Monday, 30 December 2013

This week's playlist

Joe Louis Walker - "Hellfire"
Kevin Breit - "Field Recording"
Jack Derwin - "Bone House Blues"
The Mustangs - "The Line"
CC Bronson - "Thank You"
Carolina Chocolate Drops - "Trouble In Your Mind"
Michael Jerome Brown - "Doin' My Time"
Eric Bibb - "Booker's Guitar
Isaiah B. Brunt - "Just A Beautiful Thing"
Aynsley Lister - "Sugar"
The Paul Rose Band - "Rollin' And Tumblin'"
Todd Wolfe - "It's All Over Now"
RB Stone - "Loosen Up"
Dr. Feelgood - "Because You're Mine"
Sean Pinchin - "High Heel Shoes"
Anni Piper - "Jailbait"

Monday, 23 December 2013

This week's playlist

Elvin Bishop - "Little Drummer Boy"
The Nic Nacs with Mickey Champion - "Gonna Have A Merry Xmas"
Sterling Koch - "Merry Christmas Baby"
Blind Lemon Jefferson - "Christmas Eve Blues"
Cecil Gant - "Hello Santa Claus"
Shemekia Copeland - "Stay A Little Longer Santa"
C.J. Chenier - "Zydeco Christmas"
The Christmas Jug Band - "Christmas Iz Coming"
Saffire - The Uppity Blues Women - "Really Been Good This Year"
Leroy Carr - "Christmas In Jail"
Frankie 'Sugar Chile' Robinson "Christmas Boogie"
Gary U.S. Bonds - "It's Christmas In Nu Awlins"
Hilda Lamas - "Christmas Won't Be Christmas"
Otis Reading - "Merry Christmas Baby"
Larry Sparks - "Christmas Time's A-Comin'"
The Ravens - "White Christmas"
Marcia Ball - "Christmas Fais Do Do"
Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials - "I'm Your Santa"
The Fabulous Thunderbirds - "Merry Christmas Darling"
Bo Carter - "Santa Claus"
Southside Johnny - "Please Come Home For Christmas"
Titus Turner with The  Danny Kessler Orchestra - "Christmas Morning"

Monday, 16 December 2013

This week's playlist

Paul Lamb - "Hootin' And Screamin'"
Elmore James - "Cry For Me Baby"
Jimmy Butler - "Trim Your Tree"
Jason Daniels - "Early In The Morning"
Lloyd Glen - "(Christmas) Sleigh Ride"
John Pippus - "House Of Cards"
Kim Trusty - "Comfort And Joy"
The Carolina Chocolate Drops - "Trouble In Your Mind"
Dan Sowerby - "Messin' Round"
Sandy Carroll - "Leave It Alone"
Elmore James - "Elmore's Contribution To Jazz"
Black Ace - "Christmas Time (Beggin' Santa Claus)"
Trampled Under Foot - "You Never Really Loved Me"
Elmore James - "Take Me Where You Go"
Charles Brown and Johnny Otis - "Christmas Comes But Once A Year"
John Lee Hooker - "Wheel And Deal"
Lawrence Lebo - "(I'm Your) Christmas Present"
Will Wilde - "Numb"
John Hammond - "Get Behind The Mule"
The Rides - "Only Teardrops Fall"
Duffy's Nucleus - "Hound Dog"
Elmore James - "One Way Out"
J.B. Summers with Doc Bagby's Orchestra - "I Want A Present For Christmas"

Featured Artist: Elmore James

Elmore James
(January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963)
The most influential slide guitarist of the postwar period was Elmore James, hands down. Although his early demise from heart failure kept him from enjoying the fruits of the '60s blues revival as his contemporaries Muddy waters and Howlin' Wolf did, James left a wide influential trail behind him. And that influence continues to the present time -- in approach, attitude and tone -- in just about every guitar player who puts a slide on his finger and wails the blues. As a guitarist, he wrote the book, his slide style influencing the likes of Hound Dog Taylor, Joe Carter, his cousin Homesick James and J.B. Hutto, while his seldom-heard single-string work had an equally profound effect on B.B. King and Chuck Berry. His signature lick -- an electric updating of Robert Johnson's "I Believe I'll Dust My Broom" and one that Elmore recorded in infinite variations from day one to his last session -- is so much a part of the essential blues fabric of guitar licks that no one attempting to play slide guitar can do it without being compared to Elmore James. Others may have had more technique – Robert Nighthawk and Earl Hooker immediately come to mind -- but Elmore had the sound and all the feeling.
A radio repairman by trade, Elmore reworked his guitar amplifiers in his spare time, getting them to produce raw, distorted sounds that wouldn't resurface until the advent of heavy rock amplification in the late '60s. This amp-on-11-approach was hot-wired to one of the strongest emotional approaches to the blues ever recorded. There is never a time when you're listening to one of his records that you feel -- no matter how familiar the structure -- that he's phoning it in just to grab a quick session check. Elmore James always gave it everything he had, everything he could emotionally invest in a number. This commitment of spirit is something that shows up time and again when listening to multiple takes from his session masters. The sheer repetitiveness of the recording process would dim almost anyone's creative fires, but Elmore always seemed to give it 100 percent every time the red light went on. Few blues singers had a voice that could compete with James'; it was loud, forceful, prone to "catch" or break up in the high registers, almost sounding on the verge of hysteria at certain moments. Evidently the times back in the mid-'30s when Elmore had first-hand absorption of Robert Johnson as a playing companion had a deep influence on him, not only in his choice of material, but also in his presentation of it.
Backing the twin torrents of Elmore's guitar and voice was one of the greatest -- and earliest -- Chicago blues bands. Named after James' big hit, The Broomdusters featured Little Johnny Jones on piano, J.T. Brown on tenor sax and Elmore's cousin, Homesick James on rhythm guitar. This talented nucleus was often augmented by a second saxophone on occasion while the drumming stool changed frequently. But this was the band that could go toe to toe in a battle of the blues against the bands of Muddy Waters or Howlin' Wolf and always hold their own, if not walk with the show. Utilizing a stomping beat, Elmore's slashing guitar, Jones' two-fisted piano delivery, Homesick's rudimentary boogie bass rhythm and Brown's braying nanny-goat sax leads, The Broomdusters were as loud and powerful and popular as any blues band the Windy City had to offer.
But as urban as their sound was, it all had roots in Elmore's hometown of Canton, MS. He was born there on January 27, 1918, the illegitimate son of Leola Brooks and later given the surname of his stepfather, Joe Willie James. He adapted to music at an early age, learning to play bottleneck on a homemade instrument fashioned out of a broom handle and a lard can. By the age of 14, he was already a weekend musician, working the various country suppers and juke joints in the area under the names "Cleanhead" or Joe' Willie James." Although he confined himself to a home base area around Belzoni, he would join up and work with traveling players coming through like Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and Sonny Boy Williamson. By the late '30s he had formed his first band and was working the Southern state area with Sonny Boy until the second world war broke out, spending three years stationed with the Navy in Guam. When he was discharged, he picked off where he left off, moving for a while to Memphis, working in clubs with Eddie Taylor and his cousin Homesick James. Elmore was also one of the first "guest stars" on the popular King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA in Helena, AL, also doing stints on the Talaho Syrup show on Yazoo City's WAZF and the Hadacol show on KWEM in West Memphis.
Nervous and unsure of his abilities as a recording artist, Elmore was surreptitiously recorded by Lillian McMurray of Trumpet Records at the tail end of a Sonny Boy session doing his now-signature tune, "Dust My Broom." Legend has it that James didn't even stay around long enough to hear the playback, much less record a second side. McMurray stuck a local singer (BoBo 'Slim' Thomas) on the flip side and the record became the surprise R&B hit of 1951, making the Top Ten and conversely making a recording star out of Elmore. With a few months left on his Trumpet contract, Elmore was recorded by the Bihari Brothers for their Modern label subsidiaries, Flair and Meteor, but the results were left in the can until James' contract ran out. In the meantime, Elmore had moved to Chicago and cut a quick session for Chess, which resulted in one single being issued and just as quickly yanked off the market as The Bihari Brothers swooped in to protect their investment. This period of activity found Elmore assembling the nucleus of his great band The Broomdusters and several fine recordings were issued over the next few years on a plethora of the Bihari Brothers'owned labels with several of them charting and most all of them becoming certified blues classics.
By this time James had established a beach-head in the clubs of Chicago as one of the most popular live acts and regularly broadcasting over WPOA under the aegis of disc jockey Big Bill Hill. In 1957, with his contract with the Bihari Brothersat an end, he recorded several successful sides for Mel London's Chief label, all of them later being issued on the larger Vee-Jay label. His health -- always in a fragile state due to a recurring heart condition -- would send him back home to Jackson, MS, where he temporarily set aside his playing for work as a disc jockey or radio repair man. He came back to Chicago to record a session for Chess, then just as quickly broke contract to sign with Bobby Robinson's Fire label, producing the classic "The Sky Is Crying" and numerous others. Running afoul with the Chicago musician's union, he returned back to Mississippi, doing sessions in New York and New Orleans waiting for Big Bill Hill to sort things out. In May of 1963, Elmore returned to Chicago, ready to resume his on-again off-again playing career -- his records were still being regularly issued and reissued on a variety of labels -- when he suffered his final heart attack. His wake was attended by over 400 blues luminaries before his body was shipped back to Mississippi. He was elected to the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame in 1980 and was later elected to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame as a seminal influence. Elmore James may not have lived to reap the rewards of the blues revival, but his music and influence continues to resonate.

