The Blues Brothers @ 40

Filmed at the end of the Seventies when the new  Oldsmobiles (for 1980) were “in early this year,” the Blues Brothers revitalized the careers of Ray Charles, James Brown and Aretha Franklin and raised the bar for big budget comedies.  With Booker T. & The M.G.’s Duck Dunn and Steve Cropper in an all-star band, there was a base of R&B and blues cred. that lifted this funny film into a music space at once rooted and fancifully imagined. John Landis directed this opus (now extended by many minutes of additional footage) at the height of his powers, and John Belushi stole the show while only showing his eyes for a few seconds. But the music numbers captured the rapture. Thanks to all involved as they kept the music alive for another generation.

The Blues Brothers is a Saturday Night Live sketch, a Looney Tunes cartoon, a demolition derby and an R&B musical revue all rolled into one, and it works you over by force.

read more in the guardian

Pete Carr (1950-2020) – Muscle Shoals Guitarist

Pete Carr
Photo: Dick Cooper

Pete Carr’s lead guitar work graced many of Muscle Shoals’ most memorable tracks. In the late Sixties he joined Gregg and Duane Allman in a pre-Allman Brothers Band, Hour Glass, and later became a session guitar ace, the city’s first call option.

Carr’s work on 1976 Bob Seger hit “Mainstreet” is his signature track and, now, epitaph. The echoed guitar intro, periodically recurring throughout the song, is brilliant. Not a lot of notes. But all of them take you somewhere. A melody like a memory, perfect for Seger’s nostalgic ballad about an exotic dancer. The 27-second fuzz guitar solo is “Eat a Peach” sweet. In ’76, Carr’s six-string also stung Rod Stewart’s come-hither hit “Tonight’s the Night.” This time, Carr’s tone is colored with a woozy, phaser effect. Outro solo, a harmonized pirouette motif.

Read More about Pete Carr 

Dion’s Blues with Dylan, Springsteen, Morrison, Simon

Dion Dimucci’s Blues With Friends teams him with fellow Rock Hall inductees Van Morrison, Paul Simon, Jeff Beck, Bruce Springsteen and Billy Gibbons.

“My first epiphany with the blues was when I was 12 and heard Hank Williams sing ‘Honky Tonk Blues’,” Dion recalled.

“My second was after I’d recorded (1961’s) ‘Runaround Sue.’ I was at Columbia Records, sitting on a piano stool in a producer’s office, singing with Aretha Franklin. John Hammond’s office was across the hall and he called me in. He said: ‘Dion, you have a flair for the blues.’

“He played me Robert Johnson’s (1927 recording of) ‘Preachin’ Blues’ and then some records by Mississippi Fred McDowell, Leroy Carr and Lightnin’ Hopkins. I just went crazy! I got very excited and resentful at same time. I was like: ‘Who’s been hiding all this from me? How come I never heard this before?’ Then I started collecting records by Big Joe Williams and all those guys who were coming out of that blues tradition, which is a living tradition that is passed along. It’s been a part of me since back then. People who hear my new record may think that I’ve changed, but I really haven’t.”

for more from The San Diego Union Tribune on Blues With Friends click here

WWOZ’s Jazz Festing in Place – the next best thing

Gentilly crowd anticipates John Fogerty at the 2019 New Orleans Jazz Festival

While the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival’s annual pilgrimage was missed this year, WWOZ filled the gap with highlights from the last half century. You can still check out some shows at wwoz.org.

WWOZ keeps the last two weeks of radio shows accessible online

Cyrille Aimée – Off the Wall

Music has the ability to lift the spirits during these trying times. And the blues will get you through. For instance, try French vocalist Cyrille Aimée’s jazzy take of the Michael Jackson pop standard “Off the Wall.” The King of Pop ruled R&B and pop in the early 1980’s. And R&B always had B, and so did jazz. Many think jazz and blues were born together in New Orleans n the late 19th Century. And every once in a while a track grabs you with its minimalism, blue note management and knowing delivery and you stop to think about the blues involved. Enjoy Cyrille’s version and let her blues take your mind off your blues.

