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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label Alabama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Alabama. Show all posts

Friday, July 19, 2019

Zenith Records artist: Adam Holt - Kind of Blues - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent release, Kind of Blues, from Adam Holt and it's solid. Opening with up beat rocker, Mr. Morning Drive featuring Adam Holt on vocals and guitars, Owen Finley on bass, Greg DeLuca on drums and Donnie Sundal on keys. With it's upfront poppy sound, nice melody and lovable tempo, this is a sure radio track. One of my favorite tracks on the release is I'm Still Holdin' On with a melodic slide lead from Lee Yankie and beautifully country style vocal blending, underscored by the pedal steel work of Mark Welborn and real nice electric blues style soloing by Holt. Very nice. Piano rocker, Give The Dog A Bone is a cool stripped down rocker with a definite country twinge. Holt really has a great voice and his sense of lyrics are great. Sundal, piano work on this track set a nice groove and Holt's guitar used as punctuation is perfect. Very cool. Another country flavored track, The Bourgeoisie really is a great track with a tight Latin rhythm. With a cool bass line, tight drums, organ accents and excellent guitar punctuation, Holt's vocals ride high on the wave. Excellent! Crossing over into jazz land, The End is a strong jazz track with a foot in country. This is the one track where Holt's vocals aren't the best part (his vocals are really strong) but the composition is really nice and the blend of organ, drums, bass and lead guitar are superb. Wrapping the release is Bob Dylan's Lay Lady Lay with a rich pedal steel guitar undercoating. maintaining much of Dylan's original arrangement and some instrumental enhancements, a strong closer. 

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Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Cordova Bay Records artist: David Vest - Self-titled - New Release review

I just had the opportunity to review the newest self-titled release from David Vest and it's a rock and roller. Opening with Some Old Lonesome Day, David Vest, who handles piano and lead vocals is backed by Billy Hicks on drums, Ryan Tandy on bass and Tom Bowler and Peter Dammann on guitar. Genevieve kicks into a R&B style with a cool bass and drum rhythm and New Orleans style piano rolls by Vest and tasty guitar work by Bowler and Dammann. Boogie track, Party In The Room Next Door, kicks it up a few more notches giving Vest the open road to really rock out on piano. Following suit is a strong rockabilly style guitar solo making this one of the best tracks on the release. Elvis Presley's Leak In This Old Building really captures that R&B rockin style with gospel style piano. Traditional track, Gotta Travel On gets a Latin jazz remix with lead piano by Vest improvising the melody with tight drum riffs by Hicks giving it a New Orleans flavor. Very cool. Renoviction Man digs right into the old style John Lee Hooker styling with loose vocal phrasing, excellent piano riffs and old style blues guitar riffs. Possibly my favorite track on the release. Wrapping the release is Lomax, a somber ballad highlighting Vest on piano and vocal. This is an interesting release with a broad variety of sounds.

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Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Alabama Singer Lisa Mills Says "I'm Changing" on New CD Coming Oct. 21 from Her MillsBluz Record Label

Alabama Singer Lisa Mills Says I’m Changing on New CD Coming Oct. 21 from Her MillsBluz Record Label

MOBILE, AL – Blues, roots and gospel singer Lisa Mills announces an October 21 release date for her new CD, I’m Changing, on her MillsBluz record label, distributed nationally by Burnside Distribution. I’m Changing was recorded primarily at Back Door studios in Mobile and was produced by Lisa Mills and Ian Jennings. The album showcases Mills backed by an impressive cast of musicians including guitarist Rick Hirsch and drummer T. K. Lively of Wet Willie fame, as well as guitarist Corky Hughes (Bo Diddley, Black Oak Arkansas). Bassist Ian Jennings has a host of world-class recording credentials, including work on albums with Jeff Beck (Crazy Legs), several albums with Van Morrison and Tom Jones, plus appearances with Robert Plant and Jimmy Page. Ian was also named Britain's best bassist last year by one of the UK’s top blues magazines.

Lisa Mills is a Mississippi native who currently lives in Mobile, Alabama. Her last CD, Tempered in Fire, was released in 2010 and won her universal acclaim for its rootsy mix of blues, country and gospel sounds powered by her incredibly soulful voice. UK writer Grahame Rhodes described her as “a full-throated female Otis Redding, with some Muscle Shoals soul and Nashville country touches for good measure.” Another reviewer praised her “unique vocal ability to make one feel the good times and bad times in every song,” comparing her to Lucinda Williams.

As its title implies, I’m Changing is actually a re-constructed new version of tracks Lisa originally recorded and released in 2005, with the added benefit of the more pure expression of her artistic desires and abilities. Perhaps most importantly, Lisa was able to put the new project in the hands of groundbreaking producer Trina Shoemaker, the first woman to win the Grammy Award for album engineering, having worked her magic on sessions with Sheryl Crow, Steven Curtis Chapman, the Dixie Chicks and Indigo Girls. Under Shoemaker’s mixing mojo, I’m Changing became an entirely new animal from its predecessor, and the results are explosive.

The even-dozen tracks on the new CD include 10 originals, plus scintillating covers of the Rev. Robert Wilkins’ “Wish I was in Heaven (Sittin’ Down)” and the Jimi Hendrix classic, ”Little Wing,” which undergoes an amazing transformation courtesy of Mills’ soulful vocal attack.

“There are two fully re-recorded tracks on the album,” says Lisa: ‘Take My Troubles and Tell Me’ and three new songs: ‘Rain in the Summertime,’ ‘I Don't Want to be Happy’ and ‘Eyes So Blue.’ All of these tracks are original songs.”

She also admits that during the original 2005 sessions of I'm Changing, she was having a terrible time with her voice and thought she’d have to re-record just about everything for the new release. “But once Trina got started on the mixing,” she adds, “it became apparent that the vocals were actually really good and so the only thing I re-sang was one phrase in ‘Little Wing’ and the two tracks I had recorded in Los Angeles – ‘Tell Me’ and ‘Take My Troubles.’ These were recorded entirely in the original Mobile, Alabama studio.  Also, I went back and used an original vocal done in Mobile instead of a take I tracked in L.A.”

