Friday, August 18, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Two

Welcome back.  As mentioned last week, I have compiled a couple of mix CDs for some of my friends who have just started listening to the blues and wanted a few suggestions about who and what to listen to as they start out.

Back in olden times, when FBF was a weekly email to some of my co-workers, a couple of them told me that they had compiled the music files I included in my emails into a mix tape.  I thought that was a good idea, so I started keeping all of my music files in a folder on my desktop.  I am now using the folder's contents to compile my mix CDs.

There's really no rhyme or reason to how I'm compiling them, other than I think they sound good together, sort of like if you were listening to them on the radio.  Most of the songs right now are older ones because I'm guessing that most new blues fans would be more familiar with new artists, having maybe heard them live somewhere, or maybe seen a clip on the internet.  Eventually, I will start including newer songs, too, but in the meantime, here's Track Two of Disc #1:

CD One, Track Two:  "Son of Juke," by Billy Branch (from Satisfy Me)

You can't have a really good blues mix CD without a few instrumentals mixed in, and this is our first.  One of my favorites is this track from Billy Branch's Satisfy Me CD, which was released in the late 90's on the House of Blues record label.  Blues newbies may wonder where the title, "Son of Juke" comes from.  It's an amped-up sequel to "Juke," blues harmonica legend Little Walter's early 50's smash hit on Chess Records.

At one time, Billy Branch was considered a young gun on the Chicago blues scene.  He toured with Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All-Stars in the mid 70's, replacing the great Carey Bell.  Also in the 70's, Branch formed the Sons of Blues, a band that featured several second generation Chicago blues artists (guitarist Lurrie Bell, son of Carey, and drummer Freddie Dixon, son of Willie).  This group has recorded several albums over the years and also employed a number of other young blues stars like guitarist Carl Weathersby.

Branch has also appeared on well over 100 recordings, plus a dozen of his own, and continues to play festivals and teaches as part of the "Blues in the Schools" program that has brought the history of the music to numerous students in schools all over the world.  Once a promising young star, Branch is now one of the veterans in the Windy City.  Be sure to check out some of his recordings when you get an opportunity.  Meanwhile, here's "Son of Juke."

As a bonus, here's the groundbreaking original source, from Little Walter, circa 1952.  Branch counts Little Walter as one of his biggest influences.  Compare the two tracks and see for yourself.

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