||Slow 'N' Moody, Black & Bluesy||Various Artists||Kent|
|Bonus Pay||Pat Hare||1-10||blues guitar masters||various artists||charly|
|(Until Then) I'll Suffer||Barbara Lynn||10||A Good Woman||Barbara Lynn||Kent|
|Cold Sweat||Albert King||13||Years Gone By - Plus!||Albert King||STAX|
|the score||robert cray||2-6||blues guitar masters||Various Artists||charly|
|double trouble||otis rush||13||good 'uns||otis rush||westside|
|The Years Go Passing By||Larry Davis||22||Slow 'N' Moody, Black & Bluesy||Various Artists||Kent|
|Blue Shadows||Lowell Fulson||19||Blues Guitar Pioneers||Various Artists||BOULEVARD VINTAGE|
|The Hustle Is On||T-Bone Walker||13||Blues Guitar Pioneers||Various Artists||BOULEVARD VINTAGE|
|I Washed My Hands In Muddy Water||Otis Grand||6||Blues '65||Otis Grand||MAINgate|
|Cummins Prison Farm||Calvin Leavy||25||Southern Soul Showcase||Various Artists||Kent (U.K.)|
|my left eye jumps||Buddy Guy||1-9||Can't Quit The Blues||Buddy Guy||SONY|
|Baghdad Blues||Beverly 'Guitar' Watkins||2||The Feelings Of ...||Beverly 'Guitar' Watkins||MUSIC MAKER|
|The Freeze||Albert Collins||9||Blues Masters||Various Artists||RHINO|
|Need Your Love So Bad||Fleetwood Mac||10||Best Of||Fleetwood Mac||COLUMBIA|
|Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning||'the Word'||9||The Word||Various Artists||ROPEADOPE|
|Part Time Love||Luther Allison||1||Mississippi Blues||Various Artists||Putumayo World Music|
|MoviN' On Down The Line||Jimmy Nolen||22||Scratchin'-Federal 52-56||Pete 'Guitar' Lewis-Jimmy Nolen-Cal Green||charly R&B|
|Midnight Hours||Larry Dale With Mickey Baker's Orchestra||8||In The '50S: Hit, Git & Spit||Mickey Baker||Rev-Ola Bandstand|
|woke up this morning||b b king||4-18||blues guitar pioneers||various artists||boulevard vintage|
|Texas Hop||Pee Wee Crayton||14||Gaz's Rockin' Blues||Various Artists||ACE|
|Standing At The Crossroads||Elmore James And His Broomdusters||1||The Classic Early Recordings 1951-1956||Elmore James And His Broomdusters||ACE|