Monday, 29 October 2012

Featured Artist - Screamin' Jay Hawkins

 Screamin' Jay Hawkins

(July 18, 1929-February 12, 2000)

Screamin' Jay Hawkins was an outrageous performer prone to emerging out of coffins on-stage, with a flaming skull named Henry his constant companion, Screamin' Jay was an insanely theatrical figure long before it was even remotely acceptable!
 
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Hawkins studied classical piano as a child and learned guitar in his twenties.His initial goal was to become an opera singer but when his initial ambitions failed he began his career as a conventional blues singer and pianist.
In 1951, Hawkins joined guitarist Tiny Grimes's band, and was subsequently featured on some of Grimes's recordings.When Hawkins became a solo performer, he often performed in a stylish wardrobe of leopard skins, red leather and wild hats.

His most successful recording, "I Put a Spell on You" (1956), was selected as one of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. According to the AllMusic Guide to the Blues, "Hawkins originally envisioned the tune as a refined ballad." The entire band was intoxicated during a recording session where "Hawkins screamed, grunted, and gurgled his way through the tune with utter drunken abandon." The resulting performance was no ballad but instead a "raw, guttural track" that became his greatest commercial success and reportedly surpassed a million copies in sales. The performance was mesmerizing, although Hawkins himself blacked out and was unable to remember the session. Afterward he had to relearn the song from the recorded version.Soon after the release of "I Put a Spell on You", radio disc jockey Alan Freed offered Hawkins $300 to emerge from a coffin onstage. Hawkins accepted and soon created an outlandish stage persona.

Hawkins died on February 12, 2000 after surgery to treat an aneurysm. He left behind many children by many women; an estimated 55 at the time of his death, and upon investigation, that number "soon became perhaps 75 offspring.

This week's playlist

"Black Cat Bone" - Sam Lightnin' Hopkins
"Please Don't Leave Me" - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
"I Put A Spell On You" - Creedence Clearwater Revival
"Blue Ghost Blues" - Lonnie Johnson
"Evil" - Howlin' Wolf
"Feral Beast" - The Timothy Hay
"Hoodoo Lady" - Memphis Minnie
"Seven Sisters Blues" (parts 1 and 2) - J.T. Smith
"Same Damn Thing" - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
"Raise Hell" - Riot And The Blues Devils
"Somebody Done Hoodooed The Hoodoo Man" - Louis Jordan
"What's Gonna Happen On The 8th" - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
"I've Been Tricked" - Casey Bill Weldon
"Black Night" - Todd Wolfe
"Hoodoo Party" - King Biscuit Boy
"Howling Wolf" - Muddy Waters
"Swamp Monster" - Stormcellar
"Voodoo Moon" - Anthonyh Gomes
"The Supernatural" - John Mayall's Bluesbreakers (with Peter Green)
"Itty Bitty Pretty One" - Screamin' Jay Hawkins
"Ghost Blues" - Rory Gallagher

Monday, 22 October 2012

As we are getting near our 50th Featured Artist, it might be a good idea to open it up to your nominations.
Which blues performer, that we haven't already featured, would you have as our 50th Featured Artist?
If you're a regular listener, you know the score. We play all kinds of blues, so don't feel restricted in your choice. Any era. Any style, as long as it's blues.
Get your nominations in via this blog site, email kev.walker@thisisthecat.com, jen.vc@thisisthecat.com or visit our facebook page.

Today's Playlist

Lazy Poker Blues - Status Quo
The Sky Is Falling Down - Walter Trout
Get It Right - King Biscuit Boy
Prayer Changes Things - Mahalia Jackson
Whiskey and Wimmen - Hooker 'N' Heat
I'm A King Bee - Slim Harpo
Feather Bed - Cannon's Jug Stompers
Midnight In Memphis - J.J. Cale
Diddie Wah Diddie - Blind Blake
Wrapped Up in The Blues - Walter Trout
Minnie The Moocher - The Blues Brothers (feat Cab Calloway)
Highway Blues - Savoy Brown
Playing With A Losin' Hand - Walter Trout
Crazy Blues - Mamie Smith
Never Leave Me At Home - Frank Frost
She's Gone With The Wind - Wynonie Harris
I'd Rather Go Blind - Chicken Shack
Stalkin' - Stringbean and the Stalkers
The Sheik Waltz - Mississippi Sheiks
See That My Grave Is Kept Clean - Blind Lemon Jefferson
I Can't Be Satisfied - Big Bill Broonzy
Deeper Shade Of Blue - Walter Trout
Feel My Love Come Down - Cee Cee James

Featured Artist - Walter Trout

Walter Trout

(born March 6, 1951, Ocean City, New Jersey, United States)

