The Rolling Stones hit Nashville’s Nissan Stadium on October 9th with the 2021 version of the No Filter tour. It may truly be the last time as principals Sir Mick Jagger and Keith Richards are now 78 and 77-years old respectively. The show began with a touching vignette which saluted late drummer Charlie Watts. During the strong 2-hour performance, the drummer’s stool was ably manned by Steve “Getdwa” Jordan (SNL, The Blues Brothers, The David Letterman Show and Keith Richards’ own side group, the X-Pensive Wino’s).
There was no let up in the band’s energy. If anything the Stones seemed increasingly recharged as the show progressed through surprises like a Chi-Lites cover, “Trouble’s a Comin'”, 1967’s “Connection” (Keith’s first-ever vocal lead turn) and the seldom performed “19th Nervous Breakdown.”
“Midnight Rambler” – the self-described signature song of the songwriting team of Jagger/Richards – got reworked with Robert Johnson’s “Come On in My Kitchen” dropping into the breakdown. The song hinted at the blues depths the band plumbed on 2016’s Blue and Lonesome. The unfiltered sound of the band doing it the way they wanted was complimented by an impressive fireworks show worked into the ending. A bigger bang indeed!
Just after a rousing extended version of “Satisfaction” sent the revelers into the night figuring on a dissipation of energies, the evening hit an unexpected crescendo. In the parking lot as the motorcade spirited the band away, Keith rolled down the window of his SUV limo and pumped his skeletal fist skyward to further rev up the nearby fans. It was as if to say “I came, I saw, I rocked!”
Having seen The Rolling Stones over several decades, it remains remarkable how little Sir Mick’s vocals have diminished. The band, perhaps the greatest 6 decade collective art project of all time, fulfilled the blues hero worship of their youth to play music late into retirement age. The message is clear: the Stones are still kicking, catch them while you can. It’s power for living!
Chicago-based Alligator records started operations 50 years ago with a Houndog Taylor release. It was an inauspicious beginning, but with the dedication of Bruce Iglauer, the label prospered with Son Seals, Lonnie Brooks, Professor Longhair, Koko Taylor, Albert Collins and Shemekia Copeland releases marking blues time into the 21st Century. Hats off to Bruce for keeping the music alive and rockin’.
At age 23, Mr. Iglauer…recorded [Houdog] Taylor and company, ran this new label from his apartment, and before long was looking for other Black performers on the scene who could appeal to rock-raised Boomer blues enthusiasts in similar ways. “Genuine Houserockin’ Music” became the official company slogan.
Catch Alligator artist Janiva Magness talking about Alligator in BCI #8
Stone Ronnie Wood offers the second chapter of his blues salute albums; Mr. Luck-A Tribute To Jimmy Reed: Live At The Albert Hall, coming out September 2, 2021 on BMG. Here’s a preview with Reed’s all-time classic “Baby What You Want Me To Do.”
Ronnie shared: “Jimmy Reed was one of the premier influences on the Rolling Stones and all the bands that love American blues from that era until the present day. It is my honour to have the opportunity to celebrate his life and legacy with this tribute.”
The album was recorded at Royal Albert Hall in 2013 with Ronnie Wood Band featuring guests Mick Taylor,Bobby Womack, Mick Hucknall and Paul Weller. The concert pays tribute to Mississippi popular blues legend Jimmy Reed.
Wood began the series of tributes with ‘Mad Lad’covering the late Chuck Berry’s fine catalog of tracks as Ronnie Wood & His Wild Five.
1. Essence 2. Good Lover 3. Mr. Luck 4. Let’s Get Together 5. Ain’t That Loving You Baby 6. Honest I Do 7. High & Lonesome 8. Baby What You Want Me To Do 9. Roll and Rhumba 10. You Don’t Have To Go 11. Shame Shame Shame 12. I’m That Man Down There 13. Got No Where To Go 14. Big Boss Man 15. I Ain’t Got You 16. I’m Going Upside Your Head
Among my favorites in this list are the now and then reviews of Bobby Rush’s, 1979 masterpiece Rush Hour
“Bobby Rush…took his decades of his experience and his close study of Howlin’ Wolf and made an urban blues album for his times, incorporating touches of Philadelphia soul, street-corner harmonies, and the rhythms of the pulpit….Rush Hour was the first album in a sequence of ever-stranger “folk-funk” explorations.
What We Said Then: “Rush Hour …is outrageous and stunning…Rush Hour is a tribute to resilience–a sign that the lessons Howlin’ Wolf and his peers learned and taught have been neither lost nor forgotten. You’re going to need something like this to get you through the Eighties.” — Dave Marsh, RS 305 (November 29th, 1979)
Presently, in this decade, the stalwart blues funk purveyor from Homer, LA has just won grammy for best traditional blues album twice. Congratulations to Bobby on such a good long run of great albums. I look forward to seeing him take the stage, always an inspiration.
