Monday, 25 May 2009

STAR BLUES on 24th May 2009 at 22:00

I celebrated the bank holiday by taking the show to my floating ornamental duck palace on my moat: the settings are modest and a little cramped since no expense has been spent but we still managed a full rundown of the 2009 Blues Music Awards. I did something from each of the winners, all were already known to regular listeners - proving how STAR BLUES reflects the contemporary blues scene as well as stuff from the classic era.

Buddy Guy won in two categories, his "Skin Deep" album is the most complete project of his career, similarly honoured was Janiva Magness who had a style makeover about a year ago; she then joined Alligator, got some great songs and a tight little band, now her long overdue success has arrived. Nice to see recognition of Kenny Neal's songwriting talent in "Song of the Year" category and the posthumous award (in a brand new category) given to Jeff Healey's final recordings on "Mess Of Blues".

The show wasn't entirely devoted to the awards, I made mention of two women with health worries: Candye Kane marked her year since successful surgery for pancreatic cancer with her best album "Superhero" and Natalie Cole brought us a robust version of the jazz-blues standard "Since I fell For You" and we wish her well after her kidney transplant on Thursday just gone.

That Roscoe Gordon platter did turn up and the boss at home was right as it was still in my computer - I do refute the "senior" description of my mental acuity however, the portrait I have in the attic guarantees my youth (or it does according to the guy I paid nine shillings to).

The Staple Singers did the gospel offering for us and the piano blues spot had the BMA winner Marcia Ball helping out on the Soul Blues album from Irma Thomas called "Simply Grand". There's been a lot of internet scuttle-butt on how the awards only go to the usual suspects but the argument is complete nonsense: only two winners held on to their crowns and all the winners WERE the best in the respective categories: B B King, Buddy, Irma, Janiva, Jeff and the others did work at the top of their games, not just in my opinion but that of the critics and listeners through the year.

I had time to slip in a little gem from Shakey Jake with a fine guitar solo by his nephew Magic Sam - at the request of one of the loyal online listeners. You can do like wise or find us on FM at the home of the 9-5 no repeat workday and God willing I'll be back with more of the same only different at ten next Sunday, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 18 May 2009

STAR BLUES on 17th May 2009 at 22:00

... or the (empty) case of the missing cd? There I was all set to play Rosco Gordon on last night's STAR BLUES show and the digipack was empty, zero-content, missing, bereft and deficient. A check on previous playlists at shows I've never played it before so the question is baffling in the extreme. The boss at home puts it down to a senior moment but as a mere slip of a lad she surely can't mean me?

I did find and bring new albums from Alex Dixon, Seth Walker, Sugar Pie deSanto and a double anthology of the singles put out on Goldwax - all of which come recommended in their own way: the Goldwax set is just the first of three and I for one can't wait. George Thorogood and Jeff Healey did us proud at the top of the shop and they set the stage for classic blues by Elmore James and Howlin' Wolf. There can be no other blues show on the planet willing to go to as many bases in two hours - a claim backed by tracks from Etta Baker, Big Joe Turner, The Golden Keys, the Ikettes and Jimi Hendrix. A further gospel offering came from an unusual source - Frankie Lee - and there was a sublime piece of West Coast action on the keys from Floyd Dixon. He was accompanied with Oscar Moore on guitar and life gets no better than that.

This upcoming Sunday (24th) is a bank holiday so I'm having a look at the Oscars of the blues world with bits and bobs from the runners, riders and winners. All being well I'll have one winner's cd to give away in a competition so I hope you can be with me on FM and on-line at where there is a 9-5 no repeat workday. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 11 May 2009

STAR BLUES on 10th May 2009 at 22:00

The Delaware Destroyer, George Thorogood, will be in town on Thursday 21st and STAR BLUES had a pair of tickets to give away, so the first hour of the show included a question on George's stadium theme song. That set the tone with plenty of uptempo stuff, including a debut for youngster Tas Cru with "Money Talks" - his own song about the pay to play practice prevalent for young bands in the States. His booklet artwork looked a bid dodgy - more in keeping with a rapper than a bluesman - but the content is far better than those first impressions suggest. Why is it bands don't put more effort into presentation, and why not put your best track as #1 in the sequence?

In that first sixty, we had vintage performances from Gene Phillips on Modern and the Wailers who have no connection with Bob Marley and the Chess remake of Tommy McLennan's "Bluebird" done by Howlin' Wolf. Robert Plant shared his song-title with those Wailers but entirely different pieces, his voice has aged gracefully with more timbre to his tone now than in his Zeppelin days. Buddy Guy continued the rambunctious feel into Hour-2 with his career-enhancing cut from 1991 that sparked the Blues boom of that decade: "Damn Right I've Got The Blues". No argument from me. Seasick Steve and Eli-Paperboy-Reed are up for awards from Mojo magazine, STAR BLUES celebrated this further penetration into the mainstrream with tracks from both guys.

On the awards front, this is OSCARS time in the blues world and you can expect a special show in a fortnight (Bank Holiday Sunday) with all the runners and riders. Closer than that, next weeks playlist will have something from Seth Walker's new album and a first play of one from Alex Dixon both come with glowing reviews from the States; find out why next week on line at or on FM, at the home of the 9-5 no repeat workday, Star Radio. Until we get chance to spend more time together at ten next Sunday, take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 4 May 2009

STAR BLUES on 3rd May 2009 at 22:00

By coincidence or just serendipity the last week has been good for the blues in the media with two whole evenings dedicated to British Blues on a satellite TV channel - just three weeks after STAR BLUES did a special show on the subject. Evidence that the powers in charge have their dials set or web-site streaming tuned our way on a Sunday night? Many items of my playlist were put there to compliment what was going on - one highlight was the documentary on Bobby Bland, not for nothing known as "The Voice". You owe it to your grandchildren to bring them up listening to Bobby Bland, in support of that advice I included Bobby's first recording done for Duke in 1952 "No Blow No show". Another highlight from the series of shows came from Freddie King with "Woke Up This Morning" who had last been seen in white jump suit and rainbow shirt with collars so wide he'd have lifted a 747 if the wind changed.

Talking of mornings, I had chance to mention Ely Eels and the Mighty Mark Peters - Chuck Berry's "Brown-Eyed Handsome Man" seemed to be what was required. Though in the interests of following the Ofcom regulations on honesty, taste and decency I had to point out that the webcam does not lie. The traffic and travel service he and Amy provide each weekday morning is however invaluable, not the least of which when trying to negotiate Bank Holiday Weekend roads.

Mark Lamarr has discovered a little known statute that for every Chuck Berry track, there must be one from Bo Diddley, I had no hesitation in complying with the legislation with the original version of "Who Do You Love" - I played George Thorogood's version last week and this upcoming Sunday I'll have a pair of tickets to give away for George's show at the Cambridge Corn Exchange.

The week ended on a high note with Bob Dylan at No. 1 in the album charts and another track played from his excellent album I suspect a few blues purists will have run for the hills at that and from the timeless blues riff that started the show from Led Zeppelin. I hope they made it back for the rest of the show with classic performances by Champion Jack Dupree, Fenton Robinson, Mississippi John Hurt, Fred McDowell, Little Esther and Sister Wynona Carr in the second hour of the show. I doubt there is another live blues show that covers as many styles of blues in two hours. I'm already putting together two more for you next Sunday at ten on FM and on-line at, I'll be pleased to share your company. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue