Sunday, 27 May 2012

STAR BLUES on 27th May 2012 at 22:00

Considering our normal emphasis on the song rather than showing off, there was an unusual focus on the six-stringed instrument on STAR BLUES last night. Our excuse - not that we needed one - is that the anniversary of Aaron "T Bone" Walker's birthday happens today (28th May). I have often said that "electric blues guitar doesn't get better than T-Bone Walker" and it was a real treat to amply back up those claims with more than a handful of gems from the first part of his career. Our survey went as far as his debut in 1929 "Wichita Falls Blues"; there have been several theories on that session given Walker's tender years that he was no where to be found - such nonsense clearly ignores the lyric which refers to Mr TBone, the interview TBone gave to Record Collector magazine late in 1947  and the 1988 confirmation by the pianist on the song. If you care to google that interview you'll also learn that he played golf and kept horses!!

Our 1001 blues featured the first recording of "Call It Stormy Monday (and Tuesday's Just As Bad")" from 1947 which TBone cut for the Black and White label and why it has that awkward title. Pretty much anything he did up to and including the 1958 recordings for Atlantic can be safely investigated as models of cool, precise, urbane genius. You won't hear a single note more than needed, nor a single note less. He was immaculately dressed in white suit and tie, yet he played guitar from behind his head while doing the splits. Plenty of photos there for all you googlers.

The real icing on our comestible was the arrival of the new project from LIl Ed and his Blues Imperials, "Jump Start". The expected strong guitar dexterity has this time been matched with top-notch vocals - Bruce Iglauer knows a thing or two, his faith in the boys is repaid here on this their 8th album for him. We jiggled a bit here and tweaked a bit there to squeeze in two tracks to press home our advantage with such an early preview of this major artist release. Our other new offering came from Henrik Freischlader who picked up guitar after hearing Gary Moore. If I told you Joe Bonamassa was on one track, you'd be wrong to categorise the whole project thus (he has a go at several styles).

You could say the whole nine yards of blues axe-wifery was on full display in the rest of STAR BLUES. Rev Robert Wilkins died 25 years ago, he was covered by the Rolling Stones ("Prodigal Son" was on Beggars Banquet) and there's but one cd of his pivotal 1930s recordings available on Yazoo. He was a skilled and graceful player, we caught him live at the Newport Folk Festival for the Vanguard label.  Robert Cray brought something from his overlooked "Twenty" album that was pushed to one side through his criticism of US policy on fighting wars for oil. Treat for guitar fans though. Eugene Hideaway Bridges started out as the lead player for Memphis Big Joe Turners Blues Caravan (who I saw support BBKing in 1995/6), he has a lovely fluid tone that complements his Sam Cooke style vocals. That debut album "Born to Be Blue" is being re promoted and is well worth a listen. Dunno what Deborah Coleman is up to these days, we miss her round these parts so we had to be content with her version of the Johnny Morrisette song "Brick".