Here he is in BCI #15 talking Chitlin’ Circuit and New Orleans blues.
The Black Keys are set to release an all blues shout-out to their Mississippian inspirations. The Akron, Ohio duo Dan Auerbach (guitar) and Patrick Carney (drums) have made a career out of blues-related rock.
Delta Kream will drop May 14th with the track list below
1 ‘Crawling Kingsnake’ (John Lee Hooker Cover) 2 ‘Louise’ (Mississippi Fred McDowell Cover) 3 ‘Poor Boy A Long Way From Home’ (R. L. Burnside Cover) 4 ‘Stay All Night’ (Junior Kimbrough Cover) 5 ‘Going Down South’ (R. L. Burnside Cover) 6 ‘Coal Black Mattie’ (Ranie Burnette Cover) 7 ‘Do the Romp’ (Junior Kimbrough Cover) 8 ‘Sad Days, Lonely Nights’ (Junior Kimbrough Cover) 9 ‘Walk with Me’ (Junior Kimbrough Cover) 10 ‘Mellow Peaches’ (Big Joe Williams Cover) 11 ‘Come On And Go With Me’ (Junior Kimbrough Cover)
“Lost the keys to paradise, well that’s the oldest story in the world..” Peter Case joined by former Plimsoul Eddie Muñoz on a nifty 2012 version of “The Oldest Story in the World.”
In the early 1980’s the Plimsouls were almost famous. This song appears in Valley Girl, and their biggest hit “Million Miles Away” charted at #11. Peter Case went solo shortly after and has mainly navigated an excellent solo career since. Plimsouls reunions are infrequent but enjoyable.
The L.A. Times reports that 673 tape reels of Producer Allen Toussaint have been purchased at Roadium in Los Angeles, a weekend flea market. The trove includes masters and safety copies of many 1968-1979 records at Sea-Saint Studios. After several ownership transitions following the sale of the tapes winding up in a flea market where Mike Nishita purchased them. He is brother of Money Mark and a DJ of reknown. The tapes had been feared lost after Hurricane Katrina.
I had the distinct pleasure of video interviewing Allen twice in the mid-1990’s as well as shooting a play talk interview with Earl King at Sea-Saint. Funky and full of mystique, Sea-Saint is best known for Sir Paul’s Venus and Mars, Labelle’s Lady Marmalade, Allen’s own Southern Nights, and Robert Palmer’s Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley, but so often Toussaint could pull magical results from his regular backing band, The Meters.
Providing to New Orleans what Booker T. & The M.G.’s did to Memphis, they went on to become a funk mainstay and have had outsized influence on subsequent sounds. In addition, the Neville Brothers found a world-wide audience summarizing these triumphs with tours and records featuring songs first recorded at Sea-Saint.
Finally Chicago gets a blues museum, at Muddy Waters former home on the Southside. Celebrating the blues by passing down the history and the music with a recording studio and renovation, it aims to engage the next generation of talent.
“It’s our job as blues historians, but as people who love blues or are vying for the blues legacy … it’s our jobs to remind people that the blues is the root of a lot of music,” said Chandra Cooper, Waters’ great-granddaughter.
Waters, born McKinley Morganfield in 1913, moved to Chicago in 1943 to pursue music professionally. He developed an influential electric guitar based blues style that went on to heavily influence the Rolling Stones, Johnny Winter and an entire generation of blues rockers.
Israeli bluesman Andy Watts recently put out his fifth album Supergroove with guests including (BCI #2’s) Joe Louis Walker, singer Eliza Neals, Roy Young, and Israeli vocalists Danny Shoshan and Gadi Altman. Watts, 56, was born in Sweden and moved to Israel when he was 20 years old.
The record has had some chart successes remaining on the Roots Music chart for 17 weeks, reaching a peak of No. 6. It hit No. 9 in the U.K. and went top 20 in Australia.
Blues pioneer Gertrude Pridgett (1886 – 1939) began performing as a teenager and became known as “Ma” Rainey after her marriage to Will “Pa” Rainey in 1904. They toured with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels and later formed their own group, Rainey and Rainey, Assassinators of the Blues. Her first recording was made in 1923 followed by over 100 more including “Bo-Weevil Blues” (1923), “See See Rider Blues” (1924) and “Soon This Morning” (1927).
Rainey was known for her powerful vocal abilities, energetic disposition, majestic phrasing, and a “moaning” style of singing. Rainey recorded toured until 1935 (including with Thomas Dorsey and Louis Armstrong) when she continued as a theater impresario in her hometown of Columbus, GA for the reaming four years of her life.
In 1982, August Wilson authored the musical Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – the title coming from Rainey’s song of the same name, which refers to the black bottom dance from the Roaring Twenties. Now it is a high production value Netflix feature with Viola Davis excelling in the lead role.