Sunday, 28 December 2014

STAR BLUES on 28th December 2014 at 22:00 - Exclusive news of 6th annual award winners

The SB awards

The STAR BLUES radio show is known internationally as “Britain’s Other Blues Show” and the awards should characterise each year in hindsight. Our focus is on the traditional blues styles and our winners fit right along. It’s not an exact science and the choices reflect what we’ve played and our feedback shows what was enjoyed most.

We can’t promise the winners a fancy trophy or a red carpet, just a mention here in the blog and our annual Almanac.

STAR BLUES 2014 Awards
Artist of the Year
Grady has been there or thereabouts for a while now since his debut in 1999 and this year he made a breakthrough with his own imprint DeChamp Records. His first artists did the business for him with impressive outings: J J Thames and Eddie Cotton. Grady is also a bold new signing to a revitalised Malaco stable for his best album yet, “Bootleg Whiskey”.

Album of the Year
“NOBODY BUT ME” – Rip Lee Pryor (Electro-Fi Records)
This debut album skilfully exposes the elements of blues as it has always been played with no-nonsense harp and  vocals.  The songs have no room for pointless grandstanding.

Label of the Year
Bob Trenchard’s label is based in El Paso, Tx and has become the watch word for stylish soul-blues: this year has been their strongest yet. Barbara Carr, James Armstrong, Johnny Rawls and Otis Clay are making the best music of their careers, thanks to the care and craft of this unique imprint.

Reissue Label of the Year

The Ace imprint added to an already impressive series of Bayou rarities as well as starting programmes for complete singles outputs of Fame, RPM, Modern, Ric and Ron. Most of the albums are put out on vinyl as well as compact. We again mark their achievements in setting high standards in production, annotation and artwork. That the compilers are obviously fans is shown in the addition of bonus cuts or alternate takes to the releases.

Special Award for vinyl excellence

The small Scottish imprint has steadily built a sequence of records compiled from rhythm and blues and rock’n’roll singles. Almost all have been overlooked since first issue by everyone part from the estimable compiler Mark Lamarr. Though the sets are usually available in compact disc format, the limited edition platters made from 180g vinyl are the real treasures. Irreverent sleeve notes and label shots make for a top-notch package which deserves to be heard as well as collected. David Gillespie and his team deserve the highest praise

The year also marked the centenaries of Ivory Joe Hunter, Homesick James, Eddie Boyd, Camille Howard, John Lee Williamson and Pee Wee Crayton among others. With some poignancy, Alberta Adam's passing on Christmas day  was at 97 making her a direct contemporary of such greats. Known as "Queen of Detroit Blues" our two selections showed her at opposite ends of her long career with an undiminished spirit. News came through that James Wheeler died the same day, noted for his work with Otis Clay he did two fine projects for Delmark. Curley Bridges was similarly under-exposed in terms of album product, we dipped into the one he did for Electro-Fi.

