Monday, 25 June 2012

STAR BLUES on 24th June 2012

Live show not possible, sorry. We had some fabulous examples of blues guitar lined up from Johnnie Bassett and the upcoming Quintus McCormick - we'll squeeze those into our next show.

Thanks to everyone asking about Lady Blue, she was sent home from hospital during the night and will have some more tests this week.

Sunday, 17 June 2012

STAR BLUES on 17th June 2012 at 22:00

The two weeks around Lady Blue's birthday have traditional been reserved for adventures near and far, if I am good she will indulge me in a treasure hunt for additions to our stack of music. (As this is a family show I will let you draw your own conclusions on what she will allow if I am a bad boy). In a good week I was also able to fill a few gaps in my collection of Living Blues magazines (one back number had an extended feature on the complete works of Robert Johnson AND the obituary of Stevie Ray Vaughan).  Talking of magazines, try as I might I couldn't find this new "BLUES" magazine anywhere in North Yorkshire, it was only coming homeward bound that I saw one. Even then I wasn't tempted to buy one (their view of blues looked a bit skewed with a heavy emphasis on the style purveyed by Joe Bonamassa, Walter Trout, Jack White and Poppa Chubby)

Back to the plot. Our unearthed cornucopia of previously-loved platters shows what a rich legacy the blues offers - its much more than guitar players of different flavours, we got sparkling piano from Memphis Slim and Roosevelt Sykes, smooth -if risque - vocals from Lil Green, a clutch of surf instrumentals, harp legends like Cotton / Branch / Wells / Bell .... the list goes on.

Take Eddie Shaw. He is part of Liz Mandeville's current successful project and he is a noted player and leader in his own right with the Delmark label. Our selection from him was "Greedy Man" as far as I can remember later a hit cover by George Thorogood. Detroit Junior did piano duties for Eddie and wrote the song "Call My job" which Albert King did in 1977 and came from a lovely two-disc anthology on Rhino we bought as much for the booklet essays and memorabilia as for the top-flight axe-wifery. Roy Buchanan was implacable in appearance but brutally vicious in his playing, even as early as on his instrumental side from 1961 we slotted into our running order.

We liked the way that the Hardchargers from Belfast whipped up a storm on Muddy's piece by using washboard and Cajun backing. The Crescent City brought us Rue Boogaloo with fine featured harp playing from Andy Cornett. Both outfits nuzzled alongside established favourites like Hubert Sumlin and Etta James. I'd be interested to know what Atlantic thought of Etta's album title from 1964, "Queen of Soul", when looking for a strap line to relaunch Aretha Franklin's career?  Furthermore the new reissue of Etta's album more than set our her stall to own the throne and crown! Check out the 13 bonus tracks added to the original ten to get a measure of the good stuff that didn't make the final cut.

Our stack of music grew by Roosevelt Sykes and Memphis Slim, leaving us with the task of whittling down the choices to one song apiece. Sister Wynona Carr added a then-contemporary spin to her gospel offering and our two hours were done. Enough left over with some great new stuff for another dose next Sunday night at ten pm  - until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Look But Don't Touch Kenny Neal 1 Walking on Fire Kenny Neal Alligator
Use Me Right Vance Kelly 8 Call Me Vance Kelly WOLF
she aint good lookin Vance Kelly 9 Call Me Vance Kelly WOLF
Gonna Move Hubert Sumlin 6 Wake Up Call Hubert Sumlin blues planet
Whatever It Takes Little BusterSoul Brothers, The 5 Right On Time Little BusterSoul Brothers, The BULLSEYE BLUES
Tell Daddy Clarence Carter 13 Hall Of Fame: Rare And Unissued Gems From The Fame Vaults Various Artists Kent
Call My Job Albert King 11 Ultimate Collection Albert King RHINO
Greedy Man Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang 1 Can't Stop Now Eddie Shaw & The Wolf Gang DELMARK
Rue Run Rue Boogaloo 9 Rue Boogaloo Rue Boogaloo RueBoo Records
Pretty Please Roy Buchanan 26 Teen Beat Vol.2 Various ACE
i won't do that no more Little Charlie & The NightcatsJoe Louis Walker 2 Night Vision Little Charlie & The Nightcats Alligator
Tell Me Baby U.P. Wilson 1 Boogie Boy: Texas Guitar Returns U.P. Wilson JSP
I Smell Trouble Ronnie Earl 2 Deep Blues Ronnie Earl Black Top
Bad Dream Little Milton 1 Too Much Pain Little Milton MALACO
my mellow man lil green 6 why dont you do right 1940-1942 lil green blues collection
Henry Ford Blues Roosevelt Sykes 4 Gold Mine Roosevelt Sykes DELMARK
john henry memphis slim 1 broken soul blues memphis slim bgo
moped baby link wray 13 vox - music never stops various artists vox magazine
dragnet for jesus sister wynona carr 14 vox - music never stops various artists vox magazine
can't be satisfied hardchargers 6 bumpin and grinding hardchargers -
You Can't Talk To A Fool Etta James 14 Queen OF Soul With Bonus Tracks Etta James Kent
You're Leaving Me Ollie & The Nightingales 14 Nobody Wins Stax Southern Soul 1968-1975 v a Various Artists Kent
Sittin Here Thinkin' Johnny B. Moore 3 Troubled World Johnny B. Moore  delmark
Created: 17/06/2012 23:54:47 

