Sunday, 25 November 2012

STAR BLUES on 25th November 2012 at 22:00

There's something a little hinckey when you think about a man of 69 front and centre of a rock band with a packed-out venue in the palm of his hands. Such was Mick Jagger's fate last night as the Stones marked their first half century on the crazy Ferris wheel of music. Even more strange when remembering Muddy Waters was 68 in 1981 when he invited a gleeful Jagger with Richards, Wood, Wyman and Stewart onto the stage at Buddy Guy's Checkerboard Lounge. You're never too old for blues but mainstream rock is another brussel sprout altogether.

I was talking about that Checkerboard gig because BBC4 had shown the newly remastered DVD in the middle of Saturday night. Muddy was awesome with slashing slide on "Country Boy" before the cameos started - his band had John Primer and Rich Kreher on guitars, Lovie Lee on Piano and an amazing display of harp dexterity from Mojo Buford. I've promised to get myself on Santa's good list next year if he'll slip the soundtrack under my pillow (it's too late to redeem myself for 2012). We had to make do with the 1971 version Muddy did live at Mr Kelly's for our 1001 Blues feature.

More guitar mastery from Lonnie Johnson (who did so much to shape B B King's sound), Ray Agee, Roy Gaines and Etta Baker on the playlist. Birthday boy Jimmy Johnson sang gospel for many a year and you can hear that fervour in his voice, his axe skills are pretty decent too. Jimmy Burns had brother Jimmy on hand to cover "Your Cash Aint Nothin But Trash". Otis Grand's new "Blues 65" project is a goodun cementing a nice partnership with Sugar Ray Norcia. At the age of 6 Gitlo Lee played with Sonny Boy Williamson and he now has a solid album out under his own brand, his old boss got things under way from "Down & Out Blues", the first album in the Pye R&B series eagerly devoured by blues fans on this side of the pond. Preston Shannon's celebration of "Cold Beer And Good Times" closed us off leaving us to ask why he isn't better known?

The John Lee Hooker song "Boogie Children" got a going over from the Playboys (with John Fred without Judy - disguised or otherwise). Nathan Abshire reworked Arthur Crudup's "Thats AlRight Mama", Phil Upchurch's hit "Can't Sit Down" was tastily updated by Willie Mitchell and the amazing bass voice of Jimmy Ricks was recorded in New York as part of Benny Goodman's Sextet. Otis Clay did our gospel duty and Eddie Boyd was on keys. In a show of such depth and variety, Mud Morganfield (Muddy's yoiunger son) is in Norwich tonight and was as majestic as his dad for a track from his latest album on Severn Records where he is part of that ol' magic called Bob Coritorre.

The BBC headline suggested some contestants had also lost their socks, but I bet it wasn't the same reason as me. I can't say anything else yet but I can point you in the direction of my next e-book, "Gary Blues Almanac 2013". Free. Send me your email details to and when its done it will find its way direct to you. Please make a donation to if you like it and can make use of it (no amount too small).

We'll look at what you can put on your Santa list next week at 10pm (GMT) until then take care of yourself and take care of those that take care of you.