Monday, 9 December 2013

This week's playlist

Big Daddy O - "Heavenly Joy"
Big Bill Broonzy - "Out With The Wrong Woman"
Marshall Brothers - "Mr. Santa's Boogie"
Felix Gross - "Love For Christmas"
Anders Osborne - "On The Road To Charlie Parker"
Funkyjenn - "Just Me And The Mistletoe"
The Allman Brothers Band - "Desert Blues"
Washboard Pete - "Christmas Blues"
Fiona Boyes - "City Born Country Girl"
Frank Bey & The Anthony Paule Band - "Don't Mess With The Monkey"
Big Bill Broonzy - "She Caught The Train"
Lionel Hampton Orchestra with Sonny Parker - "Boogie Woogie Santa Claus"
Mud Dog - "Testify"
Big Bill Broonzy - "Stuff They Call Money"
Isaiah B. Brunt - "Pathway Home"
Guy Davies - "Lost Again"
Samantha Fish - "Kick Around"
Johnny Rawls - "Eight Men. Four Women"
Moreland and Arbuckle - "Red Bricks"
Larry Darnell - "Christmas Blues"
Shawn Holt and The Teardrops - "Daddy Told Me"
Big Bill Broonzy - "Make My Getaway"
Bertha 'Chippie' Hill - "Christmas Man Blues"

Featured Artist: Big Bill Broonzy

Big Bill Broonzy
(June 26, 1893 – August 15, 1958) 

Big Bill Broonzy was born William Lee Conley Broonzy in the tiny town of Scott, Mississippi, just across the river from Arkansas. During his childhood, Broonzy's family -- itinerant sharecroppers and the descendants of ex-slaves -- moved to Pine Bluff to work the fields there. Broonzy learned to play a cigar box fiddle from his uncle, and as a teenager, he played violin in local churches, at community dances, and in a country string band. During World War I, Broonzy enlisted in the U.S. Army, and in 1920 he moved to Chicago and worked in the factories for several years. In 1924 he met Papa Charlie Jackson, a New Orleans native and pioneer blues recording artist for Paramount. Jackson took Broonzy under his wing, taught him guitar, and used him as an accompanist. Broonzy's entire first session at Paramount in 1926 was rejected, but he returned in November 1927 and succeeded in getting his first record, “House Rent Stomp”, onto Paramount wax. As one of his early records came out with the garbled moniker of Big Bill Broomsle, he decided to shorten his recording name to Big Bill, and this served as his handle on records until after the second World War. Among aliases used for Big Bill on his early releases were Big Bill Johnson, Sammy Sampson and Slim Hunter.
Broonzy's earliest records do not demonstrate real promise, but this would soon change. In 1930, The Hokum Boys broke up, and Georgia Tom Dorsey decided to keep the act going by bringing in Big Bill and guitarist Frank Brasswell to replace Tampa Red, billing themselves as "the Famous Hokum Boys." With Georgia Tom and Braswell, Broonzy hit his stride and penned his first great blues original, "I Can't Be Satisfied." This was a hit and helped make his name with record companies. Although only half-a-dozen blues artists made any records during 1932, the worst year in the history of the record business, one of them was Big Bill, who made 20 issued sides that year.
Through Georgia Tom and Tampa Red, Big Bill met Memphis Minnie and toured as her second guitarist in the early '30s, but apparently did not record with her. When he did resume recording in March 1934 it was for Bluebird's newly established Chicago studio under the direction of Lester Melrose. Melrose liked Broonzy's style, and before long, Big Bill would begin working as Melrose's unofficial second-in-command, auditioning artists, matching numbers to performers, booking sessions, and providing backup support to other musicians. He played on literally hundreds of records for Bluebird in the late '30s and into the '40s, including those made by his half-brother, Washboard Sam, Pete Chatman (aka Memphis Slim), John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson, and others. With Melrose, Broonzy helped develop the "Bluebird beat," connoting a type of popular blues record that incorporated trap drums and upright string bass. This was the precursor of the "Maxwell Street sound" or "postwar Chicago blues," and helped to redefine the music in a format that would prove popular in the cities. Ironically, while Broonzy was doing all this work for Melrose at Bluebird, his own recordings as singer were primarily made for ARC, and later Columbia's subsidiary Okeh. This was his greatest period, and during this time Broonzy wrote and recorded such songs as "Key to the Highway," "W.P.A. Blues," "All by Myself," and "Unemployment Stomp." For other artists, Broonzy wrote songs such as "Diggin' My Potatoes." All told, Big Bill Broonzy had a hand in creating more than 100 original songs.
When promoter John Hammond sought a traditional blues singer to perform at one of his Spirituals to Swing concerts held at Carnegie Hall in New York City, he was looking for Robert Johnson to foot the bill. Hammond learned that Johnson had recently died, and as a result, Big Bill got the nod to appear at Carnegie Hall on February 5, 1939. This appearance was very well received, and earned Broonzy a role in George Seldes' 1939 film Swingin' the Dream alongside Louis Armstrong and Benny Goodman. In the early '40s, Big Bill appeared at the Café Society, the Village Vanguard, and the Apollo Theater, in addition to touring with Lil Greenwood, all of which kept Big Bill busy during the AFM recording ban. By the mid- to late '40s, the operation in Chicago with Melrose had finally begun to wind down, just as electric blues started to heat up. Big Bill continued to record for labels ranging from majors Columbia and Mercury to fly-by-nights such as Hub and RPM. In 1949, Broonzy decided to take some time off from music, and got a job working as a janitor at the Iowa State University of Science & Technology in Ames.
In 1951 Broonzy was sought out by DJ and writer Studs Terkel and appeared in the latter's concert series I Come for to Sing. Suddenly, Broonzy started to get a lot of press attention, and by September of that year, he was in Paris recording for French Vogue. On this occasion Broonzy was finally able to wax his tune "Black, Brown and White," a song about race relations that had been in his book for years, but every record company he had ever sung it for had turned it down. In Europe, Broonzy proved incredibly popular, more so than at any time in the United States. Two separate documentary films were made on his life, in France and Belgium, respectively, and from 1951 until ill health finally put him out of the running in the fall of 1957, Broonzy nearly doubled his own 1927-1949 output in terms of new recordings.
Broonzy updated his act by adding traditional folk songs to his set, along the lines of what Josh White and Leadbelly had done in then-recent times. He took a tremendous amount of flak for doing so, as blues purists condemned Broonzy for turning his back on traditional blues style in order to concoct shows that were appealing to white tastes. But this misses the point of his whole life's work: Broonzy was always about popularizing blues, and he was the main pioneer in the entrepreneurial spirit as it applies to the field. His songwriting, producing, and work as a go-between with Lester Melrose is exactly the sort of thing that Willie Dixon would do with Chess in the '50s. This was the part of his career that Broonzy himself valued most highly, and his latter-day fame and popularity were a just reward for a life spent working so hard on behalf of his given discipline and fellow musicians. It would be a short reward, though; just about the time the autobiography he had written with Yannick Bruynoghe, Big Bill Blues, appeared in 1955, he learned he had throat cancer. Big Bill Broonzy died at age 65 in August, 1958, and left a recorded legacy which, in sheer size and depth, well exceeds that of any blues artist born on his side of the year 1900.

Monday, 2 December 2013

This week's playlist

Leadbelly - "Good Morning Blues"
Magic Sam - "Call Me If You Need Me"
Del McCoury Band - "Brakeman's Blues"
Davis Coen - "One Arm At A Time"
The Mills Brothers - "Goodbye Blues"
Townes Van Zandt - "Diamond Heel Blues"
Taj Mahal - "Fishing Blues"
Mississippi Sarah and Daddy Stovepipe - "Greenville Strut"
Bessie Smith - "At The Christmas Ball"
Lou Reid and Carolina - "Kentucky Blues"
Magic Sam - "Everything Gonna Be Alright"
Nick Curran and The Nitelifes - "Beautiful Girl"
The Outliers - "Guilty Of The Blues"
Magic Sam - "21 Days In Jail"
Littler Jimmy King and The Memphis Horns - "Happy Christmas Tears"
Soulstack - "This May Be The Last Time" (live)
Little Esther with Johnny Otis - "Far Away Christmas Blues"
Mike McGuire - "Leaving New Orleans"
Nine Below Zero - "Hard Goin' Up (Twice As Hard Comin' Down)"
Big Maceo - "Winter Time Blues"
Jimmy Rogers - "Money, Marbles And Chalk"
Nappy Brown - "You Were A Long Time Coming"
Magic Sam - "My Love Is Your Love"
Pete 'Snakey Jake' Johnson - "Strange Fruit"

Featured Artist: Magic Sam

Samuel "Magic Sam" Gene Maghett
(February 14, 1937 – December 1, 1969) 

No blues guitarist better represented the adventurous modern sound of Chicago's West side more proudly than Sam Maghett. He died tragically young (at age 32 of a heart attack), just as he was on the brink of climbing the ladder to legitimate stardom, but Magic Sam left behind a thick legacy of bone-cutting blues that remains eminently influential around his old stomping grounds to this day.
Maghett (one of his childhood pals was towering guitarist Morris Holt, who received his Magic Slim handle from Sam) was born in the Mississippi Delta. In 1950, he arrived in Chicago, picking up a few blues guitar pointers from his new neighbor, Syl Johnson (whose brother, Mack Thompson, served as Sam's loyal bassist for much of his professional career). Harpist Shakey Jake Harris, sometimes referred to as the guitarist's uncle, encouraged Sam's blues progress and gigged with him later on, when both were Westside institutions.
Sam's tremolo-rich staccato fingerpicking was an entirely fresh phenomenon when he premiered it on Eli Toscano's Cobra label in 1957. Prior to his Cobra date, the guitarist had been gigging as Good Rocking Sam, but Toscano wanted to change his nickname to something old-timey like Sad Sam or Singing Sam. No dice, said the newly christened Magic Sam (apparently Mack Thompson's brainstorm). His Cobra debut single, "All Your Love," was an immediate local sensation; its unusual structure would be recycled time and again by Sam throughout his tragically truncated career. Sam's Cobra encores "Everything Gonna Be Alright" and "Easy Baby" borrowed much the same melody but were no less powerful; the emerging Westside sound was now officially committed to vinyl. Not everything Sam cut utilized the tune; "21 Days in Jail" was a pseudo-rockabilly smoker with hellacious lead guitar from Sam and thundering slap bass from the ubiquitous Willie Dixon. Sam also backed Shakey Jake Harris on his lone 45 for Cobra's Artistic subsidiary, "Call Me If You Need Me."
After Cobra folded, Sam didn't follow labelmates Otis Rush and Magic Slim over to Chess. Instead, after enduring an unpleasant Army experience that apparently landed him in jail for desertion, Sam opted to go with Mel London's Chief logo in 1960. His raw-boned Westside adaptation of Fats Domino's mournful "Every Night About This Time" was the unalloyed highlight of his stay at Chief; some other Chief offerings were less compelling.
Gigs on the Westside remained plentiful for the charismatic guitarist, but recording opportunities proved sparse until 1966, when Sam made a 45 for Crash Records. "Out of Bad Luck" brought back that trademark melody again, but it remained as shattering as ever. Another notable 1966 side, the plaintive "That's Why I'm Crying," wound up on Delmark's Sweet Home Chicago anthology, along with Sam's stunning clippity-clop boogie instrumental "Riding High" (aided by the muscular tenor sax of Eddie Shaw).
Delmark Records was the conduit for Magic Sam's two seminal albums, 1967's “West Side Soul” and the following year's “Black Magic”. Both LPs showcased the entire breadth of Sam's Westside attack: the first ranged from the soul-laced "That's All I Need" and a searing "I Feel So Good" to the blistering instrumental "Lookin' Good" and definitive remakes of "Mama Talk to Your Daughter" and "Sweet Home Chicago," while “Black Magic” benefitted from Shaw's jabbing, raspy sax as Sam blasted through the funky "You Belong to Me," an impassioned "What Have I Done Wrong," and a personalized treatment of Freddy King's "San-Ho-Zay."
Sam's reputation was growing exponentially. He wowed an overflow throng at the 1969 Ann Arbor Blues Festival, and Stax was reportedly primed to sign him when his Delmark commitment was over. However, heart problems were fast taking their toll on Sam's health. On the first morning of December of 1969, he complained of heartburn, collapsed, and died.
Even now, more than a quarter-century after his passing, Magic Sam remains the king of Westside blues. That's unlikely to change as long as the subgenre is alive and kicking.

