Monday, 30 January 2012

STAR BLUES on 29th January 2012 at 22:00

In the world of Blues Top trumps you'd be hard pushed to better the lineup afforded birthdays during the last few days of January: Bobby Bland, Lead Belly, Elmore James, Bettye Lavette and Eddie Taylor. Not sure if I could answer Black Ace's question on which is the boss card in our hand though?

Tip of the hat to Mick Hucknall for reigniting interest in Bobby Bland, we included one of his best vocals from 1964 'Aint Nothin You can do' - a song covered in 1973 by Van Morrison on the "too late to stop now" live double album. Then we seemlessly ( see how this all fits together ) moved to a project called "vanthology" that had Bettye LaVette tearing up a cover of "Real Real Gone" finding an edge that Van didn't. Lead Belly reached out across the ages to us with his "Gallis Pole" that went on to mark the folky side of Led Zeppelin in 1970. My database has birthdate as 29 Jan 1889 but its variously reported as that or 20th January 1880.

How about a PhD on Elmore James ? That's what I call education. The slide master had a birthday on 27th and we included a 1954 song he did for Modern called "Standing At The Crossroads"; his voice noticeably cracked at one point such was the emotion he conjoured forth, real asgressive guitar too. The 1001 Blues feature was about Eddie Taylor with two a-sides he had out on Vee-Jay accompanied by his old mucker Jimmy Reed on harmonica. Usually it was the other way round: Taylor backing Reed, just as he did for John Lee Hooker and so many more. Here's hoping Ray Templeton at Blues and Rhythm magazine gets chance to focus on Taylor's recorded output in another valuable survey (the last one was TBone Walker).

New names to STAR BLUES, Grainne Duffy (pronounced Gron ya) and Philipp Fankhauser. She has been compared to Bonnie Raitt and is the darling of the Radio2 set - we like her too and she rocks out harder than Bonnie when she's got a mind. Philipp has a warm husky voice without straining to sound black; he's working with Dennis Walker (or Robert Cray fame) so there's plenty of economical nicely played and arranged blues with that classic soul edge. I've dug out a couple from his back catalogue and his appearance last night wont be his last.

Over in Memphis theres as bit of a bash this upcoming week, we can't get there in time but we got a taster last night from Steve Howell and Fiona Boyes. There's a new set of live recordings by Sean Costello, they're things he hadn't recorded before but show him very much at home in front of a live gig. He was an accomplished player in a number of different styles and it seems so cruel he left us so soon in 2008; profits from this album on Landslide will help his Bi-Polar charity.

Two more Gospel Screamin' Holy Rollers, those 88s came out for a sublime performance from 1960 by Otis Span and Robert Lockwood and Champion Jack Dupree did a version of "Mean Old Frisco" for a small label in 1945 that now sees light of day on a budget 2-cd set on Avid imprint. (the first cd is worth the admission price because it puts two classic Atlantic albums together; the second has 29 tracks only ever put out on 45 before) If you're shopping look for it in the JAZZ section.

It was good to be back in white last night and we were a bit more raucous than is our norm - not that we'd admit to doing anything respectable or in imitation of anyone else!. I have a cunning plan for next week involving more tomfoolery and blues, hope to have your company. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Mean Old Lady Michael Burks 5 Make It Rain Michael Burks Alligator
Pack It Up Freddie King 1 Burglar Freddie King POLYDOR
Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song) Otis Redding 9 100 Hits Legends - Otis Reading Otis Redding DEMON
Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark Philipp Fankhauser 4 Try My Love Philipp Fankhauser FUNK HOUSE BLUES
Dirty Deal Blues Steve Howell 9 My Mind Gets To Ramblin' Steve Howell Out Of The Past LLC
Gallis Pole Lead Belly 9 The Early Blues Roots Of Led Zeppelin Various Artists CATFISH
Stroll Out West Eddie Taylor 12 Blues Upside Your Head Various Artists CHARLY
Bad Boy Eddie Taylor 1 Bad Boy Eddie Taylor CHARLY
Standing At The Crossroads Elmore James And His Broomdusters 1 The Classic Early Recordings 1951-1956 Elmore James And His Broomdusters ACE
She Could Play That Thing:Blues For Memphis Minnie Fiona Boyes 11 Blues For Hard Times Fiona Boyes Vizztone
Rockin'rollin' Stone Grainne Duffy 3 Test Of Time Grainne Duffy

