Friday, September 30, 2016

Today In Blues History September 30

Today in Blues History

September 30

Born on this date in 1935, Arzell Hill, better known as Z.Z. Hill was born in Naples, TX. He is best known for his recordings in the 1970s and early 1980s, including his 1982 album for Malaco Records, Down Home, which stayed on the Billboard soul album chart for nearly two years. The track Down Home Blues has been called the best-known blues song of the 1980s. According to the Texas State Historical Association, Hill "devised a combination of blues and contemporary soul styling and helped to restore the blues to modern black consciousness."

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Ultimate '60's Crossover Show This Saturday Night

Henry and I hope you will join us this Saturday night at 11 as we unleash a great show that features some artists that don’t usually get their due for their contributions to the blues.
As many of us remember (or have a vague recollection) the ‘60’s were a turbulent era with many different voices shouting many different slogans. It was a time where humanity was at a Crossroads and trying to find a direction home.
It was a time when the music led a generation, and a time when many people discovered that the blues were for everybody. Many musicians experimented with the blues as that was the basis for rock and roll. Many artists adapted the blues to fit their own needs (I’m looking at you Led Zepplin), and more than a few succeeded in using the blues to make a powerful statement.
So this weekend, we’re going to look at some great crossover acts from that time. Henry loves doing this stuff and he has found several acts that we think you will enjoy. First up is Creedence Clearwater Revival. It’s not so much of a stretch to think that the swamp tinged CCR, the guys who gave us Proud Mary, have some blues in their soul. We’ve got a smattering of songs from them that you might not realize they recorded, but you’re definitely going to want to check them out.
We’ve also got a collaboration between three legendary guitarists: Eric Clapton, John Mayall, and Mick Taylor. Speaking of trios, do you remember The Electric Flag? Mike Bloomfield formed the group after his time with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band and he was joined by Barry Goldberg on keys and Buddy Miles on drums. There were several other members of the group that kind of rotated in and out, so technically they’re not a trio. Give it a rest, I needed a segue to mention that we’ve got a cut from them as well.
Another trio (see how that keeps popping up) is the great power group Cream. Clapton, Jack Bruce, and Ginger Baker unleashed their take on blues on the world and turned on a lot of kids to the music. We’ve got three songs from them (all covers) that will rock you and make you boogie wherever you are.
One relic from the sixties that stayed on the shelf for a number of years was a pet project of the Rolling Stones, The Rock And Roll Circus. They had a collection of great acts such as Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithful, and The Who. They also had bluesman Taj Mahal and we’ve got a selection from him, as well as the Dirty Mac Band which was comprised of John Lennon, Eric Clapton, Keith Richards on bass, and drummer Mitch Mitchell from the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
The Rolling Stones will also join us with one of their blues numbers and you won’t want to miss that. Or Mr. Bob Dylan either, who will close out the show with a very nice early number.
So do what you need to do to stay up late – we’ll definitely make it worth your while. Slip into your bell bottoms, put on your granny glasses, dig out your old peace sign buttons, and groove to one of the greatest decades of music.
It’s all on 88.9 WCVE or online at, where it’s always Time For The Blues!

Today In Blues History September 29

Today in Blues History

September 29

The original wild man of rock and roll, Jerry Lee Lewis entered the world today in 1935 in Ferriday, LA. The singer-songwriter, musician, and pianist, is often known by his nickname, The Killer. A pioneer of rock and roll and rockabilly music, Lewis made his first recordings in 1956 at Sun Records in Memphis. Crazy Arms sold 300,000 copies in the South, but it was his 1957 hit Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On that shot Lewis to fame worldwide. He followed this with Great Balls of Fire, Breathless, and High School Confidential. However, Lewis's rock and roll career faltered in the wake of his marriage to his 13-year-old cousin when he was 22 years old. Lewis was influenced by a piano-playing older cousin, Carl McVoy (who later recorded with Bill Black's Combo), the radio, and the sounds from Haney's Big House, a black juke joint across the tracks.

Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On:

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Today In Blues History September 28

Today in Blues History

September 28

In 1910, Houston Stackhouse was born Houston Goff, in Wesson, Mississippi, and was the son of Garfield Goff. He was raised by James Wade Stackhouse on the Randall Ford Plantation. Stackhouse learned the details of his parentage only when he applied for a passport later in his life. In his teenage years he relocated with his family to Crystal Springs, Mississippi. He became inspired listening to local musicians and records by Blind Blake, Blind Lemon Jefferson and Lonnie Johnson. By the late 1930s, Stackhouse had played guitar around the Delta states and worked with members of the Mississippi Sheiks, Robert Johnson, Charlie McCoy and Walter Vinson. He also teamed up with his distant cousin Robert Nighthawk, whom he taught to play the guitar. In 1946, Stackhouse moved to Helena, Arkansas, to live near Nighthawk and for a time was a member of Nighthawk’s band, playing on KFFA radio.