As for harp fans we had James Cotton (and cracking support from Charlie Haden and Joe Louis Walker) as well as a brilliantly controlled version of Sonny Boy Williamson's "Bye Bye Bird" from the barely 20 year old Brandon Bailey. Gospel from Marion Williams (who we should really do more of) and piano from Pinetop Smith and we were heading down the home straight at full pelt. There is so much good blues out there at the moment my two hours can hardly even hint at it - ferrgunnesssake I'm getting less time to keep up the tomfoolery quotient every week. I'll bring more of the good stuff next Sunday at ten, 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
Little Boy Blues Eugene 'Hideaway' Bridges 2 Born To Be Blue Eugene 'Hideaway' Bridges WESTSIDE
The Hustlen Is On T-Bone Walker 11 Inventor Of The Electric Guitar Blues T-Bone Walker MR. R&B
Fadin' Away Robert Cray 4 Twenty Robert Cray SANCTUARY
Sad Letter James CottonJoe Louis Walker 11 Deep In The Blues James CottonJoe Louis Walker VERVE
Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee Sticks McGhee 1 The Atlantic Story Various Artists Atlantic
Don't You Let Nobody Turn You Round Reverend Robert Wilkins 9 Blues With A Feeling Various Artists VANGUARD
Stormy Monday T-Bone Walker 3 1947 : Chronological Recordings T-Bone Walker CLASSICS
Prospect Lane Seasick Steve 5 I Started Out With Nothin And I've Still Got Most Of It Left Seasick Steve Warner Bros. Records
You Burnt Me Lil Ed & Blues Imperials 4 jump start Lil Ed & Blues Imperials Alligator
Sound The Bell Johnny Winter 1 Genuine House Rockin'Music Various Artists Alligator
Come To Mama Koko Taylor 2 Genuine House Rockin' Music Vols 1-3 Various Artists Alligator
Come On My Love Henrik Freischlader 3 Still Frame Replay Henrik Freischlader Cable Car Records
Brick Deborah Coleman 5 I Can't Lose Deborah Coleman BLIND PIG RECORDS
Glamour Girl T-Bone Walker 11 The Blues T-Bone Walker FREMEAUX ET ASSOCIES
Aint Nobody Here But Us Chickens Louis Jordan 11 Reet Petite And Gone Louis Jordan INDIGO
Race Horse Tiny Davis 17 I'm a Bad Bad Girl Various Artists INDIGO
Packin' Up Marion Williams 9 Screamin' Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 2 Various Artists Vee-Tone Records
Burnin' Hell John Lee Hooker 8 Boogie Chillen John Lee Hooker INDIGO
Bye Bye Bird Brandon O. Bailey 8 Memphis Grooves Brandon O. Bailey APO
Wichita Falls Blues T-Bone Walker 2 The Blues Various Artists Fremeaux
Pinetop's boogie woogie Pinetop Smith 6 History of Rhythm & Blues Various Artists
Musical mechanical electrical man Lil Ed & Blues Imperials 2 jump start Lil Ed & Blues Imperials Alligator
Free Single and disengaged huey piano Smith 6 Ace Story, vol 4 Various Artists ace
before the next teardrop falls big john hamilton 19 souther soul shake various artists charly
Two Bones And A Pick T-Bone Walker 12 T-Bone Blues T-Bone Walker SEQUEL
Created: 27/05/2012 23:52:15

Sunday, 20 May 2012

STAR BLUES on 20th May 2012 at 22:00

Despite considerable soccer success from Chelsea and Manchester City, the colour we looked for last night was WHITE, as in colour of tee shirt. Our competition to win a pair of Delta Groove cds - from RJ Mischo and the Mannish Boys - was really that straight forward on a night we promised to go without a safety net.

The birthday book fell open at the page showing Big Boy Henry and Jaybird Coleman, both well-known to blues scholars but not so elsewhere. Coleman was one of the first, if not the first, harp star: his "Coffee Grindin'" was done for Columbia in Atlanta in 1930; Henry's a capella "Nina Mae" was cut for the Music Maker label shortly before his death.

Sad news that T-Model Ford is unwell and back in hospital, we at STAR BLUES sent our best wishes and played his Fat Possum version of "Sail On". Ironing Board Sam is one more artist well beneath the radar on most other blues shows: their loss our gain. The big names came along too: Freddie King  and Etta James, brand new projects from Eddie Martin and Mud Morganfield; more harp genius from Walter Horton, Jimmy Reed and Sam Myers (plus Bob Corritore with Mud). We didn't really do a 1001 blues feature other than to notice Tony Blackburn's chart run down was clearly intended to include Wynonie Harris' "Good Morning Judge" not the other song of the same name  by 10cc.

The Allman Brothers live album came out in July 1971, six weeks later the band was in NYC for a small gig also broadcast on radio, six weeks later Duane was dead. That final show is now out on cd for the first time legally and Duane's head was in a different place compared to the earlier gig: the solos are more measured with little less bite but achingly more fluid. Piano from our man at the Ironing Board, Amos Milburn and Roosevelt Sykes / gospel from the Zion Travellers, what more can anyone want from a blues show