Wake Up BabySonny Boy Williamson (Aka Rice Miller)8Down And Out Blues / In MemoriumSonny Boy Williamson (Aka Rice Miller)BEAT GOES ON
Feelin GoodJaniva Magness4The Devil Is An Angel TooJaniva MagnessAlligator
Go Ahead And Blame MeMud Morganfield9Son Of The Seventh SonMud MorganfieldSEVERN
Ain't Studdin' You BabyGitlo Lee10Comin Out the HoleGitlo Lee
You Can't Sit DownWillie Mitchell11Memphis Rhythm KingWillie MitchellBACKBEAT
Go Ahead OnGuitar Red23Sun Records - Ultimate Blues CollectionVarious ArtistsVARESE
Rolling LogRory Block10The Very Best Of The BluesVarious ArtistsORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
country boymuddy waters2my home is in the deltamuddy watersblues encore
rockin all daydennis gruenling1rockin all daydennis gruenlingvizz tone
midnight lover manRoy Brown7saturday nightroy brownel toro
Oh BabeRavens, The26Birds Of A FeatherRavens, ThePROPER
boogie childrenplayboys feat john fred27boppin on the bayouvarious artistsace
bopogie woogie feelingtony casanova22wid streakvariousveetone
Those Days Are GoneOtis Grand12Blues '65Otis GrandMAINgate
your cash aint nothing but trashEddie & Jimmy Burns2Snake EyesEddie BurnsJimmy BurnsDELMARK
country preacherjimmy johnson1country preacherjimmy johnsonorbis blues
All of My LifeRoy Gaines9Rock-A-Billy: Boogie Woogie Blues ManRoy Gaines
Love Is A Cold ShotRay Agee23Bay Area Blues BlastersVarious ArtistsEl Cerrito
thats all rightnathan abshire12bopping by the bayouvarious artistsace
Save A Seat For MeOtis Clay4The Gospel TruthOtis ClayBLIND PIG RECORDS
Hard Headed WomanEddie Boyd9Chicago PianoVarious ArtistsPAULA
Jackson’s BoogieLittle Willie Jackson21Let Me Tell You About The Blues: West CoastVarious ArtistsFantastic Voyage
Railroad BillEtta Baker & Taj Mahal5Etta Baker With Taj MahalEtta BakerTaj MahalMUSIC MAKER
Racketeers BluesLonnie Johnson16The Original Guitar WizardLonnie JohnsonPROPER
Walkin' These Blues AwayEomot Rasun2Three Days Walkin'Eomot RasunAPO
cold beer good timePreston Shannon12All In TimePreston ShannonBULLSEYE BLUES
Created: 25/11/2012 23:43:19 

Sunday, 18 November 2012

STAR BLUES on 18th November 2012 at 22:00

Richard "Hacksaw" Harney was born in 1902 and by the age of ten he was earning a living as a street singer. He cultivated a unique style which combined finger picking - which mimicked a mandolin - with solid bass figures that sound like a second player is on the date with him. as far as I know there's just one album under his own name: 'Sweet Man' on Edsel from a 1972 session; we dipped in for "Adelphi Stomp".

Dan Pickett was another supremely gifted player who was based on the East Coast, his work is rarely anthologised - which is a big shame given his skill and reputation amongst those "in the know". We had no problem in sharing his 1949 song "99 and 1/2" with you on last night's STAR BLUES.

Our pitch opened with Louis Jordan for no other reason than he matches my definition of sublime and it was a refreshing change to hear the original of "Buzz Me" rather than any one of a number of electric versions which always centre on guitar showings off. The erudite scribe Charles Shaar Murray wrote about Jimmy Witherspoon: "Too jazz for blues and too blues for jazz". I can see his point but Spoon was bigger than either genre, his effortless shouting was a highlight at the 1959 Monterey Jazz Festival when conventional wisdom said his time was long gone, killed off by rock'n'roll. He and tenor sax man Ben Webster had other ideas. We took their cover of "St Louis Blues" from a volume in the Orbis magazine series.

Ann Peebles gets waaaaay less props than she should, I doubt many folks could name one of her songs which isn't about "Rain". After many years with Willie Mitchell at the helm, Ann jumped ship from Hi to Bullseye for a project produced by Ron Levy. His touch brought out a grittier edge to her voice and she was steered towards less obvious songs such as those by Delbert McClinton. Nice. Ollie Nightingale can sound like Sam Cooke at times, not that's a bad thing because it's double qualification for duties in the gospel tent. Amos Milburn held keyboard court with one of his Aladdin recordings, ably supported not once but twice by Otis Spann and Muddy Waters (even if Muddy was smuggled into 'Blues will never die" as Dirty Rivers). "Blow Wind Blow" was the first song Otis Spann did as part of Muddy Waters' band and its one of the mere handful of sides Walter Horton cut with Muddy. I used the opportunity as a reminder that 1913 will be the centenary of Muddys birth and we will be doing some special shows next April in celebration.

