Monday, 28 March 2011

STAR BLUES on 27th March 2010 at 22:00

The roll-call of blues artists called away in recent weeks has grown uncomfortably large and I will admit that I thought Pinetop Perkins would always be there. He wasn't a natural band leader and his best work was almost always done with someone else. He was the unsung lynchpin of Muddy Waters Indian Summer career via Johnny Winter though he joined Waters band in 1969 after Otis Spann left for (sadly very brief) solo glory. Different in style and temperament to the younger Spann, Muddy had no hesitation in extending the offer to join. In addition to a later track from Muddy, Pinetop showed real genius on a two hander with Bob Margolin in the songbook of Robert Johnson.
We found out why he was called Pinetop from his first solo session at Sun in 1953 and we ended our celebration of him with "Grindin' Man" from his final project with Willie Big Eye Smith that won him a Grammy less than a month ago. There's a great story that may just be urban legend (though I hope not): he came to London a couple of years ago for a club gig then everyone adjourned back to the hotel including some very attractive blonde ladies. Spying a piano in the hotel foyer Pinetop decided too play and tell some stories from his long career. The night porter wasn't amused but turned a blind eye to the revelry in the early hours. The really cool thing is that Pinetop (age 95) kept going as the stragglers had to give into tiredness. I've never seen a photo of Pinetop without a hat or a huge smile.
The rest of the fare on offer was none to shabby either: new album from Tracy Nelson (due in the shops 19th April), and returns to new projects by Rory Block and Marcia Ball. The distaff side of blues in 2011 is still strong. Last weeks link ended with Elmore James, how we got from there to Albert Collins is revealed over on "BluesChain.BlogSpot.Com". Gospel came from Albertina Walker and the Caravans in superb fashion and the two hours was over and done all too soon. Until we can get another couple hours next Sunday at ten, take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you



Album / Track

Can't Stop Lovin'

George Thorogood

[1] Heritage: Who Do You Love – George Thorogood

Feel Good Doin' Bad

Lonnie BrooksLong John HunterPhillip Walker

[5] Lone Star Shootout - Lonnie BrooksLong John HunterPhillip Walker

I'm Ready

Muddy Waters

[1] I'm Ready - Muddy Waters

Feel Like Messin' Up

James Harman

[6] Mo' Na'kins Please! - James Harman

Mean Old Frisco

Blues Band, The

[1] Scratchin' On My Screen : Acoustic Blues Music - Blues Band, The

Mystery Train

Little Junior Parker (As Little Junior’s Blue Flames)

[12] Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Memphis - Various Artists

I've Got Ford Movements In My Hips

Cleo Gibson

[13] Territory Singers - Vol2 : 1928-1930 - Various Artists

You're So Fine

Snooks Eaglin

[5] Out Of Nowhere - Snooks Eaglin

Kindhearted Woman Blues

Bob MargolinPinetop Perkins

[8] Hellhound On My Trail - Various Artists

Meet You At The Chicken Shack

Lightnin' Hopkins

[5] His Blues - Lightnin' Hopkins


David Gogo

[6] Skeleton Key - David Gogo

How Could You Do It

Henry Gray

[14] Louisiana Swamp Stomp - Various Artists

Little Red Rooster

Rolling Stones, The

[7] Rolled Gold Plus: Very Best Of The Rolling Stones - Rolling Stones, The

Have Mercy Miss Percy

Long Tall Marvin

[7] Gaz's Rockin' Blues - Various Artists

Woke Up This Morning

Rory Block

[11] Shake 'Em On Down: A Tribute To Mississippi Fred McDowell - Rory Block

Fine And Mellow

Eva Cassidy

[4] Live At Blues Alley - Eva Cassidy

I'm Willing

Caravans Feat. Inez Andrews And Albertina Walker

[12] Rough Guide To .. Gospel - Various Artists

Victim Of The Blues

Tracy Nelson

[1] Victim Of The Blues - Tracy Nelson

We Fell Hard

Marcia Ball

[4] Roadside Attractions - Marcia Ball

Pinetop's Boogie Woogie

Pinetop Perkins

[8] Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Memphis - Various Artists

Grindin' Man

Pinetop Perkins & Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith

[12] Joined At The Hip - Pinetop Perkins & Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith

Fake I.D.

Albert Collins

[3] Blues Guitar Box - Various Artists

Monday, 21 March 2011

STAR BLUES on 20th March 2011 at 22:00

Only at the last minute did it become clear how to link with Wilson Pickett's "Mustang Sally" on the previous STAR BLUES, bearing in mind the need to tantalise with a suitable song at the end of the show. We've covered a lot of blues styles since the first link from Fleetwood Mac.