Monday, 25 November 2013

This week's playlist

Walter Trout - "Blues For The Modern Daze"
Frank Frost - "My Back Scratcher"
Geno Washington - "Dust My Broom"
John Earl walker - "Earl's Boogie"
BUCK69 - "Hard Times"
J. Edwards - "Eatin' At Lulu's"
The Jake Leg Jug Band - "Alabama Blues"
Chris Grimes - "Broke And Hungry"
Eliza Neals - "ESP"
Billy 'The Kid' Emmerson - "When It Rains, It Really Pours"
58 Deluxe - "Evil"
Narvel Felts - "My Babe"
JP Blues - "Make Room At The Table"
JP Blues - "Keep On Walkin"
Spin Doctors - "Ben's Looking Out The Window Blues"
Zydeco Party Band - "Earthquake And Hurricane"
Bill Wyman's Rhythm Kings - "Rollin' And Stumblin'"
Ray Manzarek and Roy Rogers - "Fives And Ones"
Sonny Burgess - "Red Headed Woman"
The Sean Chambers Band - "Choo Choo Mama"

Featured Artist: Sun Records

Sun Records
Sun Records is a record label founded in Memphis, Tennessee, starting operations on March 27, 1952.
Founded by Sam Phillips, Sun Records was known for giving notable musicians such as Elvis Presley (whose recording contract was sold to RCA Victor Records for $35,000 in 1955 to relieve financial difficulties Phillips' Sun was going through), Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash their first recording contracts and helping to launch their careers. Before those days Sun Records had mainly been noted for recording African-American artists, as Phillips loved Rhythm and Blues and wanted to get black music recorded for a white audience. It was Sun record producer and engineer, Jack Clement, who discovered and recorded Jerry Lee Lewis, while owner Sam Phillips was away on a trip to Florida. The original Sun Records logo was designed by John Gale Parker, Jr., a resident of Memphis and high school classmate of Phillips
Sun was founded with the financial aid of Jim Bulliet, one of many record executives for whom Sam had scouted artists before 1952.
The music of many Sun Records musicians helped lay part of the foundation of late 20th century rock and roll, plus it influenced many younger musicians, particularly The Beatles. In 2001, Paul McCartney appeared on a tribute compilation album titled Good Rockin' Tonight: The Legacy Of Sun Records. The 2010 tribute “Million Dollar Quartet” is based on the famous photograph of Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Jerry Lee Lewis grouped round Elvis Presley at the piano, the night when the four joined in an impromptu jam at Sun Record's one-room sound studio, the “Million Dollar Quartet” of 4 December 1956.
In 1969, Mercury Records label producer Shelby Singleton purchased the Sun label from Phillips. Singleton merged his operations into Sun International Corporation, which re-released and re-packaged compilations of Sun's early artists in the early 1970s. It would later introduce rockabilly tribute singer Jimmy “Orion” Ellis in 1980 as Orion taking on the persona of Elvis Presley.
The company remains in business today as Sun Entertainment Corporation, which currently licenses its brand and classic hit recordings (many of which have appeared in CD boxed sets and other compilations) to independent reissue labels. Sun Entertainment also includes SSS International Records, Plantation Records, Amazon Records, Red Bird Records, Blue Cat Records among other labels the company acquired over the years. Its website sells collectible items as well as compact discs bearing the original 1950s Sun logo.

Monday, 18 November 2013

This week's playlist

John Lee Hooker - "Dimples"
Otis Spann - "My Home In The Delta"
Connie Lush and Blues Shouter - "Feeling Good"
Gary Clark Jr. - "Bright Lights"
Memphis Minnie - "Doctor Doctor Blues"
Bobbie Leecan and his Need More Band - "Washboard Cut Out"
Maria Muldaur with Eric and Suzy Thompson - "In My Girlish Days"
Ike and Tina Turner - "It Sho Ain't Me"
Otis Spann - "The Hard Way"
Bessie Smith - "Down Hearted Blues"
Otis Spann - "Worried Life Blues"
Ry Cooder - "Going To Browsnville"
Rory Block - "Ramblin' On My Mind"
The Rolling Stones - "Little Red Rooster"
Otis Spann - "Country Boy"
Deborah Magone - "It's All About Money"
Deborah Magone - "Queen Bee"

Featured Artist: Otis Spann

Otis Spann
 (March 21, 1930 – April 24, 1970)
An integral member of the nonpareil Muddy Waters band of the 1950s and '60s, pianist Otis Spann took his sweet time in launching a full-fledged solo career. But his own discography is a satisfying one nonetheless, offering ample proof as to why so many aficionados considered him then and now Chicago's leading post-war blues pianist. Spann played on most of Waters' classic Chess waxings between 1953 and 1969, his rippling 88s providing the drive on Waters' seminal 1960 live version of "Got My Mojo Working" (cut at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival, where Spann dazzled the assembled throng with some sensational storming boogies).
The Mississippi native began playing piano by age eight, influenced by local ivories stalwart Friday Ford. At 14, he was playing in bands around Jackson, finding more inspiration in the 78s of Big Maceo, who took the young pianist under his wing once Spann migrated to Chicago in 1946 or 1947.
Spann gigged on his own and with guitarist Morris Pejoe before hooking up with Waters in 1952. His first Chess date behind the Chicago icon the next year produced "Blow Wind Blow." Subsequent Waters classics sporting Spann's ivories include "Hoochie Coochie Man," "I'm Ready," and "Just Make Love to Me."
Strangely, Chess somehow failed to recognize Spann's vocal abilities. His own Chess output was limited to a 1954 single, "It Must Have Been the Devil," that featured B.B. King on guitar, and sessions in 1956 and 1963 that remained in the can for decades. So Spann looked elsewhere, waxing a stunning album for Candid with guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood in 1960, a largely solo outing for Storyville in 1963 that was cut in Copenhagen, a set for British Decca the following year that found him in the company of Waters and Eric Clapton, and a 1964 LP for Prestige where Spann shared vocal duties with bandmate James Cotton. Testament and Vanguard both recorded Spann as a leader in 1965.
“The Blues Is Where It's At”, Spann's enduring 1966 album for ABC-Bluesway, sounded like a live recording but was actually a studio date enlivened by a gaggle of enthusiastic onlookers who applauded every song (Waters, guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, and George 'Harmonica' Smith were among the support crew on the date). A Bluesway encore, The Bottom Of The Blues, followed in 1967 and featured Otis' wife, Lucille Spann, helping out on vocals.
Spann's last few years with Muddy Waters were memorable for their collaboration on the Chess set Fathers and Sons, but the pianist was clearly ready to launch a solo career, recording a set for Blue Horizon with British blues-rockers Fleetwood Mac that produced Spann's laid-back "Hungry Country Girl." He finally turned the piano chair in the Waters band over to Pinetop Perkins in 1969, but fate didn't grant Spann long to achieve solo stardom. He was stricken with cancer and died in April of 1970.

Monday, 11 November 2013

This week's playlist

Hobart Smith - "Soldier, Soldier"
T-Bone Walker - "Play On Little Girl"
Sean Pinchin - "Broke Down Automobile"
Sean Pinchin - "High Heel Shoes"
Steve Martin - "Daddy Played The Banjo"
Jimmie Rodgers and The Louisville Jug Band - "My Good Gal's Gone Blues"
Bo Diddley - "Mona (I Need You Baby)"
T-Bone Walker - "Strollin' With Bones"
John Oates Band - "Deep River"
Walter Trout - "Deeper Side Of Blue"
T-Bone Walker - "I'm Still In Love With You"
Roomful Of Blues - "Dressed Up To Get Messed Up"
Skip James - "Devil Got My Woman"
Vargas Blues Band - "Rolling In Trance"
Jack Derwin - "Bone House Blues"
Bob Cheever - "North Of Baton Rouge"
Camille! - "Desperate"
Rattlin Bone - "Rain On My Footsteps"
The Some X 6 Band - "Curveball"
T-Bone Walker - "Get These Blues Off Me"
The Mustangs - "Didn't I Say"

Featured Artist: T-Bone Walker

T-Bone Walker
(May 28, 1910 – March 16, 1975)

