April 11, 2014
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – An Every Year Story of Controversy

In the 28 years since its inception the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame awards ceremony has delivered in equal measure, both high-octane emotion and the kind of controversy to be expected from a bunch of bona fide rock and roll artistes.

This year there was no break from tradition with the current line-up of KISS refusing to play; affronted they said that only the original members, rather than all the members were inducted. They also bluntly refused to wear “traditional” make-up. Tipping the scales towards the misty-eyed however nothing could surpass the moment Courtney Love hugged Dave Grohl on stage as Nivarna were inducted, ending a two decade long feud right there and then. Such is the power of rock and roll music to generate love and hate, and then love again.

The Home of Rock ‘N’ Roll

The Rock Hall was the idea of Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun. The philanthropist and music devotee started the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Foundation in 1983. Bringing together a group of senior music industry pros they set about looking for a permanent location.

Music was a big money business and the contest to be home of rock and roll was hard fought. Cleveland, Ohio staked its claim through its connections with local radio DJ Alan Freed who first used the term ‘rock and roll’ on air and also because it was home to WMMS the radio station that broke big acts in the USA including Bowie, Springsteen, the New York Dolls, Lou Reed and Roxy Music. The city’s $65 million pledge of public money may have clinched the deal.

While the residence of rock and roll was being built, Ertegun, the co-founder of Rolling Stone magazine Jann Wenner and other biz wizzes inducted the first group of music nobility. The 1986 roll call was beyond impressive with James Brown, Ray Charles, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Elvis and Alan Freed himself among those baptised to the Rock Hall.

Induction

Nowadays inductions are in four categories. There’s the performer and the non-performer categories, the latter now called the Ahmet Ertegun Award in tribute to the pioneer who died in 2010. The other two are Early Influence and the Musical Excellence award, both introduced in 2010.

To be inducted as an artist you have to have had longevity and released a record at least 25 years prior to induction, making sure that no fly-by-night talent slips through the net by selling a silly amount of records or being really famous for just 15 minutes.

Having passed the first test the criteria for nomination is, on face value, a simple one and stated on the Foundation’s online manifesto as, “to recognise the contributions of those who have had a significant impact on the evolution, development and perpetuation of rock and roll”. Other factors considered are influences on other artists and musical excellence in general. All in all the nominees and final inductees are undeniably the real deal.

Most inductees are awestruck and proud to be given the honour and even those who do the inducting at the ceremony, often themselves illustrious artists who are yet to meet the criteria or past inductees, say they feel flattered. But reducing rock and roll to a set of rules was always bound to get the passionate world of melody-makers debating and complaining. Some groan about being inducted much later than they feel they should have been, others about being overlooked. Conversely there are also the few who feel offended at being added at all.

Snubs, Subs and Rock ‘N’ Roll

In 2006 there was the most famous snub when the Sex Pistols sent the Rock Hall a grammatically-challenged handwritten note explaining, “Were not coming. Were not your monkeys” and other appropriately rude things that the paters of punk should say.

Those with artistic temperaments can take time to forgive and forget and there have also been no-shows, mostly down to internal strife within a band. Paul McCartney felt that long running business differences (since resolved) with the remaining Beatles would make him feel like a “complete hypocrite waving and smiling with them at a fake reunion.” Guns’n’Roses’ Axl Rose put his non-attendance down to a feud with some of the original band members and said in a statement “no one is authorised nor [… ] permitted to accept any induction for me or speak on my behalf.” When Blondie were inducted in 2006 one ex band member´s acceptance speech was a plea to join the band in their award performance; Debbie Harry declined, making it all a bit awkward.

For a while the hip hop no-call was a contentious issue, but one that caused even more strife when remedied. In 2007 Grandmaster Flash And The Furious Five were announced as the first rap group to finally make it onto the music magna carta, however it was felt to be at the expense of The Dave Clark Five who allegedly received six more votes from among the panellists. The story goes that Wenner used a technicality to get Grandmaster inducted because he felt they couldn’t go another year without a rap act. Although DC5 were nominated again in 2008, and this time inducted, the whole affair was tinged with sadness when band member Mike Smith died ten days before the ceremony.

Aretha Franklin was the first woman to make it on to the register – just a year after the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame began. Since then there has been a noticeable gender unbalance with women only accounting for eight per cent of the inductees. No Siouxsie and the Banshees, Kate Bush or Suzi Quatro? What are they thinking? Tina Turner is in, albeit coupled with dodgy ex Ike, as are The Supremes, Etta James and Madonna. Maybe it’s something of a transatlantic divide?

Then there’s the annual discussion among music anoraks and press, typically starting when nominations are announced in October, around those not included. Recent questions from perplexed pundits include - what about The Smiths? Or - what do you mean no Def Leppard? Where’s Barry White? The Cure? While to the arguably less qualified ear there may seem to be some obvious omissions, to the Rock Hall’s credit there have also been some surprising and brilliant choices such as La Vern Baker and R&B recording engineer Cosimo Matassa.

The difficult decisions come down to the nominating board of rock and roll historians and then a voting board of over 500 rock experts around the world, although the public also get the chance to vote for their top five in the performer’s category. Pleasing every music maker, shaker and lover over a span of 28 years of rock and roll music is an impossible task and if someone must choose these things then leaders of the industry seem like the best assemblage.

Dreaming Big

Despite the grumblings the induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is undoubtedly a coveted notch on the career post of most successful performers. This year’s roll of honour included Peter Gabriel, already in as a member of Genesis, who was inducted by Coldplay’s Chris Martin. In a genuinely thankful speech Gabriel added advice to young musicians. “To those at the start of their journey, dream big and let your imagination guide you.”

Also receiving the accolade were Hall and Oates, Yusuf Islam aka Cat Stevens, Bruce Springsteen’s – E Street Band, aptly inducted by the Boss himself, and the late manager of the Beatle’s Brian Epstein. Those inducted but not performing this year included Linda Ronstadt who was not able to make the ceremony due to ill health and the aforementioned affronted KISS. Andrew Loog Oldham, the first manager of the Rolling Stones refused to attend, citing the latter-day TV led commercialism of the awards as his reason to boycott.

Finally there was Nirvana who were inducted by Michael Stipe of REM. Dave Grohl and Krist Novoselic as well as Courtney Love and members of Kurt Cobain’s family accepted the award. After “The Hug” Love turned to the audience and said, “I just wish that Kurt was here to see this.” The band then performed, with Joan Jett, Kim Gordon, St. Vincent and Lorde taking turns in vocals. Rather poignantly this year’s ceremony took place just after the 20th anniversary of Cobain’s death who once famously sang “I’d rather be dead than cool.” Hopefully the late great frontman would have seen his band’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as more of a symbol of gratitude for the music than a judgement of credibility.

March 31, 2014
Rediscovered Gem – Frampton’s Camel (1973)

OK…hands up…admit it…you first got into Peter Frampton in 1976 with the release of the brilliant Frampton Comes Alive. Three years earlier Peter had released Frampton’s Camel on A & M Records – it’s our Rediscovered Classic.

When Peter Frampton was labelled the Face of ’68 by Rave magazine he was with The Herd, a pop oriented band who nevertheless produced some classy singles. In April 1969 Frampton left the Herd to form the ‘supergroup’, Humble Pie with Marriott on guitar and vocals, Jerry Shirley on drums and Greg Ridley on bass. After four albums Frampton quit Humble Pie in October 1971 to go it alone, releasing the appropriately titled Winds of Change the following year.

He then formed Frampton’s Camel to tour the US in support of his debut – their first public appearance was at The Academy of Music, New York in September 1972 supporting The J Geils Band. In December 1972 the band went into Electric Lady Studios in New York to begin recording the album that became Frampton’s Camel.

Frampton’s band was a moveable feast throughout the early 1970s but at this time it was future Blockhead and former Animal, Mick Gallagher on keyboards, and especially the Hammond B-3, bass player Rick Wills formerly with Cochise and later with stadium rockers Foreigner and American drummer John Siomos whose credits by this time had included the brilliant, ‘Hello It’s Me’ with Todd Rundgren. For this album Frank Carillo, very much a jobbing American musician who had also played on Winds of Change was drafted in to play acoustic guitar, some bass and backing vocals

Frampton’s Camel is classic early 1970s rock, but with a difference, it includes some outstanding melodic songs – always a trademark of Peter’s career. The album opens with the funky ‘I Got My Eyes On You’ written by Frampton and while it is very definitely ‘of its time’ it is completely indicative of what made both this album and Frampton so appealing. ‘All Night Long’ is one of the two co-written songs on the album; this one with Gallagher that also features some gorgeous guitar work. It was also one of the two tracks released as a single, but it failed to dent the charts on either side of the Atlantic.