Evil Gal Blues Aretha Franklin 12 Aretha Sings The Blues Aretha Franklin Blue Label / SPV
Walking On Beale Street And Crying Denise La Salle 5 Sundries various artists Not given
The Blues Overtook Me Charlie Musselwhite 1 Sweet And Tough - The Blues From Chicago Various Artists MUSIC CLUB
She Does It Right Dr. Feelgood 2 Singles - The Ua Years+ Dr. Feelgood UNITED ARTISTS
Check It Out Sean Costello 7 At His Best-Live Sean Costello Landslide Records
Ain't Nothing You Can Do Bobby 'Blue' Bland 4 Birth Of Soul Vol. 1 Various Artists Kent (U.K.)
Real Real Gone Bettye Lavette 6 Vanthology - A Tribute To Van Morrison Various Artists EVIDENCE
Jesus Gave Me Water Stars Of Faith, The 16 Screaming Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 1 Various Artists Vee-Tone Records
It's Getting Late Voices Of Jordan 1 Screamin' Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 2 Various Artists Vee-Tone Records
I Got Rambling On My Mind Otis Spann 5 My Home Is In The Delta Otis Spann ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
Mean Old Frisco Champion Jack Dupree 1 Two Classic Albums Plus Singles Champion Jack Dupree AVID
When The Levee Breaks Buckwheat Zydeco 18 Alligator Records 40th Anniversary (2Xcd) Various Artists Alligator Records

Monday, 23 January 2012

STAR BLUES on 22nd Januaray 2012 at 22:00

Somehow it didn't seem right to wear white last night, the sombre, respectful setting called for a black tee-shirt instead. Though neither death was unexpected, losing Johnny Otis and Etta James within two days of each other still seemed damn cruel. We did our best last night to pay tribute to both with a number of tracks from their canons.

Some folks will know of Johnny Otis and his importance to our music for nearly seventy years: writer singer, drummer, producer, band-leader, author, sculptor with his own orange juice company. He discovered the Robins and Little Richard as well as Etta James, he arranged and played on Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" and wrote "Every Beat of My Heart" that was a hit for Gladys Knight; his "Willie and the Hand Jive" inspired Eric Clapton (and gave him a hit with a cover in 1974). One of Johnny's books depicted the race riots in Los Angeles, another was a cookbook. He was a white Greek that grew up in a black neighbourhood: hence his musical roots and influences.I can't adequately describe his reach, I hope our music last night went some way towards righting that wrong.

Our review of Etta James music included a telling of the tale of her first encounter with Johnny Otis where she sang her audition from the bathroom because of the better acoustics provided by the tiled surfaces. As a 14 year old the subject matter in "Roll With Me Henry" was a cause for concern in securing airplay: the change of song title to "The Wallflower" eased those worries but there was still an outstanding claim to settle with Hank Ballard who owned the melody... None of this stopped Etta and her two school friends astride the R&B charts for 19 weeks. As it dipped from the listings, her followup "Good Rockin Daddy" easily followed it to the highest heights. She grew up on the road from there on in and struggled with handling her money and her addictive nature meant she struggled with drugs too. In 1959 she signed to Chess and had some early success with them by putting a measure of gospel into her voice and arrangements - her most notable triumph was the live album "Etta Rocks this House". Encouraged by the successes, Chess let her go off to Muscle Shoals for a set of sessions which yielded (arguably) the finest music made for Chess outside Chicago. Bearing how young she was and how popular Otis Redding was, how many other soul singers would creep into Redding's backyard and put one over on him with "Security"? Exactly!!

Her demons stayed a mite longer though her 1973 album "Etta James" got a Grammy nomination, that had previously eluded her. At this time in her career she was encouraged to work the songbooks of Randy Newman and his ilk.We loved her go at "You Can Leave Your Hat On" - she really gave it the Full Monty. She did sing in a number of different genres but there wasn't a time you could say she gave it less than that - what ever she sang, she owned it.

The rest of STAR BLUES had another track from "Hellfire" by Joe Louis Walker and two more off that marvellous gospel anthology on VEETONE called "Screamin Gospel Holy Roller". If you like harp players you'd have noticed Arthur Williams helping Big Bad Smittty and savoured Little Walter, Paul Butterfield's Blues Band and the consummate skills of Big Walter Horton with an Otis Rush b-side. Bookend the whole package with guitar wizardry by Bernie Marsden, John Jackson and Snooks Eaglin and we're done for another STAR BLUES.