In 1928, Cora Walton was born on a farm in Shelby County, TN. The world would eventually know her as Koko Taylor, “The Queen of the Blues.” Her style encompassed many genres. including Chicago blues, electric blues, rhythm and blues and soul blues. She was known for her rough, powerful vocals and traditional blues stylings. She left Tennessee for Chicago in 1952 with her husband, Robert "Pops" Taylor, a truck driver. In the late 1950s she began singing in blues clubs in Chicago. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to more opportunities for performing and her first recording contract, in 1965, with Checker Records, a label owned by Chess Records, for which she recorded Wang Dang Doodle, a song written by Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf five years earlier. The record became a hit, reaching number four on the R&B chart and number 58 on the pop chart in 1966, and selling a million copies. She recorded several versions of the song over the years, including a live rendition at the 1967 American Folk Blues Festival, with the harmonica player Little Walter and the guitarist Hound Dog Taylor. Taylor became better known by touring in the U.S. in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator, eight of which were nominated for Grammy Awards, and came to dominate ranks of female blues singers, winning twenty-five W. C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist).

This date in 1963 recorded the passing of Charley Lincoln. Also known as Charley Hicks or Laughing Charley, Lincoln was Barbecue Bob's brother and was born Charlie Hicks, Jr. He was an early American country blues musician who often recorded with his brother. Hicks was born in Lithonia, Georgia. In his teens he was taught to play the guitar by Savannah Weaver, the mother of Curley Weaver, and performed in the Lithonia area until 1920. He moved to Atlanta, Georgia, and worked outside the field of music, occasionally performing with his brother. He recorded with his brother for Columbia Records from 1927 to 1930. An example is the duet It Won't Be Long Now, with crosstalk, which the brothers recorded in Atlanta on November 5, 1927. After Robert's early death in 1931, Lincoln continued to perform into the 1950s. From 1955 to 1963 he was imprisoned for murder in Cairo, Georgia, where he became a prisoner trustee. He died there of a cerebral hemorrhage on September 28, 1963.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Today In Blues History September 27

Today in Blues History

September 27

Today marks the birth in 1956 of harmonica player Bob Corritore in Chicago, Illinois. At the age of 12, he was first inspired after hearing the radio playing a Muddy Waters track. Self-taught on the harmonica, Corritore collected blues albums and later attended performances in blues clubs. He garnered playing tips and support from a number of those he saw perform, including Louis Myers, Little Mack Simmons, Carey Bell, Big Walter Horton, Big John Wrencher and Junior Wells. Gaining experience in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Corritore worked in local clubs alongside Willie Buck, Dave Myers, Tail Dragger, Johnny "Big Moose" Walker, and Eddie Taylor. This led to Corritore doing record production work for Big Leon Brooks and Little Willie Anderson.

Blues Won’t Let Me Take My Rest (with Henry Gray):

Also born this day in 1958 in Vienna, Austria is Christian Dozzler, a blues, boogie woogie and zydeco multi-instrumentalist and singer now based in the Dallas/Fort Worth (Texas) area. He plays piano, harmonica, accordion and organ, and writes most of his recorded material. He has been nicknamed "Vienna Slim". He started teaching himself to play blues and boogie woogie on the piano after he heard this music on the radio at age 14. Eventually, he also learned playing the harmonica and guitar, and formed the Backyard Bluesband in 1976, while still in high school. In 1984 he got called to co-front Austria's Mojo Blues Band, and toured and recorded with them until 1993. From 1993 until 2000, he led his own band Christian Dozzler & The Blues Wave. In 2000 he relocated to the United States and was keyboardist for the Larry Garner band from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, for two years. He settled in the Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas, area in 2002 and continued his solo career. As of 2010, he performs mostly solo piano blues in North America and Europe, but also plays with Texas blues bands like Anson Funderburgh & The Rockets, Mike Morgan and the Crawl or Hash Brown & The Browntones on a regular basis.

Christian Dozzler joined by The Rockets:

Monday, September 26, 2016

Today In Blues History September 26

Today in Blues History

September 26

Sep    26     1937 saw the passing of The Empress of the Blues, Bessie Smith who died as the result of injuries sustained in a car accident outside of Clarksdale, MS. Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on other jazz singers. Smith had a strong contralto voice, which recorded well from her first session, which was conducted when recordings were made acoustically. With the advent of electrical recording (her first electrical recording was Cake Walking Babies [From Home], recorded on May 5, 1925), the sheer power of her voice was even more evident. She was also able to benefit from the new technology of radio broadcasting, even on stations in the segregated South. For example, after giving a concert for a white-only audience at a theater in Memphis, Tennessee, in October 1923, she then performed a late-night concert on station WMC, which was well received by the radio audience. She made 160 recordings for Columbia, often accompanied by the finest musicians of the day, notably Louis Armstrong, Coleman Hawkins, Fletcher Henderson, James P. Johnson, Joe Smith, and Charlie Green. On September 26, 1937, Smith was critically injured in a car crash while traveling along U.S. Route 61 between Memphis, Tennessee, and Clarksdale, Mississippi. Her lover, Richard Morgan, was driving and misjudged the speed of a slow-moving truck ahead of him. Tire marks at the scene suggested that Morgan tried to avoid the truck by driving around its left side, but he hit the rear of the truck side-on at high speed. The tailgate of the truck sheared off the wooden roof of Smith's old Packard. Smith, who was in the passenger seat, probably with her right arm or elbow out the window, took the full brunt of the impact. Morgan escaped without injuries. The first people on the scene were a Memphis surgeon, Dr. Hugh Smith (no relation), and his fishing partner, Henry Broughton. In the early 1970s, Hugh Smith gave a detailed account of his experience to Bessie's biographer Chris Albertson. This is the most reliable eyewitness testimony about the events surrounding her death. After stopping at the accident scene, Hugh Smith examined the singer, who was lying in the middle of the road with obviously severe injuries. He estimated she had lost about a half pint of blood and immediately noted a major traumatic injury to her right arm; it had been almost completely severed at the elbow. He stated that this injury alone did not cause her death. Although the light was poor, he observed only minor head injuries. He attributed her death to extensive and severe crush injuries to the entire right side of her body, consistent with a sideswipe collision. Broughton and Smith moved the singer to the shoulder of the road. Smith dressed her arm injury with a clean handkerchief and asked Broughton to go to a house about 500 feet off the road to call an ambulance. By the time Broughton returned, about 25 minutes later, Bessie Smith was in shock. Time passed with no sign of the ambulance, so Hugh Smith suggested that they take her into Clarksdale in his car. He and Broughton had almost finished clearing the back seat when they heard the sound of a car approaching at high speed. Smith flashed his lights in warning, but the oncoming car failed to stop and plowed into his car at full speed. It sent his car careening into Bessie Smith's overturned Packard, completely wrecking it. The oncoming car ricocheted off Hugh Smith's car into the ditch on the right, barely missing Broughton and Bessie Smith. The young couple in the new car did not have life-threatening injuries. Two ambulances arrived on the scene from Clarksdale, one from the black hospital, summoned by Broughton, the other from the white hospital, acting on a report from the truck driver, who had not seen the accident victims. Bessie Smith was taken to Clarksdale's G. T. Thomas Afro-American Hospital, where her right arm was amputated. She died that morning without regaining consciousness. After her death, an often repeated but now discredited story emerged that she had died as a result of having been refused admission to a whites-only hospital in Clarksdale. The jazz writer and producer John Hammond gave this account in an article in the November 1937 issue of Down Beat magazine. The circumstances of Smith's death and the rumor promoted by Hammond formed the basis for Edward Albee's 1959 one-act play The Death of Bessie Smith.

Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out:

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Today In Blues History September 25

Today in Blues History

September 25

In 1957 Buddy Guy who would go on to become one of the greatest guitar players and singers arrived in Chicago with his guitar and the shirt on his back.

Damn Right I’ve Got The Blues:

In the blues capital of Turkey, Samsun, in 1970 Yavuz Çetin was born. He was a Turkish musician as well as songwriter and singer in the blues and psychedelic music genres, who gained renown in his native country for the skill and sensitivity of his guitar performances and, in the wake of his suicide at the age of 30, before the release of his highly praised album, Satılık [For Sale], has achieved a near-iconic posthumous status as a talent lost on the brink of great achievement.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Today In Blues History September 24

Today in Blues History

September 24

Lemon Henry Jefferson, better known as Blind Lemon Jefferson was born on this date in 1893 in Coutchman, TX. He was born either completely or partially blind and would eventually become a blues and gospel singer, guitarist, and songwriter. He was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s and has been called the "Father of the Texas Blues." Prior to Jefferson, few artists had recorded solo voice and blues guitar, the first of which were the vocalist Sara Martin and the guitarist Sylvester Weaver, who recorded Longing for Daddy Blues, probably on October 24, 1923. The first self-accompanied solo performer of a self-composed blues song was Lee Morse, whose Mail Man Blues was recorded on October 7, 1924. Jefferson's music is uninhibited and represented the classic sounds of everyday life, from a honky-tonk to a country picnic, to street corner blues, to work in the burgeoning oil fields (a reflection of his interest in mechanical objects and processes). Jefferson's "old-fashioned" sound and confident musicianship made it easy to market him. His skillful guitar playing and impressive vocal range opened the door for a new generation of male solo blues performers, such as Furry Lewis, Charlie Patton, and Barbecue Bob. He stuck to no musical conventions, varying his riffs and rhythm and singing complex and expressive lyrics in a manner exceptional at the time for a "simple country blues singer."

Passing on this date in 2006 in Mequon, WI was one of the longest lived bluesmen, Henry Townsend. Townsend was born in Shelby, Mississippi and grew up in Cairo, Illinois. He left home at the age of nine because of an abusive father and hoboed his way to St. Louis, Missouri. He learned guitar while in his early teens from a locally renowned blues guitarist known as "Dudlow Joe." By the late 1920s he had begun touring and recording with pianist Walter Davis, and had acquired the nickname "Mule" because he was sturdy in both physique and character. In St. Louis, he worked with some of the early blues pioneers, including J.D. Short. Townsend was one of the only artists known to have recorded in nine consecutive decades. He first recorded in 1929, and remained active up to 2006. By the mid-1990s, Townsend and his one-time collaborator Yank Rachell were the only active blues artists whose careers had started in the 1920s. He recorded on several different labels, including Columbia Records and Folkways Records.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Today In Blues History September 23

Today in Blues History

September 23

On this date in 1907, boogie woogie pianist Albert Ammons was born in Chicago, IL. In 1924 he met back up with boyhood friend Meade Lux Lewis. Soon the two players began working as a team, performing at club parties. Ammons started his own band at the Club DeLisa in 1934 and remained at the club for the next two years. During that time he played with a five piece unit that included Guy Kelly, Dalbert Bright, Jimmy Hoskins, and Israel Crosby. Ammons also recorded as Albert Ammons's Rhythm Kings for Decca Records in 1936. The Rhythm Kings' version of Swanee River Boogie sold a million copies.

