Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Happy Birthday John Lee Hooker

On August 22, John Lee Hooker was born in Mississippi. Hooker was one of the most influential bluesmen of our times, having released several songs that have become blues standards, like 'Boom Boom', 'Boogie Chillen', 'I'm in the Mood', and many more.

His unusual guitar playing, emphasizing heavy bass rhythms, drive and tone, and his raspy voice, made him a force to be reckoned with. Many British rock bands covered his music and it elevated him to stardom.

In the 90's he reentered the spotlight and saw tremendous success. He died in 2001.

He was inducted to the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame, and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Enjoy an entire album of John Lee Hooker below!

Monday, August 15, 2016

So I Got a Buddy Guy Autograph

My man in Chicago, Steve Harper, went to Buddy Guy's Legends Blues Club, and met the OG himself.

Being the great guy he is, he asked Buddy to autograph his most recent Grammy winning release 'Born to Play the Guitar' and address it to me:

I now have fulfilled a dream, even if it was by proxy. Thank you Steve for this amazing gift; although I have this album on vinyl, it will be great in the car!

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Signed a Record Deal, Album Announced

You can tell I'm excited.

I am happy to announce that I have signed a record deal with Ajna Records, owned and run by Nawaf Gheraibah, a highly talented and influential musician; we have previously worked together on several occasions,  the biggest one being the Bija Concert in 2012.

With this news we announced that my debut album will be released sometime in early 2017; and along the way I will be posting my progress. The album will be fully written and composed by me, and will be a traditional blues album, inspired by songs of old (as is the blues tradition!).

I do have a sneak detail though; the opening track of the album will be called 'Dbayeh Highway Blues'.

Thanks to Ajna and Nawaf for the wonderful opportunity!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

New Fender Basses for Fall 2016

New Fender bass guitars have been announced; a new Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers) Signature Bass, and three upgrades to old models; here we go:

Flea Jazz Bass

Deluxe Active Precision Bass Special (has a passive/active switch now!)

Deluxe Active Dimension Bass (4 & 5 string)

Deluxe Active Jazz Bass (4 & 5 string)


The Flea Bass was a nice surprise; Flea has been using his vintage Fender Jazz a lot and to make a replica of it is a sign of his true love for it. He's had many endorsements previously with Modulus, but this thing is a bare-bones powerhouse. 

Apart from the P-Bass Special, which now has a much needed passive/active switch, the other new upgrades aren't worth mentioning. I don't even know what's new about the Jazz Bass. 

Nothing too revolutionary, but with Fender you don't really need that.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Vinyl Watch: Super Super Blues Band

A few years ago I posted about this huge collaborative effort between the three blues giants Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Bo Diddley; and now the album is being re-released as a limited edition vinyl via Jackpot Records.

This historically meaningful album also features other blues giants Otis Spann, Buddy Guy, Hubert Sumlin, and Clifton James.

The vinyl will release in a limited color on August 26. I have started a small vinyl blues collection so this would be something on my radar!

Here's another song off the album, Howlin' Wolfs' 'Little Red Rooster':

Monday, August 1, 2016

'Born With the Blues' - Memphis Slim

Memphis Slim was one of the main pillars of blues in the mid-40 onwards, alongside other great blues pianists like Otis Spann, Sunnyland Slim, and Pinetop Perkins.

His major blues standard was 'Everyday I Have the Blues', which was covered by many artists.

He moved to Paris in the early 1960's and remained there until his death in 1988.

The following tune was recorded in France in 1962, in his signature mellow, late-night blues style.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

'I Smell Trouble' - Ike & Tina Turner

Ike & Tina Turner were one of the best soul / R&B performers of the 60's and 70's, before their famous break-up.

However their music was rooted in the blues; so appropriately I present you with 1969's 'I Smell Trouble', featuring none other than blues guitar hero, Albert Collins. It was on 'The Hunter' album.

Monday, July 4, 2016

Playlist: Louisiana Blues

Returning from previous Detroit and Mississippi, this time we go to Louisiana, best known for it's New Orleans sound, as well as it's delta-country style, and it's swampy rhythms.

Many famous bluesmen hailed from Louisiana, such as Buddy Guy, Little Walter, Slim Harpo, Boogie Bill Webb and so on.

So from the misty swamps, to jumping New Orleans, enjoy these 10 songs from Louisiana!

10) Come Back Baby - Little Walter

9) I'm a King Bee - Slim Harpo

8) See You Later Alligator - Bobby Charles

7) Hoodoo Man - Lightnin' Slim ft. Lazy Lester

6) Louisiana Blues - Clifton Chenier

5) Deep South Guitar Blues - Lafayette Thomas

4) I Hope You Come Back Home - Buddy Guy

3) Early One Morning - Ramblin' Hi' Harris

2) Crowly Blues - Clarence Locksley

1) I've Been Down So Long - Louisiana Red

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Never Easy to Say Goodbye

With a heavy heart, I'm sad to say that Steve Harper, my blues partner in crime, has decided to leave Kuwait and take up residence at the home of the blues, Chicago.
In the short time we played together (starting Nov. 2015) Steve has been an integral part of the Ali Sleeq Blues Band. He not only felt and lived the blues, he was a damn good harp player. Probably the best harpist I will ever play with. He knew his sound, he knew his equipment, was a professional, and he also knew the blues. He was also a dear friend.
While it is sad to see him go, I wish him the best of luck in the future, and that one day we will meet again for a blues jam. He's already taken Chicago by storm (played House of Blues, the Chicago Blues Fest, met Muddy Waters' son and Willie Dixons' grandson etc).

Here's the last song we performed together, which is very fitting.

Monday, June 20, 2016

'Poor Boy / London Session' - Howlin' Wolf

In 1971, Chess Records released an album recorded the year prior, called 'The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions'. This album featured Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Bill Wyman and Charlie Watts (the latter two from The Rolling Stones) alongside Howlin' Wolf and his guitarist Hubert Sumlin.

The result was a blues with a rock twist, where Wolf would sing traditional blues with Sumlin on Chicago guitar embellishes over British blues rock grooves.

Here's a song from that album, called 'Poor Boy', a blues standard: