CD submissions accepted! Guest writers always welcome!!

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!


Please email me at Info@Bmansbluesreport.com
Showing posts with label Chess Records. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chess Records. Show all posts

Saturday, July 6, 2013

I'm Over You - Jan Bradley

Jan Bradley (born Addie Bradley, July 6, 1943 in Byhalia, Mississippi) is an American soul singer. Bradley grew up in Robbins, Illinois. She was noticed by manager Don Talty (who also managed Phil Upchurch) at a high school talent show. After graduating, she auditioned for Curtis Mayfield, and soon recorded the Mayfield-penned "We Girls", which became a hit regionally in the Midwest (on Talty's Formal Records label). Several singles followed, and another Mayfield song, "Mama Didn't Lie" (b/w "Lovers Like Me"), was released nationally in the U.S. by Chess Records in 1963 and hit #8 R&B and #14 on the Billboard Hot 100. Following the single's success, Mayfield and Chess got into a legal battle over the publishing rights to Mayfield's songs, and as a result Bradley was no longer able to work with him. She started writing her own songs and released several further singles on Chess. "I'm Over You" hit #24 R&B in 1965; other Chess releases included "Just a Summer Memory" b/w "He'll Wait on Me", "It's Just Your Way", and "These Tears" b/w "Baby What Can I Do". Bradley continued working with Talty after her arrangement with Chess ended, releasing singles for Adanti, Doylen, Spectra Sound, and Night Owl. Bradley stopped singing professionally in the early 1970s; she raised a family and became a social worker. She resides in the south suburbs of Chicago and has two children named Timothy and Jamila. She is also the grandmother of three and continues to sing in her church choir. Her records remained popular among devotees of Northern soul. Her catalog of music, both writing and singing, includes soul, pop and even rock and roll.  
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!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Help Me - Junior Wells


Junior Wells (December 9, 1934 – January 15, 1998), born Amos Wells Blakemore Jr., was an American Chicago blues vocalist, harmonica player, and recording artist. Wells, who was best known for his performances and recordings with Muddy Waters, Earl Hooker, and Buddy Guy, also performed with Bonnie Raitt, The Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison
Junior Wells was born in Memphis, Tennessee, United States, and raised in West Memphis, Arkansas, though other sources report that his birth was in West Memphis. Initially taught by his cousin, Junior Parker, and Sonny Boy Williamson II, Wells learned how to play the harmonica by the age of seven with surprising skill. He moved to Chicago in 1948 with his mother after her divorce and began sitting in with local musicians at house parties and taverns. Wild and rebellious but needing an outlet for his talents, he began performing with The Aces (guitarist brothers Dave and Louis Myers and drummer Fred Below) and developed a more modern amplified harmonica style influenced by Little Walter. In 1952, he made his first recordings, when he replaced Little Walter in Muddy Waters' band and appeared on one of Waters' sessions for Chess Records in 1952. His first recordings as a band leader were made in the following year for States Records. In the later 1950s and early 1960s he also recorded singles for Chief Records and its Profile Records subsidiary, including "Messin' with the Kid", "Come on in This House", and "It Hurts Me Too", which would remain in his repertoire throughout his career. His 1960 Profile single "Little by Little" (written by Chief owner and producer Mel London) reached #23 in the Billboard R&B chart, making it the first of two Wells' singles to enter the chart.

Junior Wells worked with guitarist Buddy Guy in the 1960s, and featured Guy on guitar when he recorded his first album, Hoodoo Man Blues for Delmark Records. Wells and Guy supported the Rolling Stones on numerous occasions in the 1970s. Although his albums South Side Blues Jam (1971) and On Tap (1975) proved he had not lost his aptitude for Chicago blues, his 1980s and 1990s discs were inconsistent. However, 1996's Come On in This House was an intriguing set of classic blues songs with a rotating cast of slide guitarists, among them Alvin Youngblood Hart, Corey Harris, Sonny Landreth and Derek Trucks. Wells made an appearance in the film Blues Brothers 2000, the sequel to The Blues Brothers, which was released in 1998.

