August 26, 2015

Development of the British Blues and Rhythm
  --- show 34 ---   8-26-2015

Ten Years After                           1969 & 1970
Taste                                            1969 & 1970

Rory Gallagher was one of those names I was familiar with but never had the opportunity to hear his music.  That situation was rectified a couple of years back when I bought five of his albums in a reasonably priced set, much of which was played during last year’s St. Patty’s Day show.  The day had always been one used to present the British side of the Blues, but since that was to what the entire year was anticipated to be devoted (obviously, it has lasted a little longer) I decided to narrow the focus and play the music of two Irishmen, that of Gallagher and Van Morrison.  But today we go a little farther back and seek out the music from his first LPs while with his band Taste. 

Rory would prove himself proficient on the mandolin, dobro, harmonica and saxophone but his favorite tool complement his vocals was his Fender Stratocaster, for which he paid 100 pounds, quite a hefty price for a 14-year-old.  There were the normal influences of the time, initially Skiffle (he formed his first band with his brother Donal) and then American Rock ‘n’ Roll and Rockabilly.
Rory was born March 2nd in Ballyshannon but was raised in the city of Cork where, in 1964, he answered an ad in that city’s Examiner for a guitarist and found himself in the Fontana Show Band.  “We played all over Ireland, toured Spain and did a couple of English gigs.  It turned out to be great fun.  We were luckier than most show bands; the drummer wanted to do Jim Reeves stuff but the rest of us anted to play Nadine and A Shot of Rhythm and Blues.”  The band was able to intersperse Rock and R&B tunes amid the standard fare of Irish dance and Country songs and the current pop songs the audience was expecting.

Moving more toward the British beat music, the band changed its name to the Impact, and during the summer of 1965 the band was holding down a six week residency at an American base near Madrid, but by the time they returned to the U.K. the group broke up.  The band’s manager convinced Rory to put together a group to fulfill contractual obligations in Hamburg, Germany, retaining the bass player and finding a new drummer.  The club expectations were for more than a trio so a fourth body was put in the publicity photos and when the trio appeared they explained that “the organist” came down with a case of appendicitis.  After the demanding German schedule was completed this ensemble also fell apart.
Then, after filling in with the band the Axels as they met their final commitments before they disbanded, Rory joined forces with the band’s drummer, Norman D’Amery, and bass player Eric Kitteringham, and took the name Taste.  The trio played the standard British fare of Rock, Blues, and R&B but also began to infuse material into their act that the members had written.  Playing as a three-piece again became problematic as the Federation of Irish Musicians, comprised mostly of show band players, had set a minimum number of musicians allowed to work in its jurisdiction.  As they were preparing for their first gig at the Arcadia in Cork, the Federation proposed a compromise if the band would audition for the union.  Taste, all veterans from show bands themselves, found the request undignified and caused the Federation to relent and opened up the country for smaller ensembles.

Early 1967 found them playing around Cork and Dublin and then going onto Hamburg. Upon their return to Ireland they relocated to Belfast and acquired a residency at the Maritime Hotel, where the 1974 release In the Beginning, 1967: Early Taste of Rory Gallagher was recorded.  The band was used to open for some of the visiting British Blues bands, the like of John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Aynsley Dunbar’s Retaliation, Pink Floyd, Fleetwood Mac, and Cream, opening opportunities in London, most notably at the Marquee, and they made the city their home in May of 1968.  Almost immediately, the band broke up and, by August, Gallagher had assembled another trio with a pair of Irishmen who had met in the Derek and the Sounds Show Band, drummer John Wilson and bass player Richard McCracken.  Wilson had also put in a short term with the Irish band Them.
They stayed busy with several appearances at the Speakeasy club and the acquisition of Tuesday nights at the Marquee, where their October 25th 1968 act became available in 1987, and also played at the Royal Albert Hall for Cream’s farewell performance.

All of today’s selections are taken from the CD Best of Taste, with only one tune left out, and I believe it represents Gallagher’s sentiments toward music well.  “When I listen to something I like, I like to be taken out of my seat and tossed across the room.  I like guts, a good drive, which can include gentle stuff too.  If it sounds good and feels good, that’s it.”  Aside from Sugar Mama, which is instead presented in the live segment, only one tune from the original 1967 debut self-titled album is missing from the compilation (we chose to omit a second one, otherwise you hear the entire disc) and the follow-up, On the Boards, lacks only four.

