Guitarist Presents Blues Guitar Heroes, Daily Post 2011 #19

Because I’m a bluesman
But I’m a good man, understand

B.B. King – Blues Man (1998) Universal Music Inc.

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 Three: A Short History of Slide Guitar

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.


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Women of the Blues, Part I, Daily Post 2011 #18

Wintery days, snowed and iced bound indoors creates cabin fever. What better way to handle cabin fever than listening and studying the blues, while doing my graduate school homework 😉

The Nov/Dec issue of Blues Revue, The Worlds Blues Magazine is a fantastic issue featuring a cover story entitled, “Powerful Women Play the Blues”. If you are looking to discover invigorating musicians carrying the blues tradition forward you want to get this magazine to read about what these women are accomplishing.

If you scratch my rock and roll heart you will find at its core the blues. The discoveries I have made through the blues have been some of the most enriching experiences of my life. It’s important to fortify and deepen one’s trusted experiences by gaining a better appreciation for women in the blues.

1. Joanne Shaw Taylor

Joanne Shaw Taylor produces that gutsy sounding blues you’ve come to respect from respected blues artists. Her raspy vocals match her tough guitar playing. I didn’t find her blues style immediate, but as I listened  further to Diamonds in the Dirt, a natural intensity took hold. It was like lighting a candle that burns bright with an ever-increasing flickering flame.

I especially love this quote about Joanne Shaw Taylor :), “Last year I heard something I thought I would never hear … a British white girl playing blues guitar so deep and passionately it made the hairs on the back of my neck stand on end!” — Dave Stewart, Eurythmics


2. Debbie Davies

People have been singing the praises of Debbie Davies to me for years. I finally got around to reading more about Debbie Davies today. The more I read told me that I too am a fellow beatnik.  I took the time today to listen to Debbie Davies’s latest recording, Holding Court. I love the tone of her blues guitar, she has the chops of Albert Collins, who she played with from 1988-1991 and so much more. I hear some of Michael Bloomfield in her style. Her command of the guitar is blues power pure as she plays with an effortless sincerity that will captivate your soul.

3. Eden Brent

I stumbled upon Eden Brent recently when I was looking at a list of blues artists playing on the Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise. One of my fantasies is to take that cruise with Rosemary from some port of call in the future 😉

I then noticed that Eden Brent’s recording Ain’t Got No Troubles as  #4 in Amazon’s Top 10 Best Blues Albums of 2010.  (As is Joanne Shaw Taylor’s Diamond in the Dirt recording at #10). This intrigued me further. Next thing I know I am buying the latest Blues Revue on the newstand and there is a feature article on Eden Brent. Well I go with synchronicity when it strikes like that.

I really like Eden Brent’s recording. The Mississippi area of the US has always been a fertile source of blues music to draw upon. Eden Brent encompasses the boogie woogie piano playing and adds her velvety smooth vocals to that mix. Her interpretations are resonant as they collect your warm smile.

4. Cyndi Lauper

I just adore Cyndi Lauper.  Her voice is emotionally poignant. I respect how Cyndi Lauper takes risks on creative levels through constant experimentation with her music. Memphis Blues establishes a defining chapter in the evolution of Cyndi’s ever-changing songbook.

We saw Cyndi Lauper open for Cher in 2003 at Mohegan Sun. She knocked us out with her magnetic aura, which was both intimate and charming in its appeal.

A Trio of Blues Harp Players – Daily Post 2011 #17

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

The Guess Who – Daily Post 2011 #15

One of my favorite groups from the sixties is The Guess Who

When I am listening to the 60s on 6 station on Sirius Satellite Radio their songs come across very vibrant and amazingly fresh all these decades later.

They had a great series of hits on the radio, with unique textures, solid vocals and a tight rock sound. Check out this YouTube video of  the original version of “No Time” with a psychedelic intro and outro.

Seeing The Guess Who live is on my bucket list. I am not certain that will be possible with members of the original lineup unless they reunite for a U.S. tour. The signature vocals of lead singer/keyboardist, Burton Cummings established the band as a fixture on the radio. The guitar work of Randy Bachman finessed their sound. Bachman and Cummings co-wrote many of The Guess Who’s hits.

Randy Bachman left the band in 1970 to form Bachman-Turner Overdrive which generated many classic  hits on their own. Burton Cummings left the band in 1975 for a solo career.

The Guess Who tour as the nucleus shown below today. Original members still performing as The Guess Who include Jim Kale bassist and Garry Peterson drummer who own franchise. I’m glad to know they are keeping it real. I hope to catch The Guess Who in concert this year or next as I watch the Web for show dates near us in 2011/2012 😉

Harry Chapin 30th Anniversary – Daily Post #14

Verities & Balderdash
Image via Wikipedia

This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Harry’s passing. I’ve been thinking about Harry a lot lately. I have written two blog posts this year alone about Harry Chapin, one about his second recording, Sniper and Other Love Songs and one about his third recording, Short Stories.

I plan to publish more concert and personal memories about Harry Chapin soon. I was very fortunate to meet Harry Chapin on several occasions. He was a warm, wonderful, obliging person. If I can ever find the interview I did with him at Paul Leka‘s Connecticut Recording Studio  I will publish that as well.

I hope you will enjoy these two pages scanned from my music concert scrapbook. In the mid-seventies I too was a FM jock on a couple of college radio stations. I also wrote music articles for a local free entertainment magazine known as The Entertainer.  I included the two articles I wrote in 1974 about Harry Chapin for this post.

I saw Harry Chapin and his band recording Verities and Balderdash in Bridgeport in 1974. That’s another story for another day 😉

As Harry always said, “Keep the Change”. 🙂

John Lee Hooker – Daily Post 2011 #13

Cover of "Healer"
Cover of Healer

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.

Van Morrison also recorded with John Lee Hooker on several recordings, such as Never Get Out of these Blues Alive, “The Healing Game” and “I Cover the Waterfront“.