Wells continued performing until he was diagnosed with cancer in the summer of 1997. That fall, he suffered a heart attack while undergoing treatment, sending him into a coma. Wells died in Chicago, after succumbing to lymphoma on January 15, 1998, and was interred in the Oak Woods Cemetery, Chicago.
“Like” Bman’s Facebook page (available in over 50 languages). I will not relay senseless nonsense. In this way I can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here

Thursday, December 8, 2011

CASH BOX KINGS #1 ON LIVING BLUES CHART TOO!

blindpigrecords.com

For more information visit www.blindpigrecords.com.
CASH BOX KINGS #1 ON LIVING BLUES CHART TOO!

The Cash Box Kings cashed in on a parlay with the announcement that their new release, Holler and Stomp, debuted at #1 on the Living Blues radio chart for November. This follows news that the album was also #1 on this week's Roots Music Report blues chart. Both charts are determined by radio airplay as reported by blues programmers around the world.

http://mailman.305spin.com/users/blindpigrecords/images/CBKcoveremail.jpg

That blues radio is embracing the album is not surprising considering that the recording authentically captures the sound and spirit of vintage Chicago blues and rockabilly sides from the Chess and Sun Records labels.




In its review, the Chicago Blues Guide said, "Holler and Stomp is easily one of the best sounding recordings in ages...it has all of the atmosphere and warmth of your favorite vintage blues recordings without the scratches and hiss...effortlessly captures the sounds of bygone days without getting stuck in a retro straitjacket."

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette added, "Now it's one thing to say you're interested in this old music, and even to be able to play a few of the tunes with some accuracy. But it's another thing entirely to be able to re-create the originals and write new material that's faithful to this 1940's and 50's style, and do it with authentic vitality."

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

CASH BOX KINGS #1 ON BLUES RADIO CHART!

blindpigrecords.com

CASH BOX KINGS #1 ON BLUES RADIO CHART!




"Holler and Stomp," the new release from The Cash Box Kings is #1 on this week's blues chart issued by the Roots Music Report. The chart is compiled from airplay reports from radio stations around the globe, including XM Sirius satellite radio and syndicated shows such as the House of Blues Radio Hour.

Upon hearing the news that it was the most-played album on blues radio, bandleader Joe Nosek said, "That's awesome! It's a good album, so it's great that everyone is digging it, especially the cool angle that it's a throwback to the sounds of Chess and Sun Records, combining the best of blues and rockabilly."

Radio programmers are not the only ones appreciating one of the freshest and most distinctive blues records in recent memory. Vintage Guitar said, "When it's as good as it is here, it's all one can do to refrain from doing just what the album title suggests." Living Blues magazine added, "Holler and Stomp, with its interesting song selections and depth of musical talent, is certain to amaze and entertain."

