In the world of Blues Top trumps you'd be hard pushed to better the lineup afforded birthdays during the last few days of January: Bobby Bland, Lead Belly, Elmore James, Bettye Lavette and Eddie Taylor. Not sure if I could answer Black Ace's question on which is the boss card in our hand though?
Tip of the hat to Mick Hucknall for reigniting interest in Bobby Bland, we included one of his best vocals from 1964 'Aint Nothin You can do' - a song covered in 1973 by Van Morrison on the "too late to stop now" live double album. Then we seemlessly ( see how this all fits together ) moved to a project called "vanthology" that had Bettye LaVette tearing up a cover of "Real Real Gone" finding an edge that Van didn't. Lead Belly reached out across the ages to us with his "Gallis Pole" that went on to mark the folky side of Led Zeppelin in 1970. My database has birthdate as 29 Jan 1889 but its variously reported as that or 20th January 1880.
How about a PhD on Elmore James ? That's what I call education. The slide master had a birthday on 27th and we included a 1954 song he did for Modern called "Standing At The Crossroads"; his voice noticeably cracked at one point such was the emotion he conjoured forth, real asgressive guitar too. The 1001 Blues feature was about Eddie Taylor with two a-sides he had out on Vee-Jay accompanied by his old mucker Jimmy Reed on harmonica. Usually it was the other way round: Taylor backing Reed, just as he did for John Lee Hooker and so many more. Here's hoping Ray Templeton at Blues and Rhythm magazine gets chance to focus on Taylor's recorded output in another valuable survey (the last one was TBone Walker).
New names to STAR BLUES, Grainne Duffy (pronounced Gron ya) and Philipp Fankhauser. She has been compared to Bonnie Raitt and is the darling of the Radio2 set - we like her too and she rocks out harder than Bonnie when she's got a mind. Philipp has a warm husky voice without straining to sound black; he's working with Dennis Walker (or Robert Cray fame) so there's plenty of economical nicely played and arranged blues with that classic soul edge. I've dug out a couple from his back catalogue and his appearance last night wont be his last.
Over in Memphis theres as bit of a bash this upcoming week, we can't get there in time but we got a taster last night from Steve Howell and Fiona Boyes. There's a new set of live recordings by Sean Costello, they're things he hadn't recorded before but show him very much at home in front of a live gig. He was an accomplished player in a number of different styles and it seems so cruel he left us so soon in 2008; profits from this album on Landslide will help his Bi-Polar charity.
Two more Gospel Screamin' Holy Rollers, those 88s came out for a sublime performance from 1960 by Otis Span and Robert Lockwood and Champion Jack Dupree did a version of "Mean Old Frisco" for a small label in 1945 that now sees light of day on a budget 2-cd set on Avid imprint. (the first cd is worth the admission price because it puts two classic Atlantic albums together; the second has 29 tracks only ever put out on 45 before) If you're shopping look for it in the JAZZ section.
It was good to be back in white last night and we were a bit more raucous than is our norm - not that we'd admit to doing anything respectable or in imitation of anyone else!. I have a cunning plan for next week involving more tomfoolery and blues, hope to have your company. Until then take care of yourselves and take care of those that take care of you
|Mean Old Lady||Michael Burks||5||Make It Rain||Michael Burks||Alligator|
|Pack It Up||Freddie King||1||Burglar||Freddie King||POLYDOR|
|Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa-Fa (Sad Song)||Otis Redding||9||100 Hits Legends - Otis Reading||Otis Redding||DEMON|
|Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark||Philipp Fankhauser||4||Try My Love||Philipp Fankhauser||FUNK HOUSE BLUES|
|Dirty Deal Blues||Steve Howell||9||My Mind Gets To Ramblin'||Steve Howell||Out Of The Past LLC|
|Gallis Pole||Lead Belly||9||The Early Blues Roots Of Led Zeppelin||Various Artists||CATFISH|
|Stroll Out West||Eddie Taylor||12||Blues Upside Your Head||Various Artists||CHARLY|
|Bad Boy||Eddie Taylor||1||Bad Boy||Eddie Taylor||CHARLY|
|Standing At The Crossroads||Elmore James And His Broomdusters||1||The Classic Early Recordings 1951-1956||Elmore James And His Broomdusters||ACE|
|She Could Play That Thing:Blues For Memphis Minnie||Fiona Boyes||11||Blues For Hard Times||Fiona Boyes||Vizztone|
|Rockin'rollin' Stone||Grainne Duffy||3||Test Of Time||Grainne Duffy|
|Evil Gal Blues||Aretha Franklin||12||Aretha Sings The Blues||Aretha Franklin||Blue Label / SPV|
|Walking On Beale Street And Crying||Denise La Salle||5||Sundries||various artists||Not given|
|The Blues Overtook Me||Charlie Musselwhite||1||Sweet And Tough - The Blues From Chicago||Various Artists||MUSIC CLUB|
|She Does It Right||Dr. Feelgood||2||Singles - The Ua Years+||Dr. Feelgood||UNITED ARTISTS|
|Check It Out||Sean Costello||7||At His Best-Live||Sean Costello||Landslide Records|
|Ain't Nothing You Can Do||Bobby 'Blue' Bland||4||Birth Of Soul Vol. 1||Various Artists||Kent (U.K.)|
|Real Real Gone||Bettye Lavette||6||Vanthology - A Tribute To Van Morrison||Various Artists||EVIDENCE|
|Jesus Gave Me Water||Stars Of Faith, The||16||Screaming Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 1||Various Artists||Vee-Tone Records|
|It's Getting Late||Voices Of Jordan||1||Screamin' Gospel Holy Rollers Vol. 2||Various Artists||Vee-Tone Records|
|I Got Rambling On My Mind||Otis Spann||5||My Home Is In The Delta||Otis Spann||ORBIS BLUES COLLECTION|
|Mean Old Frisco||Champion Jack Dupree||1||Two Classic Albums Plus Singles||Champion Jack Dupree||AVID|
|When The Levee Breaks||Buckwheat Zydeco||18||Alligator Records 40th Anniversary (2Xcd)||Various Artists||Alligator Records|