Track 3 is the familiar, if you came to Peter via Frampton Comes Alive, ‘Lines on My Face’ that was on side 4 of the live album. This is a trademark Frampton ballad with a tingling guitar solo and an emotional vocal. It’s followed by ‘Which Way The Wind Blows’ that harks back to the gentler side of Humble Pie and their country rock influences with the addition of another sumptuous melodic guitar solo. It was also released as a single at the time but also did nothing on the charts.

Frampton has always had an ear for great songs to cover and on this album it’s Stevie Wonder’s ‘I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)’ that had been released on Talking Book a couple of months before Frampton’s Camel entered the studio. It closes side one of the original LP and works a treat in that it takes the original and imbues it with something fresh, no mean feat when covering Stevie Wonder.

Side 2 of the LP opens with ‘White Sugar’, a definite nod to the Stones and their classic ‘Brown Sugar’ in title and in something of the feel of the track that has a great piano solo from Gallagher. ‘Don’t Fade Away’ is a return to the melodic rock ballad style that Frampton is so good at. Similarly ‘Just the Time Of Year’ it emphasises what a very good songwriter Frampton had already become.

The album closes with ‘Do You Feel Like we Do’ written by the entire band and a track that would go on to become one of the standout cuts on Frampton Comes Alive where it also closed side 4 of the double LP. What’s not to love about this track? It is easy to hear why it translated into such an excellent stadium rocker. A great riff that allows it to build, and build, and that Gibson rings out loud and clear.

Ultimately with no hit singles Frampton’s Camel struggled to sell in large numbers, after its release in June1973, although it did eventually make No. 110 on the Billboard chart where it hung around for half the year. In retrospect it obviously deserved way better and with the benefit of hindsight it’s the solid, grounded stepping-off point for Frampton’s subsequent success. His song writing and guitar playing had matured so much by this point giving him the confidence perhaps to step into the spotlight alone and assume superstar status.

Give it a listen, you will not be short-changed.

March 31, 2014
When Country Music Met Rock ‘n’ Roll

“Jimmie Rodgers connected with you, he came from the same place as the black folks that were singing the Blues.” – Sam Phillips

Back in the 1920s when the blues was taking hold in the South white people listened to it too. It was a “natural fact”, according to Sam Phillips that white people should start playing a derivation of the blues and the man acknowledged as the father of country music is a Mississippian, Jimmie Rodgers. His first hit record in 1927, ‘T for Texas (Blue Yodel No.1)’ is a long way from rock ‘n’ roll but it had a profound effect on many other aspiring white artists.

Cliff Carlisle was one who followed close on the heels of Rodgers. In 1934 he cut ‘Nasty Swing’ with its thinly veiled sexual references; Cliff sings about “winding the motor” and “putting his needle in the hole”. It was an important development in the lyrical content of rock ‘n’ roll, if not the musical direction.

It was in Texas that a sound developed that owed much to Jimmie Rodgers but we have no trouble identifying it as a close relative of rock ‘n’ roll. The first big stars of this exciting new music were Milton Brown and Bob Wills. Both started out as members of The Aladdin Laddies and The Light Crust Doughboys; groups that performed on their sponsor’s radio programmes. They later recorded as members of the Fort Worth Doughboys and by 1934 they had started their own bands, Milton with his Musical Brownies and Bob with his Texas Playboys.

Called Western Swing it drew on influences from a broad musical palate. In his book Lone Star Swing, Duncan McLean describes the music as “a chilli-pot of New Orleans jazz, old country fiddling, big-band swing, ragtime, blues, pop and mariachi……..it dominated Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and beyond — all the way from San Francisco in the west, Memphis in the east — from the mid-Thirties till mid-Elvis. This was western swing.”

Whereas Milton Brown’s sound harks back to a European sound it was Bob Wills that took this music off in a direction that influenced many rock ‘n’ roll stars. Wills’ last big hit, ‘Faded Love’, came out in 1950, although he continued making records through the fifties. Bob Wills has been an influence on just about every Texan country musician that has followed him. From Willie Nelson to Asleep at the Wheel and George Strait to Waylon Jennings they all pay homage to Bob, Waylon recorded Bob Wills is Still The King in 1975, the year that Bob Wills died.

