I got the bug for the blues in 1971 while I was attending college. I was a college FM disk jockey minoring in music. I learned about Alligator Records from the music playlist at the radio station. I’ve been a fan of their rich catalog and roster of blues artists ever since.
Alligator Records is an independent record label that is willing to take the risk of recording and promoting blues musicians that deserve attention and respect.
It is with great pride that I announce the relaunching of the Alligator Records Web Site. Stop by and browse their house rockin music wares. You will receive 20% off your orders throughout the month of August! Shipping is always FREE in the USA.
The Blues is becoming a major subject area of study and exploration for me this month. I make it a special point to browse the music section of the magazine racks at Borders, Barnes & Noble, etc. every chance I get.
I discovered a real gem of a specialty publication today at Barnes & Noble. Guitarist Magazine from the United Kingdom has put together a 250+ page high gloss, coffee table size publication entitled, Blues Guitar Heroes. The world’s greatest blues guitar players are featured with lots of insightful perspectives. It’s a real strong issue with past and present (2010) interviews/profiles of 54 blues guitarists. The newstand price is $19.99 for the import magazine, well worth the price for the value of the collected and sorted information.
The chapter breakout is as follows….
Chapter One: Story of the Blues
Chapter Two: Interviews & Profiles ( I have seen 19 of those 54 blues guitarists perform live.)
Chapter Four: Top 40 Blues Guitarists (I’m proud to say I have seen 10 of those 40 blues guitarists.)
Chapter Five: Ten Classic Blues Guitars (Beautifully photographed in color).
If you are a serious blues music fan or collector you must get this magazine to enhance your knowledge of the blues. It’s a definitive source about blues, the musicians, its history and the guitar its played upon.
I was thumbing through the Nov/Dec 2010 issue of Blues Revue magazine, where I picked up on a thread of continuity with three blues harp players, Grady Champion, James Cotton, and Charles Musslewhite. Each had advertisements in the magazine and all three harp players recordings are reviewed in the reviews section.
The first harp player reference I saw was a half page advertisement for the International Blues Challenge 2011, featuring an image of Grady Champion (last year’s IBC winning band!). The Blues Foundation will present the 27th International Blues Challenge February 1-5, 2011 in Memphis, TN
Grady Champion is a new influence for me. His band’s latest recording is Back In Mississippi Live at the 930 Blues Cafe on Earwig Records. Having a Microsoft Zune music account I decided to sample Grady Champion’s recording. I liked what I heard immediately. Grady and the band have a sharp, fresh sound that commands your attention from the first note. Give them a listen :)
Charlie Musselwhite, is a veteran blues-man who is having a welcome resurgence of late. You may have seen him playing with Cyndi Lauper on her latest recording Memphis Blues. Charlie has been a sideman with many famous musicians such as Tom Waits, Bonnie Raitt, John Lee Hooker and The Blind Boys of Alabama, just to name a few. Charlie’s latest recording on Alligator Records, The Well is up for a Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional Blues Album category. The Well has been hailed by critics and fans as one of the very best blues CDs of 2010. I wholeheartedly agree, The Well is a gritty, straight ahead blues rocker. One of my favorite tracks is “Cook County Blues” where you hear humorous diatribe about being in the slammer” ;)
“Superb, original and compelling…harmonica master Musselwhite sets the standard for blues.” – Rolling Stone Magazine
Alligator Recording artist James Cotton at 75 years young has also received a well-deserved Grammy Award nomination in the Best Traditional Blues Album group for Giant. James Cotton began his career at the age of 9 under the tutelage of Sonny Boy Williamson. He is totally dedicated to his craft and will shake you to your bones on this recording.
“Among the greats of all time, He blazes on harp with brilliant virtuosity,”–Rolling Stone Magazine
John Lee Hooker created the “talking blues” style. His improvisational method accompanied by his growling deep voice endeared him to his fans and musicians alike. Two songs he was very known for are, “Boogie Chillen” and “Boom Boom“.
One of my favorite John Lee Hooker collaborations is the The Healer, which was recorded in 1989 with Carlos Santana and Ms. Bonnie Raitt, to name a few. The Healer brought John Lee Hooker a whole new generation of music fans. The title song has such staying power 21 years afterward.
I was fortunate to see John Lee Hooker open for Santana on October 14, 1970 at the Capitol Theater in Portchester, NY. He held the concert hall spell-bound when he did One Burbon, One Scotch and One Beer as his encore.
I received an e-mail from Willie Dixon’s grandson, Alex Dixon about the launch of the new “Official” Willie Dixon Website. If you are a fan of the blues I urge you to browse over and take a look at the information Alex has created about his grandfather, the legendary “Godfather of the Blues” Willie Dixon.
You will find a rich set of content, starting with a biography and a timeline, lots of great pictures and videos.