Thursday, December 1, 2011

In My One Room Little Cabin - Sonny Boy Williamson II


SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON II aka RICE MILLER - Born Dec 5, 1899, lower Tallahatchie County near Glendora, MS, Died May 25, 1965, Helena, AK. He claimed to fans and Blues researchers that he was the original 'Sonny Boy' (John Lee Williamson) who came from Jackson, Tennessee and recorded for Bluebird and later RCA Victor until his untimely death at the hands of an assailant on a Chicago street in the late 1940's. But according to his sister, Mary Ashford of Tutwiler, his real name was Alex 'Rice' Miller. "He was born a Miller and his father's name was Miller" she says of her musician brother who died in Helena, AK, 1965 of failed health. Born as Alex Miller (pronounced "Aleck") on the Sara Jones Plantation in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, his date and year of birth are a matter of uncertainty. He claimed to have been born on December 5, 1899, but Dr. David Evans, professor of music and an ethnomusicologist at the University of Memphis, claims to have found census record evidence that he was born around 1912, being seven on February 2, 1920, the day of the census. His gravestone, set up by record company owner Lillian McMurry twelve years after his death, gives his date of birth as March 11, 1908, but the death date on that stone is certainly incorrect.
Some of his better known songs include "Don't Start Me To Talkin'" (his only major hit, it reached the #3 position on the national Billboard R&B charts in 1955),"Fattenin' Frogs for Snakes", "Keep It To Yourself", "Your Funeral and My Trial", "Bye Bye Bird", "Nine Below Zero", "Help Me", "Checkin' Up on My Baby", and the infamous "Little Village", with dialogue 'unsuitable for airplay' with Leonard Chess. His song "Eyesight to the Blind" was performed by The Who as a key song in their rock opera Tommy (the only song in that opus not written by a band member) and it was later covered on the Aerosmith album Honkin' on Bobo. His "One Way Out", reworked from Elmore James and recorded twice in the early 1960s, became popularized by The Allman Brothers Band in the early 1970s. In interviews in The Last Waltz, roots-rockers The Band recount jamming with Miller prior to their initial fame as Bob Dylan's electric backing band, and making never-realized plans to become his backing band. Many of his most famous recordings appeared on The Essential Sonny Boy Williamson and His Best.
“Like” Bman’s Facebook page (available in over 50 languages). I will not relay senseless nonsense. In this way I can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Robert Nighthawk


Robert Lee McCollum (November 30, 1909 – November 5, 1967) was an American blues musician who played and recorded under the pseudonyms Robert Lee McCoy and Robert Nighthawk.
Born in Helena, Arkansas, he left home at an early age to become a busking musician, and after a period wandering through southern Mississippi, settled for a time in Memphis, Tennessee where he played with local orchestras and musicians, such as the Memphis Jug Band. A particular influence during this period was Houston Stackhouse, from whom he learnt to play slide guitar, and with whom he appeared on the radio in Jackson, Mississippi.

After further travels through Mississippi, he found it advisable to take his mother's name, and as Robert Lee McCoy moved to St. Louis, Missouri in the mid 1930s. Local musicians with whom he played included Henry Townsend, Big Joe Williams, and Sonny Boy Williamson. This led to two recording dates in 1937, the four musicians recording together at the Victor Records studio in Aurora, Illinois as well as recordings under his own name, including "Prowling Night-Hawk" (recorded 5 May 1937), from which he was take his later pseudonym.

These sessions led to Chicago blues careers for the other musicians, though not, however, for McCoy, who continued his rambling life, playing and recording (for Victor/Bluebird and Decca) solo and with various musicians, under various names. He also became a familiar voice on local radio stations; then Robert Lee McCoy disappeared.
Within a few years, he resurfaced as the electric slide guitarist Robert Nighthawk, and began recording for Aristocrat and Chess Records, the latter of which was also Muddy Waters' label; in 1949 and 1950, the two men's styles were close enough that they were in competition for promotional activity; as Waters was the more marketable commodity, being more reliable and a more confident stage communicator, he received the attention. Though Nighthawk continued to perform and to record, taking up with United and States 1951 and 1952, he failed to achieve great commercial success.

In 1963, Nighthawk was rediscovered busking in Chicago and this led to further recording sessions and club dates, and to his return to Arkansas, where he appeared on the King Biscuit Time radio programme on KFFA. As late as 1964, Nighthawk could be found playing on Chicago's, Maxwell Street. He had a stroke followed by a heart attack and died of heart failure[ at his home in Helena.

“Like” Bman’s Facebook page. We use Facebook to spread the word about our blog. We will not hit you with 50 posts a day. We will not relay senseless nonsense. We use it only to draw attention to some of the key posts on our blog each day. In this way we can get out the word on new talent, venues and blues happenings! - click Here

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Hipo-Select releases coimplete Howlin Wolf collection! - Bob Corritore correspondent


The Hipo-Select label has just issued a limited edition, 4 CD collection by the great Howlin Wolf titled Smokestack Lightnin'; The Complete Chess Masters (1951 to 1960). Howlin Wolf was among the greatest blues singers who ever lived! His classics include, "Sittin On Top Of The World", "Smokestack Lighnin", "I Aint Superstitious", "Killing Floor", and many others. To find out more about this amazing release, and see a complete track listing.

