B.B. King is introduced in the above clip by Jimmy Walker, of Good Times fame (Dy-no-mite!). The song is of How Blue Can You Get? Below King sings Just a Little Bit of Love on a show hosted by David Steinberg, another 1970s/80s television comedian. David Brenner and Nipsy Russell aren’t far behind.
B.B. King, of course, is one of the most important musicians the U.S. has produced. This is the beginning of the bio at his website:
His reign as King of the Blues has been as long as that of any monarch on earth. Yet B.B. King continues to wear his crown well. At age 76, he is still light on his feet, singing and playing the blues with relentless passion. Time has no apparent effect on B.B., other than to make him more popular, more cherished, more relevant than ever. Don’t look for him in some kind of semi-retirement; look for him out on the road, playing for people, popping up in a myriad of T.V. commercials, or laying down tracks for his next album. B.B. King is as alive as the music he plays, and a grateful world can’t get enough of him. (Continue Reading…)
King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Here is part of the very well written bio at the Hall’s site:
As a guitarist, King is best-known for his single-note solos, played on a hollowbody Gibson guitar. King’s unique tone is velvety and regal, with a discernible sting. He’s known for his trilling vibrato, wicked string bends, and a judicious approach that makes every note count. Back in the early days, King nicknamed his guitar “Lucille,” as if it were a woman with whom he was having a dialogue. In fact, King regards his guitar as an extension of his voice (and vice versa). “The minute I stop singing orally,” King has noted, “I start to sing by playing Lucille.”
There have been many Lucilles over the years, and Gibson has even marketed a namesake model with King’s approval. King selected the name in the mid-Fifties after rescuing his guitar from a nightclub fire started by two men arguing over a woman. Her name? Lucille. (Continue Reading…)
Here is the beginning of Wikipedia’s profile of Room Full of Blues:
Roomful of Blues is an American blues and swing revival big band based in Rhode Island. With a recording career that spans over 40 years, they have toured worldwide and recorded many albums. Roomful of Blues, according to The Chicago Sun-Times, “Swagger, sway and swing with energy and precision”. Since 1967, the group’s blend of swing, rock and roll, jump blues, boogie-woogie and soul has earned it five Grammy Award nominations and many other accolades, including seven Blues Music Awards (with a victory as Blues Band Of The Year in 2005). Billboard called the band “a tour de force of horn-fried blues…Roomful is so tight and so right.” The Down Beat International Critics Poll has twice selected Roomful of Blues as Best Blues Band. (Continue Reading…)
AllMusic takes another tack:
Over the course of their decades-long existence, Roomful of Blues effectively became a franchise unto themselves, built more on a brand-name collective identity than on the voices of the myriad individual members who kept the band a smoothly humming machine. Describing Roomful of Blues that way, however, gives short shrift to the many accomplished musicians who have emerged from the band’s ranks over the years: guitarists Duke Robillard and Ronnie Earl, organist Ron Levy, pianist Al Copley, singer Lou Ann Barton, vocalist/harmonica player Sugar Ray Norcia, and drummer Fran Christina (later of the Fabulous Thunderbirds), to name the most prominent. Plus, the band’s horn section blossomed into a renowned freelancing unit, backing countless other artists both on-stage and in the studio. They’ve evolved over the years, too; from a swinging jump blues revivalist group into expert blues historians with a handle on numerous regional variations: Texas, the West Coast, Chicago, New Orleans, Kansas City. Perhaps the best way to put it is that regardless of who was in the group, Roomful of Bluesjust kept going strong. (Continue Reading…)
Not everyone is a superstar, but there are great musicians all over. Unfortunately, one of them — pianist Ann Rabson — passed away yesterday at age 67. Here is the beginning of the press release from her label, Alligator Records:
Blues pianist/singer/songwriter/guitarist Ann Rabson died on Wednesday, January 30, 2013 in Fredericksburg, Virginia after a long battle with cancer. She was 67. Co-founder of the hugely successful trio Saffire–The Uppity Blues Women, Rabson was a legendary force on the keyboards as well as being a deeply soulful vocalist. She recorded eight albums with Saffire and one solo CD for Alligator Records, and released three solo albums for other labels. Her most recent was 2012′s Not Alone (VizzTone Records). Rabson’s prodigious talent, along with her take-no-guff attitude, struck a chord with music fans around the world. Considered one of the finest barrelhouse blues pianists of her generation, Rabson — an accomplished guitarist since she was a teen — didn’t start playing piano until she was 35. DownBeat magazine said that “Rabson plays bluesy, honky-tonk piano with staggering authority.” (Continue Reading…)
This page on her site mentions what figure to be some great pianists. Above is One Meatball and below is Hopin’ It’ll Be All Right.by
Jan Mark Wolkin’s profile of Mike Bloomfield is affectionate and very interesting. This passage describes Bloomfield’s early exploits in Chicago:
Bloomfield was quickly accepted on the South Side, as much for his ability as for the audiences’ appreciation of the novelty of seeing a young white player in a part of town where few whites were seen. Bloomfield soon discovered a group of like-minded outcasts. Young white players such as Paul Butterfield, Nick Gravenites, Charlie Musselwhite, and Elvin Bishop were also establishing themselves as fans who could hold their own with established bluesmen, many of whom were old enough to be their fathers.