track.title track.artistsort index album.title album.artistsort label
sugaree Johnny Winter 6 Let Me In Johnny Winter POINTBLANK
Looking For My Baby James Wheeler 13 Ready! Plus One James Wheeler DELMARK
Pay To Play Eddie Cotton 3 Here I Come Eddie Cotton DEChamp
Come Back Baby Linsey Alexander 4 Come Back Baby Linsey Alexander DELMARK
Rock 'N' Roll Mama Camille Howard 7 Voodoo Voodoo: Feisty Fifties Females Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
on my way up James Kinds and the oasis 1 on my way up James Kinds cloud
Messin' Around With The Blues Alberta Adams 17 I'm A Bad Bad Girl Various Artists INDIGO
hopin' it will be alright Alberta Adams 12 detroit is my home alberta adams east lawn music
My Girl Ivy (Atco 6084) Jimmy Witherspoon 14 Slabs Of Humdingers Vol. 2 Various Artists vee-tone
Guide Me Soul Finders Of Newark 17 Screaming Gospel Holy Rollers Various Artists vee-tone
big joe moe singin' sammy ward 6 motown rythm and blues 59-62 various artists vee-tone
mohawk 2 slabs of humdingers various artists vee-tone record
sittin' here wonderin; 3 slabs of humdingers various artists vee-tone record
set a date Homesick James 1 set a date homesick james colt
Jivin' The Blues John Lee 'Sonny Boy Williamson 20 History Of Rhythm And Blues Part One Various Artists Rhythm and Blues Records
pitch a boogie woogie Rip Lee Pryor 7 Nobody But Me Rip Lee Pryor electro-fi
Keep Our Business To Yourself Rip Lee Pryor 7 Nobody But Me Rip Lee Pryor electro-fi
Texas hop Pee Wee Clayton 1 essential pee wee crayton indigo
jumoin at the dew drop Ivory Joe Hunter 1-23 essential Ivory Joe Hunter indigo
Hard Time Getting Started '52 Eddie Boyd 2 The Blues Is Here To Stay Eddie Boyd Jasmine Records
I Ain't Drunk Lonnie The Cat 7 Speak Easy - The Rpm Records Story Volume 2 1954-57 Various Artists Ace Records
thats alright slim harpo 2 Bluesin' By The Bayou Various Artists ACE
If Anybody Ask You Lonesome Sundown 4 Bluesin' By The Bayou - Rough 'N' Tough Various Artists ACE
She Wants What She Can't Have Terry Woodford 2 The Complete Fame Singles Volume 1 Various Artists ACE
Momma Didn't Raise No Fool Otis Clay 2 Soul Brothers Otis Clay & Johnny Rawls Catfood
Saturday Night Women James Armstrong 8 Guitar Angels James Armstrong Catfood
My Girl Josephine Curley Bridges 10 Mr Rock'n'soul Curley Bridges Electro-Fi
souled out JJ Thames 1 Tell You What I Know Jj Thames CDBaby
Beg Borrow and Steal Grady Champion 1 Bootleg Whiskey Grady Champion Malaco Records
Created: 28/12/2014 23:49:31

Sunday, 21 December 2014

STAR BLUES on 21st December 2014 at 22:00 - the shortest day, Slabs of Humdingers and the biggest blues

Some furtive festive frolics, a handful of artists off the brand new Living Blues magazine as we build to the apex of the holiday season.

track.title track.artistsort index album.title album.artistsort label
Low Down And Dirty Luther Allison 6 Free Blues Various Artists Alligator
Find Me A New Love Michael Burks 1 From The Inside Out Michael Burks VENT RECORDS
pride and joy vance kelly 7 live at lee's vance kelly and hios backstreet blues band wolf
I'm Your Best Bet, Baby Earl King 11 Deep Feeling Various Artists Fantatsic Voyage
So Mean To Me Little Milton 18 Chicago Bound: Chess Blues, R&b And Rock 'N' Roll Various Artists Fantastic Voyage
i met a strange woman hop wilson 15 Deep Feeling Various Artists Fantatsic Voyage
Mojo Hand Larry Garner and Michael Van Merwyk 11 Upclose and Personal Larry Garner and Michael Van Merwyk  
rub-a-dub billy boy arnold 12 billy boy sings sonny boy billy boy arnold -
crow jane cephas and wiggins 6 richmond blues cephas and wiggins  
Merry Xmas Little Willie Littlefield 12 Rhythm & Blues Christmas Various Artists ACE
Christmas Boogie Frankie 'Sugar Chile' Robinson 23 Blues Blues Christmas Various Artists DOCUMENT
Christmas song lead belly 24 Blues Blues Christmas Various Artists DOCUMENT
empty stocking blues floyd dixon 15 mark lamarrs rythm and blues christmas various artists acrobat
Mama Don't Like It Smiley Lewis 18 Gumbo Ya Ya: The Cosimo Matassa Story Volume 2 Various Artists PROPER
Stealin Lady Bianca 5 Servin' Notice Lady Bianca MAGIC-O
woke up this morning Mavis Staples 9 One True Vine Mavis Staples Anti
I Know I Ain't Number One Queen Sylvia 5 Jimmy Dawkins Presents: The Leric Story Various Artists DELMARK
Du Dee Squat (Criss Cross 110) Little Luther 16 Slabs Of Humdingers Vol. 2 Various Artists vee-tone
Don't Drive Me Baby Lowell Fulson 3 slabs of humdingers vol. 2 various artists vee-tone
Wait A Minute (Roulette LP SR 25172) 7 Blends, The 1 Slabs Of Humdingers Vol. 2 Various Artists vee-tone
Wake Up Call Jimmy Witherspoon 10 The Blues The Whole Blues And Nothin' But The Blues Jimmy Witherspoon INDIGO
here i come eddie cotton 1 here i come eddie cotton dechamp
front porch boogie james johnson 5 chickadelic james johnson bluestown
Side Dish Candye Kane 8 Sister Vagabond Candye Kane DELTAGROOVE
gotta draw the line finis tasby 4 people dont care finis tasby -
listen up johnny dyer 1 listen up johnny dyer -
Whoopin' And A Hollerin' (Take 1) Preacher Stephens & His Orchestra 9 Speak Easy - The Rpm Records Story Volume 2 1954-57 Various Artists Ace Records
Bring That Cadillac Back Harry Grafton 11 Mark Lamarr's Rhythm And Blues Christmas Various Artists ACROBAT
Christmas Blues Ralph Willis 4 Blues Blues Christmas Various Artists DOCUMENT
Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues Sonny Boy Williamson (Aka Rice Miller) 19 Blues Blues Christmas Various Artists DOCUMENT
Here Comes Santa Claus Bob Dylan 1 Christmas In The Heart Bob Dylan COLUMBIA
 Created: 21/12/2014 23:49:16  