But it was not just Texan’s that Wills influenced. Listen to a Wills’ ‘Stay a little Longer’ and it is structured like a rock ‘n’ roll song with the distinctive lead guitar break in the middle. Hank Williams who followed Wills as one of the most popular artists in country music and his sound was a lot closer to rock ‘n’ roll. Bill Haley was like many of his contemporaries listening to ‘Move It On Over’ from 1947; you only have to check out how many of Hank’s songs were later covered by rock ‘n’ rollers.

Hank had a string of hits from 1949 through 1951 including the No.1, ‘Long Gone Lonesome Blues’. Ill equipped as he was for stardom Hank, who liked a drink, soon depended on the drink to see him through. By 1952 he Hank discovered drugs and was living a lifestyle that has been replicated by many who followed and for eager tabloid newspapers it has often been dubbed – the rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle. With his career in disarray Hank Williams died on New Years Day 1953 as a result of drugs and drink. The crowds at his funeral were enormous; a string of country stars turned out to honour the man dubbed the Father of Contemporary Country Music’.

Rock ‘n’ roll found a spiritual home in Memphis and flourished in other major cities. Like the blues it moved away from the country and became a harder urban influenced sound. Country music came under the control of the rhinestone Mafia. Nashville became home to the Holy Grail, and country music took on a clean-cut approach to life, love and lyrics. While rock ‘n’ roll was all about sex, country music for many years seemed lost in a lyrical and musical time warp. Teenagers in the fifties whether black or white had listened to the blues and western swing favoured by their parents and older siblings and decided they needed a sound of their own.

It was only with the rise of artists like Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson that country took on a harder edge. When young rock bands, including the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers did so much to popularize country rock it was not long before people began to discover that everything was connected. And if proof was needed all you need to know is that Chuck Berry based ‘Maybellene’ on a song recorded by Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys in 1949.

_”It was an old fiddle tune called ‘Ida Red.’ I changed the music and re-arranged it, Chuck re-wrote the words, and the rest, as they say, was history. Leonard Chess asked me to come up to record it live.” _– Chuck’s piano player Johnnie Johnson

March 26, 2014
The Jazz Record Label, The Jazz Guitarist and The Teen Idol

It was on this day in March 1957 that guitarist Barney Kessel took a teenager into the studio to cut three songs for Verve Records. Verve was a jazz record label stepped in the music of Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Oscar Peterson, but this was no jazz session, although Kessel himself was one of the greatest jazz guitarists of the post war era.

Two months later “I’m Walkin’” coupled with “A Teenager’s Romance” came out and both sides were massive hits on the Billboard chart, with the latter song making No. 2, and the former No. 4. By the end of August, the follow up “You’re My One And Only Love” with a Barney Kesssel instrumental on the B-side made the Top 20. The teenager’s name was Ricky Nelson and the situation turned out to be one of great good fortune for Verve Records that ultimately turned sour according to Mo Ostin the company’s chief financial man.

‘Barney had asked Norman Granz if he could make a pop recording, and Norman said “Sure.” Back then, for jazz singles, if we sold 50,000 singles we were doing very well. 20,000 albums and we were making a profit. When we released Ricky’s single we sold a million copies. Ricky’s parents Ozzie and Harriet had their own TV show and Ricky sang his songs on the show and the record exploded. Ozzie Nelson came to Norman to ask him to increase Ricky’s royalties. Norman said, “l have no problem increasing the royalty but lets make an album so we can make a proper evaluation.” Ozzie was adamant, “Either you increase the royalties or we’re leaving the label.” Norman was equally adamant, “We have a contract.” What Norman didn’t realize was that Ricky was a minor and in order for the contract to be confirmed it should have been affirmed by a court. It allowed Ricky to walk from the label. Norman was incensed and asked me to find a new lawyer and the man I found was Mickey Rudin, Frank Sinatra’s long-term lawyer.’

March 22, 2014
Before they found fame #31

It was April 1971

Before they found fame #31

It was April 1971

March 21, 2014
Rock ‘n’ Roll From The Crescent City

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"There were more people in New Orleans that wanted to play music than in other places. It’s really a music town."_ – Roy Bird aka Professor Longhair

New Orleans is more often touted as the cradle of jazz, a big city in the development of the blues, but it had no small hand in the popularizing of rock ‘n’ roll. In the 19th Century New Orleans was the most exciting, culturally diverse, city in America. With its French overtones – Louisiana had been sold to the Americans by the French in 1803 – it’s 12,000 blacks (1/3rd of the city’s population), as well as many other national groups, all made for a heady mix.

