Ali Farka Toure - The River (1990)

Ali Ibrahim “Farka” Touré (October 31, 1939 – March 7, 2006) was a Malian singer and guitarist, and one of the African continent’s most internationally renowned musicians. His music is widely regarded as representing a point of intersection of traditional Malian music and its North American cousin, the blues. The belief that the latter is historically derived from the former is reflected in Martin Scorsese’s often quoted characterization of Touré’s tradition as constituting "the DNA of the blues". Touré was ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.
This 1990 recording contains one of the best African blues tunes ever recorded, and a classic Ali Farka Toure moment. As the electric guitar roars in at the opening, punctured by a darting harmonica line, "Heygana" lays out the roots and branches of the blues in its journey from west Africa to the Americas, and more importantly, back again. Sung in the Songhai language, pushed by a vaguely reggae groove and pulled along by a sometimes idiosyncratic percussion line on a calabash, it pretty well epitomizes what Toure is about. The sound is stripped down, with the guitar and voice working a bare minimum groove. The calabash clicks, a thick stringed ngoni adds some punch, and a few tracks feature Toure on the njarka (fiddle). In addition to Rory McLeod's harmonica, there is one piece with The Chieftains' Seane Keane and Kevin Conneff on fiddle and bodhran (Irish goatskin drum), and a marvelous duet with saxophonist Steve Williamson that adds a little sideways R&B. The River is one of Toure's most straightforward recordings made in the decade after the light of his international fame had first shone.

Ali Farka Touré (vocals; electric guitar; acoustic guitar; n'jarka)
Amadou Cisse (calabash; percussion; vocals)
Mamaye Kouyate (n'goni 3,7)
Rory McLeod (harmonica 4)
Seane Keane (fiddle 2; bodhran 2)
Kevin Conneff (fiddle 2;bodhran 2)

UK: World Circuit WCD017 (30 November 1992)
US: Mango 9897 (1 July 1991)

1. Ai Bine (6:17)
2. Kenouna (4:58)
3. Toungere (7:28)
4. Heygana (5:55)
5. Jungou (7:21)
6. Goydiotodam (6:22)
7. Lobo (6:40)
8. Tamala (8:03)
9. Boyrei (5:18)
10. Tangambara (5:18)
11. Instrumental (2:58)


Jimmy Reed Blues Masters: The Very Best Of

Recorded between 1953 & 1963. Includes liner notes by Cub Koda, Steve Woolard.

Though Jimmy Reed's name will always be eclipsed by more innovative and charismatic artists like Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf, his simple, straightforward music is--in a way--what the blues is all about. As Rhino's definitive VERY BEST OF proves, Reed knew the music was primarily about soul and groove, with flash and musical expertise taking a backseat to a basic feel for the songs. Though Reed's harmonica playing, hypnotic rhythms, stinging lead guitar, and cool, behind-the-beat vocals do not dazzle technically, they always support the deep vibe of the song, effectively getting out of the way to let the blues do its business.

Lovingly selected, sequenced, and remastered, BLUES MASTERS: THE VERY BEST OF JIMMY REED trumps existing compilations as the essential Reed album to get. All of the artist's biggest singles are here, including the swamp blues blueprint "High and Lonesome," the bouncy "Ain't That Lovin' You Baby," and the smoothly grooving "Baby What You Want Me to Do" (with Reed's wife, "Mama," lending sweet backing vocals). Rhino wisely avoids Reed's inferior 1970s material, concentrating solely on his seminal Vee Jay output. This is the perfect sampler of Reed's unique and influential accomplishments.

Digitally remastered by Bob Fisher.

Compilation producers: James Austin, Jimmie Vaughan.

Personnel: Mama Reed (vocals); Eddie Taylor, W.C. Dalton, John Brim, John Littlejohn, Lee Baker, Phil Upchurch, Lefty Bates (guitar); Henry Gray (piano); Earl Phillips, Morris Wilkerson, Al Duncan , Albert King, Vernell Fournier (drums).

Audio Remasterer: Bob Fisher .

Liner Note Author: Cub Koda.

Personnel includes: Jimmy Reed (vocal, guitar, harmonica); Mama Reed (vocals); John Brim, Eddie Taylor, John Littlejohn, W.C. Dalton, Remo Biondi, Lefty Bates, Phil Upchurch, Lonnie "Lee Baker" Brooks (guitar); Henry Gray (piano); Milton Rector, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed Jr. (bass); Albert King, Morris Wilkerson, Vernell Fournier, Earl Phillips, Al Duncan (drums).

Track list:

1. High and Lonesome
2. You Don't Have to Go
3. Ain't That Lovin' You Baby
4. I Ain't Got You
5. You Got Me Dizzy
6. Little Rain
7. Honest I Do
8. Odds and Ends
9. Ends and Odds
10. Going to New York
11. Take Out Some Insurance
12. Baby, What You Want Me to Do
13. Hush Hush
14. Big Boss Man
15. Bright Lights, Big City
16. Oh John
17. Shame, Shame, Shame


Mance Lipscomb – Texas Sharecropper and Songster

Arhoolie's Texas Sharecropper & Songster is a recording made in 1960, during the blues revival. Prior to the blues revival, Mance Lipscomb was an unknown, and his discovery was one of the positive byproducts of the revival. He was a great country-blues man, and this is perhaps his greatest effort, capturing him running through a number of traditional songs. Most of the songs are augmented by his jackknife slide guitar, and all feature his raw, haunted vocals, which make these classic songs sound timeless.

Track list:
1 Sugar Babe 2:06
2 Goin' Down Slow 3:07
3 Freddie 2:42
4 Jack O'Diamonds 4:05
5 Baby Please Don't Go 1:47
6 One Thin Dime 2:59
7 Shake, Shake Mama 2:53
8 Ella Speed 2:36
9 Mama Don't Allow 2:26
10 Ain't It Hard 3:16
11 'bout a Spoonful 3:27
12 Take Me Back 1:59
13 Rag in "G" 2:02
14 Big Boss Man 3:09
15 You Gonna Quit Me, Baby 2:38
16 Blues in G 4:11
17 Mama, Don't Dog Me 3:23
18 Willie Poor Boy 3:02
19 Tell Me Where You Stayed Last Night 2:48
20 Knocking Down Windows 2:25


Skip James - Complete Early Recordings (1930)

The eighteen songs presented on this CD may, if allowed, cause the listener to re-define their standards of what personal expression in music might be. Skip James' music has been called strange and idiosyncratic. If these terms are adequate to describe sound that resists all attempts to pigeonhole and categorize, than perhaps they apply. These surviving sides, recorded in Grafton, Wisconsin, in 1931 (not 1930 as the title of this disc would indicate, the only flaw in this otherwise perfect presentation) show James as someone who chafed against existing musical idioms. Rather than subscribe to a pat or pre-figured means of communication, Skip James created his own unique means of expression through sound, depicting a unique world-view in an equally unique series of sonic vignettes, each one full of beauty and terror.
We have come to regard James as a blues musician, although very little of this music fits into the conventional blues idiom. This music embodies the sense of pain and the desire to transcend that pain that most blues music supposedly (but seldom actually) expresses. The songs address living with an unabashed intensity. They speak of surviving economic hardship, lost love, reckless living, and travel. They sometimes aspire to salvation, although this salvation always seems distant or chimerical. The world they articulate is one suffused with pain, joy and the threat of violence. In this, James' music is a very distant cousin to Guns n' Roses Appetite For Destruction, another group of songs founded upon a desire to live life in spite of extreme self-loathing.

