Monday, 30 March 2009

STAR BLUES on 29th March 2009 at 22:00

Three albums due at the end of April got a first play on last night's STAR BLUES: Aussie Mark Easton (who sent me a personalised dollar bill) with nu-style slide blues; veteran Louisiana Red in great vocal form, and an exciting new project from Omar Kent Dykes that already seems set to clean up at next years awards. Also in the second hour, rather than the expected sweet vocal harmony usually offered in the gospel spot, Elder Roma Wilson was along with a down-home harp based song "Waiting For A Change".

During the week producer, songwriter and label owner Ted Jarrett died so I included a handful of tracks to showcase each facet of this giant of Nashville blues. Latterly Fred James has been working with SPV to reissue a lot of things from those stables and I was pleased to be able to give Fred some credit for all his hard work.

We also celebrated Eric Clapton's 64th birthday today (Monday 30th) with a piece he did with John Mayall on the side shortly before joining the Bluesbreakers. You can expect more from both gents in a fortnight on the British Blues special. Time limits mean that show won't bring the story up to date so I had the chance to feature a handful of acts known for their live sets on the British blues circuit: Seasick Steve, Dana Gillespie and Jools Holland.

Actually the Dana Gillespie track nicely lead into a short celebration of the blues shouters Jimmy Rushing and Piney Brown - who says you don't get blues in all shades (especially as we got chance to sample Dion's cover and the 1935 original of "Baby Please Don't Go"). All being well there'll be more of the same (only different) on FM and online at next Sunday at ten until midnight - until then take care of yourself and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 23 March 2009

STAR BLUES on 22nd March 2009 at 22:00

If you're a fan of Doo-Wop or vocal R&B, last night's Star Blues was the place to be: Jackie Wilson at the helm of the Dominoes and the rich deep tones of Jimmy Ricks out front for the Ravens. Time was I'd given anything for a voice like his. I made good on a promise made a couple of weeks ago to play the Nat King Cole classic version of Bobby Troup's "Route 66", that was one half of a piano blues feature that did "Baby's Boogie" for the US-based grandson of a regular listener in Soham.

That one was less than an hour after a 1992 rock-blues workout from Johnny Winter - truly we have blues in all shades. By way of showcasing some British blues talent, there was Peter Green with Joe Louis Walker and Honeyboy Edwards on "Travelling Riverside Blues" - things are building nicely for the Easter Sunday special on the British Blues boom of the Sixties.

God willing we can be together again on Sunday at ten, on FM and online at - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 16 March 2009

STAR BLUES on 15th March 2009 at 22:00

I was lucky enough to have plenty of new releases on last night's show: the fine new set from J J Cale gave us the title track with some help from old friend Eric Clapton and the new one from Ruthie Foster did us proud on a slow blues based around Robben Ford's guesting guitar skills. She is a relatively new name who is old school and come up the hard way through live work. There's a survey of Aretha Franklin's influences and inspirations now out on Ace and I chose a fiery piece by Big Maybelle from her days on Savoy as an example of the fare on offer; and in a fortnight RCA will be doing a 4-cd set of Elvis Presley's gospel performances, for us he did "Run On" last night and it is worth remembering that Presley never got a Grammy award for Pop, Rock'n'Roll or Country despite dozens of nominations - he only had the silverware for his gospel songs.

Axel Zwingenberger is a fabulous boogie-woogie pianist (as well as having quite the best name possible for his copious talents) and he graced a Jack Dupree go at a Tampa Red classic for the first of my Piano Blues - the other was by the much missed Katie Webster who's "Two Fisted Mama" is being reactivated by Alligator. Other featured artists no longer with us included Stevie Ray Vaughn and Albert King who gave a duel guitar version of Vaughn's "Pride and Joy" to start the show.

Some government boffin has decided that a tax on chocolate is needed because we can't be trusted to eat it in sensible quantities and I bore this in mind when dedicating Tim Hain's "Death By Chocolate" to early-bird Caroline who starts work behind the scenes at 5 each weekday morning. I'm busy preparing a playlist for the Easter Sunday special on the Sixties British Blues boom and I am amazed at the world events going on at the same time, from Nixon to Woodstock, Concorde to BBC1 in colour, Monty Python and Oh Calcutta... There was also time for classic sides by Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, the Rolling Stones, Cream and so on - the challenge is going to be doing it all justice within two hours. I'll have a couple of things for folk's Mums and more new bits and bobs on this upcoming show on Sunday at ten on FM and on-line, I'll be pleased to enjoy your company. Until then take care of yourself and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 9 March 2009

STAR BLUES on 8th March 2009 at 22:00

Variety was the name of the game on last night's STAR BLUES with tracks from the rock-end of the spectrum, blues shouters, gospel, piedmont blues, piano and traditional Chicago style. Can there be another blues radio show on this planet brave enough to cover as many bases in two hours?

Bowling Green John Cephas died earlier in the week and I played two of his later sides made with long-time sidekick Phil Wiggins in tribute. The Piedmont style is a gentler acoustic form of the music, more intimate in nature with a high level of instrumental dexterity - though Cephas came late to the recorded arena, he was one of the finest exponents. I am on the look out for examples of his earliest solo sides and will include them if I have any luck.

Blues shouter par-excellence Big Joe Turner was on hand for a vintage cut and rival shouter Jimmy Witherspoon celebrated his recovery from surgery for throat cancer in 1992 with the title track of his then current project done for Mike Vernon's Indigo outfit.

Shamelessly I did another track by Sister Rosetta Tharpe - a major artist only now being afforded her dues. This was to show the vocal gymnastics in and around the gravitas of Marie Knight - and - her stinging guitar. A second gospel offering was provided by Jesse Fuller who completely defined the idea of a one man band with a self-made gadget called a fotdella - there's a photo of it in the booklet of the OBC album I chose for the track. We went to New Orleans for some piano hi-jinx with Fats Domino and Smiley Lewis and told the tale of Eugene Hideaway Bridges' woes with UK customs trying to honour a long-standing promise for a gig in Exeter.

The playlists will be posted at before long and, God willing, I'll be back with more of the same (only different) online and on FM next Sunday at ten. Until then, take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 2 March 2009

STAR BLUES on 1st March 2009 at 22:00

Star Blues returned to full duty last night including the promised musical tribute to Snooks Eaglin. He was known as the "Human Jukebox" with a vocal delivery very similar in style and tone to Ray Charles, with five decades worth of legacy I chose the small band side "Travelling Mood" he did for Imperial and the intimate song "I'm A Country Boy" off an OBC album.

The big event was the version of Gnarls Barclay's number one hit, "Crazy" off the "Evolution" album due next week from Aynsley Lister. That wasn't the only new release I was able to play: "The Soul of John Black" is the new one from Black John on Delta Groove, an album very much at the boundary of what many consider acceptable as blues. I'll let you make your own mind up on this one. There were classic blues sides from John Brim and Big Bill Broonzy and a "back-to-back" about the Bo Diddley song "Before You Accuse Me" -the Clapton go from Journey man had neat interplay with Robert Cray and provided evidence to back my assertion that Eric needs to be pushed to turn in anything half-decent. Feel free to disagree here.

Sister Rosetta Tharpe will be featured in a documentary tomorrow (Tuesday) so ample excuse for me to go to one of her earliest performances on "That's All". Seamlessly follow that with the latest M.C. album from Marie Knight and folks will think this stuff is planned. I'm already planning what's up for Sunday and four and a half hours will just about do it. The latest playlist will be on anytime soon and all being well we can get together again if you tune in on Sunday on FM or online at at ten and find out for yourself.Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue