Monday, 30 September 2013

STAR BLUES on 29th September 2013 at 22:00

By Jeeves, if you stumbled upon STAR BLUES for the very first time last night, let's hope it wasn't because you thought House would be in the house. We brought two hours of real-live fun, frolics, trivia and knob twiddling tomfoolery PLUS a pretty decent smattering of the good stuff. In common with Hugh we had the first 78 cut by Charlie Patton in 1928: "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues" with striking playing and a voice reaching back through the ages. I just read the second booklet issued by Blues World magazine in 1969 and it was entirely devoted to Patton; that Catfish boxset I went to had all the titles they mentioned in the discography. CP is acknowledged as pivotal in the pre-war period, Tommy McClennan less so unfortunately. There's a pair of albums on Document which chronicle his complete recordings between 1938 and 1942 and we took his "Good Lookin' Mama" from the earlier period disc "Whiskey Headed Woman".

At the other end of our timeframe, Shawn Holt is very much of the present and future; he has taken on the reins of his dad's band the Teardrops for a Blind Pig project which shows the apple didn't fall far from the tree. Did I mention his dad was Magic Slim? The fact he has guest support from John Primer underlines how good Chicago blues is these days. Billy Boy Arnold and Lurrie Bell are also on hand with their newest work at the very top of their games. In those few words I've already listed three albums that are in the running for a STAR BLUES award this year and we're only three quarters done. Our artist gong went to Bob Corritore, who had a birthday on Friday. He's on that Walter Davis project with Billy Boy Arnold and we shaded back to the fine session he did with Tail Dragger for Delta Groove to mark his celebrations. Same label is home of the lead singer of the Mannish Boys, Sugar Ray Rayford, and his "Dangerous" disc. Namesake Sugar Ray Norcia was on the selection we included on STAR BLUES last night. (Strike that three, maker it four).

Jay Owens began in Bo Diddley's band, in the early 90s he stepped out front and centre with his lovely lyrical guitar for Mike Vernon, we took the title track off the second of the two things they did together. Implacable countenance marked out Roy Buchanan (who by all accounts turned down a job in the Stones), the real rage and pain behind his eyes came out in his playing. A mite rocky for most purists, I'll take his stuff over JoBo anytime. Would've had a birthday in the week. As would Ray Charles and Koko Taylor. Either one could have given any number of great songs, I chose their early work: Koko had both Buddy Guy and Matt Murphy on guitars. Top Trumps in the Fantasy Blues League in anyone's hand.

Our last anniversary was tonight (30th Sept) marking Z Z Hill who was widely acknowledged as the founder of soul blues - a new genre especially aimed at the African-American audience, I favour his sides for Kent with Maxwell Davis and you could just immerse yourself in a warm rich tone his voice brought. Charles Brown cut some sides for Ace Records of Jackson Mississipi, and he did an instrumental piano-led cover of "Black Night" which was a hit for singer/guitarist Lowell Fulson. There was a couple of Decca-era Rolling Stones for Roger who is a long-suffering listener. I can imagine even him being open-mouthed at my antics last night.

I'm planning a special edition in November to mark 50 years since 22 Nov 1963 when President Kennedy was abducted by aliens in the pay of  Marilyn Monroe. (I might have some of that wrong but I'm sure that's what it said on the internet). I'll try to get the story straight by next Sunday at 10pm (BST) until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you

