blues Archive

Shuggie Otis at The Orange Peel, Asheville NC 9 October 2013 (Part One)

One evening early in September 2013, I was on the phone with a good friend. “Shuggie Otis is playing next month at The Orange Peel,” I announced. “What?! No…” Clearly I was mistaken, he thought. “He’s dead.” No he’s not, I assured my friend. But that belief is a common, understandable mistake. Son of famed

Album Review: Magic Sam and Shakey Jake — Live at Sylvio’s

Maybe you don’t know who Magic Sam is. With a moniker like that, you might guess he’s a character from Willie Dixon‘s “Wang Dang Doodle.” But the blues guitarist born Samuel Gene Maghett had an album career that lasted a relatively brief twelve years, 1957 to his death in 1969. And his first album under

August Capsule Reviews

Here’s another in my occasional series of quick cuts. This time ’round I’m covering recent releases by names who’ve been around the block a few times. These are people whose work you’ll know (or will recall once I remind you) but who perhaps haven’t had a high profile of late. My self-imposed limit for each

Let George Thorogood Tell You Something, My Friend (Part Two)

Continued from Part One… Those early years were tough ones, Thorogood said. “For Jeff [Simon, drums] and I, from 1975 until the time we put out the second record, those were not pleasant years. We were constantly banging our heads against the wall. Day in, day out.” Thorogood recounted a 1977 conversation he had with

Let George Thorogood Tell You Something, My Friend (Part One)

At the appointed time, our mutual contact connected me on the phone with George Thorogood. After a second or two of line noise during which all parties adjusted to the phone call, the renowned blues/rock guitarist shouted an enthusiastic “Hello!” down the line. “Hi, George,” I replied. “It’s a pleasure to talk with you today.

Album Review: Various Artists — The South Side of Soul Street

Not meant to diminish in any way the staggering contribution Stax made to popular music, but that Memphis label was not the be-all and end-all for quality Southern soul music of the 60s and 70s. And while every time a compilation of previously-overlooked music comes out – Los Nuggetz, for example, or the deep-archival comps

A Conversation with Ray Manzarek

This feature is based on my previously-unpublished 2011 interview with the late Doors keyboardist. – bk “I used to play in a band called The Doors.” That deadpan, unprompted statement from Ray Manzarek came about two minutes into our August 2011 phone conversation. I had scheduled an interview with the keyboardist to discuss his involvement

Album Review: Blue Cheer – Rocks Europe

They didn’t call it garage when ? And the Mysterians were playing “96 Tears.” They didn’t label it punk when The Stooges sang about “No Fun.” And they didn’t use the term heavy metal when Blue Cheer released their dipped-in-acid 1967 reading of Eddie Cochran‘s “Summertime Blues.” But heavy metal is most certainly what it

The Bobby Rush Interview, Part Two

Continued from Part One… Bill Kopp: For the last decade, you’ve been releasing your albums on your own label. Do you feel like that gives you greater control over the music, the marketing, those kinds of things? Bobby Rush: It’s good for me, because now I’m in a position where I can record what I

The Bobby Rush Interview, Part One

An exemplar of soul-blues style, Bobby Rush has been an active recording artist for nearly thirty-five years. His 2000 release Hoochie Mama was nominated for a Grammy in the blues category. His latest album finds him moving more toward the sounds of his youth. Produced by multi-instrumentalist Paul Brown, Down in Louisiana is Rush’s 26th