Blues Time Machine http://www.kplu.org en The long flight of Muddy's 'Honey Bee' http://www.kplu.org/post/long-flight-muddys-honey-bee <p></p><p><strong>Muddy Waters</strong> was born in rural Mississippi, and learned his blues at the feet of Son House and Robert Johnson.</p><p>By the 1940’s he took that delta blues to Chicago and led the gradual transition to electrified urban blues. He then recorded “Honey Bee” in 1951 with just bass and guitar accompaniment. The sound was closer to the delta, but you can hear the beginnings of the more aggressive modern sound starting to happen.</p><p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 3541 at http://www.kplu.org The long flight of Muddy's 'Honey Bee' Hendrix inspired by Earl King's 'Come On' http://www.kplu.org/post/hendrix-inspired-earl-kings-come <p></p><p><strong>Earl King</strong> is one of the great songwriters and performers to come out of New Orleans, and his legacy continues to live on. Many of his compositions, including “Big Chief," “Trick Bag” and “These Lonely, Lonely Nights” have become an important part of the New Orleans “songbook."</p><p>His 1960 recording of “Come On Pts. 1 &amp; 2” is punctuated with many starts and stops, featuring his expressive voice and aggressive and precise guitar work. If you look through <strong>Jimi Hendrix</strong>’s early releases, there are only a handful of songs among the dozens that he did not write. Earl King’s “Come On” is one of those.</p><p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 3382 at http://www.kplu.org Hendrix inspired by Earl King's 'Come On' 'Black Rat' comes from the most powerful singer to walk the Earth http://www.kplu.org/post/black-rat-comes-most-powerful-singer-walk-earth <p></p><p>The urban blues of places like Detroit and Chicago came from country blues. <strong>Little Son Joe</strong> and his better known partner <strong>Memphis Minnie</strong> were among the players who brought the blues to the cities, paving the way for Muddy Waters and others who would follow.</p><p>Memphis Minnie is known as one of the best guitarists and singers in the blues, and had a prolific career lasting 40 years. She married Little Son Joe (Ernest Lawlars) in the late 1930’s and they recorded “Black Rat Swing” in 1941 with Joe on vocals.</p><p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 3303 at http://www.kplu.org 'Black Rat' comes from the most powerful singer to walk the Earth 'Cold Shot,' Stevie Ray Vaughan's real Texas Shuffle http://www.kplu.org/post/cold-shot-stevie-ray-vaughans-real-texas-shuffle <p><strong>Stevie Ray Vaughan</strong> almost single-handedly brought blues to the mainstream in the 1980’s and 90’s with over a dozen Billboard singles and four Grammy awards. He’ll always be considered one of the most original guitar players of all time.</p><p>Though musically untrained, he was an astute student of the blues, and much of what he popularized is built on the work of his fellow Texas bluesmen.</p><p> Sat, 14 Dec 2013 15:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2813 at http://www.kplu.org 'Cold Shot,' Stevie Ray Vaughan's real Texas Shuffle Everybody's got the 'Fever,' but Peggy Lee's got it bad http://www.kplu.org/post/everybodys-got-fever-peggy-lees-got-it-bad <p></p><p>Chances are you’ve heard Peggy Lee’s iconic version of “Fever”– it’s one of the steamiest love songs ever written. But the original recording was released two years earlier by Little Willie John in 1956.</p><p> Fri, 06 Dec 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2659 at http://www.kplu.org Everybody's got the 'Fever,' but Peggy Lee's got it bad 'Kokomo Blues' Among the Roots of 'Sweet Home Chicago' http://www.kplu.org/post/kokomo-blues-among-roots-sweet-home-chicago <p></p><p>“Sweet Home Chicago” is one of the best known blues songs ever written. But historians seem to agree that when Robert Johnson recorded the song in 1936, he borrowed heavily to make his masterpiece.</p><p>“Kokomo Blues” is clearly one of the building blocks of that better known blues song. Scrapper Blackwell came out with it in 1928.</p><p> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2595 at http://www.kplu.org 'Kokomo Blues' Among the Roots of 'Sweet Home Chicago' Following "Blues With a Feeling" through cutting-edge changes http://www.kplu.org/post/following-blues-feeling-through-cutting-edge-changes <p></p><p>Here’s a perfect example of a song that changed with the times, and was at the cutting edge of those changes.</p><p>Drummer and singer <strong>Rabon Tarrant</strong> recorded “Blues With a Feeling” in 1947, a time when big band swing music was in transition to rock and roll. This version straddles both genres with the beat of rock and roll, but the more jazzy instrumentation of piano, sax and trumpet.</p><p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2539 at http://www.kplu.org Following "Blues With a Feeling" through cutting-edge changes Robert Johnson at the Crossroads represents Delta blues the best http://www.kplu.org/post/robert-johnson-crossroads-represents-delta-blues-best <p></p><p>If I had to pick one person to represent Delta blues at the peak of its expression, it would be <strong>Robert Johnson</strong>.