While the first LP failed to chart in the U.S. or the U.K., it did reach #10 in Holland.  Taste became a major draw in Europe and perhaps the pinnacle of their success was the 1969 tour in support of Blind Faith and Delaney, Bonnie & Friends.  The band’s music became elongated in the live performances as they improvised strongly.  As Rory told Hit Parader, “We work things out as we go.  We don’t want to ever play it safe. . .it may fall really flat some nights, but you will be sure never to hear the same thing twice.”
On the Boards hit the record bins in January 1970 and made #18 in Britain and #33 in Germany.  As Lester Bangs opined in Rolling Stone, “The band as a whole is so tight and compelling, the songs so affecting, and the experiments and improvisations so clearly thought out, that it seems a shame to even suggest that Taste be classed in any way with that great puddle of British Blues bands.  Everybody else is just wood shedding.  Taste have arrived.”

A European tour culminated on August 28th 1970 at the Isle of Wight Festival and part of Taste’s performance is captured on the documentary film.  In fall, the band made their first major tour of England but although the band was achieving its justified popularity, its members could not get along and the group disbanded   Two live albums were released, Live Taste from the Montreux Casino) as well as from the Isle of Wight.
Gallagher assembled another trio and released his first solo LP very late in 1970.  I picked up a double CD of his BBC work and will present it in an upcoming show, but in two weeks I will be celebrating the first show of my 26th year in this time slot with as close a reproduction as possible of the music played on the very first Key to the Highway show which aired on August 28th 1990.  Here’s to another 25.
Unlike Rory Gallagher, there likely was not a pair of albums I played more often around the time of their release (both 1969) than Stonehenge and Ssssh, the first two sets by Ten Years After in today’s show.  I saw the Alvin Lee-fronted band twice before their historic performance at Woodstock, but after that I thought they went too commercial for my Blues-oriented tastes.  Still, I was able to make an enjoyable set from the next two albums, Cricklewood Green (actually recorded prior to the Woodstock concert) and Watt, both released in 1970
Hear Me Calling
Woman Trouble
Three Blind Mice
I Can’t Live Without Lydia
I’m Gonna Try
Speed Kills
   Ten Years After

Blister on the Moon
Leavin’ Blues
Born on the Wrong Side of Time
Same Old Story
 I’m Moving On

Bad Scene
Two Time Mama
Stoned Woman
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl
The Stomp
I Woke Up This Morning
   Ten Years After

What’s Going On
Railway and Gun
It’s Happened Before, It’ll Happen Again
If the Day Were Any Longer
Eat My Words
On the Boards

Sugar the Road
Working the Road
Year 3000 Blues
Me and My Baby
Love Like a Man
As the Sun Still Burns Away
I’m Coming On
·      I Say Yeah   (time permitting)
I’m Gonna Run
   Ten Years After

I Feel So Good
Sugar Mama
Sinner Boy

August 12, 2015

Development of the British Blues and Rhythm
  --- show 33 ---   8-12-2015

Jack Bruce                                     1968-1971
Savoy Brown                               1969 & 1970

As the intended sce of this series has expanded, we find ourselves further and further away from the basic guitar-driven model of the British Blues than ever anticipated and the music of Jack Bruce may be the one causing us to stray the farthest.  Our show-opening set is a three-song BBC broadcast recorded August 10th 1971 and features Jon Hiseman on drums and John Surman on the saxophones

Jack’s next set begins with one tume from the album Things We Like, recorded in August of 1968, and features Bruce along with former Graham Bond band members Hiseman (although his tenure with Bond was after Bruce departed), saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith and guitarist John MacLaughlin (and John was kicked out immediately prior to DHS joining).  The set’s second song, Never Tell Your Mother She is out of Tune, includes Beatle guitarist George Harrison joined by a full horn section of DHS and Art Themen on tenor and soprano saxophones, Henry Lowther and Harry Beckett on trumpets while Hiseman provides the drumming.  The same cast (minus Harrison) are heard on Boston Ball Game (plus trombonist John Mumford) and Ministry of Bag, the latter adding guitarist Chris Spedding to the mix.  A minimized band of Bruce, Spedding and Hiseman perform on Theme for an Imaginary Western

