Sunday, 25 August 2013

STAR BLUES on 25th August 2013 at 22:00

A number of Golden Jubilees on STAR BLUES: the world's first English language Blues magazine "BLUES UNLIMITED" was published for the first time; there was a huge march of 200,000 for Freedom to hear Martin Luther King Jr's speech and the AFBF tour came to Europe for the second time. Our Bank Holiday special show had plenty of music from each event ...

When the March for Freedom and Jobs was announced, some feared mass race riots - though in reality the consequence was actually longer lasting with big changes to Civil Rights and Voting Rights which can be said to have started that day in Washington with the "I have a dream" message and has so far produced an Afro-American president. While those on the ground will say there's work to be done, it's incredible what has been achieved in the duration of a single lifetime. Our gospel spot went to a field recording of "Ninety-Nine and a Half" made in Birmingham during 1963 captured for the Smithsonian.

I almost made an error in a muddle-headed belief that Autumn 1963 was the first tour to Europe by the AFBF, further research soon revealed the dates played in Manchester (among others) in 1962. No matter that second Festival tour had Otis Spann, Willie Dixon, Victoria Spivey, the second Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters and Big Joe Williams. I recommend the DVD package and we had a couple of tracks last night. The music is out there on cd but you may need to listen to the SBW tracks before you buy (because some issues cleaned up the sonic howl for some reissues, not on others). The artists in other combinations came annually through in the Seventies and the 1963 date is a goodun. Otis Spann's work as accompanying player is particularly nice.

The Seventies pop music I heard growing up was - almost without exception - dire beyond words and the bigger the chart success the more I came to wade through wodges of dross. How foolish was I when I had to admit I was listening in the wrong places? Case in point: Little Johnnie Taylor's "Part Time Love", surely a candidate for the most perfect three minute single of them all - and a number one record in 1963. Other chart toppers were Otis Rush and Bobby Bland (not to mention artists at the edge of our purview like Jackie Wilson). wow.

For the most part we tarried in the pages of the four issues of BLUES UNLIMITED between April and August 1963. So we had every excuse to play what John Broven called Lazy Lester's best work so far, showcase how good Fenton Robinson was on one of his last sides cut for Duke, and dip into the series of budget albums of Modern recordings then newly out on Crown via John Lee Hooker. It was a tough call to do that one or the one on Smokey Hogg1  The Elmore album would have been particularly welcome for a very popular guitarist; little did the editors know that they'd soon need to do an obituary piece.

Buddy was in our running order three times, once for himself, once at the landmark "FolkSinger" album sessions Muddy Waters did in 1963 then as the credited bass player for Howlin' Wolf's "Built For Comfort" almost exactly 50 years hence to the day. (Hubert Sumlin had lead guitar duties (of-course)). On his day Buddy was, and still is, way out in front. I touched on his new project last week with half of it being a masterclass in modern blues playing, the other being a masterclass in classic rock pyrotechnics.

The guys writing for the magazine were coming across the music for the first time, almost on our behalf. Its easy for me in a white tee with half a century of research and easy availability of the music to miss what they achieved most likely at their own expense and time. Sure they made a few errors of fact but there were few errors of judgement, there weren't very many reviews that missed the mark. They'd have also been thrilled to get albums compiling pre-war artists like Leroy Car and John Lee (Sonny Boy) Williamson. Other features in those first magazines looked at B B King, Arhoolie and Delmark record labels and a listing of pseudonyms used by gospel and blues artists in the pre-war period. They also were in eager anticipation of the very first blues bible from Goodrich and Dixon. We take that work for granted now (as well as the post war counterpart from Leadbitter and Slaven), here was the prospect of a single tome to collate music for collectors.