Presenting and producing the show is a privilege I value highly, I hope the invite round to your place last night did some small justice to Etta and Johnny - as for next week we'll try to bring back the white tee-shirt and the tomfoolery with blues by the armful. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Track.Title Track.ArtistSort Index Album.Title Album.ArtistSort Label Released
Steppin In Bernie Marsden 13 Green And Blues Bernie Marsden ESSENTIAL
There's Something On Your Mind B. B. KingEtta James 6 Blues Summit B. B. King MCA 1993
Sit Down Baby Otis Rush 2 Good'uns : The Classic Cobra Sides Otis Rush BLUESIDE
Still A Fool Big Bad Smitty 5 Mean Disposttion Big Bad Smitty BLACK MAGIC 1991
Mystery Train Butterfield Blues Band, The 9 Butterfield Blues Band / East West Butterfield Blues Band, The ELEKTRA 1966
You Can Leave Your Hat On Etta James 18 Something's Got A Hold On Me Etta James CHARLY
Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry) Etta JamesPeaches, The 13 Uk Sue Label Story, Vol. 2: Sue's Rock 'N' Blues Various Artists ACE
Good Rockin' Daddy Etta James 5 Miss Etta James - The Complete Modern And Kent Recordings Etta James ACE
Baby What You Want Me To Do Etta James 10 Something's Got A Hold On Me Etta James CHARLY
Tell Mama Etta James 10 The Fame Studio Story 1961-1973 Home Of The Muscle Shoals Sound Various Artists Kent
Security Etta James 16 Something's Got A Hold On Me Etta James CHARLY
Black Girls Joe Louis Walker 1 Hellfire Joe Louis Walker Alligator 20120131
Further On Up The Road Bobby 'Blue' Bland 13 The Sound Of The City - Memphis Various Artists Emi Records Ltd
Stella Mae John Lee Hooker 4 Complete Folk Blues John Lee Hooker MCA
He Won't Deny Me Swan Silvertones, The 14 Screamin' Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 2 Various Artists Vee-Tone Records
The Storm is Passing Over Marie Knight 11 Screamin' Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 2 Various Artists Vee-Tone Records
Willie And The Hand Jive Johnny Otis Show 3 Here 'Tis Various Artists CONNOISSEUR
Harlem Nocturne Johnny Otis, His Drums & His Orchestra 3 The Johnny Otis Story Volume 1 Volume 1: 1945-57 Midnight At The Barrelhouse V A Johnny Otis & His Orchestra ACE
Double Crossing Blues Johnny Otis Quintet & The Robins (vocal Little Esther) 11 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: West Coast Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
I Gotta Guy Johnny Otis & His Orchestra, Vocal By Esther Jones 11 Blues Belles With Attitude Various Artists ACE
Every Beat Of My Heart Royals, The 14 The Johnny Otis Story Volume 1 Volume 1: 1945-57 Midnight At The Barrelhouse V A Johnny Otis & His Orchestra ACE
Ma (He's Making Eyes At Me) Johnny Otis and his orchestra, Marie Adams & the Three Tons Of Joy 24 The Johnny Otis Story Volume 1 Volume 1: 1945-57 Midnight At The Barrelhouse V A Johnny Otis & His Orchestra ACE
Just Your Fool Little Walter (Aka Marion Walter Jacobs) 20 His Best Little Walter (Aka Marion Walter Jacobs) MCA/CHESS
Steel Mill Blues John Jackson 5 Front Porch Blues John Jackson Alligator
Country Boy In New Orleans Snooks Eaglin 7 American Masters Vol. 1 : Country Blues Various Artists Arhoolie Records
Created: 23/01/2012 08:24:59

Monday, 16 January 2012

STAR BLUES on 15th Jan 2012 at 22:00

Its not just in the annals of cult tv show "Supernatural" you know - the tussle between the Devils Music and Screamin' Gospel raged hard last night on STAR BLUES. We didn't ask you to take sides, nor could we acclaim a Victor but we had some great music along the way.

First up Doubting Thomas Lamarr - his mum calls him Mark - has put together two anthologies of Screamin' Gospel and Holy Rollers for the VEE-TONE label. The source material comes from places like the Specialty catalogue and is late Fifties / Sixties vintage, it doesn't get better than this. We had two choice cuts last night, one from each disc - over in the sacred corner.