Also on this date in 1930, Ray Charles Robinson who would gain fame as Ray Charles was born in Albany, Georgia.  An American singer, songwriter, musician, and composer, among friends and fellow musicians he preferred being called "Brother Ray." He was often referred to as "The Genius". Charles was blind from the age of seven. He pioneered the genre of soul music during the 1950s by combining blues, rhythm and blues, and gospel styles into the music he recorded for Atlantic Records. He also contributed to the integration of country and rhythm and blues and pop music during the 1960s with his crossover success on ABC Records, most notably with his two Modern Sounds albums. While he was with ABC, Charles became one of the first African-American musicians to be granted artistic control by a mainstream record company. Charles cited Nat King Cole as a primary influence, but his music was also influenced by country, jazz, blues, and rhythm and blues artists of the day, including Louis Jordan and Charles Brown. In the late forties he became friends with Quincy Jones, to whom he learned the ropes of arranging jazz music. Their friendship would last till the end.

In 1935, Fenton Robinson was born in Greenwood, MS and left home at the age of 18 to move to Memphis, Tennessee where he recorded his first single Tennessee Woman in 1957. He settled in Chicago in 1962. He recorded his signature song, Somebody Loan Me a Dime, in 1967 on the Palos label, the nationwide distribution of which was aborted by a freak snow storm hitting the Windy City. Covered by Boz Scaggs in 1969, the song was misattributed, resulting in legal battles. It has since become a blues standard, being "part of the repertoire of one out of every two blues artists", according to 1997's Encyclopedia of Blues. Robinson re-recorded the song for the critically acclaimed album Somebody Loan Me a Dime in 1974, the first of three he would produce under the Alligator Records label. Robinson was nominated for a Grammy Award for the second, 1977's I Hear Some Blues Downstairs.

Born in Ozark, Arkansas in 1939, Roy Buchanan was a pioneer of the Telecaster sound who worked as both a sideman and solo artist, with two gold albums early in his career, and two later solo albums that made it on to the Billboard chart. Despite never having achieved stardom, he is still considered a highly influential guitar player. Guitar Player praised him as having one of the "50 Greatest Tones of all Time." He appeared on the PBS music program Austin City Limits in 1977 during Season 2.

Passings on this day include Calvin Frazier who died in 1972 in Detroit, MI. Despite leaving a fragmented recording history, both as a singer and guitarist, Frazier was an associate of Robert Johnson, and recorded alongside Johnny Shines, Sampson Pittman, T.J. Fowler, Alberta Adams, Jimmy Milner, Baby Boy Warren, Boogie Woogie Red, and latterly Washboard Willie. His early work was recorded by the Library of Congress (now preserved by the National Recording Registry) prior to the outbreak of World War II, although his more commercial period took place between 1949 and 1956.

Houston Stackhouse died in 1980 in Helena, Arkansas. This Delta blues guitarist and singer is best known for his association with Robert Nighthawk. He was not especially noted as a guitarist or singer, but Nighthawk showed gratitude to Stackhouse, his guitar teacher, by backing him on a number of recordings in the late 1960s. Apart from a tour to Europe, Stackhouse confined his performing to the area around the Mississippi Delta.

1995 saw the passing of Booker T. Laury in Memphis. Over his lengthy career, Laury worked with various musicians including Memphis Slim and Mose Vinson. He appeared in two films, but did not record his debut album until he was almost eighty years of age. In the 1989 Dennis Quaid film, Great Balls of Fire!, the plot had a young Jerry Lee Lewis and Jimmy Swaggart look into a juke joint to see Laury playing Big Legged Woman. This attention led to Laury having the opportunity to record later in his life. Laury appeared in the 1992 documentary film, Deep Blues: A Musical Pilgrimage to the Crossroads. In the film, Laury played Memphis Blues in his own living room. In 1994, Bullseye Blues Records issued Nothin' But the Blues, an album of Laury's voice and piano, performing ten of his own compositions.

In 2006, Piedmont blues practitioner Etta Baker died in Fairfax, VA. She was born Etta Lucille Reid in Caldwell County, North Carolina, of African-American, Native American, and European-American heritage. She began playing the guitar at the age of three. She was taught by her father, Boone Reid, a longtime player of the Piedmont blues on several instruments. He was her only musical instructor. She played both the 6-string and the 12-string acoustic guitar and the five-string banjo. Baker played the Piedmont blues for nearly ninety years.