</p><p>Saying that he was a superlative guitar player, impassioned singer and masterful lyricist seems barely adequate to convey the importance of the work he accomplished in his 27 years. Many of his songs became not only blues standards but would be a huge influence on rock music.</p><p> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2456 at http://www.kplu.org Robert Johnson at the Crossroads represents Delta blues the best 'Eyesight To The Blind' and the Rock Opera 'Tommy' http://www.kplu.org/post/eyesight-blind-and-rock-opera-tommy <p><strong>Sonny Boy Williamson</strong> was a blues originator who helped shape the sound of modern blues. In his life, he knew the first generation of Delta bluesmen, and would go on to see the birth of modern rock music. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s, and with Eric Clapton in the 1960’s. His ability to span eras is a testament to the timelessness of his voice and harmonica.</p> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 6719 at http://www.kplu.org 'Eyesight To The Blind' and the Rock Opera 'Tommy' 'Traveling Riverside Blues' and the Roots of Led Zeppelin http://www.kplu.org/post/traveling-riverside-blues-and-roots-led-zeppelin <p><strong>Robert Johnson</strong> has become a mythical figure of the blues, who acquired his prodigious skills in a deal with the devil at the crossroads. The truth is he was a man who worked very hard to turn himself into a musician. His early attempts at music – sitting in with legends Charley Patton and Son House—were not successful, and he didn’t appear to have much in the way of musical talent.</p><p>But then Johnson found a teacher in Ike Zinneman, an unrecorded Mississippi blues player, spending a year developing his musicianship.</p><p> Fri, 01 Nov 2013 18:30:00 +0000 John Kessler 6636 at http://www.kplu.org 'Traveling Riverside Blues' and the Roots of Led Zeppelin The Piedmont Blues of "Crow Jane" http://www.kplu.org/post/piedmont-blues-crow-jane <p>It’s hard to trace the exact source of “Crow Jane”, but it’s a song that has outlasted many others from the early days of the blues. Its roots lay in the Piedmont region of Virginia and North and South Carolina. Rev. Gary Davis was known to perform it during the 1920’s, and the first recording was made in 1927 by guitarist <strong>Julius Daniels</strong>. Daniels is important partly because he was one of the first Black guitarists to record in the Southeast, inspiring others to follow.</p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 18:30:00 +0000 John Kessler 6547 at http://www.kplu.org The Piedmont Blues of "Crow Jane" 'Sitting on Top of the World' with the Mississippi Sheiks http://www.kplu.org/post/sitting-top-world-mississippi-sheiks <p>The Mississippi Sheiks were a popular string band of the 1920’s and 30’s, with a sound that was a crossover between country music and blues. Though Mississippi-based, their music differed from delta blues in some important ways.</p><p> Fri, 18 Oct 2013 18:30:00 +0000 John Kessler 6433 at http://www.kplu.org 'Sitting on Top of the World' with the Mississippi Sheiks 'Nobody Knows You', Classic in Any Genre http://www.kplu.org/post/nobody-knows-you-classic-any-genre <p>This iconic hard-luck song was a hit when <strong>Bessie Smith</strong> recorded it in 1929, and with its timeless message and memorable melody, &ldquo;Nobody Knows You When You&rsquo;re Down And Out&rdquo; has been a favorite for singers in almost every genre including jazz, blues, folk and rock. Bessie Smith was the most popular female jazz and blues singer of the 1920&rsquo;s, and the highest paid black entertainer of the day. Fri, 11 Oct 2013 18:30:00 +0000 John Kessler 6353 at http://www.kplu.org 'Nobody Knows You', Classic in Any Genre 'Mercury Blues' Still Running after 60 Years http://www.kplu.org/post/mercury-blues-still-running-after-60-years <p></p><p>Cars make great musical metaphors, and they&rsquo;ve inspired some famous blues songs like &ldquo;Cadillac Boogie&rdquo;, &ldquo;Maybelline&rdquo; and &ldquo;Mustang Sally&rdquo;. <strong>K.C. Douglas</strong> came out with &ldquo;Mercury Boogie&rdquo; in 1949, a song that would go on to be a widely covered blues standard, known as &ldquo;Mercury Blues&rdquo;. Ford purchased the rights to the song for advertising (&ldquo;Crazy &lsquo;Bout a Ford Truck&rdquo;), and it was a #2 hit for country singer Alan Jackson in 1993.</p> Fri, 27 Sep 2013 18:55:00 +0000 John Kessler 5974 at http://www.kplu.org 'Mercury Blues' Still Running after 60 Years Patton's 'Pony Blues' Still Kicking http://www.kplu.org/post/pattons-pony-blues-still-kicking <p></p><p>Charley Patton was one of the first to play what we might recognize as Delta blues, putting blues into a strong and syncopated rhythm. A powerful singer with an aggressive guitar style, he was also a masterful entertainer, and one of the best-known traveling performers of his time.</p><p> Fri, 20 Sep 2013 19:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 5912 at http://www.kplu.org Patton's 'Pony Blues' Still Kicking