28 October 2016

#560 :: LIVE Blues Recording :: Robert Cray Band - 4 Nights of 40 Years Live

The Blues Room #560
Wednesday 5 October 2016
9pm-10pm, FreeFM89.0, Hamilton, NZ.

In this episode of LRW (LIVE Recording Wednesday) we feature the legendary Robert Cray Band. Over the past four decades, singer, guitarist and songwriter Robert Cray has entertained millions across the globe with his brand of rocking rootsy blues, soul-filled ballads and timeless R&B.

Now you experience this too from the comfort of your armchair (or mobile phone) through the album 4 Nights of 40 Years Live. Recorded over four nights at four different venues in Los Angeles, the album showcases the music that spans Cray’s four-decade career. The LP features Cray’s longtime bassist Richard Cousins, keyboardist Dover Weinberg (who was in Cray's first band) and drummer Les Falconer (O'Jays, Keb 'Mo), as well as vocalist Kim Wilson, harmonica player Lee Oskar, tenor saxophonist Trevor Lawrence, trumpeter Steve Madaio and saxophonist Tom Scott. Cray grew up listening to the gospel of the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Bobby Bland's soul, Jimi Hendrix's rock guitar and the Beatles pop sounds.

His group went on to win five Grammy Awards, sell millions of records and sell out concert halls, festivals and large arenas around the world.

Four years ago, Cray was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame. 

The first disc is billed as the “Main Feature.” Recorded last December at several L.A. rehearsal halls and venues, Cray’s current line up of bassist Richard Cousins, drummer Les Falconer and keyboardist Dover Weinberg are augmented by saxophonist Trevor Lawrence and trumpeter Steve Madio of Paul Butterfiedl and Stevie Wonder fame. Producer Steve Jordan adds percussion to give the band a full R&B flavor with extra bottom. From the opening track “I Shiver” it’s apparent that both Robert’s voice and guitar work are still as soulful as his fans have come to expect. Guest vocalist Kim Wilson turns in a fine performance on “Wrap It Up,” which was a huge hit for the Fabulous Thunderbirds in 1980s. However, the band stays closer to the 1968 Sam and Dave original, right down to the horn section. Lee Oskar also sits in on “Sitting on Top of the World.”

Disc 2 is the bonus disc and includes performances from the Dutch television show “Countdown” from 1987, and the Robert Cray Band’s set at the 1982 San Francisco Blues Festival. The band was touring behind the Strong Persuader release and this show contains music from that period. Peter Boe on keys and drummer David Olson were the rhythm section for this outing, with Cousins on bass, Some of the highlights are “Guess I Showed Her,” “Right Next Door,” “Smoking Gun” and “Still Around.” The 1982 tracks feature Warren Rand on alto and Mike Vannice on tenor and organ. “Too Many Cooks” and “T-Bone Shuffle” from the festival are great examples of what a 28-year-old Robert Cray could do with a Stratocaster even at that early age.

The DVD is a treat for any Robert Cray fan. There is lots of well put together biographical information as well as footage from the 1982 and 1987 shows interspersed throughout the disc, showing the band members discussing the trying times early in their careers. There are interviews with a lot of great musicians, including Buddy Guy, Keith Richards, Jimmie Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt and Eric Clapton. Of particular interest is producer Steve Jordan discussing how Keith Richards introduced him Robert Cray.

All in all 4 Nights of 40 Years is one giant Robert Cray love fest. In addition to the 3 discs there is a full color booklet with some great photos and even more information about Cray’s illustrious career. The package is a fun retrospective of one of contemporary blues’ most beloved artists and is a must own for all Robert Cray fans.

1. Lloyd Speigel - I Don't Need No Doctor
2. Robert Cray Band - I Shiver
3. Robert Cray Band - I'll Always Remember You
4. Robert Cray Band - Poor Johnny
5. Robert Cray Band - Won't Be Coming Home
6. Robert Cray Band - Your Good Thing Is About To End
7. Robert Cray Band - Sittin' On Top Of The World
8. Robert Cray Band - Bad Influence
9. Robert Cray Band - Right Next Door (Because Of Me)

20 October 2016

#559 :: Buggin' Blues

The Blues Room #559
Wednesday 5 October 2016
9pm-10pm, FreeFM89.0, Hamilton, NZ.

WIN the double CD set by Lloyd Spiegel, DOUBLE LIVE SET
Listen to this episode by Fatt Max for details. And be sure to get along to a performance by Lloyd while he's in NZ, details of his NZ tour here.

