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Blues

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My Converse

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This is a great, hard-to-find John Lee Hooker lp recorded in 1971 and released in 1973 on ABC. “Going Down” features rockers Van Morrison and Elvin Bishop, while the other numbers include great r&b and jazz session guys like John Klemmer, Cliff Coulter, Mel Brown, Don “sugarcane” Harris, etc. But the highlight for me is a the first song on the second side – Younger Stud

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The cover photo is by Al Kramer and designed by Ruby Mazur.

All I wore in the early 1970’s were high-top Converse like these.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (25 votes, average: 3.64 out of 5)
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Hooker with a heart of gold

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John Lee Hooker Plays and Sings the Blues   Chess LP 1454.   Early fifties recordings (When Hook was a younger stud) compiled and released by Chess in 1961.   Personnel: John Lee Hooker vocals; guitar.   (Eddie Kirkland guitar on “Just Me and My Telephone”.)   Studs Terkel writes the liner notes.   Another cool cover photo by Chess house photog Don Bronstein.   This is back porch music from the heart of the Delta.   “Although he often reworked themes by earlier bluesmen during this period, it was rare that Hooker outright covered another artist’s material. So his riveting interpretations of Muddy Waters’s ‘Please Don’t Go’ and Big Maceo Merriweather’s ‘Worried Life Blues’ peak this collection”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (54 votes, average: 4.39 out of 5)
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Nobody loves you when you’re…

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“Down and Out Blues”   Sonny Boy Willamson sings   (1959) Checker Records   Cover by Don Bronstein   (No that’s not Rice Miller – aka Sonny Boy – on the cover!)

Sonny’s debut album, he was 60 years old when this was released by Chess Records.   “Down and Out Blues” is full of songs that have become blues staples, including “Don’t Start Me to Talkin’,” “

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and “Your Funeral and My Trial.” Chess Records’ crack regulars, spearheaded by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Rogers, Fred Below, Otis Spann and Robert Jr. Lockwood provide suitably gritty support to Sonny Boy’s blues harp, helping to make this 12-song, 34 minute set some of the best electric blues ever recorded.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (54 votes, average: 4.13 out of 5)
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Don’t go breakin’ my heart

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Bobby “Blue” Bland   “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”   Duke Records (1964)   Cover art by Rene

When you got a heartache, there ain’t nothing you can do

When you meet a friend, you smile because you’re glad

When a friend deceives you, it makes you feel so bad

When you lose your loved one, it make you feel so blue

And then you got a heartache, and there ain’t nothing you can do

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (34 votes, average: 4.24 out of 5)
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I love you man!!

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“Here’s the Man.   I mean the man.   The Dynamic Bobby… Bobby Bland!!”   Duke Records   (1962)   One of my personal favorites.   From the amazing James Brown at the Apollo-like introduction into “

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” to “Ain’t That Loving You” and “Turn On Your Love Light” this one is soulful and funky and his band is so tight!

Tracks:   36-22-36 / You’re the One (That I Adore) / Turn on Your Love Light / Who Will the Next Fool Be / You’re Worth It All / Blues in the Night /Your Friends / Ain’t that Loving You / Jelly Jelly Jelly / Twistin’ Up the Road / Stormy Monday Blues

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (19 votes, average: 4.47 out of 5)
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If the house is a rockin’

Etta James Rocks the House.   Argo Records.   An incredible live show from the New Era Club in Nashville, Tenn. in 1963.   Features guitarist David T. Walker fronting a killer band. This album rivals B.B. King Live at the Regal for best live blues record ever. Etta James sings so tough, so ballsy, I can’t think of another singer to compare her to. She almost makes even Wilson Pickett and James Brown sound like wimps. On a couple of songs, she does some scatting you have to hear to believe.   Besides the incredible singing, the other thing that makes this album a joy is the audience. Their excitement is palpable. On a couple of songs, Etta gets a thrilling call and response going with them, and their energy seems to feed her. The album is the next best thing to Etta James in person. (bluemamma) 1. Something’s Got A Hold On Me 2. Baby What You Want Me To Do 3. What’d I Say 4. Money (That’s What I Want) 5. Seven Day Fool 6. Sweet Little Angel 7. Ooh Poo Pah Doo 8. Woke Up This Morning 9. Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby 10. All I Could Do Is Cry 11. I Just Want To Make Love To You

January 20, 2012 – RIP Peaches!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (57 votes, average: 4.11 out of 5)
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Comp time

“An Evening With Eddie Heywood and Billie Holiday” Commodore Records.   A 1960 release of recordings from 1944 sessions and an exquisite Chuck Stewart cover photo!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (36 votes, average: 3.42 out of 5)
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Hurt’s so good

Mississippi John Hurt “Today!” Vanguard One of the most famous “rediscoveries” of the Folk Blues Revival of the 1960s was that of Mississippi John Hurt, who before this 1966 release (shortly before his death that year) had not recorded since 1928.   This is an essential blues album of standards and originals (that have become standards) including my favorite, “Candy Man”.   And the cover photo by Ed Freeman!   What a simple, beautiful, honest portrait of the man.

Side 1

  • Payday
  • I’m satisfied
  • Candy man
  • Make me a pallet on the floor
  • Talkin’ Casey Jones
  • Corrina, Corrina

Side 2

  • Coffee blues
  • Louis Collins
  • Hot time in the old town tonight
  • If you don’t want me. Baby
  • Spike driver blues
  • Beulah land
1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (60 votes, average: 3.88 out of 5)
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Heartbreaker

Bobby “Blue” Bland   “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do” Duke Records   [1964]     Cover illustration by Rene     Original label was orange.   Reissued in 1974 as ABC/Duke DLPX-78.   Ain’t Nothing You Can Do/If I Hadn’t Called You Back/Today/Steal Away/After It’s Too Late/ I’m Gonna Cry //Loneliness Hurts/When You Put Me Down/If You Could Read My Mind/Reconsider/Black Night/Blind Man

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (38 votes, average: 3.87 out of 5)
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Gotta serve somebody

“Softee Man Blues” Doug Quattlebaum   Prestige put out the Bluesville label in the early sixties and recorded some of the best blues artists of the day.   The cover photos and art direction was great and included beautiful portraits of many blues legends.   This one is a-typical.   Some of the records were by little known, but authentic, old time blues men like this one by Doug “softee man” Quattlebaum.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (40 votes, average: 3.53 out of 5)
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