TALKIN’ APOLLO 13 BLUES LAUNCHES TODAY!

Scottish blues musician Jed Potts releases his tribute song, Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues to mark the 50th anniversary of the USA’s third mission to land on the moon, a near-fatal event which NASA deemed to be ‘a successful failure’.

When not performing solo, Jed is lead singer and guitarist with his power trio, Jed Potts & the Hillman Hunters. The band released their eponymous debut album in 2018 to critical acclaim for its 1950s and 60s downhome authentic blues sound. The Bishop’s review in Blues Matters concluded; “Blues titans Jed Potts and the Hillman Hunters are as timeless as the classic British car but with the performance, power and refinement of a Formula One racer.” The blues has been in Jed’s blood from an early age, with his parents having, taken him to B.B. King and Robert Cray gigs as a child. Potts has been playing the blues professionally since he was 16 and is now one of the premier bluesmen in his native Edinburgh and beyond, including America where he has performed with Piedmont harp maestro Brandon Santini.

The versatile Potts swaps his Fender Stratocaster for an acoustic guitar and sings solo in the tradition of “talking blues”, a song format popularized during the Great Depression by the likes of Woody Guthrie. Potts’ vocal phrasing and timing are impeccable given the speed at which the words have to be recited in three minutes! Jed tells the story with an increasing sense of drama commensurate with the oxygen tank explosion which catastrophically damaged the spacecraft and forced the crew to orbit the moon without landing and to return to earth.

Once upon a time in the United States would unfold the story of three crewmates… When the day of the launch was finally here the skies ‘round the Cape were bright n’ clear…

A short while later they were well on their way and without being too cocky it was probably safe to say a successful moon landing was as good as in the bank until the boys in mission control asked the crew to stir-up a cryo tank. There was a real loud bang and all hell broke loose and the thing flew around like a headless goose and just when they were getting it to stay in one place they looked out and saw they were venting something into space. Turned out to be the oxygen. Houston, we’ve had a problem.

At mission control, it was clear within the hour the ship was losing air but also losing power. To get the crew home safe was the new objective of the mission but to turn the ship around was too risky a proposition. They wouldn’t land on the moon but they’d still have to go around. Would the oxygen last ‘til they were back on the ground? To lose an American in space was out of the question. Get our boys home with time to spare. Failure is not an option…

A very cold three days later the most dangerous part was yet to come: re-entry was drawing near. Would the damaged spaceship’s heatshields hold or would it burn up in the atmosphere? *Stand-by for communications black-out. This radio silence should last three minutes but that had come and gone.

Everybody in Houston held their breath as time dragged on and on… Odyssey, this is Houston, do you copy? Thirteen, this is Houston, do you copy? Thirteen, this is Houston, do you copy? Then out of the sky a most glorious sight: three parachutes did appear! Roger that, Houston, this is Thirteen. We read you loud and clear. Everyone rejoiced, cigars were smoked, what an adventure this had been. And that’s the story of a successful failure, the story of Apollo 13.

To summarise the story, sustain the tension and maintain the relentless pace throughout with mesmeric strumming and fingerpicking background guitar work is a great achievement on Jed’s part.

All in all, this is a neat tribute with a blues vibe to accompany it.

Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues is accompanied by a video created by graphic design company Lentil, which will premiere via the Jed Potts Music Facebook page on Saturday the 11th April at 19:13 UK time – the 50th anniversary of the exact minute of the launch. www.facebook.com/jedpottsmusic

The song is available on all major streaming platforms including Spotify, and available for purchase on Bandcamp.

By The Bishop.

(the video will be added here later today)


Sitting In With… Jed Potts by Colin Campbell – Images by Alan Ferguson.

Jed is one of the hardest working musicians in Scotland; he has got various musical projects working, sometimes all at the same time! Whether it be fronting his band Jed Potts And The Hillman Hunters, guesting on guitar with ace American blues artist Brandon Santini, funking things up with Swampfog or jazzing it with Katet, he’s always got something to do, so what happens when the world, including Edinburgh, is in lockdown!

Jed has just brought out a new release, a solo song called “Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues” to mark the 50th anniversary of the moon landing expedition, quoted as “A successful failure” by NASA.

Hi Jed, how’s it going, where are you today?
I’m hunkered-down in Leith, in Edinburgh.

How are you coping with lockdown procedures in relation to the COVID-19 virus, what’s the most upsetting or frustrating thing that affects you as a musician?
The weirdest thing in general, which I’m sure is weird for most people, is the absence of social activity. Being a musician is a very social job, whether it’s being at a gig or just being around the people in your band, and I’m also a very social person anyway, and I love ‘the hang’. Normally I’m trying to appeal to people to ‘C’mon oot’, and now I’m appealing to them to ‘Stay hame’.

