Bobby Blue Bland – Sinatra of The Blues
Click on the link here for Audio Player – Bobby Blue Bland – live at The Boarding House, San Francisco – Oct. 8, 1975
More sad news to report tonight – the passing of Blues legend Bobby “Blue” Bland at the age of 83. One of the vital voices in the world of Blues, his career spanned several decades and he was influential to a whole generation of artists who sought to follow in his footsteps.
Mixing Blues with Gospel, Bland cultivated a sound that was uniquely his and recorded a string of memorable hits that earned him a well-justified place in the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. Dubbed everything from “Lion of The Blues” to “Sinatra of the Blues”, Bobby Blue Bland was a widely recognized and admired performer.
As way of tribute tonight, I ran across a live performance from 1975. Recorded for radio station KSAN in San Francisco, it features Bobby Bland (along with guitarist Wayne Bennett) in one of his signature performances. From a period of time I remember very well, as he played on several occasions in Los Angeles at several clubs around town with a band known as The Mellow Fellows.
Unforgettable and sorely missed.
Many grateful thanks for your wonderful legacy.
The Strypes – There should be a law about 15 year olds rocking this good.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: The Strypes – Live At BBC Maida Vale – Feb. 10, 2013
I found this hard to believe at first. The Strypes are an Irish four-piece, firmly in the retro-Hard Rock/Blues mold. Guitar legend Jeff Beck is a huge fan, and is in fact mentoring the group. They’ve been together a little over a year, have gotten great reviews, are getting ready for the Summer Festival circuit as well as the release of their debut album . . . and the oldest member of the band is 16!
Completely strange – and to have chosen Blues numbers made popular by the likes of Bo Diddley, and to do it so well, make it all that much more difficult to imagine.
But here they are, in a session recorded just two days ago at the fabled BBC Maida Vale Studios to a very enthusiastic crowd and an interview with BBC 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews.
Here’s what’s on the player:
The Strypes – Live in Session – Maida Vale
February 10, 2013
1. I’m A Hog For You Baby
2. Blue Collar Jane
3. Mystery Man
4. It Ain’t Right
5. Rollin’ & Tumblin’
It was pointed out that musicians getting some acknowledgement at an early age isn’t really all that unusual. Stevie Wonder was 12 when he hit the charts with Fingertips. And Steve Winwood was 16 when he recorded Gimme Some Lovin’. So I guess there’s really no surprise after all.
Good band though.
Percy Mayfield – Poet of The Blues.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Percy Mayfield – What A Fool I Was – 1950
The immortal Percy Mayfield tonight. Rightfully dubbed The Poet Of The Blues, Mayfield was not only a gifted and compelling singer, but he was also was one of the great Blues and Pop Music composers from the 1950’s writing a string of hits, not only for himself, but for Ray Charles among many others.
Tonight it’s one of his own singles – What A Fool I Was came out on Specialty Records in 1950 and climbed up the Billboard charts, topping at Number 8.
Definitely an artist you need to get familiar with if you aren’t already.
You kind of owe that to yourself this weekend.
Sugar Pie DeSanto – One of the Chess/Checker divas of the 50’s and 60’s.
Click on the link here for Audio Player: Sugar Pie DeSanto – Never Love A Stranger
Probably not as well known as her label mates Etta James or Fontella Bass, Sugar Pie DeSanto was part of that galaxy of divas who put Chicago blues label Chess/Checker on the map.
She recorded a considerable number of material for the label and had many singles that, although not mega-hits were nonetheless memorable and have given credence to the argument that she’s one of the many underrated and overlooked artists who were active in the 1950’s and 1960’s.
Tonight it’s a single from 1965. Never Love A Stranger is a nicely laid out song that borders on Deep Soul, but is further evidence DeSanto was a powerhouse and could keep up with the likes of Etta James, whom she recorded several duets with.
Still active today and gathering a growing reputation for her down-and-dirty Blues interpretations as well as her catalog of great material, she is far from being forgotten.
Dana Gillespie – singer and multi-talent including getting dirty for the camera.
Click on the link here for audio player: Dana Gillespie – You’ve just Got To Know My Mind – 1967
Back to the 60’s tonight with Dana Gillespie, who began her career at 14 singing folk music and later switched to Pop from where tonight’s track comes from. You’ve Just Got To Know My Mind was written by Donovan and enjoyed a goodly amount of success in the UK and Europe (even a French version was released at the time). She later became associated with David Bowie and went from Pop to Glam before settling in on a long and productive Blues career.
Even though she is often regarded as a multi-talent (a lot of acting for stage, screen and TV went on between gigs), Gillespie is highly regarded in British Blues circles and often has a virtual who’s who of talent backing her on stage and in the studio.
But this is her in the early days, and the number is catchy.
John Lee Hooker – sayin’ it.
Click on the link here for Audio player: John Lee Hooker – No Shoes – 1960
August 22nd would have marked Number 95 for John Lee Hooker (born August 22, 1917).
So by way of a tribute to one of the Blues immortals and a musical legend, here is tonight’s track – No Shoes, as recorded by the master in 1960.
Nobody else could do it quite like that.
The Pretty Things – overlooked in the grand scheme of things.
Click on the link: The Pretty Things In Session – 1964-1967
Over to one of the most underrated bands of the early 60’s, The Pretty Things were one of those bands who influenced a lot of others, and they were huge and notorious back in the UK. But in the U.S., they hardly made a dent.
Tonight it’s a sampling of two periods of The Pretty Things, via Top Of The Pops. The first comes from the 1965 Hardcore Blues period and the last track comes from their brief excursion into Psychedelia from 1967.
Here’s what they play:
1. Midnight to Six Man
2. L.S.D. (meaning: Pounds, Schillings and Pence – not what you imagined it was about).
3. Defecting Grey.
A classic band who have maintained a pretty strong cult following over the years. Now you get to hear why, if you haven’t already.