Modern electric blues guitar can be traced directly back to this Texas-born pioneer, who began amplifying his sumptuous lead lines for public consumption circa 1940 and thus initiated a revolution so total that its tremors are still being felt today.
Few major postwar blues guitarists come to mind that don't owe T-Bone Walker an unpayable debt of gratitude. B.B. King has long cited him as a primary influence, marveling at Walker's penchant for holding the body of his guitar outward while he played it. Gatemouth Brown, Pee Wee Crayton, Goree Carter, Pete Mayes, and a wealth of other prominent Texas-bred axemen came stylistically right out of Walker during the late '40s and early '50s. Walker's nephew, guitarist R.S. Rankin, went so far as to bill himself as T-Bone Walker, Jr. for a 1962 single on Dot, "Midnight Bells Are Ringing" (with his uncle's complete blessing, of course; the two had worked up a father-and-son-type act long before that).
Aaron Thibeault Walker was a product of the primordial Dallas blues scene. His stepfather, Marco Washington, stroked the bass fiddle with the Dallas String Band and T-Bone followed his stepdad's example by learning the rudiments of every stringed instrument he could lay his talented hands on. One notable visitor to the band's jam sessions was the legendary Blind Lemon Jefferson. During the early '20s, Walker led the sightless guitarist from bar to bar as the older man played for tips.
In 1929, Walker made his recording debut with a single 78 for Columbia, "Wichita Falls Blues"/"Trinity River Blues," billed as Oak Cliff T-Bone. Pianist Douglas Fernell was his musical partner for the disc. Walker was exposed to some pretty outstanding guitar talent during his formative years; besides Jefferson, Charlie Christian - who would totally transform the role of the guitar in jazz with his electrified riffs much as Walker would with blues, was one of his playing partners circa 1933.
T-Bone Walker split the Southwest for Los Angeles during the mid-'30s, earning his keep with saxophonist Big Jim Wynn's band with his feet rather than his hands as a dancer. Popular bandleader Les Hite hired Walker as his vocalist in 1939. Walker sang "T-Bone Blues"with the Hite aggregation for Varsity Records in 1940, but didn't play guitar on the outing. It was about then, though, that his fascination with electrifying his axe bore fruit; he played L.A. clubs with his daring new toy after assembling his own combo, engaging in acrobatic stage moves -- splits, playing behind his back -- to further enliven his show.
Capitol Records was a fledgling Hollywood concern in 1942, when Walker signed on and cut "Mean Old World" and "I Got a Break Baby" with boogie master Freddie Slack hammering the 88s. This was the first sign of the T-Bone Walker that blues guitar aficionados know and love, his fluid, elegant riffs and mellow, burnished vocals setting a standard that all future blues guitarists would measure themselves by.
Chicago's Rhumboogie Club served as Walker's home away from home during a good portion of the war years. He even cut a few sides for the joint's house label in 1945 under the direction of pianist Marl Young. But after a solitary session that same year for Old Swingmaster that soon made its way on to another newly established logo, Mercury, Walker signed with L.A.-based Black & White Records in 1946 and proceeded to amass a stunning legacy.
The immortal "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just as Bad)" was the product of a 1947 Black & White date with Teddy Buckner on trumpet and invaluable pianist Lloyd Glenn in the backing quintet. Many of Walker's best sides were smoky after-hours blues, though an occasional up-tempo entry -- "T-Bone Jumps Again," a storming instrumental from the same date, for example -- illustrated his nimble dexterity at faster speeds.
Walker recorded prolifically for Black & White until the close of 1947, waxing classics like the often-covered "T-Bone Shuffle" and "West Side Baby," though many of the sides came out on Capitol after the demise of Black & White. In 1950, Walker turned up on Imperial. His first date for the L.A. indie elicited the after-hours gem "Glamour Girl" and perhaps the penultimate jumping instrumental in his repertoire, "Strollin' With Bones" (Snake Sims' drum kit cracks like a whip behind Walker's impeccable licks).
Walker's 1950-54 Imperial stint was studded with more classics: "The Hustle Is On," "Cold Cold Feeling," "Blue Mood," "Vida Lee" (named for his wife), "Party Girl," and, from a 1952 New Orleans jaunt, "Railroad Station Blues," which was produced by Dave Bartholomew. Atlantic was T-Bone Walker's next stop in 1955; his first date for them was an unlikely but successful collaboration with a crew of Chicago mainstays (harpist Junior Wells, guitarist Jimmy Rogers, and bassist Ransom Knowling among them). Rogers found the experience especially useful; he later adapted Walker's "Why Not" as his own Chess hit "Walking by Myself." With a slightly more sympathetic L.A. band in staunch support, Walker cut two follow-up sessions for Atlantic in 1956-57. The latter date produced some amazing instrumentals ("Two Bones and a Pick," "Blues Rock," "Shufflin' the Blues") that saw him dueling it out with his nephew, jazzman Barney Kessel ( Walker emerged victorious in every case).
Unfortunately, the remainder of Walker's discography isn't of the same sterling quality for the most part. As it had with so many of his peers from the postwar R&B era, rock's rise had made Walker's classy style an anachronism (at least during much of the 1960s). He journeyed overseas on the first American Folk Blues Festival in 1962, starring on the Lippmann & Rau -promoted bill across Europe with Memphis Slim, Willie Dixon, and a host of other American luminaries. A 1964 45 for Modern and an obscure LP on Brunswick preceded a pair of BluesWay albums in 1967-68 that restored this seminal pioneer to American record shelves.
European tours often beckoned. A 1968 visit to Paris resulted in one of his best latter-day albums, “I Want A Little Girl”, for Black & Blue (and later issued stateside on Delmark). With expatriate tenor saxophonist Hal 'Cornbread' Singer and Chicago drummer S.P. Leary picking up Walker's jazz-tinged style brilliantly, the guitarist glided through a stellar set list. A 1970 release on Polydor, won a Grammy for the guitarist, though it doesn't rank with his best efforts. A five-song appearance on a 1973 set for Reprise, Very Rare, was also a disappointment. Persistent stomach woes and a 1974 stroke slowed Walker's career to a crawl, and he died in 1975.
No amount of written accolades can fully convey the monumental importance of what T-Bone Walker gave to the blues. He was the idiom's first true lead guitarist, and undeniably one of its very best.

Monday, 4 November 2013

This week's playlist

Cyril Davies & His R&B All Stars - "Country Line Special"
Queen Ida and Her Zydeco Band - "My Girl Josephine"
Fats Domino - "Korea Blues"
Michael Jerome Browne - "Doin' My Time"
Michael Jerome Browne - "At It Again"
Lee Rocker - "Black Cat Bone"
Clarence Williams and His Jug Band - "Chizzlin' Sam"
Eric Bibb - "Goin' Down That Road Feelin' Bad"
Mike McGuire - "Leaving New Orleans"
Queen Ida and Her Zydeco Band - "My Tu Tu"
The Howling Brothers - "Delta Queen"
The Paul Garner Band - "Never Make A Move Too Soon"
Queen Ida and Her Zydeco Band - "Hey Negress"
CC Bronson - "Why I Sing The Blues"
CC Bronson - "Thank You"
Richard Bennett - "Working Man's Blues"
Mike McGuire - "Cumberland River Blues"
Little Walter - "Last Night"
Buster Brown - "Crawling King Snake Blues"
Queen Ida and Her Zydeco Band - "Frisco Zydeco"
Charlie C - "Cat Call"

Featured Artist: Queen Ida

Ida Lewis "Queen Ida" Guillory  
(born January 15, 1929 in Lake Charles, Louisianna)
She was the first female accordion player to lead a zydeco band Queen Ida's music is an eclectic mix of R&B, Caribbean, and Cajun, though the presence of her accordion always keeps it traditional
Born Ida Lee Lewis to a musically talented family in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Queen Ida learned to play accordion from her mother after she spent a few years learning the piano. Her family moved to Beaumont, Texas, when she was ten and eight years later moved to San Francisco, California. Her first language is French, and wherever they went, took their Creole culture and music with them.
Queen Ida and her band played at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1976 and 1988, and the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1975, 1978, and 1991. In 1988, Queen Ida toured Japan, becoming the first zydeco artist to do so. She toured Africa the following year and in 1990 went to Australia and New Zealand.
On the album “Back on the Bayou” (1999), Queen Ida got together on the bayou in Louisiana with her brother, Al Rapone, for a zydeco reunion. Rapone often wrote and produced for her and formed the Bon Temps Zydeco Band, which later became Queen Ida's backup group. Doubling up on accordions with her oldest son Myrick "Freeze" Guillory, they are joined by Terry Buddingh on bass, James Santiago on guitar, Bernard Anderson on saxophone, Erik Nielsen on drums, and her youngest daughter Ledra Guillory and son Ron "The Rock" Guillory on rub board and vocals. As "Queen Ida and the Bon Temps Zydeco Band," the ensemble was the musical guest on Saturday Night Live on November 23, 1985, with Paul Reubens as host.
Queen Ida also co-authored a cookbook, “Cookin' with Queen Ida” in 1990, which featured Creole recipes.
Queen Ida continued to perform live through the 2000s, and though she did not release any albums during this period, she has joined her son Myrick and his band onstage. She officially retired from playing in 2010 and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she enjoys cooking for her friends and family.

Monday, 28 October 2013

This week's playlist

Connie Lush - "Morning Blues"
Keb' Mo' - "Last Fair Deal Gone Down"
Scott Holstein - "Boon County Blues"
T-Bone Walker - "Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)"
Jim Allchin - "Stop And Go"
The Rides - "Can't Get Enough Of Your Love"
Jack Kelly and His South Memphis Jug Band - "Red Ripe Tomatoes"
Bare Bones Boogie Band - "Passion And Pain"
Keb' Mo' - "Keep It Simple"
Sunday Wilde - "Captured Me"
Funkyjenn - "Boom Boom"
Keb' Mo' - "Muddy Water"
Sugaray Rayford - "I'm Dangerous"
Sugaray Rayford - "Two Times Sugar"
David Shelley and Bluestone - "When I Was Your Superman"
International Blues Family - "Cavern Crawl"
Cyril Neville - "You Can Run But You Can't Hide"
Otis Taylor - "Sit Across Your Table"
Keb' Mo' - "Love Blues"
Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown - "Choo Choo Boogie"

Featured Artist: Keb' Mo'

Keb' Mo'
(born Kevin Moore, October 3, 1951)
Guitarist/vocalist Keb' Mo' draws heavily on the old-fashioned country blues style of Robert Johnson while keeping his sound contemporary with touches of soul and folksy storytelling. A skilled frontman as well as an accomplished sideman, he writes much of his own material and has applied his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar skills to jazz- and rock-oriented bands. Born Kevin Moore in Los Angeles to parents of Southern descent, he was exposed to gospel music at a young age. At 21, Moore joined an R&B band that was later hired for a tour by Papa John Creach; as a result, Moore played on three of Creach's albums. Opening for jazz and rock artists such as the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Jeferson Starship and Loggins & Messina helped further broaden Moore's horizons and musical abilities.
Moore cut an R&B-based solo album, Rainmaker, in 1980 for Casablanca, which promptly folded. In 1983, he joined Monk Higgins' band as a guitarist and met a number of blues musicians who collectively increased his understanding of the genre. He subsequently joined a vocal group called The Rose Brothers and gigged around Los Angeles. In 1990 Moore portrayed a Delta bluesman in a local play, Rabbit Foot, and then played Robert Johnson in a docudrama entitled Can't You Hear the Wind Howl? He released his self-titled debut album as Keb' Mo' in 1994, featuring two Robert Johnson covers, 11 songs written or co-written by Moore, and his guitar and banjo work.
His second album, “Just Like You” saw Keb' Mo' stretching his legs by working with a full band and tackling several rock-based songs. The gamble paid off, as “Just Like You” won the artist his first Grammy Award. “Slow Down” followed in 1998 and netted Mo' another Grammy, and “Door” was issued two years later. “Big Wide Grin” followed in 2001, while 2004 saw the release of two albums, “Keep It Simple” and “Peace...Back By Popular Demand”. “Suitcase” was issued in 2006 on Red Ink Records. The self-produced “The Reflection” appeared five years later in 2011; the first release on his own label, Yolabelle International, the album featured guest spots from India.Arie, Vince Gill, Dave Koz, Marcus Miller, Mindi Abair, and David T. Walker.

