Monday, 30 July 2012

This week's playlist

"Dust My Broom" - Pete 'Snakey Jake' Johnson
"Sad Hours" - Little Walter
"Take A Walk With Me" - The Aces
"Rock Island Line" - Leadbelly
"Crossroad Friend" - Wendy Biscuit
"The Hoodoo Shake" - The Some X 6 Band
"All Through The City" - Dr. Feelgood
"Jug Band Special" - Whistler and His Jug Band
"Boone's Farm Boogie" - The Kentucky Headhunters
"Obnox Stomp" - John Fairhurst
"You're So Fine" - Little Walter
"St. Louis Blues" - Kay Starr
"All Night Long" - Willie And The Poor Boys
"Hate To See You Go" - Little Walter
"You Upset Me" - Luther Allison
"I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again" - Eva Cassidy
"Mess Around" - Professor Longhair
"Big Time Mama" - 'Champion' Jack Dupree
"Cuttin' Out" - John Lee Hooker
"Little Bit Worried" - Todd Sharpville
"W-O-M-A-N" - Etta James
"It Ain't Right" - Little Walter
"I Miss You" - Chrissie O'Dell

Featured Artist: Little Walter

Little Walter (May 1st 1930 – February 15th 1968)
Who's the king of all post-war blues harpists, Chicago division or otherwise? It has to be Little Walter without a solitary doubt. The fiery harmonica wizard took the humble mouth organ in dazzling amplified directions that were unimaginable prior to his ascendancy.
Marion Walter Jacobs was by most accounts an unruly but vastly talented youth who abandoned his rural Louisiana home for the bright lights of New Orleans at age 12. Walter gradually journeyed north from there, pausing in Helena (where he hung out with the wizened Sonny Boy Williamson), Memphis, and St. Louis before arriving in Chicago in 1946.
He fell in with local royalty – Tampa Red and Big Bill Broonzy- and debuted on wax that same year for the tiny Ora-Nelle logo.
Walter joined forces with Muddy Waters in 1948; the resulting stylistic tremors of that coupling are still being felt today. Along with Jimmy Rogers and Baby Face Leroy Foster, this super-confident young aggregation became informally known as The Headhunters. They would saunter into Southside clubs, mount the stage, and proceed to calmly "cut the heads" of whomever was booked there that evening.
By 1950, Walter was firmly entrenched as Waters' studio harpist at Chess as well. That's how Walter came to record his breakthrough 1952 R&B chart-topper "Juke" -- the romping instrumental was laid down at the tail-end of a Waters session.
Suddenly, Walter was a star on his own, combining his stunning talents with those of The Aces (guitarists Louis and David Myers and drummerFred Below) and advancing the concept of blues harmonica another few light years with every session he made for Checker Records.
From 1952 to 1958, Walter notched 14 Top Ten R&B hits, including "Sad Hours," "Mean Old World," "Tell Me Mama," "Off the Wall," "Blues with a Feeling," "You're So Fine," a threatening "You Better Watch Yourself," the mournful "Last Night," and a rocking "My Babe" . Throughout his Checker tenure, Walter alternated spine-chilling instrumentals with gritty vocals.
Walter utilized the chromatic harp in ways never before envisioned, but 1959's determined "Everything Gonna Be Alright" was his last trip to the hit lists; Chicago blues had faded to a commercial non-entity by then unless your name was Jimmy Reed.
Tragically, the '60s saw the harp genius slide steadily into an alcohol-hastened state of unreliability, his once-handsome face becoming a road map of scars. In 1964, he toured Great Britain with The Rolling Stones, who clearly had their priorities in order, but his once-prodigious skills were faltering badly.
Walter's eternally vicious temper led to his violent undoing in 1968. He was involved in a street fight (apparently on the losing end, judging from the outcome) and died from the incident's after-effects at age 37.
His influence remains inescapable to this day - it's unlikely that a blues harpist exists on the face of this earth who doesn't worship Little Walter.

