I remember buying this album way back in 1965 when I was a lad of sixteen. From that first burst of guitar it blew me away.
Recorded back in the 1930s in a hotel room. The intensity is incredible. The guitar rings and is so crisp. The poetry is so full of imagery. The voice is haunting. Blew all the chart pop music to dust. This was real! Never looked back.
Twenty-five years old when he recorded these 29 songs (with 12 alternative takes). He was dead by the age of twenty-seven.
I had only heard about the terrible fire from the Howlin’ Wolf record which I first heard as a teenager. I never thought I would actually get to visit the site and see where the tragedy had happened. It was a song; then suddenly, it was real. I was actually standing at the site that had elicited that song. All that was left was a slab of concrete.
Here’s Howlin’ Wolf’s poignant song. Takes me back to my fourteen-year-old self.
I’d heard there was a monument to Muddy Waters in his birthplace. We stopped and I had a walk around. I was looking for a statue. There were some murals on a wall but that wasn’t it.
It was Sunday morning and the only people around were three guys in a gazebo sharing a bottle of whiskey in a brown bag. I wandered over. They looked like locals. I asked them if they knew where the monument to Muddy Waters was. One of them said ‘You’re standing in it, brother’.
Seems the gazebo was the monument. It had a plaque in front. I took a photo.
One of the other guys said: ‘What’s Muddy Waters ever done for us?’
I thought that was a little harsh as the guys were sitting in his gazebo enjoying a drink.
After Dogfinger Steve had warmed us up it was time for the old festival favourites, The Alligators, to get us all up and bopping with their high-power Blues!! As a raw, dirty R&B Blues band they don’t come much better. Hot, sweaty and ROCKIN’.
Towards the end they were joined on stage by the saxophones of Ben Beatty and Simon Cunliffe-Lister for a raucous end to a great day.
The atmosphere in the tent was tasty!! Up close and personal.
Dogfinger Steve did not disappoint. His searing cigar box blues and diddly-bo was reminiscent of Seasick Steve – loud, raw and rockin’. He treated us to an array of rhythms and blasted us with naked electricity.
Blues power – dynamic and driving Blues Rock! Elles Bailey really stormed the stage with a fabulous band featuring brilliant searing guitar, great keyboards and a tight rhythm section. Took me by surprise. I’d never heard of them but I will certainly be going to catch them again. I think they are playing York!!