Sunday, 24 February 2013

STAR BLUES on 24th February 2013 at 22:00

Extremely sad news at the core of the show marking the passing of Magic Slim. He defined Chicago blues for many, with a raw, uncompromising style set off with an underlying good humour that won him and our music many friends. More often than not the sound was characterised by two lead guitar parts (John Primer was a sparring partner for a while, so was James Wheeler). There are over 30 albums in his back catalogue and our dip into a couple of them only really started to show the essence of the man. Nothing fancy. Nothing schmanzy-panzy. Just Magic.

I deliberately put the new track from Bobby Rush in ahead of our Magic Slim segment as both men instinctively know how much the blues means when done live (and done properly). Bobby's new one is the first great album of 2013 and finds him in a number of different moods. He was at the centre of one of the Martin Scorsese Blues films because he still has a large loyal following on what used to be called the Chitlin Circuit. On this evidence Bobby still cuts it and if there's any justice this time next year he'll have awards to go with this one.

Chris Evans has just discovered Robert Cray but we've known that for a long while. Can't believe Young Bob will be 60 in August but he is one of the few blues players who can show the mainstream a thing or two.The songs aren't about young love and are founded in the complex way we all interact once you get to a certain stage in life. With more big names such as B B King, Koko Taylor, Robert Ward and Otis Rush our first half set a high standard for the vinyl hour.

That's the bit when we only play stuff for folks who believe collecting and playing music is a physical pursuit (a theme being explored at some depth by BBC4 at the moment). Big Joe Turner and Little Esther passed before the invention of the compact disc but their voices sound as fresh and vital today as they ever did. From the pre-war era we featured Leroy Carr in our piano spot and Tommy McClennan came along to prove why he was the guitar king. Lil Green enlisted Big Billy Broonzy and Brownie McGhee snuck in alongside his old mate Sonny Terry - adding to our quota of heavyweights from the vinyl era. Barbara Lynn was probably the most recent track, she's an amazing singer and player: this collection of singles she did for Tribe is well worth a listen.

Our main man Magic Slim closed off proceedings all too soon last night: though the occasion was sad, you can't hear him without smiling. We had a couple of his albums on in the car when we took Little Bitty Pretty Blue to fetch her latest pair of additions to the fold (four-legs each, hairy chests, real-cute, one answering to "Teaser" the other to "Fudge"). On 10th March, STAR BLUES will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the world's first blues magazine: Blues Unlimited. There'll be music mentioned in those pages, possibly even some Smokey Hogg. Counting down those days yet?  I'm back next Sunday for more, I do hope you'll be there too. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Get You Next To MeArthur AdamsB. B. King125th Anniversary CollectionVarious ArtistsBLIND PIG RECORDS
Better Watch Your StepKoko Taylor6Old SchoolKoko TaylorAlligator
Boogie in the DarkBobby Rush6Down in LouisianaBobby RushDEEP Rush
I'm A BluesmanMagic Slim & The Teardrops1Blues Revue Sampler (Oct / Nov 2002)Various ArtistsBLUES REVUE
mama talk to your daughterMagic Slim & The Teardrops1chicago blues session vol 3Magic Slim & The Teardropswolf
cummins prison farmmagic slim4that ain't rightvarious artistsdelmark
someone else is steppin' inMagic Slim & The Teardrops2bad boyMagic Slim & The TeardropsBLIND PIG RECORDS
K-Po-KeeRobert Ward12Fear No EvilRobert WardSILVERTONE
WorryRobert Cray2Nothing But LoveRobert CrayPROVOGUE
Tore UpOtis Rush1Right Place Wrong TimeOtis RushEDSEL
Saturday Night Fish FryLouis Jordan & His Tympany Five20Route 66Louis Jordan & His Tympany FiveHOT DOG
Cupid's BoogieLittle Esther And Mel Walker With Johnny Otis Orch.5That's Your Last Boogie!Johnny OtisFantastic Voyage
I Wanna KnowDu Droppers, The5Boot 'Em UpDu Droppers, TheACROBAT
The Chicken And The HawkBig Joe Turner15Greatest HitsBig Joe TurnerSEQUEL
somethings gotta hold on mesoul seekers18Screamin' Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 2Various ArtistsVee-Tone Records
Touch & GoWynona Carr3Dj Andy Smith's Jam Up TwistAndy SmithBGP
barrel house womanleroy carr2-1let me tell you about new york bluesvarious artistsfantastic voyage
Queen BeeJohn Lee Hooker2Original Folk Blues ... PlusJohn Lee HookerACE
Custard Pie BluesSonny Terry22Let Me Tell You About The Blues: New YorkVarious ArtistsFantastic Voyage
I'm A Guitar KingTommy McClennan11Cross Cut SawTommy McClennanDOCUMENT
99 BluesLil Green18Why Don't You Do RightLil GreenBLUES COLLECTION
I'm A Good WomanBarbara Lynn1A Good WomanBarbara LynnKent
You Can Run But You Can't HideSolomon Burke8This Is ItSolomon BurkeSHOUT!

