Wednesday, 30 June 2010

STAR BLUES on 27th June 2010 at 22:00 - EXTRA!

Breaking news!!! Following STAR BLUES' first festive song of 2010, the satellite movie channel MOVIES24 is going to be showing Christmas films every weekend in July.

Star Blues - the only blues show you can trust to be first.

Monday, 28 June 2010

STAR BLUES on 27th June 2010 at 22:00

Just like in Blumfontaine, it was a football free zone for STAR BLUES last night. There was a competition for two tickets to see Robert Cray (congrats to Tony who not only knew BB King is the "King of the Blues" but was first out of the hat), more new albums a 95th birthday and a Christmas record.

I had chance to tell the story of Calvin Leavy who died on 6th June, the poignancy of dying in prison forty years after writing about it was palpable. The full story is in Juke Blues magazine (#52) and "Cummins Prison Farm" remains a classic blues single for all that. Top of the shop we had tracks from the latest offerings on Blind Pig from John Nemeth and Magic Slim - at the tale end one of Jeff Healey's final jazz sides conjured up the very best work from Django Reinhart, his dextrous playing was a real delight.

Dave Honeyboy Edwards is 95 today (28th June), he is still active and his distinctive plaintive voice and guitar were helped by the harp of Bobby Rush on a 2007 session for the Earwig album the celebrates his career. I already have made a note to get his autobiography "The World Don't Owe Me Nothin'". There is a connection back to Robert Johnson but Honeyboy deserves his own place in blues history. We were in the Crescent City for Champion Jack Dupree and Professor Longhair and in Memphis with Al Green for the gospel spot. The Rev. Green's voice is a mere gentle breeze in a field of gossamer.

I noted that our very own Slender Man, the Mighty Mark Peters, was online but his head must have been in his hands when I did my annual first play of a Christmas record - no other station has yet started their festive selection for 2010, so I started the ball rolling with Clarence Carter's "Back Door Santa". In truth Carter just reworked the familiar Back Door Man theme with sleighbells and wickedly lascivious "Ho Ho Ho"'s.

I have a special folk and roots show on Friday 2nd July to mark this years Cambridge Folk Festival, with a pair of tickets and a cd to give away. I hope you'll be able to spend three hours from 7pm celebrating acts on this years bill and those from years gone by. Plus I'm back next Sunday 4th at 10 with more STAR BLUES, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Monday, 21 June 2010

STAR BLUES on 20th June 2010 at 22:00

Hot on the heels of the most awesome Rock Show line-up imaginable, STAR BLUES last night had a Father's Day special, an exclusive track that you won't hear anywhere else and a preview of a new album from Robert Cray. We are also worried about our very own Slender Man but more of that later ...

Fathers on the show included Luther Allison, John Lee Hooker, Rufus Thomas, Johnny Copeland, Muddy Waters and Carey Bell and their talents went alongside those of the children: Bernard, Zakiya, Carla, Shemekia, Big Bill Morganfield and Lurrie. All are familiar names to regular listeners though we did miss a trick by including "Hell Of A Lovin' Man" off the new one by Chris Beard but nothing from his dad, Joe. The exclusive track was a special edited version of the fine "I'll Be Your Lover" by Toni Spearman from her "Can't Get lovin'" album and we are grateful for the work put in to get us the song in time for the show.

Robert Cray was recorded in Austin Texas for the King Biscuit Flower Hour Radio Show in 1985 and the original issue Stateside was heavily bootlegged. Mercury now have the rights to the tapes and there's a new "Authorized Bootleg" due out next month. We had two tracks, one a cover of Albert King's "Natural Ball" that he hasn't done anywhere else. I think I may have said how much I hate Cray: he's good looking, he can write, he can sing, he can play guitar (I have everything he's recorded including sessions and guest appearances). He will be in Cambridge on July 10th -- see you there?

I came across a picture of Little Sammy Davis on the front of a recent Living Blues magazine at the same time as finding his "Goin To New Orleans" off an anthology of stuff by Henry Stone, it was a little gem and sat well on the playlist. . Fats Domino did the piano blues for us and we also went to Louis Jordan and the Dixieaires from a marvellous 4-cd package from the RhythmandBlues label, a sumptuous set with 68 page paperback book with information on songs and on the historical context of how blues morphed into rock'n'roll. Jordan was a key figure and the Dixieaires gospel harmonies were enthralling and the show was over before we knew it.

