Monday, 24 September 2012

This Week's playlist

"Party Right Here" - Albert Cummings
"Stormy Monday Blues" - Bobby Blue Bland
"The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock 'N' Roll" - Dr. Feelgood
"Whiskey River Blues" - Shameless Rob Band
"In My Arms" - Grainne Duffy
"Gonna Die Twice" - The McCarthy's
"Walkin' Cane Stomp" - Kentucky Jug Band
"Blue Again Today" - Woody & The WoodTones
"The Long War Shuffle" - Elbow
"How Does A Cheatin' Woman Feel" - Bobby Blue Bland
"Everything's All Right" - Frank Frost
"Pretty Mama Blues" - Ivory Joe Hunter
"I Pity The Fool" - Bobby Blue Bland
"Right Around The Corner" - Steve Cropper (featuring Delbert McClinton)
"Harpoon Man" - Paul DeLay Band
"Rocky Mountain" - Clarence Edwards
"Draggin' My Tail" - Clapton and Page
"Pony Blues" - Charley Patton
"New Car" - Troyce Key and J.J. Malone
"All I Could Do Was Cry" - Etta James
"You Burnt Me" - Lil' Ed and The Blues Imperials
"Blues In The Night" - Bobby Blue Bland
"Sittin' On Top Of The World" - John Oates Band

Featured Artist: Bobby Blue Bland

Bobby “Blue” Bland
Born January 27 1930
Bobby "Blue" Bland was born in the small town of Rosemark, Tennessee. Later moving to Memphis with his mother, Bland started singing with local gospel groups there, including amongst others The Miniatures. Eager to expand his interests, he began frequenting the city's famous Beale Street where he became associated with an ad hoc circle of aspiring musicians named, not unnaturally, the Beale Streeters.
Bland's recordings from the early 1950s was halted by a spell in the U.S. Army. When the singer returned to Memphis in 1954 he found several of his former associates, including Johnny Ace, enjoying considerable success, while Bland's recording label, Duke, had been sold to Houston entrepreneur Don Robey. In 1956 Bland began touring with Little Junior Parker. Initially he doubled as valet and driver, a role he reportedly fulfilled for B.B. King.
Melodic big-band blues singles, including “Farther On Up The Road” (1957) and "Little Boy Blue" (1958) reached the US R&B Top 10, but Bobby's craft was most clearly heard on a series of early 1960s releases including "Cry Cry Cry" “I Pity The Fool”, and the sparkling “Turn On Your Love Light”, which became a much-covered standard
Financial pressures forced the singer to cut his touring band and in 1968 the group broke up. He suffered from depresssion and became increasingly dependent on alcohol. He stopped drinking in 1971; his record company Duke was sold by owner Don Robey to the larger ABC Records group. This resulted in several successful and critically acclaimed contemporary blues/soul albums including “His California Album” and “Dreamer”. The albums, including the later "follow-up" in 1977 “Reflections in Blue”, were all recorded in Los Angeles and featured many of the city's top sessionmen at the time.
The first single released from “His California Album” was "This Time I'm Gone For Good", and took Bland back into the pop Top 50 for the first time since 1964, and made the R&B top 10 in late 1973. The lead-off track from “Dreamer”, “Ain't No Love In The Heart Of The City”, was a strong R&B hit. Later it would surface again in 1978 by the hard rock band Whitesnake featuring singer David Coverdale. The follow-up, "I Wouldn't Treat A Dog" was his biggest R&B hit for some years, but as usual his strength was never the pop chart. A return to his roots in 1980 for a tribute album to his mentor Joe Scott, produced by music veterans Monk Higgins and Al Bell, resulted in a fine album “Sweet Vibrations”, but it failed to sell well outside of his traditional “chitlin circuit” base.
In 1985, Bland was signed by Malaco Records, specialists in traditional Southern black music for whom he made a series of albums while continuing to tour and appear at concerts with fellow blues singer B.B. King. The two had collaborated for two albums in the 1970s. Despite occasional age-related ill-health, Bland continues to record new albums for Malaco, perform occasional tours alone, with guitarist/producer Angelo Earl and also with B.B. King, plus appearances at blues and soul festivals worldwide.

