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Playlist: Craigs Music

Compiled By: Craig Danby

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JazzStories (Series)

Produced by Murray Street Productions

Most recent piece in this series:

JazzStories: Randy Weston — From Brooklyn to the Berkshires and Back

From Murray Street Productions | Part of the JazzStories series | 12:57

Randy_weston_small Pianist Randy Weston has seen a lot people and places in his life.  Born in Brooklyn in 1926 and served in the US Army during World War II. But it was jazz that exposed him to the most diverse travels.  Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Ken Druker unearths a live interview with Randy Weston about the people and places that he’s seen in his life — from Langston Hughes and Candido — to Brooklyn and the woods of the Berkshires and back again.

The Needle Drop (Series)

Produced by WNPR

Most recent piece in this series:

The Needle Drop: 06-26-13

From WNPR | Part of the The Needle Drop series | 57:02

4448989_small This week on the Needle Drop, we're spinning new tracks from BADBADNOTGOOD and Lee Bannon. We'll also be sampling a bit of music from the new Darkside remix album that takes on tracks from Daft Punk's Random Access Memories. The latest full-lengths from Jon Hopkins and Smith Westerns will be explored as well.

Blues Unlimited (Series)

Produced by Steve Franz

Most recent piece in this series:

Blues Unlimited #320 - Unsung Heroes of St. Louis Blues

From Steve Franz | Part of the Blues Unlimited series | 01:58:59

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St. Louis, located near the southern end of the central Midwest, for many blues musicians making the trek north to Chicago during the 1940s and 1950s, was simply a stopping over point before continuing their journey. For others, such as the musicians being featured on this program, St. Louis was their home, and where they spent the bulk of their career. Unfortunately, unlike Chicago, Memphis, New Orleans, or New York, the River City was never a major recording center — and without a successful independent label like Atlantic, Chess, Stax, or Sun — opportunities to record were few and far in between. For a talented artist like James De Shay, who we find here captured by a BBC film crew in 1976, the opportunity to record commercially never came at all, while harmonica blower Doc Terry finally ended up cutting a few singles on his very own D.T.P. label in the early 1970s. Johnnie Johnson, of course, might be the most well-known name on the roster here, thanks to his long association with Chuck Berry — who found success in Chicago thanks to a tip from Muddy Waters, who told him to go see Phil and Leonard Chess (the rest, as they say, is history). Tommy Bankhead also came up from Mississippi, along the way, playing with a Who’s Who of blues legends that would make anyone envious today. Bennie Smith, on the other hand, was a St. Louis native who became a mentor to so many other budding electric guitarists, it’s hard to count them all. Among his students was Ike Turner, who we plan on profiling in a future episode. Pianist Clayton Love, it turns out, was a friend of Ike Turner, going back to their days in Clarksdale, first recording together in 1954 for Modern, and again in 1957 for the Federal imprint, in Cincinnati. Like Turner, Oliver Sain was another master craftsman who called St. Louis his home, descending from an impressive blues lineage. Not only was Dan Sane his grandfather (musical partner of the legendary Memphis guitarist Frank Stokes and one-half of the musical duo, the Beale Street Sheiks), but his step-father was also Willie Love, who recorded with Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson for Trumpet in the early 1950s. Sain, in turn, wore so many musical hats, it almost defies belief: multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, arranger, bandleader, producer, music publisher, and owner of a recording studio. Ironically, it was a random sample from one of his 45s, by a famous rap group, that brought him the greatest financial success of his career. At the other end of the spectrum, we find the obscure Guitar Tommy Moore, cutting a bona fide St. Louis classic in 1964. The label, Ultrasonic, was one of many owned by Gabriel — a famous disk jockey, who, as of this writing, can still be found plying his trade over the airwaves of his hometown. Blues expert Jim O’Neal has spent fruitless hours trying to track down the elusive Moore, with Gabriel saying all that he remembers about Moore, at this late date, is that he looked like Benny Hill. As they say, you can’t really make this stuff up.

St. Louis was home to many talented musicians, and on this episode of Blues Unlimited, we pay tribute to a handful of them.


Special thanks to our good friend, radio colleague and fellow blues-lover Tony C., for help and assistance in preparing this program.

For more information on the artists featured on this program, be sure to visit STLBlues.net - where you can also find interviews with Bennie Smith and Tommy Bankhead.