wonder whyMagic Slim1Dave's Mainly Original R'n'b 45SVarious Artists
Created: 24/02/2013 23:42:28

Sunday, 17 February 2013

STAR BLUES on 17th February 2013 at 22:00

We had new projects from Corey Harris, Robin Trower, the 4Jacks, and the Mike Eldred Trio; and Roy Roberts' 2011 album was new to us. That's just the first hour, not counting our Vinyl celebration after eleven pm. Ok I cheated just a smidge by letting through a couple of album tracks but they were valid vinyl offerings.

Top of the shop crackled with robust enthusiasm on a pair of songs from the much under appreciated Long John Hunter and Raful Neal. Kim Wilson was fluid and pliable in the best Little Walter mould for a guest spot with Mark Knopfler which we hope would satisfy the most curmudgeonly of blues purists. When the Robin Trower album showed up I half expected slick jazz tinged trickery, but his new album is what is described as roots music in more than one place - he even got Paul Jones along to play harp on covers of some rock'n'roll hits. We hope any mainstream airplay on the BBC will turn the listener next toward the source?

On this showing, who'd bet against Trower taking hoe a grammy award this time next year? Stranger things have happened. The wise folks at the GRAMMYs have decreed our music can be summed up in one award when in previous years we had both contemporary and traditional categories. We think a lot of Dr. John and his music is part of our ouevre (he deserves big props for his dedication to the cause of Louisiana after Katrina). The challenge we hear is in trying to judge his "Locked Down" project against "Let It Burn" by Ruthie Foster or the album from the Heritage Blues Orchestra and so on. Those GRAMMIES had no problem with it but our flabby was truly ghasted. Talk about comparing elephants with daffodils.

Corey Harris album has a number of different blues styles and is worth further investigation. Habib Koite is featured in the latest issue of Living Blues magazine with Eric Bibb, their album is well received and they have a short interview piece. Somewhere along the line we've let George Gritzbatch off our radar which is a bit of a shame as we enjoyed his forays with a bottom of the perfect hue. As for our vinyl contenders the list speaks for itself. With familiar names like Little Walter and the lesser-played Robert Pete Williams as bookends, how could we go wrong? The stack of reference books I use failed to yield dates or players for the Clarence Green track but we'd guess around 1965 in Houston just before he signed to the Duke label?