Movin' onJay Owens1Movin' OnJay OwensCODE BLUE
Short FuseRoy Buchanan7Genuine House Rockin' Music Vols 1-3Various ArtistsAlligator
Down in VirginiaShawn Holt and the Teardrops4Daddy Told MeShawn Holt and the TeardropsBlind Pig
just one more timebilly boy arnold5walter davis projectvarious artistselectro-fi
i know what its likeAndrew "Jr. Boy" Jones1I Know What It's LikeAndrew "Jr. Boy" Jones 
One Monkey Don't Stop the ShowShelton Powe6Carolina Blues And GospelShelton PoweMUSIC MAKER
come onrolling stones1-1hitsrolling stonesdecca
round and roundrolling stones112 x 5rolling stonesdecca
Boogie Woogie BallTail DraggerBob Corritore9Longtime Friends In The BluesTail DraggerBob CorritoreDelta Groove Productions
two times sugarsugar ray rayford w. sugar ray norcia4dangeroussugar ray rayforddelta groove
She's A Good 'UnLurrie Bell4Blues In My SoulLurrie BellDELMARK
Jumpin' the BluesClarence 'Gatemouth' Brown3TimelessClarence 'Gatemouth' BrownHIGHTONE
Drown In My Own TearsRay Charles2Ray Charles: Eight Classic AlbumsRay CharlesIODA
Love Like I WannaRoosevelt 'Booba' Barnes12Deep BluesVarious ArtistsAtlantic
My Baby Told MeJoe 'Guitar' Hughes6Rounder RevueVarious ArtistsRounder
Mississippi Boweavil BluesCharlie Patton1The DefinitiveCharlie PattonCATFISH
She's a Good Looking MamaTommy McClennan16Whiskey Head WomanTommy McClennanDOCUMENT
Hard TimesMighty Joe Young19The Way I FeelVarious ArtistsFLYRIGHT
Whatever I Am You Made MeKoko Taylor9Koko TaylorKoko TaylorMCA / CHESS
High and LonesomeJimmy Reed47The R'n'b Hits Of 1953Various ArtistsINDIGO
Black NightCharles Brown3Blue Over YouCharles BrownWESTSIDE
The Hustle is onT-Bone Walker16The BluesT-Bone WalkerFREMEAUX ET ASSOCIES
Have Mercy SomeoneZ. Z. Hill3Down Home Soul OfZ. Z. HillKent (U.K.)
Fine Old Foxy Self (King Lp 635)James Brown11R&b Humdingers Volume 12Various ArtistsVee-Tone Records
Can't Shake itEtta James8Who's Blue? Rare Chess Recordings From The 60S And 70SEtta JamesKent
2120 south michiganrolling stones712 x 5rolling stonesdecca
Created: 29/09/2013 23:54:18

Friday, 27 September 2013


Sorry we couldn't get to spend time together on Sunday.

Sunday, 15 September 2013

Royal STAR BLUES on 15th September 2013 at 22:00

That wooshing sound is my knighthood flying out the window; we have well over a dozen Kings in our playlist marking 88 years young Riley B. King (b. 16th Sep 1925). As close to By Royal Appointment as I'm ever likely to get.

Naturally we tarried in the back catalogue of the birthday boy to include "Gambler's Blues" with its scorching solo and anguished vocal which proves why the 1966 album "Blues Is King" is the definitive live blues album (the one to go for in preference to the lauded "Live at the Regal"). In many ways Bobby "Blue" Bland was the perfect voice for the mid-period B. B. King, the sheer joy in having two old friends work together is audible on their run through of Louis Jordan's "Let The Good Times Roll".  The soundtrack to the film "Calendar Girls" is a goodun and front and centre is his 1954 hit "You Upset Me Baby". Our show closed with a piece from the much-missed US tv comedy legal skit "The Associates" which starred Wilfred Hyde White: the lyric in "Better Not Look Down" where the Queen asks B for advice on her way home from a party tickles my socks every time (all the while Lucille trills and frills beautifully). It was the perfect bookend to the 1991 selection "I'm Movin' On" taken from the Stewart Levine tribute to Doc Pomus called "There Is Always One More Time". That one was the first of his albums I heard and it coincided with his rebranding as a crossover rock player the darling of Bono and so on.