Two hours was scant time to do there subjects properly, many thanks for your kind invitation to your place while I tried. We don't ever claim to be the best  but we will do our darndest to be different to back up our claim as Britain's Other Blues Show. Hear for yourself again on 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
Homework Otis Rush 8 Theme Time Radio Hour Various Artists ACE
When My Left Eye Jumps Buddy Guy 5 Stone Crazy Buddy Guy ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
Built for Comfort Howlin' Wolf 6 Complete Recordings 1951-1969 Howlin' Wolf CHARLY
Sugar Bee Crochet, Cleveland 27 The Golden Age Of American Rock 'N' Roll - Volume 7 Various Artists ACE
Lonesome Highway Blues Lazy Lester 20 I'm A Lover Not A Fighter Lazy Lester ACE
Sanafee (Not Welcome Anymore) Baby Boy Warren 14 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Detroit Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Part Time Love Little Johnnie Taylor 21 Birth Of Soul Vol. 1 Various Artists Kent (U.K.)
Mississippi Steamboat Fenton Robinson 3 Dave's Dukes Fenton RobinsonLarry Davis  
Wondering Little Junior Parker 5 Ride With Me, Baby: The Singles 1952-1961 Little Junior Parker Fantastic Voyage
Drifting From Door to Door John Lee Hooker 11 Original Folk Blues ... Plus John Lee Hooker ACE
Goin' Down Slow Otis Spann 10 Lost Blues Tapes/More American Folk Blues Festival Various Artists ACT
C.C. Rider Lonnie Johnson 12 Lost Blues Tapes/More American Folk Blues Festival Various Artists ACT
Ninety - Nine - And - A - Half Won't Do Various Artists (Uncredited) 21 Sing For Freedom Various Artists (Uncredited) SMITHSONIAN FOLKWAYS
My Home is in the Delta Muddy Waters 157 The Complete Muddy Waters 1947-1967 Muddy Waters CHARLY
It's Your Voo Doo Working Charles Sheffield 1 Louisiana Gumbo Various Artists Putumayo World Music
Stormy Monday Blues Bobby 'Blue' Bland 11 The Voice : Duke Recordings 1959-69 Bobby 'Blue' Bland ACE
Cry Baby Garnet Mimms & The Enchanters 7 Time Is On My Side: The Jerry Ragovoy Story Various Artists ACE
Play on Little Girl T-Bone Walker 4 T-Bone Blues T-Bone Walker SEQUEL
My Home is a Prison Lonesome Sundown 10 It's Your Voodoo Working: The Best Of Excello Various Artists universal music operations
No No Baby Clarence Garlow 20 Rhythm 'N' Bluesin' By The Bayou Various Artists ACE
i don't care tabby thomas 2 Rhythm 'N' Bluesin' By The Bayou Various Artists ACE
Dust My Blues Elmore James And His Broomdusters 7 The Classic Early Recordings 1951-1956 Elmore James And His Broomdusters ACE
I Believe I'll Make a Change Leroy Carr 33 Sloppy Drunk Leroy Carr CATFISH
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl Sonny Boy Williamson I 21 The Best Of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour Various Artists CHROME
big roll blues big joe williams 14 Lost Blues Tapes/More American Folk Blues Festival Various Artists ACT
Created: 25/08/2013 23:48:46 

Sunday, 18 August 2013

STAR BLUES on 18th August 2013 at 22:00

Awards all the way on STAR BLUES: modesty forbids how I was just accorded a gong in the category of Worlds Most Exasperating Husband (I suspect the voting was rigged) - but less coyly we freely showcased a host of winners in the 20th annual Living Blues awards just announced..

Lurrie Bell got Blues Artist (Male) and Guitarist awards, reflecting his hard-won stature at the front of Chicago Blues. This new album on Delmark is - mark my words - a candidate for the prize in 2013. Lil Ed won in both Critic and Reader poll for his live performances and everything he does has high energy content. Billy Boy Arnold has scooped the Harmonica prize when the inside strait said it would go to James Cotton, no arguments from me because he is front and centre on a lovely project celebrating the work of Walter Davis on Electro-Fi. Barbara Carr has long been a favourite of ours and she records for Catfood Records these days which means she hooks up with classy producer/writer/guitarist Johnny Rawls. Ruth Foster has a lovely full voice and took the Female award; we showed her work on the Memphis Minnie album which Maria Muldaur put together last year.

