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:

Monday, May 30, 2016

Ali Sleeq ft. Steve Harper - LIVE at The Juke

A couple of weeks ago I passed by Jukebox Productions, who have set up a new and well equipped studio. They also have video production alongside the music side of things.

Zeus and his team took three videos of me playing some old blues tunes, featuring my trusty harmonica player Steve Harper.

These songs are as raw as possible, all taken in one take. So if you see any mistakes, it was intentional; such is the nature of the blues.

Hope you enjoy these videos as much as I did performing them! Thanks again to Jukebox Productions, which can be found @jukebox965 on Instagram and Youtube!


1) You Gonna Need My Help - Muddy Waters cover (1950)

2) Sweet Home Chicago - Robert Johnson cover (1936)

3) Key to the Highway - Big Bill Broonzy cover (1944) PENDING UPLOAD

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Essential Upcoming Purchase: Paul Butterfield Blues Band / 'Got a Mind to Give Up Living - Live 1966'

On June 3rd, a no-brainer purchase will be released; a remastered, never before released bootleg from 1966 of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, live at Boston’s Unicorn Coffee House.

As you recall, last year the band was inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, cementing their valuable music influence to the world. Although they were primarily a Chicago blues band, they also delved into other sonic voyages, featuring guitar virtuoso Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop, Mark Naftalin, Jerome Arnold,Sam Lay, and of course Paul on harp. A multi-cultural mix that sent waves across the soundscape.

So pick that up as soon as you can; here's the official blurb:

"If the Summer of 1967 was the Summer of Love, the Summer of 1966 set the stage for the musical revolution that was to come. Albums released during the season, like The Beatles’ Revolver and The Byrds’ Fifth Dimension, brilliantly blended the burgeoning influence of Eastern exoticism into the rock music format, and the term “psychedelia” entered the common lexicon to stay. But beating them all to the punch was a multi-racial blues band that cut its teeth in Chicago, far from the hippie havens of London, Los Angeles and San Francisco. 

Issued in July 1966, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band’s East-West took blues-rock to places only free jazz had dared to tread, offering lengthy, modal improvisational passages that sparked the West Coast rock revolution, and, in Mike Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, fully unleashing the first great guitar tandem in rock history. Now, Real Gone Music is very proud to release, for the first time in legitimate fashion, a legendary bootleg that captures this singular sextet on the brink of the stylistic breakthrough that would shake the rock ‘n’ roll world to its core: recorded live at Boston’s Unicorn Coffee House 50 years ago in May 1966, two months before the release of East-West, Got a Mind to Give Up Living—Live 1966 reaffirms that The Paul Butterfield Blues Band was simply untouchable live, capable of turning on a dime from slow-burning blues tunes to up-tempo rave-ups. And, particularly on a pair of tunes that were soon to be released on East-West, “Work Song” and “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living,” the raga influence (check Bloomfield’s solos!) comes through loud and clear, combining with the band’s blues tropes to create a truly new style of rock and rock guitar playing. Butterfield fans will also delight in the early appearances of “One More Heartache” (from The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw) and “Walking by Myself” (from Keep On Movin’), plus a pair of tunes, “Comin’ Home Baby” and “Memory Pain,” that the band never commercially recorded. 

Notes by Chris Morris featuring fresh quotes from Elvin Bishop and Mark Naftalin, rare pictures and memorabilia, editorial input from Bloomfield aficionado and co-producer Toby Byron, and some audio spit ‘n’ polish from Mike Milchner at SonicVision make this a package indispensable for any ‘60s rock (or jazz or R&B!) fan.

Track list:

  1. Instrumental Intro
  2. Look Over Yonders Wall
  3. Born in Chicago
  4. Love Her with a Feeling
  5. Get Out of My Life, Woman
  6. Never Say No
  7. One More Heartache
  8. Work Song
  9. Coming Home Baby
  10. Memory Pain
  11. I Got a Mind to Give Up Living
  12. Walking by Myself
  13. Got My Mojo Working"

Here's a video to freshen up on the band:

Monday, May 23, 2016

Eric Clapton Returns with New Album 'I Still Do'

Eric Clapton, who had announced he would retire, has released a new, and possibly final, album a few days ago. It's cleverly titled 'I Still Do', and features a few covers and new material. It's a bit on the mellow side, with more blues roots instead of high octane rock guitar.

If you're a fan of Slowhand, you best go and best the album; my favorite track is 'Alabama Woman Blues', a cover from Leroy Carr's original.

Monday, May 9, 2016

37th Blues Music Award Winners

Over the weekend, the 37th Blues Music Awards took place in Memphis, and the Blues Foundation has announced the winners. Congrats to Buddy Guy for winning Album of the Year, for his awesome Born to Play Guitar. Other major winners were John Primer, Walter Trout, and Shemekia Copeland.

Here's the full winner's list, great job to these brilliant artists:

1. Acoustic Album: The Acoustic Blues & Roots of Duke Robillard – Duke Robillard
2. Acoustic Artist: Doug MacLeod
3. Album: Born to Play Guitar – Buddy Guy
4. B.B. King Entertainer: Victor Wainwright
5. Band: Victor Wainwright & the Wild Roots
6. Best New Artist Album: The Mississippi Blues Child – Mr. Sipp
7. Contemporary Blues Album: Born to Play Guitar – Buddy Guy
8. Contemporary Blues Female Artist: Shemekia Copeland
9. Contemporary Blues Male Artist: Joe Louis Walker
10. Historical: Soul & Swagger: Buzzin’ the Blues by Slim Harpo
11. Instrumentalist-Bass : Lisa Mann
12. Instrumentalist-Drums: Cedric Burnside
13. Instrumentalist-Guitar: Sonny Landreth
14. Instrumentalist-Harmonica: Kim Wilson
15. Instrumentalist-Horn: Terry Hanck
16. Koko Taylor Award: Ruthie Foster
17. Pinetop Perkins Piano Player: Allen Toussaint
18. Rock Blues Album: Battle Scars – Walter Trout
19. Song: “Gonna Live Again” written and performed by Walter Trout
20. Soul Blues Album: This Time for Real – Billy Price & Otis Clay
21. Soul Blues Female Artist: Bettye LaVette
22. Soul Blues Male Artist: Otis Clay
23. Traditional Blues Album: Descendants of Hill Country – Cedric Burnside Project
24. Traditional Blues Male Artist: John Primer 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Blues Hall of Fame 2016 Inductees Announced

The Blues Foundation has announced that five new artists will be honored alongside other blues legends this year at the Blues Hall of Fame. The ceremony will take place a day before the 37th Blues Music Awards.

The inductees are below, with a video for each! Congrats to all these great bluesmen!

1- Elvin Bishop

2- Eddy Clearwater

3- Jimmie Johnson

4- John Mayall

5- Memphis Jug Band

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Rare Version of Muddy Waters' 'Mean Red Spider'

One of Muddy's well known songs from his first pressings at Chess Records (called Aristocrat at the time) was 'Mean Red Spider' in 1948. But the one we know was him playing distorted guitar with Big Ernest Crawford on upright bass.

However there is a very rare version for 1946 on the Ballen label of the same name, and listed Muddy under the alias James "Sweet Lucy" Carter and his Orchestra.

It features a more jazzy blues full with horns, something we aren't used from Muddy.

Apparently only a limited number of this record were released, making this a highly sought after tune.