You are usually a very active and busy musician, how are you spending the time out just now?
I’ve basically been getting ready to release Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues since the lockdown came into effect, so that’s kept me plenty busy.

Without going into the minutia of your interest in Space technology, what got you interested in wanting to write a song about the Apollo13 Mission?
I’m honestly not sure exactly what got me really interested in the subject – I was never into space as a kid – but the idea for the song specifically hit me whilst reading the Apollo 13 Haynes Manual by David Baker. It was a present from my folks, so thanks again, Mum and Dad.

image of jed potts

Why did you specifically take the stance of the narrator of this piece it sounds really authentic, any influences on your style? It is just you singing and playing here, what was that like and where did you record the song?
So the song is obviously in the style of a “Talking Blues” – for a couple of great examples check out Woody Guthrie’sTalking Dust Bowl Blues” and Townes Van Zandt’sFraternity Blues” – and so I guess I was just following what I thought sounded right in my head. To be honest, it never occurred to me to sing it any other way than as the narrator. And I suppose I’m probably doing a little bit of a Woody Guthrie impression. I did consider singing it in my own accent but it felt wrong for the style. The song was recorded at Chamber Studio in Edinburgh, by Graeme Young, and we did it just as all of the coronavirus stuff started kicking-off, we literally recorded the song and then loaded a bunch of equipment from the studio into Graeme’s car so that he could get set-up to work from home. It’s just me playing and singing at the same time with a couple of mics on me. We had it in a few takes, I was ready, and actually the first take was pretty damn close.

With so many bands in tow, what musical genre do you feel represents you as a musician, or is it all just music and you’re naturally a musicaholic?
I’ve always referred to blues as my musical first language, but I suppose I love playing – and listening to – all sorts of stuff. I’ll listen to Tony Bennett right after Mesuggah nae bother.

What music did you listen to growing up and where was your first gig?
Neither of my parents is musical, but they’re both huge music fans, and there was music was on in the house all the time when I was growing up, particularly blues and rock. The inner-sleeve of Joe Walsh’s But Seriously, Folks… leaning against the sideboard is a specific memory. That’s still one of my favourite records. I’m pretty sure the first gig that I played was at the Royal Overseas League on Princes Street, which I just saw they’re turning into a hotel.

image of jed potts

How did you get involved with working with Brandon Santini and what have you learned most out of your American touring experiences?
I got hooked-up with Brandon through a project that the Edinburgh Jazz & Blues Festival put together a few years back. Basically it was an opportunity for me and Sandy Tweeddale to collaborate with some musicians from overseas. Brandon was the best guy on Beale Street, so I wanted to work with him. The thing that’s always stuck out to me is how comfortable the American bands are with promoting themselves on stage, and how comfortable the American audiences are with it, too. You could discuss ad nauseam where that comes from culturally, whether it’s healthy, whether it’s appropriate to the art form etc but the lesson I took from it was that there was no point in being a reluctant frontman; I might as well lean in, embrace it, and find my own way to do it. The other side of that is that it’s not necessarily something you can just transfer wholesale; I’ve seen American artists push the sales patter too much on a Scottish audience and it didn’t go well at all.

What were the venues like that you’ve played in?
The venues on the most recent tour with Brandon included everything from a big outdoor festival, to a sort of gastropub, to a liquor store (it was sort of like playing in a Vicky Wines) but I truly enjoyed all of the shows. The one in the ‘gastropub’ was great, actually. We were set-up in a really small space – much smaller than I think the boys were used to, and there was no choice but to really lock-in musically.

Do you prefer playing intimate venues as opposed to festivals?
There are equal opportunities to have a great, or not so great gig, in any type of venue. I think it’s all about not undermining the potential of the situation. There were many times on tour with the Blueswaters where we’d walk into a space that was less than ideal, and we’d set about giving ourselves the best chance of having a great gig. I don’t mind having a bad gig, as long as I know there was nothing more I could’ve done to save it.

Any funny things happen to you when touring?
On the last tour with Brandon? So many. The funniest of which will remain a secret, but for some reason, the thing that comes to mind is the girl on night-shift at a Florida gas station telling me to “make sure you got some water for that bitch” when I was buying a spicy Slim Jim. She was right; it was hot.