To critique the audible surface noise present on the 78 source records is a bit like dismissing a Vermeer painting because the paint has crazed slightly in the centuries since it was painted. In some cases, Yazoo has used the only surviving copy of an original 78 as source material. Given these parameters, this disc sounds wonderful, especially when compared with other versions of these same recordings that have been previously available .

Skip has sometimes been compared with Robert Johnson - but their similarities are superficial, and comparisons between them most often stem from their common apocalyptic imagery and use of the Devil as an overt lyrical presence. Robert Johnson was a dance musician. His arrangements prefigured the band-driven sound of postwar electric blues. Skip James' music is not for dancing - his rhythms are frequently changing within songs and even within measures. It is impossible to imagine him recording with other musicians - the very private and exclusive essence of his expression precludes collaboration. His entire being, as evidenced in his sometimes ethereal, sometimes in-your-face guitar and piano playing, was devoted to finding a personal course of survival in a world plagued on all sides by hardships.

If you open yourself to this sound, you may find the most personal and private of rewards. If the music is not enough, I recommend reading Stephen Calt's provocative and engrossing biography of Skip James, "I'd Rather Be The Devil: Skip James and the Blues"

Track list:
1.Devil Got My Woman
2.Cypress Grove Blues
3.Little Cow and Calf Is Gonna Die Blues
4.Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues $0.99
5.Drunken Spree
6.Cherry Ball Blues
7.Jesus Is a Mighty Good Leader
8.Illinois Blues
9.How Long Blues
10.4 O'Clock Blues
11.22-20 Blues
12.Hard Luck Child
13.If You Haven't Any Hay Get on Down the Road
14.Be Ready When He Comes
15.Yola My Blues Away
16.I'm So Glad
17.What Am I to Do Blues
18.Special Rider Blues


John Lee Hooker - Blues for Big Town

This John Lee Hooker set is volume 38 in the Charly Blues Masterworks series, which shows no sign of slowing down. There are 16 tracks recorded between the late 1940s and the early '60s; these sides make up some of the less obvious choices in a best-of -- and that's a good thing. How many more comps do we need with the same versions of "Boogie Chillun'" and "Crawling King Snake"? Hooker is featured both solo and in various combinations here. The raw, murderous guitar stomp of "Mad Man Blues," recorded live, juxtaposes nicely against the combo sessions with a horn section on cuts like "Big Fine Woman." Thankfully, the compilers saw fit to put "Bluebird" here, which features one of the most soulful vocals Hooker ever committed to tape. The slow, creeping, sorrow-drenched "Apologize" is here, as is a smoking read of Muddy Waters' "Baby Please Don't Go" -- the only cover on the set. The title tune is a pure house rocker with piano, drums, and horns as well. The edge in Hooker's guitar here, with a far more distorted high end than usual, is a nice treat. You really can't go wrong with any of these Charly recordings; they don't sound the best, but they do feel warm and live and immediate despite tape hiss in some places. And the performances they manage to issue in this series are spectacular. This volume is no exception to that rule.

Track list:

1. Mad Man Blues
2. Hey Boogie Listen
3. Just Me and My Telephone
4. Dreamin' Blues
5. Walkin' the Boogie [Alternate Take]
6. I Don't Want Your Money
7. Hey Baby, You Look Good to Me
8. The Journey
9. Bluebird
10. Apologize
11. Lonely Boy Boogie
12. Please Don't Go
13. Worried Life Blues
14. Blues for Big Town
15. Big Fine Woman
16. Blues for Christmas


Billie Holiday – Songs For Distingue Lovers

Songs for Distingué Lovers is a stereo album by jazz singer Billie Holiday released in 1957 on Verve Records, originally a ten-inch record, catalogue MGV 8257. It was recorded at Capitol Studios in Los Angeles from January 3 to January 9, 1957, and produced by Norman Granz. This was Holiday's fifth studio album. Granz and Holiday chose familiar items from the Great American Songbook of classic pop for the album, Holiday singing in the context comfortable for her, that of a small jazz band. The original album consisted of six standards, five of which by songwriters whom would be categorically tackled by Ella Fitzgerald on her Songbooks series. The sessions reunited Holiday with trumpeter Harry Edison and saxophonist Ben Webster, both of whom the singer had worked with during the 1930 and 1940s, Edison as a member of the Count Basie Orchestra during her brief stay as the band's girl singer, and Webster from the recordings under her own name for Vocalion Records and Okeh Records.

A ten-inch long-playing album could hold approximately seventeen minutes of music per side, making this album well within the standard parameters for running time. Songs for Distingué Lovers was reissued by Verve Records on October 28, 1997, as part of its Master Edition series, remastering using 20-bit technology with six bonus tracks. The extra tracks were all recorded at the same sessions, and taken from other Holiday ten-inch albums of the late 1950s on Verve. "I Wished on the Moon" and "Love Is Here to Stay" were from MGV 8329, All or Nothing At All, and the other four from MGV 8197, Body and Soul.

Track list:

Side one

"Day In, Day Out" (Johnny Mercer, Rube Bloom) – 6:47
"A Foggy Day" (Ira Gershwin, George Gershwin) – 4:40
"Stars Fell on Alabama" (Frank Perkins, Mitchell Parish) – 4:28

Side two

"One for My Baby" (Johnny Mercer, Harold Arlen) – 5:39
"Just One of Those Things" (Cole Porter) – 5:31
"I Didn't Know What Time It Was" (Lorenz Hart, Richard Rodgers) – 5:59


Eric Clapton - Money and Cigarettes (1983)

Eric Clapton returned in February of 1983 with his second studio release of the eighties. Money and Cigarettes ranks somewhere in the middle of his vast catalogue as it is not as good as many of the releases which preceded it but is better than many that were to come.

To his credit he assembles a small but talented band to support him. Albert Lee is back but this time Ry Cooder also joins him as an additional guitarist. Donald “Duck” Dunn is the bassist and drummer Roger Hawkins rounds out this talented quartet.