Jerron Paxton records as Blind Boy Paxton and we were early in the queue to showcase him last year after his feature in Living Blues magazine. He's barely into his twenties and now has an internationally recognised award to his name. If you get told blues has no future and it is only relevant to a load of old dead men, go find Paxton's work. Ironing Board Sam has been around a fair while with a somewhat eccentric reputation as a show-off keyboard player (his earliest dates were in Gary, Indiana at the same venues where the embryo Jackson Five learned their craft). Sam has a warm voice and is overdue for this type of attention. Thanks to those splendid folks at Music Maker his genius hasn't been lost. He got the Keyboard gong.

The biggest winner on the night was Buddy Guy; he got Artist, Guitarist, Album and Book awards from the readers. We went to his brand new double-disc project called "Rhythm and Blues" on Silvertone. He has help from folk’s way outside the purview of STAR BLUES and still has the capacity to irritate the heck out of me by playing too fast and too loud. Thankfully this album has those tendencies in check, especially when in duet with Beth Hart who adds some gravitas through her singing. Buddy is 76 and very much his own man, there's no-one else like him - if you're a recent fan you can ease yourself nicely between the folds of this one without any problems.

We closed our survey with a dip into the Delmark back catalogue of Eddie Shaw who is rewarded for his sax work. That lead nicely into our Vinyl Hour and we actually cheated with Otis Rush: because his "Right Place Wrong Time" album was made in L.A. in 1971 for Atlantic but it never saw any sort of release until the 1976 issue on Bullfrog. Granted the arrangements were of the time but I can't think of much done by Otis Rush that isn't worthwhile. The sleeve to "The Jungle" album on Crown put out for B B King used a reclining Arthur Adams in a hammock as the photo but the voice was unmistakeably BB King (even if Lucille was quieter than usual). Pat Hare only did a single under his own name for Sun Records in 1954; we've heard the top side before on STAR BLUES but the flip "Bonus Pay" got its first play for us last night. Around ten years ago the Acrobat label were doing a bang up job for collectors and enthusiasts but gradually they fell off my radar. To mark the fact they have a new clutch of discs in the wings we dipped back into the sets on Buddy Johnson and Cleanhead Vinson. I'll also promise to keep you posted on the goodies nearly due. Johnny Taylor was a mellifluous replacement for Sam Cooke in the Soul Stirrers with a tad more grit in the throat: he did gospel duties alongside the Fairfield Four whose peerless vocals sent a shiver up the spine.

Otis Spann did up proud on piano and was featured a few months ago in "Rays Rudiments" a splendid monthly article in Blues & Rhythm magazine. Ray has done 31 so far and this set of reviews has become an invaluable resource for blues fans wanting to look beyond the more obvious names. He's done Albert King already and this month his subject is the strangely less appreciated Snooky Pryor. In a trice we were done, with so much more left to say, so much more left to play. There are lots of good things happening release-wise (both new and reissue) for blues fans at the moment and STAR BLUES will do the darnedest to bring you as many as possible within our format.

Who's up for some more at 10pm (BST) next Sunday right here on Star107 - I hope the answer from your place is a heck-yes and until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Cherry Red WineLuther Allison & Friends7Pay It ForwardLuther AllisonRuf
Blues In My SoulLurrie Bell2Blues In My SoulLurrie BellDELMARK
Feel so goodLurrie Bell3Blues In My SoulLurrie BellDELMARK
Jump Right inLil' Ed & The Blues Imperials7Jump StartLil' Ed & The Blues ImperialsAlligator
Back Together AgainBarbara Carr7Keep The Fire BumingBarbara CarrCatfood
talk it overBilly Boy Arnold5The Walter Davis ProjectVarious ArtistsElectro-Fi
dirtiest little girlBlind Boy Paxton1Dirtiest Little Darling / Railroad BillBlind Boy PaxtonEVANGELIst
Keep Your Big Mouth ClosedRuthie Foster13... First There Was Memphis MinnieVarious ArtistsSTONY PLAIN
Cherry PieIroning Board Sam1Ninth Wonder Of The World Of MusicIroning Board SamMUSIC MAKER
what you gonna do about mebuddy guy w. beth hart8blues and rhythmbuddy guysilvertone
greedy maneddie shaw1can't stop noweddie shawDELMARK
I CAN'T STOP NOWeddie shaw2can't stop noweddie shawDELMARK
THREE TIMES A FOOLOtis Rush4Right Place Wrong TimeOtis RushEDSEL
Bonus PayPat Hare2Sun Blues Box : 1950-1958Various ArtistsCHARLY
Blues Stay Away From MeB. B. King8The JungleB. B. KingACE
I Ain't Mad With YouBuddy Johnson5Jukebox Hits 1940-1951Buddy JohnsonACROBAT
Cherry RedEddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson5Cleanhead Blues 1945-1947Eddie 'Cleanhead' VinsonACROBAT
don't let nobody turn youfairfield four11samplervarious artistsno=label
I Dreamed That Heaven Was Like ThisJohnnie Taylor1LifetimeJohnnie TaylorSTAX
Five Card HandMercy DeeSydney Maiden4The Bluesville Years. Vol 4: In The Key Of BluesVarious ArtistsPRESTIGE
BLUES NEVEER DIEOTIS SPANN2the Bluesville years vol. 2various artistsoriginal blues classics
one more milejames cotton3-14sweet home chicagovarious artistsindigo
Cryin' ShameSnooky Pryor5Chicago Blues HarmonicasVarious ArtistsFLYRIGHT
Laundromat bluesAlbert King1King Of The Blues GuitarAlbert KingAtlantic