With its jazz based sound New Orleans R & B with its honking saxes and as often as not the pumping piano it created a distinctive sound that was made hugely popular by both Fats Domino and Little Richard.

Much of the credit for what happened must go to trumpeter, Dave Bartholomew who was a fixer, bandleader, producer and all round New Orleans Mr Music. He began his career as World War 2 was ending doing so much to transition jump blues to rock ‘n’ roll. He wasn’t the only one, just listen to Bob Ogden’s Orchestra featuring Roy Brown and ‘Good Rockin Tonight’, another candidate for the first rock ‘n’ roll record. ‘ Roy Bird, who later worked under the name Professor Longhair was also an inspiration, he too worked too with Earl Palmer the drummer that featured on so many of the classic records to come out of New Orleans.

Smiley Lewis was reminiscent of Joe Turner who originally recorded ‘Shake Rattle and Roll’. Smiley’s ‘I Hear You Knocking’ was classic New Orleans rock ‘n’ roll, as was ‘One Night’ which Elvis covered. It was Bartholomew’s success with Fats Domino that led to other record companies heading to the ‘Crescent City’ to see who they could record. Little Richard was the obvious beneficiary of this musical trawl but Specialty, based in Los Angeles, discovered both Lloyd Price and Guitar Slim. It was Dave Bartholomew’s band that backed Lloyd Price on his classic, ‘Lawdy Miss Clawdy’. By 1959 it all came together in one of the city’s finest records, Frankie Ford’s ‘Sea Cruise’.

Ten Classics from the Crescent City

Good Rockin Tonight – Bob Ogden’s Orchestra featuring Roy Brown 1947 Oh Well – Roy Byrd and his Blues Jumpers 1949 The Fat Man – Fats Domino 1949 That’s How You Got Killed Before – Dave Bartholomew 1950 Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Lloyd Price I Hear You Knocking – Smiley Lewis 1955 Tutti Frutti – Little Richard 1956 Let The Good Tiimes roll – Shirley & Lee 1956 Rocking Pnuemonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu – Huey Piano Smith 1957 Sea Cruise – Frankie Ford

March 20, 2014
Nick Drake advert for his first US release in 1971

Nick Drake advert for his first US release in 1971

March 17, 2014
Freddie Mercury’s Culinary Gymnastics

In 1976 Freddie Mercury came clean about his own favourite dish, admitting that it was Pork Balls in Tomato Sauce! Here’s Freddie’s personal recipe:

1 small onion
8oz lean pork
1 thick slice from a small loaf
1 egg yolk
Salt and pepper
Can of condensed cream of tomato soup
¼ can of water

Chop the onion finely. Put the meat through a mincer (for a smooth texture). Make the meat balls: soak bread in water then squeeze it out. Add it to the pork, onion, egg yolk, salt and pepper. Roll the mixture into large balls about 2ins. in diameter. Mix the tomato soup and water and bring to the boil. Drop the pork balls into this sauce, cover and simmer for 45 mins.

March 12, 2014
The Greatest Live Rock Album Ever?

"OK, The Allman Brothers Band," was the simple introduction for the band on Friday 12 March 1971 at the Fillmore East in New York’s East Village. Duane’s slide guitar sets off and the sound of Blind Willie McTell’s ‘Statesboro Blues’ begins what is arguably the greatest live album in rock.

It was originally a double LP and was recorded over both the Friday and Saturday night’s shows and captured the Allman Brothers at the peak of their powers. It was the band’s third release in three years and immediately proved successful, making No.13 on the Billboard charts in July of ‘71, staying on the best sellers list for almost a year.

Side one of the record was very much a blues work out as they follow ‘Statesboro Blues’ with Elmore James’s ‘Done Somebody Wrong’ and finish with T-Bone Walker’s ‘Stormy Monday’ – their version is one of the most interesting and non-derivative of this oft recorded number.

Yet this first side gives little indication of what the remainder of the album is to be like. This is everything that is great about Southern rock, there’s jazz and even some Latin influences thrown in for good measure. Side 2 of the first LP is a cover of Willie Cobb’s ‘You Don’t Love Me’ originally cut in 1960 for Mojo Records in Memphis and covered by a host of artists including Quicksilver Messenger Service and Mike Bloomfield, Al Kooper and Stephen Stills on their 1968 Super Session album.