Lisa’s Gulf Coast background brings a hotbed of Southern musical influences that have informed her sound from the get-go. She often sings the blues – but to call her a blues singer would be to limit her potential audience reach. “I tend to think of myself more as a bit of a blue-eyed-soul singer armed with a guitar,” says Mills. “If anything, I would refer to what I do as American Southern roots music.” And that includes straight-up gospel, as she does in daringly a cappella fashion on “Tell Me.” 

Prior to going her own way, Lisa toured with Big Brother & The Holding Company, singing the songs of one of rock’s most revered vocalists, and her understanding of Janis Joplin’s gifts is far more insightful than the superficial norm. One listen to the fragile balance of vulnerability and indomitability she brings to “Better Than This” will bear this out.

Lisa Mills will tour both in the U.S and in Europe to support I’m Changing

Friday, July 26, 2013

Good Rockin´ - Good Rockin´ Charles

Good Rockin' Charles (March 4, 1933 – May 17, 1989) was an American Chicago blues and electric blues harmonicist, singer and songwriter. He released one album in his lifetime, and is best known for his work with Johnny "Man" Young, Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers, Arthur "Big Boy" Spires and Jimmy Rogers. He was born Henry Lee Bester in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, United States, and later known as Charles Edwards. He relocated from his birthplace to Chicago, Illinois in 1949, and was inspired by fellow harmonica players, Sonny Boy Williamson I, Sonny Boy Williamson II and Little Walter. In the following decade, Charles found steady work with local Chicago blues musicians such as Johnny "Man" Young, Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers, and Arthur "Big Boy" Spires. In 1955 he settled on working in the backing band for the blues singer, Jimmy Rogers. Two years later, the short-lived independent record label, Cobra Records, offered Charles the opportunity to record his own work. However, Charles turned it down. This wariness of working in a recording studio, had earlier seen him replaced at the last minute, as the harmonica player on Jimmy Rogers recording of "Walking by Myself" (1956). The role fell to Big Walter Horton, who greatly enhanced his reputation by playing on the track. In 1975, Charles was finally convinced to record his own album. His eponymous effort initially appeared on vinyl on Mr. Blues Records in 1976, having been recorded the previous November. It was subsequently re-issued by P-Vine Records. Charles later suffered with ill health and was unable to record any significant further work. Charles died in Chicago in May 1989, aged 56

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Friday, May 10, 2013

You Better Move On - Arthur Alexander

Arthur Alexander (May 10, 1940 – June 9, 1993) was an American country songwriter and soul singer. Jason Ankeny, music critic for Allmusic, said Alexander was a "country-soul pioneer" and that, though largely unknown, "his music is the stuff of genius, a poignant and deeply intimate body of work on par with the best of his contemporaries."Alexander wrote songs publicized by such stars as The Beatles, Elvis Presley, Otis Redding, Tina Turner and Jerry Lee Lewis. Alexander was born in Sheffield, Alabama. Working with Spar Music in Florence, Alabama, Alexander recorded his first single, "Sally Sue Brown", under the name of June Alexander (short for Junior), which was released in 1960 on Jud Phillips' Judd Records. (Phillips is the brother of music pioneer Sam Phillips). A year later, Alexander cut "You Better Move On" at a former tobacco warehouse-turned-recording studio in Muscle Shoals. Released on Nashville's Dot Records, the song became a soul/R&B chart hit, and laid the foundation for the modern recording studio FAME. "You Better Move On" is perhaps Alexander's best-known song, covered by the Rolling Stones, the Hollies, George Jones & Johnny Paycheck and Mink DeVille. "Anna (Go to Him)", a U.S. R&B Top Ten Hit, was covered by the Beatles and Humble Pie. The Beatles also did live recordings of "Soldier of Love", which was also performed by Marshall Crenshaw and Pearl Jam, "A Shot of Rhythm and Blues", and "Where Have You Been" recorded live at the Star-Club, in Hamburg, 1962. "Set Me Free" (covered by Esther Phillips and Joe Tex) were also major hits and established Alexander as a pioneering arranger of others' tunes, as well as an established songwriter in his own right. In the mid-1960s, Alexander switched to another label, Sound Stage 7, but failed to find commercial success. Although a 1972 album for Warner Brothers was promising, the singer's potential seemed to wither. He secured a pop hit with "Every Day I have to Cry Some" on Buddah Records in 1975, but the success remained short-lived. The song was also covered by Ike and Tina Turner (produced by Phil Spector), The McCoys, Dusty Springfield, Joe Stampley, C.J. Chenier, Jerry Lee Lewis and others. The follow-up single "Sharing The Night Together" (written by Muscle Shoals songwriters Ava Aldridge and Eddie Struzick) reached No. 92 on the R&B charts, but earned Dr. Hook & the Medicine Show a Top 10 hit in 1978; the Dr. Hook version would be used in the 2012 Family Guy episode Mr. and Mrs. Stewie. For many years, Alexander was out of the music business; he was a bus driver for much of this time. In 1990, he was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame. He began to perform again in 1993 as renewed interest was shown in his small catalogue. His last album Lonely Just Like Me was his first in 21 years. He signed a new recording/publishing contract in May 1993 but suffered a fatal heart attack the following month, three days after performing in Nashville with his new band.

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Hobo Blues - Charley West

Charley West was born in Andalusia, AL. on September 27. 1914 and raised in Cincinnati, OH. He began singing in the mid-1920's with probable encouragement from Leroy Carr. In 1929 he moved to Chicago, IL. and began singing and playing piano in clubs. In 1937 Big Bill Broonzy got West a recording date at Bluebird Records where he recorded four sides in May. A few months later in July, he cut two more sides for Vocalion as "Poor Charlie". For unknown reasons, West didn't play piano on any of his recordings. The piano on the Bluebird recordings was played by Black Bob, while Joshua Altheimer manned the chair on the Vocalion sides. West didn't make any more recordings but kept playing in clubs up until the late 1940's. He stoppeed playing piano around 1949 or 1950 due to a wrist injury. He then held down a job in a steel mill for the next decade. Charley's daughter Dorothy married blues singer/harmonica player Carey Bell. In the 1960's Bell would let his father-in-law sit in and sing at gigs on occasion. On April 16, 1976 Charley West passed away from a heart attack.