The Devils Music was a documentary series put out by the BBC in 1976 and 1979, compered by Alexis Korner and his magnificent sideburns. we took all six tracks from episode four of series two as a way of remembering the groups then playing Chicago blues - these guys in the Aces for example were the first choice for supporting Muddy Waters, Junior Wells and so on. (Freddie Below looking the epitome of cool behind the traps). Sonny Blake and Good Rockin' Charles were featured too and neither are much remembered these days which is a shame given their performances here. Fenton Robinson was a stylish player and Alexis put two songs into his tv show - so we did the same last night.

With some measure of coincidence, possibly caught betwixt andbetween,  Joe Louis Walker  (its pronounced Lewis not Looey) has a new project for Alligator called "Hellfire" - it wont be in the shops until 31st Jan but we  had it last night. I've already seen it reviewed on Tinternet as "the first great album of 2012" and we definitely like it because Joe's singing better than he has for a long while, he's come up with some good songs and plays with confident aggression throughout. Its a very strong set indeed but he needs to fend off eleven more months of competition to scoop our STAR BLUES award. Don't forget James Armstrong and Bobby Womack are due to hatch anytime soon...

Birthday boy Rev Robert Wilkins would have been 116 on 16th January and he helped out the Rolling Stones twice during their heyday: first his 'No Way to get along' heavily inspired 'Prodigal Son' from the Beggars Banquet album and his 'Rolling Stone' song is the first time that phrase appeared on record - ever!

Calvin Leavy proved life can imitate art with his 1970 hit 'Cummins Prison Farm', he subsequently got put inside there twenty years later and died 18 months before his parole was due. Cary Morin is a Native American now signed to Music Maker, he has a distinctive singing and playing style that will see him return to our playlists.

Our piano blues remembered Omar Sharriff (born Dave Alexander) who less than a year ago was feted on Martin Luther King day as the last link to the golden age of boogie-woogie and his return to his childhood home in Marshall Texas. He died last Sunday 8th aged 73 and we played his piece "The Raven" with his atmospheric playing that reminds me of an Edgar Alan Poe novel.

Your company was - as always - magnificent, I was Gary Blue and I will be plotting more mayhem and tomfoolery for next Sunday at ten (GMT) in a white tee-shirt. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Track.Title Track.ArtistSort Index Album.Title Album.ArtistSort Label
Cuts Like A Knife Jw Jones 14 Underground Plus! Luther Allison et al Ruf
Voodoo Woman Koko Taylor W. Mighty Joe Young 9 Deluxe Edition Koko Taylor Alligator
Cummins Prison Farm Calvin Leavy 25 Southern Soul Showcase Various Artists Kent (U.K.)
Rolling Log Rory Block 10 The Very Best Of The Blues Various Artists ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
Crying Won't Make Me Stay R. L. Burnside 12 Mississippi Hill Country Blues R. L. Burnside FAT POSSUM
Josephine H-Bomb Ferguson 12 Sing My Blues Tonight - Ace (Ms.) Blues Masters Vol.1 Various Artists WESTSIDE
She Fooled Me Billy Boy Arnold 1 The Devil's Music Various Artists INDIGO
You Don't Know What Love Is Fenton Robinson 19 The Devil's Music Various Artists INDIGO
Bring It On Home Sonny Blake 10 The Devil's Music Various Artists INDIGO
Don't Start Me Talkin' Good Rockin' Charles 18 The Devil's Music Various Artists INDIGO
Take A Little Walk With Me Aces, The 15 The Devil's Music Various Artists INDIGO
That's No Way To Get Along Robert Wilkins 20 The Blues Roots Of The Rolling Stones Various Artists complete blues
W.P.A. Blues Casey Bill Weldon 20 Story Of The Blues Various Artists Columbia Legacy
Acute Blues Syndrome Travis Haddix 3 Blues From Staghorn Street Travis Haddix WALDOXY
I Won't Do That Joe Louis Walker 7 Hellfire Joe Louis Walker Alligator
Custard Pie Blues Sonny Terry 22 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: New York Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Cool Calm And Collected King Karl 3 It's Your Voodoo Working: The Best Of Excello Various Artists universal music operations
By and By Rev Gatemouth Moore 7 Screamin' Gospel and Holy Rollers Various Artists VEE-TONE
Jonah Fabulous Davis Sisters 3 Screamin' Gospel and Holy Rollers Various Artists VEE-TONE
Sing It Louder Cary Morin 2 Sing It Louder Cary Morin MUSIC MAKER
The Raven Omar Sharriff 10 American Masters Vol. 2 : Urban Blues Various Artists Arhoolie Records
Half Past The Blues Vernon Garrett 2 Half Past The Blues Vernon Garrett
Somebody Loan Me A Dime Fenton Robinson 17 The Devil's Music Various Artists INDIGO
Created: 16/01/2012 13:15:51

Monday, 9 January 2012

STAR BLUES on 8th January 2012 at 22:00

What better way than to start our first show of 2012 than with a declaration of intent: "DJ Play My Blues" - some of our blues purists have some reason to disagree already!

