Sunday, 27 December 2009

STAR BLUES on 27th December 2009 at 22:00

A special show to round off an exceptional year for blues music. I've been fortunate enough to listen to about 150 brand new albums in 2009 and to celebrate the depth of riches on offer, I've inaugurated an annual awards show There's no fancy statuette, glitzy ceremony, red carpet or champagne just recognition of the pleasure we got here at STAR BLUES.

Though the weather hampered our review show last week, I still had time to run through 20 or so of the very best new albums - in all shades. Wonderful piano blues from Irma Thomas, effortless economical guitar from Johnnie Bassett and it even sounded like Joe Louis Walker was having fun (and his album is cd-of-the month in LIVING BLUES magazine and in BLUES && RHYTHM magazine). Those were pipped at the post by "Lucky to be Livin'" by DaveRiley and Bob Corritore - if you thought they don't make em like this anymore: well here's evidence they do! Tough, uncompromising blues in the old fashioned way in tribute to Frank Frost.

Our artist award goes to Candye Kane for her tireless support of less well represented folks not normally discussed openly in polite circles (such as violence against sex-workers). She resolutely plays the hand she's been dealt and has had ten lifetime's experience already (including pancreatic cancer). Oh she also found time to make her most satisfying album too with "Superhero".

She records for Delta Groove who picked up the virtual prize for label of the year, London's Ace Records got the same prize for Reissues by dint of their presentation and scrupulous policy of ensuring all artists, writers and publishers get their dues. The full playlist is linked to the STARBLUES fb group, but the twenty or so items there only scratch the surface of what was available this year.

A shameless plug for my "extra" show on New Years Day at 7pm where we can spend two hours on Another Side of Gary Blue. I'll also be back with more blues next Sunday (next year for goodness sake) at 10pm. You've made me extremely welcome at your place every Sunday this year, its been a pleasure and a privilege to spend time with you - wishing you good health, happiness and lots of success in 2010.

Until we're together again, take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you, GB

Monday, 21 December 2009

STAR BLUES on 20th December 2009 at 22:00

The weather defeated me for just the second time in nine years last night and stopped me getting to the studio for last night's STAR BLUES and I missed your company. That wasn't the only shock of the week either ...

The glittering party / awards season started in earnest last week and I braved the daylight hours on Thursday to mingle with the great and the good. You could've knocked me down with a feather: it's as if Ryan Taylor and me are identical twins, no wonder people confuse our photos on facebook. He now has a cherished companion piece for his mantleshelf to go with his Arquiva Presenter Award and we all gave him his props accordingly. Our very own Brown-Eyed Handsome man couldn't make it but otherwise gaiety, bunting and frolics for everyone was on the menu.

I've missed the opportunity to wish you and yours a very happy Christmas (or happy holiday if you prefer), even if you've joined me on Santa's naughty list I don't suppose he'll fly past your chimney on Thursday night. Spare a thought for the young men and women serving overseas that can't get home at the moment, and remember those that won't. All being well I'll be bringing you a roundup of the years best blues next Sunday at 10pm (GMT) including the announcement of artist and album of the year. Until then on 107.9/1FM for Cambridge, Ely and the Fens - on www, for the rest of the world - take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Gary Blue

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

STAR BLUES on 13th December 2009 at 22:00

With temperature reports of minus 18 degrees coming in from a Stateside listener, the foggy climate for those contacting STAR BLUES from Cambridge, Ely and Newmarket must have seemed positively sweltering. I had a few things to say about the Grammy award nominations in the blues categories and concluded that - in this year of really good blues releases - the nominations really didn't do justice to the gems on offer. Those I've heard are decent enough with nice playing but I have yet to fathom how the selection process works. Between now and 2010 I'll play you some of the choicest cuts oy the year from my collection along with some of your nominations ...

Monday, 7 December 2009

STAR BLUES on 6th December 2009 at 22:00

Elvis Presley's earliest recordings came directly from his roots and influences - country and blues, and many of his fans came to those genres through him. STAR BLUES last night was pleased to be able to show of those seminal recordings, both from the man himself and in their original guise. There's a month leading up to the 75th anniversary of his birth on 8th January that kicks off with "Elvis:75" a box set of that number of his best known songs. We used the selection for the core of the playlist.

So the fare also gave us an excuse, if one were needed, to showcase Arthur "Big-Boy" Crudup, Junior Parker, Wynonie Harris, Roy Brown, Arthur Gunter with Chuck Berry, Big Joe Turner, Little Richard and Lloyd Price. The narrative touched on the spelling of his middle name (Aron), the truth behind "My Happiness" his first recording several months after his mother's birthday, the roles played by Dewey Phillips and Marion Keister in starting off Elvis' incredible career. I also mentioned the speculation that Elvis went to London with Tommy Steele and the importance of the January 1969 sessions that produced "Suspicious Minds".

That March 1960 stopover caused an on-air gaffe with my mixup over Ayr and Airdrionians in trying to establish why Elvis was keen to see their encounter that Ayr won 1-0 a couple of days after his stopover at Prestwick. To the loyal (and ex-pat) supporters of Ayr, I humbly apologise.

Though nominated for Grammys in Pop, Rock, Country and Gospel categories, the three he won were for the latter genre - the first of those in 1967 for the album "How Great Thou Art". That gave us the track for our weekly Gospel Spot: "Run On" sung with great fervour. During his lifetime I never really appreciated his work, perhaps for purist reasons, but the gospel he did opened my mind to his other work.

Just ahead of the closing festive Elvis piece, I gave out an invitation to an *extra* show I will be hosting on New Years Day from 7pm: "Another Side Of Gary Blue". Over the next few days, I'll post further details on facebook but I hope we can start 2010 with some rare and familiar friends not usually heard on commercial radio. Though the menu won't be blues, I hope you'll want to come along.

This upcoming week I'll have a look at the new nominations for Grammys and give a few pointers on what you can buy blues-wise for Christmas. All that and more at 10 on Sunday from the Home of the 9-5 No-Repeat workday, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.