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Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Magic Slim & The Teardrops 1974 featuring Coleman Pettis

To the avid blues fan, the name Alabama Jr. (Daddy Rabbit) has been synonymous with that of Magic Slim & The Teardrops for 10 years, From 1973 to 1983. Alabama Jr. was a staple of the Teadrops band providing sympathetic backing to the driving lead of Magic Slim and pulsating bass of his brother, Nick Holt. Coleman Pettis Jr. (his real name) was born in Alabama in the mid 1930s. At the age of 8 his mother taught him to play the guitar, which he practiced sporadically throughout his childhood. When there wasn’t a guitar handy for him to play on, he would make his own by winding bothe ends of some baling wire around a long stick and plucking out whatever sound he could get. By the time he was a teenager, he was playing at local fish fries, first as a solo guitarist, then adding another guitar and playing as a part of a duo, for the then grand sum of $5. - per night. In 1952 he moved to Chicago, where he was eventually to meet and play with many of the great musicians who were building the foundations of what was to become known as “Chicago Blues”. On his arrival in Chicago, Alabama Jr. became an avid club goer, finding out where the hottest blues was being played, and going initially, just to listen. By 1956, he was playing bass with Little Walter, at various clubs on the Southside, and one or two in Joliet. One club that Jr. hung out at was Turner’s Lounge at 40th and Indiana, where he met and played with Lee Jackson, Big Walter Horton, J. B. Hutto, Hayes ware and others. Lee Jackson became a major influence on his career by encouraging him to keep playing the guitar. After his stint playing bass with Little Walter, he joined Lee Jackson for three years on rhythm guitar at a small club called Tony’s Blue Lounge. By 1973 Alabama Jr. had some solid playing experience behind him. He had recorded with J. B. Hutto on J. B.’s firs Delmark album called “Hawk Squat”? snd had built up a solid reputation as a fine and original accompanist. One night in ‘73, he went to hear a band called Mr. Pitiful & The Teardrops at the club named The Bo Weavil at 29th and Wentworth. He liked what he heard there and began to go often, sometimes to sit in, sometimes just to listen. Magic Slim was in the band at the time, and was soon to become the band leader because Mr. Pitiful, who played bass, was about to quit. Slim liked Alabama Jr.’s style of playing and after Mr. Pitiful left the band went through a few changes before Slim eventually hired Junior and changed the band name to magic Slim & The Teardrops. In ‘73 Slim and the band took over the farmed Sunday afternoon jams at Florence’s from Hound Dog Taylor and began to estabilish themselves as the hottest, tightest blues band in Chicago. Alabama Jr.s reputation grew in this band. Slim had found the perfect complement to his sound in Junior’s precise rhythm playing. The key to this successful combination was due to his ability to know the proper notes to play in order to enhance the sound of the other band members. As he explains, “a lot of people ask me what kind of chords am I playing? You don’t play ordinary chords like most guitar players. But the type of chords that I play is what I call a down chord. I make a flat 9th chord which most chordmen don’t make that type of chord. I try to make Slim’s guitar sound by blending in with a 9th chord, with a Jimmy Reed beat on it. What it does, it given a heavy background between the lead guitar and the bass.” It was this conscious creativity and expertise that made Alabama Jr. such a fine musician… Sources: Alabama Music Hall of Fame; Liner notes by Beverly Zeldin  

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

You Told Me / Tricky - Gus Jenkins

b. 24 March 1931, Birmingham, Alabama, USA, d. December 1985, Los Angeles, USA. Like many of his generation, Jenkins drew his influences from 40s blues and spent much of his mature career adapting to the demands of rock ‘n’ roll and R&B. As his earliest recordings for Chess and Specialty show, Jenkins, like Jimmy McCracklin, modelled himself on St. Louis pianist Walter Davis. Both largely unissued sessions took place in 1953 and featured ‘Cold Love’ and ‘Mean And Evil’, which along with ‘Eight Ball’ and ‘I Ate The Wrong Part’, were based on Davis originals. Thereafter, Jenkins recorded extensively for Combo and Flash, before he started his own Pioneer label in 1959. Most of these recordings were piano or organ instrumentals with his or Mamie Perry’s vocals. He continued this policy through the early 60s with a series of singles on General Artists. Late in the decade, he converted to Islam and assumed the name Jaarone Pharoah.

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Mustang Sally - Wilson Pickett

Wilson Pickett (March 18, 1941 – January 19, 2006) was an American R&B, soul and rock and roll singer and songwriter. A major figure in the development of American soul music, Pickett recorded over 50 songs which made the US R&B charts, and frequently crossed over to the US Billboard Hot 100. Among his best known hits are "In the Midnight Hour" (which he co-wrote), "Land of 1,000 Dances", "Mustang Sally", and "Funky Broadway". The impact of Pickett's songwriting and recording led to his 1991 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Pickett was born March 18, 1941 in Prattville, Alabama, and grew up singing in Baptist church choirs. He was the fourth of 11 children and called his mother "the baddest woman in my book," telling historian Gerri Hirshey: "I get scared of her now. She used to hit me with anything, skillets, stove wood — (one time I ran away and) cried for a week. Stayed in the woods, me and my little dog." Pickett eventually left to live with his father in Detroit in 1955 Pickett's forceful, passionate style of singing was developed in the church and on the streets of Detroit, under the influence of recording stars such as Little Richard, whom he later referred to as "the architect of rock and roll. In 1955, Pickett became part of a gospel music group called the Violinaires. The group accompanied The Soul Stirrers, The Swan Silvertones, and The Davis Sisters on church tours across the country.[citation needed] After singing for four years in the locally popular gospel-harmony group, Pickett, lured by the success of other gospel singers of the day, who left gospel music in the late 1950s for the more lucrative secular music market, joined the Falcons in 1959. The Falcons were one of the first vocal groups to bring gospel into a popular context, thus paving the way for soul music. The Falcons also featured some notable members who went on to become major solo artists; when Pickett joined the group, Eddie Floyd and Sir Mack Rice were also members of the group. Pickett's biggest success with The Falcons was "I Found a Love", co-authored by Pickett and featuring his lead vocals. A minor hit at the time for the Falcons (Pickett would later re-record it, and have a much bigger solo hit with the song), "I Found A Love" paved the way for Pickett to go solo. Soon after recording "I Found a Love", Pickett cut his first solo recordings, including "I'm Gonna Cry", his first collaboration with Don Covay. Around this time, Pickett also recorded a demo for a song he co-wrote, called "If You Need Me". A slow-burning soul ballad featuring a spoken sermon, Pickett sent the demo to Jerry Wexler, a producer at Atlantic Records. Wexler heard the demo and gave it to one of the label's own recording artists, Solomon Burke. Burke's recording of "If You Need Me" became one of his biggest hits (#2 R&B, #37 Pop) and is now considered a soul standard, but Pickett was crushed when he discovered that Atlantic had given away his song. However, when Pickett—holding a demo tape under his arm—returned to Wexler's personal studio, Wexler asked him whether he was angry about this loss, but denied it saying "It's over". "First time I ever cried in my life".[citation needed] Pickett's version of the song was released on Double L Records, and was a moderate hit, peaking at #30 R&B, #64 pop. Pickett's first significant success as a solo artist came with "It's Too Late," an original composition (not to be confused with the Chuck Willis standard of the same name). Entering the charts on July 27, 1963, it eventually peaked at number 7 on the R&B chart (number 49 Pop). This record's success convinced Wexler and Atlantic to buy Pickett's recording contract from Double L Records in 1964. Pickett's Atlantic career began with a self-produced single, "I'm Gonna Cry". Looking to boost Pickett's chart chances, Atlantic next paired him with record producer Bert Berns and established songwriters Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil. With this team, Pickett recorded "Come Home Baby," a duet with singer Tami Lynn, but this single failed to chart. Pickett's breakthrough came at Stax Records' recording studio in Memphis, Tennessee, where he recorded his third Atlantic single, "In the Midnight Hour" (1965). This song became Pickett's first big hit, peaking at number 1 R&B, number 21 pop (US), and number 12 (UK). It sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc. The genesis of "In the Midnight Hour" was a recording session on May 12, 1965, at which Wexler worked out a powerful rhythm track with studio musicians Steve Cropper and Al Jackson of the Stax Records house band, which also included bassist Donald "Duck" Dunn. (Stax keyboard player Booker T. Jones, who usually played with Dunn, Cropper and Jackson as Booker T. & the M.G.'s, did not play on any of the Pickett studio sessions.) Wexler said to Cropper and Jackson, "Why don't you pick up on this thing here?" He performed a dance step. Cropper later explained in an interview that Wexler told them that "this was the way the kids were dancing; they were putting the accent on two. Basically, we'd been one-beat-accenters with an afterbeat; it was like 'boom dah,' but here this was a thing that went 'um-chaw,' just the reverse as far as the accent goes Pickett recorded three sessions at Stax in May and October 1965, and was joined by keyboardist Isaac Hayes for the October sessions. In addition to "In the Midnight Hour," Pickett's 1965 recordings included the singles "Don't Fight It," (#4 R&B, #53 pop) "634-5789 (Soulsville, U.S.A,)" (#1 R&B, #13 pop) and "Ninety-Nine and A Half (Won't Do)" (#13 R&B, #53 pop). All but "634-5789" were original compositions Pickett co-wrote with Eddie Floyd and/or Steve Cropper; "634-5789" was credited to Cropper and Floyd alone. For his next sessions, Pickett would not return to Stax; the label's owner, Jim Stewart, banned all outside productions in December, 1965. As a result, Wexler took Pickett to Fame Studios, another recording studio with a closer association to Atlantic Records. Located in a converted tobacco warehouse in nearby Muscle Shoals, Alabama, Pickett recorded some of his biggest hits there. This included the highest charting version of "Land of 1,000 Dances", which became Pickett's third R&B #1, and his biggest ever pop hit, peaking at #6. it was another million selling disc. Other big hits from this era in Pickett's career included two other covers: Mack Rice's "Mustang Sally", (#6 R&B, #23 Pop), and Dyke & the Blazers' "Funky Broadway", (R&B #1, #8 Pop). Both tracks were million sellers. The band heard on almost all of Pickett's Fame recordings included keyboardist Spooner Oldham and drummer Roger Hawkins. Towards the end of 1967, Pickett began recording at American Studios in Memphis with producers Tom Dowd and Tommy Cogbill, and also began recording numerous songs by Bobby Womack. The songs "I'm In Love," "Jealous Love," "I've Come A Long Way," "I'm A Midnight Mover," (a Pickett/Womack co-write), and "I Found A True Love" were all Womack penned hits for Pickett in 1967 and 1968. Pickett also recorded work by other songwriters during this era; Rodger Collins' "She's Looking Good" and a cover of the traditional blues standard "Stagger Lee" were also Top 40 Pickett hits recorded at American. Womack was the guitarist on all these recordings. Pickett returned to Fame Studios in late 1968 and early 1969, where he worked with a band that featured guitarist Duane Allman, Hawkins, and bassist Jerry Jemmott. A #16 pop hit cover of The Beatles' "Hey Jude" came from these Fame sessions, as well as the minor hits "Mini-Skirt Minnie" and "Hey Joe". Late 1969 found Pickett at Criteria Studios in Miami. Hit covers of The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (#16 R&B, #92 Pop) and The Archies' "Sugar Sugar" (#4 R&B, #25 Pop), as well as the Pickett original "She Said Yes" (#20 R&B, #68 Pop) came from these sessions. Pickett then teamed up with established Philadelphia-based hitmakers Gamble and Huff for the 1970 album Wilson Pickett In Philadelphia, which featured his next two hit singles, "Engine No.9" and "Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You", the latter selling one million copies. Following these two big hits, Pickett returned to Muscle Shoals and the band featuring David Hood, Hawkins and Tippy Armstrong. This line-up recorded Pickett's fifth and last R&B #1 hit, "Don't Knock My Love, Pt. 1".[1] It was another Pickett recording that clocked up sales in excess of one million copies. Two further hits followed in '71: "Call My Name, I'll Be There" (#10 R&B, #52 Pop) and "Fire and Water" (#2 R&B, #24 Pop), a cover of a song by Free. Pickett recorded several tracks in 1972 for a planned new album on Atlantic, but after the single "Funk Factory" reached #11 R&B and #58 pop in June 1972, he left Atlantic for RCA Records. His final Atlantic single, a cover of Randy Newman's "Mama Told Me Not To Come," was actually culled from Pickett's 1971 album Don't Knock My Love. In 2010, Rhino Handmade released a comprehensive compilation of these years titled "Funky Midnight Mover – The Studio Recordings (1962–1978)". The compilation included all originally issued recordings during Pickett's Atlantic years along with previously unreleased recordings. This collection was sold online only via Pickett continued to record with some success on the R&B charts for RCA in 1973 and 1974, scoring four top 30 R&B hits with "Mr. Magic Man", "Take a Closer Look at the Woman You're With", "International Playboy" and "Soft Soul Boogie Woogie". However, he was no longer crossing over to the pop charts with any regularity, as none of these songs reached higher than #90 on the Hot 100. In 1975, with Pickett's once-prominent chart career on the wane, RCA dropped Pickett from the label. Pickett continued to record sporadically with several labels over the following decades, occasionally making the lower to mid-range of the R&B charts, however he never had another pop hit after 1974. His last record was issued in 1999, although he remained fairly active on the touring front until he became ill in 2004. Pickett appeared in the 1998 film Blues Brothers 2000, performing "634–5789" along with Eddie Floyd and Jonny Lang. He had been previously mentioned in the original Blues Brothers. Pickett died from a heart attack on January 19, 2006 in Reston, Virginia. He was 64.[15] He was laid to rest in a mausoleum in Louisville, Kentucky at Evergreen Cemetery on Preston Highway. Pickett spent many years in Louisville when his mother moved there from Alabama. The eulogy was delivered by Pastor Steve Owens of Decatur, Georgia. Little Richard, a long-time friend of Pickett's, also spoke about him and preached a message at the funeral. He was remembered on March 20, 2006, at New York's B.B. King Blues Club with performances by the Commitments, Ben E King, his long-term backing band the Midnight Movers, soul singer Bruce "Big Daddy" Wayne, and Southside Johnny in front of an audience that included members of his family, including two brothers.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out - Clarence " Pinetop" Smith