Freddie Kings work for Cotillion is sometimes overlooked when compared with the early stuff for Federal and his later stuff for RSO, I like it for the way King Curtis put Freddies guitar up front and let everyone else try to keep up from behind. The 1967 album "Never Get Out Of these blues" isn't one of John Lee Hooker's best but it does have a couple of flashes of what Hooker does best, mostly on Al Kings song "Think Twice Before you Speak" and we also had a smidge of the man himself from a Kent collection of proper R&B. Just time to mention a project from Ann Rabson and Bob Margolin on Vizztone, full of charm and old-fashioned pleasure of two seasoned players enjoying each others company.

Regular listeners will know I always wear a white tee-shirt - and once a year I sign one for charity. Just done it, there's is only one of them, You can bid for it by taking part in the Thursday auctions on Ryan Taylor's breakfast show on Thursday mornings. He's keeping it a secret on when it will be, you should listen to him to find out. I've slipped a few extra goodies into the basket so I hope you'll want to follow the auction and time those bids precisely. Meantime you were splendid company yesterday, I was Gary Blue and if you'll have me I'll bring some more trivia and tomfoolery next Sunday night at ten pm (Mr Ernest, Mrs Doubtfire and the two little ducks, Deefer and Spot will already be there). Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Buzz MeLouis Jordan3Reet Petite And GoneLouis JordanINDIGO
Miss LucyBig Al Downing5Holy Mackerel! Pretenders To Little Richard's ThroneVarious ArtistsACE
Lucky To Be LivingDave Riley & Bob Corritore4Lucky To Be LivingDave Riley & Bob CorritoreBlue Witch Records
Think Twice Before You GoJohn Lee Hooker6Tantalizing With The BluesJohn Lee HookerMCA
Dyin' FluAlbert Collins6The Cool Sound Of Albert CollinsAlbert CollinsBLUE CITY
Read Me My RightsAnn Peebles3Full Time LoveAnn PeeblesBULLSEYE BLUES
St. Louis BluesJimmy Witherspoon15Ain't Nobody's BusinessJimmy WitherspoonORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
Home In Your HeartSolomon Burke23Handy Man - The Songs Of Otis BlackwellVarious ArtistsACE
Ain't Givin Up NothinAl King20New Breed R'n'bVarious ArtistsKent (U.K.)
Nobody Knows You When You're Down And OutJoe Hicks7Stax: We'll Play The Blues For YouVarious ArtistsSTAX
Adelphi RambleRichard 'Hacksaw' Harney4Sweet ManRichard 'Hacksaw' HarneyEDSEL
Tough LuckRobert Lee McCoy1Prowling NighthawkRobert NighthawkCATFISH
I Wonder WhyFreddie King3My Feeling For The BluesFreddie KingREPERTOIRE
Tin Pan AlleyPhillip Walker2Bottom Of The Top / BluesPhillip WalkerDEMON
Choo Choo BoogieClarence 'Gatemouth' Brown5Just Got LuckyClarence 'Gatemouth' BrownORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
I've Got A New HomeOllie Nightingale & The Dixie Nightingales8Gospel Celebrities And Celestial LightsVarious ArtistsFantastic Voyage
cut you a-looserick allen10age & chief blues storyvarious artistsfuel 2000
Blow Wind BlowMuddy Waters23Mad Love : Introduction To Muddy WatersMuddy WatersPROPER
The Blues Never DieOtis Spann6All That BluesVarious ArtistsORIGINAL BLUES CLASSICS
Anybody's BluesAmos Milburn32Blues Barrelhouse And Boogie - The Best OfAmos MilburnCapitol
Anywhere You GoAnn Rabson With Bob Margolin10Not AloneAnn Rabson With Bob MargolinVizztone
99 1/2 Won't DoDan Pickett23Shake That Thing!: East Coast Blues 1935-1953,Various ArtistsJSP Records
Blues After HoursPee Wee Crayton13The History Of Rhythm And Blues Volume Two 1942-1952Various ArtistsRhythm and Blues Records
need your love so badfleetwood mac10fleetwood macfleetwood macblue horizon
frogs in the long grassEddie Martin & His Big Blues Band1Looking Forward Looking BackEddie Martin & His Big Blues BandBUEBLOOD
Created: 18/11/2012 23:55:00

Sunday, 11 November 2012

STAR BLUES on 11th November 2012 at 22:00

Permission to speak Mr Mainwaring?