I think that Clapton put it on cruise control for this album; it's just too easy and too laid back. The brilliant guitar licks are still present but they mostly come in very short bursts. All in all, It would prove to be one of the least commercial releases of his career.

The most memorable song is “I’ve Got A Rock ‘N’ Roll Heart” which was a big hit single in the United States. It is a rocking celebration of the music he loves.

There are several other worthwhile tracks. “The Shape I’m In” features some fine guitar interplay between Clapton and Lee. “Ain’t Going Down” is a nice return to his Derek and The Dominoes days. And he revs up the sound on the old Johnny Otis tune “Crazy Country Hop” for a fun filled performance.

The best track, however, may be the ballad “Pretty Girl," which includes one of the most unique guitar performances of his career. 

Many times it is positive when someone refers to an artist producing a mature work but in this case he is a little too mature. I wish he could have cut loose a bit more. It is also mostly a rock album and I would have preferred some more blues.

Track list:
   1. "Everybody Oughta Make a Change" (Sleepy John Estes) - 3.16
   2. "The Shape You're In" (Clapton) - 4.08
   3. "Ain't Going Down" (Clapton) - 4.01
   4. "I've Got a Rock 'n' Roll Heart" (Steve Diamond, Troy Seals, Tony Seals, Eddie Setzer) - 3.13
   5. "Man Overboard" (Clapton) - 3.45
   6. "Pretty Girl" (Clapton) - 5.29
   7. "Man In Love" (Clapton) - 2.46
   8. "Crosscut Saw" (R.G. Ford) - 3.30
   9. "Slow Down Linda" (Clapton) - 4.14
  10. "Crazy Country Hop" (Johnny Otis) - 2.46


B.B.King - Lucille (1968)

In December 1967, B.B. King entered the studio with noted jazz producer Bob Thiele to record what eventually became LUCILLE. Named after King's guitar, this record finds B.B. adding some fresh ingredients to his already potent stew of traditional blues. With its biting brass and female back-up singers, "You Move Me So" is a funky, spiritual workout, whereas "I Need Your Love" finds King combining Sam Cooke-flavored vocalizing with a dash of rambling country-flavored piano.

As for the blues, Riley B. King has 'em and isn't afraid to share. He digs deep and bathes Ivory Joe Hunter's "No Money No Luck" in heavy pathos. The title track is the most impressive and spontaneous number on this record despite its near-ten-minute length. Done in a talking blues style, "Lucille" started out with King telling the story of his guitar while noodling around on her during a break. Correctly sensing that blues gold was being freshly served up, an excited Thiele had the engineer flip on the record button, preserving a conversation between a man and his guitar for posterity.

Includes original release liner notes by Sheldon Harris.

Recorded in December 1967.

Personnel: B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Irving Ashby (guitar); Bob McNeely, Cecil McNeely (saxophone); Bobby Forte (tenor saxophone); Melvin Moore (trumpet); John Ewing (trombone); Lloyd Glenn (piano); Maxwell Davis, Maxwell Street Jimmy Davis (organ); Jesse Sailes (drums).

Liner Note Authors: Alan Balfour; Sheldon Harris.

Recording information: 12/18/1967-12/20/1967.

Photographers: Pauline Rivelli; Charles Stewart.

Personnel: B.B. King (vocals, guitar); Maxwell Davis (leader, organ); Irving Ashby (guitar); Bobby Forte (tenor saxophone); Cecil McNeely, Bob McNeely (saxophone); Mel Moore (trumpet); John Ewing (trombone); Lloyd Glenn (piano); David Allen (bass); Jesse Sailes (drums).

All tracks by B. B. King, except where noted.

   1. "Lucille" -- 10:16
   2. "You Move Me So" -- 2:03
   3. "Country Girl" -- 4:25
   4. "Mo Money, No Luck Blues" (Ivory Joe Hunter) -- 3:49
   5. "I Need Your Love" (Walter Spriggs) -- 2:22
   6. "Rainin' All the Time" -- 2:56
   7. "I'm with You" -- 2:31
   8. "Stop Putting the Hurt on Me" -- 3:04
   9. "Watch Yourself" (Sidney Barnes, Louis Gross, George Kerr) -- 5:47


Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood

Texas Flood is the debut album of American blues musician Stevie Ray Vaughan and his band Double Trouble, released June 13, 1983 on Epic Records. The album was recorded in only three days, at Jackson Browne's personal recording studio, in 1982 since the band had been playing many live sets beforehand.

More popular than any blues album in nearly twenty years, Texas Flood was a surprise success for Vaughan, who had labored in obscurity for years. On the North American Billboard Music Charts, Texas Flood peaked at #64 and #38 on the Billboard 200 and Pop Albums charts, respectively. The single "Pride and Joy" peaked at #20 on the Mainstream Rock chart. The album was Grammy nominated in 1983 for "Best Blues Recording" along with "Rude Mood", which was nominated for "Best Blues Instrumental Performance".

8-track tape versions of the album are very rare and thus considered quite valuable due to the fact that the format was being phased out during the time period in which the album was released. Therefore, relatively few 8-track tape versions of "Texas Flood" were manufactured. The album was released in its entirety as downloadable content for the music video game series Rock Band on March 3rd, 2009.

   1. "Love Struck Baby" (Stevie Ray Vaughan) – 2:19
   2. "Pride and Joy" (Vaughan) - 3:39
   3. "Texas Flood" (Larry Davis, Joseph Wade Scott) – 5:21
   4. "Tell Me" (Howlin' Wolf) – 2:48
   5. "Testify" (Isley Brothers) – 3:20 *
   6. "Rude Mood" (Vaughan) – 4:36
   7. "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (Buddy Guy) – 2:46
   8. "Dirty Pool" (Doyle Bramhall, Vaughan) – 4:58
   9. "I'm Cryin'" (Vaughan) – 3:41
  10. "Lenny" (Vaughan) – 5:00

Bonus Tracks

  11. "SRV Speaks" (S.R. Vaughan) - 0:37
  12. "Tin Pan Alley (AKA Roughest Place in Town)" (Robert Geddins) - 7:42
  13. "Testify" (live) - 3:54 *
  14. "Mary Had a Little Lamb" (live) (B. Guy) - 3:31
  15. "Wham" (live) (Lonnie Mack) - 4:20

Track 11 taped in October 1989 at Sound on Sound Studios, New York City. Track 12 recorded November 24, 1982. Tracks 13-15 recorded September 23, 1983.

* Some album editions and guitar tablature books wrongly credit "Testify" to G. Clinton and D. Taylor, but it is actually an Isley Brothers cover. The original recording was released in 1964 and features Jimi Hendrix on guitar. There is an unrelated Parliament song of the same name (sometimes called "I Wanna Testify") written by G. Clinton and D. Taylor. Other versions simply say "writer unknown".