Clarence Smith, better known as Pinetop Smith or Pine Top Smith (June 11, 1904 – March 15, 1929) was an American boogie-woogie style blues pianist. His hit tune, "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie," featured rhythmic "breaks" that were an essential ingredient of ragtime music. He was a posthumous 1991 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Smith was born in Troy, Alabama and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. He received his nickname as a child from his liking for climbing trees. In 1920 he moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he worked as an entertainer before touring on the T. O. B. A. vaudeville circuit, performing as a singer and comedian as well as a pianist. For a time he worked as accompanist for blues singer Ma Rainey and Butterbeans and Susie. In the mid 1920s he was recommended by Cow Cow Davenport to J. Mayo Williams at Vocalion Records, and in 1928 he moved, with his wife and young son, to Chicago, Illinois to record. For a time he, Albert Ammons, and Meade Lux Lewis lived in the same rooming house. On 29 December 1928 he recorded his influential "Pine Top's Boogie Woogie," one of the first "boogie woogie" style recordings to make a hit, and which cemented the name for the style. Pine Top talks over the recording, telling how to dance to the number. He said he originated the number at a house-rent party in St. Louis, Missouri. Smith was the first ever to direct "the girl with the red dress on" to "not move a peg" until told to "shake that thing" and "mess around". Similar lyrics are heard in many later songs, including "Mess Around" and "What'd I Say" by Ray Charles. Smith was scheduled to make another recording session for Vocalion in 1929, but died from a gunshot wound in a dance-hall fight in Chicago the day before the session. Sources differ as to whether he was the intended recipient of the bullet. "I saw Pinetop spit blood" was the famous headline in Down Beat magazine. No photographs of Smith are known to exist.
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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Eddie King and the Swamp Bees

Eddie King (April 21, 1938 – March 14, 2012) was an American Chicago blues guitarist, singer and songwriter. Living Blues once stated "King is a potent singer and player with a raw, gospel-tinged voice and an aggressive, thick-toned guitar sound". He was noted as creating a "straightforward style, after Freddie King and Little Milton" King was born Edward Lewis Davis Milton in Talladega, Alabama, United States. His parents were both musical, with his father playing guitar and his mother a gospel singer. King learned basic guitar riffs from watching from outside the window of local blues clubs, and was inspired by the playing of Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter. He grew up playing alongside Luther Allison, Magic Sam, Junior Wells, Eddie C. Campbell, and Freddie King. He relocated to Chicago, Illinois, in 1954, and his diminutive stature and the influence of B.B. King led to him being referred to as 'Little Eddie King'. Given a break by Little Mack Simmons,[4] he first recorded under the tutelage of Willie Dixon and, in 1960, played on several tracks recorded by Sonny Boy Williamson II. He also recorded with Detroit Junior. Also in 1960, King had a single released by J.O.B. Records, "Shakin' Inside" / "Love You Baby". He then became the guitarist backing Koko Taylor, a role he undertook for two decades. Separately forming Eddie King & the Kingsmen in 1969, King moved to Peoria, Illinois, in the early 1980s. Since the early 1990s, King's backing ensemble were known as the Swamp Bees, and his output has incorporated Chicago blues, country blues, blues shouter, and soul. His debut album, The Blues Has Got Me (1987), was issued by the Netherlands based record label, Black Magic, and later re-released by Double Trouble. It featured one of his sisters, Mae Bee May, on vocals. In 1997, King recorded Another Cow's Dead, which got a Blues Music Award for 'Best Comeback Blues Album'. It was arranged by Lou Marini. His songwriting credits include "Kitty Kat", described by one journalist as "hilarious". King died in Peoria, Illinois, in March 2012, at the age of 73. In October 2012 the Killer Blues Headstone Project, a nonprofit organization, placed a headstone on King's unmarked grave at the Lutheran Cemetery in Peoria, IL.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Drinkin' Blues - Jo Jo Adams, Tom Archia