What’s the best advice musically you have had?
I can’t pick an all-out favourite, and it wasn’t even really advice, but I once had a conversation with an American comedian called Al Lubel where he said that doing a gig is like going on a date with the audience – you can’t really totally prepare for it, and you don’t know if you’re going to get along, you just have to show up and see. I think he said that it was Bob Newhart that originally made the analogy but I got it from Al, so…

image of jed potts

Guitar wise, do you have any heroes?
Of course! Sean Costello, Jimmie Vaughan, B.B. King, Eddie Van Halen, Jonny Winter, Dimebag Darrell, Peter Green, Zal Cleminson, Taylor Goldsmith… I could go on forever.

What was the first guitar you played and what was the first one you bought? (you can get techy here if you want!)
I can’t remember the first that I played, but the first that I owned was an old acoustic that my Uncle Pat gave me. The action was so high that I later used it to practice lap steel. But it got me started.

If you weren’t a musician, what do you think you would be?
I could probably work in a shop. A haberdasher or something…

Do you get a chance to go and see other blues-based bands locally and would you recommend any to our readers that they’ve possibly not heard of?
Under normal circumstances, I go out to gigs whenever possible and off the top of my head I can highly recommend the likes of Nicole Smit, Tim Elliott, Sandy Tweeddale, Gus Munro and Logan’s Close.

Anything about Jed Potts that his fans don’t know about and that you’d like to share?
I love the movie Phenomenon starring John Travolta.

What are your plans for the next year musically?
Everything’s up in the air a bit at the minute but hopefully, I’ll be releasing a whole load of new original material with the Hillman Hunters, and also with Swampfog, some more Katet vs. John Williams shows, and hopefully some more stuff with Brandon.

Thanks for chatting to Blues Matters, and good luck with the new single launch!

For more info – www.jedpotts.com

 

The post JED POTTS Talkin’ Apollo 13 Blues appeared first on Blues Matters Magazine.

Our Editor-In-Chief Alan Pearce has shared with us his Top 10 favourites blues tracks although he did admit that like everyone else it was so hard to choose just 10. He says this list is in no particular order but hopes you enjoy listening.

1 – Savoy Brown – Bad Shape

From The Blues Keep Me Hanging On album. Nathaniel Peterson, bass and vocal and Tom Compton on drums and of course Kim Simmonds on guitars. Superb guests on the album included Duke Robilliard, Dave Maxwell, Paul Oscher, Leo Lyons and Roger Earl. This is a smooth, understated, deep song with super guitar, easy yet complex never overdone and was fantastic to see live. Nathaniel is a big man, (he often sleeps on the floor when the bed is not big enough) ex-US para, he’s a really nice guy to meet, his voice is something else. I was on the road with the band when the album came out and at The Worcester Park in Wandsworth and I had arranged for some ex-Savoyians to make a surprise appearance for Kim and had gathered Bob Hall, Bob Brunning and John O’Leary who watched the show and toward the end moved forward for Kim to see them. He was certainly surprised and he had them up to jam at the end. Nathaniel gave over bass to Bob B but sang on. Earlier Nathaniel had given a great Bad Shape and I heard fans around me talking and saying “if you shut your eyes you would swear to God that it was Howlin’ Wolf himself up there!”

Leading nicely into;

2 – Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin’

A huge song, covered by so many others including Mike Harrison formerly of Spooky Tooth, Art and The V.I.P.s who were approached to be backing band for a chap named Jimi Hendrix by Chas Chandler at a London Club (name escapes me). His version on a solo album titled Smokestack Lightenin’ (on Island), Manfred Mann, Fiona Boyes, Crystal Shawanda, Mick Clarke, The Electric Prunes, Grateful Dead, John Hammond, The Animals, Maxwell Street Jimmy, George Thorogood, Blues Band, Jimmy Rogers, Etta James, and so many more…The man Chester Burnett was a physical monument of a man indeed with a presence that could not be ignored. His effect on the Blues world is of legend, his writing, his inspiration and his individual voice are there for us all to enjoy and there should be a mountain range with him and a few others carved into it like the US presidents are. Just a magnificent song from a magnificent man.

Moving us into another song written by Mr Burnett;

3 – Groundhogs – Natchez Burning

From their second album Blues Obituary. Of course also legendary for its’ performance by its’ creator C. Burnett aka Howlin’ Wolf who comes top of my artist list. Loved the album Blues Obituary from the off, it was a big step forward from Scratchin’ The Surface and their use of stereo imagery and sound shifting for aural enjoyment. The song has been covered so many times proving its’ a vital Blues number. I swear back in the late 60’s I went (underage again) to the L.S.E. in London specifically to see Spooky Tooth and also on the bill were The Liverpool Scene and in the corner of the hall/gym was this huge guy wearing a fringed jacket with three others backing him which I gathered was The Groundhogs yet they did not play from the stage that the other two acts were on. Hell, they were putting it out there though. I did not realise who I had witnessed right away but was hooked on him and on the sound of the guitar player. Later discovering he created his own tuning which stood out. Tony McPhee played with so many other artists from the UK and USA and was often the backing player of choice to touring US acts. Check him out also with Tramp and Jo-Ann Kelly as well as Blue Horizon albums with Champion Jack Dupree and Billy Boy Arnold – magic albums! I was over the moon when I met him and talked about his early acoustic work being a favoured period of mine and found he had written songs but had not found a label who wanted his acoustic work, they wanted ‘Hogs, so we talked about it over a period and I released Blues At Ten, a totally acoustic blues album.