Created: 18/08/2013 23:44:35 

Sunday, 11 August 2013

STAR BLUES on 11th August 2013 at 22:00

If you are a fan of Jamelia, or know someone who is, STAR BLUES had some Foxy R&B last night on STAR BLUES though there may well have been something lost in translation in the definitions. She will have had a blast because our R&B means Rhythm and Blues: as put out by Richard Stamz on his Foxy and Paso labels. he was based in Chicago and in 1956 he was a popular radio show host before buying Paso four years later. we did a couple of tracks in each hour of STAR BLUES with selections from Lee "Shot" Williams, Harold Burrage, Freddie Robinson and Willie Walker - we've done their other stuff before but nothing quite like this! Label shots, session details and the story in the booklet make this a handsome document of a lesser known player on the Chicago scene.

Roy Gaines is an elegant player who has a birthday today (Mon 12th) and we showed him as he was in 1957 for the deLuxe label. Our other birthday boy was Joe Jones and his single "You Talk Too Much" had a quintessential Crescent City groove as befits its maker. Like Otis Redding, when Joe Tex started out he was pushed into copying Little Richard's style and it was just one little gen I found on Saturday. That survey of Federal Records plugged a couple of gaps in my set of Cal Green recordings and unearthed a very rare Syl Johnson treat. In case you needed reminding that Cal Green single is electric blues guitar. Full Stop.

Wynonie Harris is one of my favourite singers he could make my vicar's shopping list sound dirty. Our piano feature was triggered during a fascinating exchange on Facebook about the true identity of Black Bob who played on dozens of Chicago recording sessions. Current wisdom says it was actually a nom-de-disque sequestered by one of several men who were jobbing musicians on hand that particular day. While I venture we'll never really know we showed him off backing Casey Bill Weldon and Lil Johnson (who we played without a safety net or crash hat). I also read this week that Blind Blake's "Police Dog Blues" is regarded as the greatest of all blues recorded pre-war - IMHO its definitely up there.

