Monday, 29 June 2009

STAR BLUES on 28th June 2009 at 22:00

A rather raucous start to STAR BLUES last night with a dose of guitar blasters carrying on the tone from Neil's excellent Rock show: Danny Bryant breaks his Scandinavian tour celebrating 10 years in the business with an upcoming pair of gigs in East Anglia, and his mentor Walter Trout clocked up two decades with an album of rarities from the past and present - both got early spins on the playlist. The pace eased somewhat with a slow blues from Z. Z. Top to open the way for later tracks of classic Chess blues from Jimmy Rogers and the Excello genius of Jerry McCain.

Bobby Day's original of "Rockin' Robin" (propelled by Earl Palmer's peerless sticksmanship) was our way of marking Michael Jackson's death a few days ago and Elvis contributed his beautiful "So High" from the 1966 Grammy winning gospel album "How Great Thou Art". (Though in his career he was nominated for Country, Rock'n'Roll, Blues and Pop - he only ever won in the Gospel category). Susan Tedeschi will be at Cherry Hinton at the end of July for the Cambridge Folk festival, by way of a teaser I played a song from her brand new album - so new it's still smokin'.

I did succumb to a senior moment yesterday about one of my chosen piano blues artists, Lloyd Glenn. Rather than get a name for himself playing with Elmore James, it was - as anyone knows - Lowell Fulson. The man who did splendid work at the keys for Elmore was Johnny Jones. (By way of atonement, look for a track by him on the next show).

David Dee is on the cover of the new "juke Blues" magazine, reason enough to play his signature piece "Goin' Fishing" - inside the mag, Star Blues gets a mention too. (Other blues mags are available). I'll be compiling another submission to the radio charts tonight, then my playlist will be posted at I hope you can spare some more time on Sunday night at ten on FM or online at for more of the same (but guaranteed to be different to any other blues show on the planet). Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Gary Blue

Monday, 22 June 2009

STAR BLUES on 21st June 2009 at 22:00

Don't tell anyone but it looks like Blues Is Back, though many would say it's never been away. The download providers' now offer decent selections of the genre, including the recent addition of many items from the leading imprint for modern blues: Alligator. There can now be little excuse for not acquainting yourself with Koko Taylor, Albert Collins or Kenny Neal (to name but three) - and I had some examples on last night's STAR BLUES.

Nestling just inside the top-20 album charts is also "Ultimate Blues" a double-cd set with decent tracks from the usual suspects and a few more - I particularly note the inclusion of Homesick James and I went to his Prestige sessions in 1964 for Sam Charters to demonstrate why he deserves to be there. Imelda May also has a song on that album and I played it to mark her appearance at this year's Glastonbury and upcoming Cambridge Folk festivals. Next week I'll feature a track from another artist due at Cherry Hinton on 30th July onwards.

The gospel offering came courtesy of the marvellous vocal tone of Ollie Haskins and the Dixie Nightingales, their "I Don't Know" was originally out on the Chalice label (a susidiary of Stax) and is now on a cd "Memphis 60" with rare cuts from the city that shaped music at the turn of Sixties/Seventies. George Thorogood and Eric Clapton got outings for Fathers' Day and Carl 'sonny' Leyland paid tribute to the boogie and barrelhouse styles of Chicago with "Southside Stuff".

STAR BLUES is the only blues show in the UK to report to Living Blues magazine as part of their monthly radio charts and we're proud to be listed as a contributor to the current issue (#201 with Magic Slim on the cover) and to their web-site version. There are other blues magazines: LB is regarded as the benchmark worldwide and helps spread the good word on STAR BLUES that bit further. Don't forget all the playlists are at and they are time-coded and searchable. God willing I'll be back on FM and online at at ten pm next Sunday, I look forward to your company. Until then take care of yourselves and take take of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 15 June 2009

STAR BLUES on 14th June 2009 at 22:00

There's a new book out drawing on reminiscences of Jimmy Page and the Rolling Stones and provided an excuse - not that I need - to play tracks from both on the show last night. STAR BLUES also took an unusual look at the upcoming Cambridge Folk Festival by playing an AC/DC cover off Lucinda Williams' new album - she tops the bill at the end of July. There's a strong lineup of names of interest to avid listeners and I'll feature another one every week until the day. Disgracefully overlooked by HM Queen in the birthday honours, John Mayall supports BBKing on the short series of stadium-size dates underway this week. Henceforth known as Lord Mayall of Macclesfield he did a great run through of "Cannonball Shuffle" in evidence of his claim and Mr. King got an outing from his best cd - not for nothing, King of the Blues.