4 – Duster Bennett – Jumpin’ At Shadows

(1968) Also recorded by F. Mac, Gary Moore, Henrik Freischlader, Will Wilde, and Steve Freund amongst others. Real name Anthony Bennett was born in Welshpool, Wales before moving to Kingston Upon Thames where he went to Kingston Art School that produced so many now-legendary names. He wrote this ‘classic’ when he was 22 years old. He could so easily have been sat on a Delta porch playing this, so authentic and haunting a song. Starting out solo with a foot peddle drum, guitar and harmonica rack he sadly met his end so early on his way home from a gig with Memphis Slim. Again do check out the 2006 release, Complete Blue Horizon Sessions.

5 – Tinsley Ellis – Feelin’ No Pain

From his Hell Or High Water album. The Atlanta born bluesman released the album in 2002 and amongst some blistering playing on the twelve-track carried this magnificent eight-minute piece of vocal angst and amazing guitar work. Hard to believe he has been recording for over thirty years already and constantly with quality and strong, raw and creative material. This track stands out for me with the emotional strain of the guitar tone as well as the pain in the lyric.

6 – Alvin Lee – Bluest Blues

From Alvin’s album, Nineteen Ninety-Four released in 1994! Born Graham Barnes in 1944 he began playing at the age of thirteen and went on to become an International guitar legend and one of the ‘heroes’ of Woodstock, and the name Ten Years After, lives on today. This song is my total favourite piece of work by Alvin and features George Harrison on the slide, it is a gorgeous masterpiece. It was only after hearing the track that I found out the slide was by George and although I realised they were good friends I had not known that it was George on the track, one of his best pieces too! A truly beautiful song, mournful, smooth and even soothing and seemingly rarely covered.

7 – Jon Amor – Hit So Hard

When you want a song to hit you and relieve you of something this is one that performs that function for me, of course, played at high volume. The guitar intro and the tone is beautiful, the literal seductive calm before the epic storm, so easy and building the lyrical story behind it as the feel is deepened and builds. Jon tried the Blues his way and sadly I witnessed a good number walk out of a venue as he was getting into what was a fantastic set (too many years ago). This song alone shoulda showed them folk what they missed out on. This is quality.

8 – Champion Jack Dupree – Mr Duprees Blues

The narrative Jack gives this song is absorbing and humerous you WILL laugh when you hear him talk about ‘that feeling’. Here is just one, of so many terrific pieces by Mr Dupree who indeed was a ‘champion’ of the Blues. This one is from the Complete Blue Horizon, sessions. I love the session he did with Tony McPhee on guitar in 1967 all the songs are different to The Complete Sessions, again, under Blue Horizon as well and simply called Dupree & McPhee. He was such a character and performer, oh and he did like his bourbon too, we have at least that in common.

9 – Eric Burden – Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood

I have always liked this song of agony and sometimes claim it as ‘my song’ when she (wife) doesn’t get me. This version is a live one from a modest Blue Wave label release and had been recorded live as part of a film based loosely on the life of Eric Burden in 1981 which only made a few film festivals and limited cinema viewings, then a modest VHS run. That Blue Wave finally released the songs in 1992 it was a joy for Eric’s fans. This version he plays with; lovely slow piano intro builds, and we even get a reggae section, just a joy because it is so different. Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood was written by Bennie Benjamin, Horace Ott and Sol Marcus for the singer and pianist Nina Simone, who first recorded it in 1964. Little could they have known it would be revised by so many in so many different styles including; of course: The Animals, Little Bob Story, The Roosters, Joe Cocker, Tangerine Peel, Lou Rawls, Robben Ford, Poppa Chubby, Cyndi Lauper, John Legend, Bettye Lavette, Elvis Costello, Mick Hucknell, Jamie Cullum and of course many, many more. Another of my favourite versions was Gary Moore. I had a triple vinyl album import recorded in Japan which carried a live sixteen-minute version but some bugger nicked it from my flat (along with the rent money) and I have not been able to find that version again. (If any Gary fans know of it do let me know please)