Monday, 23 July 2012

This week's playlist

"It Ain't Over" - Nerak Roth Patterson
"Try Me One More Time" - Jo-Ann Kelly
"Waking Blues" - Otis Harris
"Travellin' The Southbound" - Harry Bodine
"Blues In A Bottle" - Prince Albert Hunt
"Back In The Doghouse" - Seasick Steve
"Casey Bill" - Earl McDonald Original Louisville Jug Band
"What's That Sound I Hear" - Alexis Korner
"Boyfriend Blues" - Jo-Ann Kelly
"Can't Afford To Do It" - Fleetwood Mac
"Crying The Blues" - Laura Rucker
"Boogie Woogie Blues" - Clarence Samuels
"Drunken Barrelhouse" - Jo-Ann Kelly, Son House and Woody Mann
"Big Slow Copper Moon" - The Blueyellows
"Handyman Blues" - Barrelhouse Jukes
"Done Sold Everything" - Debbie Davies
"Blood Red Blues" - Cee Cee James
"If You Change Your Mind" - Lil' Ed And The Blues Imperials
"More Than I Bargained For" - Peter Karp and Sue Foley
"Angel In A Black Dress" - Jon Amor Blues Group
"Walking The Dog" - Jo-Ann Kelly
"Lone Star Blues" - Omar And The Howlers

Featured Artist: Jo-Ann Kelly

Jo-Ann Kelly
The rock era saw a few white female singers, like Janis Joplin, show they could sing the blues. But one who could outshine them all – Jo Ann Kelly - seemed to slip through the cracks, mostly because she favored the acoustic, Delta style rather than rocking out with a heavy band behind her. But with a huge voice, and a strong guitar style influenced by Memphis Minnie and Charlie Patton, she was the queen.
Born January 5, 1944, Kelly and her older brother Dave were both taken by the blues, and born at the right time to take advantage of a young British blues scene in the early 1960's.
By 1964 she was playing in clubs, including the Star in Croydon, and had made her first limited-edition record with future Groundhogs guitarist Tony McPhee. She expanded to play folk and blues clubs all over Britain, generally solo, but occasionally with other artists, bringing together the styles of Bessie Smith and Sister Rosetta Tharpe into her own music.
Kelly appeared on two McPhee compiled albums for, “Me and the Devil” (1968) and “I Asked for Water, She Gave Me Gasoline” (1969).
After the first National Blues Federation Convention in 1968 her career seemed ready to take flight. She began playing the more lucrative college circuit, followed by her well-received debut album in 1969. She also appeared on two John Dummer Band albums “John Dummer Blues Band” (1969) and “Oobleedoobleejubilee” (1973)
At the second National Blues Convention, she jammed with Canned Heat, who invited her to join them on a permanent basis. She declined, not wanting to be a part of a band -- and made the same decision when Johnny Winter offered to help her.
Throughout the '70s, Kelly continued to work and record solo, while also gigging for fun in bands run by friends, outfits like Tramp and Chilli Willi -- essentially pub rock, as the scene was called, and in 1979 she helped found the Blues Band, along with brother Dave, and original Fleetwood Mac bassist Bob Brunning. The band backed her on an ambitious show she staged during the early '80s, Ladies and the Blues, in which she paid tribute to her female heros.
In 1988, Kelly began to suffer pain. A brain tumor was diagnosed and removed, and she seemed to have recovered, even touring again in 1990 with her brother before collapsing and dying on October 21.
Posthumously, she's become a revered blues figure, one who helped clear the path for artists like Bonnie Raitt and Rory Block. But more than a figurehead, her recorded material -- and unreleased sides have appeared often since her death -- show that Kelly truly was a remarkable blueswoman.

Monday, 16 July 2012

This week's playlist

"Basehead" - Corey Harris
"I Got A Right To Sing The Blues" - Cee Cee James
"Trouble Belt" - R.J. Mischo
"The Fall" - Debbie Davies
"Sweet Home Chicago" - Robert Johnson
"Sweet Potato Blues" - King David's Jug Band
"Sittin' On Top Of The World" - John Oates Band
"Watermelon Lucy" - Cee Cee James
"Mean Old World" - The Mannish Boys
"Truckin' My Blues Away" - Blind Boy Fuller
"Desert Blues" - Cee Cee James
"Barrel House Woman" - Champion Jack Dupree & Mickey 'Guitar' Baker
"Sugar Mama" - Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore
"What You Make Of It" - Nathan James & The Rhythm Scratchers
"Mellow Down Easy" - Little Feat
"Cavern Crawl" - The International Blues Family
"Walk On" - Cee Cee James
"Devil Woman" - The Red Devils