Last Sunday Big Jack Johnson died and it seems like another strong tie to the past has gone, he was the last of the Jelly Roll kings. I wanted to show his contribution to Robert Palmer's film "Deep Blues" but the disc refused to play ball in either drive. Instead we did a couple of tracks from his album on MC Records called "We Gotta Stop This Killing" (the title track is particularly apposite right now).

If you compiled a mix-tape of the songs so far in the feature "You Me 1001 Blues" (as listeners Jess and Mike are doing) you've got to the end of side one round about now with ZZ Hill's "Down Home Blues". The song defined a new genre and its album sold a million. The gospel spot had the Harmonizing Four complete with basso genius Jimmy Jones; the piano spot had a first appearance from Art Tatum whose florid, exuberant style was in contrast with his placid calm appearance. With birthdays of two very young listeners and a Facebook dialogue with Bermuda, STAR BLUES was over and done all too soon.

If you're interested in how we solved the puzzle of the links in the chain, wizz over to "" and all will be revealed at ten pm next Sunday. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Monday, 14 March 2011

STAR BLUES on 13th March 2011 at 22:00

Other than a senior moment regarding Otis Rush's work for Duke (vs his earlier classics on Cobra), last night's STAR BLUES had the usual mix of new releases, white upper-body garments, mayhem, tomfoolery,gospel,piano and a couple of links.

Marcia Ball is a consummate pianist, singer-songwriter who always surrounds herself with the finest musicians. Her new album has been eagerly anticipated and its been well worth the wait. I'm pretty sure our play of her "Sugar Boogie" was a UK exclusive? There's also a 3-cd set looking at the Singles output from Ted Jarrett's Champion label. The survey has been put together by Fred James who does more for Nashville music that anyone I know. The hard part was not devoting the whole show to the cd set, just settled for Don Q, The Fairfield Four (a lovely gospel vocal performance).

Carl Sonny Leyland is a Brit who now lives in New Orleans, he brought a tribute to Albert Ammons for some more boogie in the piano blues spot - the perfect fit to Ms. Ball's outing. Both Bo Diddley and Robert Cray were in the Jools Holland segment of the BBC4 British blues night on Friday - both deserving of a place in yesterday's STAR BLUES. Marshall Lawrence earned his with a good review in the new issue of Living Blues magazine (there are others). The mag also has a tasty feature on Bobby Bland's work for Malaco and I was surprised to learn how rarely he's been interviewed (strange given his stature in the worlds of blues, soul and crossover to the mainstream (viz: Hucknall and Van Morrison)).

The top end link was Jeff Healey's version of "Hideaway" and as he was in the film Roadhouse we went to its soundtrack for the closing link: Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett. Find out the next link on Sunday at 10pm (GMT) until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Monday, 7 March 2011

STAR BLUES on 6th March 2011 at 22:00

In the words of the great Philosopher (Berry, C.) "You Never Can Tell". You never can tell when or where the muse will strike for inspiration on what to include in STAR BLUES. Half-way up a ladder was I when Joe Duskin's version of "EveryDay I Have The Blues" was knocked on its ass by a caustic guitar solo for all the world like Eric Clapton. Except it was Peter Frampton. Who'd a thought it.

I was tempted to say I nearly came a Cropper but he was backing Albert King on our "1001 Blues" feature so we'll quickly move past the easy pun. Our chain started with an unplugged Clapton and ended with a fully energised Freddie King. Marie Knight did a version of Gary Davis for our Gospel spot and we went back to 1953 for a great track to mark Eddie Kirkland's tragic death last week. His "No Shoes" just had him and a drummer with John Lee Hooker nowhere to be seen in Detroit for the King label. Some researchers thought Hooker was in there by dint of Eddie's strong thumb-picked bass lines and the series of duet pieces they were turning out at the same time.

Etta James' rarest sides for Chess are now out through Ace, 18 for the first time on cd. Her health is still parlous and her unissued side from 1964 showed us what a great voice she had. Johnny Vincent's Mississippi label inspired Ace here in London and they now reach vol 3 of the label story. Bobby Marchon's "Loberta" was added to the original issue and was on the show last night. He had to wait to move from Huey Piano Smith's Clowns before finding success in his own right, even this track was doctored with Huey's voice before Vincent put it out.

The purists had plenty of evidence in the case against Rory Block last night, her go at "Worried Mind" was characterised with the guitar taps and mannerisms they find unpalatable, she is however drawing attention to the music of Mississippi Fred McDowell which aint no bad thing. I've got another white tee-shirt lined up and a few more surprises on the playlist for STAR BLUES next Sunday night at 10pm - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.