Monday, 17 September 2012

This week's playlist

"Earthquake And Hurricane" - Zydeco Party Band
"Back To You" - Guitar Mikey and The Real Thing
"I Wanna Be" - Riot and The Blue Devils
"Out Of The Box" - Guitar Mikey and The Real Thing
"Hound Dog" - John Dummer
"I'm A Woman" - Koko Taylor
"Viola Lee Blues" - Cannon's Jug Stompers
"After Midnight" - J.J. Cale
"Bye Bye Baby" - Blind Boy Fuller
"It's A Sin" - Guitar Mikey and The Real Thing
"Need All The Help I Can Get" - Ana Popovic
"Just Like A Man" - 6th Street Rhythm And Blues Revue
"That's No Way" - Guitar Mikey and The Real Thing
"Further On Up The Road" - Ronnie Hawkins and The Hawks
"Flip Flop" - Big Twist and The Mellow Fellows
"Maggies Farm" - Bill Bourne and The Free Radio Band
"I Will Move On Up A Little Higher" - Mahalia Jackson
"Crossroads" - Johnny Boots
"I'd Rather Drink Muddy Water" - Cats and A Fiddler
"I Can't Be Satisfied" - Muddy Waters
"It's Going Down" - Guitar Mikey and The Real Thing
"Airplane Woman" - John Pippus

Featured Artist: Guitar Mikey

Mike McMillan AKA Guitar Mikey (born 1965)
At the age of 11 he started The Young Canadian Blues Band. He made several appearances with the 3 member band on a local cable show performing some 50's rock'n'roll classics as well as Johnny Winter's "Mean Town Blues".
He attended a Muddy Waters concert by himself. His father returns at the end of the show to pick him up. He is nowhere to be found. Eventually as Mike's dad continues to circle the auditorium he finds Mike exiting the stage door where he had been hanging out with the man himself, Muddy Waters.
Mike had just turned 12 when he joined his first working band "Phoenix". They played local high school dances. He continued performing as a guitar player playing in rock bands while all the time really wanting to play blues.
In 1980 Mike realized that if he was going to play blues, he would have to front a band as the singer. So he began to sing blues imitating his childhood idol Johnny Winter. The familiar growling style would work for the time being. However Mike's singing would eventually grow into something all his own. He started The Steel City Blues Band.
The Steel City Blues Band continued to play club dates but then something changed. Richard Newell AKA King Biscuit Boy joined The Steel City Blues Band as a featured artist. This would begin a musical relationship that would continue on and off over the years to follow.
In 1984 they tour to promote Rich's new album “Mouthy Of Steel”.
Shortly after the "Mouth of Steel" tour, Mike decided he wanted to be back on his own. He had a couple of bands "Soul Survivor", named after the James Cotton tune and "The Electric Groove". During this time he got his stage name. For some time Mikey had been performing the Johnny "Guitar" Watson classic "Gangster of Love". In the song the is a line "Sheriff says Is you Guitar Watson....". Mikey changed to "Guitar Mikey" simply to make it fit in the song. It stuck, and Guitar Mikey is born.
In 1985 Mike formed his new band The Real Thing.
At the end of 1997 Guitar Mikey made Chicago his long awaited home. Mikey folded his Canadian band and now has formed a Chicago based band. While putting together his new line-up Mikey made a special appearance at the House of Blues as a guest member of the Shirley King Band (daughter of B.B.).
In 2003 Guitar Mikey and Keyboardist Mark Yacovonne tour the Memphis, and Clarksdale areas to soak up the music, history and BBQ and do a little playing. They are accompanied by Mikey's wife Pamela and Mark's girlfriend Bethany and all four are taken in by the friendly south, and in particular Clarksdale itself. This trip plants the seed of possible relocation.
Finally after three years of talking about it, Mikey and wife Pamela take the plunge. They are eager to say goodbye to Boston and move to Clarksdale. Ironically, the music and history that Mikey grows up only reading about as a kid, is not the thing that brings him and his wife to Clarksdale, but purely the people - and a new way of life.
In 2008 “Jam Zero I” is released. It's the first album in 17 year for Guitar Mikey, and features live jams that took place in the course of the first year of Mikey's regular appearances at the world famous Ground Zero Blues Club.
In 2012 Guitar Mikey releases his first studio album in over 20 years with Chicago Blues Label Earwig Music. “Out Of The Box” has a great supporting cast including world renown harmonica player Billy Gibson, Bob Margolin (Muddy Waters) on guitar, David Maxwell on keyboards, Peter Nunn (Gowan, The Jitters, Honeymoon Suite) on keyboards, Marty Richards (Joe Perry Project, J Geils) on drums, Nellie "Tiger" Travis on vocals and some great Clarkdale area folks including Terry "Big T" Williams on Bass, Lee Williams on drums, Alphonso Sanders on sax and Super Chikan on Guitar.