The Mighty Mark Peters has a substantial following in the STAR BLUES Community and there is real worry over his passion for a full English breakfast and how he will retain his Slender tones. I did give some reassurance that he won't need a new theme song as this is just a sympathy pang with the lovely Amy and he is allowed the occasional treat - just to be sure we will put James Armstrong on stand-by in case the theme song needs to add extra lyrics. My white tee-shirt is XL by the way and I have several - though I'm not sure of Mark's dress code for Breakfasts. Its compulsory for me on STAR BLUES, I hope to have your company at 10pm (BST) next Sunday on your station that plays Cambridge & Ely's Greatest Hits - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Monday, 14 June 2010

STAR BLUES on 13th June 2010 at 22:00

We had no embarrassing fumbles to speak of on the playlist; instead we had some truly great vocal talents on STAR BLUES last night in answer to those other blooze shows that have end-to-end teenage plank-spankers: Big Joe Turner, Big Maybelle, Chuck Willis, Tiny Topsy, Screamin Jay Hawkins, Jackie Wilson and Sam Cooke. (OK we're stretching the definition for Jalacy Hawkins given that his track was the irrepressible "I Hear Voices" that only made sense to him on the day he did it, but you gotta give the man his props for setting himself on fire 15 years before Arthur Brown thought of it).

He was one of those tracks from new albums ("Great Googly Moo" rock'n'roll collection on Ace) and Tiny's was another. Willie Walker is still gigging with the Butanes, his "Run Around" had his voice wrapped in a lush soul backing originally out on the XL label and Anni Piper brought along ferocious slide guitar for "Whistleblower" off her new album (check the centaur image of an Amazon huntress on the sleeve). Then again, if you think you know everything about slide guitar and you've done Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor, your next port of call must be John Littlejohn - his "Dream" off the essential "Chicago Blues All Stars" album showed why. Lightin' Hopkins' career survey on Ace yielded another classic cut and Guitar Shorty's newbie on Alligator was reliably robust for "Get Off".

A couple of weeks ago Junior Parker covered "Driving Wheel" in 1961, Roosevelt Sykes did it first in 1936 for Decca and again in 1960 for part one of two piano blues offerings. The second half was put in to correct the statement on another radio station that the originator of Keith Emerson's go at "Honky Tonk Train Blues" was Albert Ammons - tut tut all listeners to STAR BLUES knew it was Meade Lux Lewis.

Next Sunday is fathers day, so we will do something to mark the dad/sons and dad/daughters of the blues. Plus * plus * plus * the famous bootleg Robert Cray live album is out officially on 14th July. Its on STAR BLUES this next Sunday at 10pm (BST) - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Monday, 7 June 2010

STAR BLUES on 6th June 2010 at 22:00

STAR BLUES yesterday had Serendipity on the show and an armful of albums newly out or due real soon. We bumped into the new theme song for our own Mighty Mark Peters, a song from James Armstrong called "Slender Man Blues" - he can do what bigger men can't and you can expect Mark will come on stage at the World Championship Welly Wanger event with spangly cape and swirling smoke to his new opus. Or possibly he's too shy.
Just in case you're thinking the rest of the playlist couldn't keep up: In order we dipped into newbies of local favourites Egypt, the Holmes Brothers, Smokin' Joe Kubek, Magic Slim, Lightnin' Hopkins, Aynsley Lister, Janiva Magness and the third volume of the Goldwax story. We'll make return visits soon and Wendell Holmes' "Fair Weather Friend" seems set to become feted with song awards for his poignant lyrics on being diagnosed with cancer.
A couple of weeks ago, Maria Muldaur gave me trouble with a gospel offering on cd but her duet with Bonnie Raitt yesterday was just fine. Champion Jack Dupree is another centenarian this year, he was on hand for first session done for Syd Nathan's King label - his "Heart Breakin Woman" featured superb electric guitar from Brownie McGhee. The whole thing went out under the name of Big Tom Collins but we weren't fooled for our piano blues spot. Mark Knopfler helped Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings and Kid Ramos excelled for James Harman on "Icepick Boogie" - two good excuses to roll the rug back and jive at bedtime.
Almost forgot. The Lighnin' Hopkins set is as far as I know the first career spanning retrospective of this unique blues artist. It goes from 1948 to 1973 and it intends to be the music for Alan Govenar's biography of Hopkins. This will be one of the reissue projects of the year.
As for next week, more new things from Guitar Shorty, Anders Osborne, Tiny Topsy, the XL label, a rock'n'roll anthology from Ace and the new one from Anni Piper. We kick-off next Sunday at 10pm (BST) and I'll be thrilled if you can drop in for more STAR BLUES. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.