Charlie Musselwhite - Stone Blues (1968)

When people think of top white blues performers from the 60's, names like Paul Butterfield, Mike Bloomfield, John Mayall and Al Kooper come readily to mind. While those guys all have their place in history, so does Charlie Musselwhite. Musselwhite learned the blues straight from old timers like Homesick James and Robert Nighthawk on Maxwell Street in the Windy City. This release, "Stone Blues" is his second solo release on Vanguard Records and while it contains no Musselwhite originals, the ten songs covered here, songs of Walter Jacob, Elmore James and Clay Cotton, provide ample opportunity to hear and enjoy the warm vocals and exemplary harp playing of Musselwhite. These songs have aged well over the years and, while Musselwhite continues to put out great material, these early recordings should not be overlooked.

Vanguard VSD-79287 (USA 1968)
Charley Musselwwhite (vocals, harp)
Tim Kaihatsu (guitar)
Larry Welker (guitar)
Clay Cotton (keyboards)
Carl Severeid (bass)
Eddie Hoh (percussions)
Lance Dickerson (drums)

Track list :

1. My Buddy Buddy Friends (1:51)
2. Everything's Gonna Be Allright (2:35)
3. My Baby's Sweeter (3:58)
4. Clay's Tune (5:10)
5. Gone And Left Me (3:40)
6. Cry For Me Baby (2:38)
7. Hey Baby (4:06)
8. Juke (2:16)
9. She Belongs To Me (2:33)
10. Bag Gloom News (9:17)


Mississippi John Hurt - Today!

The '60s revived the careers of many early bluesmen, but none so dramatically as that of Mississippi John Hurt. Hurt recorded a few brilliant sides in the '20s, then ostensibly disappeared off the face of the Earth until folk musician Tom Hoskins went looking for him in 1963. At the age of 70, Hurt began one of the greatest comebacks in music history. From his first '60s shows until his death in 1966, Hurt was a popular mainstay of the folk-music circuit. TODAY! demonstrates why the audiences loved him so.

More a melodic songster than a traditional bluesman, Hurt has a great deal in common with '60s folk musicians-many of whom he inspired. Hurt's dexterous and beautiful finger-picking style provided aspiring folk performers with a template, as did his warm and gentle stage presence. All these elements are amply evident on TODAY!, on which Hurt turns in definitive performances of "Pay Day," "Louis Collins," "Spike Driver's Blues," and "Make Me a Pallet on Your Floor." He even takes a rare (and successful) turn at slide guitar on "Talking Casey." Like all of Hurt's Vanguard albums, TODAY! is an absolutely essential document of a great American artist.

All tracks have been digitally remastered.

Track list:

01. Pay Day
02. I'm Satisfied
03. Candy Man
04. Make Me A Pallet On Your Floor
05. Talking Casey
06. Corrinna, Corrinna
07. Coffee Blues
08. Louis Collins
09. Hot Time In The Old Time Tonight
10. If You Don't Want Me Baby
11. Spike Driver Blues
12. Beulah Land
[Originally Released in 1966]
Guitar/Vocals: Mississippi John Hurt
Composed by Hurt, except 4,6,9,12 (Traditional)


Otish Rush Right Place, Wrong Time (1976)

This 1971 Capitol Records session was almost not released at all. Chicago blues guitarist and singer extraordinaire Otis Rush cut "Right Place, Wrong Time" in February of that year, and Capitol immediately decided against issuing it. It sucked, apparently. And Capitol knew about music, you see; they didn't like the Beatles and tampered heavily with their records, they refused to sign the Doors because Jim Morrison had absolutely no stage presence (!), and they cut three songs from the US version of Pink Floyd's "The Piper at the Gates of Dawn" for no good reason whatsoever.

"Right Place, Wrong Time" was only saved because Capitol allowed Otis Rush's production company to buy the tapes and have them issued on P-Vine in Japan and on the tiny Bullfrog label in the USA (the CD has come out on Hightone). And it's good to have this album, a very welcome addition to Rush's sparse legacy.
To me, these are not his best sides...those would be his classic Cobra recordings from the 50s. It is not even his best post-60s album. But it is still the great Otis Rush in his prime, and that means that it is head and shoulders above most other blues records of the 70s.

The production is a little flat, which is surprising since it was undertaken by Rush himself and by Nick Gravenites, and while Otis Rush's strong, expressive voice and sizzling guitar playing is right there at the forefront, the rest of the band wasn't treated as well by the producers.
But said sizzling guitar playing is top-notch. Rush is backed by an excellent combo which includes a three-piece horn ensemble, and the horns are very well scored, providing a terrific counterpoint to Rush's edgy lead guitar. Listen to the way the instruments compliment each other on the instrumental "Easy Go", or the 5½-minute title track, a powerful slow soul-blues number penned by Rush himself, and a showcase for his powerful, emotional voice.

A cover of "Rainy Night in Georgia" is an odd choice for a blues record, and this rushed version of Albert King's "Natural Ball" doesn't add anything to the song. But the rest is good. And frequently great. Pianist Mark Naftalin is terrific on the instrumental "I Wonder Why", which showcases the entire band, and if Ike Turner's "Tore Up" is pretty much a rip-off of "I'm Tore Down", it is a good rip-off. "Your Turn to Cry" is another smouldering slow blues, and Otis Rush does very well by Little Milton Campbell's "Lonely Man", and even better by his own "Take a Look Behind", the six-minute album closer.

This album would benefit from some serious remastering, but what's here is still pretty great. Rush is a masterful guitarist, wringing some magnificent, imaginative fills and solos from his upside-down-guitar...he has a magnificent ability to transcend the usual blues clichés.
If you're new to the man, start with his classic Cobra sides, but don't forget to pick this one up as well. The overall quality of the material and the music is not quite as high as on other latter-day albums like "Ain't Enough Comin' In" or "Any Place I'm Goin'", but it is still more than worth while, not just for fans of Otis Rush, but for fans of electric Chicago blues and tasteful blues guitar in general.


"Tore Up" (Ralph Bass, Ike Turner) - 3:17
"Right Place, Wrong Time" - 5:24
"Easy Go" - 4:41
"Three Times A Fool" - 3:11
"Rainy Night in Georgia" (Tony Joe White) - 3:55
"Natural Ball" (Albert King) - 3:30
"I Wonder Why" (Mel London) - 4:41
"Your Turn To Cry (Caple, Deadric Malone) - 3:35
"Lonely Man" (Milton Campbell, Bob Lyons) - 2:50
"Take A Look Behind" - 5:40


B.B. King Live at the Regal (1965)

As has been noted, this is one of the essential albums, one of the records that everyone is supposed to have like John Coltrane and Johnny Hartman, like Robert Johnson, like the music Billie Holiday made with Lester Young for Columbia, like Louis's Hot 5s and Hot 7s, like Elvis's Sun Sessions.
Beyond that, this is something that has become increasingly rare, a live blues recording where the music is played for blues people, African American working class and middle class blues people in an urban center. This all about singing and swinging and jiving and talking to the audience and the audience talking back.