Colin James – Bug Road Blues 
Frank Bang & The Cook County Chiefs – Cant Go On This Way 
Dave Keller – Whats It Gonna Take 
Charlie Musselwhite – The Well 
Kitty Daisy & Lewis – Buggin’ Blues 
Lloyd Spiegel – Statesboro’ Blues 
Elmore James – Shake Your Money Maker 
Cris Jacobs – Bone Digger 
Cris Jacobs – Turn To Gold 
Lightning Hopkins & Sonny Terry – Lightning Strike
Lady A – Don’t Let Your Blues Become A Crime 
Mavis Staples – Take Us Back 
Luther Allison – Will It Ever Change 
BB King – Paying The Cost To The Blues 

13 October 2016

#558 :: Big Road Blues with Jeff Harris (Rockin & Jumpin' Honkin Sax from New York pt.2)

The Blues Room #558
Wednesday 12 October 2016
9pm-10pm, FreeFM89.0, Hamilton, NZ.

For many years Nate has been following a vintage blues radio show hosted by Jeff Harris called Big Road Blues. Jeff presents his 2-hour show each Sunday from 5 to 7 PM (EST) on WGMC Jazz90.1 (Rochester, NY) and it streams live on the web from http://www.jazz901.org/listen-live/. Jeff has kindly given permission for Big Road Blues to be re-run on The Blues Room each month, on the second Wednesday. This episode here is a classic example of what you'll hear from Jeff; superb tracks, great commentary, and a taste of classic and often rare and forgotten blues. As Jeff's shows are two hours long, Nate will post a link for listeners to check out the second half of his show. For archived shows of Big Road Blues please check out http://sundayblues.org/. So a big thank you goes out to Jeff and we look forward to sharing some of his outstanding shows on The Blues Room.

Today's show is part two of a look at some of the great New York based sax men who's honkin' sound was heard on hundreds of records in the 40's and 50's. This show is one of several sax based shows this year that Jeff has aired, starting a few months ago with one based in Chicago, followed by two spotlighting some great L.A. Horn blowers. Illinois Jacquet is cited as the one who kicked off the era of honkin' sax in 1945 with his famous solo on "Flying Home" while working with Lionel Hampton's band. As Big Jay McNeely said of of the songe, "every time we picked up our horns we were just elaborating on that, trying to make it bigger, wilder, give it more swing, more kick. If you want to know where rhythm and blues began, that's it brother." 

 Today Jeff spins some great honkin' sax records, some cut by the horn men themselves and others featuring their raucous playing behind some great blues singers, both well known and obscure. The records were issued on a myriad of small New York independent labels such as Atlas, Derby, Coral, Apollo, Groove, Savoy and bigger players such as King and Atlantic. Among those featured today are legendary horn men such as Hal Singr and Freddie Mitchell who played on countless sessions as well as recording some exciting sides under their own names. Then there were sax men primarily know for their session work such as the prolific Sam “The Man” Taylor, Budd Johnson and Big Al Sears. There were the sax men who lead their own band and were stars in their own right such as Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams, Red Prysock, Earl Bostic and Bullmoose Jackson. Others heard today include the incendiary Noble “Thin Man” Watts, the rising star King Curtis, Willis “Gator” Jackson, Buddy Lucas, Frank Culley, Sil Austin, Buddy Tate, Jesse Powell and others. Sil Austin once said, "exciting horn, honking horn, gutbucket horn is what kids wanted to hear, so I made sure I played more of that. They called it rock 'n' roll. And the records sold."

Big Road Blues Show :: Rockin' And Jumpin' – Honkin' Sax From New York Pt. 2

1. Buddy Lucas - Hustlin Family Blues
2. Buddy Lucas - Big Bertha
3. Wynonie Harris w/ Buddy Lucas - Triflin' Woman
4. Joseph "Google Eyes" August w/ Buddy Tate - Rock My Soul
5. Rene Hall w/ Buddy Tate - Blowin' Awhile
6. Wynonie Harris w/ Buddy Tate - Mr. Blues Is Coming To Town
7. Arbee Stidham w/ Hal Singer - Stidham Jumps
8. Hal Singer - Buttermilk And Beans
9. Fank Floorshow Culley - After Hours Session
10. Jimmy Rushing w/ Frank Culley - Lonesome Daddy Blues
11. Frank Floorshow Culley - Floorshow
12. Freddie Mitchell - Moondog Boogie
13. Honey Brown w/ Freddie Mitchel - Rockin' And Jumpin'
14. Bullmoose Walker w/ Sam Taylor - Big Fat Mamas Are Back In Style Again
15. Sam "The Man" Taylor - Oo-Wee
16. Champion Jack Dupree w/ Jesse Powell - Fifth Avenue Blues

7 October 2016

#557 :: Hour Of Blues Power With Darcy Perry

The Blues Room #557
Wednesday 5 October 2016
9pm-10pm, FreeFM89.0, Hamilton, NZ.

1. Albert King & Stevie Ray Vaughan - Pride and Joy
2. Bob Dylan - Slow Train
3. The Holmes Brothers - Feed My Soul
4. Charlie Musselwhite - The Well
5. Lloyd Spiegal - Long Way From Heaven
6. Led Zeppelin - Achilles Last Stand 
7. Bill Withers - Use Me
8. Eric Clapton, Taj Mahal and Wynton Marsalis - Just a Closer Walk with Thee
9. Tommy Castro and the Painkillers - That's All I Got