Monday, 27 July 2009

STAR BLUES on 26th July 2009 at 22:00

Thursdays at the Cambridge Folk Festival is "locals" day - this year headed by Ade Edmundson's Bad Shepherds - and Sam from Foxton (plus one) will be going by dint of winning last night's competition on STAR BLUES. Congratulations to her and sorry I only had one pair of tix up for grabs. Again this week I shared breakfast with Malaya and got messages from Italy where Olga is on tour. I played her version of the Memphis Minnie song "What's The Matter With The Mill?" though I'm sure I don't know what it means.

I got invited to have pix done on Friday but couldn't make it, there'll be no excuse though for not knowing what your other fave presenters look like. Is the Mighty Mark Peters the Brown-Eyed Handsome man his fans claim?

Sometimes the show features electric guitar at the expense of other blues axes, so the balance got redressed last night with harp maestros Sonny Boy Williamson, Rod Piazza and Sugar Ray Norcia and the (then) teenage piano skills of Matt Empson with a wonderfully dexterous workout on Slim Harpo's "Shake Your Hips" - full of pep and verve. He's a fully qualified lawyer these days though he's done time in the Big Town Playboys. Last week from facebook Abdul suggested Gary Moore's album "Still Got The Blues" and I was happy to oblige this time. Gary is on the "Ultimate Blues" album still nestling in the lower reaches of the mainstream charts; Beth Rowley is also there and sung a heartfelt version of "Nobody's Fault But Mine". Eric Bibb, Rory Block and Maria Muldaur brought some gospel and John Lee Hooker's "No Shoes" got onto the playlist by being featured on the soundtrack of a film I'd recently seen: "American Gangster" with Denzel Washington set in the late Sixties.

The news section was about the new releases due under Jeff Healey's name, one sanctioned and approved by his widow and estate, the other not. I guess fans will make their own minds up - both are legit. I'm rustling up more blues, news, reviews and gossip for the next show - watch facebook for how the show will shapeup - I hope we'll spend another two hours together next Sunday at ten on FM and online at on the commercial radio station of the year 2009, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Monday, 20 July 2009

STAR BLUES on 19th July 2009 at 22:00

Unperturbed by the unflattering lighting on the webcam and the pounds it adds, STAR BLUES launched to new technological heights with Facebook during last night's show. It did allow me to converse about an accident on the M11/A10, the shuttle bus in Newmarket and about breakfast in Malaya (We are the surrogate Terry Wogan at 6:30 am over there by all accounts).

The music fare was - as previously promised - based around a lunar theme to mark the fortieth anniversary of the moon landing. I also remembered Michael Collins from the crew, he was the one who stayed in the orbiter while messrs Aldrin and Armstrong did the easy stuff. My fave track was Howlin' Wolf's "Ridin' In the Moonlight" something he recorded at Sun studios. He was there a tad ahead of Elvis who did "Blue Moon Of Kentucky" with youthful exuberance of a song chosen for his mum Gladys.

I chose another track from Lucinda William's fine album, she's here in Cherry Hinton for the Folk Festival at the end of the month. It's sold out now so the only way to see her now is via the website where you can register to win tickets. What are you waiting for?

Tracks from new albums by Roy Rogers, Big James and John Nemeth - plus an upcoming album by Jesse Dee (a new name with a sweet soul voice and gritty hard driving band). Larry Davis did a suave version of "Three O'Clock Blues" to ease us out of the show, into the night and towards the Mighty Mark Peters and the lovely Amy on Star Breakfast.

The two hours really flew past last night and I'm already planning more of the same (only different) for the next show on Sunday at 10pm - I look forward to your company on FM and online with the Commercial Radio station of the year 2009. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 13 July 2009

STAR BLUES on 12th July 2009 at 22:00

Plenty of good old-fashioned blues last night from Young Jesse, Gene Phillips and Johnny Shines, Throw in some rarities from Muddy Waters, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Taj Mahal, some Piano Blues from B&R cover star Speckled Red and a suave gospel performance from a twenty year-old Sam Cooke - and you've got a flavour of what STAR BLUES is all about.

Roy Milton came along and gave Star Breakfast a plug with his Specialty recording of "Early In The Morning" and Booker T brought his "Soul Limbo" to mark the Ashes escape and plug his upcoming appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival (the instrumental is synonymous with cricket ever since Brian Johnston likened the West Indies crowd bashing of beer tins to the percussive opening to the tune). Listeners online (and viewers of the webcam) had a good opportunity to register at for the competition to win a pair of tickets for the festival that starts on 30th at Cherry Hinton Hall.

Etta James has had to cancel some gigs Stateside due to health worries, we wished her well and played one of her Chess soulful sides. I also accidentally settled an argument for one listener who assured his young daughter that Salt-n-Peppa's "What A Man" was not original - the evidence came from Linda Lyndell whose reading of the Dave Crawford song was done in 1968 for the Stax/Volt label. (It was also used in an advert on tv a couple of years ago). Not sure if the track is on any current album, I took mine from the 9-cd set of "Complete Stax/Volt Singles Vol.2" from about 15 years ago.

The white t-shirt will be there next week with more of the same only different, I hope to share your company on the Commercial Radio Station of the Year 2009 with Britain's only commercial FM blues show at 10. Until then take care of yourselves, take care of those that take care of you

Monday, 6 July 2009

STAR BLUES on 5th July 2009 at 22:00

Most avid listeners to STAR BLUES will already know this but the free disc on the new issue of UNCUT magazine (there are others) confirms my earlier assertion on how blues is back. To mark the continuing resurgence, and the breadth of the genre, I included tracks from Jimmy Reed, Wynonie Harris, Bobby Bland and Blind Boy Fuller on the playlist last night. Surely more than enough there to please the pure at heart?

Watermelon Slim is a member of MENSA - not your average bluesman stereotype I'm sure you'll agree - and he's one of the headliners at this months Cambridge Folk Festival. As it was 4th of July weekend, his "Red White and Blues" from his first blues album from 2003 seemed appropriate. My gaffe on Lloyd Glenn from last week was atoned for with a magnificent 1949 Chicago session from Little Johnny Jones (helped out by Muddy Waters on stinging guitar). To complete the restitution for the error I also had a nice piece from Jimmy Yancey with customary off-kilter ending.

The distaff side of blues was ably represented by the earliest Lavern Baker outing for Atlantic and a sensitive reading of Dan Tyler's "When Will I?" from Candi Staten in the gospel spot. A new name to me - Catherine MacLellan - followed Candi with "Everything'll be Alright" from her sophomore project, gently played and sung. Old-timers, Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood and Ry Cooder turned up to do their stuff; the Robert Cray Band backed John Lee Hooker and Booker T & MGs backed Albert King, while Tommy Castro claims "You Can't Keep A Good Man Down". No argument here.

I'm making plans for a special show due August Bank Holiday Sunday and already sorting out somethings for next weeks offering on blues from the Commercial Radio station of the Year 2009 - on FM and online at starting ten pm. My playlist for this show will be on before the end of the day and I look forward to spending two hours in your company on Sunday, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue