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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 Fred Below. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fred Below. Show all posts

Friday, December 12, 2014

Delmark Records artist: Junior Wells - Southside Blues Jam - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Southside Blues Jam, by Junior Wells and it's great! This is another in a series of reissues from Delmark with in this case 6 additional tracks. This release was recorded in December '69-January '70 at Theresa's Blues Bar and one could only have wished to be at one of these shows! Opening with Sonny Boy Williamson's Stop Breaking Down, Spann hits the first key and Wells unleashes that monster voice. It's really great to hear this band featuring the kings of Chicago blues (Wells, Guy, Myers, Spann, Earnest Johnson and Fred Bellow). Wells has such control and composure with Spann who is one of my personal favorites. Excellent! I Could Have Had Religion is up next and Spann is right there! This track comes and goes so quickly but Spann in crystal clear and Wells has the blues in the palm of his hand. Willie Dixon's Just Make Love To Me (I Just Wanna Make Love To You) is right down in the groove and Spann is stellar. Wells really digs down and Buddy is heard scampering over the vocals with his guitar riffs. Spann steps out with a great intro on one of my favorites, Lend Me Your Love. Wells' vocals are focused and direct and Otis really kicks it on an extended solo. Guy plays some of his notorious riffs, rough and raw. An almost perfect track. On Morganfield's Long Distance Call, Wells pulls out the harp and quietly coaxes riffs from Spann and Guy. Excellent! On Williamson's In My Younger Days, Wells plays a cool intro and Spann keeps a solid piano base under Wells' vocals. Of course a perfect track for Wells to blow it out, that he does and a full out romp starts with Louis Myers adding really nice guitar riffs to the mix. Guy takes the mic on Trouble Don't Last and consequently adds more of his own distinctive guitar riffs in echo to his own vocals. It is a such a great thing to hear Guy and Spann together with Guy singing and Wells on harp. Guy takes a bit more of an extended solo on this track as well. Excellent! The next 7 tracks weren't a part of the original release and are a terrific bonus here. It's Too Late Brother cooks with Wells riding high on vocal and terrific harp work. Myers is just perfect on guitar on this track with an almost jazz attack and Spann plays low on the keyboard creating a super dynamic. At over 6 minutes, this is a cool jam. Warmin' Up is a cool little clip of Spann and Guy jamming. At only about a minute long, a well worthy addition with hot riffs! Love My Baby has a strong Morganfield feel and Guy cuts loose nicely on this track. Spann's signature is ever present and these are not just extras...these tracks are great! An alternate take on I Could Have Had Religion is up next and Wells really sings over the top. At over 7 minutes this turns into a super jam with Wells vocal improv, Spann, Guy, Below and Johnson. Morganfield's Rock Me is up next and Wells sets a really nice groove. Spann's signature is so pure and evident that you wonder how anyone ever listened to Chicago blues without him. Wells rips loose on his harp against a fairly quiet background creating a super dynamic. Got To Play The Blues is a seven plus minute track with a funky blues feel. Myers holds down the guitar spot on this track and Spann and Wells trade riffs. This is an excellent release of materials for both enthusiasts and seasoned listeners. There is also included a 16 page liner notes and super photos from Bob Koester. Also of note is that this is the final studio recording of Spann.

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Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Every Night and Every Day - Big Mojo Elem,Wayne Bennett,Fred Below,Willie James Lyons

Willie James Lyons b. 5 December 1938, Alabama, USA, d. 26 December 1980, Chicago, Illinois, USA. A west side Chicago blues guitarist in the 50s, Lyons worked as an accompanist with many artists, including Luther Allison, Jimmy Dawkins and Bobby Rush. Unaccountably ignored by Chicago record companies, he was taken up by French blues enthusiasts in the 70s. He recorded as an accompanist, made a disappointing half album, and in 1979 visited Europe, where he recorded his only full album. This proved to be the work of a fine singer and guitarist, influenced by B.B. King and Freddie King, ‘ T-Bone’ Walker and Lowell Fulson. 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, September 6, 2012


Fred Below (September 16, 1926 – August 14, 1988) was a leading blues drummer, best known for his innovative work with Little Walter and Chess Records in the 1950s. Nobody laid more of the Chicago blues rhythmic foundations, particularly its archetypal backbeat, than Fred Below.

He was born in Chicago, and started playing drums in a high school jazz band. After being conscripted into the United States Army, he joined the 427th Army band, where he played with Lester Young. After war service, he played in nightclub in Germany before returning to the United States in 1951.

Back in Chicago, Below joined a group called The Aces, comprising Junior Wells and brothers Louis and Dave Myers. Little Walter had just left Muddy Waters' band to pursue a solo career, Wells taking over Walter's role on harp in the Muddy Waters band and Walter commandeering the Aces (Myers brothers and Below). As Little Walter and the Nightcats, they became one of the top electric blues bands in Chicago.

In 1955, Below left Little Walter's live band to concentrate on working as a session musician for Chess Records. However, he continued to play on Little Walter's records, as well as hit records for Muddy Waters, Chuck Berry, Bo Diddley, Jimmy Rogers, Elmore James, Otis Rush, Junior Wells, Howlin' Wolf and others.

John Brim's last Chess single, "I Would Hate to See You Go," was waxed in 1956 with a musical ensemble consisting of Little Walter, guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr., bassist Willie Dixon, and Fred Below.

Amongst his more famous work was playing on Chuck Berry's 1957 hit single, "School Days".

The Myers brothers and Below re-formed under the Aces moniker in 1970 to tour Europe before again going their separate ways.

Fred Below died from cancer on August 14, 1988 in Chicago at the age of 61
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