At some stage (fairly soon) we'll devote a whole show to these little gems of black plastic / shellac, What you you think? We get some pretty good stuff through on cd so it won't be a regular habit but I for one can't wait? Are you up for more next Sunday at ten pm, until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

V-8 FordLong John Hunter9Swinging From The RaftersLong John HunterAlligator
call me babyraful neal8American BluesVarious ArtistsPutumayo World Music
Hot Or WhatMark Knopfler feat. kim wilson8Privateering [Disc 1]Mark KnopflerMERCURY
hound dogrobin trower w. paul jones1roots and branchesrobin trowerhatman
blue bottomGeorge Gritzbach1Blue BottomGeorge Gritzbach & Unknown Blues BandALCAZAR
We Don't CareHabib Koité, Eric Bibb5Brothers In BamakoHabib Koité, Eric Bibb
the titanicruthie foster w. blind boys of alabama13let it burnruthie fosterblue corn
Catfish BluesEddie Cusic8Leland Mississippi BluesEddie CusicWOLF
Wait for MeRoy Roberts6Strange LoveRoy Robertsrock house
Crying BluesCorey Harris1Fulton BluesCorey Harris
Deal With ItFour Jacks1Deal With ItFour JacksIODA
Jimmy, JimmyMike Eldred Trio, TheIke Turner961 And 49Mike Eldred Trio, TheRIP CAT
midnight boogierobert pete williams2-13Roots Of The BluesVarious ArtistsVANGUARD
Let's Rock'n'roll'little Shy Guy' Douglas3Across The TracksVarious ArtistsACE
Courtin' In A CadillacJerry McCain & His Upstarts13It's Your Voodoo Working: The Best Of ExcelloVarious Artistsuniversal music operations
Kansas CityWilbert Harrison29The Fire And Fury StoryVarious ArtistsCHARLY
easy lovin'little papa joe {jody williams]2jody williams on 45jody williamsnone
This Little Girl's Gone Rockin'King Curtis14Wail Man Wail!King CurtisFantastic Voyage
I Got A LetterRalph Willis4-2shake that thingVarious Artistsjsp
Lady LuckMercy Dee11Journey Of Chris Strachwitz (40 Years Of Arhoolie Records)Various ArtistsArhoolie Records
Keep Drinkin'Little Brother Mongomery17Chicago Piano 1951-1958Various ArtistsFLYRIGHT
Angel ChildMemphis Slim41The R'n'b Hits Of 1949Various ArtistsINDIGO
Crawdad HoleChuck Harrod & The Anteaters23Across The Tracks: Vol. 2Various ArtistsACE
you humbuggin merocket morgan1boppin on the bayou againvarious artistsace
you don't move me no moreClarence Green12Guitar Crying The BluesClarence GreenDOUBLE TROUBLE
Press My ButtonLil Johnson10Highlights From: The History Of Rhythm And Blues 1925-1942Various ArtistsRHYTHM & BLUES
can't hold out much longerLittle Walter (Aka Marion Walter Jacobs)6Boss Blues HarmonicaLittle Walter (Aka Marion Walter Jacobs)ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
Created: 17/02/2013 23:54:31

Sunday, 10 February 2013

STAR BLUES on 10th February 2013 at 22:00

Birthday bumper bash for Otis Clay, Otis Grand and Mike Sanchez; remembering Little Johnnie Taylor, Big Bad Smitty, Phillip Walker and King Curtis. I was very tempted - given the depth of his canon - to devote the entire Vinyl hour to King Curtis and his sessions and the three offerings we did include barely did the man justice.

We held over a track from Jody Williams from last week: it's astonishing to find out the 2002 "Return of A Legend" album was the first under his own name, given his earliest sides for Howlin' Wolf in 1954. His first two singles were done in the 1963 and both had "Moanin' For Molasses" on the flip side. That instrumental got an outing on his debut album with a small assist to and from the 21 year old Sean Costello. Jody's still with us, though sadly not so Sean. I've made a note to find one or other of those 45s for an upcoming Vinyl Hour.