“Like” Bman and get support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Money Down - CHUCK BERRY


Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.
Born into a middle class family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he served a prison sentence for armed robbery between 1944 and 1947. On his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of blues player T-Bone Walker, he was performing in the evenings with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955, and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess of Chess Records. With Chess he recorded "Maybellene"—Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red"—which sold over a million copies, reaching #1 on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star with several hit records and film appearances to his name as well as a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis-based nightclub, called Berry's Club Bandstand. But in January 1962, Berry was sentenced to three years in prison for offenses under the Mann Act—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines.

After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including "No Particular Place To Go", "You Never Can Tell", and "Nadine", but these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic live performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. His insistence on being paid cash led to a jail sentence in 1979—four months and community service for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986, with the comment that he "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Berry is included in several Rolling Stone "Greatest of All Time" lists, including being ranked fifth on their 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included three of Chuck Berry's songs: "Johnny B. Goode", "Maybellene", and "Rock and Roll Music". Today – at the age of 85 – Berry continues to play live.

Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Rock Me Baby - Sugar Pie Desanto


Sugar Pie DeSanto (born Umpeylia Marsema Balinton, October 16, 1935, Brooklyn, New York, United States) is an American rhythm and blues singer of the 1950s and 1960s.
She was born to an African American mother and Filipino father. Her mother was a concert pianist. She spent most of her early life in San Francisco, California, where she moved with her family at a young age. She is 4' 11". As a girl she was friends with Etta James.
In 1955, DeSanto did some touring with The Johnny Otis Revue. Otis gave her her stage name. From 1959 to 1960, she toured with The James Brown Revue.

In 1960, DeSanto rose to national prominence when her single "I Want to Know" reached number four on Billboard's Hot R&B chart. She recorded the song with her husband Pee Wee Kingsley. Soon thereafter her marriage to Kingsley fell apart, and DeSanto moved to Chicago and signed with Chess Records in 1962 as a recording artist and writer. Among her recordings at Chess were "Slip-in Mules", "Use What You Got", "Soulful Dress" (her biggest hit at Chess), and "I Don't Wanna Fuss". DeSanto participated in the American Folk Blues Festival tour of Europe in 1964, and her lively performances, including wild dancing and standing back flips, were widely appreciated.

In 1965 DeSanto began a writing collaboration with Shena DeMell. They produced the song "Do I Make Myself Clear", which DeSanto sang as a duet with Etta James, which reached the top 10. It was followed up by a 1966 DeSanto-James duet, "In the Basement".[1] DeSanto's next song, "Go Go Power", did not chart, and DeSanto and Chess parted ways.

Sugar Pie DeSanto kept on writing songs and recorded for a few more labels without much success; she eventually moved back to the Bay Area, settling in Oakland.

Though it had often been said that her stage performances far surpassed her studio recordings, a full length live recording, Classic Sugar Pie, was not released until 1997.

DeSanto was given a Bay Area Music Award in 1999 for best female blues singer. In September 2008, she was given a Pioneer Award by the Rhythm and Blues Foundation. DeSanto received a lifetime achievement award from the Goldie Awards in November 2009.
Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Saturday, October 15, 2011

It's My Own Fault - OTIS RUSH


Otis Rush (born April 29, 1935 in Philadelphia, Mississippi) is a blues musician, singer and guitarist. His distinctive guitar style features a slow burning sound and long bent notes. With similar qualities to Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound became known as West Side Chicago blues and became an influence on many musicians including Michael Bloomfield and Eric Clapton.

