Sunday, November 22, 2015

The Story of Dixie Square Mall & the End of an Era

Remember the police scene in the Blues Brothers film? Of course you do! But if you need a recap, here ya go:

It took place in the iconic (and now destroyed) took place at the Dixie Square Mall in Chicago. It has been demolished 30 years after the film, but I got an interesting article detailing the demolishing and some other insights. Head on over [here] to see it.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Bluesy Weekend Special

Hey folks, after a long break from performing, I'm back with the blues, and back to back with 2 shows this weekend! I've got a setlist comprised of new and rare songs, and I'm happy to have probably the best harp player I've ever played with, Steve, to join me in the set.

First, on Friday 20th November, at the Khareef Festival at DAI Cultural Center in Yarmouk:

And on Saturday the 21st at Qout Market, Sahara Golf Club:

Thursday, November 12, 2015

'Too Poor to Die' - Louisiana Red

One of the biggest blues woes is the lack of finance... to most of us, we try and hustle to pay the rent, but also the reality of dying is true; you have to pay to get buried, to have a plot of land to be buried in, along with taxes and the like.

This song was released by bluesman Louisiana Red in 1964, and has become one of his staples. I will be performing this song in the near future (stay tuned!)

Thursday, November 5, 2015

"V8 Ford Blues" / James Cotton, Paul Butterfield & Elvin Bishop

This is a rare gem of a song; Chicago blues legends James Cotton, Paul Butterfield and Elvin Bishop sat down to play one of Cotton's classic tunes, in a stripped down late night blues.

The song is also known as "Down at Your Burial".

Sunday, October 18, 2015

'Joliet Blues' - Johnny Shines

Joliet Correctional Center (i.e prison) was a famous landmark in Illinois, and is a not that far from Chicago. Many inmates from around the area are sent to it, and many blues songs have been written about this infamous prison, even Jake Blues of the Blues Brothers served time there, hence his nickname 'Joliet Jake'.

'Joliet' Jake Blues

One famous tune about the jail comes from Chicago bluesman Johnny Shines, and the song is aptly called 'Joliet Blues' released in 1950:

Sunday, October 11, 2015

2nd Blues Workshop - 20 October

Following from where my last workshop ended, I'm returning once again to Bayt Lothan to continue my blues discussion, and a jam will take place too!

It will take place Tuesday, October 20 from 7-9. 5KD fee.

The marketing:

BLUES WORKSHOP with Ali Sleeq 
DATE: Oct 20 
TIME: 7-9pm 
VENUE: Bayt Lothan 
First hour will cover blues concepts and the second hour will be a jam with the participants so bring your instruments whatever they maybe!

Registration fee : 5kd
To register: 25755866 / 25755877 ex: 102 /107 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Eid Blues Roundup

So it was a long break, and I've been slacking on the blog lately (i know, forgive me). I expect things to pick up by October.

I've gathered up some tidbits about some blues / jazz (and me, plugging shamelessly) for ya:

1) Radio Blues

Yep, I was on the radio (Kuwait FM 99.7) yesterday morning for some live blues and discussion on the Eid Special with Maha and DJ Aki. Props to them and 99.7 for the support and love!

Songs played:

1- Key to the Highway
2- You Don't Have to Go
3- Rollin' Stone

2- Jazz for Cows

It's not really a new video, but it just came across my feed again and thought it was cute. Bovines love jazz it seems!

3- Happy Birthday John Coltrane!

It was the legendary jazzman's birthday over the holiday, so mad props to the man who reinvented music with his nonstop search for enlightenment. Here's the full Blue Train album for your pleasure:

4- Dudley Taft's album confirmed for October

Blues-rocker Dudley Taft will release his new album 'Skull & Bones' on October 16! Here's a snippet of some hard rockin blues to come:

5- The Hurt Project releases EP

Marlon Hunt from the Hurt Project contacted me and informed me of their new EP release 'After the Storms' and features some old-school blues I'm sure you guys will enjoy. Their bandcamp site is [here] and you can hear the music below:

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Standard of the Week: 'You Don't Have to Go'

Alcoholism and personal problems left bluesman Jimmy Reed a bit less popular than his other blues compatriots, but later his legacy has proven itself to be highly influential. 

In 1954, the bluesman he released 'You Don't Have to Go', which was a big hit. Reed was signed for Vee-Jay Records and this song led to many hits later on in his career. It features the infamous Chicago shuffle with a harp melody (that Reed played himself while playing guitar as well.)

Since then, many blues artists covered this song, and it became a standard in modern blues music. 

Some of the cover artists include:



ANDREW ODOM & The Gold Tops

Jerry Lee Lewis & Pinetop Perkins

Grant Dermody & John Dee Holeman (acoustic)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Rare New Footage of John Lee Hooker 1970 Performance Unearthed

A  set of rare footage of a John Lee Hooker performance in Detroit has been found and uploaded.

This is from a 1970 TV music show called Tubeworks. This is some deep blues right there! Dig the organ!


1st Video:

1- Can't Get out of These Blues Alive
2- Maude
3- It Serves Me Right to Suffer

2nd Video:

1- Hobo Blues


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

'Wild, Wild Woman' - Johnny Young

Johnny Young was a seasoned Chicago blues veteran who found success in the 40's and 50's. He went to retirement around 1958, until he came back to music after the folk and blues boom in the 60's.

He was also known to be one of the few popular blues mandolin players. He died in 1974.

This track from 1965 features the harp and piano of James Cotton and Otis Spann respectively, of Muddy Waters' blues band.