Sunday, 10 June 2012

STAR BLUES on 10th June 2012 at 22:00

Back from 1952 just in time to mark the anniversary of Howlin' Wolf's birth on 10th June. (as well as that of Skip James on 9th). Legendary producer Sam Phillips said of the Wolf "this is the soul of man" and he believed him a bigger talent than Elvis Presley. We had few words and just let the music demonstrate the raw feral power of Howlin' Wolf and noted how his offstage life was so different and how he longed for his mother's acceptance after she pushed him out for not singing the Lord's music.

James was one of three very different but unique guitar players on STAR BLUES. His technique and odd tuning made him sound far in advance of his contemporaries; we also wished birthday greetings to 85 years old Cedell Davis who had polio as a child forcing his use of a metal kitchen knife as fretting device; and Wild Jimmy Spruill who crossed Atilla The Hun with Errol Flynn by way of Pete Townshend on dozens of sessions for Bobby Robinson and rarely as band leader for named singles.

We had new projects by Liz Mandeville - with the swagger of Memphis Minnie -as well as the new album from the ever youthful Lil ed and his Blues Imperials, and the joyous rippling r&B album by Mike Sanchez . I also gave space to a preview of Sandi Thom's album due on 27th August. She includes a cover of Sonny Boy Wiliamson's "Help Me".

I do worry long and hard about projects like this one (also Cindy Lauper and Hugh Laurie) that we are actually the wrong audience, because we are already converts to our music: they should be heard on mainstream shows so their passion for this powerful genre can be aired to the as-yet-unbelievers..?? On STAR BLUES we want to be sure Sonny Boy Williamson gets his props when Sandi Thom does "Help Me", she needs to be heard on a platform that isn't sure who Sonny Boy is....

I don't have an answer, STAR BLUES is proud to celebrate the authentic original vintage blue players (the fabulous response to our 1952 show is testament to our approach), we are also lucky enough to show there is a still healthy interest in the genre.

Some years ago I was interviewed for a "Desert Island Discs" type show - if asked again today I'd have to reserve space for the canon of work undertaken by Johnny Rawls - just listen to his "Soul Survivor" new out on Catfood records. He is the consummate singer and player who does not know how to make a bad record. Another fabulous performer known for his consistency was Lou Pride who died this week. He'd not been well for a while but the outlook seemed good with a new project for Severn Records due in the autumn. we are really looking forward to that one but with some regret that Lou Pride won't be here with us to get his due. He did stuff for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom label, Ichiban and Severn records, dip into any  of those you wont be disappointed.

Rory Block isn't loved by the purists, they don't like her mannerisms and fanciful style, she's now in the songbook of Rev. Gary Davis for a heartfelt tribute on Stony Plain. She was in the gospel tent and our own Ace label survey of Johnny Vincent's Ace label out of Mississippi yielded Huey Piano Smith's "Yokomo" celebration of those 88s with Crescent city backbeat.