My 2012 crystal ball blog mentioned Brandon O Bailey who is remarkably gifted as a harp player - as well as beatboxing. So you'll need to have some degree of latitude in your definition to hear the potential of this young man barely 20 years old. He reinterprets Sonny Boy's "Bye Bye Bird" with some aplomb but his album sees him rework bits of Michael Jackson's "Thriller" and some Ray Charles as well. Hugh Laurie is also too mannered and processed to be an authentic blues man (they say) but his love for New Orleans music is encyclopedic and we were able to include Kevin Breit's lovely Dobro work on the version of Jimmie Rodgers "Waiting on a Train"  Hugh did for the bonus track to his hit album of 2011.

Other artists from that blog forecast also had outings last night: Jackson Sloan and Giles Robson, unless I'm very much mistaken you've taken them to your hearts already. Birthday boys Kim Wilson and Eddie Clearwater celebrated in fine style; while Tampa Red was our 1001 bluesman - we'll pass over his kazoo exploits that I believe he used to show off how well he could play the guitar. Our other anniversary was 77 years since Elvis Presley was born and his peerless work for Sun put him on our radar.

The new issue of Living Blues magazine arrived during my break and we had tracks from the two featured albums in their review section: Little Joe Ayers and Earnest Guitar Roy. Another triumph for topicality was when we noticed Flo Rida at the top of the UK singles chart that heavily samples Etta James "Somethings Gotta Hold Of Me". I even ran down the top two singles chart to show what a versatile broadcaster I can be (LOL). Cornell Dupree died last year but we only just got our copy of his final recordings, it was an honour to showcase this sublimely cool guitarist (best known for his session work with the likes of Aretha Franklin).

A handful of gospel and a piano blues from the eleven year old Sugar Chile Robinson and it was all over in a trice, I'm already planning the next salvo of STAR BLUES, you were great company last night - I was Gary Blues. Until next Sunday at 10pm (GMT) take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

D.J. Play My Blues Buddy Guy 18 Can't Quit The Blues Buddy Guy SONY
Ain't It A Pity Jimmy D. Lane 4 It's Time Jimmy D. Lane APO
Hook Line And Sinker Kim Wilson 8 Lookin' For Trouble Kim Wilson M.C.
Dues Paid In Full Ruthie Foster 8 The Truth According To Ruthie Foster Ruthie Foster Blue Corn Music
Honey Bee Muddy Waters 21 Reborn And Remastered Muddy Waters ROUGH GUIDES
Somebody's Gotta Give Earnest "Guitar" Roy 7 Going Down To Clarksdale Earnest "Guitar" Roy jp
Don't You Lie To Me Tampa Red 16 Highlights From: The History Of Rhythm And Blues 1925-1942 Various Artists RHYTHM & BLUES
Baby Let's Play House Elvis Presley 14 King Of Rock'n'roll : Complete 50's Masters Elvis Presley RCA
Waiting For A Train Hugh Laurie 18 Let Them Talk Hugh Laurie Warnere
Bye Bye Bird Brandon O. Bailey 8 Memphis Grooves Brandon O. Bailey
Grandma's Hands Cornell Dupree 5 I'm Alright Cornell Dupree DIALTONE
Keep Your Hands Off Her Little Joe Ayers 8 Backatchya Little Joe Ayers DEVIL DOWN
Tore Up Duke Robillard 1 Exalted Lover Duke Robillard rounder
Repo Man Lucky Peterson 4 Triple Play Lucky Peterson Alligator Records
Something's Got A Hold On Me Etta James 11 Chess Blues Various Artists CHESS
Hooked Hogtied And Collared Paul Kelly 11 Best Of Paul Kelly WARNER BROS.
Jumpin' On The Kansas Line Jackson Sloan 1 Saturday Clothes Jackson Sloan SHELLAC
Gotta Gimme What'cha Got Julia Lee 24 Snatch And Grab It - Essential Julia Lee (Vol. 1) Julia Lee INDIGO
Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket Roy Milton & His Solid Senders 12 Specialty Story Various Artists Specialty
M. R. Boogie Jay McShann 23 Hot Biscuits - Essential Jay McShann INDIGO
Numbers Boogie Sugar Chile Robinson 4 The R'n'b Years 1949: 100 Hot Rhythm And Blues Tunes From 1949 Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
Twenty Gallons Of Muddy Water Dirty Aces, The 2 Crooked Heart Of Mine Dirty Aces, The MOVIN' MUSIC
Keep Me Every Day Mahalia Jackson 9 Gospel - The Ultimate Collection Various Artists RED Box
What He's Done for Me - The Famous Davis Sisters Famous Davis Sisters, The 1 Screaming Gospel Holy Rollers Vol 2 Various Artists VEE-TONE
Motherless Children Guy Davis 7 Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues Various Artists SHANACHIE
Gotta Boogie John Lee Hooker 8 Gaz's Rockin' Blues Various Artists ACE
Lights Out Jerry Byrne 16 Rock On Various Artists ACE
Midnight Groove Eddy 'The Chief' Clearwater 9 Rock 'N' Roll City Eddy 'The Chief' Clearwater BULLSEYE BLUES
Created: 09/01/2012 08:25:49