Last week Cecil Womack died, though best known to the mainstream world (and ham fisted oiks who can't be bothered to sort cds properly on record store racks) as half of Womack and Womack, he was the youngest brother to Bobby Womack and with three other brothers formed the Valentinos. In March 1964 they turned up a SAR studios expecting the full bifta treatment with strings and horn arrangements to record Bobby's newly written song ("Its All Over Now"). They were persuaded by producer Johnnie Morissette that they stripped back band would show then to best advantage. Unbeknownst to them the DJ Murray the K passed the early acetate to the Rolling Stones before the Valentinos single could be mastered for sale. Mick, Keef and the boys beat them to the punch by six weeks and to the top of the charts into pop history. To say Bobby was a tad miffed would be like calling Hurricane Katrina a puff of wind. Sam Cooke calmed him down by pointing out the likely size of writer royalty cheques. We leant back and savoured Cecil and Bobby on their sublime original version.

Other than Annie Raines, I can't name another current blues lady playing harp - until I got sent a neat promo EP from the Dana Dixon Band. Her instrumental "Little Walter" shows she knows her way round that axe. Further new item from the Andy-T Nick Nixon Band has Anson Funderburgh on guitar (though not on the track we played). Jesse Dee was on STAR BLUES with his debut album in 2010 and he is now part of the Alligator roster. This Boston born young man has a lovely smooth voice and a keen writing gift. He's photogenically good looking and we love his project - easily as good as most Grammy winners IMHO.

Etta James' last project for Chess is now on cd for the first time with a whole clutch of mid-Seventies singles and rarities as bonus. The sessions took place in Englewood because All Platinum had just bought the Chess label and were anxious to make their mark on the sound of the old label. The album had a couple of singles to promote it and we chose one for our Vinyl Hour. My earliest forays into discographical research started off following the lineage in Eric Clapton's session work - it quickly came up against a 1969 single for Atco under the name "King Curtis", from there it was a delicious ride through a number of sides graced with the tenor mans considerable skills. (Waylon Jennings, Neil Sedaka, Bobby Darin are just 3 names well outside our purview showing how much hie was in demand). He lived but 31 years and if he did nothing else he did the sax bit for the Coasters' "Yakety Yak".

Josh White would have been 99 today (Monday 11th) and his verrsion of "Strange Fruit" stayed tight to the original intent of the composer (unlike the previous hit version everyone knows by Billie Holiday). She felt he'd blasphemed "her" song (though she did not write it) that Josh was physically attacked on the steps of a NYC club in 1941 when his effort came to her ears. It isn't an easy melody for anyone and this one shows why Josh was held in such high regard. Incidentally it was on 78 in an album (the first strict definition of an album wasn't a 33rpm vinyl record, it was 3 platters at 78 packaged together in a single cover.

I've got two very special projects upcoming which have come about by our support of the vinyl format - I'll tell you more just as soon as I am allowed. You were magnificent, I was just Gary Blue last night. Until the next instalment take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Put The Shoe On The Other FootAlbert Collins5IcemanAlbert CollinsPOINTBLANK
Still A FoolBig Bad Smitty5Mean DisposttionBig Bad SmittyBLACK MAGIC
Moanin' For MolassesJody Williams5Return Of A LegendJody WilliamsEVIDENCE
No End To The BluesAndy T-Nick Nixon BandAnson Funderburgh7Drink Drank DrunkAndy T-Nick Nixon BandAnson FunderburghDelta Groove
Little Walter Comes To TownDana Dixon2Dana Dixon BandDana DixonDana Dixon
movin to the countryValentinos35Sar Records Story 1959-1965Various ArtistsABKCO
It's All Over NowValentinos36Sar Records Story 1959-1965Various ArtistsABKCO
i won't forget about youjesse dee4on my mind in my heartjesse deealligator
my manmike sanchez and imelda may13almost grownmike sanchezdoopin
these days aregoneotis grand12blues 65otis grandmaingate
The Hustle Is OnPhillip Walker9Blues T-Bone StyleVarious ArtistsEASYDISC
My Heart Is Filled With PainLittle Johnny Taylor6The Galaxy YearsLittle Johnny TaylorACE
Mean Red SpiderMuddy Waters9Reborn And RemasteredMuddy WatersROUGH GUIDES
I'm a womanLula Reed17Just A Little Bit: Federal's Queens Of New Breed R&bTiny TopsyLula ReedACE
i've been a fooletta james8etta is betta than evvahetta jameskent
Teasin’King Curtis With Delaney Bramlett, Eric Clapton & Friends13Eric ClaptonEric ClaptonPOLYDOR
Yakety YakCoasters, The6Greatest Hits - Plus!Coasters, TheSEQUEL
peter gunnking curtis1-23wail man wailking curtisfantastic voyage
I Can't Make It AloneOtis Clay8The 45'sOtis ClayHI
Strange FruitJosh White18Presenting Josh WhiteJosh WhiteSIGNATURE
Tough TimesJohn Brim14Whose Muddy ShoesElmore JamesJohn BrimCHESS
Hadacol BounceProfessor Longhair9Gettin' FunkyVarious ArtistsPROPER
fat manfats domino15Gettin' FunkyVarious ArtistsPROPER
boogie in the parkjoe hill louis19Boppin' The Blues : Stars On SunVarious ArtistsCHARLY
i be boundmuddy waters3reborn and remasteredVarious Artistsrough guide
Night TrainJimmy Forrest8The Sound Of The City - ChicagoVarious ArtistsEmi Records Ltd
Created: 11/02/2013 00:03:44