‘Hot Lanta’ is a group work out based around guitarist Dicky Betts’s riff and it showcases Gregg Allman’s Hammond B3 as well as both Betts and Duane’s guitars. The second track, ‘In Memory Of Elizabeth Read’ that Betts wrote for the band’s second album, Idlewild South begins with Betts’s guitar and he’s joined by Dunne as they double the melody line creating what is such a trademark sound. As the number picks up it goes from jazz, with shades of Coltrane and Miles Davis, to something akin to a Santana jam, but one always steeped in Southern rock. image The last side of the LP is just one number, the monumental ‘Whipping Post’ written by Gregg Allman. Originally a five-minute song from the band’s debut album is here lengthened to over 23 minutes and it is immense. Driven along by the drumming of Jai Johnny Johnson and Butch Trucks this is what Southern rock is all about. Listen to it loud and you will be exhausted from the experience, nothing else recorded from this era of rock comes close to competing.

Various CD reissues have included additional tracks recorded over the two nights but it is the original album that is testament to the Allman’s greatness. It is a perfect album in every way.

Hear it here.

Epitaph Tragically just over seven months after it was recorded Duane Allman was killed while riding his motorcycle. Aside from his recordings with the Allman Brothers he of course worked with Eric Clapton on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, helping to create the magic of the title song. Bizarrely, Barry Oakley, the bass player on the Fillmore album also died in a motorcycle accident a year after Duane’s death.

March 10, 2014
They Call It Stormy Monday – A 12 Step Plan to the Blues

You want to convince someone that the Blues are great? What is it that makes them so good and what has made them so popular around the world? Well our twelve tracks will do just that.

Stormy Monday – B.B. King We begin with one King and end with another. This is B.B. covering his hero T-Bone Walker with the line that says everything about the ethos of the Blues, “They call it stormy Monday, but Tuesday’s just as bad.”

My Home Is In The Delta – Muddy Waters When Muddy left the Mississippi Delta to head for the big city lights of Chicago he never forgot where he came from on his way to becoming The King of Chicago Blues.

Highway 61 – Mississippi Fred McDowell, This takes us on that long road that heads through the Delta to New Orleans; a song that’s one of those vital links from country blues to the electric variety.

Cross Road Blues – Robert Johnson The man who supposedly sold his soul to the Devil for his prodigious guitar playing skills (he actually went away from the Delta for a couple of years and honed them, but hey, it’s a great story). Still genius

Back To New Orleans – Lightnin Hopkins He plays a beguiling kind of Blues and takes a classic and turns it into his own song, imbued with a little bit of Texas from whence he came.

Going Up The Country – Canned Heat A cover of an old pre-war Henry Thomas song called Bull Doze Blues that is a note for note, with a new set of lyrics. By the time Canned Heat had got to Woodstock they had turned on many more Americans to the country blues.

Searchin’ The Desert For The Blues – Blind Willie McTell. The man who probably influenced a young Bob Dylan more than any other musician. His Georgia Blues were filled with amazing lyrics (“The blues come down like dark night showers of rain”) and his eloquence was beguiling. He also represents every blind blues singer there’s ever been.

Statesboro Blues – The Allman Brothers Blind Willie lived in the Georgia town and The Allman Brothers paid their respects in the only way they knew how. It’s from what for many is the greatest live album ever (but that’s probably another list)

Dust My Broom – Elmore James Books have been written about exactly what the lyrics of this song actually mean, but it’s the the amazing slide guitar that is what makes this song so important for every aspiring blues band in the 1960s and beyond. Fleetwood Mac were so enamoured by it they virtually did a whole album based on the lick.

Smokestack Lightning - Howlin Wolf From Sun Studios to Chicago The Wolf Man cometh and took electric blues in his own unique direction.

Little Red Rooster – Rolling Stones The first blues to top the UK singles chart as the Stones pay homage to Wolf and the other bluesmen that gave them a reason to exist. Brian Jones was the first man in England to play slide guitar, influenced by Elmore James of course.

Born Under a Bad Sign – Albert King Sophisticated and recorded at Stax in Memphis in 1967 both King and the song influenced a young Eric Clapton and Cream helped make it an anthem of white rock blues.

Hear all twelve tracks here

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