When I was in Mississippi in the mid 1960s doing civil rights work, I met Blues People who loved BB King who didn't know that he played the guitar. The expression always was and still is 'BLUES SINGER," not blues guitarist. He sang the blues the way they needed to listen to and in a Blues People venue the folks will talk back to him too.

My favorite, classic moment of the blues dialog here is in "It's my own fault baby" where Riley sings "I gave you seven children, and now you want to give 'em back." All the sistas in the audience scream. Gruffer sounds came from the men.

What is essential to blues performance for BLUES PEOPLE is the constant dialog between the singer and the audience that is the heart of the native blues experience. The dialog isn't about the impeccable guitar playing on this record, or the totally righteous playing of the band, or even the fine voice of Riley B. King here, but it is about what the words the lyrics speak to the lives of the audience, and what the audience responds to the singer. That's the center of blues, not heavy guitar licks that the post-folk-post rock blues fan thinks is the essence of heavy blues.

It's a shame the audience for the blues has almost disappeared, that blues stars no longer play in big "Chitlin' Circuit" theaters like the Regal, the Apollo, the Howard, the old non hippie Fillmore, or that you can't see Riley or Bobby Blue Bland in smoky little night clubs in the ghetto.

Perhaps, I am showing my age here, because time has to roll on. I am sure that night at the Regal there was someone who could remember when the sistas and their men would be shouting back at things Bessie Smith, or Big Maceo and Tampa Read, Lonnie Johnson, or Memphis Minnie had sung to them from that same stage without the electric instruments.

The real Black blues when it was based among us, was about singing, about commentary. For even the greatest guitarists like Riley, Lonnie Johnson, T-Bone Walker, Johnny Lee Hooker, Guitar Slim, the guitar playing and the band were just ways to emphasize how the to talk to audience. This brings to mind that great Betty Carter Album, "The Audience and Betty Carter." This is the Blues People and Riley King talking to each other. That's priceless, get it, and listen to it.


1. Every Day I Have The Blues
2. Sweet Little Angel
3. It's My Own Fault
4. How Blue Can You Get?
5. Please Love Me
6. You Upset Me Baby
7. Worry, Worry
8. Woke Up This Mornin'
9. You Done Lost Your Good Thing Now
10. Help The Poor


Buddy Guy - Damn Right I've Got The Blues (1991)

 This lasts about 54 minutes. 4 tracks feature horns. There are three original Guy tracks. All are great. One- title track, 2- a slow moody instrumental dedicated to Stevie Ray Vaughan, 3-one of Guy's best songs and captures some ferocious guitar playing for 5 minutes and is called Too Broke Too Spend the Night. If you wanted to, you could fit all of these songs into contemporary blues music for either lyrics or music, but only six of the ten tracks fit in a traditional sense. There's 3 slow blues, including the instrumental track called Rememberin' Stevie, the classic Black Night{done by Willie Nelson and Dr. John later}and also Five Long Years another classic covered in Eric Clapton's all blues album From the Cradle. I don't want insult the great musicians on this album, but you could say the only truly remarkable thing about it is Buddy himself. At his top level of playing on this record he is definetely one of the best guitar players in blues. Ups: Alot of powerful vocals. The keyboards are used perfectly, not over or underdone. Let me love you baby is a song that was written by Willie Dixon and one of the last songs Steve Vaughan covered on record and one of Buddy's best recordings. There may be possible downs here for you,though it is all great music. In my opinion the extra guitar players were almost completely unhelpful, and were uneeded at any rate. Of course Mark Knopfler and Eric Clapton didn't take anything away but your ears would have to put mine to shame to be able to distinguish them. Jeff Beck was clear but he didn't do anything Guy couldn't do. Bottom line is that these great guitarists were just for promotion and they probably knew it. As for John Porter and Neil Hubbard who are probably in Guy's live band or studio musicians- One or both played on all tracks including the ones with the other guitarists. They were probably only there for the occasional rythm or tiny sound effect or mimicry and really weren't much help even if they did more. They maybe even taking away from Buddy at times. I can't even understand Guy using them. There were back up vocalists in 3 songs which is an uncommon thing in straight blues. Lastly -highly produced and slightly cluttered with people who may not have belonged. The production may bother some blues fans but did however cause some great sound through the record and didn't take away from the character which Guy and the blues is known for. If you are looking for Guy at a more raw hard blues stage then get Stone Crazy which is a standard- Buddy on lead guitar and his brother Phil doing back-up work-then Bass and drums. It's simple and also one of the classic harcore blues albums.

Track list:

1. Damn Right, I've Got The Blues
2. Where Is The Next One Coming From  
3. Five Long Years  
4. Mustang Sally  
5. There Is Something On Your Mind  
6. Early In The Morning  
7. Too Broke To Spend The Night  
8. Black Night  
9. Let Me Love You Baby  
10. Rememberin' Stevie   


Mississippi John Hurt Avalon Blues: The Complete 1928 OKeh Recordings

 This cd, which represents the complete 1928 recordings of Mississippi John Hurt is truly blues everlasting. It is amazing to realize when listening to this that it was recorded that long ago. The quality of the songs, John Hurt's voice and his guitar playing skill are all superb.

As other's have mentioned John Hurt was born in 1892, and developed notoriety for his skills as a musician. He was recorded in 1928 and then vanished into the farmlands of Mississippi. With the resurgence of folk and blues music in the early 1960's many so-called lost artists were "rediscovered." Mississippi John Hurt was among these musicians. Rediscovered by a young blues enthusiast Tom Hoskins, who took a clue from a line in one of Hurt's songs "Avalon's my home, always on my mind" to track him down. From that time until his death in 1966 Hurt became a fixture on the folk circuit.

It really is not surprising that he was so well received in the 60's when one looks at this cd which represents Mississippi John's early work. It includes many truly classic songs, Frankie, Stack O'Lee, Candy Man, Spike Driver Blues and Nobody's Dirty Business. Lines such as "he was a bad man, cruel Stack o' Lee." "He was her man and he done her wrong" "angels laid him away," "You're so heavy make a good man change his mind" and "take this hammer, carry it to the captain" demonstrate the richness of both the folk tradition and Hurts music. Artists such as Jerry Garcia, Arlo Guthrie, Taj Mahal and Jesse Colin Young have felt compelled to perform his songs.

His voice is pure, sweet and pleasing. While it does not carry the angst of such early performers as Charley Patton and Robert Johnson, it's honesty is copied by others. His guitar playing is amazing and this alone could carry the cd. Artist who have been influenced by his style are Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Bonnie Raitt, Rory Block, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Sonny Landreth.