Our two hours flew past, which was remarkable given the need for gentlemen of a certain age to pace themselves when offered anything Foxy in the way of R&B. Pretty sure we staked yet another claim as Britain's Other Blues Show last night - round your place next Sunday at 10pm we'll do some more. 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
hip shakin' woman Carl Weathersby 15 Best Of Carl Weathersby Carl Weathersby EVIDENCE
Walking the Back Streets and Crying Little Milton 2 The Complete Stax-Volt Singles, Vol. 3: 1972-1975 Various Artists STAX
Gainesville Roy Gaines 4 Rock-A-Billy: Boogie Woogie Blues Man Roy Gaines
Feel Like Going Home Robert Lucas 5 Blues Masters Various Artists AUDIOQUEST
Too Proud Mighty Sam McClain 2 Give It Up To Love Mighty Sam McClain AUDIOQUEST
you ought to love me harold burrage 14 foxy r&b various artists ace
going back home willie williams 17 foxy r&b various artists ace
You Little Baby Faced Thing Joe Tex 17 Rock On Various Artists ACE
You Talk Too Much Joe Jones & His Orchestra 28 The Golden Age Of American Rock 'N' Roll - Volume 9 Various Artists ACE
Yeah, Yeah, Yeah Chuck Martin 22 Rhythm 'N' Bluesin' By The Bayou Various Artists ACE
Lone Wolf Johnny Big Moose Walker 3 Blue Love Johnny Big Moose Walker EVIDENCE
The Search is Over cal green 2-2 i'll go crazy: federal records story various artists one day
Linda Lu Ray Sharpe 6 Rock On Various Artists ACE
Pontiac Blues Sonny Boy Williamson (Aka Rice Miller) 1 American Masters Vol. 2 : Urban Blues Various Artists Arhoolie Records
Feel Like Cryin' Again Mel Walker With Johnny Otis Orch 15 That's Your Last Boogie! Johnny Otis Fantastic Voyage
Dig This Boogie Wynonie Harris 6 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Nashville Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
How Blue Can You Get Johnny Moore's Three Blazers 25 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: New York Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Black Gal What Makes Your Head So Hard? Joe Pullum 23 Texas Blues Various Artists CATFISH
Back Door Blues Casey Bill WeldonBlack Bob 20 Broke Black And Blue Various Artists PROPER
Press My Button Lil Johnson 22 History Of Rhythm And Blues Part One Various Artists Rhythm and Blues Records
Gypsy Woman Muddy Waters 8 The Aristocrat Of The Blues Various Artists MCA/CHESS
Friendless Blues Lonnie Johnson 5 Why Should I Cry? Lonnie Johnson SPV
Police Dog Blues Blind Blake 10 Essential Blind Blake CLASSIC BLUES
i'm tryin lee "shot" williams 10 foxy r&b various artists ace
the hawk freddy robinson 12 foxy r&b various artists ace
Fine Fine Fine Gene Terry 5 Boppin' The Bayou Again Various Artists ACE
i got love syl johnson 2-19 i'll go crazy: federal records story various artists one day
Created: 11/08/2013 23:46:16

Sunday, 4 August 2013

STAR BLUES on 4th August 2013 at 22:00

We marked the 60th anniversary  of - arguably - the turning point for 20th Century music (admittedly with a mere dalliance off the blues highway). All being well we redeemed our soul by featuring a terrific project from Lurrie Bell and a brand new track cut direct to 78 earlier this year...

Just when I think our shortlist for the STAR BLUES Album of 2013 award is a manageable length, along comes another contender; Delmark have done the biz again with Lurrie Bell showing how strong the Chicago style is these days. He has a cracking band with Matthew Skoller on harp that just about owns Otis Spann's "Blues Never Die" such is their confidence and rapport. Same label has a third project from Studebaker John Grimaldi whose group never resorts to needless noodling or artifice, his selection last night was recorded direct to 78 rpm disc. Both projects are identifiably Chicago Blues and it was an easy stretch for us to dip back into the archives for Otis Rush over on the West Side and stop by Lonnie Brooks for good measure.

Willie Johnson and Sammy Lewis drew on Little Junior Parker for their Memphis blues offering and Little Milton started his long and distinguished recording career there on the Sun label. Sam Phillips set up the Memphis Recording Service on 706 Union Avenue in 1950 and in short order hired Marion Keister as his assistant (she already had local radio experience). Their earliest recordings were leased to Modern (and Chess!!) before establishing their own imprint - Sun Records. The group of inmates who recorded as the Prisonaires was their first brush with decent sales numbers in early 1953. Round about that time a young buck was graduating High School at 18, he'd had a few guitar lessons but he didn't shine on it. He got a full-time job on a production line and his girlfriend Dixie remembered him as being shy. A couple of months later (almost certainly the first Saturday in August) he took $3.99 (plus Sales tax) to Marion at MRS to create a two track acetate so he could hear what his voice sounded like. accompanying himself on guitar he did a version of a hit 1948 ballad "My Happiness" and another country piece. Marion typed up the label for his disc by writing on the blank side of a Prisonaires single. He asked to be remembered if someone was looking for a singer and Marion noted "Good ballad singer. Hold", but he never even got to meet Sam Phillips. So they wouldn't forget him he came back regularly to chase up a gig. When nothing happened he stumped up more cash for another acetate in January 1954: two more ballad style songs.