I know better than to try to make sense of the lyrics in Jack’s songs, especially when they are written by Pete Brown; I just listen to his voice as I would any other instrument.  Brown provided his poetic influence on Songs for a Tailor (recorded April to June 1969 and listing Jack on vocals, bass, piano and organ) which provided the last five tunes and Harmony Row (January 1971) whose three included songs close the set.  Only Morning Story came from the original album, Green Hills featuring Spedding on acoustic guitar and Bruce on piano as an alternate version of the album’s Can You Follow and an instrumental demo of Escape to the Royal Wood, which was actually recorded back on Oxtober 6th 1969.

The final Jack Bruce set again comes from a BBC concert, this one from September 18th 1971 and features tunes from the last two albums mentioned with a cast of Marshall, Spedding and Themen plus Graham Bond on keyboards, saxophone and the vocal on Have You Ever Loved a Woman.


Jack’s Gone


Powerhouse Sod

   Jack Bruce

A Hard Way to Go

That Same Old Feeling

Master Hare

Needle and Spoon

A Little More Wine

Is That So

I’m Crying

   Savoy Brown

Sam Enchanted Dick Medley

Never Tell Your Mother She’s Out of Tune

Theme to an Imaginary Western

The Ministry of Bag

Boston Ball Game 1967

*To Isengard (time permitting)

Green Hills (aka Can You Follow?)

Morning Story

Escape to the Royal Wood (On Ice)

   Jack Bruce


Poor Girl

Sunday Night

Sittin’ and Thinkin’

Leavin’ Again


   Savoy Brown

You Burned the Tables on Me

Smiles and Grins

A Letter of Thanks

We’re Going Wrong

The Clearout

Have You Ever Loved a Woman?

   Jack Bruce

Savoy Brown Boogie

   Savoy Brown

July 22, 2015

Development of the British Blues and Rhythm
  --- show 32 ---   7-22-2015
Climax Blues Band                    1969-1972
Chicken Shack part 2               1969 & 1970
Blind Faith                                    1969

In 1967 Colin Cooper, harmonica and vocals as well as saxophones, and Peter Haycock, at the time considered a 16-year-old guitar prodigy sharing in the vocals, were in a soul group playing as the Gospel Truth when they decided to assemble a Blues band.  As Haycock later informed Melody Maker, “We started playing Blues for fun and the thing sort of turned around on us; it became serious.” 

By the time of their debut LP, they had recruited drummer George Newsome, bassist Richard Jones, rhythm guitarist (and occasionally organist or bassist) Derek Holt and keyboardist Arthur Wood and used the band name Climax Chicago Blues Band as the tile of the album.  Between the recording dates of September 27th and November 25th of 1968, Jones had left to return to college so Holt took over all bass duties, and we took the first ten of its twelve tracks in the order originally issued as this show’s opening set.  The disc was put out by Parlophone’s EMI label, who signed the group earlier that year, and was released in February of 1969.

The second album, Climax Blues Band Plays On, was also released in 1969 (recorded in June), and from it Hey Baby, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright, Flight, and Crazy ‘Bout My Baby open today’s fourth set, followed by Please Don’t Help Me, Reap What I’ve Sewed, Alright Blue? and Cut You Loose from the 1970 UK release A Lot of Bottle, which came out with minor differences as The Climax Blues Band in its 1971 American issue.  By the time the album was recorded in four days in August, all but schoolteacher Wood retired from their day jobs to rely solely on their music.  This LP was the first after EMI moved the group to their Harvest label.  Disc and Echo quoted Haycock, “Musically we’re not trying to do really clever things … all we are really is a stomping band.”

With the British Blues wave considered to be ebbing, the band felt that the being labeled as a Blues band was restricting their audience so for their next UK disc, recorded in May and June and tentatively titled Come Stomping, their name was changed to Climax Chicago.