10 – Crazy World Of Arthur Brown – I Put A Spell On You

Written in 1956 by Jalacy ‘Screamin’’ Jay Hawkins. A song that is in the Rock‘n‘Roll Hall Of Fame Top 500 songs. This version by Arthur Brown is yet another interpretation of this magical song where so many artists have been able to lend their own character to it. And by ‘The God Of HellfireArthur certainly does that! His so wide-ranging voice and the organ/Hammond of Vincent Crane simply rip into the song and make it stand out for me. I remember as an under-age lad of about fourteen, and the teenage daughter of a family friend we were visiting took me to a club in Bath that had recovered from being flooded (we could still see the tide mark) and Arthur Brown was one of the first acts to play there on re-opening. The stage was a raised platform you could walk under which was weird to this youngster who had never been in a place like that. He sure was an eye-opener! This was prior to Fire getting into the charts worldwide. The eponymous album was also a worldwide hit and I still have the track release as well as the Cd with bonus songs.

Others to have worked this amazing song include, Jeff Beck & Joss Stone, Bette Midler, Alan Price, Them, Chaka Khan, Creedence Clearwater Revival and of course Nina Simone to name just a varied few!

 

 

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Beth Hart Reveals Heartwarming Video for ‘No Place Like Home’ Uniting Fans Across The World.

Stay Safe. Stay Home. Love Music
There’s a place that’s meant for us
Full of faith, hope, love and trust

The world is going through a difficult time at the moment and it affects us all greatly with a number of countries imposing lockdowns, curfews and social distancing rules to protect us all, but it also results in many living in isolation. In times like these, the value of life, love and friendship comes to the front of our minds more than ever. Beth Hart fans have always been a community, a family even, and they have come together showing acts of love and happiness on the singer’s new video for ‘No Place Like Home’.

Although we are going through an unprecedented time in the world and millions of us have been asked to stay at home, we can all make that time at home with the people we love shine through more than ever, and together we can make a difference at this very difficult time.

Beth Hart can make the biggest arena or auditorium feel intimate, and this song, in particular, evokes that feeling, right now it feels more poignant than ever. The song was taken from the 2016 album ‘Fire on the Floor.’ The heartwarming video features footage of fans with their families, grandparents, children, loved ones and friends all coming together to show a little act of love can have a sprawling ripple effect of happiness.

It sees fans from as far as the Faroe Islands, Kurdistan, Mexico and Lithuania to Mongolia, Morocco, Canada, Iraq and Argentina. As well as Cyprus, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Iran, Portugal, Turkey, UK, US, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Poland, Sweden, Norway, Spain, Belgium and Australia

Talking about the video Beth said; “When I saw the video I cried, as I recognised so many of you. You guys looked so sweet, loving, happy and it just blew my mind. I think I cried for two hours after. Thank you forever, guys, I love you so much. There really is no place like home.”

Beth’s long time manager David Wolff also said; “Beth and her fans never cease to amaze me. This video is sooo loving, hopeful and inspiring. Thank you to everybody that made this possible.”
It shows that love is love, love is strong and that home is where you are happiest, and there really is no place like home. We will all get through this and we will come through stronger.

Please follow the advice of your local government and health authorities.

For More Info – Beth Hart

 

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London based Stevie Smith is a Rock/Blues vocalist and Harp tart of some fifty years standing. Twenty-odd years of that was spent as a frontman for Ruthless Blues, in the ’80s & ’90s, and before that with SALT in the mid-’70s and early ’80s. In between times, some myriad other bands, and well, anyone really. He is currently with his new band Sin House.

Ten songs. This has not been easy. In the end, I went with whatever popped into my head, at the moment. if you were to ask me tomorrow it would probably be a totally different list. So, with that being said, and in no particular order.

1 – Sonny Boy Williamson – Help Me 

The simplicity of the riff, the hurt in the voice and the most unflashy harp ever, but it is oh so effective. It’s got to be on anyone’s list.

2 – Billy Holiday – God Bless The Child

It’s that soulful world-weary voice that gets you,  and the well-written thought-provoking observational lyrics, magic. The Amy Winehouse of her day.

3 – B.B. King – How Blue Can You Get

I first heard this at a friends place. I think we were about fifteen, or sixteen at the time. He said. “Here! Listen to this” and there it was, The Blues, that voice, that guitar, that band and humour all wrapped up in one glorious package,  And I was moved to the core of my sixteen-year-old soul.

4 – Howlin’ Wolf – Smokestack Lightnin’

This was the first Wolf I ever heard. He was on the telly and I must have been about twelve, it was a Friday night and the program was Ready Steady Go. It is indelibly imprinted in my memory.