What I find so fascinating is how the first five songs Elvis Presley (because he's the hero of our tale) made were so far removed from the Rhythm & Blues he latched onto for his more famous singles: it makes me think the trips to that particular well weren't his own idea? And what would have happened if he'd walked passed that storefront instead of venturing in, preferring to spend his $3.99 on Dixie instead? Elvis Presley became the benchmark by which everyone else was measured though he was treated as little more than chattels for long stretches of his career. His relationship with our music was problematic at best but we can't naysay what he achieved. That day (almost) exactly 60 years ago was our sidestep off the blues highway - worth taking as the rest of the world has yet to mention it. My favourite of his covers was the one he did of "Mystery Train" with arrangement and backing eerily similar to Junior Parker's original.

it was really neat to squeeze in some other far less well-known guys like Harrold Burrage, Gene Phillips and Reggie Boyd, as well as key pre-war figures like Memphis Minnie and Blind Willie McTell; Mance Lipscomb did gospel duties and Johnnie Copeland and James Armstrong (two guys known as guitarists but terrific singers too). I'm finding new old stuff all the time: you're absolutely magnificent and very kind with your invite over to your place on Sundays at 10pm. 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
Hard Gamblin' Woman Lonnie Brooks 2 Let's Talk It Over Lonnie Brooks
Every Dog's Got His Day Johnny Copeland 6 It's Me Johnny Copeland Kent
Searchin' for a Woman Albert King 1 Door To Door Albert KingOtis Rush CHESS
Call My Job Steve Freund 4 Come On In This House Steve Freund 9below
You Don't Know Roomful Of Blues 7 45 Live Roomful Of Blues Alligator Records & Artist Management, Inc.
You Don't Have to Work Magic Sam 16 West Side Guitar 1957-1966 Magic Sam FLYRIGHT
Blues Never Die Lurrie Bell 14 Blues In My Soul Lurrie Bell DELMARK
Bank of Love James Armstrong 7 Dark Night James Armstrong HIGH TONE
Red Light Hound Kings, The 10 Unleashed Hound Kings, The CDBaby
My Happiness Elvis Presley 1 King Of Rock'n'roll : Complete 50's Masters Elvis Presley RCA
Mystery Train Elvis Presley 21 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Memphis Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Beggin' My Baby Little Milton 1 Sun Blues Box : 1950-1958 Various Artists CHARLY
Nothing But Good Reggie 'guitar' Boyd 18 Age / Chief Blues Story Various Artists FUEL 2000
Feel So Worried Sammy LewisWillie Johnson 24 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Memphis Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Me and My Chaauffeur Memphis Minnie 2 The Sound Of The City - Memphis Various Artists Emi Records Ltd
Barbecue Blues Barbecue Bob 12 20th Century Blues Various Artists CATFISH
Searchin' the Desert for the Blues Blind Willie McTell 11 Heavy Hitters Vol. 1 Various Artists PIGMEAT RECORDS
Piney Brown Blues Big Joe Turner 6 The Blues Boss Big Joe Turner BLUES ENCORE
gene's guitar boogie gene phillips 1-14 beating the petrillo ban 1947 various artists ace
Oh Mama Lillian Offitt 5 Age / Chief Blues Story Various Artists FUEL 2000
motherless children mance lipscomb 10 gospel classics various artists ARHOOLIE
SAY YOU LOVE ME Harold burrage 1 foxy r&b various artists ace
Bad Gasoline Studebaker John's Maxwell Street Kings 16 Kingsville Jukin' Studebaker John's Maxwell Street Kings DELMARK
Born in Chicago Butterfield Blues Band, The 1 Butterfield Blues Band / East West Butterfield Blues Band, The ELEKTRA
Created: 04/08/2013 23:47:51