Monday, 21 October 2013

Featured Artist: Odetta

Odetta Holmes
(December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008)

One of the strongest voices in the folk revival and the civil rights movement, Odetta was born on New Year's Eve 1930 in Birmingham, AL. By the time she was six years old, she had moved with her younger sister and mother to Los Angeles. She showed a keen interest in music from the time she was a child, and when she was about ten years old, somewhere between church and school, her singing voice was discovered.Odetta's mother began saving money to pay for voice lessons for her, but was advised to wait until her daughter was 13 years old and well into puberty. Thanks to her mother, Odetta began voice lessons when she was 13. She received a classical training, which was interrupted when her mother could no longer afford to pay for the lessons. The puppeteer Harry Burnette interceded and paid for Odetta to continue her voice training.
When she was 19 years old, Odetta landed a role in the Los Angeles production of Finian's Rainbow, which was staged in the summer of 1949 at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. It was during the run of this show that she first heard the blues harmonica master Sonny Terry. The following summer, Odetta was again performing in summer stock in California. This time it was a production of Guys and Dolls, staged in San Francisco. Hanging out in North Beach during her days off, Odetta had her first experience with the growing local folk music scene. Following her summer in San Francisco, Odetta returned to Los Angeles, where she worked as a live-in housekeeper. During this time she performed on a show bill with Paul Robeson.
In 1953, Odetta took some time off from her housecleaning chores to travel to New York City and appear at the famed Blue Angel folk club. Pete Seeger and Harry Belafonte had both taken an interest in her career by this time, and her debut album, The Tin Angel, was released in 1954. From this time forward, Odetta worked to expand her repertoire and make full use of what she has always termed her "instrument." When she began singing, she was considered a coloratura soprano. As she matured, she became more of a mezzo-soprano. Her experience singing folk music led her to discover a vocal range that runs from coloratura to baritone.
Odetta's most productive decade as a recording artist came in the 1960s, when she released 16 albums, including "Odetta at Carnegie Hall", "Christmas Spirituals", "Odetta And The Blues", "It's A Mighty World" and "Odetta Sings Dylan".
In 1999 she released her first studio album in 14 years, "Blues Everywhere I Go". On September 29, 1999, President Bill Clinton presented Odetta with the National Endowment for the Arts' Medal of the Arts, a fitting tribute to one of the great treasures of American music.
The next few years found Odetta releasing some new full-length albums, including "Living With The Blues"and a collection of Leadbelly tunes, "Looking For A Home". She toured North America, Latvia, and Scotland and was mentioned in Martin Scorsese's 2005 documentary, No Direction Home. That same year Odetta released "Gonna Let It Shine", which went on to receive a 2007 Grammy nomination for Best Traditional Folk Album. In December 2008, she died of heart disease in New York.

This week's playlist

Big Woody - "Blues This Morning"
Odetta - "Deep River"
Fats Domino - "Boogie Woogie Baby"
Eric Clapton - "Mean Old Frisco"
Pete Johnson - "Boogie Woogie Man"
Jimmy McCracklin - "He Knows The Rules"
Leyla McCalla - "When I Can See The Valley"
Earl McDonald and His Original Louisville Jug Band - "Louisville Special"
Wily Bo Walker - "I Want To Know"
Chris Rea - "Boss Man Cut My Chains"
Odetta - "Go Down, Sunshine"
Chris Dair - "Leavin' Town Blues"
Jimmy Reed - "Bright Lights, Big City"
Odetta - "Make Me A Pallet On The Floor"
The Angel Band - "Bring It On Home To Me"
The Black Keys - "I'm Not The One"
Roomful Of Blues - "You Don't Know"
Jack Derwin - "Chemistry"
Odetta - "Believe I'll Go"
Detroit Memphis Experience - "Just A Little Bit"
Solomon King - "Bad To Me"
Solomon King - "Train"

Monday, 14 October 2013

This week's playlist

Dr. Feelgood - "Because You're Mine"
The Yardbirds - "I'm A Man"
Snake Mary - "Lay By The River"
Blind Lemon Jefferson - "Black Snake Moan"
Jimmy Dawkins - "Made The Hard Way"
JP Blues - "Keep On Walkin'"
Carolina Chocolate Drops - "Your Baby Ain't Sweet Like Mine"
Charlie Patton - "Going To Move To Alabama"
Doc Watson and David Grisman - "Blue As I Can Be"
The Yardbirds - "Jeff's Blues"
Drew Holcomb and The Neighbours - "Nothing Like A Woman"
The Yardbirds - "Steeled Blues"
The Rolling Stones - "Ventilator Blues"
Robert Johnson - "When You Got A Good Friend"
Led Zeppelin - "When The Levee Breaks"
Bobby Blue Bland - "Blues In The Night"
Little Willie John - "Talk To Me"
Soulstack - "Stone Cold Man"
No Refund Band - "One More Drink"
The Yardbirds - "You Can't Judge A Book By Looking At The Cover"
The Elmores - "Little Stevie's Shuffle"

Featured Artist: The Yardbirds

  The Yardbirds
The Yardbirds are mostly known to the casual rock fan as the starting point for three of the greatest British rock guitarists: Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck and Jimmy Page. Undoubtedly, these three figures did much to shape the group's sound, but throughout their career, The Yadbirds were very much a unit, albeit a rather unstable one. And they were truly one of the great rock bands; one whose contributions went far beyond the scope of their half dozen or so mid-'60s hits. Not content to limit themselves to the R&B and blues covers they concentrated upon initially, they quickly branched out into moody, increasingly experimental pop/rock. The innovations of Clapton, Beck and Page redefined the role of the guitar in rock music, breaking immense ground in the use of feedback, distortion, and amplification with finesse and breathtaking virtuosity. With the arguable exception of The Byrds, they did more than any other outfit to pioneer psychedelia, with an eclectic, risk-taking approach that laid the groundwork for much of the hard rock and progressive rock from the late '60s to the present.
The Yardbirds made their first recordings as a backup band for Chicago blues great Sonny Boy Williamson, and little of their future greatness is evident in these sides, in which they were still developing their basic chops. (Some tapes of these live shows were issued after the group had become international stars; the material has been reissued ad infinitum since then.) But they really didn't find their footing until 1964, when they stretched out from straight R&B rehash into extended, frantic guitar-harmonica instrumental passages. Calling these ad hoc jams "raveups," The Yardbirds were basically making the blues their own by applying a fiercer, heavily amplified electric base. Taking some cues from improvisational jazz by inserting their own impassioned solos, they would turn their source material inside out and sideways, heightening the restless tension by building the tempo and heated exchange of instrumental riffs to a feverish climax, adroitly cooling off and switching to a lower gear just at the point where the energy seemed uncontrollable. The live 1964 album “Five Live Yardbirds” is the best document of their early years, consisting entirely of reckless interpretations of U.S. R&B/blues numbers, and displaying the increasing confidence and imagination of Clapton's guitar work.
While Beck's stint with the band lasted only about 18 months, in this period he did more to influence the sound of '60s rock guitar than anyone except Jimi Hendrix. Clapton saw the group's decision to record adventurous pop like "For Your Love" as a sellout of their purist blues ethic. Beck, on the other hand, saw such material as a challenge that offered room for unprecedented experimentation.
It took years for the rock community to truly comprehend The Yardbirds' significance; younger listeners were led to the recordings in search of the roots of Clapton, Beck and Page, each of whom had become a superstar by the end of the 1960s. Their wonderful catalog, however, has been subject to more exploitation than any other group of the '60s; dozens, if not hundreds, of cheesy packages of early material are generated throughout the world on a seemingly monthly basis. Fortunately, the best of the reissues cited below (on Rhino, Sony, Edsel and EMI) are packaged with great intelligence, enabling both collectors and new listeners to acquire all of their classic output with a minimum of fuss and repetition.
Thirty-five years after their break up in 1968, original members Chris Dreja and Jim McCarty pulled together a slew of new musicians to record a new album under the Yardbirds moniker, titled “Birdland”, and followed it with a tour of the United States.

Monday, 30 September 2013

This Week's Playlist

Jo Harman - I Shall Not Be Moved
Eric Bibb - Booker's Guitar
Anders Osborne - Louisiana Gold
Heritage Blues Orchestra - Chilly Jordan
Claude Hay - Narrow Mind
Mark Harrison - Georgia Greene
Lisa Mills - My Happy Song
Wooden Horse - Mean Old Frisco
The Allen Brothers - Chattanooga Mama
Stiv Cantarelli and The Silent Strangers - Dark Time Blue
Half Deaf Clatch - Big Plans In A Small Town
Eric Bibb - She Got Mine
Jo-Ann Kelly - Boyfriend Blues
Doc Watson and David Grisman - Blue Ridge Mountain Blues
Eric Bibb - Death Row Blues
Eric Bibb - Goin' Down The Road Feelin' Bad
Robert Johnson - Sweet Home Chicago
Al Lerman - Close To You
Blind Boy Fuller - You Got To Have Your Dollar
Sleepy John Estes - Milk Cow Blues
Pete "Snakey Jake" Johnson - Reckless Disposition
Rory Block - Pea Vine Blues

Featured Artist: Eric Bibb

Eric Bibb 
(born 16 August 1951)
Bibb's father, Leon, was a musical theatre singer, who made a name for himself as part of the 1960s New York folk scene; his uncle was the jazz pianist and composer John Lewis, of the Modern Jazz Quartet. Family friends included Pete Seeger, and actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson, Bibb's godfather.
He was given his first steel-string acoustic guitar aged seven. Growing up surrounded by talent, he recalls a childhood conversation with Bob Dylan, who, on the subject of guitar playing, advised the 11-year-old Bibb to "Keep it simple, forget all that fancy stuff".
Bibb remembers from his early teen years:
I would cut school and claim I was sick. When everyone would leave the house I would whip out all the records and do my own personal DJ thing all day long, playing Odetta, Joan Baez, the New Lost City Ramblers, Josh White.
At 16 years old, his father invited him to play guitar in the house band for his TV talent show "Someone New". Bill Lee, who played bass in this band, was later to appear on Bibb's albums Me To You and Friends. In 1969, Bibb played guitar for the Negro Ensemble Company at St. Mark's Place in New York. He went on to study Psychology and Russian at Columbia University, but did not finish these studies. The next year, aged 19, he left for Paris, where he met guitarist Mickey Baker who focused his interest in blues guitar.
Bibb moved to Stokholm, where he immersed himself in pre-war blues and the newly-discovered world music scene, while he continued to write and perform. Good Stuff was released in 1997 on Opus 3 and American label Earthbeat. Bibb signed to the British-based Code Blue label, but only released one album, Me to You, featuring appearances from some of Bibb's personal heroes, Pops and Mavis Staples and Taj Mahal. This was followed by tours of the UK, US, Canada, France, Sweden and Germany.
In the late 1990s Bibb joined forces with his then manager Alan Robinson to form Manhaton Records in Britain. The albums Home to Me (1999), Roadworks (2000) and Painting Signs (2001) followed, as did the 2005 releases for Opus 3, Just Like Love and Spirit & the Blues (Hybrid SACD of 1999 Earthbeat release). He now plays all over the world on tour; see Erics Website for details. After that, he made A Family Affair (2002) with his father, Leon Bibb. This was followed by Natural Light then Friends – 15 tracks featuring Bibb duetting with friends and musicians he had met on his travels such as Taj Mahal, Odetta, Charlie Musselwhite, Guy Davis, Mamdou Diabate and Djelimady Toukara.
In 2004, Eric Bibb released "Friends" as his debut release under Telarc International Corporation. Bibb has remained with Telarc Records since 2004 releasing several additional albums including, "A Ship Called Love" in 2005, "Diamond Days" in 2007, and "Spirit I Am" in 2008. Bibb released Booker's Guitar in January 2010 with music channeled from the Delta Guitar Master himself, Booker White, also known as Bukka White. In November 2011, he signed to Stony Plain Records.
In August 2011 he married his longtime partner and manager Sari Matinlassi-Bibb, whom he met while touring in Australia