With the passing of the Corporal, the handover from Neil and our opening from Johnnie we had more Joneses at ten on STAR BLUES than in a miner's snug in the Rhonda Valley. (I just thought: Are they open on Sundays in Wales these days?) Johnnie's "Chip Off the Old Block" was a robust peformance from a man usually known for grace and subtlety; he had a decent voice too leading us neatly into the consummate blues artist, Little Milton. He was on four of the seminal record labels of 50s 60s 70s 80s (Sun, Chess, Stax, Malaco) and had "Greatest Hits" on each with no overlaps. His final project in 2005 on Telarc was done with Jon Tiven who brought out some late period gems from our hero. We also had the final album from Michael "Iron Man" Burks - he got the nickname from his energetic and enthusiastic work ethic that meant he never gave anything less than full measure, his big loud guitar could well put off a few of our purist bretheren but that huge voice forgives him anything in my hum. Robert Cray's new album has a decent set of songs looking at traditional blues themes from the perspective of this century - the tales of rejection, pain and misery arent about never having had things like family, comforts and stuff, these are about taking it for granted and losing them suddenly and unexpectedly from outside forces.

We weren't short of female stars either: Koko Taylor at her imperious best (with Buddy Guy on guitar); Etta James with one of the finest Chess records ever made outside Chicago (down at Muscle Shoals); the lithe singing and playing of a very young Bonnie Raitt captured live on a Philadelphia Radio Show; (she just had a birthday); the irrepressible Candye Kane who just doesn't know how to slow down in spite of her recent health worries (she has a birthday on 13th) and Ruth Brown did "RB Blues" in 1950 and showed why at the time she was the only hit maker Atlantic could rely on. Richard Rosenblatt runs Vizztone and he is having a great birthday celbration with new releases on Doug Demming and Dennis Gruenling, the same band but double the fun.

Sugar Chile Robinson was the official piano blues standard bearer as well as being our youngest ever contender, Jimmy Liggins was on hand with the "Honeydripper" and it was a real pleasure to do the full version of Ramsey Lewis' "Wade in the water" - so often you just get a minor smidge as backing bed to a promo or advert. Mark Lamarr's big stack of records provides fabulous anthologies to the Vee-Tone label, the second volume of "Screaming gospel and Holy Rollers" was our dip into the gospel pot for the Soul Seekers. Mighty Joe Young did some good stuff for Blind Pig, shame his wikipedia entry is a film about a gorilla. Dave sent through a fine Magic Slim single on Mistreater and we had chance to enjoy it together last night. Slim still epitomises the spirit of modern Chicago blues.

