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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Blues Review 2016



Another year has gone, this time one of the harshest. Wars, many influential celeb deaths, and Pokemon Go.

This year was a turning point for me, as I was signed to a record label and my album is coming early next year, as well having some great gigs and played in Bahrain for the first time with my rock side-project The Watertowers.

My album, coming soon in 2017

Blog wise I was not that active this year, mainly because my life and music commitments too a lot of my blog slice of the pie; hopefully you stuck around with me and I hope to bring you more blues next year. Have a good one everybody.

Oh, and in case you missed it, here's my latest Youtube upload of my band performing Dust My Broom at the DAI Fall Festival last month:




Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Blues Playlist

How bluesmen celebrate Christmas

Merry Christmas everyone! This time of year is always great for the blues, because you spend all your money on gifts, might spend it away from family and friends, cold weather, and all that.

So to celebrate the Christmas blues, here's a few tunes for the season:


BB King - 'Back Door Santa'


Sonny Boy Williamson - 'Sonny Boy's Christmas Blues'



Freddie King - Christmas Tears



The Drifters - Santa Claus Got the Blues



John Lee Hooker - Blues for Christmas



Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown - Christmas



Monday, December 12, 2016

Blues Nominees for the 2017 Grammy Awards



The official Grammy website has announced their nominations for next year's event. Of course, we don't give a crap about anythin' but the blues, so here are your nominees this year:


BEST TRADITIONAL BLUES ALBUM


Can't Shake This Feeling
Lurrie Bell


Live At The Greek Theatre
Joe Bonamassa



Blues & Ballads (A Folksinger's Songbook: Volumes I & II)
Luther Dickinson



The Soul Of Jimmie Rodgers
Vasti Jackson



Porcupine Meat
Bobby Rush



BEST CONTEMPORARY BLUES ALBUM


The Last Days Of Oakland
Fantastic Negrito


Love Wins Again
Janiva Magness


Bloodline
Kenny Neal



Give It Back To You
The Record Company



Everybody Wants A Piece
Joe Louis Walker



--

Not a bad list, but obviously there's a bit of genre cross-leaping; some are not 'blues' per se, but we gotta work with what we got. 

My picks for winners are Lurrie Bell for Traditional and Fantastic Negrito for Contemporary. 

See you on February 12!

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Fender Drops American Standard, Renamed American Professional Series



Fender announced that their American Standard series of guitars & basses will be rebranded as the American Professional Series.

It adds some new improvements to their existing line, most notably the pickups will be all replaced by V-Mod pickups designed by Time Shaw, new neck profiles (more vintage-like), taller frets, new hardshell case, and other minor changes. Here's a full comparison:



See the new set below; I like the changes but the color choices are very limited and I'm sad they dropped the turtleshell pickguards off the basses. They look very bland now.


Stratocaster


Stratocaster HSS


Stratocaster HH


Telecaster


Jazzmaster 


Jaguar



Precision Bass (5 String also available)



Jazz Bass (5 String and Fretless also available)




Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Another Year Without Jazz at Dubai Jazz Fest



Oh look! It's that time of year where I bash the Dubai Jazz Festival again.

It's not even been one year since my last post about this goddammed festival, but hey if it wasn't for beating on dead horses it wouldn't be the blues.

This year ladies and gents, without even announcing the full lineup, we get this for the 2017 edition:


Dear god they done fucked it up again. And get this: the cheapest ticket (per night of course, since Mariah and Enrique are playing on different days) is $90!

For comparison, at the Winter Jazz Festival in New York in January, you can buy an all-out pass for 5 full days with over 50 JAZZ artists for only $160 :




I don't wanna be too unfair about ticket prices, because hey, it's Dubai right? I mean... you can't compare it to New York fuckin' City right? (hint: sarcasm)

I still propose an anti-Dubai Jazz Fest be launched at the same day as the true anti-thesis of that watered-down, commercialized festival will be. But I digress, we know that won't happen.

So for a story 3 years running, this has been your grumpy neighborhood bluesman signing off. 


Monday, December 5, 2016

Blues Summit: SRV, Albert King, BB King, and Paul Butterfield Share the Stage



The Sky Is Crying, captured live at the Ebony Showcase Theater, Los Angeles, California on April 15, 1987.

And the sky did cry, seeing all these legendary bluesmen share the stage for an epic show.





Thursday, November 24, 2016

Blues With a Message: 'Do Right Blues' - Big Bill Broonzy


Big Bill Broonzy, one of the major influencers in early Chicago blues, made a big name for himself from the late 1930's until his death in 1958. 

His folk blues style was the basis for many later blues musicians, such as Muddy Waters, and his legacy lives on with many of his songs becoming blues standards.

Sometime in the early 50's he traveled to Europe and made a great living touring there, resulting in a few albums. This song is recorded in Paris, France sometime in 1956 or so. The song holds a message, to be a good, kind person, to get equal treatment by others.

Enjoy!

Monday, November 14, 2016

'Riverside Blues' - Otis Spann




Otis Spann was one of the main pillars of Chicago blues piano; he was also one of the mainstays of Muddy Waters' Blues Band from 1952 until his untimely death in 1970. 

Otis released a few albums as a solo artist in the 60's and has played with many of the big blues giants like Howlin' Wolf to Bo Diddley. 

He was known to play solo piano in mellow moans and expressive voice, and this song from his 1966 album "Good Morning Mr. Blues" symbolizes that:


Monday, October 24, 2016

'Trouble in the Morning' - John Brim



John Brim was a Chicago bluesman who didn't discover fame until late in his career. His most famous song 'Ice Cream Man' was covered by Van Halen on their first album in 1978, leading him to more fame.

He recorded for several labels, including Chess. He died in 2003.

Here's a classic Chicago style blues by Brim for your enjoyment:


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Chuck Berry Announces First Album in 38 Years


Chuck Berry, the legendary blues and rock guitarist, has announced on his official website in celebration of his 90th birthday, that he would be releasing his first album in almost four decades.

From the description:

"Comprised primarily of new, original songs written, recorded and produced by the founding rock and roll legend, ‘CHUCK’ is Berry’s first new album in thirty-eight years. It was recorded in various studios around St. Louis and features Berry’s longtime hometown backing group – including his children Charles Berry Jr. (guitar) and Ingrid Berry (harmonica), plus Jimmy Marsala (Berry’s bassist of forty years), Robert Lohr (piano), and Keith Robinson (drums) – which has supported him for over two decades on over two hundred residency shows at the famed Blueberry Hill club. More details about ‘CHUCK’ and other Berry-related events will be revealed in the coming weeks."

This is very exciting news, and I look forward to hearing some new music from Chuck; if you live under a rock, Chuck Berry was one of the main pre-cursors to rock n' roll, with many of his tracks making it to the top of the charts. As a side note, did you know Muddy Waters introduced Chuck to Chess Records? The rest is history!