5 – Skip James – Hard Times Killing Floor

Just listen to the emotion in that voice. If that doesn’t smack you in the soul…You ain’t got one!

6 – Muddy Waters – Walkin’ Blues

Now with Muddy Waters as with Howlin’ Wolf and Sonny Boy, it could have been any 1 of his whole catalogue. I plumped for “Walking Blues” I just love this treatment of the tune. Again it’s the voice. It’s like he’s your mate telling you what happened to him after last night, or the blues he’s got. I find it somehow intimate. Also, I feel if there was a Greek pantheon of Blues gods, then he’s Zeus.

7 – Billy boy Arnold & Tony McPhee – Catfish Blues

The pure energy and spontaneity of the piece. That and the simplicity of the harp work. Only it’s not, just try playing it…love it!

8 – Led Zeppelin – Since I’ve Been Loving You

If you are going to fuse rock and blues what you do is start with heart, and gut-wrenching vocals, have one the most searingly intense guitar solo’s ever recorded, and you have it all, powered by the best rhythm section of their day. This is exactly what Led Zeppelin did back in 1970. What a gem.

9 – Ray Charles – The Night Time Is The Right Time

I was ten when I first heard this, ten! My first introduction to that kind of vocal, rough and raw. Ray Charles and Margie Hendrix going at it hammer and tong and hinting at something my young mind couldn’t quite grasp, but Oh yes, I wanted in on it. Whatever it was.

10 – Paul Rogers – Good Morning’ Little Schoolgirl

Love the minimalist backing. Bass, bass drum, tremolo guitar and floating above that you have Rogers vocal. Add one of Jeff Becks finest recorded solo’s that I’ve ever heard. I’d say it would be difficult to contemporise an old Chicago standard any better.

For more info on Stevie Smith and Sin House please click here.

 

 

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Texas-born Sugaray began his musical career before the age of seven singing and playing the drums in church. His gospel influence can be heard and felt in his music. Rayford’s phrasing is intimate and conversational, with a powerful, sexy, & soulful voice.

He is a 2020 Grammy Nominated artist, BMA Award-winning, Texas soul-blues singer and actor. His performances are legendary and full of energy and passion, and when he belts out a song you not only hear it, but you feel it too.

Here he gives us his Top 10 favourite blues tracks and a little insight into why each one is special to him.

1- Son House – Death Letter

This song has always meant everything to me, it literally reminds me of the time when I found out about my mother and grandmother’s deaths.

2 – ZZ Hill – Down Home Blues

This was the first blues song I ever really heard.

3 – Little Milton – Walkin’ The Back Streets and Crying

It’s the playing and emotion in this song, it is the Everest of the blues.

4 – Lightning Hopkins – Got To Move Your Baby

Because I’m from Texas, home of the greatest Bluesman of all time.

5 – Mississippi John Hurt – Candyman

I was introduced to his music while I was doing my first play and I fell immediately in love with it.

6 – Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland – I Wouldn’t Treat a Dog (The Way You Treated Me)

Mr Bland sings from the heart and the song and the way the band played has always intrigued me! It is so southern soul-blues.

7 – Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland – Dust Got Into Daddy’s Eyes

Because my brother introduced this song to me just a couple of years ago and I love it.

8 – Little Milton – Grits And Groceries

Because Little Milton‘s approach to the song was fearless and his arrangement makes your entire body move.

9 – Denise LaSalle – Steal The Queen

It’s Denise LaSalle, do I need to say anymore?

10 – Clarence Gatemouth Brown – Depression Blues

Gatemouth Brown is probably one of the greatest musicians to come out of the Texas Louisiana area, the blues, jazz, soul or swing he mastered them all.

Sugaray Rayford was awarded Soul Blues Male Artist Of The Year at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis in 2019.

For more info on Sugaray Rayford’s music, tours etc please click here.

 

 

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Once a generation, a blues artist comes along who not only reminds mainstream audiences how deeply satisfying and emotionally moving the best blues music can be but shakes the genre to its core. With both eyes on the future and the blues in his blood, 20-year-old guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Christone “Kingfish” Ingram is taking the music world by storm with the May 2019 release of his debut album, KINGFISH.

Sprung from the same earth as so many of the Delta blues masters, Kingfish comes bursting out of Clarksdale, Mississippi, just ten miles from the legendary crossroads of Highways 61 and 49. A student of the Delta’s musical history, he is acutely aware of the musicians and the music that emerged from his corner of the world. “I do think I have an old soul, that I’ve been here before,” he says. “I’m moving forward with one foot in the past.”

______________

So through social media – Christone “Kingfish” Ingram just released this sweet, organic video of himself playing his song Hard Times acoustically, while staying safely sheltered at home. He mixes in some photos and a short video of fans who sent him the items to show what they’ve been doing while sheltering. The video makes clear how we are all in this together. This right here is the healing power of the blues.