Sunday, 14 December 2014

STAR BLUES on 14th December 2014 at 22:00 - no need for that truck Joe. Just piano, harp, sax and voice in here tonight

Our mandate to do things differently makes us Britain's Other Blues Show. So (for this week) you can leave that electric guitar at home. Sax, piano, harp and voice welcome;  its acoustic, pre-war and country blues tonight. Jerry McCain was a private eye for a while, an unlikely stop on his journey after cutting memorable singles for Johnny Vincent's Ace label - often copied never beaten. Steve Brookes has an unusual heritage and we thought his wryly humourous song was so well crafted it was one way of getting into Christmas.

Robert Johnson's place in the pantheon of enigmatic greats was assured almost from the start - though one shouldn't forget he would play polkas and such as a working travelling musician. We had chance to listen to his contemporaries and followers over the course of a special format show now fallen from favour on UK blues radio. Bukka White had a powerful technique - sabre not rapier. Amos Easton used the name Bumble Bee Slim when in the recording studio with a more nuanced technique. Blind Blake and Blind Boy Fuller both did their best work pre-war and Son House was the stylistic link from Muddy Waters back to Charley Patton and so on.

Sax is an instrument you either love or not - Red Prysock, Bill Doggett and King Curtis were its finest exponents. (We did sneak some electric guitar in under the radar for "Soul Twist" - ok I forgot). Louis Armstrong, Jimmy Rushing, and Joe Turner had great presence and added credibility to otherwise ho0hum Christmas fa(y)re. Oscar McLollie approached his work with gleeful abandon, Mabel Scott held the line and the Ravens completely re-did an old chestnut. Not really within our normal scope, we extended seasonal hospitality to super-bass-heavy Jimmy Ricks. The Du-Droppers answered the Domioes stamina and the Wheels made their debut in these parts. The Persuasions group is now the premier a capella outfit even if they have a fondness for reaching into deeper wells  in other genres like Frank Zappa.

Mahalia Jackson pitched a gospel tent on the near side, Jimmy Yancey, Amos Milburn and Lloyd Glenn did piano duties. Memphis Minnie and  Lil Green sounded years advanced of Mamie Smith and Trixie Smith (not related). Mamie's is thought to be the first recorded mention of "The Blues" and Trixie's imperious voice cut through the poor fidelity of the original 78rpm source for her piece.