Monday, 23 September 2013

This week's playlist

Canned Heat "World In A Jug"
ZZ Top - "I Thank You"
Jumpin' Jack Strobel - "You Mean Everything To Me"
The Mustangs - "When God Met The Devil"
Will Wilde - "Numb"
James Harman - "Crazy Mixed Up World"
Rockin' Dopsie - "Zydeco 'Round The World"
Washboard Sam - "Let Me Play Your Vendor"
Moreland and Arbuckle - "Quivira"
ZZ Top - "Dust My Broom"
Cee Cee James - "Watermelon Lucy"
The Rolling Stones - "The Spider And The Fly"
ZZ Top - "Tube Snake Boogie"
Valerie June - "Working Woman Blues"
Spooky Tooth - "Send Me Some Lovin'"
Trampled Under Foot - "Bad Bad Feeling"
Mitch Laddie - "Paper In Your Pocket"
Ry Cooder - "On A Monday"
Mississippi John Hurt - "Nobody's Dirty Business"
Doc and Merle Watson - "Jailhouse Blues"
The Veldman Brothers - "2 Times 360"
ZZ Top - "Whiskey'n Mama"
Mill Billy Blues - "Railroad Worksong"

Featured Artist : ZZ Top

ZZ Top
This sturdy American blues-rock trio from Texas consists of Billy Gibbons (guitar), Dusty Hill (bass), and Frank Beard (drums). They were formed in 1970 in and around Houston from rival bands The Moving Sidewalks (Gibbons) and American Blues (Hill and Beard). Their first two albums reflected the strong blues roots and Texas humor of the band. Their third album (“Tres Hombres”) gained them national attention with the hit "La Grange," a signature riff tune to this day, based on John Lee Hooker's "Boogie Chillen." Their success continued unabated throughout the '70s, culminating with the year-and-a-half-long Worldwide Texas Tour.
Exhausted from the overwhelming workload, they took a three-year break, then switched labels and returned to form with “Deguello” and “El Loco”, both harbingers of what was to come. By their next album, “Eliminator”, and its worldwide smash follow-up, “Afterburner”, they had successfully harnessed the potential of synthesizers to their patented grungy blues groove, giving their material a more contemporary edge while retaining their patented Texas style. Now sporting long beards, golf hats, and boiler suits, they met the emerging video age head-on, reducing their "message" to simple iconography. Becoming even more popular in the long run, they moved with the times while simultaneously bucking every trend that crossed their path. As genuine roots musicians, they have few peers; Gibbons is one of America's finest blues guitarists working in the arena rock idiom -- both influenced by the originators of the form and British blues-rock guitarists like Peter Green – while Hill and Beard provide the ultimate rhythm section support.
The only rock & roll group that's out there with its original members still aboard after three decades (an anniversary celebrated on 1999's “XXX”), ZZ Top play music that is always instantly recognizable, eminently powerful, profoundly soulful, and 100-percent American in derivation. They have continued to support the blues through various means, perhaps most visibly when they were given a piece of wood from Muddy Waters' shack in Clarksdale, MS. The group members had it made into a guitar, dubbed the "Muddywood," then sent it out on tour to raise money for the Delta Blues Museum. ZZ Top's support and link to the blues remains as rock solid as the music they play. A concert CD and DVD, “Live From Texas”, recorded in Dallas in 2007 and featuring a still vital band, were both released in 2008. The Rick Rubin and Gibbons-produced La Futura, the band's 15th studio album, and the group's first new studio outing since 2003's Mescalero, appeared in 2012.

Monday, 16 September 2013

This week's playlist

Tom Jones - "All Blues Hail Mary"
Jimmy Reed - "You Don't Have To Go"
Nighthawks - "I'll Go Crazy"
Rod Stewart - "I've Been Drinking"
Blue Eyes Cry - "What's A Girl To Do?"
The No Refund Band - "One More Drink"
Buddy Guy - "You Sure Can't Do"
Clifford Hayes and The Louisville Jug Band - "Another Fool Like Me"
Sweet Potato Pie - "Brain Cloudy Blues"
Paul Rose - "Ball And Chain"
Jimmy Reed - "I Ain't Got You"
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - "Brand New Heartache"
Dave Bromberg - "Keep On Drinking"
Jimmy Reed - "I Wanna Be Loved"
The Super Super Blues Band - "Who Do You Love"
Eugenie Jones - "Sat'day Night Blues"
John Pippus - "One World"
Nick Curran and The Nitelifes - "She's Evil"
Mance Lipscomb - "Texas Blues"
Blind Willy - "Willing To Crawl"
Phil Brown - "Hour To Kill"
Duffy Kane - "Why My Road"
Jimmy Reed - "Hush Hush"
Big Maceo - "Winter Time Blues"

Featured Artist: Jimmy Reed

Mathis James "Jimmy" Reed 
(September 6, 1925 – August 29, 1976)

Reed was born in Dunleith, Mississippi, in 1925, learning the harmonica and guitar from Eddie Taylor, a close friend. After spending several years busking and performing in the area, Reed moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1943 before being drafted into the US Navy during World War II. In 1945, Reed was discharged and moved back to Mississippi for a brief period, marrying his girlfriend, Mary "Mama" Reed, before moving to Gary, Indiana to work at an Armour & Co. meat packing plant. Mama Reed appears as an uncredited background singer on many of his songs, notably the major hits “Baby What You Want Me To Do”, “Big Boss Man” and “Bright Lights, Big City”.
By the 1950s, Reed had established himself as a popular musician and joined the "Gary Kings" with John Brim, as well as playing on the street with Willie Joe Duncan. Reed failed to gain a recording contract with Chess Records, but signed with Vee-Jay Records through Brim's drummer, Albert King. At Vee-Jay, Reed began playing again with Eddie Taylor and soon released "You Don't Have to Go", his first hit record. This was followed by a long string of hits.
Reed maintained his reputation despite his rampant alcoholism; sometimes his wife had to help him remember the lyrics to his songs while recording. In 1957, Reed developed epilepsy, though the condition was not correctly diagnosed for a long time, as Reed and doctors assumed it was delirium tremens.
In spite of his numerous hits, Reed's personal problems prevented him from achieving the same level of fame as other popular blues artists of the time, though he had more hit songs than many others. When Vee-Jay Records closed down, Reed's manager signed a contract with the fledgling ABC-Bluesway label, but Reed was never able to score another hit.
In 1968 he toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival.
Jimmy Reed died in Oakland, California in 1976, of respiratory failure, eight days short of his 51st birthday. He is interred in the Lincoln Cemetery in Worth, Illinois.
In 1991 Reed was posthumously inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Monday, 9 September 2013

This week's playlist

Blind Boy Fuller - "Untrue Blues"
Todd Wolfe - "It's All Over Now"
Paul Orta and The Kingpins - "Up The Line"
Johnny Copeland - "Houston"
Louise Hoffsten - "I Pity The Fool"
Anthony Gomes - "Voodoo Moon"
Cannon's Jug Stompers - "Viola Lee Blues"
Otis Harris - "Walking Blues"
Hugh Laurie - "The St. Louis Blues"
The Todd Wolfe Band - "Against The Wall"
Jimmy Rogers - "Walkin' By Myself"
Jo-Ann Kelly - "Walking The Dog"
Lead Belly - "Cow Cow Yicky Yicky Yea"
Todd Wolfe - "Evil"
The Todd Wolfe Band - "Locket Full Of Dreams"
B.B. King with Irma Thomas - "We're Gonna Make It"
William Moore - "One Way Gal"
Frank Frost - "Pocket Full Of Money"
Janiva Magness - "Wasn't That Enough"
Albert King, Steve Cropper and Pop Staples - "What'd I Say"

Featured Artist: Todd Wolfe

Todd Stewart Wolfe
(born January 22, 1957, Queens, New York)
Todd began playing on the New York scene back in 1979 with his band Nitetrain, a trio that clearly reflected Todd's influences—60s bands like Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Fleetwood Mac and other bluesy-rocking-jamming bands. The wave of guitar players that included Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jimi Hendrix, Michael Bloomfield were and are influential and evident in Todd's style and approach to guitar-playing. His next venture was Troy & the Tornados, a band based in the New York metro area. Todd met two women in this time period that would eventually play a part in his guitar-playing and song-writing experience: Carla Olson of the Textones and Sheryl Crow, at the time an unknown back-up singer. By the late '80s, Sheryl had sat in several times with the Tornados in New York City. Eventually Todd decided to fly to Los Angeles and write with Sheryl and showcase their new band in hopes of a record deal. Nothing came of this particular venture, but these two would find each other again on the same stage just a few years up the road!
After relocating to Los Angeles with a revamped line-up, Todd began to perform in clubs in southern California, while also scoring music for the Playboy Channel and connecting with old friend Carla Olson and her latest band. But it wasn't long before Todd was back with Sheryl Crow, who had just completed her about-to-be-released debut album, the multi-platinum Tuesday Night Music Club. Crow needed a touring band, including a lead guitarist that could add some extra excitement to the live shows, and Todd filled that role from 1993 until 1998.