In 2007, Gary Primich died in Austin, TX. While working at the University of Texas, he started playing along with other musicians in local clubs. In 1987, he met Jimmy Carl Black, and they formed the Mannish Boys. Their debut album, A L'il Dab'll Do Ya was issued on the Amazing Records label, and although Black then left the band, Primich stayed with the Mannish Boys for another album, Satellite Rock. In 1991 Primich released his eponymous solo debut album, and My Pleasure followed the next year. Amazing Records then folded, and Primich was contracted to the Flying Fish Records label releasing Travelin' Mood in 1994 and Mr. Freeze in 1995. Mr. Freeze was named as one of the twenty best blues albums of the 1990s by the Chicago newspaper, New City.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Today In Blues History September 22

Today in Blues History

September 22

In 1896, Memphis blues and country blues guitarist and songwriter Dan Sane   was born in Hernando, MS. He was an associate of Frank Stokes. According to the Allmusic journalist Jason Ankeny, "they had emerged among the most complementary duos in all of the blues, with Sane's flatpicking ideally embellished by Stokes' fluid rhythms." The best-known of the songs written by Sane are Downtown Blues and Mr. Crump Don't Like It.

Australian musician, singer-songwriter, author, screenwriter, composer and occasional film actor Nick Cave was born in Warracknabeal, Victoria, Australia in 1957. He is best known as the frontman of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Referred to as rock music's "Prince of Darkness," Cave's music is generally characterized by emotional intensity, a wide variety of influences, and lyrical obsessions with death, religion, love and violence. Cave formed Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds in 1983, releasing its debut album the following year. Much of the band's early material was set in a mythic American Deep South, drawing on spirituals and Delta blues, while Cave's preoccupation with Old Testament notions of good versus evil culminated in what has been called his signature song, The Mercy Seat (1988). The 1996 album Murder Ballads featured Where the Wild Roses Grow, a duet with Kylie Minogue, Cave's most commercially successful single to date.

In 2004, U.P. Wilson died in Paris, France. Wilson, an African American electric blues guitarist and singer performed Texas blues. He recorded five albums for JSP Records, the first being Boogie Boy! The Texas Guitar Tornado Returns!, and was known for playing a style of deep Southern soul blues that was gospel inflected.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Today In Blues History September 20

Today in Blues History

September 20, 1962, saw the passing of Curley Weaver (aka Slim Gordon) in Almon, GA. Weaver moved to Atlanta in 1925, where he worked as a laborer and performed on the streets and at social events. He first recorded in 1928, for Columbia Records, and subsequently released records on several different labels. He recorded on his own during the 1920s and 1930s, first in the style taught by his mother and later in the spreading Piedmont style, but he was best known for duets with Blind Willie McTell, with whom he worked until the 1950s, and for his work with Barbecue Bob, Fred McMullen, and the harmonica and guitar player Buddy Moss. He was also a member of the recording groups the Georgia Browns (Weaver, Moss, and McMullen) and the Georgia Cotton Pickers (Bob, Weaver, and Moss), examples of the sort of bands that played at house parties in those days.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Today In Blues History September 19

Today in Blues History

September 19

In 1953, Bob Koester records the Windy City Six for the first release on what will become Delmark Records, now the oldest independent Jazz and Blues record label in the world.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Today In Blues History September 18

Today in Blues History

September 18

There are three deaths that happened on this date in different years. The first was Blind Willie Johnson who died in Beaumont, TX in 1945. Johnson was a very influential gospel blues singer and guitarist. The lyrics of his songs were usually religious, and his music drew from both the sacred and the blues traditions, characterized by his slide guitar accompaniment and tenor voice, often with a lower-register "growl", or false bass voice. One of his most noted songs, Dark Was the Night is one of the music tracks on the Voyager Golden Record, copies of which were placed on both the unmanned Voyager Project space probes in 1977. It is the penultimate track, preceding the Cavatina from Beethoven's String Quartet Op. 130: the blind musician and the deaf, side by side. The astronomer Timothy Ferris, who worked with Carl Sagan in selecting the tracks, said, “Johnson's song concerns a situation he faced many times, nightfall with no place to sleep. Since humans appeared on Earth, the shroud of night has yet to fall without touching a man or woman in the same plight.”

On this date in 1970 Jimi Hendrix died in Kensington, London. Born Johnny Allen Hendrix, he later changed his name to James Marshall "Jimi" Hendrix and was an American rock guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Although his mainstream career spanned only four years, he is widely regarded as one of the most influential electric guitarists in the history of popular music, and one of the most celebrated musicians of the 20th century. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame describes him as "arguably the greatest instrumentalist in the history of rock music." After leaving the army, Hendrix made a living performing at a circuit of venues throughout the South who were affiliated with the Theater Owners' Booking Association (TOBA), widely known as the Chitlin' Circuit. In addition to playing in his own band, Hendrix performed as a backing musician for various soul, R&B, and blues musicians, including Wilson Pickett, Slim Harpo, Sam Cooke, and Jackie Wilson. Hendrix later moved to London and while at the London Polytechnic at Regent Street, where Cream was scheduled to perform, Hendrix met Eric Clapton. Clapton later commented: "He asked if he could play a couple of numbers. I said, 'Of course', but I had a funny feeling about him." Halfway through Cream's set, Hendrix took the stage and performed a frantic version of the Howlin' Wolf song Killing Floor. In 1989, Clapton described the performance: "He played just about every style you could think of, and not in a flashy way. I mean he did a few of his tricks, like playing with his teeth and behind his back, but it wasn't in an upstaging sense at all, and that was it ... He walked off, and my life was never the same again."