The State of the Blues Scene in Fort Worth, Texas

Ft. Worth’s music scene from the blues perspective:

“No, because it was a different time. Back then, Muddy Waters was still alive. Those old guys got to have one last hurrah. But I see blues continuing on. Every now and then, someone will come on the scene and give it a shot in the arm. You’ve got guys like Joe Bonamassa and Gary Clark Jr., who are showing blues to a new generation, mixing it up in different ways. Of course, in the blues scene, you get the hardcore fans for whom nothing’s going to do except the old scratchy records, but there are more contemporary people who want to hear newer stuff.” 

read more here

Dan Penn at Chickie Wah Wah 4/24/19


Soul songwriting legend Dan Penn laying down “Memphis Women and Chicken” at Chickie Wah Wah. The elder statesman of white soul has contributed numerous standards such as “Dark End of the Street,” “You Left the Water Running” and “I’m Your Puppet.” In this intimate show, with a tune-hungry audience crowding the stage, the master made every note count.

Remembering the Swamp Fox

Tony Joe White ca. 1970

Tony Joe White burst onto the national music scene in 1969 with “Polk Salad Annie,” a top 10 hit inspired by Bobby Gentry’s “Ode to Billie Joe,” drawing on his real life experiences in rural Louisiana. Over the course of an uncompromising six decade career, Tony Joe kept it down home in both minimal bluesy recordings and gutsy live performances on guitar/harmonica and whomper stomper – his name for a Gibson distortion pedal.
His 1967 composition “Rainy Night in Georgia” was included on his second album Continued in 1969 only at his wife’s behest. Six weeks later, Atlantic Records super producer Jerry Wexler shipped White a new rendition by Brook Benton. As White put it in an interview with STB founder Ric Stewart in 2002, “It was like hearing the perfect voice sing those words back to me. I must have played it a 50  times in a row…” It shot to #1 in the R&B chart and #4 on the Pop chart in 1970 and Tony Joe was suddenly on top of the business.
Tony Joe White and STB founder Ric Stewart after an interview at the Warfield Theater in 2002.

Tony Joe White went on to record 16 studio records in a career packed with one great song after another. On September 28, 2018, White released Bad Mouthin’ (his first all-blues album) on Yep Rock Records, just a one month before his demise at age 75 from a heart attack.  The Oak Grove, LA native’s songs were often picked for covers by musical luminaries such as Tina Turner, Joe Cocker and Elvis Presley. Presley cut three Tony Joe White tracks and the two bonded. White related that Elvis would sometimes find him during sessions at Stax asking how to play some ‘bluesy licks.’ “He’d probably forget them in 10 minutes, but I’d show him anyway.” As the King was reinventing his sound in the early 1970’s, his stage shows featured “Polk Salad Annie” replete with Kung Fu stage moves.
White’s “Willie and Laura Mae Jones,” from 1969 album Black And White, was covered by Dusty Springfield on her definitive work, Dusty In Memphis. His appearance duetting on Johnny Cash’s TV show in 1970 was loose, full of laughs and captured the Man in Black’s appreciation for the Swamp Fox. For a moment, everyone wanted to be Tony Joe!

The respect from on high was to continue albeit after decades of a low profile solo career. On his long-awaited final release Chuck Berry covered Tony Joe’s “3/4 Time (Enchiladas).” The rock and roll pioneer described Tony Joe White to Rolling Stone in 2017 as “vastly underrated,” especially such songs as “Polk Salad Annie,” “Rainy Night in Georgia,” and “The Train I’m On.”
With the top talent offering such effusive praise, imitation and admiration, it’s inevitable that more fans will connect with White’s brand of authenticity. Quite possibly the greatest songwriter that not everyone knows, Tony Joe White’s unfiltered take on swamp rock and funky country blues already stands the test of time.