Todd eventually went on to form several bands, including a talented bunch dubbed MojoSon that were signed to A & M Records and included alumni of Sheryl's band along with alumni of Sun 60 and Five for Fighting. With parent companies swapping ownership of A & M Records, the MojoSon album sadly was never released. Always active, always playing, Todd has never slowed down. Todd has had many excellent partnerships with fine musicians from coast to coast. Todd has also worked as a duet with famed Mountain guitarist Leslie West, touring and recording on two of Leslie's solo albums as well as recording on Mountain's tribute to Bob Dylan, "Masters of War" album!
Todd is especially proud of his current lineup with Roger Voss on drums and Justine Gardner on bass. Roger is a powerful pocket drummer. The young Ms. Gardner plays a deep groove. And they both back Todd on soulful vocals. This lineup recorded Todd's upcoming summer release “Miles to Go,” his eighth album since departing Sheryl's band. The new album is mostly originals that range from swampy grooves to all-out rockers and even a wistful ballad from which the title of the album was derived called, I Stand Alone. The band was joined by John Ginty (keyboards), Steve Guyger (harmonica) and Sweet Suzi (backing vocals). The Todd Wolfe Band is keeping busy with tours criss-crossing North America and Europe through 2013!
The Todd Wolfe Band recall the days when "Men were men and amps were amps," real tubes crackling with a bluesadelic sound reminiscent of the best rock and roll bands of the '60s. This band jams and rocks, but their music is deeply soaked in blues. Todd Wolfe, Roger Voss and newcomer, bassist Justine Gardner have established themselves as one of top power trios by relentless touring and spreading their legend from coast to coast and beyond.

Monday, 2 September 2013

This week's playlist

Savoy Brown - "Taste And Try (Before You Buy)"
Bukka White - "Fixin' To Die Blues"
Amos Garrett - "Get Way Back"
The Paul Garner Band - "Never Make A Move Too Soon"
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band - "Tennesse Stud"
Grainne Duffy - "Test Of Time"
Mississippi Sheiks - "Tell Me What The Cats Fight About"
Lil Ed Williams and Willie Kent - "Who's Been Talking?"
Guitar Mikey and The Real Thing - "That's No Way"
Bukka White - "Strange Place Blues"
Dr. Feelgood - "The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll"
Mistabluesman - "Freddie's Blues"
Bukka White - "Sleepy Man Blues"
Eddie Boyd - "Blue Coat Man"
Wesley Pruitt Band - "Thief In The Night"
Debbie Davies - "The Fall"
Jo-El Sonnier - "Cajun Blood"
Steve Earl and The Del McCoury Band - "The Graveyard Shift"
Shurman - "Apartment #9 Blues"
The Some X 6 Band - "The Hoodoo Shake"
Bukka White - "Parchman Farm Blues"
Earl Hooker - "The End Of The Bles"

Featured Artist: Bukka White

Booker T. Washington "Bukka" White
(November 12, 1909 – February 26, 1977
Born between Aberdeen and Houston, Mississippi White was a first cousin of B.B. King's mother (White's mother and King's grandmother were sisters). White himself is remembered as a player of National steel guitars. He also played, but was less adept at, the piano.
White started his career playing the fiddle at square dances. He claimed to have met Charlie Patton early on, although some doubt has been cast upon this; Regardless, Patton was a large influence on White. White typically played slide guitar in an open tuning. He was one of the few, along with Skip James, to use a crossnote tuning in E minor, which he may have learned, as James did, from Henry Stuckey.
He first recorded for the Victor Records label in 1930. His recordings for Victor, like those of many other bluesmen, fluctuated between country blues and gospel numbers. Victor published his photograph in 1930. His gospel songs were done in the style of Blind Willie Johnson, with a female singer accentuating the last phrase of each line.
Nine years later, while serving time for assault, he recorded for folklorist John Lomax. The few songs he recorded around this time became his most well-known: “Shake 'Em On Down” and “Po' Boy”
Bob Dylan covered his song “Fixin' To Die Blues”, which aided a "rediscovery" of White in 1963 by guitarist John Fahey and ED Denson, which propelled him onto the folk revival scene of the 1960s. White had recorded the song simply because his other songs had not particularly impressed the Victor record producer. It was a studio composition of which White had thought little until it re-emerged thirty years later.
White was at one time managed by experienced blues manager Arne Brogger. Fahey and Denson found White easily enough: Fahey wrote a letter to "Bukka White (Old Blues Singer), c/o General Delivery, Aberdeen, Mississippi" Fahey had assumed, given White's song, "Aberdeen, Mississippi", that White still lived there, or nearby. The postcard was forwarded to Memphis, Tennessee, where White worked in a tank factory. Fahey and Denson soon traveled to meet White, and White and Fahey remained friends through the remainder of White's life. He recorded a new album for Denson and Fahey's Takoma Records, whilst Denson became his manager.
White was, later in life, also friends with fellow musician Furry Lewis. The two recorded, mostly in Lewis' Memphis apartment, an album together, Furry Lewis, Bukka White & Friends: Party! At Home.
"Parchman Farm Blues" was about the Mississippi State Penitentiary (also known as Parchman Farm) in Sunflower County, Mississippi, was released on Harry Smith's “Anthology Of American Folk Music, Vol. 4” The song was covered by The Traits/aka Roy Head and the Traits with Johnny Winter in the late 1960s. His 1937 version of the oft-recorded song, "Shake 'Em On Down," is considered definitive, and became a hit while White was serving time in Parchman.
White died in February 1977 from cancer, at the age of 67, in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1990 he was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall Of Fame (along with Blind Blake and Lonnie Johnson). On November 21, 2011, The Recording Academy announced that “Fixin' To Die Blues” was to be added to its 2012 list of Grammy Hall Of Fame recipients.

Monday, 26 August 2013

This week's playlist

Tail Dragger and Bob Corritore - "Birthday Blues"
Janiva Magness - "Make It Rain"
Michael 'Iron Man' Burks - "Storm Warning"
James Kahn - "Great Trains Of Hell"
Pete 'Snakey Jake' Johnson - "Stormy Weather"
Louisville Jug Band - "What A Lovely Thing"
Graham Bond Organisation - "Strut Around"
John Martyn - "Sugar Lump"
The Used Blues Band - "Pretty Woman"
Lonnie Johnson - "Sundown Blues"
Janiva Magness - "I Won't Cry"
Janiva Magness - "There It Is"
Janiva Magness - "Whistlin' In The Dark"
Jon Amor Blues Group - "Sweetheart"
Pam Taylor Band - "All I Got Left"
Beale Street Sheiks - "Beale Street Bound"
The Tom Gee Band - "Better Things To Do"
Little Willie John - "Talk To Me"

Featured Artist: Janiva Magness

Janiva Magness  
(born January 30, 1957)
Magness was born in Detroit, Michigan, but suffered the tragedy of losing both of her parents to suicide before she reached her mid-teens. Placed in a series of a dozen foster homes, Magness was pregnant at the age of 17, and gave her baby daughter up for adoption.
Having been initially inspired by the music in her father's record collection, an underage Magness attended an Otis Rush concert in Minneapolis that changed her outlook. Magness lated recalled, "Otis played as if his life depended on it. There was a completely desperate, absolute intensity. I knew, whatever it was, I needed more of it." Studying to become an engineer, she worked in a recording studio in Saint Paul, Minnesota, when she was coerced into doing some backing singing. Her work, which included backing Kid Ramos and R. L. Burnside led her to Phoenix, Arizona and in forming her own band, the Mojomatics. They enjoyed local success before Magness relocated in 1986 to Los Angeles.
Her first album It Takes One to Know One, was released in 1997. In 1999, Magness starred in a stage production of “It Ain't Nothin' But The Blues”, at the David Geffen Theater in Westwood, California
Three independent releases followed before Magness was signed to a recording contract by Northern Blues Music. They released “Bury Him at the Crossroads” (2004) and “Do I Move You?” (2006). Both albums were co-produced by Magness and Colin Linden, with the former earning them a Canadian Maple Blues Award for Producers Of The Year. “Do I Move You?” reached number 8 on the Billboard Blues Album Chart.
In 2008, Magness signed with Alligator Records releasing “What Love Will Do”. The Chicago Sun-Times stated, "Her songs run the gamut of emotions from sorrow to joy. A master of the lowdown blues who is equally at ease surrounded by funk or soul sounds, Magness invigorates every song with a brutal honesty." She toured widely incorporating Canada, Europe as well as across the United States.
The equally critically acclaimed effort, “The Devil Is an Angel Too”, appeared in 2010, and “Stronger for It” in 2012. The latter included some of her own songs, the first album to do so since her debut effort in 1997.
In 2013, Magness was nominated in five categories for more Blues Music awards.

Monday, 19 August 2013

This week's playlist

Imelda May - "Smotherin' Me"
The Mills Brothers - "Goodbye Blues"
Sleepy John Estes - "Someday Baby Blues"
Fleetwood Mac - "Something Inside Of Me"
Flying Suacers Gumbo Special - "Crawfish Groove"
The Fabulous Thunderbirds - "She's Tuff"
Memphis Jug Band - "Stealin' Stealin'"
Billy D. and The Hoodoos - "Somewhere In The Middle Of The Blues"
Maria Muldaur and Alvin Youngblood Hart - "Soulful Dress"
Blind Lemon Jefferson - "Southern Woman Blues"
The Mills Brothers - "I Heard"
Johnny Guitar Watson - "Space Guitar"
Howlin' Wolf - "Spoonful"
The Mills Brothers - "Lazybones"
The Idle Hands - "Dirty Old Rag"
The Cash Box Kings - "Trying Really Hard (To Get Along With You)"
The Ozark Mountain Daredevils - "Standing On The Rock"
Blind Willie McTell - "Statesboro Blues"
Little G Weevil - "Back Porch"
The Reclamators - "Steamroller Blues"
Bearfoot Bluegrass - "Deep River Blues"
Pat Travers - "Steppin' Out"
Giles Robson and The Dirty Aces - "Stick To The Promise"
The Mills Brothers - "Limehouse Blues"
Danny Overbea - "Stomp And Whistle"