Monday, 10 September 2012

This week's playlist

"Baby Girl" - Kathy Frank
"Kansas City" - Geno Washington
"Daddy Played The Banjo" - Steve Martin
"Dust My Broom" - Geno Washington
"Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues" - Charlie Patton
"Burnin' Hell" - The Bootleggers featuring Nick Cave
"Jug Band Boogie" - Louis Innis
"Hard Time Killing Floor Blues" - Chris Thomas King
"Sad Hours" - Little Walter
"High Heel Sneakers" - Geno Washington
"Georgia Rag" - Simon Prager
"Stormy Monday Blues" - Bobby Blue Bland
"Talk To Me" - Little Willie John
"Pea Vine Blues" - Rory Block
"Can't Judge A Book By It's Cover" - The Harpoonist And The Axe Murderer
"Finest Lovin' Man" - Bonnie Raitt
"Last Bluesman Gone" - Anthony Gomes
"I Don't Like To Travel" - Byther Smith
"Minnie The Moocher" - The Blues Brothers Band (featuring Cab Calloway)
"Don't Know Where I'm Going" - Rory Gallagher
"What'd I Say" - Geno Washington
"I Can't Quit You Baby" - Otis Rush

Featured artist: Geno Washington

Geno Washington
Born December 1943
Washington was stationed in England with the United States Air Force during the early 1960s. While stationed in East Anglia, Washington became known as a frequent stand-in at gigs around London. When guitarist Pete Gage saw him at a nightclub in 1965, he asked Washington to join his new group, that was to become Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band.
They had two of the biggest selling UK albums of the 1960s, both of which were live albums. Their most commercially successful album, Hand Clappin, Foot Stompin, Funky-Butt ... Live! was in the UK Albums Chart for 38 weeks in 1966. The other album was Hipster Flipsters Finger Poppin' Daddies.
They had a number of moderate UK Singles Chart hits during 1966-1967 on the Pye label: "Water" (which reached no.39), "Hi Hi Hazel" (no.45), “Que Sera Sera” (no.43) and "Michael (The Lover)" (no.39). They managed to build up a strong following with the crowds due to their touring and energetic performances. Like their Pye label mates and rivals, Jimmy James and the Vagabonds, they became popular with the mod scene. The band broke up in the autumn of 1969 and the band members went their own ways while Geno Washington continued as a solo artist.
In the 1970's Washington left the UK to return to the United States and disappeared from the music industry for a length of time. He studied hypnosis and meditation, made acquaintance with the Beach Boys and recorded some music with them that was never released. He later recorded three albums for the DJM label, Geno's Back (1976), Live (1976), That's Why Hollywood Loves Me (1979).
He was encouraged to make a comeback in 1980 due to the rekindled interest in him resulting from the Dexys Midnight Runners hit single “Geno”, but he initially declined, as he was completing his degree in hypnotism. But soon he was back in the UK touring extensively and playing many gigs particularly in South East London.
Washington has been active on stage, recording and releasing new music on various labels, with titles such as "Change Your Thoughts You Change Your Life", "Live Sideways", "Loose Lips", "Put Out the Cat", "The Return of the G", "Take This Job and Stuff It" and "What's In the Pot?".
As of 2007, Washington and his band could be regularly seen touring in the UK.
In January 2009 he released a single "I'm Doing 99 Years" and the proceeds from the single's sales will go to the victims of gun crime and child abuse.
In July 2009 he headlined the Kelvedon Free Music Festival.
At the time of this posting he can still be seen touring with his blues band.

Monday, 3 September 2012

This week's playlist

"Boss Man Cut My Chains" - Chris Rea
"Love Changing Blues" - Blind Willie McTell
"Dirty Water" - Janiva Magness
"Steppin' Out" - Pat Travers
"Didn't I Say" - The Mustangs
"I Woke Up This Morning" - Ten Years After
"You May Leave, But This Will Bring You Back" - Memphis Jug Band
"Black Dog Blues" - The Barrelhouse Brothers
"Outside Woman Blues" - Cream
"Writin' Paper Blues" - Blind Willie McTell
"The One In The Middle" - Manfred Mann
"Nehi Mama Blues" - Fury Lewis and Frank Stokes
"Mr. McTell Got The Blues" - Blind Willie McTell
"Fine Furred Momma" - Corey Luek and The Smoke Wagon Blues Band
"Stormy Weather" - Pete 'Snakey Jake' Johnson
"It's Gonna Rain" - Philipp Fankhauser
"Seven Eleven" - Geno Washington
"Holy Water" - Jon Amor Blues Group
"Can Blue Men Sing The Whites" - The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band
"Ro Ro Rosey" - Van Morrison
"It's All About Money" - Deborah Magone
"Searching The Desert For The Blues" - Blind Willie McTell
"Six Cold Feet" - Hugh Laurie