Rush is left-handed and, unlike many other left-handed guitarists, plays a left-handed instrument strung upside-down with the low E string at the bottom. He played often with the little finger of his pick hand curled under the low E for positioning. It is widely believed that this contributes to his distinctive sound. Other guitarists who restrung upside down include Albert King, Doyle Bramhall II, and Dick Dale. He has a wide-ranging, powerful tenor voice.
After moving to Chicago, Illinois in 1948, Rush made a name for himself playing in clubs on both the South Side and West Side blues scenes. From 1956 to 1958, he recorded for the Cobra Records and released eight singles, some featuring Ike Turner or Jody Williams on guitar. His first single "I Can't Quit You Baby" in 1956 reached No. 6 on Billboard's R&B chart.[4] During his tenure with Cobra, he recorded some of his well known songs such as "Double Trouble" and "All Your Love (I Miss Loving)."[5]

After Cobra Records went bankrupt in 1959, Rush landed a recording contract with Chess in 1960. He recorded eight tracks for the label, four of which were released on two singles that year. Six tracks including the two singles later came out on "Door To Door" album in 1969, a compilation also featuring Chess recordings by Albert King.

He also went into the studio for Duke Records in 1962, but only one single "Homework/I Have to Laugh" was issued from the label. It also received a release in Great Britain on Vocalion VP9260 in 1963. In 1965, he recorded for Vanguard which can be heard on the label's compilation album, Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol.2.

In the 1960s, Rush began playing in other cities in the U.S. and also to Europe, most notably the American Folk Blues Festival.

In 1969, the album Mourning in the Morning was released on Cotillion Records. Recorded at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album was produced by Michael Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites (then of Electric Flag). The sound that incorporated soul and rock was a brand new direction for Rush.

In 1971, Rush recorded the album Right Place, Wrong Time in San Francisco, California for Capitol Records, but Capitol decided not to release it. The album was finally released in 1976 when Rush purchased the master from Capitol and had it released by P-Vine Records in Japan. Bullfrog Records released it in the U.S. soon after. The album generally has since gained a reputation as one of the best works by Rush.

In the 1970s, he also released some albums on Delmark Records and also from Sonet Records in Europe, but by the end of the decade he stopped performing and recording.
Otis Rush performing in 2002

Rush made a come back in 1985 making a U.S. tour and releasing the live album, Tops, recorded at the San Francisco Blues Festival.

In 1994, Rush released Ain't Enough Comin' In, the first studio album in 16 years. Any Place I'm Goin' followed in 1998, and Rush earned his first Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1999.

Though he has not recorded a new studio album since 1998, he continued to tour and perform. In 2002, he was featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album Hey Bo Diddley - A Tribute!, performing the song "I'm A Man".

However, he suffered a stroke in 2004 which has kept him from performing since. In 2006, Rush released his latest CD, Live and From San Francisco on Blues Express Records, a live recording from 1999. Video footage of the same show was released on the DVD Live Part 1 in 2003.
Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Friday, September 30, 2011

Wang Dang Doodle - Koko Taylor ft. Little Walter


Koko Taylor sometimes spelled KoKo Taylor (September 28, 1928 – June 3, 2009) was an American Chicago blues musician, popularly known as the "Queen of the Blues." She was known primarily for her rough, powerful vocals and traditional blues stylings.
Born Cora Walton in Shelby County, Tennessee, Taylor was the daughter of a sharecropper. She left Memphis for Chicago, Illinois in 1952 with her husband, truck driver Robert "Pops" Taylor. In the late 1950s she began singing in Chicago blues clubs. She was spotted by Willie Dixon in 1962, and this led to wider performances and her first recording contract. In 1965, Taylor was signed by Chess Records where she recorded "Wang Dang Doodle," a song written by Dixon and recorded by Howlin' Wolf five years earlier. The song became a hit, reaching number four on the R&B charts in 1966, and selling a million copies. Taylor recorded several versions of "Wang Dang Doodle" over the years, including a live version at the 1967 American Folk Blues Festival with harmonica player Little Walter and guitarist Hound Dog Taylor. Taylor subsequently recorded more material, both original and covers, but never repeated that initial chart success.

National touring in the late 1960s and early 1970s improved her fan base, and she became accessible to a wider record-buying public when she signed with Alligator Records in 1975. She recorded nine albums for Alligator, 8 of which were Grammy-nominated, and came to dominate the female blues singer ranks, winning twenty five W. C. Handy Awards (more than any other artist). After her recovery from a near-fatal car crash in 1989, the 1990s found Taylor in films such as Blues Brothers 2000 and Wild at Heart, and she opened a blues club on Division Street in Chicago in 1994, but it closed in 1999.

