Today’s Music to keep me SSSaaaaNNNNeeeee in Isolation – Albert Collins – The Ice Man.

Albert Collins is one of those great guitar heroes who produced a distinctive guitar sound. It was so sharp and concise that they called him the Ice Man.

I’m gonna play me a bit of Blues!

Today’s Music to keep me sANNNEEE in Isolation – Rory Gallagher

I first saw Rory playing with Taste. They were a storming three-piece band – really powerful. Rory was one of those Irish guitar geniuses who could toast the Blues.

I love his playing. Another sad case – destroyed by alcohol.

So today I shall reacquaint myself with Rory and send some adrenaline through my arteries!

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Albert King

I wasn’t born under a bad sign but I sure can recognise the emotion of someone who was.

Albert King married Blues to Soul and created a distinctive sound. That guitar really sings! Free did such a good version of The Hunter.

Today I’ve been playing some Albert King! It lifted my spirits!


Today’s Music to keep me eanse in Isolation – John Lee Hooker

I felt like a good bit of earthy Blues today – something with a beat! I chose John Lee Hooker!

I was introduced to John Lee Hooker by Dick Brunning. I remember we went down to the record shop (in Woking?) to buy a record or two. He had his eye on this John Lee Hooker EP featuring Dimples. I tried to divert him on to the new single by the Everly Brothers – Ferris Wheel.  He wisely took no notice of me and bought the EP. I hope he’s still got it!

Back in the sixties, if you were a Beat group, you had to feature at least a couple of John Lee Hooker tracks.

So today I’ll play a bit of Hooker!!

Peter Green – a guitar genius – Fare Thee Well and Thank you!

I have just heard the sad news that Pete Green, the founder and guitar genius of Fleetwood Mac, has died at the age of 73.

I first saw Pete playing with John Mayall and was greatly impressed by his fluent, flowing guitar. He had followed Eric Clapton into the band and I reckon he was the better guitarist.

He formed the great Fleetwood Mac which I was lucky enough to see regularly. They had their roots in Blues but soon developed into something so much more with impressive progressive tracks like Green Manalishi. They were such a great band to see live – so full of fun, skill and great music. Pete wrote such brilliant songs.

After Pete suffered his psychedelically initiated breakdown and left the band they were never as good. I cherish those early albums and live shows – one of the best bands in the world (thanks to Pete Green).

If only we had music like that, venues like that and bands who were as exciting. For 25p you got to see Pete Green up close, to dance and laugh, and to watch in awe as he conjured brilliance out of his guitar. There was always such a range of styles and music – Pete duelling with Danny Kirwin or Jeremy Spencer summoning up the spirit of Elmore James.

I rate Pete Green as one of the greatest guitarists to have come out of Britain and count myself fortunate to have seen him play.

I shall be dusting off all my albums and thinking about you, playing the memories of seeing you play in my head, and celebrating such wonderful times with sad tears.

Goodbye Pete – thank you so much! I’ve been missing you for a long time but am still heartbroken at your death! You were the best (and such a nice guy too!).

Music to keep me SanE in Isolation – Leadbelly

Leadbelly, Lead Belly or Huddie Ledbetter, whatever you want to call him, was a murderer and one of the most important singers of his day. A controversial figure and giant of a man.

He wrote many songs of great importance. He set off the whole skiffle scene with his Rock Island Line – covered by Lonnie Donnegan.

Leadbelly was a brave man. He was one of the few black singers who dared to record songs about the racism inherent in society. His Bourgeois Blues is such an important statement.

He wrote so many other important tracks – Midnight Special, Goodnight Irene, Boll Weevil, Black Girl and Pick a Bale of Cotton – all covered numerous times.

Roy Harper said that Leadbelly was the basis of the whole Folk Music Scene.

Today I’m going to play Leadbelly – a master of the 12-String guitar – and here some authentic music that means something!

I discovered this rare radio show with two of my heroes!


Today’s Music to keep me SanE in Isolation – Big Mama Thornton.

Big Mama Thornton is best known for producing the original versions of Elvis Presley’s Hound Dog and Janis Joplin’s Ball and Chain, but she was more than that.

Big Mama was a Blues singer with a big, big voice. It’s a shame that she did not record more or perform more. I would love to have seen her.

So today I’m going to play some Big Mama.

Today’s Music to keep me SAnE in Isolation – Billy Boy Arnold

Billy Boy was one of those great blues singers who deserves a lot more recognition – a great harp player with some great songs. The Yardbirds picked up on him early and covered a couple of his songs. I used to play his stuff a lot.

So today I’ll play some Billy Boy.

Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Blind Willie Johnson

Today I thought I would delve back to the 1920s for a bit of great Blues. So I dug out my Blind Willie Johnson. He was a preacher and sang religious songs. I do not usually go for that but I make an exception for Willie.

I’m a sucker for the slide guitar. Couple that with Willie’s incredible voice and you get a startling combination. This is a man who lived the Blues. His mother died and father remarried but his stepmother abused him and treated him badly. When his father was caught with another woman she deliberately threw lye in Willie’s eyes blinding him for life.

There was no welfare back then. Disabled people had to earn a living. Many went into the church and many into music. Willie did both.

For me, this is (despite the religious lyrics) real music.