In 1983, Roy Milton died in Los Angeles. Milton performed in local clubs and began recording in the 1940s with his first release being Milton's Boogie on his own record label. His big break came in 1945, when his R.M. Blues, on the new Juke Box label, became a hit, reaching number 2 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 20 on the pop chart. Its success helped establish Art Rupe's company, which he shortly afterwards renamed Specialty Records. Milton and his band became a major touring attraction, and he continued to record successfully for Specialty Records through the late 1940s and early 1950s. He recorded a total of 19 Top Ten R&B hits, the biggest being Hop, Skip And Jump (# 3 R&B, 1948), Information Blues (# 2 R&B, 1950), and Best Wishes (# 2 R&B, 1951). He left Specialty in 1955. However, releases on other labels were unsuccessful, and the development of rock and roll had rendered him something of an anachronism by the middle of the decade. Nevertheless he continued to perform, appearing in 1970 as a member of Johnny Otis' band at the Monterey Jazz Festival, and resumed his recording career in the 1970s with albums for Kent Records and for the French label, Black & Blue Records.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Today In Blues History September 17

Today in Blues History

September 17

On this date in 1923, a man not normally associated with the blues, Hank Williams, was born in Butler County, Alabama. While living in Georgiana, Williams met Rufus "Tee-Tot" Payne, a street performer. Payne gave Williams guitar lessons in exchange for meals prepared by Williams’ mother Lillie or money. Payne's base musical style was blues. He taught Williams chords, chord progressions, bass turns, and the musical style of accompaniment that he would use in most of his future songwriting. Later on, Williams recorded one of the songs that Payne taught him, "My Bucket's Got a Hole in It." Williams musical style contained influences from Payne along with several other country influences, among them "the Singing Brakeman" Jimmie Rodgers, Moon Mullican, and Roy Acuff.

My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It:

In 1952, Little Walter’s recording of Juke reaches #1 on Billboard's R&B Chart where it stays for eight weeks.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Today In Blues History September 16

Today in Blues History

September 16

Today marks the birthday in 1925 of the man who would go on to be called “The King of the Blues,” and one of the “Three Kings of the Blues Guitar” along with Albert King and Freddie King. Of course that is Riley B. “B.B.” King who was born on a plantation called Berclair, in Mississippi. King introduced a sophisticated style of soloing based on fluid string bending and shimmering vibrato that influenced many later electric blues guitarists. King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987, and is considered one of the most influential blues musicians of all time. King was known for performing tirelessly throughout his musical career, appearing at more than 200 concerts per year on average into his 70s. In 1956, he reportedly appeared at 342 shows. While learning his chops, King initially worked at Memphis radio station WDIA as a singer and disc jockey, gaining the nickname "Beale Street Blues Boy", which was later shortened to "Blues Boy" and finally to B.B. It was there that he first met T-Bone Walker. King said, "Once I'd heard him for the first time, I knew I'd have to have [an electric guitar] myself. 'Had' to have one, short of stealing!" Following his first Billboard Rhythm and Blues chart number one, "3 O'Clock Blues" (February 1952),[30] B.B. King became one of the most important names in R&B music in the 1950s, amassing an impressive list of hits[22] including "You Know I Love You", "Woke Up This Morning", "Please Love Me", "When My Heart Beats like a Hammer", "Whole Lotta Love", "You Upset Me Baby", "Every Day I Have the Blues", "Sneakin' Around", "Ten Long Years", "Bad Luck", "Sweet Little Angel", "On My Word of Honor", and "Please Accept My Love".

Today also marks the birth in 1931 of Little Willie Littlefield in El Campo, TX. Littlefield  was an R&B and boogie-woogie pianist and singer whose early recordings "formed a vital link between boogie-woogie and rock and roll." Littlefield was regarded as a teenage wonder and overnight sensation when, in 1949 at the age of 18, he popularized the triplet piano style on his Modern Records debut single "It's Midnight." He also recorded the first version of the song "Kansas City" (originally issued as "K. C. Lovin'"), in 1952.

Sadly, this date also saw the passing in 1946 of Mamie Smith in Staten Island, NY. Smith was a vaudeville singer, dancer, pianist and actress. As a vaudeville singer she performed in various styles, including jazz and blues. In 1920, she entered blues history as the first African-American artist to make vocal blues recordings. On February 14, 1920, Smith recorded "That Thing Called Love" and "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down" for Okeh Records, in New York City, after African-American songwriter and bandleader Perry Bradford persuaded Fred Hagar. This was the first recording by a black blues singer; the musicians, however, were all white. Hagar had received threats from Northern and Southern pressure groups saying they would boycott the company if he recorded a black singer. Despite these threats the record was a commercial success and opened the door for more black musicians to record. Smith's biggest hit was recorded later, on August 10, 1920, when she recorded a set of songs written by Perry Bradford, including "Crazy Blues" and "It's Right Here for You (If You Don't Get It, 'Tain't No Fault of Mine)", again for Okeh Records; a million copies of the record were sold in less than a year. Many copies of the record were bought by African Americans, and there was a sharp increase in the popularity of race records. Because of its historical significance, "Crazy Blues" was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1994 and was selected for preservation in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2005. Although other African Americans had been recorded earlier, such as George W. Johnson in the 1890s, they were performing music that had a substantial following among European-American audiences. The success of Smith's record prompted record companies to seek to record other female blues singers and started the era of what is now known as classic female blues.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Today In Blues History September 15