Taylor influenced musicians such as Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland, Janis Joplin, Shannon Curfman, and Susan Tedeschi. In the years prior to her death, she performed over 70 concerts a year and resided just south of Chicago in Country Club Hills, Illinois.

In 2008, the Internal Revenue Service said that Taylor owed $400,000 in back taxes, penalties and interest. Her tax problems concerned 1998, 2000 and 2001; for those years combined, her adjusted gross income was $949,000.

Taylor died on June 3, 2009, after complications from surgery for gastrointestinal bleeding on May 19, 2009. Her final performance was at the Blues Music Awards, on May 7, 2009.
Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

I Wish You Would - Billy Boy Arnold w/ Phil Alvin


Billy Boy Arnold (born William Arnold, September 16, 1935, Chicago, Illinois) is an American blues harmonica player, singer and songwriter.
Born in Chicago, he began playing harmonica as a child, and in 1948 received informal lessons from his near neighbour John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, shortly before the latter's death. Arnold made his recording debut in 1952 with "Hello Stranger" on the small Cool label, the record company giving him the nickname "Billy Boy".

In the early 1950s, he joined forces with street musician Bo Diddley and played harmonica on the March 2, 1955 recording of the Bo Diddley song "I'm a Man" released by Checker Records.[1] The same day as the Bo Diddley sessions, Billy Boy recorded the self-penned "You Got to Love Me" which was not released until the box set, Chess Blues 1947-1967, in 1992.

Arnold signed a solo recording contract with Vee-Jay Records, recording the originals of "I Wish You Would" and "I Ain’t Got You". Both were later covered by The Yardbirds.
"I Wish You Would" was also recorded by David Bowie on his 1973 album, Pin Ups and by Sweet on their 1982 album, Identity Crisis.

In the late 1950s Arnold continued to play in Chicago clubs, and in 1963 he recorded a LP, More Blues From The South Side, for the Prestige label, but as playing opportunities dried up he pursued a parallel career as a bus driver and, later, parole officer.

By the 1970s Arnold had begun playing festivals, touring Europe, and recording again. He recorded a session for BBC Radio 1 disc jockey John Peel on 5 October 1977.

In 1993 he released the album Back Where I Belong on Alligator Records, followed by Eldorado Cadillac (1995) and Boogie ’n’ Shuffle (2001). As of 2010, Arnold continues to write and record new material, and occasionally tours the U.S. and Europe.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Blues is Alright - Little Milton


James Milton Campbell, Jr. (September 7, 1934 – August 4, 2005), better known as Little Milton, was an American electric blues, rhythm and blues, and soul singer and guitarist, best known for his hit records "Grits Ain't Groceries" and "We're Gonna Make It."
Milton was born James Milton Campbell, Jr., in the Mississippi Delta town of Inverness and raised in Greenville by a farmer and local blues musician. By age twelve he had learned the guitar and was a street musician, chiefly influenced by T-Bone Walker and his blues and rock and roll contemporaries. In 1952, while still a teenager playing in local bars, he caught the attention of Ike Turner, who was at that time a talent scout for Sam Phillips' Sun Records. He signed a contract with the label and recorded a number of singles. None of them broke through onto radio or sold well at record stores, however, and Milton left the Sun label by 1955.

After trying several labels without notable success, including Trumpet Records, Milton set up the St. Louis based Bobbin Records label, which ultimately scored a distribution deal with Leonard Chess' Chess Records. As a record producer, Milton helped bring artists such as Albert King and Fontella Bass to fame, while experiencing his own success for the first time. After a number of small format and regional hits, his 1962 single, "So Mean to Me," broke onto the Billboard R&B chart, eventually peaking at #14.