He’s calling it Hard Times (Shelter-At-Home mix):

This is what he wrote on his FB, Instagram and Twitter pages:

Thanks for all the great photos and videos that you’ve shared. I truly appreciate it. I want to share with you a raw, special video that I pulled together in light of current times. I hope everyone is staying safe & healthy. I also hope you share my confidence that together we all will get through these HARD TIMES.”

For More Info on Christone ‘Kingfish’ Ingram click here

 

 

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A brand new episode of the Blues Podcast is out featuring Bernie Marsden (Whitesnake / UFO / Cozy Powell / Paice Ashton Lord). Recorded at John Henry’s in London the legendary guitarist sits down with host Big Boy Bloater and talks about his love of the blues, his life including his time in Whitesnake and how he wrote the iconic song ‘Here I Go Again’.

The podcast launched last month with three sizzling episodes on the same day featuring the queen of modern blues Beth Hart, the multi-platinum selling Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the fast-rising British blues-rock star Kris Barras. (click here to view the videos for the 1st episode)

The series is presented by the inimitable Big Boy Bloater – the current drive time presenter for Feedback Radio and former host of the popular Blues Magazine Show for Team Rock Radio.  A successful musician too, he has toured the world and has fans in the shape of Jools Holland, Imelda May, Craig Charles and Paul Jones and he’s played with the likes of Carl Perkins, Wanda Jackson and Paloma Faith to name a few.

The naturally charming Big Boy Bloater knows what makes musicians tick and how to get inside their head, which is what makes The Blues Podcast so special – to find out about the person behind the music. It’s a chat amongst friends where they sit down and chew the fat of life and what has shaped them into who they are. Over the episodes he’ll be talking to not only musicians but is also expected to chat to leading industry figures, from journalists to promoters and beyond. Subscribe now to join Bloater and his guests for a peek behind the curtain, to find out how to keep the blues alive.

You can listen to The Blues Podcast via Spotify, Apple Podcast/iTunes, Google Podcast, YouTube, and PodBean.

For more info on Big Boy Bloater click here

 

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As an all-time icon and Grammy-winning giant, we have grown used to seeing George Benson on the stages that befit his sky-high status. During a six-decade career marked by awards, acclaim and Billboard-topping output, the Pittsburgh, Hill District-born veteran has earned his place in both the history books and the biggest venues around the world. So it’s a rare treat – and a whole different thrill – to find this megastar going nose-to-nose with the breathless 250-capacity crowd at London’s prestigious Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club.

Benson has released ‘Give Me The Night,’ the first taster of the upcoming ‘Weekend In London’ live album, which will be released later in 2020 via Provogue, a division of Mascot Label Group.

Only a handful of lucky fans were present as the lights went down that magical night in 2019. The evening opened with the 1980 worldwide smash hit ‘Give Me The Night,’ and fans were treated to a glorious 7-minute rendition of the song.  “I like that kind of intimacy,” says Benson of his flying visit to Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club. “I can feel the love when it’s up close and personal.”

During a time when we are all practising safe distancing, Benson transports the listener to the magic and intimacy of the night, but from the safety of your own home.

More details will be announced soon.

You can find out more about George Benson by clicking here

image of george benson banner

 

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Hi Blues Matters, thanks for the invite to share my favourite blues tracks. Some in your magazine will know me from representing the UK Blues Federation in 2017 when we won the European Blues Challenge. Some may know me from my radio show on the BBC “Kaz Hawkins Got The Blues” when I’m not touring and some will know me for my own music and different take on the blues.

I’m a singer/songwriter first so I write in multiple genres but blues has given me so much so I am always ready to pay tribute to it. I run three shows right now. A Duo, which is about my life & Memories of Etta which is a homage to Etta James and I also have a new Kaz Hawkins & her Band of Men which we will relaunch with a brand new album in 2021.  I’m originally from Northern Ireland but now I am living in France so being introduced to lots of European blues is amazing but these are my all-time top blues tunes. Right now we’re all going through something very scary with COVID-19 and most of the locked-down world will turn to music. These tunes get me through, perhaps they will help others. Love to all your readers and be safe and well. Love Kaz.

1 – Etta James – St Louis Blues

Etta is my favourite female singer and is who introduced me to my first blues song. I was 12yrs old auditioning for Opportunity Knocks singing Secret Love by Doris Day when the musical director told my gran that she should let me listen to Etta. My gran found a tape at the market and the first song that played with Etta singing a W.C. Handy song – St Louis Blues. My love of blues began at that moment and I now sing this in one of my shows.

