Monday, 28 September 2009

STAR BLUES on 27th September 2009 at 22:00

Facebook seems to be working well for STAR BLUES at the moment with a number of playlist regular artists taking an active interest in the show and station. So it came to pass that we got the new album from Zakiya Hooker, daughter of the inimitable legend John Lee, onto last night's show. To judge her by her famous name is to do her something of a disservice, her portfolio includes both jazz and soul as well as top quality blues. We did her updated version of "Crossroads" as evidence. There's also a brand new album from George Thorogood called "Dirty Dozen" wherein he brings us 6 new songs and six rarities from 1989-1993 - from the first half dozen we took a stinging slide rendition of the Sleepy John Estes composition "Drop Down Mama". You can pretty much expect a return to this one as he's a real crowd pleaser.

Our winner of the tickets to see Maximum R&B at the Corn Exchange had to cancel through illness and generously allowed us to put his prize back into the pot. My question on the band that covered "Handbags and Gladrags" fooled no-one - congratulations to Lyn and to Roger who will see Alan Price, Maggie Bell, Zoot Money and the songs first hitmaker (Chris Farlowe) in concert. Incidentally, the song was written by Mike D'Abo but he doesn't have the gorgeous soul phrasing that Chris had and still has.

The piano spot was a welcome outing for "Pinetop's Boogie Woogie" by Pinetop Smith and I noted that within a couple of years Bing Crosby did a rather surreal and expectedly understated version. For the gospel tent, there were the Alphabetical Four sublimely supple on "I'm Gonna Walk Right In" and the uplifting lap steel mastery of Robert Randolph on the instrumental "Joyful Sound". I'd not done that one for over five years - why the Dickens not I'll never know, its not possible to hear it without smiling.

One of the satellite channels is using Freddie King's "Goin' Down" in a promo, so I played it in full on STAR BLUES to mark Freddie's upcoming birth date and that of the song's writer Don Nix. We remembered Sam Carr, legendary drummer, through his final recordings and for his partnership with Frank Frost as a "Jelly Roll King". This year has seen the deaths of number of blues giants but there are plenty of good things upcoming, of which Robert Randolph is one: in the next few weeks we'll feature a few more ... Watch this space as they say (a bit daft on radio but I didn't coin the phrase). There'll be more blues next week on Sunday night at 10 on the Commercial Radio station of the year 2009 - on FM and online at Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Gary Blue

Monday, 21 September 2009

STAR BLUES on 20th September 2009 at 22:00

Something of a piano feast got served up on last night's STAR BLUES. Leading practitioner Pinetop Perkins' session in Switzerland marked his inclusion in my make-pretend list of blues artists I'd share a car with and Amos Milburn took us down to his "Chicken Shack" for a bit of boogie. We also had Brit Carl "Sonny" Leyland over in New Orleans celebrating at the "House of Blue Lights" and German Axel Zwingenburger gracing a track from Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings. That one from their newest album and you can catch them live at Cambridge Corn Exchange on All Hallows Eve.

The other two car passengers - Guy Davis and Candye Kane - made an appearance and both would make good company with a wealth of stories to tell. Our own Blondie had a birthday so it was sort of fitting that I played "Denise" by Randy and the Rainbows (the original version of the big 70's hit for Ms Harry's band). Another birthday got marked for B. B. King (he was 84 on 16th) and I chose three up-beat songs to prove blues isn't all about depressing bad things.

Katherine Davis is playing near Peterborough on Saturday - so I played a track from her new album. Live blues music is still thriving, if you know where to look, and Katherine is the real deal. Don't forget the British R&B legends are in Cambridge on 28th complete with Alan Price, Maggie Bell, Zoot Money, Bobby Tench and Chris Farlowe. See you there?

Before then I hope to have your company again at 10 next Sunday night on FM or online at with more STAR BLUES, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Monday, 14 September 2009

STAR BLUES on 13th September 2009 at 22:00

Summer's definitely on the way out when my drive to the studio is in the dark -still it gave me chance to ponder three blues artists to spend the week with in a car just as those three brave souls are doing to win the "Innit to Winnit" competition in Ely starting Monday 14th. There's live coverage on Star everyday from 6 in the morning.

I settled on Pinetop Perkins, Candye Kane and Guy Davis, wonderful musicians with a rich vein of life to draw upon with stories to while away the hours. Who'd be your choice, must be living and bluesy??

Plenty of classics and new stuff on the playlist: we had a UK first play of the new album from Boo Boo Davis - not in the shops until October - a live favourite hereabouts through his gigs in Castor (Peterborough). Also a selection off Bill Wyman's "Best Of" collection, it has remastered versions of his live and studio recordings and we played his Rhythm Kings cover of the Bobby Bland hit "Turn On Your Love light". it has a remarkable vocal from Gary Brooker,just one of Many well-known peripatetic members of the Kings among others there's Georgie Fame,Albert Lee,Andy Fairweather-Low and now Gary US Bonds. Neat preview to upcoming gig - and STAR BLUES tix competition - in Cambridge. Return visits to the Jeff Healey's "Legacy", Mike Zito's fresh album, and the new one from Dave Riley and Bob Corritore got made- and I suspect we'll be back again before much longer. Ruby Turner supplied the gospel and Mercy Dee Walton was imperious at the piano keys.

With a clutch of dedications the show was over and done all too soon - you made me very welcome. I hope we can be together again on FM and online at the Commercial Radio Station of the Year 2009, next Sunday night at ten. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

STAR BLUES on 6th September 2009 at 22:00

My tenth year of blues on commercial radio got off to a fine start on Sunday's STAR BLUES with UK first plays from six (yes count 'em) new albums. The real peach is the one from Dave Riley and Bob Corritore, if you thought they don't make them like that any more - they do, and here's proof. We also had a rare - previously unissued - Ike Turner track that nestles at the end of the upcoming album by the Mr. Groove outfit.

STAR BLUES celebrated the legendary gospel artist Marie Knight and big-voiced Chicago bluesman Jesse Fortune who died during the week. Jesse never recorded under his own name anywhere near as often as his gifts deserved and we played his version of "Too Many Cooks" that later inspired Robert Cray. Marie started her career in gospel with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, her rich contralto voice in counterpoint duet on a thrilling "Up Above My Head" recorded in 1947 with the Sammy Price Trio - no other radio station on the planet was playing such uplifting music at 20 past 11 on Sunday. She later sang secular music, her "Come Tomorrow" was covered to commercial and financial success by Manfred Mann. Her last recordings were on a project to celebrate Sister Rosetta and a full album of versions of Rev. Gary Davis' compositions.

Fans of electric blues-rock guitar were sated with Aynsley Lister and Mike Zito and the traditionalists got a 1947 offering from Lightnin' Hopkins. Big Maceo and Amos Milburn worked their magic over those eighty-eights and the show was done far too soon. As I wrapped up the show heading off home for thirty nine winks, Nat in Australia was just starting her housework; I am the Mighty Mark Peters with her breakfast, though just an imitation of our very own brown-eyed handsome man I'm sure.

More blues, news, reviews and tomfoolery at ten next Sunday on FM and online at - I hope we can be together, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Gary Blue.