Blues-rock guitar master Alvin Youngblood Hart holds forth on playing covers of Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Neil Young, Stephen Foster, Johnny Cash and Tom Petty with footage jamming with Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Luther Dickinson, his own Muscle Theory backing band. Les Paul, Marshall Stacks and Free on rock radio pointed the way to his own unique sound steeped in blues and Mississippi, Memphis and New Orleans tones. Building guitars, and some in-house licks complete the mix with Ric Stewart on the other mic in BCI #18. Subscribe to the series via bluescenters.com
Funky bassist, Runnin’ Pardner and Meterman George Porter, Jr. holds forth on bass, blues, country and how the Meters got their moniker. The early days as Art Neville and the Boys came to an abrupt ending with a game of chance, or perhaps it was all the design of Rock Hall of Fame writer-producer Allen Toussaint. Catch some funky live licks with Mike Lemmler on keyboards and stickman Terrence Houston caught live. They hold down a Monday night residency at the Maple Leaf.
King of the Chitlin’ Circuit, Bobby Rush, turns 86 today! His incredible energy and vitality are an inspiration to us all. Winner of his first Grammy in 2017 for Porcupine Meat, he’s miraculously back with another strong release Sitting on Top of the Blues in 2019.
Happy 86, Bobby! To catch his vertical leaps, check him out in BCI #15
On the Delta Blues Trail…crumbs from the Biscuit
The 2019 King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas showcased dozens of great blues artists on 6 stages. Top moments shown below include the Kenny Wayne Shepherd Band with BCI #10’s Joe Krown on the keys. Kenny Wayne and vocalist Noah Hunt have been a stage-fronting combo for over 20 years!
Minds were blown all weekend long with Larry McCray providing the hard edge guitar work, and Andy T laying it all on the line with Alabama Mike, Anson Funderburg and guests. The quaint historic town of Helena sprang to life once again this year.
Kudos to Bubba Sullivan and the crew for an excellent fest and the Southern hospitality extended to the Blues Center. And another shout out to Jontavious Willis (of BCI #1), killing it live with the audience in the palm of his hand. Awesome bluesy shows across the board!
All shots by Ric Stewart © 2019 Ace Productions
Benny Turner, bassist and younger brother of Freddie King talks and plays blues in BCI #16. Benny’s musical journey began in Texas, learning from his mother and uncles alongside Freddie. Playing poker and shunning rehearsals the band roared into the 1970’s with a blues rock sound sharing bills with Canned Heat, T-Bone Walker, Grand Funk and CCR, whose “Lodi” Freddie re-cut as “Lowdown in Lodi.” They embraced country music and loved Hank Williams, but Charles Brown was their idol.
The Rolling Stones began as a Chicago blues ensemble in 1962. As mid-2019 approaches they are set to embark on another U.S. tour. Marksville, LA’s Little Walter featured prominently in Blue and Lonesome the band’s 2016 Grammy winning blues set. The Chicago Tribune offers this run down.
The 50th Jazz Fest is in the books, and boy was it a good ‘un. John Fogerty, Trombone Shorty, Buddy Guy and Herbie Hancock closed out on Sunday the eighth day of the fest!
Highlights from John Fogerty at Gentilly Stage 5/5/19
The ‘King of the Chitlin Circuit’ holds forth on chitlins, playing 100 shows with Howlin’ Wolf, his grammy winning album and abundance of energy in the stupendously remastered BCI #15.
When the topic turns to Jimmy Reed, it gets too hot for host Ric Stewart to stay out of the jam. A meeting of country funk strings ensues. Mind blowing tales of the Chicago blues scene of the 1950s with Freddie King, Elmore James and Luther Allison in Bobby’s bands and a few good jams from Bobby at Helena, AR’s King Biscuit Blues Festival salt the mix.
Buddy Guy won this year’s Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album for 2018’s The Blues Is Alive And Well, featuring the Muscle Shoals Horns, Keith Richards, Mick Jagger and James Bay. Buddy Guy has won 7 Grammy awards in his illustrious career.
In the speech Guy mentions the importance of recognizing blues heroes. “Every time I accept an award like this, I do it for some of my friends who maybe didn’t get ’em years ago, especially black people…the late Muddy Waters, T-Bone Walker, Arthur Crudup…they’re still in my heart, and every time I look up, it’s like they’re looking down on me.”
Since not forgetting the greats is the name of the game at the Blues Center enjoy a #bcvaults T-Bone Walker story coming up next…