Towards the Sun and That’s All were from that disc, now titled Tightly Knit, released 1971 UK and 1972 US, while our final entries, You Make Me Sick and Shake Your Love, came from the Rich Man album (still going by Climax Chicago in the UK), recorded in August and released in 1972 on both continents.  For the Rich Man sessions, the band was reduced to four members as John Cuffley (formerly a drummer with Cooper and Haycock in Gospel Truth) replaced Newsome as he and Wood left the group. As with many European ensembles of the era, the band ran into difficulties acquiring visas and work permits, therefore cancelling their first American tour scheduled for June of 1972, but they were able to make it later in the year.

While I’ve listed all the individual albums for you, this entire set was taken a “best of” styled CD, The Harvest Years, 69-72.  After these recordings, the band moved from the EMI label but had continued popularity just not in the Blues vein, so I have decided I have sufficient of their music for our purposes.

After pianist and half of the vocal team Christine Perfect left Chicken Shack to pursue her recent marriage to Fleetwood Mac’s bassist John McVie and a solo career of her own, the band was down to a trio led by guitarist / vocalist Stan Webb fronting the rhythm section of drummer Dave Bidwell and bassist Andy Silvester.  Very soon after, Miss Perfect (now Mrs. McVie), was replaced by keyboardist (mostly playing organ) Paul Raymond.  The group stayed together for two albums, matching the output during Christine’s time, and from them come the two sets we hear today.

The September 1969 LP 100 Pound Chicken is the source for today’s first Chicken Shack set and, while The Things You Put Me Through and Maudie were released as 45s, their second set is comprised of tracks from the July 1970 album Accept.  Between the two LPs, the band had toured with Savoy Brown and after the release of the second one Paul Raymond opted to join Savoy Brown after Harry Simmonds, manager of both bands at the time, terminated the entire ensemble of Savoy Brown with the exception of his lead guitarist Kim Simmonds.  This departing trio of Roger Earle, Tone Stevens and Lonesome Dave Peverett was the group that soon would become Foghat.

Toward the end of Cream, there were rumors of Stevie Winwood joining the super-group and that somewhat came true as he joined with Eric Clapton and Ginger Baker in Blind Faith, but after all the hoopla and possibly because Jack Bruce was no longer in the ensemble (bass being played instead by Rick Grech) the resulting album was disappointing.  However, some 45 years later, I found five of the original album’s six tracks worthwhile listening for today’s show.

Mean Old World
Going Down This Road
You’ve Been Drinking
Don’t Start Me Talking
Wee Baby Blues
Twenty Past One
A Stranger in Your Town
How Many More Years
Looking for My Baby
   The Climax Chicago Blues Band  

The Road of Love
Look Ma, I’m Cryin’
Reconsider Baby
Weekend Love
Midnight Hour
Horse and Cart
The Way It Is
   Chicken Shack  

Had to Cry Today
Can’t Find My Way Home
Well All Right
Presence of the Lord
Sea of Joy
   Blind Faith

Hey Baby, Everything’s Gonna Be Alright
Crazy ‘Bout My Baby
Please Don’t Help Me
Reap What I’ve Sewed
Alright Blue?
Cut You Loose
Towards the Sun
That’s All
You Make Me Sick
Shake Your Love
   The Climax Blues Band

The Things You Put Me Through
Telling Your Fortune
Andalucian Blues
Smartest Girl in Town
I’ve Been Mistreated
How Am I Doing It?
   Chicken Shack  

July 8, 2015

Development of the British Blues and; Rhythm
  --- show 31 ---   7-8-2015

Free    (+Dupree)                             1968-70
John Dummer Band                           1969
Duffy Power BBC                      1968-73 + 1994

You might recall that bassist Andy Fraser was dating Alexis Korner’s daughter Sappho  when Alexis referred him to John Mayall.  After a brief period (six weeks) as a Bluesbreaker, Andy joined with drummer Simon Kirke, guitarist Paul Kossoff and vocalist Paul Rodgers as they formed the band Free in April of 1968.  Our first set comes from their debut LP, Tons of Sobs, as well as a tune from a BBC session and a jam that was not released until much later.  All the tunes were recorded in 1968.

