Singing the Blues

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Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:12 am

Another of the many iconic genres of music, the Blues is synonymous with the down-trodden sections of society, and a certain guitar craft typified by Robert Johnson and many great exponents in his footsteps. Here's a few choices:

Robert Johnson - Crossroad

BB King - The Thrill is Gone (live)

Muddy Waters - The Howling Wolf (live)

Gary Moore - Still Got the Blues for You (live)

Joe Bonamassa - Sloe Gin (live)

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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:13 am

ZZ Top: Live From Texas
From November 1st, 2007, an entertaining Hour & half show featuring a mix of the familiar & less familiar from the beardy bluesy relics who can still cut the mustard, and possibly 1 or 2 other things. Very enjoyable.

BB King: Live in Concert at the Royal Albert Hall
His last British concert ever, an hour & a third of music with assistance from Susan Tedeschi & partner, and special guests Mick Hucknall, Ronnie Wood and Slash (of varying uses). King's between-song banter was jolly, and his heart was still in his music, making this an entertaining show, enlivened by the odd surprise, such as 'You Are My Sunshine'.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:15 am

Perspectives: Hugh Laurie - Copper Bottom Blues
To promote his 2nd album, Laurie and the Copper Bottom Band make a small US tour to celebrate a forgotten hero, Professor Longhair, in an emotional gig on the Queen Mary. Along the way, they visit New Orleans, Chicago, Milwaukee and wind up in Long Beach, and Laurie visits Ray Charles' studio, and has his own playing compared favourably to the man himself. A likeable portrait of a likeable guy.

Joe Bonamassa: Live From The Royal Albert Hall
Over 2 hours from a gig on May 4, 2009. He brought on Eric Clapton and Paul Jones as special guests for a song each, it seemed, but churned out the guitar work the rest of the time. He even covered 'Stop' which I only know from Sam Brown's 1989 version, which was way cool. In view of his overwhelming talent, I decided to let live that the guy's apparently only about 10 weeks older than me affraid
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:18 am

Seasick Steve: Glastonbury 2013
An hour from the West Holts Stage, with modest help from John Paul Jones. He even gets someone out of the audience so he can sing to them at one point. Good stuff.

Bobby Bland: Two Steps From The Blues
The name didn't ring any bells when he died recently, but I watched this repeat from 2009, and very impressive it was. Besides Bobby, there were contributions from BB King, Quincy Jones, Van Morrison and Mick Hucknall (who did a whole tribute album to the guy in 2008 - Bobby was impressed by that). Apparently, British ladies gave him the nickname "the Love Throat". 'Nuff Said.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:20 am

Cropredy 2011: Seasick Steve
Phenomenon of the last decade, has almost as many guitars as he has songs (or so it seems). John Paul Jones helped out most of it, which is a colossal Thumbs Up in its way. Again, he picked a chick out of the crowd to sing to at one stage, and brought on other musicians including his son. He had plenty of between-song banter, and even got the crowd to join in towards the end. He rounded off with 'Dog House Boogie', and a good show it was.

Joe Bonamassa: Live From New York
The Beacon Theatre, in fact, from Nov 5, 2011. Joe was joined at times by Beth Hart, John Hiatt and Paul Rodgers. It was a pleasant couple of hours, and I didn't recognise a single song they did.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:21 am

Miles Electric: Different Kind of Blue
How Miles Davis came to perform a 38- minute jam at the Isle of Wight Festival in 1970, and why he was happy to believe in electronic instrumentation. Included the actual gig, too. Pleasant enough, I guess.

The Man Who Brought The Blues To Britain
Rather ponderous hour about Big Bill Broonzy, who made a famous appearance on British telly that managed to inspire Ray Davies, Keith Richards and Martin Carthy, amongst others. Big Bill's own story seems more shrouded in mystery, and he seemed less sympathetic than might be hoped for - a philanderer, romanticiser, a ladies man. But a solid blues guitarist and songwriter.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:24 am

Legends: Roll Over Beethoven - The Chess Records Saga
A great many blues names (and Chuck D) pay due respect, from 2010. Leonard Chess seemed to be the lynchpin mover & shaker who brought fame and fortune to a bunch of big names like Chuck Berry and Etta James. When he had a heart attack, the label was setback, and when he died, his shoes were too big to fill. His son Marshall did at least get to manage the Rolling Stones, though.