Following a short break to tour, managing other acts, and spending time recording new material, he returned to music in 1965 with a more polished sound, similar to that of B.B. King. After the ill-received "Blind Man" (R&B: #86), he released back-to-back hit singles. The first, "We're Gonna Make It," a blues-infused soul song, topped the R&B chart and broke through onto Top 40 radio, a format then dominated largely by white artists. He followed the song with #4 R&B hit "Who's Cheating Who?" All three songs were featured on his album, We're Gonna Make It, released that summer.

Throughout the late 1960s Milton released a number of moderately successful singles, but did not issue a further album until 1969, with Grits Ain't Groceries featuring his hit of the same name, as well as "Just a Little Bit" and "Baby, I Love You". With the death of Leonard Chess the same year, Milton's distributor, Checker Records fell into disarray, and Milton joined the Stax label two years later. Adding complex orchestration to his works, Milton scored hits with "That's What Love Will Make You Do" and "What It Is" from his live album, What It Is: Live at Montreux. He appeared in the documentary film, Wattstax, which was released in 1973. Stax, however, had been losing money since late in the previous decade and was forced into bankruptcy in 1975.

After leaving Stax, Milton struggled to maintain a career, moving first to Evidence, then the MCA imprint Mobile Fidelity Records, before finding a home at the independent record label, Malaco Records, where he remained for much of the remainder of his career.[2] His last hit single, "Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number," was released in 1983 from the album of the same name. In 1988, Little Milton was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and won a W.C. Handy Award. His most final album, Think of Me, was released in May 2005 on the Telarc imprint, and included writing and guitar on three songs by Peter Shoulder of the UK-based blues-rock trio Winterville.

The name 'Little Milton' was reused for Gerald Bostock, the fictional boy poet central to Jethro Tull's 1972 record Thick as a Brick.

Milton died on August 4, 2005 from complications following a stroke.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Slim's Boogie - Memphis Slim


Memphis Slim (September 3, 1915 – February 24, 1988) was an American blues pianist, singer, and composer. He led a series of bands that, reflecting the popular appeal of jump blues, included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. A song he first cut in 1947, "Every Day I Have the Blues", has become a blues standard, recorded by many other artists. He made over 500 recordings.
Memphis Slim's birth name was John Len Chatman, and he was born in Memphis, Tennessee, United States. His father Peter Chatman sang, played piano and guitar, and operated juke joints, and it is now commonly believed that he took the name to honor his father when he first recorded for Okeh Records in 1940. Although he started performing under the name Memphis Slim later that same year, he continued to publish songs under the name Peter Chatman.

He spent most of the 1930s performing in honky-tonks, dance halls, and gambling joints in West Memphis, Arkansas, and southeast Missouri. He settled in Chicago in 1939, and began teaming with Big Bill Broonzy in clubs soon afterward. In 1940 and 1941 he recorded two songs for Bluebird Records that became part of his repertoire for decades, "Beer Drinking Woman," and "Grinder Man Blues." These were released under the name "Memphis Slim," given to him by Bluebird's producer, Lester Melrose. Slim became a regular session musician for Bluebird, and his piano talents supported established stars such as John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Washboard Sam, and Jazz Gillum. Many of Slim's recordings and performances until the mid-1940s were with guitarist and singer Broonzy, who had recruited Slim to be his piano player after Joshua Altheimer's death in 1940.

After World War II, Slim began leading bands that, reflecting the popular appeal of jump-blues, generally included saxophones, bass, drums, and piano. With the decline of blues recording by the majors, Slim worked with the emerging independent labels. Starting in late 1945, he recorded with trios for the small Chicago-based label Hy-Tone. With a lineup of alto saxophone, tenor sax, piano, and string bass (Willie Dixon played the instrument on the first session), he signed with the Miracle label in the fall of 1946. One of the numbers recorded at the first session was the ebullient boogie "Rockin' the House," from which his band would take its name. Slim and the House Rockers recorded mainly for Miracle through 1949, enjoying commercial success. Among the songs they recorded were "Messin' Around" (which reached number one on the R&B charts in 1948 and "Harlem Bound." In 1947, the day after producing a concert by Slim, Broonzy, and Williamson at New York City's Town Hall, folklorist Alan Lomax brought the three musicians to the Decca studios and recorded with Slim's on vocal and piano. Lomax presented sections of this recording on BBC radio in the early 1950s as a documentary titled The Art of the Negro, and later released an expanded version as the LP Blues in the Mississippi Night. In 1949, Slim expanded his combo to a quintet by adding a drummer; the group was now spending most of its time on tour, leading to off-contract recording sessions for King in Cincinnati and Peacock in Houston.