Kossoff and Kirke also played on Champion Jack Dupree’s Blue Horizon LP From New Orleans to Chicago, along with Stuart Brooks on bass guitar, all three being members of the Black Cat Bones when the tracks were recorded in April of 1968.  Duster Bennett shows up on My Home is in Hell and Juke Box Jump.  Johnny Almond’s baritone saxophone can be heard on I Haven’t Done No One No Harm.. Both are also on Black Cat Shuffle, this time with Almond on tenor sax.

The band had two more studio albums before Free Live, which may or may not have been recorded all at one concert but was not put together for release until after the band’s decision to break up in 1971.
John Dummer, in his youth a listener to both Blues and Modern Jazz, fronted the band Lester Square and the GTs in 1964 which also included the Yardbirds’ pre-Clapton guitarist Top Topham until they took o9n a stint in Germany.  Upon returning to the U.K., he answered a Melody Maker ad for a band looking for a vocalist (a later similar ad brought in pianist Bob Hall)   The band’s initial lineup had drummer Dave Bidwell, bassist Peter Moody and guitarist Roger Pearce and gigged as The John Dummer Blues Band.

Bidwell left in December of 1965 to move on to Chicken Shack and later Savoy Brown, and when his replacement Dave Elvidge departed in January, Dummer sat himself behind the drum kit while still handling the vocals.  Moody left in March of that year and the quartet now included Dummer, Hall, Pearce and replacement bassist Tony Walker.  Walker’s 14-year-old sister Regine added some vocals on a 1966 recordings which surfaced in 1995.

Hall was in and out of the band as he also became a part of Savoy Brown and maintained his full time day job and Dummer for a while was relieved from drum duties, but the band really took shape when Walker and Pearce left at different times in 1967 and were replaced by bassist Iain “Thumper” Thompson and guitarist Dave Kelly.  Steve Rye played harmonica with them for a short while and was followed by John O’Leary, fresh from his stint with the earliest iteration of the Savoy Brown Blues Band.

One of the band’s gigs was at the popular Nag’s Head Pub including after Mike Vernon took it over and named it after his new record label, the Blue Horizon Club.  As Dummer told Beat Instrumental, ”We were playing semi-Blues things … it was just a simple basic band which we started because of the interest the music held for us.  We were just playing at this club for our own amusement, but gradually it became more important to us.”

The group signed a recording contract with Mercury and decided they wanted to bolster Kelly’s bottleneck style as  Tony McPhee shared both guitar and lead vocal duties with Dave.  In July of 1968 the label released the single featuring Traveling Man and 40 Days and scheduled September for the release of the debut album.  By the time the LP (Cabal) was released in January, McPhee had left to establish his own label and form once again his Groundhogs.  O’Leary also moved on, but both can be heard (along with Dave’s sister Jo Ann on a couple of vocals) on our first Dummer Band set.

Adrian “Putty” Pietryga was brought in by the next recording session and Bob Hall was once again available.  The band’s next 45 was Try Me One More Time, which includes an interesting although uncredited piece of violin work, and Riding at Midnight, noteworthy because the band had a two week English tour that summer backing its author, Howlin’ Wolf.  These tracks were included on the LP when it came out in September 1969 and we include the first seven tracks from the album in order on our second Dummer set.  Shortly after the album’s release, Kelly left the band, citing too much touring and not enough time to write music as the reason, but he did recommend multi-instrumentalist (fiddle, guitar, harmonica, piano and vibes; could he have provided the violin on the second single?) Nick Pickett as his replacement.  As I read up on John Dummer, the new band appears to have moved away from the Blues, so this seems an apropos time to end this segment.