For those who are interested in folk, blues, the history of modern music or any of the artists mentioned this is a worthwhile cd to have.

Track list:

1. Frankie                                           3:23
2. Nobody's Dirty Business                 2:53
3. Ain't No Tellin'                               2:56
4. Louis Collins                                   2:59  
5. Avalon Blues                                  3:03
6. Big Leg Blues                                 2:52  
7. Stack O'Lee                                   2:57  
8. Candy Man Blues                           2:46  
9. Got The Blues (Can't Be Satisfied)  2:52
10. Blessed Be The Name                   2:48  
11. Praying On The Old Camp Ground     2:37  
12. Blue Harvest Blues                        2:53
13. Spike Driver Blues                        3:15


Leadbelly - King of the 12-String Guitar

"King Of The 12-String Guitar" is not the definitive Huddie Ledbetter-collection, of course...Leadbelly recorded literally hundreds of sides. And it isn't quite the best single-disc compilation of his either (that would be "The Best Of Leadbelly" from Cleopatra, or "Take This Hammer" from the "When The Sun Goes Down"-series).
But this 1991 CD offers a dozen and a half excellent early waxings, most of them alternate takes and other previously unissued sides, which makes "King Of The 12-String Guitar" a very interesting purchase for collectors, especially if their collection is lacking a little something in the "early Leadbelly"-section.

Newcomers should find these gritty 30s recordings to their liking as well, though. Huddie Ledbetter's best-known songs are largely missing, sure, but there is a lot of other great stuff on this 56-minute disc: "Packin' Trunk Blues", "Four Day Worry Blues", "Death Letter" (not the Son House-number), and many more.
Collectors who already have "Leadbelly's Last Sessions", and either Smithsonian/Folkways' "Leadbelly Legacy" series or Catfish's "The Definitive Leadbelly", will want this CD for the numerous rarities, but it can also be enjoyed as simply a good slice of Leadbelly in his prime.

Track list:

1. Packin' Trunk
2. Becky Deem, She Was A Gamblin' Girl
3. Honey, I'm All Out And Down
4. Four Day Worry Blues
5. Roberta, Part 1
6. Roberta, Part 2
7. Death Letter Blues, Part 1
8. Death Letter Blues, Part 2
9. Kansas City Papa
10. Fort Worth And Dallas Blues
11. You Don't Know My Mind
12. Ox Drivin' Blues
13. Daddy I'm Coming Back To You
14. Shorty George
15. Yellow Jacket
16. T.B. Woman Blues
17. Pig Meat Papa
18. My Baby Quit Me


Muddy Waters: Hard Again

In 1976, after spending nearly 30 years in the music business, Muddy Waters broke with his long-time label Chess Records to sign with Blue Sky, a subsidiary of Columbia. Hard Again, his first outing for the company, was produced by Johnny Winter, and it is considered by many to be the finest studio effort of Waters’ distinguished career. It’s an understandable conclusion, of course, given the raw edginess of the performances as well as the blues legend’s own rejuvenated intensity, both of which were undoubtedly due, at least in part, to the fact that the sessions spanned a mere three days. Still, it also is a somewhat strange notion since this premier blues guitarist contributed only his voice to the album.

Backed by an all-star band that featured harp player James Cotton, pianist Pinetop Perkins, drummer Willie "Big Eyes" Smith, guitarists Bob Margolin and Johnny Winter, and bass player Charles Calmese, Waters appeared relaxed from the outset, and the inclusion of some of the exuberant studio chatter gave Hard Again a fascinating sense of intimacy. Whether stomping through a thunderous update of Mannish Boy, tearing into the acoustic groove of I Can’t Be Satisfied, or slipping into the slow-burning strains of Deep Down in Florida, the ensemble was on fire, and as a result, Waters not only regained his momentum but also built upon his remarkable legacy. Recently remastered, Hard Again sparkles with a renewed sense of warmth and clarity, and its lone bonus track (a remake of Walking through the Park) is as stunning as the rest of the material

Track list:
1. Mannish Boy
2. Bus Driver
3. I Want To Be Loved #2
4. Jealous Hearted Man
5. I Can't Be Satisfied
6. The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll
7. Deep Down In Florida
8. Crosseyed Cat
9. Little Girl
10.Walking Through The Park
11.Want To Be Loved (Edit)
12.The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll #2


Junior Wells: Hoodoo Man Blues

Hoodoo Man Blues is not only Junior Well's initial LP appearance, it is damn near the first LP by a Chicago blues band. Chess and a few other labels had issued 45's by Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, Howling Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, etc. but virtually no one had tried to capture the Chicago blues sound free of limitations of juke-box/airplay promotion. Delmark is proud of the part Hoodoo Man Blues played in the popularization of the real Chicago blues and of Junior Wells. But the credit belongs to Junior, Buddy, Jack and Billy - they made the music. We just sat and dug it.
''One of the truly classic blues albums of the 1960s, and one of the first to fully document the smoky ambience of a night at a West Side nightspot in the superior acoustics of a recording studio. Wells just set up with his usual cohorts - guitarist Buddy Guy (billed as 'Friendly Chap' on first vinyl pressings), bassist Jack Myers, and drummer Billy Warren - and proceeded to blow up a storm, bringing an immediacy to Snatch It Back and Hold It, You Don't Love Me, Chitlin con Carne, and the rest of the tracks that is absolutely mesmerizing.


Son House: Original Delta Blues (1998)

This Columbia Legacy reissue of the 1965 release is one of the few recordings available of one of the blues' founding fathers. It contains some of his best songs, which have unsurprisingly become classics of the Delta blues genre: "Death Letter," "Preachin' Blues," "Levee Camp Moan," "Pony Blues," and "Downhearted Blues" are all here. Though not as comprehensive as Father of the Delta Blues: The Complete 1965 Sessions, this is an excellent introduction to this seminal artist's work, revealing the creativity, passion, skillful guitar playing, and rich singing that helped form a whole new kind of music.
The Original Delta Blues combines the nine tracks from Son House's 1965 LP with a couple of cuts from the session ... that were unreleased until its complete issue on Legacy in 1992. House's skills eroded quickly after his rediscovery, and these sides are certainly the best of his revival recordings.