Featured Artist: Blind Willie McTell

Blind Willie McTell
May 5 1898 – August 19 1959
William Samuel McTell was one of the blues' greatest guitarists, and also one of the finest singers ever to work in blues. A major figure with a local following in Atlanta from the 1920s onward, he recorded dozens of songs throughout the '30s under a multitude of names -- all the better to juggle "exclusive" relationships with many different record labels at once – including Blind Willie, Blind Sammie, Hot Shot Willie and Georgia Bill, and as a backup musician to Ruth Mary Willis. And those may not have been all of his pseudonyms -- we don't even know what he chose to call himself, although “Blind Willie” was his preferred choice among friends.
Much of what we do know about him was learned only years after his death, from family members and acquaintances. His family name was, so far as we know, McTier or McTear, and the origins of the "McTell" name are unclear. What is clear is that he was born into a family filled with musicians -- his mother and his father both played guitar, as did one of his uncles, and he was also related to Georgia Tom Dorsey, who later became the Rev. Thomas Dorsey.
McTell was probably born blind, although early in his life he could perceive light in one eye. His blindness never became a major impediment, however, and it was said that his sense of hearing and touch were extraordinary.
His first instruments were the harmonica and the accordion, but as soon as he was big enough he took up the guitar and showed immediate aptitude on the new instrument. He played a standard six-string acoustic until the mid-'20s, and never entirely abandoned the instrument, but from the beginning of his recording career, he used a 12-string acoustic in the studio almost exclusively.
McTell's technique on the 12-string instrument was unique. Unlike virtually every other bluesman who used one, he relied not on its resonances as a rhythm instrument, but, instead, displayed a nimble, elegant slide and finger-picking style that made it sound like more than one guitar at any given moment.
McTell's recording career began in late 1927 with two sessions for Victor records, including "Statesboro Blues." McTell's earliest songs were superb examples of storytelling in music, coupled with dazzling guitar work.
McTell worked under a variety of names, and with a multitude of partners, including his one-time wife Ruthy Kate Williams (who recorded with him under the name Ruby Glaze), and also Buddy Moss and Curley Weaver. McTell cut some of his best songs more than once in his career.
His recording career never gave McTell quite as much success as he had hoped, partly due to the fact that some of his best work appeared during the depths of the Depression.
Mctell was well-known enough that Library of Congress archivist John Lomax felt compelled to record him in 1940, although during the war, like many other acoustic country bluesmen, his recording career came to a halt. Luckily for McTell and generations of listeners after him, however, there was a brief revival of interest in acoustic country-blues after World War II that brought him back into the studio. Amazingly enough, the newly founded Atlantic Records -- which was more noted for its recordings of jazz and R&B -- took an interest in McTell and cut 15 songs with him in Atlanta during 1949. The one single released from these sessions, however, didn't sell, and most of those recordings remained unheard for more than 20 years after they were made. A year later, however, he was back in the studio, this time with his longtime partner Curley Weaver, cutting songs for the Regal label. None of these records sold especially well, however, and while McTell kept playing for anyone who would listen, the bitter realities of life had finally overtaken him, and he began drinking on a regular basis. He was rediscovered in 1956, just in time to get one more historic session down on tape. He left music soon after, to become a pastor of a local church, and he died of a brain hemorrhage in 1959, his passing so unnoticed at the time that certain reissues in the '70s referred to McTell as still being alive in the '60s.
Blind Willie McTell was one of the giants of the blues, as a guitarist and as a singer and recording artist. Hardly any of his work as passed down to us on record is less than first-rate, and this makes most any collection of his music worthwhile. A studious and highly skilled musician whose skills transcended the blues, he was equally adept at ragtime, spirituals, story-songs, hillbilly numbers, and popular tunes, excelling in all of these genres. He could read and write music in braille, which gave him an edge on many of his sighted contemporaries, and was also a brilliant improvisor on the guitar, as is evident from his records. McTell always gave an excellent account of himself, even in his final years of performing and recording.