There were slight delays in the sequence to ensure we wished Buddy Guy a Happy Birthday as he turns 77 on Tuesday 30th and to congratulate Young Bob Cray now he's hit 60. Folks like me found the genre through his work as his incisive lyrics tackled complex relationship themes not normally associated with blues: his polished good looks at odds with the pain and heartache of his subjects. I've seen him live several times but he's only recently gained any real rapport with the audience, he said little between songs. Buddy Guy infuriates the heck out of me, he cranks up the volume too much for me these days and he can sometimes lose the plot during his seemingly endless solos. On his day he has no equals and whatever your thoughts, he's not slipping into old age gracefully or quietly.
Otis Grand is back with a real fun project with guitar recorded up front in the mix on short punchy songs; Joe Louis Walker began 2013 with a furious blast of aggressive playing on "Hellfire" for the Alligator label, the same imprint inked James Cotton (just turned 78) whose harp is majestic on "Cotton Mouth Man" with subtle tones and control of the highest quality. I bracket Johnny Rawls with Travis Haddix in so far as they are genetically incapable of making anything else other than top notch music - though neither has really received their due either commercially or in high profile awards.
Bobby Rush sounded effortless funky "Down in Louisiana" and Guy Davis' pairing with Italian harp player with Farbio Poggi drew heavily from the SonnyAndBrownie well (who says that's a bad thing). Like Rush he excels in the live arena. Big Bill Morganfield is currently in the media shadow of his half-brother Mud Morganfield but he channels his famous father through that growl and an edgy guitar. Lady Blue - who knows a thing or two about such matters - says he is sex on a stick. Lurrie Bell is a Delmark artist and he has a project so new the disc still clings to the sleeve like vinyl did as you take it out. This is Chicago blues at its best.
We've been saying for a while that our music is in good shape this year because Chicago blues is so good; another example came in courtesy of John Primer with Bob Coritorre showing how much two skilled artists can give to each other in the joy of playing together. Though the year has had moments of almost unspeakable sadness (the deaths of Magic Slim, Jimmy Dawkins, Bobby Bland and now J.J.Cale) there is still much to savour. I hope my purist friends will indulge me the track from Cale whose songs were covered by blues artists without being the conventional definition of same. His unhurried style and poignant lyrics have been at the heart of so many moments for me, can't believe he's gone. We also remembered the unique talent known as T-Model Ford, an artist in the old-fashioned tradition of telling whatever tale was expected of him and a cornerstone of the "Mississippi Hill Country" genre also put down by R.L> Burnside and Junior Kimbrough.
I hope our choices were right for the six day old Prince George or it'll be the Tower of London for me and definitely no knighthood. All being well we're back for more high treason and trivia and tomfoolery at ten pm (BST) this upcoming Sunday. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.
|Movin' on||Joe Louis Walker||6||Hellfire||Joe Louis Walker||Alligator|
|Those Days Are Gone||Otis Grand||12||Blues '65||Otis Grand||MAINgate|
|Blues Get Off My Shoulder||Robert Cray||6||Nothing But Love||Robert Cray||PROVOGUE|
|Stay Around a Little Longer||Buddy Guy Featuring B.B. King||4||Living Proof||Buddy Guy||SILVERTONE|
|Soul Survivor||Johnny Rawls||1||Soul Survivor||Johnny Rawls||Catfood|
|Jodie||Travis Haddix||1||Ring on Her Finder, Rope Around My Neck||Travis Haddix||Benevolent Blues|
|Young Bold Women||James Cotton||9||Cotton Mouth Man||James Cotton||Alligator|
|Money's Gettin' Cheaper||Big Bill Morganfield||3||Blues With A Mood||Big Bill Morganfield||101 Distribution|
|Cairo Blues||John Primer & Bob Corritore||4||Knockin' Around These Blues||John Primer & Bob Corritore||Delta Groove Productions|
|Fulton Blues||Corey Harris||6||Fulton Blues||Corey Harris||Njumba|
|Did You See My Baby||Guy Davis||8||Juba Dance||Guy Davis (Featuring Fabrizio Poggi)||Dixiefrog|
|Woke Up This Morning (With My Mind on Jesus)||Mavis Staples||9||One True Vine||Mavis Staples||Anti|
|Down in Louisiana||Bobby Rush||1||Down In Louisiana||Bobby Rush||DEEP Rush|
|New B&o Blues||Billy Boy Arnold||9||The Walter Davis Project||Various Artists||Electro-Fi|
|Goin' Down the Road Feelin' Bad||Habib Koité, Eric Bibb||13||Brothers In Bamako||Habib Koité, Eric Bibb|
|Come Back Home||T-Model Ford||9||You Better Keep Still||T-Model Ford||FAT POSSUM|
|Boogie Woogie Ball||Tail DraggerBob Corritore||9||Longtime Friends In The Blues||Tail DraggerBob Corritore||Delta Groove Productions|
|Hey Hey baby||lurrie bell||1||Blues in my soul||Lurrie Bell||DELMARK|
|You better listen||Lazy Lester||2||You better listen||Lazy Lester||Phonofile|
|Right Next Door (Because of Me)||Robert Cray||3||Strong Persuader||Robert Cray||MERCURY|
|I Can't Quit the Blues||Buddy Guy||2||Complete Vanguard Recordings||Buddy Guy||VANGUARD|
|Everlovin' Woman||J. J. Cale||13||Anyway The Wind Blows: The Anthology||J. J. Cale||POLYGRAM|