Saturday, March 06, 2010

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Lonnie Brooks, Charlie Musselwhite, Bonnie Raitt named to Blues Hall of Fame

The Blues Foundation has announced the inductees for the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010, including Lonnie Brooks, Charlie Musselwhite and Bonnie Raitt.

The induction ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 5, at the Memphis Marriott Downtown in Memphis, Tennessee, the night before the 31st Blues Music Awards.
The Hall of Fame committee, consisting of scholars, record producers, radio programmers, and historians, is chaired by Jim O'Neal, founding editor of Living Blues.

Here is the complete list of the 2010 inductees:

Classic of Blues Literature
The Bluesmen by Samuel Charters

Classic of Blues Recording - Single or Album Track
"All Your Love (I Miss Loving)" -- Otis Rush (Cobra, 1958)
"Fever" -- Little Willie John (King, 1956)
"Key to the Highway" -- Big Bill Broonzy (OKeh, 1941)
"Match Box Blues" -- Blind Lemon Jefferson (OKeh and Paramount, 1927)
"Spoonful" -- Howlin' Wolf (Chess, 1960)

Classic of Blues Recordings - Album
Hung Down Head by Lowell Fulson (Chess LP, 1970; CD, 1996)
I Hear Some Blues Downstairs by Fenton Robinson (Alligator LP, 1977; CD, 1991)
Strong Persuader by Robert Cray (Mercury LP/CD, 1986)

Peter Guralnick
Sonny Payne

Amos Milburn
Bonnie Raitt
Charlie Musselwhite
Cus Cannon and Cannon's Jug Stompers
Lonnie Brooks
W.C. Handy

Blues Foundation Web site

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Blues GRAMMYs go to Ramblin' Jack Elliott, Derek Trucks Band

If you're interested in learning who took home the GRAMMY awards for best blues albums in 2009, don't bother watching tonight's show. (Unless you want to see the rumored Lady Gaga-Elton John duet.) Don't despair, however, as we have the scoop here:

The GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album went to "Already Free" by The Derek Trucks Band [Victor Records].

Other nominees were "This Time" by The Robert Cray Band [Nozzle Records/Vanguard]; "The Truth According To Ruthie Foster" by Ruthie Foster [Blue Corn Music]; "Live: Hope At The Hideout" by Mavis Staples [ANTI]; and "Back To The River" by Susan Tedeschi [Verve Forecast].

The Best Traditional Blues Album GRAMMY went to "A Stranger Here" by Ramblin' Jack Elliott [ANTI].

Other nominees were " "Blue Again" by The Mick Fleetwood Blues Band Featuring Rick Vito [429 Records]; "Rough & Tough" by John Hammond [Chesky Records]; "Stomp! The Blues Tonight" by Duke Robillard [Stony Plain Records]; and "Chicago Blues: A Living History" by Billy Boy Arnold, Lurrie Bell, Billy Branch & John Primer, Larry Skoller, producer [Raisin' Music].

Another blues recording won in the category of Best Historical Album. "The Complete Chess Masters (1950-1967),"
a Little Walter compilation from Hip-O Select, took top honors. However, the soundtrack for "Cadillac Records" did not win for Best Compilation Soundtrack Album for Motion Picture, Television or other Visual Media, losing out to "Slumdog Millionaire."

By the way, I watched some of the pre-telecast online at the GRAMMY Web site and probably enjoyed it more than the actual show with all of its star power. We got to see a few gospel, R&B and folk performances, along with some award presentations by Mick Fleetwood and Robert Flack. Taylor Swift even showed up to collect her first two GRAMMYs ever and no one even took the microphone away from her!

GRAMMY Web site

Monday, January 18, 2010

Tail Dragger DVD puts viewer smack dab in Chicago blues club

Are you in the mood for some authentic Chicago blues, but don't want to visit the Windy City in January? A good alternative is the latest DVD from Tail Dragger, "Live At Rooster's Lounge." This stellar release from Delmark puts the viewer right in the middle of the west side Chicago blues club for a raw and raucous performance from James Yancey Jones, the aforementioned Tail Dragger.

The DVD is a follow-up to Tail Dragger’s first Delmark DVD, "My Head Is Bald - Live at Vern's Friendly Lounge." "My Head is Bald" was named best blues DVD by Living Blues magazine in 2005 and "Rooster's Lounge" is just as good. (Both titles also can be purchased as separate audio CDs.)

Thanks to the excellent camera work, “Live at Rooster’s Lounge” almost makes it seem as if the viewer is sitting in the lounge, as Tail Dragger stalks the premises not unlike his mentor, the late, great Howlin’ Wolf. The video captures Tail Dragger as he works the crowd and even flirts with the ladies. You can almost taste the beer and soul food as it’s served to the patrons.

Tail Dragger’s vocals are backed ably by guitarists Rockin' Johnny Burgin and Kevin Shanahan, harpist Martin Lang, bass player Todd Fackler and drummer Rob Lorenz. Dragger’s good friend, West Side blues legend Jimmy Dawkins, contributes his distinctive guitar sound to one song, “Wander,” a Tail Dragger original.

The set list includes a nice mixture of originals and covers from Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Big Joe Williams, John Lee Hooker and Little Walter.

Delmark Web site

Tail Draggers’ Web site

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Les Paul, "Father of the Electric Guitar, dies at age 94

One of the great innovators of modern music, Les Paul, died in White Plains, N.Y., on Aug. 13, 2009, from complications of pneumonia.

Although Paul was an accomplished guitarist in his own right, his greatest contributions to music came as an inventor, both of the solid body guitar and multi-track recording. It is impossible to imagine music today without recognizing these innovations.

Tributes to Paul poured in from across the world from the countless musicians who were inspired by the Waukesha, Wisconsin native. A typical comment was made by guitarist Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top: "Les Paul brought six strings to electricity and electricity to six strings. Les Paul was an innovator, a groundbreaker, a risk taker, a mentor and a friend. Try to imagine what we'd be doing if he hadn't come along and changed the world."

The Gibson Les Paul is one of the most recognizable guitars in music history, played by musicians such as Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton, Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf, Duane Allman, Jeff Beck, Peter Frampton, Billy Gibbons, George Harrison, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Keith Richards, Davey Johnstone, Carlos Santana, Hubert Sumlin, Joe Walsh and Eddie Van Halen, just to name a few.

Not only a great inventor, Paul also was a successful musician in the 1940s and '50s, earning 36 gold records, many of which featured his wife, vocalist Mary Ford.

"As the 'Father of the Electric Guitar,' he was not only one of the world's greatest innovators  but a legend who created, inspired and contributed to the success of musicians around the world," said Dave Berryman, President of Gibson Guitar. “I have had the privilege to know and work with Les for many, many years and his passing has left a deep personal void. He was simply put – remarkable in every way. As a person, a musician, a friend, an inventor. He will be sorely missed by us all."

Gibson Web site

The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer


Les Paul's Web site

Famous Guitarists Who Have Played a Les Paul