Friday, November 13, 2015

Random Blues

This week, we will be rambling around, looking at several different topics.  Let's start off with a couple of Desert Island Discs submissions.  FBF would like to thank Glenn Holley of Murrells Inlet, SC and Daniel Tenero of Westfield, MA for sharing their lists with us, so check them out......

Glenn Holley's Desert Island Discs

The Nighthawks - Jacks and Kings (Genes)
Muddy Waters - Hard Again (Sony)
Johnny Winter - Third Degree (Alligator)
Albert Collins - Ice Pickin' (Alligator)
Hound Dog Taylor - Natural Boogie (Alligator)
Otis Rush - Right Place, Wrong Time (Shout Factory)
Roy Buchanan - You're Not Alone (Rhino/Atlantic)
Mothers of Invention - Weasels Ripped My Flesh (Zappa)
The Rolling Stones - Beggars Banquet (ABKCO)
Oliver Nelson - The Blues and the Abstract Truth (Verve)

Daniel Tenero's Desert Island Discs

Johnny B. Moore - Rockin' In The Same Old Boat (Delmark)
Luther "Guitar Junior" Johnson - Doin' The Sugar Too (Rooster Blues)
James Montgomery Blues Band - Bring It On Home (Conqueroot)
Mighty Sam McClain - Soul Survivor (Audioquest)
Tony Z - Kiss My Blues (Tone-Cool)
Curtis Salgado - More Than You Can Chew (Rhythm Safari Party, Ltd)
Janiva Magness & Jeff Turmes - It Takes One To Know One (Fat Head)
Rick Holmstrom - Hydraulic Groove (Tone-Cool)
John "Juke" Logan - The Chill (Re-Chilled) (Mocombo)
The Paul DeLay Band - Take It From The Turnaround (Evidence)

If you'd like to see your list in print, just send it to me at

The new issue of Blues Bytes should be going live in a few days.  It's a two-monther this time around.  Your humble correspondent submitted nearly 30 reviews, or two months worth, so you can figure that I've been listening to a lot of great new music.  Not only that, but I still have a lot of great music that I will be reviewing for the December issue.  This is one of the reasons why I haven't been doing the New Blues For You posts here at FBF.......I'm usually writing up about four or five CDs a week and just haven't had the time or inclination to double up on reviews.  Don't worry though.....when I get caught up, I will be highlighting more new releases here at Friday Blues Fix.

It's pretty amazing how much great music is being produced these days by blues artists.  Although CDs are my preferred method of taking this music in, I have many friends who get their blues fix in other ways, by downloading music via iTunes or Amazon, etc.....or listening to the multiple online sources like Spotify, Apple Music, Pandora, Soundcloud, etc....  Whatever your preferred method of listening, there's a lot of great new blues out there and that's a good thing.

While I was working on the Desert Island Discs posts over the last couple of weeks, I pulled out a few of my Living Blues magazines from 1988 and 1989.  I'm a bit of a geek when I look at old magazines or record catalogs (yes, I saved many of the old Down Home Music and Roundup Records catalogs that I used to get in the mail) because they bring back memories of when I was starting out listening to the blues and discovering new artists or old (but new to me) artists.  I learned so much about these musicians reading interviews and album reviews in LB and the catalogs.

Back then, in the days before internet and unlimited access to all sorts of information, Living Blues was the only connection that I had with the music and the artists in my little corner of the world.  It was the only time that I was able to read interviews with the artists I'd just discovered, or see pictures of them in action.  Living Blues used to put out a "Festival Issue" with lots of pictures from the various blues festivals that had gone on during the year.  Right after I subscribed, one of those issues was published.  Not only did it have festival pictures of many of the artists I'd never seen before, there was also a ton of record reviews, a list of that year's Handy Award winners, and a list of ALL the albums that had been reviewed by the magazine over it's history and which issue the review appeared in....something I wish they would do again one day.

Of course, nothing you like is ever more exciting than when you first start doing it, because everything is new and waiting to be discovered.  However, I can truly say that I still get a hop in my step when a new blues artist arrives on the scene that offers something a little bit different, or offers a refreshing new take on traditional sounds.

This week, New Orleans R&B legend Allen Toussaint passed away suddenly after a performance in Madrid, Spain.  The 78 year old pretty much defined the New Orleans R&B sound of the 60's and 70's and was a major influence on R&B and funk in the 70's.  He also wrote many classic tunes that have been covered, and continue to be covered by blues bands all over the world.  Check out just a few of Toussaint's songs and see how many have been recorded by blues artists over the years.  I didn't even realize that he had written several of these until a few years ago.  It's a pretty impressive list.

"A Certain Girl"
"Southern Nights"
"Get Out of My Life, Woman"
"What Do You Want The Girl To Do"
"Play Something Sweet (Brickyard Blues)"
"Working In The Coal Mine"
"On Your Way Down"
"Sneakin' Sally Through The Alley"
"What is Success"
"Fortune Teller"
"Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)"
"Ruler of My Heart"
"Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky"

Toussaint was also a pretty formidable piano player, appearing with Professor Longhair and Tuts Washington in the documentary Piano Players Rarely Ever Play Together, which was produced in the late 70's/early 80's.  He had an early hit in 1958 with this dazzling instrumental.

Toussaint had enjoyed a bit of a career resurgence over the past ten years, after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home and studio.  He relocated to New York and began making appearances there.  He also collaborated with Elvis Costello and began performing with him, which inspired him to start doing more concerts.  More recently, he returned to New Orleans and continued to perform and produce other artists.  I've enjoyed reading other musicians' remembrances of him over the past few days.

This week, my brother and I saw JJ Grey & Mofro at the MSU Riley Center.  For those who may not know, Mofro is a band from Jacksonville, FL that plays a combination of blues, Southern rock, soul, and funk.  They've recorded several acclaimed albums, mostly for Alligator Records, over the past 10 - 15 years.  If they should come to your area, I highly recommend that you check them out.  Grey is a versatile singer with a lot of soul and a great guitarist.  The rest of the band is really, really good, too, with a great rhythm section and horns, and the crowd loved it (particularly the enthusiastic group seated in front of us).  Although I had only heard a few of the band's songs prior to the show, I will definitely be checking out more of their music and will be seeing them again if they should return to the Riley Center.

Over the years, I've seen some great music at the Riley Center.  There are always several blues acts that appear.  This year alone, I've seen Grey and Mofro, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, and the North Mississippi Allstars and in previous years, I've gotten to see Buddy Guy, Honeyboy Edwards, Hubert Sumlin, Paul Thorn, and Ruthie Foster.  It's a great venue and I can think of several others that I would love to see there in the future.

That's all for this week.  Thanks for rambling with me.

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