Blues-rocker Walter Trout spent decades as an ace sideman, playing guitar behind the likes of John Lee Hooker, Big Mama Thornton and Joe Tex. In 1981, he was also tapped to replace the late Bob Hite in Canned Heat, remaining with the venerable group through the middle of the decade.
While filling in one night for an ailing John Mayall, Trout (also a Bluesbreaker for some five years) was spotted by a Danish concert promoter who agreed to finance a solo tour. Assembling his own backing band, in 1990 he released his debut LP, “Life In The Jungle”, trailed a year later by “Prisoner Of A Dream”
As a front man the six-string virtuoso developed a conflagrant approach to his instrument and a reputation for tornado-strength live shows that led famed BBC disc jockey Bob Harris to call him "the world's greatest rock guitarist" in his influential book 'The Whispering Years'.
Albums including 1992's “Live (No More Fish Jokes)”, 1994's “Tellin' Stories”, and 1997's “Positively Beale Street” followed. Trout continued a steady release schedule, issuing “Livin' Every Day” in 1999, a live album the following year (recorded at the Tampa Bay Blues Fest), the 2001 studio album “Go The Distance”, 2003's “Relentless” -- which Trout and his band, The Radicals, recorded in front of a live audience -- and 2005's “Deep Trout”, a compilation of early and unreleased recordings.
On the 2006 release “Full Circle”, Trout realized his dream of creating an album with some of his most admired musicians, including John Mayall, Coco Montoya, and Joe Bonamassa, among others.
Talking about his latest release “Blues for the Modern Daze” Trout says "My main inspiration for this album was the country bluesman Blind Willie Johnson".
Johnson was an early blues innovator who recorded such timeless gospel informed blues numbers as 'Soul of a Man' and 'Nobody's Fault But Mine'. "His music is so beautiful, primal, direct and deeply spiritual that I wanted to feel it at my back when we were cutting these songs”.

Monday, 15 October 2012

This week's playlist

"Something Inside Of Me" - Fleetwood Mac
"Bumble Bee Blues" - Memphis Minnie
"Bullfrog Blues" - John Dummer Band
"Baby What You Want Me To Do" - Etta James
"Ain't Nothin' In Ramblin" - Bonnie Raitt
"All Through The City" - Dr. Feelgood
"Greenville Strut" - Mississippi Sarah and Daddy Stovepipe
"No Money Down" - Chuck Berry
"Who Do You Love" - The Super Super Blues Band
"Doctor Doctor Blues" - Memphis Minnie
"Boom Boom (Out Go The Lights)" - Little Walter
"Steamroller Blues" - The Reclamators
"Georgia Skin" - Memphis Minnie
"Me And My Chauffeur Blues" - Maria Muldaur, Roy Rogers and Roly Sally
"Big Time Mama" - 'Champion' Jack Dupree
"Catfish" - Billy Boy Arnold and Tony McPhee
"Guilty Of The Blues" - The Outliers
"When You Love Me" - Rory Block
"Choo Choo Boogie" - Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown
 "Keep Your Big Mouth Closed" - Ruthie Foster
"Cold Shot" - Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble
"Moaning The Blues" - Memphis Minnie
"Let The Spirit" - International Blues Family

Featured Artist: Memphis Minnie

Memphis Minnie (June 3, 1897 – August 6, 1973)
Born Lizzie Douglas in Algiers, Louisiana, Minnie was one of the most influential and pioneering blues musicians and guitarists of all time. She recorded for forty years, almost unheard of for any woman in show business at the time and not so common in any blues artist. A flamboyant character who wore bracelets made of silver dollars, she was a very popular blues recording artist from the early Depression years through World War II. One of the first generation of blues artists to take up the electric guitar, in 1942, she combined her Louisiana-country roots with Memphis blues to produce her own unique country-blues sound; along with Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red she took country blues into electric urban blues, paving the way for Muddy Water, Bo Diddley, Little Walter and Jimmy Rogers to travel from the small towns of the south to the big cities of the north.
According to some reports she was married three times, each time to an accomplished blues guitarist: Kansas Joe McCoy later of the Harlem Hamfats, possibly Casey Bill Weldon (though there is little if any evidence for this), and Ernest “Little Son Joe” Lawlers.
After learning to play guitar and banjo as a child, she ran away from home at the age of thirteen. She travelled to Memphis, Tennessee, playing guitar in nightclubs and on the street as Lizzie "Kid" Douglas.
The next year, she joined the Ringling Brothers circus. Her marriage and recording d├ębut came in 1929, to and with Kansas Joe McCoy, when a Columbia Records talent scout heard them playing in a Beale Street barbershop in their distinctive 'Memphis style,' and their song "Bumble Bee" became a hit.
In the 1930s she moved to Chicago, Illinois with McCoy. She and McCoy broke up in 1935, and by 1939 she was with Little Son Joe Lawlers. In the 1940s she formed a touring vaudeville company. Some of her most potent and enduring work was made in the early 1940s, such as "Nothing in Rambling," "In My Girlish Days," "Looking The World Over" and "Me and My Chauffeur Blues"
After her health began to fail in the mid 1950s, Minnie returned to Memphis and retired from performing and recording. She spent her twilight years in a nursing home in Memphis where she died of a stroke in 1973.
She is buried at the New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Walls, DeSoto County, Mississippi. A headstone paid for by Bonnie Raitt was erected by the Mt. Zion Memorial Fund on 13 October 1996 with 35 family members in attendance including her sister, numerous nieces and nephews.
Her headstone is marked:
Lizzie "Kid" Douglas Lawlers
aka Memphis Minnie
The inscription on the back of her gravestone reads:
"The hundreds of sides Minnie recorded are the perfect material to teach us about the blues. For the blues are at once general, and particular, speaking for millions, but in a highly singular, individual voice. Listening to Minnie's songs we hear her fantasies, her dreams, her desires, but we will hear them as if they were our own

