Monday, 26 January 2009

STAR BLUES on 25th January 2009 at 22:00

Thanks to a listener I was able to give the explanation about "Smokestack Lightning" on last night's show as well as offering "Buy-One Get-One Free" deals on Canned Heat and Howlin' Wolf. The enquiry had come about the classic song and the lyrics describe the sparks given off from the stack of those old fashioned locos running the length and breadth of the States. A small bit oi trivia there for when it goes quiet in the snug.

As well as the fabulous celebrations of blues, the founders of Canned Heat all had massive record collections of thousands of 78rpm discs - the show came full circle when I was also able to play a track by Joe Hill Louis from the soundtrack to a film "Desperate Man Blues" about the collection of Joe Bussard and shown on television on Friday night. The guy is amazing - in his Seventies with the enthusiasm of a teenager - playing air guitar along with a Robert Johnson rarity; he believes his enormous set of records should be played and enjoyed not stored away and revered.

The same night on television included a documentary and concert by Seasick Steve - a true wonder of the age, an old boy playing a single string diddley-bow to a rapt audience of 25000 (who'd have thought it would happen in their lifetime? Blues in the mainstream anyone?)

Blues & Rhythm magazine did a news piece on the show and was picked up by a new listener to the online service of the show. He had fond memories of the Cambridge blues scene in the 1960's including a historic gig by Little Walter at the Alley club. His letter to the show included photos and a whole host of Chicago Blues goodies that will get added to future playlists.

I also did tracks by the new albums from Bobby Jones (ex. Four Aces) and Joanne Shaw Taylor (a teenager with blond hair and nimble fretwork), piano blues in boogie and barrelhouse styles, gospel, a tribute to the late Fathead Newman and the usual tomfoolery. God willing, I'll be doing some more at ten next Sunday on-line and on FM - the playlists will be on tonight - until we can be together again take care of yourselves and take of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 19 January 2009

STAR BLUES on 18th January 2009 at 22:00

Eric Clapton, when interviewed, is unhappy with the guitar break on the seminal 1968 live version of "Crossroads" - I used the song as the first in a pair of tracks on the "Buy-One-Get-One-Free" promotion on the show. I put it with one of the best songs ever written about cars, "Terraplane", that Eric covered on his "Sessions for Robert J" project. My other artist in the feature was John Lee Hooker: teamed with Robert Cray for an updated go at "Mr. Lucky" in 1991 and shorn of celebrity guests for the Vee-Jay version of "Crawlin' Kingsnake" from the Fifties.

The much promised "Walkin' By Myself" from Jimmy Rogers graced the first hour of the show featuring the best harp solo in recorded blues history from Walter Horton. Feel free to disagree but you won't get me to readily change my mind.

There was some trivia for when things go quiet in the snug: Little Milton's "Grits Ain't Groceries" revealed that Mona Lisa was a man, something confirmed to me several years ago by a noted Art Historian.

As one of the younger listeners celebrates her first birthday this coming Thursday, I played Lady Bianca's "Baby's Boogie" for proud parents Kim and Mark and to mention Lady B's upcoming new album and appearance on the new "Astral Weeks - Live" project with Van Morrison. We played "Gloria" by Van and John Lee Hooker earlier in the show and you'd think the playlist was carefully planned wouldn't you? (It is but don't tell anyone). Speaking of new things lead neatly to the new single by U2 on the Monday Star Breakfast show and the U2/B. B. King gospel collaboration from "Rattle and Hum", "When Love Comes To Town".

The weekly celebration of piano blues included Roosevelt Sykes' "The HoneyDripper" and the Pilgrim Travellers provided "Straight Street" by way of the gospel spot: has there ever been a more beautiful use of the human voice?

By eight on Monday evening, the full playlist for the show will be on and I'll be back God willing with more top tunes and tomfoolery in a blues style next Sunday at ten pm (don't forget you can listen on-line through or on FM) - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 12 January 2009

STAR BLUES on 11th January 2009 at 22:00

The show was dedicated to the community currently living on the streets, particularly in Cambridge, Ely and in our area. Our daytime presenter Ryan Taylor will spend Thursday night on the street armed only with a tape recorder and the clothes he stands in, the results will surely prove eye-opening.

By way of the two-for-one offer in the STAR schedules, I played a couple of tracks by Muddy Waters and two from B. B. King - one of which was a rare version of the classic song "Why I Sing The Blues". We wished Patrick Swayze well with his current health troubles and included something from his good friend Jeff Healey to recall their collaboration on the "Roadhouse" movie. There was also some gospel from an unlikely source: Janis Ian - and some vintage piano blues from Lloyd Glenn and Jimmy Yancey.

Further to some enquiries about the show of 4th January, last night I was able to confirm the superb 1992 collection of Walter Horton's seminal Memphis recording is still available from Ace. His most celebrated performance is found on the track "Walkin By Myself" by Jimmy Rogers and I'll play that one on next week's show ...

Don't forget the show is live on FM and live through the web-site; I'll post the full playlist on this evening (Monday) and god willing I'll be back with more blues, news and reviews at ten next Sunday night. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Gary Blue

Monday, 5 January 2009

STAR BLUES on 4th January 2009 at 22:00

As well as the usual piano blues and gospel offerings, last night's show included two rare items - one by Robert Cray and the other featuring Eric Clapton. The Cray track is something he did in 1995 for a special project on Don Covay and though it features his best playing it is currently unavailable. Clapton's contribution to a session by Champion Jack Dupree sounds as if he's playing as though his life depended on it. The original vinyl album is worth a few bob and was never on cd until last year - then the disc was subsequently withdrawn two weeks after release. Look out for more rare items on future Star Blues.

I noted the retirement of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers and set out a case for a decent reward for his contribution to British Blues, how about Lord Mayall of Macclesfield? Robert Plant did get a CBE in the New Years list so we celebrated with the Everly's song "Gone Gone Gone" he did with Alison Krauss last year to great commercial and critical success.

There was also a frantic workout from a 1953 session done to eat up spare studio time just before midnight by Ruth Brown - in these days of overdubs and multitrack recording there's little chance of Leona Lewis or Alexandra Burke being able to emulate "Little Miss Rhythm".

There's a full playlist for the show from Monday evening at and I'll be back with more Star Blues at ten next Sunday night - until then take care of yourself and take care of those that take care of you. Happy New Year

Gary Blue