BB King - The Life of Riley
Major bio-doc about the blues guitar legend, who rose from the dirt to achieve greatness. A great many of the great and the good were willing to sing his praises, from Clapton, Santan, Raitt, Dr John, Buddy Guy, Peter Green and various Stones, to Joe Bonamassa, Leon Russell, Bruce Willis and Joe Walsh. His personal life was slightly dizzier than his professional life, but he continues to tour like mad.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:28 am

An Acoustic Evening at the Vienna Opera House
Predominantly another Joe Bonamassa gig, with 4 other guys helping out, as part of Jazz Fest 2012, apparently, on Jul 3. Joe led them through a wide range of material, and to great audience delight, for nearly 2 hours.

Rick Stein Tastes The Blues
Cornish fish chef celebrates his favourite music on a trip to the Mississippi Delta. He met assorted folks to explain the power of the blues, and the importance of soul food. Besides meeting Terry 'Harmonica' Bean and Cadillac John, he was able to get BB King in on the act briefly, too. I was glad the food/music motif wasn't too overplayed, and it was a better narrative than I expected.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:36 am

The South Bank Show Originals: John Lee Hooker
From 1993, shortly after the use of "Boom Boom" in a commercial put the tin hat on a revival of his career. His status as the "Godfather of the Blues" sounded a bit hyperbolic, but BB King made a sincere contributor, and JLH himself was the real deal.

Joe Bonamassa - Tour de Force : Live in London
From the Royal Albert Hall, Mar 30, 2013, over 2 hours of guitar heroics, old hits & new, tributes to others, and at least the closing credits listed what the songs were (I didn't quite keep up). He remains an excellent talent.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:41 am

The Land Where The Blues Began
Somewhat stark effort from 1979 with assorted chats to a plethora of black people struggling with life. That they were the true blues seemed undeniable, and names like Bud Spires, Wilbert Puckett, Belton Sutherland and JT Tucker seemed archetypal to me.

Lenny Henry's Got The Blues
The comedian explores the British blues boom, and why there seemed to be no black British blues singers. Naturally, he found a few he'd never met before, including comedian Ram John Holder. He also spoke to Van Morrison, Tom Jones, Wilko Johnson and Georgie Fame. The final show saw him give a concert of blues, with guest help from Mica Paris, Laura Mvula and Lulu. A worthwhile series.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sat Apr 02, 2016 8:45 am

Mojo Working: BB King
The blues legend rated well to be included in this series, with footage coming from "BB King in Africa", helpfully. He may have played the Blues like a King, but he did it with quite a smile.

Chicago Blues: Muddy Waters at ChicagoFest
Some concert in 1983, with Muddy chiefly delighting the crowd, with some guest guitar help from Johnny Winter. I was happier with songs I knew, of which Muddy did about 3.

Joe Bonamassa - Muddy Wolf at Red Rocks
Because nothing says the Blues like Colorado. A sold out 9k crowd got to enjoy a typically robust performance, where he saved his own material for the encore. I do wish they'd title songs as they come up, rather than smugly listing them in the credits at the end. Few things match the annoyance of liking a song and wondering what the hell it is. No faulting the quality of the playing and the singing, though.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Tue Apr 05, 2016 1:48 pm

Blues Brothers 2000
I found the first film affable enough, and this was more of the same. The quality of the guest cast is what elevates it, from BB King and James Brown, through Steve Cropper and Wilson Pickett, and Aretha Franklin and Erykah Badu, not to mention Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood, and even Isaac Hayes and Sam Moore.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Wed Apr 13, 2016 8:02 am