I'm going to do my darnedest to try to fit even more into those two hours next Sunday at 10pm (BST), 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
Pack It Up Freddie King 16 Ultimate Collection Freddie King HIP-O
Guitar Man Sherman Robertson 1 Going Back Home Sherman Robertson AUDIOQUEST
Catfishing Mud Morganfield 4 Son Of The Seventh Son Mud Morganfield SEVERN
Why does everything happen to me mannish boys 2-10 double dynamite mannish boys delta groove
Make it Good RJ Mischo 3 Make it Good RJ Mischo Delta Groove Productions
Can't Shake It Etta James 8 Who's Blue? Rare Chess Recordings From The 60S And 70S Etta James Kent
Good Morning Judge Wynonie Harris 14 The History Of Rhythm And Blues Volume Two 1942-1952 Various Artists Rhythm and Blues Records
Blues After Hours Arthur Gunter 7 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Nashville Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Sail on t-model ford 11 not that same old blues 2 various artists fat possum
Little Rockin Chair Lonnie Johnson 12 The Originator of modern guitar blues Lonnie Johnson BLUES BOY
A Hundred Pounds Of Clay Arthur Alexander 7 You Better Move On Arthur Alexander MCA
Drop Down Baby Vaan ShawEddie Shaw 7 Morning Rain Vaan ShawEddie Shaw WOLF
Statesboro Blues Allman Brothers Band, The 1 A & R Studios Allman Brothers Band, The LEFTFIELD MEDIA
Let It Slide Eddie Martin & His Big Blues Band 4 Looking Forward Looking Back Eddie Martin & His Big Blues Band BUEBLOOD
nina mae big boy henry 7 beaufort blues big boy henry music maker
Coffee Grinder Blues Jaybird Coleman 11 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Atlanta Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Christine Big Walter Horton 8 Sweet And Tough - The Blues From Chicago Various Artists MUSIC CLUB
I hate to see Ironing Board Sam w. tim duffy 31 going up Ironing Board Sam music maker
A And M Blues Amos Milburn 31 Chicken Shack Boogie Man Amos Milburn PROPER
Drivin' Wheel Roosevelt Sykes 23 Bluesville - Original Blues Classics Sampler Various Artists ORIGINAL BLUES CLASSICS
beautiful city zion travellers 2-5 gospel celebrities & celestial lights Various Artists fantastic voyage
my love is here to stay sammy myers 21 ace story vol. 4 various artists ace
Take Out Some Insurance Jimmy Reed 17 You Don't Have To Go Jimmy Reed ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
goin down (to memphis tennessee) Cherry Lee Mewis 2 Heard It Here First Cherry Lee Mewis CLM
Created: 20/05/2012 23:59:14

Sunday, 13 May 2012

STAR BLUES on 13th May 2012 at 22:00

In the same STAR BLUES I disqualified myself from the running list for a blues Oscar and I stated a strong claim for a knighthood. The BMAs were awarded last week and we played some winners last night (the Howlin Wolf project on Rhino won reissue album prize, and Charlie Musselwhite and Ruthie Foster won gongs in Traditional Blues (Male and Female) categories. I pointed out that just like the film Oscars it was more about high profile sales than artistic merit with most BMA winners also being suitable to win in a rock category. Bang goes me getting one for radio/broadcast. Like I care.

My forthcoming knighthood was however all but secured by playing Price Phillip singing 'Keep On Talking" from the vaults of the Fame studios as discovered by Kent label. (It might not be the father of our heir to the throne but good enough surely?)

Late breaking news two hours before STAR BLUES was that legendary bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn had died in Tokyo not long after completing two shows there. Though a well known figure after his pipe-smoking laidback cameo appearances in two Blues Brothers films, he was oh so much more than that - the self taught player had his own style that first came to notice as part of Booker T & the MGs and we had two of their instrumentals to showcase his work: "Soul Limbo" and "Time Is Tight". His work with drummer Al Jackson made them the non-pariel engine room for soul/rock/blues in my humble pie. "Born under a Bad Sign" is the title track to the most essential blues album of all time by Albert King - the session is no more than Booker T & MGs plus Albert King. We honoured Duck Dunn by its inclusion as show closer last night on STAR BLUES

Other shock and sadness was the death on Sunday 6th of Michael Burks: a big man with a big guitar sound and warn soulful voice He was just 54 and had just finished work on as fourth album for Alligator, due July. His nickname was "Iron Man" earned from the punishing schedule of live work he took on and the length and quality of his gigs. The essence of his greatness was being able to combine a marvellously fluid solo style with the core of blues, he was never a rock guitarist in disguise. I thought he was the first since Luther Allison to own that corner of blues - I wrote a feature on him for Blues & Rhythm magazine in 1999 which I think was the first UK piece, I can't believe he's gone.........................

Taj Mahal has been celebrating his 70th birthday for a while now, the day is coming up this week and we looked back to his 1971 live recording at the Fillmore East of one of his own songs "Mailbox Blue". The great songster troubadour is alive and well and being practised by Guy Davis, who remarkably turned 60 on Saturday 12th. He is a genuinely nice man with an engaging style of singing and playing; we let him prove it last night on "Madison and the Pigs".

Big Joe Turner's 100th anniversary was a bit swamped last year by the similar milestone reached by Robert Johnson; hopefully his fans will feel the balance was somewhat redressed yesterday on STAR BLUES now he would have been 101.