Monday, 8 October 2012

This week's playlist

"Blues Is My Business" - No Refunds Band
"Nine Below Zero" - Nine Below Zero
"Shake Rattle And Roll" - Big Daddy O
"Trick Bag" - Johnny Winter
"Storm Warning" - Michael 'Iron Man' Burks
"Sweet Potato Blues" - King David's Jug Band
"Is It Love" - Norton Buffalo and The Knockouts
"Mama Talk To Your Daughter" - Nine Below Zero
"Black Rat Swing" - Koko Taylor
"Feed The Hand" - The McCarthys
"Pack Fair And Square" - Nine Below Zero
"Whiskey River Blues" - Shameless Rob Band
"Drink And Play The Blues" - Woody and The Woodtones
"Blues Make Me Feel So Good" - Albert Cummings
"Hard Going Up (Twice As Hard Coming Down)" - Nine Below Zero
"Early Roman Kings" - Bob Dylan

Featured Artist: Nine Below Zero

Nine Below Zero started life in South London during 1977, in the midst of the punk rock boom in England -- but their sound and inspiration were so totally contradictory to what was going on in punk rock that they scarcely seemed to be part of that movement, apart from their extremely energetic attack on their instruments. Rather than noise for its own sake or auto-destruction, their inspiration lay in classic Chicago blues. Dennis Greaves (lead vocals, guitar), Peter Clark (bass), and Kenny Bradley (drums) -- soon joined by Mark Feltham on vocals and harmonica -- were schoolmates and friends who shared a love of blues.
Originally billed as Stan's Blues Band, they made a name for themselves locally in South London, sounding a lot like The Who from their "maximum R&B" days and The Kinks from their early days, and arrived as younger rivals to Dr. Feelgood. A couple of years later, they acquired a manager and a new name, taken from a song by Sonny Boy Williamson II, and cut a debut record on their own label.
By 1980, they'd been signed to A&M Records' British division and took the bold step of making their major-label debut a live album from the Marquee Club in London -- to judge from the results, one heartily wished that some of the earlier bands that inspired them had displayed similar daring. “Live At The Marquee”, recorded on June 16, 1980 -- by which time Stix Burkey had replaced Bradley on the drums -- was a success. By the end of that year they were one of the most popular club attractions in London, pulling in audiences from other genres, attracted by their high-energy fast tempo sound. They headlined at the Hammersmith Odeon and featured respected bluesman Alexis Korner, a long-time champion of new electric blues talent.
The band performed "11+11" on the first episode ("Demolition") of the BBC Television comedy series, The Young Ones.
Their second album,“Don't Point Your Finger” climbed to number 56 on the UK Album Chart.
Their third album, Third Degree, contained "11+11" written by Greaves and Modern, however the album was poorly received causing the band to argue, and they split soon after.
In 1990 Modern persuaded Feltham and Greaves to reunite for a tenth anniversary gig. Modern also persuaded Arnold who now worked at Harvey Goldsmith Ents to promote the band at the Town and Country Club, which they did to a sell-out success. Suitably encouraged, they decided to stay together, with Gerry McAvoy and Brendan O'Neill (ex-Rory Gallagher's band) added on bass and drums.
The band have continued to tour and record, still popular in part, due to having developed a cult following.
In 2007, Nine Below Zero performed two acoustic concerts, producing the DVD Bring It On Home, including a live CD. Legendary blues guitarist Gary Moore joined the band on stage to promote the DVD.
In 2009, the band started working towards a show to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the release of their debut album, Live At the Marquee.
A chance meeting with Glen Tilbrook from Squeeze resulted in an offer to record a new album that Greaves and Feltham had been writing all year. The offer was gladly accepted and the band went into 45 RPM studios in London to record the highly acclaimed and self-penned “It's Never Too Late” - their first collection of new songs since Refrigerator.
The end of 2011 saw Gerry McAvoy play his last show for Nine Below Zero and pursue a new solo career.
2012 saw the return of Brian Bethell who played on Third Degree and who was a natural replacement. The new line up started performing in January with shows in Germany, Switzerland and Austria, as the band entered their 35th year