Jo Jo Adams (often billed as Doctor Jo Jo ) was born in rural Alabama in 1918. His first notices in the field of music was for his efforts in the gospel music field in the late nineteen thirties. One of the gospel groups he was part of was known as the Big Four Gospel Jubilee Singers. By his late twenties Adams had gone over into secular music and began to make performance appearances in clubs on Chicago's south side. He soon adopted a Cab Calloway like persona affecting flashy tuxedo jackets with very long tails that he swung out from him while whirling about the stage delivering a song. He hooked up with the band led by Freddie Williams and soon got a chance to record with Williams own record label called Melody Lane . Adams first recording for Melody Lane was in 1946 with the two part "Jo Jo Blues" on # 11. That was followed by "Please Don't Give It Away" and "Corine" on Melody Lane # 12. Soon Melody Lane Records had morphed into the Hy-Tone label. Both records were re-released on Hy-Tone with the same numbers. The next year saw Jo Jo Adams record with the Floyd Smith combo. "I'm Weak For You" with a vocal by Jo Jo was coupled with a re-recording of Smith's "Floyd's Guitar Blues" on # 29, which he had recorded with Andy Kirk a few years before with great success. Adams next record was "Around The Watch" parts one and two on Hy-Tone # 30, and "I Get The Blues Every Morning" and "Voodit" on # 31. For a time in 1946 and early 1947, Adams was on the West Coast and did some recording for the Aladdin label with the band of Maxwell Davis. "Disgusted" and "Thursday Evening Blues" was released on Aladdin # 142. This record was followed by "Jo Jo's Troubles" and "Upstairs" on # 143, and "When I'm In My Tea" and "Hard Hearted Woman" on # 144. In 1948, back in Chicago, Jo Jo Adams recorded with a combo under the direction of Tom Archia for the Aristocrat label ( forerunner of Chess ). The recordings were "Love Me" and "Drinking Blues" on Aristocrat # 801, followed by "If I Feel Like This Tomorrow" and "Crying By My Window" on # 802, and "Cabbage Head" parts one and two on # 803. In 1949 Adams had a part in the motion picture "Burlesque In Harlem", a musical variety film with an all Black cast in which he did a version of "The Hucklebuck". In 1950 during the summer, Jo Jo joins Memphis Slim's Houserockers and appears with the band and Terry Timmons in club dates in Chicago. At the end of the year Adams plays a big New Year's Eve show with Lester Young and others at the Giles Avenue Armory in that city. In 1952 Adams had a recording session for another Chicago independent label, Chance Records. He recorded with the Melvin Moore band and cut six songs of which two were released - "Didn't I Tell You" and "I've Got A Crazy Baby" on Chance # 1127. Jo Jo made a final record for the Parrot label in 1953. The songs were "Call My Baby" and "Rebecca" on # 788. When not recording during the year he headlined the "Jo Jo Show" which also sometimes featured vocalist Joe Williams (who would rise to great fame with Count Basie in the mid fifties and beyond), Willie Mabon, the Melvin Moore combo, Bill Pinkard, and Shirley Harvey. In the mid fifties Jo Jo was still at it appearing at a number of all star R & B shows headed by Al Benson at area theaters, halls, and clubs such as Budland on South Cottage Grove. By the ende of the decade of the nineteen fifties Dr. Jo Jo Adams disappeared from the field of music. He passed away in February of 1988 in relative obscurity. Surviving is his music wonderfully compiled by the French label Classics with the 2004 cd "Jo Jo Adams : 1946-1953" with twenty tracks of his very best recorded performances. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What Am I Gonna Do? - Beulah Bryant

Claimed by the proud state of Alabama as one of their homegrown talents, Beulah Bryant was born Blooma Bryant and sang in local church groups. She left the state as a teenager, though, relocating to California in 1936 and more or less officially launching her professional career about a decade later by winning an amateur contest held by a network radio show. This victory inspired her to start up her own trio, which worked regularly in California. In the mid-'40s she moved to New York and by 1950 was part of a group of signings pulled off by Joe Davis wearing his hat as an MGM A&R man. The June, Billboard of that year announced that the label had "inked West Coast blues thrush Beulah Bryant." She made some excellent recordings with a group of musicians that had also backed up singers such as Irene Redfield and Millie Bosman, including the fine trombonist Will Bradley and trumpeter Taft Jordan. Bryant's style was tailored from the same type of musical suits worn by the so-called "blues shouters." She had a strong, authoritative delivery, a sense of rhythm that was like a bass drum pedal come to life, and the advantage of some first-class material created specifically for her by contributors such as singer and writer Irene Higginbotham If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”


Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Veterans of the Alabama blues scene for more than four decades, Little Whitt (born Jolly Wells, February 19, 1931) and Big Bo (born Bo McGee, October 9, 1928) reached out to an audience outside their home state for the first time in March 1995. Touring Europe for more than two months, the two bluesmen performed over 50 concerts in Ireland, Scotland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Germany, and England. Their debut album, Moody Swamp Blues, released the same year, was named "CD of the Year" by British blues magazine Blueprint. In early 2002, one year after McGee won an award from the Alabama Folk Heritage for his contributions to blues, he was killed and his stepson charged with the murder.

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Saturday, February 16, 2013

Watcha Gonna Do"- Professor Alex Bradford

Professor Alex Bradford (January 23, 1927 – February 15, 1978) was a multi-talented gospel composer, singer, arranger and choir director, who was a great influence on artists such as Little Richard, Bob Marley and Ray Charles and who helped bring about the modern mass choir movement in gospel. Born in Bessemer, Alabama, USA, he first appeared on stage at the age of four, then joined a children's gospel group at thirteen, soon obtaining his own radio show. He organized another group after his mother sent him to New York City following a racial incident; he continued singing after returning to attend the Snow Hill Institute in Snow Hill, Alabama, where he acquired the title "Professor" while teaching as a student. He moved to Chicago in 1947, where he worked briefly with Roberta Martin and toured with Mahalia Jackson, then struck out on his own with his own group, the Bradford Singers, followed by another group, the Bradford Specials. He recorded his first hit record, "Too Close To Heaven" (1954), billed as Professor Alex Bradford and his singers, sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc, then followed it with a number of other successes in the rest of the decade. Artists such as Little Richard imitated Bradford's energetic style, ranging from a gravelly bass to a whooping falsetto, and his flamboyant stage presence. Ray Charles, for his part, not only borrowed some of Bradford's vocal mannerisms but based his Raelets on the Bradford Specials. His 1962 gospel song composition "Let the Lord Be Seen in Me", recorded for his One Step & Angel on Vacation album, was also recorded in 1964 by an emerging force in Jamaican music, Bob Marley & the Spiritual Sisters. Marley later adopted the Rastafarian faith, but along with his mother, at first he sung gospel in the local Shilo Apostolic Church. In 1961, when his recording career was in decline, Bradford joined the cast of the off-Broadway show Black Nativity, based on the writings of Langston Hughes, which toured Europe in 1962. A member of the Alex Bradford Singers at that time was Madeline Bell, who settled in England after the show ended. Bradford appeared in Don't Bother Me, I Can't Cope, for which he won the Obie award, in 1972. He died in Newark, New Jersey, in 1978, as the musical Your Arms Too Short to Box with God was in production. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Mumbles Blues - Paul Bascomb