Another player we caught at a crossing point was Freddie King, the song "Palace Of the King" veered dangerously close to being a rock classic for many folks. He was cited by Clapton as a major influence and that one had him return the compliment. Two of his nephews record together as the King Brothers and their muscular playing is very radio friendly round here. Albert King was in the "Laundromat" for a typically sublime workout for the Stax label. Those Three Kings are pretty well known in the mainstream but we were determined to go that bit further by including Earl King and Saunders King, two very different and distinctive guitarists - both deserving far bigger kudos. King Alex Littlejohn held down a full time job (latterly in an envelope factory) but gave us a guilty pleasure with his only full length album "Hot As A coffee Pot" and his song "Crying Eyes". Similarly King Ernest had a lengthy spell working in the local Sheriff department after working with Howlin' Wolf among others. Sadly he died two days after finishing his second album which came out on Fat Possum. Same imprint was host to Little Freddie King and his reworking of a Frankie Lee Sims song as "Walking With Freddie".

The Kings of Harmony did splendid gospel duties with a gorgeous blend of voices and we had chance to air another long-standing blues mystery: King Solomon Hill. The omnipotent Wikipedia says it was really Joe Holmes behind just 8 recordings, though I've seen passionate argument that it wasn't him. Whoever it was he knew his was up and down a slide guitar in 1928 (or thereabouts). From that era came the composition "Louis Collins" by way of Mississippi John Hurt and a fine version on "Antebellum Postcards" the latest project by Chris Thomas King. (trivia for the Snug when it gets slow between halves of stout: he played Lowell Fulson in the film "Ray" and he played Robert Johnson in "O Brother Where Art Thou").

It is almost a year since B B King was the subject of the film "Life of Riley" and an earlier blog entry talks about that - it nowhere mentions his work with prisoners and his ready acknowledgement of how close he came to falling into crime himself. As far as I know he still devotes a lot of energy to the cause and we went to the 1970 gig he did at Cook County Jail and a sparkling rework of "Sweet Sixteen". He deserves the very finest of birthdays, I hope me and a whole bunch of Kings did him justice in the shortest two hours of the week. You - as always - were magnificent company I was Gary Blue. Until next Sunday at ten take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

track.title track.artistsort index album.title album.artistsort label
I'm Movin' on B. B. King 1 There Is Always One More Time B. B. King MCA
Sleepy King Brothers 1 Mo' Heat King Brothers HARD ATTACK
Tell Me What's the Reason King Ernest 7 King Of Hearts King Ernest EVIDENCE
Cryin' Eyes King Alex & The Untouchables 10 Hot As A Coffee Pot King Alex & The Untouchables BLACK MAGIC
Walking With Freddie Little Freddie King 2 You Don't Know What I Know Little Freddie King FAT POSSUM
Soul Twist King Curtis 29 Teen Beat Vol.2 Various Artists ACE
Groove Me King Floyd 5 Take Me To The River: A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977 Various Artists Kent (U.K.)
You Upset Me Baby B. B. King 12 The R'n'b Years 1954: 100 Hot Rhythm And Blues Tunes From 1954 Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
lazy woman blues Saunders King 4 Cool Blues, Jumps & Shuffles Saunders King ACE
Everything is Gonna Be Alright King Perry & His Pied Pipers 4 Specialty Story Various Artists Specialty
Lord Give Me Wings Kings Of Harmony 23 Good News Various Artists PROPER
Is Everything Alright Earl King 9 Mark Lamarr's Ace Is Wild Various Artists WESTSIDE
Talkin' 'Bout Bad Luck Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King 10 Road Dog's Life Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King Delta Groove
Palace of the King Freddie King 10 Getting Ready Freddie King SEQUEL
This Should Go on Forever King Karl With Guitar Gable 12 Excello Hits Various Artists ACE
What a Day What a Night Bobby King 20 Chicago Blues From Federal Records Various Artists ACE
sweet sixteen B. B. King 10 introducing B. B. King B. B. King MCA
Louis Collins Chris Thomas King 9 Antebellum Postcards Chris Thomas King 21ST CENTURY
Times Has Done Got Hard King Solomon Hill 15 Blues Images Presents 1920's Blues Classics Cd - Volume 1 Various Artists BLUES IMAGES
Cadillac Assembly Line Albert King 9 Ultimate Collection Albert King RHINO
gamblers blues B. B. King 1-5 how blues can you get - clasic live b b king mca
Better Not Look Down B. B. King 2 Introducing B. B. King B. B. King MCA
Let the Good Times Roll B. B. KingBobby 'Blue' Bland 15 Lucille And Friends B. B. King MCA
Created: 15/09/2013 23:39:39

Sunday, 8 September 2013

STAR BLUES on 8th September 2013 at 22:00

How to follow a cornucopia of curiosities we had last week at the end of our first 13 years? Blues and nothing but from 10 until midnight sounds pretty neat to me. The pressed ultra-white tee-shirt belongs to me, you can wear anything comfortable as always. Hello. Good Evening. And Welcome.