This year the boss has taken on an allotment and our first crop of spuds is small but perfectly formed - former cop Robert Brown was on hand "Diggin his Potatoes" under his nom-de-blues - Washboard Sam. No other blues show on the planet combines gardening advice of this quality. Add to the mix the very first plays of albums by John Nemeth, Duke Robillard and Ronnie Earl and you've got a pretty varied two hours. That's without mention of piano blues from Dr. John and Eddie Boyd and gospel from the Staple Singers. The latter also provided a way of marking the death of session keyboard player Barry Beckett who starred on a number of classic sides from the likes of Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin. Oh to have been at those sessions, many including the much missed guitarist Duane Allman who started the show with familiar gusto in the songbook of Blind Willie McTell.

I've a couple of requests for Father's Day next week when Star Blues returns at 10 on FM and online at the Commercial Station of the Year 2009. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you
Gary Blue

Monday, 8 June 2009

STAR BLUES on 7th June 2009 at 22:00

On Wednesday 3rd the Queen of the Blues, Koko Taylor, died following complications after surgery in Chicago. Three weeks earlier she had given a sparkling performance during the celebrations at the Blues Oscars (as well as collecting her 25th award, more than anyone else). So the show last night dipped into her 50 year recording career from her earliest days with Chess to her Indian summer successes for Bruce Iglauer's Alligator outfit. If you've any doubt as to her importance and influence, just ask BB King, Robert Cray, Bonnie Raitt, Susan Tedeschi, Buddy Guy .... She has a small cameo in the movie "Blues Brothers2000" but you should also check out her natural habitat in Martin Scorsese's Blues films at a Chicago club. Already very much missed.
It was also time to start a short season of previews for the upcoming Cambridge Folk Festival at Cherry Hinton Hall on 30th July: Diana Jones will be there and her second album gave us a taster of her folk and country blues roots with her own composition "Cracked and Broken".
Both Cousin Joe and Mabel Scott are being reissued at the moment if you get your blues in download format, I showed why they are worth investigating with a track from each.
I've not played anything by Steve Howell before, which probably says more about my imperfect filing system at home than it does about him: he's a fine interpreter of classic blues with an easy to listen to manner; in contrast we did a bit of jump blues from Louis Jordan, piano tinkling from Mitch Woods and a gospel flavoured go at "People Get Ready" from Holland's Hans Theesink.
As an aside, congratulations to Ryan (our mid-morning presenter) who now needs to extend his mantleshelf to accommodate his Arquiva award as best newcomer. This will be the first of many.
God willing, I'll be back next Sunday online at and on FM at the home of the 9-5 No-Repeat workday. Until then, take care f yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 1 June 2009

STAR BLUES on 31st May 2009 at 22:00

At the centre of last night's STAR BLUES was a rare live track featuring Stevie Ray Vaughan with a guest solo from Jeff Beck. Though twenty years have passed since its recording, the piece still delights in its luxuriant playing from two guys really on form. I went to the SRV box set for the track, not available before or since. We also had something from Rod Piazza's new album for Delta Groove - "Soul Monster" is easily his best work for over a decade and his wife, Miss Honey, is understated and sympathetic throughout on keys.

I also did a first play for a guy born in the West Indies but got to be very much an Arizona bluesman at age five: Big Pete Pearson. He revelled gloriously on his own song "I Don't Know You" off his album "The Screamer". Eric Clapton started the show with something from the Robert Johnson project, he also closed the show in duet with Buddy Guy on their version of the classic piece "Early in The Morning".

The 65th anniversary of Operation Overlord will take place this week and I marked it with the Otis Redding version of Sam Cooke's "Change Is Gonna Come". We did some piano from Little Willie Littlefield and the disgustingly over-talented Mike Sanchez (he has my share as well as his own, then some). By 1963 Muddy Waters was known as the Father Of Chicago Blues with a non-pareil reputation as band leader attracting musicians of the highest calibre: he also recorded some sides that would latterly be known as unplugged, accompanied with just his own guitar his "Feel Like Going Home" from that year was quite beautiful.

I have a dilemma at the moment as to inclusion in the show of anything from the new album from a new artist - though not all of it is bluesy enough, it is his proclamation on his sexuality that gives me most trouble. The details aren't troubling, the upfront declaration is: he has made an issue of it before you can get the disc from the jewel case. For me the music and the connection it makes are what is important and that's how I want to judge if it should be on the playlist. The album from this artist changes the rules of the game and the genie is now out of the bottle, let me know what you think? You take care of yourselves and those that take care of you until we can spend some more time together at ten next Sunday on FM or online at the home of the 9-5 no-repeat workday

Gary Blue