We hope to have proved there is more to the music than showing off on electric axe and that you'll want to go further in exploring other facets of blues. Its a real honour to be able to get a warm invite round your place with such marvellous music and I plan to be back next Sunday at 10pm (BST) for more STAR BLUES. 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
Steady Jerry McCain 16 The Ace Story - Volume 3 Various Artists ACE
Travelling Riverside Blues Robert Johnson 5 Beg Borrow Or Steal Various ArtistsRobert Johnson CATFISH
Aberdeen Mississippi Blues Bukka White 1 Parchman Farm Blues Bukka White ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION
Steady Roll Mama Blues Bumble Bee Slim (Aka Amos Easton) 16 The Essential Bumble Bee Slim (Aka Amos Easton) CLASSIC BLUES
Goin’ Back To Texas Memphis Minnie 17 History Of Rhythm And Blues Part One Various Artists Rhythm and Blues Records
Go Girl! Tri-Saxual Soul Champs 13 Black Top Blues-A-Rama Various Artists BLACK TOP
zat you santa louis armstrong 3-20 rockin around christmas tree various artists crimson
Roll 'Em Pete Joe Turner & Pete Johnson 1 Roll 'Em Pete : 25 Years Of Piano Blues And Boogie Various Artists INDIGO
Can't Do Sixty No More Du Droppers, The 16 Let's Have A Ball Various Artists Blue Label / SPV
lets have a ball the wheels 1 Let's Have A Ball Various Artists Blue Label / SPV
Members Only Persuasions 13 Rounder Revue Various Artists Rounder
vitamin m steve brookes 5 vintage troubadour steve brookes
Nobody Knows The Trouble I've Seen Mahalia Jackson 20 Just For A Day: The Apollo Records Story Various Artists one day
Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning Mississippi Fred McDowell 9 The First Recordings Mississippi Fred McDowell Rounder
Levee Camp Blues Son House 4 Martin Scorsese Presents The Blues: [Son House] Son House Columbia Legacy
Good Mornin' Little School Girl Sonny Boy Williamson 10 Reborn And Remastered Robert Johnson ROUGH GUIDES
Soul Twist King Curtis 29 Teen Beat Vol.2 Various Artists ACE
One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer Amos Milburn 63 Blues Barrelhouse And Boogie - The Best Of Amos Milburn Capitol
Good Morning Blues Jimmy Rushing 11 The R'n'b Years 1947: 100 Hot Rhythm And Blues Tunes From 1947 Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
the hucklebuck paul williams 20 big horn various artists proper
Yancey Special Jimmy Yancey 6 Eternal Blues Jimmy Yancey BLUES ENCORE
crazy blues mamie Smith 11 The Blues Box Various Artists METRO
how come you do me like you do lil green 12 The Blues Box Various Artists METRO
Railroad Blues Trixie Smith 13 The Blues Box Various Artists METRO
white christmas ravens 8 mark lamarr's christmas various artists acrobat
dig that crazy santa claus oscar mclollie 1-11 rockin around christmas tree various artists crimson
boogie woogie santa claus mabel scott 1-11 rockin around christmas tree various artists crimson
The Hammer Red Prysock 40 The Big Horn Various Artists PROPER
Chica Boo Lloyd Glenn 12 The History Of Rhythm And Blues Volume Two 1942-1952 Various Artists Rhythm and Blues Records
diddie wa diddie Blind Blake 2-3 The essential Blind Blake classic blues
milk cow blues Josh White 2 blues singer josh white SONY
truckin my blues away blind boy fuller 14 legends of the blues various artists spv
Honky Tonk Bill Doggett 5 The Very Best Of Burlesque Various Artists Not Now Music
Created: 14/12/2014 23:51:53

Sunday, 7 December 2014

STAR BLUES on 7th December 2014 at 22:00 marking 60 years since Sam Cooke was shot

... plus birthday music for Little Richard who was 82 on Friday. There's an internal jukebox installed between my ears which, when in random shuffle mode, is never more than one track away from a Little Richard barnstormer/ Everything about the artist is bigger than reality (when he arrived on our mortal planet, on 5th December 1932, he weighed in at 10lbs). I tried to use Charles White's excellent biography "The Life and Times" to find some colourful tales to help tell Richard's life; trouble is STAR BLUES is a family show and there was nothing I could safely recount. If you think tales of excess started with Led Zeppelin and Freddie Mercury - think again Little Richard did it first. He did it bigger. He did it more often. The music we chose picked itself.

His voice has been one of the most distinctive in any form of music for seven decades; Sam Cooke's time at bat was much more brief but no less influential. That gorgeous voice was already honed when he made his first records on Specialty as part of the Soul Stirrers aged just nineteen. Over the subsequent six years he did gospel before moving to a wider platform, first with Keen and on towards his own label SAR via the RCA deal. There are dozens of theories to explain his death by shooting in Los Angeles on 11th December 1964 - those few words are the extent of the verifiable facts of the case. None of the conspiracies can bring him back so we let the reader find out more for them selves if they want. While on air I started seeing posts come in from American friends showing clips of unrest on the streets of the big cities following recent events. Muddy Waters' son - Mud Morganfield - appealed for calm and it seemed appropriate to play Sam Cooke's game changer at that point in STAR BLUES. Put the whole thing in perspective for me about how far we've come in 60 years and yet how little things have changed.

Our first section was able to feature the class action of Jackson Sloan, his self-penned work is both elegant and joyful. He's been before but Georgie Bonds hasn't; he followed a two year spell in prison with fourteen years working as a blacksmith. Plenty of material for a blues song, he strikes me as a tough cookie with the instincts of a survivor (he's now out  the other side of some health worries). The other highlight in the first sixty can from Vaneese Thomas whose project is lovingly crafted piece in honour of her father Rufus.