Featured Artist

Cee Cee James
Take a lifetime of heartache and loss starting at birth and gift it with a lyric writing style that is filled with an honesty so vulnerable that it catches the most hardened heart off guard, knocking that back with a shot of whiskey drenched vocals and a sweat dripping, take no prisoners performance, and you have one hell of a Blues Woman.
Dubbed the Vocal Volcano by Robert Horn from the Washington Blues Society, Cee Cee has been singing and writing songs for 20 years gathering up stellar reviews and awards from all three CD's she has released. "Spiritually Wet," her first pop/funk CD took home the Los Angeles Independent Artist Of The Year Award and the first cut was honored as one of the top 10 in the John Lennon Songwriting Competition before she put the project to rest in 2002 after some intense life changes and fell face down and Soul up into the Blues.
Cee Cee's second CD, "Low Down Where The Snakes Crawl," co-written with Rob “Slideboy” Andrews, Cee Cee's husband and Slide/Rhythm player, consists of eleven original songs that take the listener down Cee Cee's journey of loss, heartache and soul awakening.
The album was released on FWG Records in late 2008 and then picked up and re-released by Blue Skunk Music in February 2010, gaining worldwide press, distribution and radio play.
In May of 2010, FWG Records released Cee Cee’s live CD entitled "Seriously Raw - Live At Sunbanks," recorded at the Sunbanks Blues Festival. "Seriously Raw" contains a performance that as Bruce Edwards of writes, "My favourite live disc, not only of 2010, but maybe of the century so far!”
The album brought Cee Cee the Best Blues Songwriter Award and Best Blues Vocalist Nominee from the Washington Blues Society in 2010
Cee Cee’s next CD "Blood Red Blues", produced by the legendary Grammy Winning Jim Gaines, released on July 17, 2012 on FWG Records.
"Blood Red Blues" is Cee Cee’s forth and most exciting CD to date and contains twelve original Blues/Roots tunes, co-written with Rob ‘Slideboy’ Andrews. The CD starts out with the title track, where Cee Cee claims the wisdom of keeping her game in life clean, and ends with “I’m Takin' Mine” where she sings about her long journey paying hard dues. In between we find those diamonds in the form of creative, well crafted lyrics delivering messages about the beauty, healing power and depth of love.

Monday, 9 July 2012


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This week's playlist

Earl'sBoogie” - John Earl Walker
MondayMorning Blues” - Mississippi John Hurt
TheSky Is Falling Down” - Walter Trout
BarrelhouseJukes” - The Barrelhouse Jukes
SaM'Appel Fou (They Call Me Crazy) – Clifton Chenier
IAin't Drunk” - Albert Collins
BoodleAm Shake” - Dixieland Jug Blowers
BrightLights, Big City” - Jimmy Reed
Who'sBeen Telling You Buddie Brown Eyes” - Jo-Ann Kelly
Stagolee”- Mississippi John Hurt
CompanyUnderground” - Hat Fitz & Cara
CandymanBlues” - Little Feat
I'veGot The Blues And I Can't Be Satisfied” - Mississippi John Hurt
Cops& Robbers” - Bo Diddley
SweetJelly Donut” - Royal Southern Brotherhood
StickTo The Promise” - Giles Robson & The Dirty Aces
OneWorld” - John Pippus
JealousKinda Fella” - Philipp Fankhauser
Don'tLie To Me” - The Pretty Things
No Chance With You" - John Dummer Band
RichlandWoman Blues” - Mississippi John Hurt
Paper In Your Pocket” - Mitch Laddie