Today in Blues History

September 15

In 1911, blues artist Silas Hogan was born in Westover, LA. Hogan, who most notably recorded "Airport Blues" and "Lonesome La La," was the front man of the Rhythm Ramblers, and later became an inductee in the Louisiana Blues Hall of Fame. In 1962, by which time he was aged 51, Hogan was belatedly introduced by Slim Harpo to the Crowley, Louisiana based record producer, J. D. "Jay" Miller. Miller, via the offices of Excello Records, started Hogan's recording career, at a time when interest in variations of swamp blues was starting to wane. Hogan did nevertheless see the issue of several singles up to 1965, when Miller's disagreement with the record label's new owners brought the recording contract to a swift finale. On some of his recordings, Hogan was backed by the harmonica player, Moses "Whispering" Smith. Hogan had to disband the group, and returned to his full-time job at the Exxon oil refinery. In the late 1970s, Hogan recorded further tracks with both Arhoolie and Blue Horizon.

Ten years later, in 1921, Chicago blues harmonica player Snooky Pryor was born in Lambert, Mississippi. He claimed to have pioneered the now-common method of playing amplified harmonica by cupping a small microphone in his hands along with the harmonica, although on his earliest records in the late 1940s and early 1950s he did not utilize this method. Pryor recorded some of the first postwar Chicago blues, in 1948, including "Telephone Blues" and "Snooky & Moody's Boogie," with the guitarist Moody Jones, and "Stockyard Blues" and "Keep What You Got," with the singer and guitarist Floyd Jones. "Snooky & Moody's Boogie" is of considerable historical significance: Pryor claimed that harmonica ace Little Walter directly copied the signature riff of Pryor's song in the opening eight bars of his blues harmonica instrumental "Juke," an R&B hit in 1952. In 1967, Pryor moved to Ullin, Illinois. He quit music and worked as a carpenter in the late 1960s but was persuaded to make a comeback. He was later rediscovered by blues fans and resumed recording occasionally until his death in nearby Cape Girardeau, Missouri, at the age of 85.

Snooky And Moody’s Boogie:

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Popa Chubby Runs Wild In The Tin Pan

Popa Chubby is a big man. At first glance, as he walks on the stage with his bass player and drummer, you get a sense of his size. We’re talking WWE big, supervillain big; but from the moment he sits down and straps on his guitar – you realize that this is a man born to play with the best of them.

I must confess that on Time For The Blues we haven’t played Popa Chubby. Simply because we only have one album – and a very old one at that. But after watching him perform at Richmond’s Tin Pan, I can honestly tell you that we will be adding all of his previous album, plus the new one that is scheduled to be released shortly.

Chubby is backed by a tight rhythm section comprised of Conrad St. Clair on bass and Dave Moore on drums. Chubby handles all the guitar parts and the vocals with Moore adding a few harmony vocals along the way. What’s the most incredible about this tight sounding trio is that St. Clair has only been with the group for a couple of weeks. He may still be finding his way, but he plays like he has been with them for years.

Mixing blistering runs with strong vocals and adding more than a touch of crowd work, Chubby connects with his audience almost forcing a middle of the week crowd to spontaneously clap, chair dance, and call out their enthusiasm. He followed up a great song (I’ve Got The Working Class Blues) which included inducing the crowd to clap with a dead on cover of Jimi Hendrix’ Hey Joe. He received his first standing ovation for his efforts.

It wasn’t the last.

Honestly I stopped counting after the fifth standing ovation and if you add in the fact that most people continued to stand through the last three songs and you get the idea that Chubby rocked The Tin Pan.

Chubby and company were determined to put on the strongest show possible as they are gearing up for an extended tour of Europe. At one point he announced that he had “40 songs on the playlist,” which garnered cheers from the audience. He had to tell them “don’t worry. We can’t play all of them tonight, we’d be here till three in the morning.”

All in all, the group played extended jams of about 16 songs, including the title track to his soon to be released new album, Catfish. For that number he added a little slide. Afterwards, a tired young man went to leave with his family, and Chubby engaged him in a little small talk and got the young man to give him five while the audience cheered.

Clearly this is a man who can handle himself with all ages, shapes, sizes, and all the other variables that affect human beings.

For me, one of the highlights of the evening was the group covering an old Freddie King tune, I’ve Got The Same Old Blues.  Written by three great songwriters: Leon Russell, Donald “Duck” Dunn, and Don Nix, the song starts out quiet and slow moving and builds upwards. It’s a great showcase song and Chubby did a great job with it.

As the group neared the end, they pulled out all the stops, taking great songs and giving them the blues rock treatment. How often do you hear a funked up version of the Theme From The Godfather segueing into some excellent Dick Dale surf music, transitioning into Over The Rainbow and a couple of other songs on top?

They ended with Rock Me All Night Long and Going Down and left to the last standing ovation of the night.