Our second hour had Lula Reed, Al smith, Al King and Earl King - all of which were sourced from vinyl originally. The Staple singers' version of "Nobody's Fault" was inspired by the remarks made from the stage at Celebration Day by Robert Plant. I caught the dvd re-run one night in the week and it was nice  to hear them acknowledge their roots so openly. This month also marks the centenary of Pops' birth so it would have been churlish to miss the chance to include his rare cover of "John Henry". Also from tv, I overheard the updated version of "hug You" in the soundtrack of one of the crime dramas I have scheduled to TIVO. Lady Blue is eagerly awaiting the Christmas tv listings (not0. Hopefully there will be some decent documentaries to while away the hours.

As for STAR BLUES we plan to turn up every Sunday including the one between Christmas and New Year. That show will unveil the 2014 awards winners. Last year Billy Boy Arnold won Artist honours, Bobby Rush scooped album and Delmark and Ace got the label gongs. Find out in 3 weeks the winners - mean time we'll bring a few runners and riders round your place on Sunday at 10pm (GMT). 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
things are gettingharder to do Otis Grand 1 he knows the blues otis grand SEQUEL
i can't be satisfied Muddy Waters 5 Hard Again Muddy Waters BLUE SKY
the blacksmith georgie bonds 2 stepping into time georgie bonds BGB
i want all that you got jackson sloan 2 jukebox swing jackson sloan ciro
I Want To Hug You John Lee Hooker 1 Mr. Lucky John Lee Hooker SPV Blue
Juke Bob Margolin Et Al 5 All-Star Blues Jam Bob Margolin TELARC
need some good lovin Nick Holt 4 You Better Watch Yourself Nick Holt WOLF
I Done Did That Already Johnny Jones 7 Can I Get An Amen Johnny Jones SPV
Southern Central Blues Thomas, Vaneese 1 Blues For My Father Thomas, Vaneese Segue Records
Keep On Movin' Mighty Sam McClain 7 Keep On Movin' Mighty Sam McClain AUDIOQUEST
gimme some of yours artie white 2 hard to explain various artists bgp
you upset me larry davis 3 hard to explain various artists bgp
He Got What He Wanted (But He Lost What He Had) Little Richard 4 Just About As Good As It Gets Little Richard SMITH & CO
Keep A Knockin' Little Richard 20 Dizzy Miss Lizzy - The Speciality Story - 1954 -1960 Various Artists One Day Music
Rip It Up Little Richard 23 The R&b Years - 1956 (Vol. 1) Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
Nobody's Fault But Mine Staple Singers, The 2 Ultimate Staple Singers: A Family Affair Staple Singers, The Kent (U.K.)
St James Infirmary Josh White 19 The Roots Of The Doors Various Artists SNAPPER MUSIC
when will be paid Staple Singers, The 20 Ultimate Staple Singers: A Family Affair Staple Singers, The Kent (U.K.)
john henry pops Staples 22 Ultimate Staple Singers: A Family Affair Staple Singers, The Kent (U.K.)
Jesus Gave Me Water Soul Stirrers Feat. Sam Cooke, The 9 Gospel - The Ultimate Collection Various Artists RED Box
Touch The Hem Of His Garment Sam Cooke 14 Sam Cooke With The Soul Stirrers Soul Stirrers, TheSam Cooke Specialty
Little Red Rooster Sam Cooke 21 Hits! Sam Cooke B.M.G.
aint nobodys business sam cooke 1-16 man who invented soul sam coke rca
change is gonna come sam cooke 1 greats sam coke rca
Loaded Down (Minit 608) Mathew Jacobs 3 R&b Humdingers Volume 12 Various Artists Vee-Tone Records
Bad Understanding Al King 6 Together Al KingArthur K. Adams ACE
Everything Is Alright Earl King 14 20 R'n'b Greats Of The 50's Various Artists CASCADE
Everything Is Wrong sydney maiden 5 The Flash Records Story Various Artists ACE
Goin' To Alabama Al Smith 11 The Prestige/Bluesville Story Various Artists NOT NOW
Watch Dog Lula Reed 15 The R'n'b Years 1954: 100 Hot Rhythm And Blues Tunes From 1954 Various Artists BOULEVARD VINTAGE
Created: 07/12/2014 23:41:54