Featured Artist: Mississippi John Hurt

Mississippi John Hurt
(July 3, 1893 or March 8, 1892 — November 2, 1966)
No blues singer ever presented a more gentle, genial image than Mississippi John Hurt. A guitarist with an extraordinarily lyrical and refined fingerpicking style, he also sang with a warmth unique in the field of blues, and the gospel influence in his music gave it a depth and reflective quality unusual in the field.
John Hurt grew up in the Mississippi hill country town of Avalon, north of Greenwood, near Grenada. He began playing guitar in 1903, and within a few years was performing at parties, doing ragtime repertory rather than blues. As a farm hand, he lived in relative isolation, and it was only in 1916, when he went to work briefly for the railroad, that he got to broaden his horizons and his repertory beyond Avalon. In the early '20s, he teamed up with white fiddle player Willie Narmour, playing square dances.
Hurt was spotted by a scout for Okeh Records who passed through Avalon in 1927, who was supposed to record Narmour, and was signed to record after a quick audition. Of the eight sides that Hurt recorded in Memphis in February of 1928, only two were ever released, but he was still asked to record in New York late in 1928.
Hurt's dexterity as a guitarist, coupled with his plain-spoken nature, were his apparent undoing, at least as a popular blues artist, at the time. His playing was too soft and articulate, and his voice too plain to be taken up in a mass setting, such as a dance; rather, his music was best heard in small, intimate gatherings. In that sense, he was one of the earliest blues musicians to rely completely on the medium of recorded music as a vehicle for mass success; where the records of Furry Lewis or Blind Blake were mere distillations of music that they (presumably) did much better on-stage.
Mississippi John Hurt might've lived and died in obscurity, if it hadn't been for the folk music revival of the late '50s and early '60s. A new generation of listeners and scholars suddenly expressed a deep interest in the music of America's hinterlands. A scholar named Tom Hoskins discovered that Mississippi John Hurt, who hadn't been heard from musically in over 35 years, was alive and living in Avalon, MS, and sought him out, following the trail laid down in Hurt's song "Avalon Blues."
Their meeting was a fateful one; Hurt was in his 70s, and weary from a lifetime of backbreaking labor for pitifully small amounts of money, but his musical ability was intact, and he bore no ill-will against anyone who wanted to hear his music.
A series of concerts were arranged, including an appearance at the Newport Folk Festival, where he was greeted as a living legend. This opened up a new world to Hurt, who was grateful to find thousands, or even tens of thousands of people too young to have even been born when he made his only records up to that time, eager to listen to anything he had to sing or say.
As with many people to whom success comes late in life, certain aspects of the success were hard for him to absorb in stride; the money was more than he'd ever hoped to see, even if it wasn't much by the standards of a major pop star.
Mississippi John Hurt left behind a legacy unique in the annals of the blues, and not just in terms of music. A humble, hard-working man who never sought fame or fortune from his music, and who conducted his life in an honest and honorable manner, he also avoided the troubles that afflicted the lives of many of his more tragic fellow musicians. He was a pure musician, playing for himself and the smallest possible number of listeners, developing his guitar technique and singing style to please nobody but himself; and he suddenly found himself with a huge following, precisely because of his unique style. Unlike some of his contemporaries he felt no bitterness over his late-in-life mass success, and as a result continued to please and win over new listeners with his recordings until virtually the last weeks of his life. Nothing he ever recorded was less than inspired, and most of it was superb.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Today's Playlist...

"I'm A Woman" - Koko Taylor
"Use What You Got" - Janiva Magness
"Good Rockin' Daddy" - Marcia Ball, Lou Ann Barton & Angela Strehli
"Pea Vine Blues" - Rory Black
"It's A Curse" - Karin Rudefelt & Doctor Blues
"Feel My Love Come Down" - Cee Cee James
"The Old Folks Started It" - Minnie Wallace
"If You're Weak Enough" - Shirley Brown
"Chicago Bound Blues" - Ida Cox
"You Were Never Mine" - Janiva Magness
"Nothing In Rambling" - Gaye Adegbalola & Roddy Barnes
"Hoochie Coochie Gal" - Etta James
"It's Your Voodoo Working" - Janiva Magness
"Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean" - Ruth Brown
"Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" - Ma Rainey
"Give It Up Or Let Me Go" - Bonnie Raitt
"Black Rat Swing" - Memphis Minnie
"Beale Street Mama" - Bessie Smith
"Save Some Mercy For Me" - Sandi Thom
"Crazy Blues" - Mamie Smith
"The Whale Has Swallowed Me" - Janiva Magness
"(The Fall) Kurt's Blues" - Cher

Featured Artist: Janiva Magness

Blues and soul singer Janiva Magness was no stranger to trouble and hard times growing up, and at her best, she pours that lifetime of emotion into her passionate phrasing and vocal delivery.
Born in Detroit, Magness grew up with her father's blues and country record collection, as well as the city's wonderfully Motown pop-soul sound, all of which shaped her style and approach as a musician.
She lost both of her parents to suicide while in her early teens, and she ended up living on the streets, channeled through endless foster homes, before becoming pregnant at the age of 17 and being forced to give up the child for adoption.
Her personal and creative redemption came at an Otis Rush show in Minneapolis. Discouraged, stressed, and definitely underage, Magness snuck into the club and was transformed by Rush's performance. That was the moment, Magness maintains, that her vision of herself as a singer and musician began to take shape. She immersed herself in records by James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and all the other R&B greats.
She started out as a background singer, finally ending up in Phoenix in the early '80s, where she formed the Mojomatics, a popular local band. Magness next relocated to Los Angeles in 1986.
A debut cassette, “More Than Live”, appeared in the mid-'90s, with her first CD, “It Takes One To Know One”, appearing in 1996, followed by three more independent releases.
Magness signed with NorthernBlues Music and “Bury Him At The Crossroads” was issued by the label in 2004, with “Do I Move You?” following two years later in 2006. Both CDs were co-produced by Magness and Canadian roots star Colin Linden, and both earned Magness a tremendous amount of critical and popular attention, particularly in the blues community, and her career was in full swing, garnering an armful of blues awards.
She signed with Alligator Records in 2008, which issued “What Love Will Do” that same year, following it with “The Devil Is An Angel Too” in 2010 and “Stronger For It” in 2012.