We flirted with the birthday book over the last week or so with tracks from Debbie Davies, Freddie King and Little Milton. Debbie did a Duke Robillard tune, Freddie King was magnificent on guitar and vox for Federal in 1962 and Milton on Malaco was a ditty that is widely touted as the International Anthem of the Blues. A word of advice here: if you ever have to hear a version  by someone other than Little Milton you should run screaming from the room with hands firmly clasped over your ears. He was at his most potent, most raw at the start of his career when recording for the Sun label, and we included "LOokin' For A Woman".

Before the show I promised John Primer and Bob Corritore and Sugar Ray Rayford - two top notch projects from the Delta Groove imprint; it's hard to believe Bob and John haven't recorded together more frequently and Sugar Ray just keeps getting better with a rich tone to his voice I thought had almost gone from blues singing. To prove I'm a man of my word our promise went on to cover Skip James and Furry Lewis from that pre-war era. We did focus on guitar players last night, sorry - but surely no real apology is needed when the list included Larry Davis and Left Hand Frank (Craig)?

Our gospel spot marked ten years since Johnny Cash died and his take on Bill :Landford / Elvis Presley's "Run On" was called "God's Gonna Cut You Down". Produced by Rick Rubin and posthumously issued on the "American V" project, the man in black rarely sounded so raw, so visceral. Marie Knight's "Today" album came out on Tradition and though she got famous through her partnership with Sister Rosetta Tharpe, that album gave us our companion gospel outing as evidence of her solo power. The piano duties fell to Hadda Brooks in her days with the Okeh label.

A while back we had a weekly feature called "You Me and 1001 Blues"; its gone to the back burner for the time being, except this weeks STAR BLUES to re-enact the tale of the 1957 recording session Ray  Charles had which gave birth to "Losin' Hand". Mickey Baker was sumptuous on guitar; noted songsmith Jesse Stone was there but he and Ray didn't see eye-to-eye and Ahmet Ertegun was on hand to try to fathom why Ray's signing to Atlantic had fallen into barren times commercially. Biographer Michael Lydon got the out-take tape fragments and pieced together the story of the day. The phone went in the booth during one of the takes of "Losin' Hand" with news of the death of Ray's mother. The engineer reluctantly interrupted the session expecting things to wrap up for the time being. However Ray said there was nothing he could do and opted to continue putting down some of his finest work in the hope of cementing an empathy with Ertegun.

The two hours were concluded with what many consider to be the last ever blues record, the original recording of "Cummins Prison Farm\" that Calvin Leavy did in 1970 for Blue Fox. Our trivia quotient was up there but the tomfoolery had to yield somewhat in favour of the blues and nothing but.