Monday, 2 January 2012

STAR BLUES - a first look at 2012

In an extremely rare event we missed a STAR BLUES on New Year's Night so for this blog we're gonna draw a line under the turning point of 2011 and have a squint into what 2012 may bring.

There's a bit to be hopeful about too! It's time to expose the myth that young African Americans are only interested in smoove R&B or caustic rap and hip hop- far from being "uncle Tom" or "outdated", blues is back on the agenda too. The three piece Homemade Jamz Band are all teenagers already with three full albums for Northern Blues. I've read that this band is a game changer and I won't argue with that assessment. Drummer Tara Perry "gets" it and their most recent album ("The Game" from 2010) is a very accomplished piece that got them award nominations, trophies won't be long in coming if they keep it up.

Marquise Knox is 20, comes from St. Louis, also has two albums in his canon, and is signed to the APO label. He learnt from the likes of Henry Townsend and Sam Lay and can play acoustic just as effectively as electric. His second project "Here I Am" came out in 2011 and got onto the shortlist at STAR BLUES for album of the year.

Brandon O. Bailey is just into his 20s and already has a distinctive style of blues harp playing -he literally creates every sound on his debut album "Memphis Groove", he obviously listens to other types of music as he is not afraid to bring other elements to this project. I've come to his album in the last week or so but the disc hasn't left my player yet.

The DELMARK label scooped our Label of the Year 2011 bangle for some delicious reissues and their strong roster of talent in the younger generation. A good example is Quintus McCormick, he hails from Chicago with a soulful voice and guitar tone just as at home being edgy as funky. His second album "Put It On Me" came out in 2011 last year and he has an enviable live reputation. Eddie Taylor was a star of Chicago blues scene from the Fifties forward, his daughter Demetria did her debut album for Delmark in 2011; her singing style has the power of Koko Taylor and her version of Luther Allison's "Cherry Red Wine" is a highpoint of that "Bad Girl" album.  She's been honing her craft for a while and we hope her time has come. Albeit from a different vintage, more fresh names as far as STAR BLUES is concerned, Toronzo Cannon and James Kinds, are two more artists on Bob Koester's label who both had albums of the month in Blues & Rhythm magazine. You can check out "Leaving Mood" and "Love You from The Top" (respectively) with confidence!

Sharon Lewis got rave notices as part of the Women in Blues tribute to Koko and has signed to the Delmark imprint as well, her first for them "The Real Deal" has guest appearances from Dave Specter and Billy Branch (a measure of highly she is regarded). 2012 will start off with a series of Stateside gigs that we can hope will lead to something on this side of the pond?

Talk of which leads me seamlessly to mention a couple of guys flying the flag over here: Jackson Sloan and Giles Robson. Neither man has gone down the road of long loud needlessly flashy noodling: Jackson has a nice retro approach that Swings with a capital F, if memory serves he is based in my home county of Essex that said if you like Joe Williams or Big Joe Turner, Jackson is your man. Giles is a young harp man with an agile tone, he leads a tight band (the Dirty Aces). During 2011 we got their projects for the first time and we are looking forward to more soon. If they come your way, worth a look I reckon.

Everyone here at STAR BLUES wishes you a safe, happy and healthy year - we'll do our best to fill it with blues, starting this upcoming Sunday at 10pm (GMT). Me and the white tee shirt will be waiting, hope you can make it along. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you