A slew of new releases has just arrived: RJ Mischo, The Mannish Boys and Mud Morganfield - the latter features a gloriously imperious vocal from Muddy Waters' oldest son, lovely harp and production by Bob Corritore. I also had new projects from Eddie Martin and Maharaja Blues, reissues from the Fame Studios, the King R&B and Mississippi Ace labels. STAR BLUES just ran out of time but there's a good starting lineup for next weeks STAR BLUES. We'll try and squeeze in another quart into our pint pot at 10-pm (BST) Sunday next, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

W.C. Handy Sang The Blues Roy Gaines 6 New Frontier Lover Roy Gaines SEVERN
Ya Ya Sonny Rhodes 7 Disciple Of The Blues Sonny Rhodes Wild Dog
Soul Limbo Booker T & The M.G's 1 Stax Gold Various Artists STAX
time is tight Booker T & The M.G's 7 Stax Gold various artists stax
I Asked For Water Howlin' Wolf 3 Howlin' Wolf / The Wolf Is At Your Door: The Singles 1951-1960 Howlin' Wolf Jasmine
Clarksdale Getaway Charlie Musselwhite 11 The Well Charlie Musselwhite Alligator
(You Keep Me) Movin' On Ruthie Foster 3 Live At Antones Ruthie Foster Blue Corn
goin up the country and paint my mailbox blue Taj Mahal 4 The Real Thing Taj Mahal Blue Label / SPV
Just Blues Carl Marshall 1 Going Back to the Blues Carl Marshall
Shake Rattle & Roll Big Joe Turner 11 greatest hits Big Joe Turner SEQUEL
Blues in The Night Big Joe Turner 3 I dont Dig It Big Joe Turner MR R&B
Put The Hammer Down Gary Primich With Omar Dykes 2 Just A Little Bit More [Disc 1] Gary Primich With Omar Dykes Old Pal
Talk To Me Baby Michael Burks 3 From The Inside Out Michael Burks VENT RECORDS
Hit The Ground Running Michael Burks 1 Make It Rain Michael Burks Alligator
changed man michael burks 12 iron man - best of michael burks alligator
Willie Mae Blues Billy Boy Arnold 7 Billy Boy Arnold Sings: Big Bill Broonzy Billy Boy Arnold Electro-Fi
keep on talkin prince phillip 9 hall of fame various artists kent
you dont know me thomas Reverend Crum 1 screamin Gospel Holy Rollers (Vol 1) Various Artists VEETONE
somethings gotta hold on me soul seekers 18 screamin Gospel Holy Rollers (Vol 2) Various Artists VEETONE
short dress woman mud morganfield 1 seventh son mud morganfield severn
Mean old world Mannish Boys, The 2 Double Dynamite Mannish Boys, The
Up to the Brim R J Mischo 9 Make it good R J Mischo DELTA GROOVE
Madison And The Pigs Guy Davis 8 Stomp Down Rider Guy Davis RED HOUSE
Born Under A Bad Sign Albert King 7 King of The Blues Guitar Albert King ATLANTIC
Created: 13/05/2012 23:54:32

Sunday, 6 May 2012

STAR BLUES on 6th May 2012 at 22:00

Billy Boy, Big Bill, Brad, Barbara, BB, Bop and Buzz. Nothing like a bit of alliteration to cleanse the soul, that's what I say. The Big Red Book of Radio Rules says that you shouldn't start a show with new tracks the audience don't know - I think the Mighty Mark Peters has my copy. The Phantom Blues Band started out as  Taj Mahal's musicians of choice and their third disc maintains their high standards despite changing label; the Royal Southern Brotherhood has Mike Zito with members of two dynasties: Devon Allman and Cyril Neville. The expected onslaught of high intensity playing is leavened with thoughtful atmospheric skills at that far end of our purview. Brad Hatfield is another with a new project and you shouldn't confuse this Cincinatti singer and harp player with the guy of the same name from Boston who writes film scores. Peter Karp and Sue Foley get together again for their second album as a two-piece, while Barbara Lynn's recordings for Jamie in the early 1960s are collected on a brand new disc.