Paul Bascomb (February 12, 1912, Birmingham, Alabama – December 2, 1986 (aged 74), Chicago) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist, noted for his extended tenure with Erskine Hawkins. He is a 1979 inductee of the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. Bascomb was a founding member of the Bama State Collegians, which was led by Erskine Hawkins and eventually became his big band. Bascomb's brother Dud played in this ensemble as well. Bascomb remained in this ensemble until 1944, aside from a brief interval in 1938–39 where he played in Count Basie's orchestra after Herschel Evans's death. From 1944 to 1947 he and Dud co-led a septet which evolved into a big band. He recorded for States Records in 1952; these sides were reissued by Delmark Records in the 1970s. From 1953 to 1955 he recorded for Parrot. He was active as a performer nearly up until the time of his death. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, Like ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorites band! ”LIKE”

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Thrill Is Gone / Rocks In My Pillow - Big Joe Duskin

Big Joe Duskin (February 10, 1921 – May 6, 2007) was an American blues and boogie-woogie pianist. He is best known for his debut album, Cincinnati Stomp (1978), and the tracks "Well, Well Baby" and "I Met a Girl Named Martha". Born Joseph L. Duskin in Birmingham, Alabama, by the age of seven he had started playing piano. He played in church, accompanying his preacher father, the Rev. Perry Duskin. His family moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and Duskin was raised near to the Union Terminal train station where his father worked. On his local radio station, WLW, Duskin heard his hero Fats Waller play. He was also inspired to play in a boogie-woogie style by Pete Johnson's, "627 Stomp". In his younger days Duskin performed in clubs in Cincinnati and across the river in Newport, Kentucky. While serving in the US Army in World War II, he continued to play and, in entertaining the US forces, met his idols Johnson, Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis. After his military service ended, Duskin's father made him promise to stop playing while the elder Duskin was still alive. However, Rev. Duskin lived to the age of 105, and Joe found alternative employment as a police officer and a postal worker. Therefore Duskin, effectively in the middle of his career, never played a keyboard for sixteen years. With the encouragement of a blues historian, Steven C. Tracy, by the early 1970s Duskin had began playing the piano at festivals in the US and across Europe. By 1978, and with the reputation for his concert playing now growing, his first recording, Cincinnati Stomp, was released on Arhoolie Records. The album contained Duskin's cover version of the track, "Down the Road a Piece". He subsequently toured both Austria and Germany, and in 1987 made his inaugural visit to the UK. The same year his part in John Jeremy's film, Boogie Woogie Special, recorded for The South Bank Show, increased Duskin's profile. In 1988, accompanied by the guitar-playing Dave Peabody, Duskin recorded his second album, Don't Mess with the Boogie Man. In the following decade, Duskin performed at both the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival and the Chicago Blues Festival. His touring in Europe continued before he recorded his final album at the Quai du Blues in Neuilly, France. Several Duskin albums were issued on European labels in the 1980s and 1990s. It was 2004 before Big Joe Jumps Again! (Yellow Dog Records) became his second US-based release, and his first studio recording for sixteen years. It featured Phillip Paul (drums), Ed Conley (bass), and Peter Frampton on guitar. Duskin was presented with a key to the city in 2004 by the Mayor of Cincinnati. The following year he was awarded a National Heritage Fellowship by the Ohio Arts Council. Suffering from the effects of diabetes, Duskin was on the eve of having legs amputated, when he died in May 2007, at the age of 86. The Ohio based Big Joe Duskin Music Education Foundation keeps his musical ideals alive by producing in-school music presentations for public school children. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Come All Ye Fair and Tender Ladies - Leon Bibb

Leon Bibb was one of the more prominent African-American folk singers of the 1950s and early '60s, and enjoyed a parallel career as an actor, as well (sometimes under the name Lee Charles). Born Charles Leon Arthello Bibb in Louisville, KY in 1922, he grew up as an admirer of the actor/singer/activist Paul Robeson, the most prominent African-American performer -- in music, theater, or films -- of the '30s and early '40s, and sought to emulate the latter's career. He studied classical singing in New York City, and made his first major theater appearance in the original production of Annie Get Your Gun (1946), starring Ethel Merman, in which he played a waiter; he was also heard and credited on the 1946 cast recording of the show. Bibb later turned toward folk music, and was heard, along with such luminaries as Robert DeCormier, Pete Seeger, and Sonny Terry, on the 1954 album Hootenanny Tonight!, issued by Folkways Records. His work brought him into the orbit of Langston Hughes and other literary and political giants of the '50s left, a fact that subsequently got him blacklisted from many mainstream entertainment outlets, in much the same manner that his idol Robeson -- approaching the twilight of his career in the late '50s -- was banned from most of those same outlets. Bibb's rich baritone voice was too powerful to overlook, however, and he did successfully amass some major credits in the late '50s, sometimes under the name Lee Charles. His late-'50ss credits include the Broadway production of Kurt Weill's Lost in the Stars as well as several recordings under that name; and he also appeared as a member of the Skifflers, in tandem with folk music legend Milt Okun. Following an acclaimed appearance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959, he was signed to Vanguard Records (which was already a haven for blacklistees such as Robeson and the Weavers), through which he recorded a brace of LPs and even managed to get a single release (a rarity for the label) of "Rocks and Gravel" b/w "Goodnight Irene." A Family Affair By the early '60s, Bibb was making records for Elektra, Columbia, and Liberty, but by then the folk music revival had crested, and he was increasingly playing to a smaller -- but ever more serious -- audience as the decade wore on. His mid-'60s records included participation in the Verve Folkways double-LP set African-American Poetry Theatre: A Hand Is on the Gate. Bibb later moved to RCA-Victor, where highlights of his work included the album Foment, Ferment, Free . . . Free (1969). He moved to Canada in 1971, and remained even more active in the decades that have followed, both with recording -- his repertory expanding to encompass songwriters such as Leonard Cohen -- and various theatrical productions. He has been especially closely associated with the musical Jacques Brel since the '70s, and began doing pops concerts with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, and has also continued to participate in (and organize) productions devoted to the history of African-American music and culture. In 2002, he and his son Eric Bibb, by then a major artist in his own right, released the duo album A Family Affair.