Next Sunday for more? Hope the answer will be yes. 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
Fishnet Debbie Davies 1 Holdin' Court Debbie Davies TELARC
The Blues is Alright Little Milton 1 The Last Soul Company Various Artists Malaco Records
When I Get Lonely John Primer & Bob Corritore 3 Knockin' Around These Blues John Primer & Bob Corritore Delta Groove Productions
Country Boy Sugaray Rayford 1 Dangerous Sugaray Rayford Delta Groove
Ya Ya Sonny Rhodes 7 Disciple Of The Blues Sonny Rhodes Wild Dog
Burning Fire Sam Myers 4 Coming From The Old School Sam Myers Electro-Fi
losin' hand ray charles w. mickey baker 1-6 ray charles ray charles REAL GONE
The Years Go Passing By Larry Davis 22 Slow 'N' Moody, Black & Bluesy Various Artists Kent
He's Cool One, She's Hot Roscoe Shelton 12 Save Me Roscoe Shelton SPV
God's Gonna Cut You Down Johnny Cash 2 American V: A Hundred Highways Johnny Cash American/Lost Highway
Move on Up a Little Higher Marie Knight 14 In The Tradition Various Artists BLUES ALLIANCE
Someday After a While (Youll Be Sorry) Freddie King 10 Texas Sensation Freddie King CHARLY
One Room Country Shack - Left Hand Frank Left Hand Frank 12 Living Chicago Blues, Vol. 1 Various Artists Alligator
Lookin for My Baby Little Milton 20 Sun Records - Ultimate Blues Collection Various Artists VARESE
V-8 Baby Tommy Brown 9 Let Me Tell You About The Blues: Atlanta Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
Rhumboogie Jive Frank 'Floorshow' Culley & His Band 14 Let The Boogie Woogie Rock'n'roll Various Artists ACE
Brooks' Boogie Hadda Brooks 18 Okeh R'n'b Story 1949-1957 Various Artists COLUMBIA
TEXAS TONY Yank Rachell 1 Mandolin Blues Various Artists delmark
Cypress Grove Blues Skip James 16 Blues Images Presents 1920's Blues Classics Cd - Volume 3 Various Artists BLUES IMAGES
Falling Down Blues Furry Lewis 9 Roll And Tumble Blues : History Of Slide Guitar Various Artists INDIGO
Tom Cat Blues Lightnin' Slim 12 Rollin' Stone Lightnin' Slim FLYRIGHT
Cut That Out Junior Wells 34 Down Home Blues Classics Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
love my baby magic slim 1 love my baby magic slim ja-wes
Cummins Prison Farm Calvin Leavy 25 Southern Soul Showcase Various Artists Kent (U.K.)
Created: 08/09/2013 23:43:28

Sunday, 1 September 2013

STAR BLUES on 1st September 2013 at 22:00

What better way to mark thirteen years as a blues jock on commercial FM radio here in Britain, than with trivia, curios, oddities and alternatives. In a newly pressed white tee-shirt of-course.

We had a bit of modern business to attend to at the top end of the shop, with some surprise bits and bobs: not the least of which featured JT Laurensen on accordion. Kirsten Thien covered Sippie Wallace, Samantha Fish enlisted the skills of Johnny Sansome on harp and Ivan Neville wrote and put a decent blues as title track to his new project on Ruf.

I count myself as the luckiest man on blues radio and a slight twinge of triskaidekaphobia wasn't about to hold me back in proving beyond reasonable doubt how we do things different around here. Take this. In my FB previews for this episode I've been mentioning one track you'd hate - something I also mentioned to our rock god Neil Jones who now thinks it is time to send for for the man with the white jacket that does up with straps at the back  The extreme Marmite nature of "My Babe" by Napolean Strickland's Fife and Drum Band is to do with its rawness, this stuff can't be taught it's intuitive. No guitar anywhere with the fife as lead instrument fighting the insistent brash drum rhythm. Couldn't get it at all the first time I heard it, now it's on my Desert Island list. Put out on an album for Pete Welding's Testament label, David Evans caught it on a field trip in the early Sixties but it sounds much much older.

In 1969, Bob "The Bear" Hite did the vocals on Canned Heat's worldwide hit "Goin' Up The Country" - along with Al Wilson, he had an enormous appetite for blues with a collection of 78's numbering into four digits by all accounts. There's no doubt he will have known all about Henry Thomas' "Bull Doze Blues" from 1929. The singer was hesitant at first and helped himself to a pan-pipe accompaniment. Though he couldn't hold the tempo to the end it's a landmark recording. We stayed a while longer in the hokum and jug band styles with Gus Cannon' Jug Stompers and the Mississippi Sheiks.