Sunday, 3 February 2013

STAR BLUES on 3rd February 2013 at 22:00

Wish I'd thought of it before: a two hour show with a First Hour and a Vinyl Hour, the only rule after eleven pm is the track we play must have already been issued on vinyl (ideally 45 or 78). Even BBC Radio2 has cottoned on to the enthusiasm for vinyl, though theirs is the album form.

So we've jiggled, we've tweaked, we've rustled and we've jostled the regular features (PIANO, GOSPEL and so on) to give us a free run at such a marvellous treasure trove of blues. Not that our first segment has been down-graded.

Ann Rabson didn't have that photogenic glamour of her contemporaries Bonnie Raitt or Rory Block but she was easily their equal in terms of ability and influence. Her first axe was guitar but she was best known for her piano gifts - played for over 25 years with Saffire! the Uppity Blues Women. Their final project together has a fabulous photo of Ann in the middle of a full throated hearty laugh while Andrea and Gaye beam widely - no doubt cooking up some delicious mischief over their coffee. She was universally loved and she loved everyone right back with great generosity of both time and spirit. Her final project was a two hander piece with Bob Margolin called "Not Alone" which captured two seasoned players just enjoying each others company. Ann's death on 30th January has left a huge hole in the blues community which will take some filling.

We also took time to wish two other artists well in their recovery from very serious health issues: Finis Tasby and Eddie C. Campbell (who is in Germany while the care he needs is Stateside). Jody Williams' birthday was yesterday and we'll celebrate that next Sunday as the time thief caught me again. It was the anniversary of Johnny Guitar Watson's birth too - he was Jimi Hendrix before Jimi Hendrix with guitar showmanship and a wild extravagant approach to plying reverb to his Fender guitar on the 1954 piece "Space Cowboy". His "Three hours past midnight" had a memorable solo that Frank Zappa later claimed as a life changing event. Watson enjoyed success in the 70's as a disco icon but he'd already been one of the 50's best singers, writers and guitarists. Bobby Robinson at Fire and Fury knew how to record his stars at high volume, he had success with Elmore James and Jimmy Spruill just listen to any of their sides cut during that era. One of our internet correspondents tipped us a wink on a couple of singles Eddie Burns did for the Harvey label and showed why he's regarded as one of Detroit's finest.