We return for a follow-up with one of our favorite vocalists, Duffy Power, whom we first heard from way back in our fourth episode of this seemingly never-ending saga.  (But that doesn’t mean we’re running out of good music by any stretch of the imagination!)  This set is comprised of BBC takes and includes guitarist Alexis Korner on the first two tracks and sax man Dick Heckstall-Smith on the two that wind up the set.
Walk in My Shadow
Waitin’ on You
The Hunter
I’m a Mover
Guy Stevens’ Blues
   Free   (CD: Tons of Sobs)

I Need Love
Just a Feeling
No Chance with You
After Hours
Young Fashioned Ways
Low Down Santa Fe
When You Got a Good Friend
Welfare Blues
Hound Dog
Daddy Please Don’t Cry
   The John Dummer Blues Band   (CD: Cabal)

A Racehorse Called Mae
Roll On
My Home is in Hell
Black Cat Shuffle
I Haven’t Done No One No Harm
Juke Box Jump
   Champion Jack Dupree
     (CD: From New Orleans to Chicago)

Gin House Blues
Every Day Since You Been Gone
Dusty Road
That’s All Right Mama
City Woman
Little Soldiers
Sky Blues
Little Boy Blue
   Duffy Power   (CD: Sky Blues)

Fire and Water
Ride on a Pony
Mr. Big
Trouble on Double Time
All Right Now
   Free   (CD: Free Live)
Few Short Lines
Bullfrog Blues
Try Me One More Time
Money And Fame
Reconsider Baby
Riding at Midnight
*Memphis Minnie   (time permitting)
Ain’t Gonna Work No More
   John Dummer’s Blues Band
     (CD: John Dummer Band)

June 24, 2015

Development of the British Blues and Rhythm
  --- show 30 ---   6-24-2015

American Folk Blues Festival     1966
John Mayall: USA Union                     1970
American Folk Blues Festival     1967
John Mayall: Jazz Blues Fusion     1972

With the fourth of July coming up before our next show, it’s time again to play some American Blues artists as they traveled across the pond to make the European tour known as The American Folk Blues Festival.  Having already covered the first four editions, we are now set for the 1966 and 1967 lineups.
The set taken from 1966 starts off with a couple of pianists; Roosevelt Sykes returns after his appearance at the last year’s concerts and the lesser known Eurael “Little Brother” Montgomery and both are backed up by this year’s exceptional rhythm section of drummer Freddie Below and bassist Jack Myers.  They were both part of one of Chicago’s most highly respected combo, the Aces, led by Louis Myers (not in this concert) on either harmonica or guitar, depending on who might be fronting the band.
Most notable where Louis was merely the guitarist was when the group backed a couple of harmonica players.  The Myers brothers originally went by the title the Deuces until they came across he jazz-tinged drummer Below, who would have a long career as one of the city’s most sought-after studio men.  As the trio was playing upstairs at a private party, a passerby went up and asked to sit in; this was the start of their time spent backing Junior Wells, a function they were serving at the time of this concert series.  They were with Junior right up to the time Little Walter received recognition enough to depart Muddy Waters’ gigging band (although he was still Muddy’s first choice in the studio) and the band went with him as Little Walter and his Jukes.  It didn’t work out that badly for Wells either as Muddy kept him working as his club harmonica player.
Although Louis Myers is not here, one of the few guitar players to be a better choice would be Otis Rush.  Along the classic lady singers of the Blues would be Sippie Wallace and the “front porch” style of acoustic Blues are represented by Robert Pete Williams and the vocal duo of guitarist Sleepy John Estes and Yank Rachell on mandolin.

This year, instead of mixing in some American artists as they were backed up the local British performers, we will take a listen to a couple of albums where the well known British singer, composer, harmonicist and piano player John Mayall had moved to the States and began using some of this country’s top talent to continue the ever-changing direction of his presentation of the Blues.

When we last saw Mr. Mayall in November, we wound up with his 1968 album, Blues from Laurel Canyon, the first LP where he stopped referring to his band as the Bluesbreakers.  On that disc, he did one song (The Bear) talking about how he had met the southern Californis group Canned Heat, highly relevant to today’s show because two of the players on USA Union came directly from that band. 

Guitarist Harvey Mandel first came to our attention from his appearance on Charlie Musselwhite’s first LP, Stand Back, before he had a few albums under his own name and ultimately wound up with Heat.

For my money, the best Blues bass player is Larry Taylor going back to his days with Canned Heat and through a handful of LPs with Mayall.  The last I heard, “The Mole” was still playing with some of LA’s best Blues bands, most often on standup bass.