While we are now ensconsed officially as "Britain's Other Blues Show", it's never just about the blues: I have a family to care for too! On getting into the studio last night, I could see Ernest Borgnine and Deefa but not Mrs Doubtfire or Spot. They usually flaunt themselves from the top of the speaker to make sure the webcam gets the best angle (Deefa Duck is a real tart I can tell you). About half way through the show, I glimpsed a flash of yellow and found Spot and Mrs D hiding behind the monitor where they'd been since the fireworks on Bonfire night. Before those men with the natty white coats that do up at the back catch up with me, I'll be off to plan some more trivia and tomfooolery for next Sunday at ten pm (GMT) until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Chip Off The Old BlockJohnny Jones1I Was Raised On The BluesJohnny JonesBLACK MAGIC
Second Hand LoveLittle Milton10Think Of MeLittle MiltonTELARC
(I Got) All You NeedKoko Taylor8Wang Dang DoodleKoko TaylorORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
Wade In The WaterRamsay Lewis Trio1Mojo Chess ClassicsVarious ArtistsMOJO
don't you lose a good thingdan penn4the fame recordingsdan pennace
Cadillac Assembly LineAlbert King18Best Music Catalogue In The WorldVarious ArtistsCHARLY
Sitting On Another Man's KneeLonesome Sundown20Genuine Excello R'n'bVarious ArtistsACE
Family RulesGuitar Jr.7On Bended Knee - The Birth Of Swamp PopVarious ArtistsGREAT Voices Of The Century
Flip, Flop And BopFloyd Cramer4Teen Beat Vol.2VariousACE
Willie Mae BluesBilly Boy Arnold7Billy Boy Arnold Sings: Big Bill BroonzyBilly Boy ArnoldElectro-Fi
Mighty Tight WomanBonnie Raitt1The Lost Broadcast: Philadelphia 1972Bonnie RaittLeft Field Media
nobodys fault but mineJohn Renbourn18The Essential: The Best Of John RenbournJohn RenbournCastle Pulse
wonder whymagic slim2magic slimmagic slim
Fix ThisRobert Cray7Nothing But LoveRobert CrayPROVOGUE
end of the lineMighty Joe Young7Mighty ManMighty Joe Youngblind pig
R. B. BluesRuth Brown6Miss Rhythm - Greatest Hits And MoreRuth BrownSEQUEL
SecurityEtta James20Tell MamaEtta JamesCHESS
Numbers BoogieSugar Chile Robinson4The R'n'b Years 1949: 100 Hot Rhythm And Blues Tunes From 1949Various ArtistsBOULEVARD VINTAGE
the honeydripperroy milton7The R'n'b Years 1949: 100 Hot Rhythm And Blues Tunes From 1949Various ArtistsBOULEVARD VINTAGE
somethings gotta hold of mesoul seekers18screamin gospel and holy rollersvarious artistsvee-tone
Count On YouMichael Burks1Show Of StrengthMichael BurksAlligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.
I'm My Own Worst EnemyCandye Kane7Guitar'd And FeatheredCandye KaneRuf
whoevers thrilling you is killing mez z hill17rolling with the punches: allen toussaint songbookvarious artistsace
Cotton Picking BluesBig Mama Thornton6They Called Me Big MamaBig Mama ThorntonProper Introduction
bloodshot eyesdennis gruenling11rockin all daydennis gruenlingvizztone
one good reasondoug demming3whats it gonna takedoug denningvizztone
Created: 12/11/2012 00:02:03

Sunday, 4 November 2012

STAR BLUES on 4th November 2012 at 22:00

Being glossy and photogenic will get you quite a number of places however we don't care if your name IS Lady Gaga, got a white tee shirt and an electric guitar - you're just not in STAR BLUES tonight. You too Jessie J and Cheryl Cole!!

What we did have were eleven new albums and a man  from Senegal. The genesis of our music is often stated as exclusively coming from the African continent. Indeed the link is at the heart of the new Eric Bibb project where he is joined with Habib Koite for song arrangements as much to do with Senegal as the States. It sounds gentle and unassuming but there is both grace and power in their collaborations. Several of other other choice had a markedly different pace: dad-to-be Mike Sanchez lead the Big Town Playboys into a glorious celebration of "Glamour Girl" bookended with the unmistakable pipes of Clyde McPhatter.

The late Robert Covington was billed as "the Golden Voice", he was also a fine drummer whose opener heavily featured the young Carl Weathersby. Carl was at one time part of Mississippi Heat who now celebrate 20 years together. Their new album gave him chance to get back front and centre alongside harp maestro and band leader Pierre Lacoque. Kay Kay died earlier this year just about on the cusp of wider recognition she deserved from her three albums; Catfood Records takes the best from those as a "Best Of" and she got good solid support from her band The Rays.