In a trice we were done. Before next Sunday's STAR BLUES I'm off to the land of vinyl memories and previously-owned compact discs  to top up supplies. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Don't Let The Devil Ride James Peterson 2 The Last Soul Company Various Artists Malaco Records
D.J. Play My Blues Buddy Guy 18 Can't Quit The Blues Buddy Guy SONY
Payin' For My Sins Grady Champion 10 Shanachie Days Grady Champion SHANACHIE
Born Loser Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials 6 Jump Start Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials Alligator
Hard Grind Jimmy Spruill 9 The Fire And Fury Of Bobby Robinson Various Artists RPM
Moanin' At Midnight Howlin' Wolf 22 Chess Blues Various Artists CHESS
Livin' A Lie Lou Pride 9 Words Of Caution Lou Pride SEVERN
Soul Survivor Johnny Rawls 1 Soul Survivor Johnny Rawls Catfood
I Need You Bad Cedell Davis 16 Broadcasting The Blues! Various Artists Southwest Musical Arts
red rooster howlin' wolf 7 chess blues Various Artists chess
help me sandi thom 1 flesh and blood sandi thom guardian angels records
Don't Lose Your Cool Albert Collins 5 Collins Mix : The Best Of Albert Collins POINTBLANK
roadside produce stand Liz Mandeville w. willie big-eyes smith 1 Clarksdale Liz Mandeville blue kitty
Cypress Grove Michael Roach 8 Cypress Grove Michael Roach STELLA
I'm So Glad Skip James 3 Reborn And Remastered Robert Johnson ROUGH GUIDES
Bottle It Up And Go Mike Sanchez 15 You Better Dig It! Mike Sanchez DOOPIN
yokomo huey piano smith 24 The Ace (Ms) Story Volume 4 Various Artists ACE
Smokestack Lightnin' Howlin' Wolf 7 Chess Blues Various Artists CHESS
Goin' To Sit Down On The Banks Of The River Rory Block 2 I Belong To The Band Rory Block STONY PLAIN
City Born Country Gal Fiona Boyes 13 Blues Woman Fiona Boyes Yellow Dog Records
Falling Rain Blues Little Willie Foster 2 Down Home Blues Classics - Chicago (1946-1954) Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
lonesome old train homesick james 25 Down Home Blues Classics - Chicago (1946-1954) Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
Goin' Down Slow Howlin' Wolf 9 Chess Blues Various Artists CHESS
not good enough to marry peggy scott adams 1 not good enough to mary peggy scott adams desert blues
Created: 10/06/2012 23:52:01

Sunday, 3 June 2012

STAR BLUES on 3rd June 2012 at 22:00

In which our intrepid hero, self confessed luckiest man in radio, is on his way to the Jubilee jamboree when his DeLaurean took STAR BLUES back to 1952. He had no choice but to go to the wireless with just the tracks recorded before that date. He could fix the flux capacitor later, perhaps the Mighty Mark Peters as a boy could leap into the future to get the sonic screwdriver lent to the rock god Neil Jones?

Meantime he had the feeling that shellac and spinach weren't really the subjects of songs by Bull Moose Jackson and Julia Lee. No doubt what drummer Jump Jackson and ace guitar star Pee Wee Crayton meant, must  have known the weather would be on everyone's mind. Champion Jack Dupree was hoping for better as we slipped off air. We had both Sonny Boy Williamsons in short order, the first with Big Joe Williams in 1937 with "Schoolgirl" and a second in thinly-disguised support on Elmore James' "Broom", his recording debut. In 1952, Atlantic, Specialty and Chess were upcoming independent record labels with several stars among their rosters: we chose hits off Muddy Waters, Professor Longhair and Jimmy Liggins to showcase the depth of talent already on offer.

Theo Bilbo was a US senator with a racist stance which stated superiority of White over Black; he died in 1947 and Andrew Tibbs marked his passing with a side for Aristocrat - shortly to become Chess Records - it was their first big seller. Bukka White was a big influence on BB King as well as being a distant cousin, the infectious "Jitterbig Swing" was propelled by an insistent washboard. Ernest Lawlers recorded with Rev. Robert Wilkins in 1935 before meeting and marrying Lizzie Douglas, better  known as Memphis Minnie. They cut "Black Rat Swing" in 1941, first issued as "Little Son Joe" then as "Mr Memphis Minnie". It would have been Minnie's birthday on 3rd June: Big Bill Broonzy thought she played guitar like a man, he himself was no slouch as he stopped by to tell us on STAR BLUES.