We have passed over a couple of albums but will come back to them before the end of this seemingly never-ending project, most notably 1969s Turning Point where Mayall experimented with a drummer-less four piece ensemble.  This is again the model for this album and the interesting choice for the fourth member is violinist Don “Sugarcane” Harris, who had made a minor impact in the R&B world as half of the team Don and Dewey.

For the 1967 concert selections, this one of those live albums that puts the intro to the next song on the tail end of the last one and for that I apologize; it is truly a pet peeve of mine.

Okay, enough complaining already!  For the core of the electric Blues, we have drummer Odie Payne (Jr.?) whom I know from Magic Sam’s band and, I believe before that, Elmore James’, an unfamiliar name in bassist Dillard Crume, the vocals of both guitarist Hound Dog Taylor and harp man Little Walter as well as the fine singing of Koko Taylor, surely Chicago’s best Blues lady of the time.  And plenty on the acoustic side with the guitars and vocals of Bukka White, Son House and Skip James as well as the duo of Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee.  Brownie even throws in kazoo on a couple of the tunes.

Larry Taylor is back again holding down those heavy bottom notes as Mayall takes on an excellent Jazz front line including Freddie Green on guitar, Blue Mitchell on trumpet and Clifford Solomon manning the saxes.  Ron Selico is behind the drum kit and Mayall never tries to restrict his bass player so this album, Jazz Blues Fusion, is probably my favorite of Taylor’s recordings.

We have just completed a successful Blues marathon over the weekend but if you didn’t get a chance to acquire one of the B.B. King t-shirts they will be available probably through the weekend.  Of course, I am always happy to take your calls whether you wish to pledge or not.  Jim Thomas has once again outdone himself and this will be among my favorite Blues marathon t-shirts (and I have all but one from the last 24 years), but don’t take my word for it; check it out at our website,

And so many thanks to all who took part in the marathon this year, from the pledgers to the phone answerers to the DJs to the musicians who played live to the sound man to the many businesses that helped us out one way or another.  And don’t forget Gil de Leon who both opened up and closed down the event; he probably felt like he was here the whole time!

Running the Blues
   Roosevelt Sykes
I Keep on Drinking
   Little Brother Montgomery
You Shouldn’t Do That
   Yank Rachel and Sleepy John Estes
All Your Love
My Own Fault
   Otis Rush
Checkin’ Up On My Baby
Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson
   Junior Wells
Suitcase Blues
   Sippie Wallace
   Robert Pete Williams
Flip Flop and Fly
Roll ‘em Pete
   Big Joe Turner

Nature’s Disappearing
You Must Be Crazy
Night Flyer
Possessive Emotions
Where Did my Legs Go?
Took the Car
Deep Blue Sea
My Pretty Girl
Off The Road
   John Mayall

Aberdeen Blues
   Bukka White
Got a Letter This Morning
   Son House
Hard Luck Child
   Skip James
I’m Gonna Move Across the River
   Brownie McGhee
The Sky is Crying
   Hound Dog Taylor
You Be So Fine
   Little Walter
Wang Dang Doodle
What Kind of Man Is This
   Koko Taylor
Walk On
Rock Island Line
   Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee

Exercise in C Major for Harmonica,
    Bass and Shufflers
Country Road
Mess Around
Dry Throat
*Got to Be This Way (time permitting)
Good Time Boogie
   John Mayall

June 10, 2015

Development of the British Blues and Rhythm
  --- show 29 ---   5-27-2015
Duster Bennett                 1968
Ten Years After               1968

Just some quick, somewhat unorganized notes about today’s show:

We start off today’s show with a recording of a June 28th concert at the Fillmore West by Ten Years After which was provided by one of my listeners and likely unavailable almost anywhere else.  TYA’s first two albums were released in 1968 so this has to be from their first American tour.  We’ll be using Help Me and Spoonful which had appeared in studio form on their 1968 debut LP (simply titled Ten Years After) and on a later set Crossroads, which was recorded during those same sessions but did not appear until Deram released an album of outtakes in 1972.