BB King - Live In Africa
Part of a series of gigs put on in Zaire connected with the Ali-Foreman fights. This was a standard King gig, including The Thrill is Gone and other chances to showcase his guitar genius and distinctive singing.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Mon Apr 18, 2016 7:27 am

Janis - Little Girl Blue
A lengthy look through the Janis Joplin story, from modest and unassuming beginnings, to success with Big Brother and the Holding Co, and then protracted problems on her own. Like many a starlet seen as greater than the band they're in, she proved less successful without the band around her. She really suffered from the blues, though, and her death was one of those moments that might just as easily have gone the other way, it seems.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Thu May 19, 2016 8:39 am

"Falsifyin'"
An amusing short from Clarksdale about boogie-woogie piano; intro'd by Morgan Freeman, and featuring the likes of Jerry Lee Lewis, 'Little Red Clay' Swafford, Marcia Ball, Henry Gray and Pinetop Perkins. Blues was the father of boogie-woogie, and that was the father of rock & roll.

BBC Four Sessions: Bonnie Raitt
From the glamour (!) of Stoke Newington Town Hall, a jolly hour-long run-through, happily with each song titled on screen for the casual viewer. Raitt is clearly a great, perhaps under-rated talent. Perhaps inevitably, I was more drawn to her version of 'Right Down The Line', but she is as solid an interpreter as performer of her own material.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Thu May 19, 2016 9:01 am

Decades Rock Live - Honours Bonnie Raitt
An hour of concert and some BTS chat, from 2005. Also included duets with special guests Alison Krauss, Keb Mo, Ben Harper and Norah Jones. Another entertaining hour from a legend.

Mojo Working: Janis Joplin
Perhaps a more tenuous choice for this series than some of the others, but those speaking up, such as Melanie Williams, Toni Holliday (of Curve) and Jon Moss (of Culture Club) were all sincere in their praise anyway.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Mon May 23, 2016 7:29 am

Blues America
Not sure how I've missed this 2013 2-part series before. The standard starts high with Keith Richards looking sharp and genial, and others like Chuck D and Pete Seeger made a change from the academics and archive of Howlin' Wolf or Muddy Waters. The first half covered the early forms of blues, before it started to make money in later years with Chess Records and so on. The occasion where Barack Obama commemorated great blues legends and did some singing made a fitting end to the story.

Blues at the BBC
A collection from 2009 with big names like John Lee Hooker and BB King mixed in with less obvious contenders like Delaney and Bonnie, and Stone The Crows. A welcome showcase, though.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Sun Jul 03, 2016 7:55 am

Live With... Sonny Landreth
Don't know him, but he's a loud blues guitarist, so why not?

Live With... Big Boy Bloater
Backed by the Limits, he ran through half a dozen numbers from Robot Girlfriend, to I Love You (But I Can't Stand Your Friends). Entertaining bluesy stuff.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:21 am

All You Need Is Love: Who's That Comin' (Blues)
Episode 5 of this series somewhat debunks the usual myths. So the Delta Blues refers to an area near Memphis, rather than New Orleans. It followed Jazz and Ragtime at the end of the 19th century, rather than preceding them. The term Blues derived from melancholia in the 16th century, though. It was the first American music to not be cribbed from the European sound. It was spread across America and the rest of the world via the railroads and records. Through stage performances, it turned idioms into art. There was discussion of Bessie Smith and Billie Holiday, and contributions from Ray Charles, George Melly and Muddy Waters, as well as archive of Leadbelly. Another impression entry in this series.
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Re: Singing the Blues

Post  misery guts on Wed Feb 08, 2017 9:01 am

Discovering: Janis Joplin
Born in Texas, became an outsider as a teenager. Moved to San Francisco, then back to Texas. Flirted with normality, then joined Big Brother and the Holding Company. Improved her profile and theirs, then left and formed other bands. Struggled with drugs, succeeded at Monterrey but flopped at Woodstock. She died aged 27.
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