Featured Artist: The Mills Brothers

The Mills Brothers

An astonishing vocal group that grew into one of the longest-lasting oldies acts in American popular music, The Mills Brothers quickly moved from novelty wonders to pop successes and continued amazing audiences for decades. Originally billed as "Four Boys and a Guitar," the group's early records came complete with a note assuring listeners that the only musical instrument they were hearing was a guitar. The caution was understandable, since The Mills Brothers were so proficient at re-creating trumpets, trombones, and saxophones with only their voices that early singles like "Tiger Rag" and "St. Louis Blues" sounded closer to a hot Dixieland combo than a vocal group. And even after the novelty wore off, the group's intricate harmonies continued charming audiences for decades.
The four brothers were all born in Piqua, OH -- John Jr. in 1910, Herbert in 1912, Harry in 1913, and Donald in 1915. Their father owned a barber shop and founded a barbershop quartet as well, called the Four Kings of Harmony. His sons obviously learned their close harmonies first-hand, and began performing around the area. At one show, Harry Mills forgot his kazoo -- the group's usual accompaniment -- and ended up trying to emulate the instrument by cupping his hand over his mouth. The brothers were surprised to hear the sound of a trumpet proceeding from Harry's mouth, so they began to work the novelty into their act, with John taking tuba, Donald trombone, and Herbert a second trumpet. The act was perfect for vaudeville, and The Mills Brothers also began broadcasting over a Cincinnati radio station during the late '20s.
After moving to New York, the group became a sensation and hit it big during 1931 and early 1932 with the singles "Tiger Rag" and "Dinah" (the latter a duet with Bing Crosby). Dumbfounded listeners hardly believed the notice accompanying the records: "No musical instruments or mechanical devices used on this recording other than one guitar." Though the primitive audio of the era lent them a bit of latitude, The Mills Brothers indeed sounded exactly like they'd been backed by a small studio band. (It was, in essence, the flipside of early material by Duke Ellington's Orchestra, on which the plunger mutes of Bubber Miley and Tricky Sam Nanton resulted in horns sounding exactly like voices.)
The exposure continued during 1932, with appearances in the film The Big Broadcast and more hits including "St. Louis Blues" and "Bugle Call Rag." John Jr.'s sudden death in 1936 was a huge blow to the group, but father John, Sr. took over as bass singer and Bernard Addison became the group's guitarist. Still, the novelty appeared to wear off by the late '30s; despite duets with Ella Fitzgerald ("Dedicated to You") and Louis Armstrong ("Darling Nelly Gray"), The Mills Brothers' records weren't performing as well as they had earlier in the decade. All that changed in 1943 with the release of "Paper Doll," a sweet, intimate ballad that became one of the biggest hits of the decade -- 12 weeks on the top of the charts, and six million records sold (plus sheet music). The group made appearances in several movies during the early '40s, and hit number one again in 1944 with "You'll Always Hurt the One You Love."
The influence of middle of the road pop slowly crept into their material from the '40s; by the end of the decade, The Mills Brothers began recording with traditional orchestras (usually conducted by Sy Oliver, Hal McIntyre or Sonny Burke). In 1952, "The Glow Worm" became their last number one hit. The group soldiered on during the '50s, though John, Sr. semi-permanently retired from the group in 1956. A move from Decca to Dot brought a moderate 1958 hit, a cover of The Silhouettes' "Get a Job" that made explicit the considerable influence on doo wop exerted by early Mills Brothers records. As a trio, Herbert, Harry and Donald continued performing on the oldies circuit until Harry's death in 1982, and Herbert's in 1988. The last surviving sibling, Donald, began performing with the third generation of the family -- his son, John II -- until his own death in 1999
Artist biography by John Bush

Monday, 12 August 2013

This week's playlist

Ma Rainey - "Screech Owl Blues"
Bonnie Raitt - "Mighty Tight Woman"
The John Pippus Band - "Two Hearts On The Run"
Shameless Rob Band - "Whiskey River Blues"
The Mosstins - "Blues, Stay Away From Me"
Detroit Memphis Experience - "Let's Straighten It Out"
Mississippi Sheiks - "She's Crazy 'Bout Her Lovin'"
Chuck Berry - "Tulane"
Geno Washington - "Seven Eleven"
Bonnie Raitt - "Big Road"
Fleetwood Mac - "Shake Your Money Maker"
Kara Grainger - "C'Mon In My Kitchen"
Bonnie Raitt - "Walking Blues"
Etta James - "W-O-M-A-N"
B.B. King (with Katie Webster) - "Since I Met You Baby"
Taj Mahal and James Cotton - "Honky Tonk Woman"
The Yardbirds - "Train Kept A-Rolling"
Blind Willie McTell - "Mr. McTell Got The Blues"
Hugh Laurie - "Six Cold Feet"
Hawkwind - "Bring It On Home"
The Some X 6 Band - "Look Again"
Bonnie Raitt - "You Told Me Baby"
Robert Cray, Albert Collins and Johnny Copeland - "Sleeping In The Ground"

Featured Artist: Bonnie Raitt

Bonnie Lynn Raitt 
(born November 8, 1949)
Long a critic's darling, singer/guitarist Bonnie Raitt did not begin to win the comparable commercial success due her until the release of the aptly titled 1989 blockbuster “Nick Of Time”; her tenth album, it rocketed her into the mainstream consciousness nearly two decades after she first committed her unique blend of blues, rock, and R&B to vinyl.
Born in Burbank, CA, on November 8, 1949, she was the daughter of Broadway star John Raitt, best known for his starring performances in such smashes as Carousel and Pajama Game. After picking up the guitar at the age of 12, Raitt felt an immediate affinity for the blues, and although she went off to attend Radcliffe in 1967, within two years she had dropped out to begin playing the Boston folk and blues club circuit.
Signing with noted blues manager Dick Waterman, she was soon performing alongside the likes of idols including Howlin' Wolf, Sippie Wallace, and Mississippi Fred McDowelln and in time earned such a strong reputation that she was signed to Warner Bros.
Debuting in 1971 with an eponymously titled effort, Raitt immediately emerged as a critical favorite, applauded not only for her soulful vocals and thoughtful song selection but also for her guitar prowess, turning heads as one of the few women to play bottleneck. Her 1972 follow-up, “Give It Up”, made better use of her eclectic tastes, featuring material by contemporaries like Jackson Browne and Eric Kaz, in addition to a number of R&B chestnuts and even three Raitt originals.

1973's “Takin' My Time” was much acclaimed, and throughout the middle of the decade she released an LP annually, returning with “Streetlights” in 1974 and “Home Plate” a year later. With 1977's “Sweet Forgiveness”, Raitt scored her first significant pop airplay with her hit cover of the Del Shannon classic "Runaway"; its follow-up, 1979's “The Glow”, appeared around the same time as a massive all-star anti-nuclear concert at Madison Square Garden mounted by MUSE (Musicians United for Safe Energy), an organization she'd co-founded earlier.
Throughout her career, Raitt remained a committed activist, playing hundreds of benefit concerts and working tirelessly on behalf of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. By the early '80s, however, her own career was in trouble – 1982's “Green Light”, while greeted with the usual good reviews, again failed to break her to a wide audience, and while beginning work on the follow-up, Warner unceremoniously dropped her. By this time, Raitt was also battling drug and alcohol problems as well; she worked on a few tracks with Prince, but their schedules never aligned and the material went unreleased. Instead, she finally released the patchwork “Nine Lives” in 1986, her worst-selling effort since her debut.
Many had written Raitt off when she teamed with producer Don Was and recorded “Nick Of Time”; seemingly out of the blue, the LP won a handful of Grammys, including Album of the Year, and overnight she was a superstar.
1991's “Luck Of The Draw” was also a smash, yielding the hits "Something to Talk About" and "I Can't Make You Love Me." After 1994's “Longing In Their Hearts”, Raitt resurfaced in 1998 with “Fundamental”.
"Silver Lining” appeared in 2002, followed by “Souls Alike” in 2005, both on Capitol Records. A year later, a bootleg-feel live set, “Bonnie Raitt and Friends”, was released, featuring guest appearances from Norah Jones and Ben Harper, among others.
Raitt stepped back from the life of a professional musician over the next few years as she dealt with the passing of her parents, her brother, and her best friend. The break from recording and touring was redemptive for Raitt in many ways, and she returned focused and renewed in 2012 with her first studio album in seven years, “Slipstream”, released on her own new Redwing label imprint.

Monday, 5 August 2013

This week's playlist

Delmark Goldfarb - "Portable Man"
RB Stone - "Texas Drunk Tank Blues"
Ike Turner - "Prancin'"
Ten Years After - "Two Time Mama"
Otis Spann - "Pretty Girls Everywhere"
Nicole Hart and Anni Piper - "Ain't Nobody Watchin'"
Buckwheat Zydeco - "When The Levee Breaks"
Birmingham Jug Band - "The Wild Cat Squawl"
Ivory Joe Hunter - "Pretty Mama Blues"
Canned Heat - "Project Blues"
RB Stone - "She's Too Hot To Handle"
Deborah Magone - "Queen Bee"
Pete 'Snakey Jake' Johnson - "Railroad Man"
Charlie Musselwhite - "Ramblers Blues"
Steve Cropper - "Right Around The Corner" (featuring Delbert McClinton)
Flying Saucer Gumbo Special - "New Orleans"
Wily Bo Walker - "I Want To Know"
Elvis Presley - "Reconsider Baby"
RB Stone - "Long Gone Lonesome Blues"
RB Stone - "Loosen Up"
Chris Rea - "Renaissance Man"
Mississippi John Hurt - "Richland Woman Blues"

Featured Artist: RB Stone

RB has a very interesting life story. RB is a genuine & gracious man who has made music for 30 years.
RB Stone’s parents were huge music lovers; his father, a blues/boogie, rock ‘n’ roller and his mother, a fan of Tennessee Ernie Ford, Janis Joplin, Herb Alpert, Johnny Cash, Sly and the Family Stone, Elvis and the wide variety of hits from the 60’s. At 12, his mother showed him some chords on the piano and Bill Withers’ hit “Lean On Me” was the first song he learned, which started the ball rolling in his long blues/boogie composing career.
Eighteen and just out of high school, music was still a dream that seemed to belong to others, so he hired on with the railroad traveling the Midwest with a 90-man rail gang four days a week. After two years he accepted an offer as an assistant manager at a plumbing, electric and heating store in Ohio, rose to the level of manager and accumulated a house, two cars, two trucks, and two motorcycles.
Restless at 23 RB sold everything but a truck, some harps and a guitar and headed to Colorado to be a cowboy and play music. There he met a horse trainer and lived on an Indian Reservation in Ignacio where he slept in a barn learning horses by day and teaching himself guitar at night. A few months later he got good enough at both and started getting hired by local outfitters to run back-country horse packing, wrangle horses and entertain the guests around the campfire.
Since those early beginnings, RB’s life and career have taken many twists, turns, bumps and bruises accompanied by significant accomplishments. Independent and flying under the radar he has 15 albums under his belt, toured 32 countries & 5 continents, sold over 40,000 albums most of them at his shows. He has a song catalog with Gwen Gordy of the Motown Dynasty at EMI. He’s had principal roles in national commercials, appeared in national music videos and his songs have been recorded by artists such as The Marshall Tucker Band. RB has worked with many major acts from Jazz Greats Hiroshima to The Charlie Daniels Band, has a 14 piece Roots Music Production Show featuring his songs, a Billboard Magazine Songwriting award, to name just a few of his achievements.