Nathan Abshire took an accordion to the Arthur Big Boy Crudup classic composition and sounded nothing like Elvis. "Glory of Love" was a decent doo-wop version from the Cleftones and the piano tent was full with Katie Webster and the brand new cd+dvd package by the rippling Mitch Woods.  Memphis Gold was on the cover of Living Blues a year or so ago, his is a fascinating tale and we let him in to show a more traditional side through his "Biscuit Boogie". Ann Rabson was in Saffire the Uppity Blues Women for a goodly while, she's invited Bob Margolin onto her new album and they make fine music together from her piano and his guitar. I really hope there'll be more from them in this vein with each sounding considerably younger than is possible given their vast experience.

Larry Garner is a stalwart of the blues scene, as he has been for a couple of decades now, his semi humourous "23 Past" was from the set he recorded on JSP in 1990. Robert Cray has over 20 albums now and old friend and bass player Richard Cousins is back in the fold. The new one has justifiably garnered plenty of praise for his singing and playing - my view is you should carefully check out the songwriting too. He doesn't have the anger or fire of Joe Louis Walker, but he sports a nifty titfer that Lady Blues says makes him look cute (I have one exactly the same in the same colour but she says I look like a Brussel sprout). Other axe wizardry came from Brownie McGhee, Black Ace and John Dee Holeman before we had to upsticks and pack our stuff away.

Our family of plastic ducks are stars in their own right - who's bright idea was it to mention them in one of the new jingles for Britain's Other Blues Show? As soon as I played it they noticed the webcam and posed and preened for the rest of STAR BLUES. All I can say is Lady Gaga, which is where we came in. We'll be back on Remembrance Day at 10pm (GMT), until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

I Don't CareRobert Covington4Blues In The NightRobert Covington
No Mama's BoysKay Kay and the Rays1The Best Of Kay Kay And The RaysKay Kay and the RaysCatfood
vENTILLATOR BLUESBopcats1025 Years Of Rock'n'rollBopcatseller soul
C.C. RiderRichie Havens1My Own WayRichie HavensDOUGLAS
Overcoat MamaWillie 'Big Eyes' Smith13Born In ArkansasWillie 'Big Eyes' SmithBig Eyes
3d LovingPiney Brown8Jumping At JubileeVarious ArtistsSEQUEL
thinkthe "5" royales17king new breed r&bvarious artistskent
CaledoniaAnn Rabson With Bob Margolin6Not AloneAnn Rabson With Bob MargolinVizztone
that's all right mamanathan abshire12boppin on the bayouvarious artistsace
Let The Boogie Woogie RollClyde McPhatter12Let The Boogie Woogie Rock'n'rollVarious ArtistsACE
Glamour GirlBig Town Playboys4Hip JointBig Town PlayboysBLUE HORIZON
a lovers prayervernon green24new breed r&bvarious artistskent
Changin' My WaysTas Cru2Tired Of Bluesmen Cryin'Tas Crucrustee trees
biscuit boogieMemphis Gold2Pickin In High CottonMemphis Gold
Mr. MistreaterMississippi Heat11Delta BoundMississippi HeatDELMARK
Blues Get Off My ShoulderRobert Cray6Nothing But LoveRobert CrayPROVOGUE
No Good WomanBlack Ace14Gems From April 2011Various Artists
Born For Bad LuckBrownie McGhee7Okeh : Great Race Labels Vol. 3Various ArtistsCATFISH
solid gold cadillacMitch Woods2blues beyond bordersMitch Woodsclub 88 records
Two Fisted MamaKatie Webster3Comin' Home To The BluesVarious ArtistsMUSIC CLUB
With My Maker I Am OneHabib Koité, Eric Bibb9Brothers In BamakoHabib Koité, Eric Bibb
Glory Of LoveCleftones, The9Happy MemoriesCleftones, TheJasmine
lookin the world overmaria muldaur5...then came memphis minnie...various artistsSTONY PLAIN
Chapel Hill BoogieJohn Dee Holeman10Piedmont BluesJohn Dee HolemanDOC ARTS INC.
Created: 04/11/2012 23:43:15