2 – Ruthie Foster – Don’t You Mind People Grinnin in Your Face 

Ruthie is one of the greatest modern-day female roots artists and I just melt when I hear her vocal.

3 – Gary Moore – Still Got The Blues

Coming from Northern Ireland I have to include Gary Moore. I always said that he never got the recognition he deserved back home so I always celebrate his contribution to the blues because I walked the streets he walked. In 2019 I ticked off my bucket list, a drink to him. With a glass of Beaujolais on the Champs Elysee, I said cheers.

4 – Willie Dixon & Koko Taylor – Insane Asylum

My favourite songwriter is Willie Dixon and of course, partner him up with the Queen of Blues Koko Taylor it’s blues heaven for me. Insane Asylum is my favourite of all they done. When Koko comes in on her vocal it’s a desperate call for help and the shivers go right up your spine. The story that unfolds is just thrilling.

5 – Lucille Bogan – Shave Em Dry

This may not make your public list but it is a representation of a time when women explored sexual explanation in song. This song would have EXPLICIT if released today. For me, it was an education in early blues women. Risque will always raise eyebrows but some lead the way by trying.

6 – Howlin Wolf – Smokestack Lightning

You can’t beat this, that groove, that wailing blues that I love.

7 – Nina Simone – Backlash Blues

I love that Nina spoke against inequality, she was one tough bird so she’s always in my top tunes.

8 – Dr John – How come my dog don’t bark when you come Around

Dr John is a magnificent storyteller. This song always makes me giggle, dance and wanna sing.

9 – John Lee Hooker – Boom Boom Boom

The great thing about blues is that the songs are timeless. This song gets everyone up dancing that I know still to this day and that’s a great legacy for any songwriter.

10 – Elmore James – The Sky is Crying

This is slow blues at it’s finest for me, this is one song I can close my eyes throw my feet up on a chair and just disappear.

If you’d like to check out Kaz Hawkins and her music please click here

 

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I’m Richard Tweeddale and I’ve been on the committee and a director of the Edinburgh Blues Club for 4 years and became its Chairman in March 2019. Originally a member of the club, I answered a ‘call to arms‘ when the original directors became overwhelmed with the workload the club presented.

I was initially, exposed to blues music as a child via my father, mainly the classics, Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones etc. As a teenager and in my early twenties, I was mainly into rock and funk music but I found myself gravitating back towards the blues. In my late twenties, I started learning guitar and it was the blues I was inclined to learn. I had that classic realisation that most of what you listen to has it’s roots, in blues and often, it’s actually this blues influence that was most appealing to me. Since then I’ve been hooked on the blues.

1 – Layla – Clapton (D&TD)

Good old childhood association, I used to hear this song in my Dad’s car all the time and loved it. It was my first taste of the blues and I still love the song to this day. It’s also the first time a slide guitar caught my attention.

2 – Ball & Biscuit – White Stripes

Raw, dirty, 12 bar blues, solo’s and references to hard drugs, what’s not to like? It’s the simplicity of this track that gives it its appeal. It’s a great example of it’s not what you play, it’s how you play it.

3 – Cross Road Blues – Robert Johnson

This song transports me in time. What at first sounds like a very simple song, upon further listens reveals itself as rhythmically clever with lots of subtleties and variances.

4 – Gangster of Love – Johnny Guitar Watson

I just love the swagger of this tune by the flamboyant funkster himself. I’ve heard it played by live and it’s the live version where it really comes alive.

5 – Red House – Jimi Hendrix 

Just oozes class. A simple, conventional 12 bar structure, slow blues interspersed with Jimi’s solos. I love how Jimi played with this song when he performed it live, always keeping it fresh and different

6 – Plastic Hamburgers – Fantastic Negrito

A modern take on a familiar sound. Perhaps a contentious choice to blues purists but I love the groove and the funk in this song.

7 – Beggars & Hangers On – Slash’s Snakepit

Part of my journey from a rock lover to blues lover. A blues/hard rock amalgamation, Slash’s slide guitar work brought the blues to the forefront of my mind at a time when rock was my go to genre.

8 – Look Away – Larkin Poe 

I love the beat, the slide and the harmonies. Simple as that.

9 – No Good – Kaleo

Modernising the blues and making it cool again. A song entrenched in the blues is the most charming, regardless if it is rock, indie, alternative or whatever else you could call this song.

10 – My home is in the Delta – Muddy Waters

I love the intimacy of this song, it feels like Muddy is playing in your living room. This song (and the whole Folk Singer album) is like a re-set button when I feel the pace of life is getting to me.

To find out more about Edinburgh Blues Club please click here.

 

 

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