The fresh items continued with a lovingly compiled survey of the work of Gary Primich who died in 2007 just as he was hitting his artistic stride - the two discs dip into his back catalogue as well as some unreleased tracks courtesy of his son's archive. Steve Hooker is an interesting guy who links bop to buzz with a love of rockabilly and soul, he sent us a sampler of albums on his label we chose a slide instrumental that rocked out quite nicely. His survey starts with Howlin' Wilf (known these days as James Hunter) and we went to Wilf's "Cry Wilf" album before we got out hands on "Leather Soul".

Ray Charles, BB King, Lighnin' Hopkins and Robert Johnson need no further comment from me, the word legend is enough. The Squadron Leader - my dad - loved Nina Simone's voice so it was a treat to include her version of "Nobody Knows You"  and other blues ladies such as Irma Thomas, Bettye LaVette and Lavern Baker weren't far behind. Our rock god, Neil Jones, received the album from Hat Fitz and Cara but thought it would suit us instead: top man. BTW what sort of name is that, I'm pretty sure the vicar would never christen anyone Cara?

All of which leaves us with two tracks from the new album by Billy Boy Arnold. His warm voice is perfect for the songs of Big Bill Broonzy, there's neither a note wasted nor too many and he has top-notch support from the likes of Eric Noden and Billy Flynn. They capture the essence of Broonzy without copying him, this project on Electro-Fi cannot be praised highly enough. Until next Sunday at ten pm, 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
A Good Time With The Blues Phantom Blues Band 2 Inside Out Phantom Blues Band REDEYE Records 2012
A Brand New Man James Armstrong 10 Blues at the Border James Armstrong CATFOOD 2012
Witness to My Misery Brad Hatfield 1 Uphill From anywhere Brad Hatfield N/A 2012
Feelin' Bad Ray Charles 5 The Genius Sings Blues Ray Charles Atlantic 20091108
You'll Lose a Good Thing Barbara Lynn 7 You'll Lose a Good Thing Barbara Lynn JAMIE 1963
Girl in the Valley a.K.A. Water Coast Blues Billy Boy Arnold 3 Billy Boy Arnold Sings: Big Bill Broonzy Billy Boy Arnold Electro-Fi
More Than I Bargained For Peter Karp and Sue Foley 7 Beyond The Crossroads Peter Karp and Sue Foley Blind Pig
Mellow Down Easy Howlin' Wilf & The Vee-Jays 10 Cry Wilf! Howlin' Wilf & The Vee-Jays BIG BEAT 200610
Cool Driver Johnny Shines 21 Rough Treatment - The J.O.B. Records Story Various Artists WESTSIDE
Black Cat Bone Lightnin Hopkins 1-8 The Blues Box Various artists UNION SQUARE
Terraplane Blues Robert Johnson 2-3 The Blues Box Various artists UNION SQUARE
Left My Heart In Memphis Royal Southern Brotherhood 3 RSB Royal Southern Brotherhood Ruf
Fine Old Foxy Self (King LP 635) James Brown 11 R&B Humdingers Volume 12 Various Artists Vee-Tone Records 2012
Cornbread Row Big Al Downing 1 Southern Soul Shake!: SSS Soul Survey & Music City Soul Various Artists CHARLY
Let's Go, Let's Go, Let's Go Bettye LaVette & Hank Ballard 12 Southern Soul Shake!: SSS Soul Survey & Music City Soul Various Artists CHARLY
Nobody Knows You When Your Down & Out Nina Simone 19 Songs To Sing: The Best Of Nina Simone Nina Simone Music Club Deluxe 2006
Walkin' Dr Bill Aka Gotta Find My Baby B.B. King 21 Theme Time Radio Hour - Series 2 Various Artists ACE 2009
First Class Love Little Johnny Taylor 7 The Galaxy Years Little Johnny Taylor ACE 20100410
Soul On Fire Lavern Baker 21 The History Of Rhythm & Blues, Volume 3 - The Rocknroll Years Various Artists Rhythm and Blues Records 2010
Didn't it Rain Norfolk Travellers 13 Gospel Box Various Artists Red Box 2009
Soul Of A Man Irma ThomasCorey Harris 11 After The Rain Irma Thomas Rounder 2006
Keyto the Highway Billy Boy Arnold 4 Billy Boy Arnold Sings: Big Bill Broonzy Billy Boy Arnold Electro-Fi
Wiley Ways Hat Fitz And Cara 8 Wiley Ways Hat Fitz And Cara N/A 2012
Steel Sedan Steve Hooker 10 Leather Soul - vol one Various Artists oosoul
Boogie Woogie Baby Gary Primich 4 Just a little more Gary Primich old pal
Created: 06/05/2012 23:54:27