In addition to playing with the established stars of the day, Bloomfield began to search out older, forgotten bluesmen, playing and recording with Sleepy John Estes, Yank Rachell, Little Brother Montgomery and Big Joe Williams, among others. By this time he was managing a Chicago folk music club, the Fickle Pickle, and often hired older acoustic blues players for the Tuesday night blues sessions. Big Joe Williams memorialized those times in the song “Pick A Pickle” with the line “You know Mike Bloomfield…will always treat you right…come to the Pickle, every Tuesday night.” Bloomfield’s relationship with Big Joe Williams is documented in “Me And Big Joe,” a moving short story detailing Bloomfield’s adventures on the road with Williams. (Continue Reading…)
John Lee Hooker recorded music for more than 50 years. Here is the beginning of his website bio:
Born near Clarksdale, Mississippi on August 22, 1917 to a sharecropping family, John Lee Hooker’s earliest musical influence came from his stepfather, Will Moore. By the early 1940′s Hooker had moved north to Detroit by way of Memphis and Cincinnati. Hooker found work as a janitor in the auto factories, and at night, like many other transplants from the rural Delta, he entertained friends and neighbors by playing at “house parties”. He was “discovered” by record storeowner Elmer Barbee who took him to Bernard Besman, who was a producer, record distributor and owner of Sensation Records, Besman leased some of his early Hooker recordings to Modern Records. Among Hooker’s first recordings in 1948, “Boogie Chillen” became a number one jukebox hit for Modern and his first million seller. This was soon followed by an even bigger hit with “I’m In The Mood” and other classic recordings including “Crawling Kingsnake” and “Hobo Blues.” Another surge in his career took place with the release of more than 100 songs on Vee Jay Records during the 1950′s and 1960′s. (Continue Reading…)
Here is the beginning of Wikipedia’s profile of Marcia Ball:
Marcia Ball (born March 20, 1949, Orange, Texas, United States) is an American blues singer and pianist, born in Orange, Texas but who grew up in Vinton, Louisiana. She was described in USA Today as “a sensation, saucy singer and superb pianist… where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet.” The Boston Globe described her music as “an irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp-rock and smoldering Texas blues from a contemporary storyteller.” (Continue Reading…)
Alligator Records, Ball’s label, provides more background:
Marcia Ball is a woman with a reputation. The Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist/vocalist/songwriter is famed worldwide for igniting a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she strolls on stage. Ball’s groove-laden New Orleans boogie and rollicking Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music fans all over the world. But she’s also a master at transfixing her audience with an emotionally rich, passionately sung ballad. The Boston Herald says, “Ball plays masterful, red hot tracks from the Texas-Louisiana border. Her voice can break your heart with a ballad or break your back with a rocker.” (Continue Reading…)
The song above, Play With Your Poodle, is as suggestive as the title suggests. The sax player also manages to sample Rhapsody in Blue amidst the semi-lewdness, which is pretty good. It’s a bit before the one minute mark. The notes say that the clip is from the documentary Rocking the Boat: A Musical Conversation & Journey, which stars the great Delbert McClinton. Below is Louella.by
Amos Milburn died on Jan. 3, according to This Day in Music. He was known for the song One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer, which he recorded in 1953. The song was written by Rudy Toombs and more famously performed by George Thorogood & The Destroyers and John Lee Hooker.
The version above is accompanied by some interesting early beer commercials. Milburn can be seen in this clip singing Bad Bad Whiskey.by
Pinetop Perkins’ Pinetop’s Boogie is above. Below is Down in Mississippi.
Here is the beginning of Perkins’ bio:
Pinetop Perkins was one of the last great Mississippi bluesmen. He began playing blues in the late 1920s, and is widely regarded as one of the best – and certainly most enduring – blues pianists. He has forged a style that has influenced three generations of piano players, and continues to be the yardstick by which great blues pianists are measured.
Born Willie Perkins in Belzoni, Mississippi in 1913, Pinetop started out playing guitar and piano at house parties and honky-tonks, but dropped the guitar in the 1940s after sustaining a serious injury in his left arm. He worked primarily in the Mississippi Delta throughout the 1930s and ‘40s, spending three years with Sonny Boy Williamson on the King Biscuit Time radio show on KFFA in Helena, Arkansas. Pinetop also toured extensively with slide guitar player Robert Nighthawk and backed him on an early Chess session. After briefly working with B.B. King in Memphis, Perkins barnstormed the South with Earl Hooker during the early ‘50s. The pair completed a session for Sam Phillips’ famous Sun Records in 1953. It was at this session that he recorded his version of “Pinetop’s Boogie Woogie,” a song originally written and recorded by pianist Clarence “Pinetop” Smith – the influential blues pianist who had died from a gunshot wound at age 24 in 1929. Although referred to as “Pinetop” when he played on King Biscuit in the 40s, it was his sensational version of this song that secured his lifelong nickname. Continue Reading…
Here is Perkins’ New York Times obituary from March 21, 2011, which is the same day he died.by