Elmore James - Blues After Hours (1961)

Blues After Hours, originally released on LP by Crown in 1960, was Elmore James' first long-playing record. Made up of singles released on the Modern imprints Meteor and Flair, for many it was their first introduction to the fiery slide guitarist, and the crunchy garage sound of James' arrangements (backed variously by the Broomdusters in Chicago, the Maxwell Davis Orchestra in Los Angeles, and the J&M Studio house band in New Orleans), coupled with his passionate edgy vocals, quickly made him one of the most influential blues artists of his time. Mastered from the original LP tapes and augmented with eight bonus tracks (which include three additional singles relevant to the LP and five tracks from the Chicago sessions), this expanded version of Blues After Hours has great sound, and the rough explosive nature of James' music is front and center and never lets up from the second he steps into the famous slide riff on "Dust My Blues," which opens the set. That roaring riff is repeated many times on this disc, since labels constantly demanded it, and James delivered it under a range of different titles, and amazingly, no one ever seems to get tired of it. But James was more than a one-trick pony, and he didn't just play slide. He was also an impassioned singer, and gifted enough to trade lines (both vocally and on guitar) with horn sections, giving songs like "Dark and Dreary" the illusion of being both raw and smooth at the same time. Truthfully, James never recorded a lame track (even if dozens of them were variations on "Dust My Broom"), always pouring all his energy into the performance, so it really doesn't matter which collection of his you pick up, but this one has the advantage of being a fleshed-out facsimile of his very first album (right down to the cover art), giving it a kind of historical and archival appeal.

Following our success with the mid-price Crown reissues by B.B. King and Howling Wolf, Ace Records presents the classic Elmore James Crown LP with bonus tracks. The original 1960 release, with the foxiest of covers, introduced Elmore James's intense vocals and slide guitar to legions of young blues fans everywhere. He is now venerated as one of the greatest bluesmen of all time. The eight bonus tracks feature three singles relevant to the LP, with the other five cuts coming from the top-class Chicago sessions. Of particular note is the stand-out piano work of the wonderful Little Johnny Jones.

    1.    Dust My Blues
    2.    Sunnyland     
    3.    Mean and Evil   
    4.    Dark and Dreary   
    5.    Standing at the Crossroads
    6.    Happy Home   
    7.    No Love in My Heart   
    8.    Blues Before Sunrise   
    9.    I Was a Fool     
    10.    Goodbye Baby   
    11.    Late Hours at Midnight   
    12.    Quarter Past Nine   
    13.    Strange Kinda Feeling - (Take 1)   
    14.    Make My Dreams Come True - (take)   
    15.    So Mean to Me - (Take 4)   
    16.    Long Tall Woman   
    17.    Wild About You (aka Wild About You Baby)   
    18.    Elmo's Shuffle - (Take 5)


Freddie King - Burglar (1974)

This album is a little bit different then what I had expected and I couldn't be happier. It has turned into one of those CD's you have trouble getting out of my CD player. I've heard lots about Freddie and what a great blues guitar player he was and being a big fan of Texas blues, I was eager to learn more about Freddie King, so I bought this album. What surprised me the most is how great the man can sing. Freddie sings with some serious passion and soul and it really shines on this album. Recorded late in his career this album finds Freddie leaning more torwards rock then blues, much like SRV and some of his post Texas Flood albums (i.e. Couldn't Stand the Weather). If you are looking for a prue blues album this is not it. It is a very good bluesy\funky 70 style rock album with a great band and excellent production that has aged well. Even the cover art is great. The album has some excellent horn section that is very well done.

If you are looking for more traditional blues from Freddie check out Rhino's Hideaway collection. If you are looking for a great album with soulful sing, great guitar, and excellent songs in a Texas Rock\Blues style buy this album. You might be surprised. You will not be disappointed.

01.Let the Good Times Roll 3:33
02.I Got the Same Old Blues 3:22
03.I Had a Dream 5:01
04.My Credit Didn't Go Through 4:08
05.Only Getting Second Best 3:48
06.Pack It Up 4:10
07.Pulp Wood 3:11
08.She's a Burglar 3:49
09.Sugar Sweet 2:51
10.Texas Flyer 3:45


ALBERT KING: Live Wire Blues Power

Recorded live at the Fillmore Auditorium, San Francisco. Originally released on Stax (2003).
By 1968, after years of regional success and low-profile gigging, Albert King had attained significant popularity among both blues and rock audiences. The 1967 release of his Stax debut BORN UNDER A BAD SIGN had achieved crossover success, and he was regularly sharing stages with the likes of Jimi Hendrix at Bill Graham's Fillmore auditorium in San Francisco. That venue is the setting for this live recording, which catches King at the height of his game, both vocally and as an axeman.

King throws a curveball with the opener, a boogaloo-tinged rendition of Herbie Hancock's "Watermelon Man." "Blues Power," in its spoken, call-and-response interludes and King's stinging electric leads, testifies to the redemptive strength of the form. The high-energy overdrive of "Nightstomp," complete with slightly distorted amplification, seems suited to the young revelers one imagines in the audience that evening, and the deeply soulful "Blues at Sunrise" shows off some of King's best fretwork. All told, this is a stellar set from one of blues' most influential and appealing figures.

Track List:

   1. "Watermelon Man" (Herbie Hancock) – 4:04
   2. "Blues Power" (King) – 10:18
   3. "Night Stomp" (Raymond Jackson, King) – 5:49
   4. "Blues At Sunrise" (King) – 8:44
   5. "Please Love Me" (B.B. King, Jules Taub) – 4:01
   6. "Look Out" (King) – 5:20

Clapton Chronicles - The Best of Eric Clapton

If this were your first exposure to Eric Clapton, a bit of bewilderment would be in order. This is the legendary guitar icon? This is (as his early apostles once proclaimed) God? Ranging from the mid-'80s through the late '90s, The Clapton Chronicles owes less to the groundbreaking blues-rock of Clapton's '60s and '70s classics than to the polished-to-a-glare pop of Phil Collins, who produced one of the tracks included in this 14-song anthology. His reinterpretation of his greatest recording--the once-gripping, now-placid "Layla"--perhaps best illustrates Clapton at middle-age: Who wants to bask in his darkest period? Not Clapton, who converts his surging, purging charge into a soothing stroll. And perhaps not fans of such docile MOR fare as "My Father's Eyes," "Tears in Heaven," and the two new tracks, "Blue Eyes Blue" and "Get Lost."