Sandwiched in between the first two songs is a version of Rock Me Baby, but the vocal is too low in the mix to know how faithfully they followed the original B.B. King version.  If I had the option to not include it in the set I might have gone for that, but the disc I got this from was not divided by title, just one long track of the original concert.  Another fault of the recording is that the bass is too low and only shows up on the three solos Leo Lyons takes, two of which we will hear.  Essentially the guitar is overly dominant but the excesses of Alvin Lee were pretty much what audiences paid to hear, myself included.  I had the pleasure of seeing them twice before the release of their performance at Woodstock, but likely not on this first tour.

The fourth and final song of our opening set is I May Be Wrong, but I Won’t Be Wrong Always, a Count Basie tune (I did not know that until Alvin announced it at the start of the number) which comes from their second release Undead, recorded live at Klook’s Kleek.  Like the Woody Herman tune (Alvin tells us that on the LP) Woodchopper’s Ball,

I opted for the superior musicianship and recording quality of the Undead album.  From that same CD, I’ve chosen Summertime / Shantung Cabbage over the Fillmore version and the Undead original version of I’m Going Home, the tune that kinda made the band famous when they performed it at Woodstock, after which the band went downhill into a pop-rock mode.  So that’s today’s opening and closing sets, but we also have a twenty minute set from their debut studio LP release right in the middle of the show.

I believe there was a lot of criticism of Alvin Lee as just a sped up imitation of Eric Clapton but that was okay by me.  In addition to the outtake Crossroads (which Clapton had done in the studio with the Powerhouse and live with Cream), there were two more songs previously recorded by Eric that appeared on the first lp -- I Want to Know (Powerhouse) and Spoonful (Cream).

I want to thank Mike for providing the Fillmore session and Bobby G for editing it down for me.

I never really knew anything about Duster Bennett aside from the fact that that he was a harmonica playing buddy of Peter Green and that he was often referred to as a tortured soul who authored one of Peter’s favorite songs, Jumping at Shadows.  I often wanted to look into his sound but always had other priorities for my purchases, until I found this comprehensive 2CD set of his Blue Horizon recordings.  I must admit I had been missing out on an interesting part of the late 60s British Blues scene.

Bennett was the only English one man band that I am aware of.  To back up his vocals, Duster would pick his guitar with a harmonica rack resting on his chest while he kept rhythm with a bass drum and hi-hat, but he also played Blues harp in the familiar handheld style when he performed in band situations.

With four exceptions, our first set has Bennett’s one man setup.  On the songs Times Like These, Shady Little Baby and the Magic Sam tune My Love is Your Love, Duster’s guitar and harmonica essentially front Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green, Mick Fleetwood and John McVie.  For Slim Harpo’s Raining in My Heart he is joined by a couple of Blue Horizon label mates from Chicken Shack, drummer Dave Bidwell and Andy Silvester providing more vocal.

Likewise, the second Bennett set is made up of his one man act except Talk to Me and Bright Lights, Big City, which add the Yardbirds pre-Clapton guitarist Top Topham and vocalist Stella Sutton.  The credits also list both Peter Green and Tony Mills on bass guitar.

Duster fell asleep as he was driving home from a gig and died in the ensuing accident.

I May Be Wrong but I Won’t Be Wrong Always
Help Me
Rock Me Baby
   Ten Years After

Hard to Resist
It’s a Man Down There
Trying to Paint it in the Sky
Worried Mind
Jumping at Shadows
Forty Minutes from Town
Times Like These
Got a Tongue in Your Head!
My Love Is Your Love
Raining in My Heart
Shady Little Baby
Jumping for Joy
   Duster Bennett

I Want to Know
Adventures of a Young Organ
Love Until I Die
Feel it for Me
Don’t Want You Woman
I Can’t Keep From Crying Sometimes
Losing the Dogs
   Ten Years After

God Save the Queen / She Lived Her Life
      Too Fast
Just Like a Fish
What a Dream
Just Like I Treat You
Talk to Me
My Babe / She’s My Baby
Honest I Do
Bright Lights, Big City
Fresh Country Jam
   Duster Bennett

Woodchopper’s Ball
Summertime / Shantung Cabbage
I’m Going Home
   Ten Years After