Not that everything was about high octane guitar last night, we had Ernestine Allen with Cliff "King" Solomon and we had Ruth Brown bring powerful vocals; Essex' own Jackson Sloan is a name to watch for mining the same R&B vein with exceptional arrangements and delivery, he kindly sent us a two-track EP ahead of his up-coming album on Shellac.  Mike Sanchez found some tapes on his shelf that came from 2004  sessions with Imelda May. (At that time she was over from Ireland, not  yet the household name she deservedly now is). Agreement was reached to put out the songs on Mike's own Doopin' imprint. In my (less than) humble the 14 tracks are the best either has done. (Did I also mention two hidden bonus bands?)

Before air-time we boldly claimed to raise the bar on what passes for guitar playing these days. Did we do it? Dave Kelly with Sonny Black acted as one on the "Slide Guitar Rag" and there was sweet and graceful tones off Tommy Emmanuel and Martin Taylor as "The Colonel and The Governor" to preview next month's tour and album. Then in a trice it was time to pack up and head for home; you made me very welcome with your kind invitation round your place, I'm available next Sunday at 10pm for another bundle of trivia, tomfoolery and vinyl blues. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you


Damn Right I've Got The BluesBuddy Guy1Damn Right I've Got The BluesBuddy GuySILVERTONE
Pride & JoyOtis Rush9Any Place I'm GoingOtis RushHOUSE OF BLUES
Border Town BluesMannish Boys, feat. Finis Tasby1Big PlansMannish Boys, TheDelta Groove Prod
everything's gonna be alrightEddie C. Campbell6everything's gonna be alrightEddie C. Campbellicehouse
you know i knowjackson sloan1you know i knowjackson sloanshellac
Slide Guitar RagDave Kelly w. Sonny Black17We Had It AllDave Kelly - Family And FriendsHYPERTENSION
lets get drunk and truckann rabson w. bob margolin2not aloneann rabson w. bob margolinvizztone
since you been gonesaffire the uppity blues women6havin' the last wordsaffire the uppity blues womenalligator
music makin' mamaann rabson1music makin mamaann rabsonalligator
Lovin' JimLittle Mickey Champion1Bam-A-Lam: the R&b Recordings 1950-1962Mickey ChampionACE
Every Night In The WeekMike Sanchez And His Band7Almost GrownMike Sanchez And His Band feat. Imelda MayDOOPIN
I Wish I Knew How It Would Feeel To Be FreeTommy Emmanuel w. Martin Taylor1The Colonel And The GovenorTommy Emmanuel w. Martin TaylorBLUE MOON
Oh Pretty WomanAlbert King3King Of The Blues GuitarAlbert KingAtlantic
Don't You Know You're WrongEarl King19Earl's PearlsEarl KingWESTSIDE
Hard GrindJimmy Spruill9The Fire And Fury Of Bobby RobinsonVarious ArtistsRPM
space guitarjohnny guitar watson19gangster of lovejohnny guitar watsoncharly
three hours past midnightjohnny guitar watson11mojo workingvarious artistsace
Square Dance BoogieCliff 'King' Solomon30Okeh R'n'b Story 1949-1957Various ArtistsCOLUMBIA
Daddy DaddyRuth Brown2Atlantic Rhythm And Blues 1947-1974: Volume 2, 1952-1954Various ArtistsAtlantic / Wea
Spike Driver's BluesMississippi John Hurt18The Greatest Songsters (1927-1929)Various ArtistsDOCUMENT
Dark And Stormy NightTampa Red37Bluebird RecordingsTampa RedRCA
this may be the last timestaple singers2-25gospel celebritiesvarious artistsfantastic voyage
i'm in the moodjohn lee hooker2-1Let Me Tell You About The Blues: DetroitVarious ArtistsFantastic Voyage
Orange DriverEddie Burns1The Harvey SinglesEddie BurnsHARVEY
Down On Bending KneesJohnny Copeland1An Introduction To Johnny CopelandJohnny CopelandFUEL 2000
Every Night About This TimeMagic Sam14West Side Guitar 1957-1966Magic SamFLYRIGHT
Lovin' TouchLowell Fulson19New Breed R'n'bVarious ArtistsKent (U.K.)
Created: 03/02/2013 23:51:06