Track List:

   1. "Blue Eyes Blue" (Diane Warren) – 4:42
   2. "Change the World" (Gordon Kennedy, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Tommy Sims) – 3:55
   3. "My Father's Eyes" (Eric Clapton) – 5:24
   4. "Tears in Heaven" (Clapton, Will Jennings) – 4:33
   5. "Layla" [Unplugged] (Clapton, Jim Gordon) – 4:37
   6. "Pretending" (Jerry Lynn Williams) – 4:43
   7. "Bad Love" (Clapton, Mick Jones) – 5:14
   8. "Before You Accuse Me (Take a Look at Yourself)" (Ellas McDaniel) – 3:57
   9. "It's in the Way That You Use It" (Clapton, Robbie Robertson) – 4:11
  10. "Forever Man" (Williams) – 3:11
  11. "Running on Faith" (Williams) – 6:26
  12. "She's Waiting" (Clapton, Peter Robinson) – 4:58
  13. "River of Tears" (Clapton, Simon Climie) – 7:21
  14. "(I) Get Lost" (Clapton ) – 4:21

Bonus Tracks:

   1. "Wonderful Tonight" (Live) (Clapton) - 5:27
   2. "Tearing Us Apart" (With Tina Turner) (Clapton, Greg Phillinganes) - 4:17

Crossroads (1986) DVDRIP

The legend of Mississippi blues master Robert Johnson has served as a fountainhead for generations of blues and rock musicians, as well as a powerful fable for the dark, often violent mysteries of delta blues. Johnson's mythic deal with the Devil, in exchange for his extraordinary musical gifts, has become a fixture in blues lore and an example of the enduring pull of superstitions that can be traced back to Mother Africa and Yoruba deities. Producer-director Walter Hill (The Long Riders, Streets of Fire) sought to put this uniquely American mystery on film, but when he was unable to secure a script devoted directly to Johnson himself, Hill bravely decided to proceed with a more oblique, allegorical story that retold the Satanic bargain through a fictionalized drama set in the present day. In this 1986 feature, the hero is Eugene, a classically trained guitar virtuoso pulled toward the earthier powers of blues. When he stumbles across a lost blues legend, Willie Brown (a real blues figure and Johnson peer known for his partnerships with Charley Patton and Son House, among others), Eugene begins an odyssey back to the delta country and the crossroads of the title, where both Willie and Johnson had traded their souls for blues power, to help the surviving bluesman renegotiate terms.

An opening sequence, shot in sepia-toned black and white, dramatizes Johnson's own supernatural encounter, as well as one of the bluesman's historic Texas recording sessions, and Hill's visuals combine with frequent collaborator Ry Cooder's reliably authentic slide guitar to offer a promising glimpse of cinematic conjury. Even the satanic villain--a grinning huckster named Scratch--honors the trickster figure familiar to African American superstitions, rather than a generic devil. Willie Brown (Joe Seneca) is likewise a convincing link to the blues past, but Hill's central casting choice--Ralph (The Karate Kid) Macchio--sacrifices all for marquee value, a Hobson's choice that casts a shadow of unintended parody across the film. Macchio's earlier character, not Scratch, haunts this film, and even a nifty duel between Eugene, his slashing fretwork supplied off-camera by Cooder, and Scratch's ax-wielding henchman, heavy metal virtuoso, and one-time Frank Zappa prot?g? Steve Vai, can't safely rescue the film. --Sam Sutherland

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
Part 8

The Search For Robert Johnson DVDRIP (1992)

#  Actors: Keith Richards, Eric Clapton, John Hammond, Gayle Dean Wardlow, Robert Burton McCormick
# Directors: Chris Hunt
# Producers: Chris Hunt, Caz Gorham
# Format: Black & White, Color, DVD, NTSC
# Language: English (Stereo)

This DVD offers a wealth of information about the life of Robert Johnson. We meet a girlfriend of Robert Johnson, who claims she knows where his actual burial ground is, and another girlfriend who had a song written about her by Robert (and who hears it for the first time on the DVD). A man is interviewed who claims to be Robert Johnson's son, along with a birth certificate showing that in fact this may be the case. Johnny Shines talks about how they would play the game of "cutting heads" in Helena, with Robert stealing away the audience every time. We get the insight that the person who poisoned Robert Johnson's drink admitted as such to one interviewer, after first presenting an alibi for a question which was never asked. We are also presented with three possible grave sites of Robert Johnson, though none of them can proven to be incontrovertible as such. In short, there is a lot of good information on this DVD about the enigmatic bluesman known as Robert Johnson (and pseudonyms in various other places). This DVD is clearly a window into the past which will slowly disappear as the years go on......Hammond does us all a great service by documenting Robert Johnson's life and that of his contemporaries.

The one complaint I would have is that at times Hammond (an excellent blues singer in his own right) himself is singing RJ's songs, and at the bottom of the screen it will have the name of Robert Johnson along with the songs title. This may leave those with little knowledge of the blues to conclude it is actually Robert Johnson who is singing, when in fact it is not. Also, there are montages throughout the film when they will be talking about Robert Johnson while at the same time showing pictures of blacks in bars and juke joints, without saying that in fact Robert Johnson is not in the photograph, as there are only two known photographs of him, and each one of these show him alone in the picture. To the novice blues fan, they may not know this and think they are actually seeing Robert Johnson, and I think this fact should have been made clear in the film.

Even with the above provisos, this was an excellent documentary on Robert Johnson's life....Hammond clearly has a deep love for the blues and the early musicians of the delta.


MATT ''GUITAR'' MURPHY: Way Down South

The dazzling guitarist has recorded very sparingly as a leader over the course of his long career, preferring the relative anonymity of sideman duties behind Memphis Slim, James Cotton, and the Blues Brothers. But he acquits himself most competently here, mixing blues, funk, R&B, and a little jazz into his sparkling fretwork. His brother Floyd Murphy, a Memphis blues guitar legend himself, is on hand for a family reunion.
By Bill Dahl, All Music Guide.
Murphy’s feature debut is packed with the same lucid excitement the guitarist has accorded Memphis Slim, James Cotton, the Blues Brothers, and many more. His clean tone and surety of inflection are on display, and his guitar-toting brother Floyd-a former Sun Records sessionsman-is on hand to give the shuffles and down-home originals even more appeal. Matt’s singing, though, tries one’s patience and sometimes the two guitarists heat up predictably-or, worse yet, stumble.
By Frank John Hadley.
First of all as a true Blues Brothers fan this album was a must for me. And after a several days of patient wait the legendary guitar master has come with the telecaster and till that day I’m enjoying the smoothest and most clean guitar sound with really great vocals. And also this album introduces us another great guitar talent Floyd Murphy,Matt’s brother. As a last word I can say that this album is a must for every real blues brothers fan and anyone who enjoys the smooth telecaster sound. Let’s BOOGIE
Matt “Guitar” Murphy- (Guitar, Vocals),
Mel Brown- (Piano),
Tony Coleman- (Drums),
Russell Jackson- (Bass),
Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff- (Saxophone),
Derek O’Brien (Rhythm Guitar),
Angela Strehli- (Background Vocals),
Floyd Murphy- (Guitar, Drums),
Chester King- (Harmonica),
Eugene Carrier- (Organ, Piano),
Donna Pearl- (Background Vocals).
01. Way Down South 4:33
02. Big Six 4:48
03. Gonna Be Some Changes Made 3:18
04. Big City Takedown 4:43
05. Buck’s Boogie 4:28
06. Thump Tyme 3:39
07. Matt’s Guitar Boogie #2 3:10
08. Low Down and Dirty 5:19
09. Gimme Somma Dat 6:43
10. Blue Walls 6:11