blues Archive

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

Album Review: Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign

Here’s one often reliable method for discerning whether an album is an important one: when you first hear it, do you recognize several of the songs via popular cover versions? I didn’t grow up with the blues; I’m the product of a white, middle-class suburban family; any “ethnic” music I heard growing up in south

Album Review: Jeff Healey – As the Years Go Passing By

Now here’s an interesting package. Compiled and released with the full cooperation, involvement and blessing of the family/estate of the late Jeff Healey, As the Years Go Passing By is a 3CD set bringing together three full concerts. Spaced almost evenly across an eleven-year span of time, these three shows – all done for broadcast

Album Review: Freddie King – The Complete King Federal Singles

Freddie King was a big man with a big guitar sound. An important figure in the history of blues, he’s also one of the most accessible artists in the genre; his influence upon rock artists has been such that when rock-tuned ears hear him, it feels right, familiar somehow. His good-timing approach owed a lot

Album Review: Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective

Seven CDs represents quite a lot of music. And all of the music on Skydog: The Duane Allman Retrospective was recorded in the space of six and half year years. The earliest tracks date from spring 1965, and the latest cuts were recorded in fall 1971. But the 129 tracks span an impressively wide stylistic

The Jeremy Spencer Interview

I’m a big Fleetwood Mac fan. But I should explain: I don’t care much at all for the AOR/California vibe of the mid 70-and-beyond megastar lineup. No, for me, Fleetwood Mac was at their best in their earlier days, when they were much more of a blues-oriented outfit, a sort of spinoff of John Mayall’s

DVD Review: John Lee Hooker – Cook With the Hook: Live in 1974

“Do you wanna boogie? Do you wanna cook with the Hook?” So implores John Lee Hooker on the audio track of the DVD menu on Cook With the Hook: Live in 1974. A medium-sized festival (historical accounts say 6000 fans, but the video suggests more like a thousand) in Massachusetts was the setting for an

DVD Review: Johnny Winter – Live From Japan

There’s no point in tip-toeing around it: blues guitarist Johnny Winter is old and frail. The cumulative effects of decades of drug and alcohol abuse/addiction (happily, he’s clean now) coupled with the medical problems associated with albinism make the odds unlikely that Winter would even still walk this Earth at age 68. But indeed he

Skinny Legs and All – Despite Their Age, They’re Not Kidding Around

You can learn a lot about a band by attending their pre-show sound check. Plenty of veteran bands give short shrift to this pre-show ritual, and they pay the price in poor sound. But Asheville-based blues/funk/soul band Skinny Legs and All take sound check very seriously. There’s no clowning around, no time wasted noodling. In

DVD Review: Johnny Winter — Live Through the 70s

The DVD kicks off with a true oddity, a performance that is bizarre in any number of ways. This excellent-quality Danish TV clip from 1970 finds Winter playing with his original blues rhythm section (Tommy Shannon on bass and Uncle John Turner on drums), but they don’t kick off with a blues tune. Instead they