One of Slim's 1947 recordings for Miracle, released in 1949, was originally titled "Nobody Loves Me". It has become famous as "Every Day I Have the Blues." The tune was recorded in 1950 by Lowell Fulson, and subsequently by a raft of artists including B. B. King, Elmore James, Ray Charles, Eric Clapton, Natalie Cole, Ella Fitzgerald, Jimi Hendrix, Mahalia Jackson, Sarah Vaughan, Carlos Santana, and Lou Rawls. Joe Williams recorded it in 1952 for Checker; his remake from 1956 (included in Count Basie Swings, Joe Williams Sings) was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1992. "Every Day I Have the Blues" is also seen in John Mayer's, Where The Light Is, a DVD (and CD) live recording in Los Angeles' Nokia Theatre featuring Steve Jordan (drums) and Pino Palladino (bass).

Early in 1950, Miracle succumbed to financial troubles, but its owners regrouped to form the Premium label, and Slim remained on board until the successor company faltered in the summer of 1951. His February 1951 session for Premium saw two changes in the House Rockers' lineup: Slim started using two tenor saxophones instead of the alto and tenor combination, and he made a trial of adding guitarist Ike Perkins. His last session for Premium kept the two-tenor lineup but dispensed with the guitar. During his time with Premium, Slim first recorded his song "Mother Earth."

Slim made just one session for King, but the company bought his Hy-Tone sides in 1948 and acquired his Miracle masters after it failed in 1950. He was never a Chess artist, but Leonard Chess bought most of the Premium masters after the failure.

After a year with Mercury Records, Slim signed with United Records in Chicago; the A&R man, Lew Simpkins, knew him from Miracle and Premium. The timing was propitious, because he had just added Matt "Guitar" Murphy to his group. He remained with United through the end of 1954, when the company began to cut back on blues recording.

Slim's next steady relationship with a record company had to wait until 1958, when he was picked up by Vee-Jay. In 1959 his band, still featuring Matt "Guitar" Murphy, cut LP Memphis Slim at the Gate of the Horn, which featured a lineup of his best known songs, including "Mother Earth," "Gotta Find My Baby," "Rockin' the Blues," 'Steppin' Out," and "Slim's Blues."

Slim first appeared outside the United States in 1960, touring with Willie Dixon, with whom he returned to Europe in 1962 as a featured artist in the first of the series of American Folk Festival concerts organized by Dixon and promoter Willie Dixon that brought many notable blues artists to Europe in the 1960s and 1970s. The duo released several albums together on Folkways Records, including, Memphis Slim and Willie Dixon at the Village Gate with Pete Seeger, in 1962. That same year, he moved permanently to Paris and his engaging personality and well-honed presentation of playing, singing, and storytelling about the blues secured his position as the most prominent blues artist for nearly three decades. He appeared on television in numerous European countries, acted in several French films and wrote the score for another, and performed regularly in Paris, throughout Europe, and on return visits to the United States. In the last years of his life, he teamed up with respected jazz drummer George Collier. The two toured Europe together and became friends. After Collier died in August 1987, Slim appeared in public very little.

Two years before his death, Slim was named a Commander in the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of France. In addition, the U.S. Senate honored Slim with the title of Ambassador-at-Large of Good Will.
Memphis Slim grave

Memphis Slim died on February 24, 1988, of renal failure in Paris, France, at the age of 72. He is buried at Galilee Memorial Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee
Get Facebook support for your favorite band or venue - click HERE