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Monday, February 4, 2013

Time For A Change - Jody Williams

photo credit: Dan Machnik
Joseph Leon Williams (born February 3, 1935), better known as Jody Williams, is an American blues guitarist and singer. His singular guitar playing, marked by flamboyant string-bending, imaginative chord changes and a distinctive tone, was influential in the Chicago blues scene of the 1950s. In the mid 1950s, Williams was one of the most sought-after session guitarists in Chicago, yet he was little known outside the music industry since his name rarely appeared on discs. His acclaimed comeback in 2000 led to a resurgence of interest in Williams’ early work, and his reappraisal as one of the great blues guitarists Born in Mobile, Alabama, United States, Williams moved to Chicago at the age of five. His first instrument was the harmonica, which he swapped for the guitar after hearing Bo Diddley play at a talent show where they were both performing. Diddley, seven years his senior, took Williams under his wing and taught him the rudiments of guitar. By 1951 Williams and Diddley were playing on the street together, with Williams providing backing to Diddley's vocals, accompanied by Roosevelt Jackson on washtub bass. Williams cut his teeth gigging with a string of blues musicians, notably Memphis Minnie, Elmore James and Otis Spann. After touring with West Coast piano player Charles Brown, Williams established himself as a session player with Chess Records. At Chess, Williams met Howlin’ Wolf, recently arrived in Chicago from Memphis, Tennessee, and was hired by Wolf as the first guitarist in his new Chicago-based band. A year later Hubert Sumlin moved to Chicago to join Wolf's band, and the dual guitars of Williams and Sumlin are featured on Howlin’ Wolf’s 1954 singles, "Evil Is Going On", and "Forty Four", and on the 1955 releases, "Who Will Be Next" and "Come To Me Baby." Williams also provided backing on Otis Spann’s 1954 release, "It Must Have Been The Devil", that features lead guitar work from B. B. King, one of Williams’ early heroes and a big influence on his playing. Williams’ solo career began in December 1955 with the upbeat saxophone-driven "Lookin' For My Baby", released under the name Little Papa Joe on the Blue Lake label. The label closed a few months later, leaving his slide guitar performance on "Groaning My Blues Away" unreleased. By this time, Williams was highly sought after as a session guitarist, and his virtuosity in this capacity is well illustrated by his blistering lead guitar work on Bo Diddley's "Who Do You Love?", a hit for Checker Records in 1956. (Rock musician Marshall Crenshaw listed Williams' guitar solo on "Who Do You Love" as one of the greatest guitar solos ever recorded.) Other notable session work from the 1950s include lead guitar parts on Billy Boy Arnold's "I Ain't Got You" and "I Wish You Would", Jimmy Rogers’ "One Kiss", Jimmy Witherspoon’s "Ain't Nobody's Business" and Otis Rush’s "Three Times A Fool". In 1957, Williams released "You May" on Argo Records, with the inventive b-side instrumental "Lucky Lou", the extraordinary opening riff of which Otis Rush copied on his 1958 Cobra Records side "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)". Further evidence of Williams’ influence on Rush (they played on a number of sessions together) is Rush’s solo on Buddy Guy’s 1958 debut, "Sit And Cry (The Blues)", copied almost exactly from Williams’ "You May" Only after his retirement did he consider picking up his guitar again, which had laid untouched under his bed all the while. "One day my wife said if I started playing again I might feel better about life in general," he told Hoekstra of the Chicago Sun-Times. In March 2000, he went to see his old friend Robert Lockwood, Jr. play, and grew nostalgic for his music days. Back at home, an old tape of himself playing moved him to tears and inspired him to pick up his guitar again. He returned to playing in public in June 2000, when he was featured at a club gig during the 2000 Chicago Blues Festival. He gained much encouragement in this period from Dick Shurman, who eventually produced his comeback album, Return of a Legend (2002), on which his bold playing belies his thirty-year break from music. "He plays with a verve and vigor that sound as good today as it did on the classic records," wrote Vintage Guitar magazine. Williams continues to perform around the world, mainly at large blues festivals, and can often be seen sitting in with blues guitarist Billy Flynn at Chicago club appearances. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wet it - Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon

Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon (February 3, 1895 – 1944?) was an African American vaudeville singer, female impersonator, stage designer and comedian, popular in the 1920s and 1930s. He was born in Montgomery, Alabama, United States, orphaned, and raised in Kansas City, Missouri. His nickname of "Half Pint" referred to his 5'2" height. He started in show business around 1910 as a singer in Kansas City, before travelling extensively with medicine shows in Texas, and then touring the eastern seaboard. His feminine voice and outrageous manner, often as a female impersonator, established him as a crowd favorite. By 1917 he had begun working regularly in Atlantic City, New Jersey and in Chicago, Illinois, often with such performers as Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters, whose staging he helped design. In the late 1920s he sang with top jazz bands when they passed through Chicago, working with Bennie Moten, King Oliver and Freddie Keppard among others. He also performed and recorded with the pianists Cow Cow Davenport, Tampa Red and "Georgia Tom" Dorsey, recording with the latter pair under the name of The Black Hillbillies. He also recorded with the Harlem Hamfats. In the 1930s he was often on radio in the Chicago area, and led his own band, Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon and his Quarts Of Joy. Jaxon appeared with Duke Ellington in a film short called Black and Tan Fantasy (1929). Cab Calloway's "Minnie the Moocher" (1931) is based both musically and lyrically on Jaxon's "Willie the Weeper" (1927). His recordings, such as "Fan It" (later recorded by Red Nichols and Woody Herman), are mostly filled with bawdy comedy, double entendres and hokum. Blues fans reserve a special place in their hearts for his orgasmic parodies of "How Long How Long Blues" and "It's Tight Like That", louche collaborations with Tampa Red, Georgia Tom and assorted jugbandsmen. In 1941 he retired from show business and worked at The Pentagon in Washington, D.C. He was transferred to Los Angeles, California, in 1944 where, according to most sources, he died in the veterans hospital, although according to Allmusic he lived in Los Angeles until 1970. If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!