Our other Major MacGuffin was the run through of STAR BLUES awards winners for 2012, There are 4 categories up for grabs and (dddrrruuummmmmmmmm roll......)
ARTIST of the year: Bob Corritore
He is a harp-player, writer, producer extraordinaire with two major projects under his belt (one with Tail Dragger, one with Mud Morganfield); he hosts a weekly blues radio show playing our sort of blues; he tours all year round including a recent trip to Europe; he produces weekly news letters on the blues. I doubt anyone else did as much to keep the blues going in 2012 than Bob.
LABEL of the year: Alligator
For the first 8 months of the year, the Living Blues radio charts were topped by a release from Bruce Iglauer's imprint. The fact the list included the best one Joe Louis Walker has done (same for Rick Estrin, Lil' Ed and so on). They marked themselves out - in my opinion at least - by the way they handled the sudden death of Michael Burks. He had just finished the sessions for a beautiful album which showcased all his gifts and the resulting project was a fitting tribute to the Iron Man. This year is already destined to be another belter with an album from James Cotton on the way.
REISSUE LABEL of the year: ACE
For the fourth year on the bounce - but with stiff opposition from Veetone and Fantastic Voyage (who more than deserve honourable mentions). Ace has a policy of making sure royalties are paid, customers get previously unissued bonus cuts, there are intelligent and informative booklet notes. These guys are collectors themselves and they know their customers are too.
ALBUM of the year: Billy Boy Arnold sings Big Bill Broonzy (Electro-Fi)
In a year with plenty of albums I enjoyed and gladly went back to, there were just three real contenders to these ears: this one, Ann Rabson/Bob Margolin's "Never Too Old" and the one by Lurrie Bell called "The Devil Has No Music". Billy Boy sings and plays at the top of his game here, the songs go way back into the mists of bluestime from the pen of one of the most skilled (and successful) writers Big Bill Broonzy. There's a great ambience to the sessions, the players aren't overly reverential nor is there room for needless noodling or grandstanding. The mainstream blues world won't care about this lovely album: Billy Boy ain't good lookin and he don't play too loud.
The rest of our show was a journey into different styles as you'd expect. We had zydeco from CJ Chenier and classic female sounds of Lil Green. Jackson Sloan comes from Essex his work with Ray Gelato is gloriously unpretentious, and fun. Steve Hooker comes from the same neck of the woods and he inhabits the netherworld between blues, rock'n'roll, soul and rockabilly; one of his co-conspirators is James Hunter (remember "Kick It Around and backing Van Morrison) who also records as Howlin Wilf. A much under-rated singer if you ask me: he'll have a new album out real soon.
Super Chikan got us up and running with a manic run through of Freddie King's Thang and Eddie Burks was captured live in Rochester NY. John Primers efficient slide made the hairs on my neck stand up by covering "Canary Bird" on a 2 disc project on Chicago called "the (R) evolution continues". Expect some gongs going that way. Lurrie Bell was our nominal gospel choice with Hadda Brooks and Otis Spann holding down our piano spots.
All too soon our allotted 118 minutes were done and preparations start for next Sunday's show - I hope you'll share your company at ten pm next Sunday - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.
|Freddy's Thang||Super Chikan||1||Sum' Mo Chikan||Super Chikan||Chikan Howse Records|
|Bad Luck Woman||U.P. Wilson||7||The Good The Bad The Blues||U.P. Wilson||JSP|
|Walking Blues||Butterfield Blues Band, The||1||Butterfield Blues Band / East West||Butterfield Blues Band, The||ELEKTRA|
|Go Ahead And Blame Me||Mud Morganfield||9||Son Of The Seventh Son||Mud Morganfield||SEVERN|
|can't sit down||C.J. Chenier||1||Can't Sit Down||C.J. Chenier||World Village|
|I Know It's Hard But It's Fair||'5' Royales, The||21||It's Hard But It's Fair||'5' Royales, The||ACE|
|country boy||Buddy Guy||11||live at legends||Buddy Guy||silvertone|
|messin with the kid||junior wells feat. Buddy Guy||1-3||chicago the blues today||various artists||vanguard|
|Game Over||Howlin' Wilf||1||Leather Soul Volme 1||Various Artists||OOSoul|
|(I Wanna) Play A Little While||J. B. Lenoir||3||Mojo Boogie - An Essential Collection||J. B. Lenoir||FUEL 2000|
|I'm Packin' Up||Earl King||11||ace story vol. 5||various artists||ace|
|(Every Time I Hear That) Mellow Saxophone||Roy Montrell||18||The History Of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 3 - The Rocknroll Years||Various Artists||Rhythm and Blues Records|
|Rock Your Town||Carl Weathersby||1||Don't Lay The Blues On Me||Carl Weathersby||EVIDENCE|
|Count On You||Michael Burks||1||Show Of Strength||Michael Burks||Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.|
|Rocks Is My Pillow||Eddie Burks||6||This Old Road||Eddie Burks||rising sun records|
|get your hands out my pocket||Otis Spann||1||Chicago||Otis Spann||Testament|
|Rockin' The Boogie||Hadda Brooks Trio||8||Modern Music: 1945||Various Artists||ACE|
|Canary Bird||John Primer||4||Chicago Blues - A Living History, The (R)Evolution Continues||Various Artists||Raisin' Records|
|Cherry Tree Blues||Lil Green||3||Why Don't You Do Right||Lil Green||BLUES COLLECTION|
|Me And My Chauffeur Blues||Jo-Ann Kelly||3||Do It & More||Jo-Ann Kelly||Manhaton Records|
|Jumpin' On The Kansas Line||Jackson Sloan||1||Saturday Clothes||Jackson Sloan||SHELLAC|
|Sweet Honey Bee||Billy Boy Arnold||1||Billy Boy Arnold Sings: Big Bill Broonzy||Billy Boy Arnold||Electro-Fi|
|Way Down In The Hole||Lurrie Bell||9||The Devil Ain't Got No Music||Lurrie Bell||ARIA|
|Midnight Boogie||Tampa Red||10||Keep Jumping : 1944-50||Tampa Red||WOLF|