Europe will be lucky to see them on tour, but you can still catch them in the states for a while. If you see them coming to a venue anywhere near you, get those tickets and catch this show. It'

Today In Blues History September 14

Today in Blues History

September 14

In 1889, Tom Delaney an African-American blues and jazz songwriter, pianist and singer, who wrote a number of popular songs, mainly in the 1920s was born in Charleston, South Carolina. His work was recorded by many of the more fashionable singers and musicians of the period and later times, including Lillyn Brown, Lucille Hegamin, Ethel Waters, Earl Hines, Count Basie, Bix Beiderbecke, Big Joe Williams, Clara Smith, Alberta Hunter, Clarence Williams, James P. Johnson, Woody Herman, Bukka White, Toots Thielemans, and Dinah Washington. Although known primarily as a writer of other performers songs, Delaney recorded a small amount of his own material.

Also born on this day in 1952 is Darrell Nulisch who was born in Dallas, TX. Nulisch, a singer and harmonica player who prior to his solo career, was a member of Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets and The Broadcasters. Nulisch's repertoire incorporates soul combined with R&B and Chicago blues, redesigned to complement his distinctive vocals. He sang with Anson Funderburgh's Rockets until 1985 then was then part of Mike Morgan's Crawl, before moving to Massachusetts and joining up with Ronnie Earl's Broadcasters in 1988. He began his solo career late in 1990, relocating to Boston. James Cotton then asked him to sing with Cotton's band on tour, after Cotton had lost his own voice.

1981 saw the passing of Walter E. “Furry” Lewis in Memphis, TN. Lewis was an American country blues guitarist and songwriter and was one of the first of the blues musicians active in the 1920s to be brought out of retirement and given new opportunities to record during the folk blues revival of the 1960s. Lewis made his first recordings for Vocalion Records in Chicago in 1927. A year later he recorded for Victor Records at the Memphis Auditorium, in a session with the Memphis Jug Band, Jim Jackson, Frank Stokes, and others. He again recorded for Vocalion in Memphis in 1929. The tracks were mostly blues but included two-part versions of "Casey Jones" and "John Henry." He sometimes fingerpicked and sometimes played with a slide. He recorded many successful records in the late 1920s, including "Kassie Jones", "Billy Lyons & Stack-O-Lee" and "Judge Harsh Blues" (later called "Good Morning Judge").

September 14 also saw the passing of Laten Johnny Adams in Baton Rouge, LA after a long battle with prostate cancer. Better known ass Johnny Adams, he was a blues, jazz and gospel singer, known as "The Tan Canary" for the multi-octave range of his singing voice, his swooping vocal mannerisms and falsetto. His biggest hits were his versions of "Release Me" and "Reconsider Me" in the late 1960s. In 1983, he signed with Rounder Records, for which he recorded nine critically acclaimed albums produced by Scott Billington, beginning with From the Heart in 1984. These records encompassed a wide range of jazz, blues and R&B styles and highlighted Adams's voice. The albums included tributes to the songwriters Percy Mayfield and Doc Pomus. The jazz-influenced Good Morning Heartache included the work of composers like George Gershwin and Harold Arlen. Other albums in this series are Room with a View of the Blues (1988), Walking on a Tightrope (1989), and The Real Me (1991). These recordings earned him a number of awards, including a W.C. Handy Award. He also toured internationally, with frequent trips to Europe, and worked and recorded with such musicians as Aaron Neville, Harry Connick Jr., Lonnie Smith, and Dr. John.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Today In Blues History September 13

Today in Blues History

September 13

In 1922, Tony Russell “Charles” Brown was born in Texas City, TX. After honing his craft in various groups and clubs, Brown struck out with his own trio. In the late 1940s, a rising demand for blues was driven by a growing audience among white teenagers in the South which quickly spread north and west. Blues singers such as Louis Jordan, Wynonie Harris and Roy Brown were getting much of the attention, but what writer Charles Keil dubs "the postwar Texas clean-up movement in blues" was also beginning to have an influence, driven by blues artists such as T-Bone Walker, Amos Milburn and Brown. Their singing was lighter and more relaxed, and they worked with bands and combos that had saxophone sections and played from arrangements. Despite some success, Brown was often overlooked by the new blues audiences of the 1960’s. In the 1980s Brown made a series of appearances at the New York City nightclub Tramps. As a result of these appearances he signed a recording contract with Blue Side Records and recorded One More for the Road in three days. Blue Side Records closed soon after, but distribution of its records was picked up by Alligator Records. Soon after the success of One More for the Road, Bonnie Raitt helped usher in comeback tour for Brown.

On this date in 1984, Titus Turner died in Atlanta, GA. Also born in Atlanta, Turner's debut single release in 1950 was "Where Are You" on Aladdin Records, billed as Mr. T and his Band. In 1951 his follow-up "Stop Trying to Make a Fool Of Me" appeared on Regal Records. He followed this a year later on Okeh, issuing eight tracks including "Got So Much Trouble." He had a spell with Mercury Records' imprint, Wing, but was not commercially successful until 1955, when Little Willie John recorded Turner's "All Around the World." The track, re-titled "Grits Ain't Groceries," was covered by Little Milton. Turner and John then co-wrote "Leave My Kitten Alone," later covered by Johnny Preston, The Beatles and Elvis Costello. In 1959 the King label issued Turner's first hit single, "The Return of Stagolee," an answer song to Lloyd Price's "Stagger Lee".