Our music has a fantastic heritage and it touches a fair number of bases, we did our best to show that on last night's STAR BLUES. What other explanation is there for having those alongside 1960's Muddy Waters and 1950's John Lee Hooker performances hijacked in the early Nineties to advertise clothing? My dodgy memory believes it was John's "Baby Lee" for those denim keks - the almighty Wikipedia says otherwise. Lonnie Brooks started out under the name Guitar Junior and we went to that period for "Family Rules" as marker of his pair of adverts for lager in 1992. To avoid the obvious choice from the force of Nature named Screamin' Jay Hawkins, we chose a song he recorded in Hawaii for the Ermine outfit - taken from a suitably barmy collection of curios and vocal oddities on Ace called "Great Googly Moo".

The idea to play Slim Green came from an internet posting; two more blues guitar masters (Jimmy Nolen and Jimmy Spruill) were my own work  Spruill was in cracking form on Tarheel Slim's "Number 9 Train" and Nolen deserves to be better known especially when considering the singles he did for Dig and others. The advent of cds gave a certain latitude to compilers with 79 minutes to fill, hence the easy availability of alternate takes previously only found by the dedicated collector: we had one from Elmore James and *eventually) one from T-Bone Walker. Two Tiny contributions wrapped up STAR BLUES as I slipped into the fourteenth year of trivia and tomfoolery. You are very kind with your invitation every week and I'd be thrilled skinny to be asked back on Sunday night at ten; until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you.

Magic HoneyCyril Neville1Magic HoneyCyril NevilleRuf
Who's Been Talking?Samantha FishJohnny Sansome6Black Winds Howlin'Samantha FishRuf
Women Be Wise - Solo LiveKirsten Thien22Solo Live From The Meisenfrei Blues ClubKirsten Thienscreen doo
I Could Die HappyBuddy Guy4Rhythm & BluesBuddy GuySony Music Entertainment
These Blues Keep Me Right HereCD Woodbury Band, The1Monday Night!CD Woodbury Band, Thewide willie
Memphis BoggieJT.Lauritsen5Play By The RulesJT.LauritsenHunters Records
will you love me tomorrowwilliam bell1Stax O'soulVarious ArtistsSTAX
it took a long timefinis tasby2Shattered Dreams - Funky Blues 1967-1978Various ArtistsBGP
My Love Strikes Like LightningMuddy Waters16His Best 1956 - 1964Muddy WatersMCA/CHESS
Baby LeeJohn Lee Hooker10John Lee HookerJohn Lee HookerEUK
Family RulesGuitar Jr.7On Bended Knee - The Birth Of Swamp PopVarious ArtistsGREAT Voices Of The Century
Shake 'em UpSlim Green1Shattered Dreams - Funky Blues 1967-1978Various ArtistsBGP
Come on HomeJimmy Nolen1The Rhythm & Blues YearsJimmy NolenMASTER Classics
No. 9 TrainTarheel Slim (Aka Alden Bunn)45The Fire And Fury StoryVarious ArtistsCHARLY
whoa muleJesse Fuller6san francisco bayJesse Fulleroriginal blues classics
Show Me What You GotMississippi Sheiks23Show Me What You GotMississippi SheiksCATFISH
Bull Doze BluesHenry Thomas3Roots Of RockVarious ArtistsACROBAT
walk right incannon's jug stompers18Roots Of RockVarious ArtistsACROBAT
My BabeNapolean Strickland Fife & Drum Band20SamplerVarious ArtistsTestament
I Hear VoicesScreamin' Jay Hawkins22Great Googly Moo & More Undisputed TruthsVarious ArtistsACE
The Sun is Shining (Alt.)Elmore James10Slidin'Various ArtistsCHARLY
wise man blues (Alt.)T-Bone Walker8The Complete Capitol/Black And White RecordingsT-Bone WalkerCapitol
You Shocked MeTiny Topsy9Just A Little Bit: Federal's Queens Of New Breed R&bTiny TopsyLula ReedACE
Tiny's Boogie WoogieTiny Grimes10The R'n'b Years 1947: 100 Hot Rhythm And Blues Tunes From 1947Various ArtistsBOULEVARD VINTAGE
Created: 01/09/2013 23:55:06