We tend to forget 1952 was pre-television here in Britain and anything known about blues would have been as an afterthought  to jazz-buffs gleaned from visiting GIs. The first acknowledged European tour by a genuine blues artist was Broonzy late in 1951. It caused a stir at the time because Bill was a dapper, well educated man who wore a suit - he was expected to be a share cropper straight from the cotton fields in dungarees (an image he hated). Chris Barber, Lonnie Donegan, Ken Colyer and others were just starting out on their passion in 1952. The playlist last night couldn't have happened in 1952, there was no way to get or even know about these artists then.

It was a treat to be with you for two hours on STAR BLUES, you were great company as always - especially as we did something a bit different for the Queen's Jubilee weekend. There's a really rich seam of great blues going back over 100 years and we only scratched the surface last night. Who knows what next Sunday will bring, I hope we can be  together again to find out at 10pm. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Big Ten Inch Record Bull Moose Jackson 1 The R'n'b Hits Of 1952 Various Artists INDIGO
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl Sonny Boy Williamson 15 Highlights From: The History Of Rhythm And Blues 1925-1942 Various Artists RHYTHM & BLUES
Dust My Broom Elmore James 24 The R'n'b Hits Of 1951 Various Artists INDIGO
Bukka's Jitterbug Swing Bukka White 16 The Slide Guitar Various Artists COLUMBIA
Rainy Day Blues Jump Jackson Band 5 Specialty Story Various Artists Specialty
When It Rains It Pours Pee Wee Crayton 3 The R'n'b Hits Of 1951 Various Artists INDIGO
Dealing With The Devil Brownie McGhee 20 The Complete Brownie McGhee Brownie McGhee COLUMBIA
Bilbo Is Dead Andrew Tibbs 2 Chess Blues Various Artists CHESS
Cold In Hand Blues Bessie Smith 8 Blues Queen. The Definitive Collection Bessie Smith Phoenix Records
I Didn't Like It The First Time Julia Lee 9 The R'n'b Hits Of 1949 Various Artists INDIGO
Boogie-Woogie Count Basie As Jones-Smith Inc 2 History Of Rhythm And Blues Part One Various Artists Rhythm and Blues Records
Lollipop Mama Wynonie Harris 23 The R'n'b Hits Of 1948 Various Artists INDIGO
Midnight Special Tiny Grimes 4 Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974: Volume 1, 1947-1952 Various Artists Atlantic / Wea
I Feel Like Going Home Muddy Waters 8 Chess Blues Various Artists CHESS
One Monkey Don't Stop No Show Stick McGhee 16 Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974: Volume 1, 1947-1952 Various Artists Atlantic / Wea
Lovin' Blues Bobby 'Blue' Bland 22 The R'n'b Hits Of 1952 Various Artists INDIGO
Tonky Boogie Forrest Sykes 12 Chess Blues Various Artists CHESS
Cadillac Boogie Jimmy Liggins & His Drops Of Joy 11 Specialty Story Various Artists Specialty
Mardi Gras In New Orleans Professor Longhair 11 Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974: Volume 1, 1947-1952 Various Artists Atlantic / Wea
Every Night About This Time Fats Domino 45 The R'n'b Hits Of 1950 Various Artists INDIGO
Black Rat Swing Little Son Joe 89 Roots 'N Blues : Retrospective 1925-1950 Various Artists SONY
Traveling Riverside Blues Robert Johnson 1 Beauty Of The Blues Various Artists COLUMBIA
Cross Cut Saw Blues Tony Hollins 83 Roots 'N Blues : Retrospective 1925-1950 Various Artists SONY
It's Nobody's Fault But Mine Blind Willie Johnson 10 Great Blues Artists:String Dazzlers Various Artists COLUMBIA
C And A Blues Big Bill Broonzy 69 Roots 'N Blues : Retrospective 1925-1950 Various Artists SONY
My Sportin' Man Mamie Smith 27 Roots 'N Blues : Retrospective 1925-1950 Various Artists SONY
Moonshine Man Blues Peter Cleighton 16 News And The Blues : Telling It Like It Is Various Artists COLUMBIA
Hurry Down Sunshine Champion Jack Dupree 19 Legends Of The Blues Volume Two Various Artists COLUMBIA
Created: 03/06/2012 21:30:53