Sadly, I did not get to see John play. But back in the 60s I did see him on TV. He played an old beaten up acoustic guitar with corks for machine heads! I used to love him. When I was fifteen I remember borrowing a Sleepy John Estes album to impress a girl I was hot on at the time. Strangely she wasn’t impressed. I dumped her immediately. The girl had no taste.
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!
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!
Lightnin’ was the first Blues singer that Dick Brunning introduced me to. He’s superb.
I discovered this gem by him today.
You know that it’s a sin to be rich But it’s a low down shame to be poor It is a sin to be rich You know that it’s a low down shame to be poor
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!!
Little Walter Jacobs was one of the big three harp players. He played with Muddy Waters and Bo Diddley. He was, unfortunately, a bit of a tough guy who tended to get into fights, this was exacerbated by alcohol and severely restricted his career. However, we can look back on his genius with the amplified harp. That is what I am going to do today!
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!
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.
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 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.