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Playlist: Blues

Compiled By: H.L. Rayner

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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


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.





Full-Time Blues Radio (Series)

Produced by John Luttrell

Most recent piece in this series:

Episode 1626

From John Luttrell | Part of the Full-Time Blues Radio series | 59:00

Full-time-blues-logo-white-2010_small Full-Time Blues Radio started in June of 2008, and has evolved into a weekly spotlight on new and independent Blues music. After eight plus years of broadcasting every week, host and producer Johnny Full-Time is stepping back from the show, and taking it from a profession to a hobby. This is not the end of our program forever, simply the end of our weekly editions. Please bookmark www.fulltimeblues.com to stay informed when future episodes are made available.

Thank you for years of endless support. - John Luttrell

Full-Time Blues Radio brings listeners the widest variety of new Blues music. That means we'll never play the same song twice in this program's lifetime! The weekly series is hosted by "Johnny Full-Time" and features new material by today's stars, tomorrow's legends, and self-produced indie artists from around the world. In addition, each week we dig inside "Johnny's Mailbox" to spotlight a new album that just arrived in the last seven days. Occasionally, we'll hear news about Blues on wax in "The Vinyl Report." From time to time, you may hear an interview or in studio performance, as well.   

More information, archived artist interviews, and much more can be found online at http://www.fulltimeblues.com 

Blues & Beyond (Series)

Produced by WXPN

Most recent piece in this series:

Blues & Beyond #326: bluesman Linsey Alexander has "Been There, Done That"

From WXPN | Part of the Blues & Beyond series | 59:01

Alexander_small In this hour of The Blues & Beyond, bluesman Linsey Alexander has a funky and witty new blues album out called "Been There Done That." Alexander draws on some old blues themes but places them musically and lyrically firmly in the 21st century. We'll check out a few songs from the album. Also, the "Crazy Blues," the very first blues hit back in 1920 from Mamie Smith and a red hot new version from Catherine Russell.  We'll hear Cassandra Wilson, both from her new album "Another Country" and as a guest with Tery Lyne Carrington's Mosaic Project, an all-female ensemble, plus banjoist Bela Fleck with the Marcus Roberts Trio, the late Cuban guitarist Manuel Galbán of the Buena Vista Social Club, and singer Rhiannon, stretching our everyday notion of singing.

promo included: promo326

Blues File (Series)

Produced by WXPN

Most recent piece in this series:

Blues File: Mose Allison "The Way Of The World"

From WXPN | Part of the Blues File series | 04:46

Moseallison230px_small Mose Allison used to be good for at least an album per year, but it took a year for Joe Henry to persuade the octogenarian singer, songwriter, and pianist to record a new one in 2009. On Allison's new album "The Way Of The World" producer Henry avoids the mistakes of other musician-producers with other well-loved older artists by simply letting Mose be Mose. Mose Allison offers his unique mix of blues and jazz-infused wit, humor, and social commentary on this album, his first in over a decade. Highlights include his observations about religion in "Modest Proposal," a reworking of the classic "My Babe" as "My Brain" (on the aging of the mind), and a duet with daughter Amy Allison. At 82, Allison is still very much with us.

House of Blues Radio Hour (Series)

Produced by Ben Manilla

Most recent piece in this series:

HOB Radio: Blue Christmas

From Ben Manilla | Part of the House of Blues Radio Hour series | 59:01

Christmasblues_small The House of Blues Radio Hour is a weekly syndicated program hosted by Elwood Blues (a.k.a. Dan Aykroyd).  In this episode, Elwood roasts some chestnuts and plays Blues for Christmas.  Includes music by Gregg Allman, George Thorogood, B.B. King, Bonnie Raitt, Rufus Thomas, and many more.