Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Keep On Moving (1968)

LPFrontCover1Keep on Moving is the fifth album by the Butterfield Blues Band, which was released in 1969. It continues in the same R&B/soul-influenced horn-driven direction as the band’s 1968 album In My Own Dream. Keep On Moving reached number 102 in the Billboard Top LPs chart. (by wikipedia)

Released in 1969, Keep on Moving was the fifth Elektra release by the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. During a four-year span the group’s namesake and leader was the only original member left from their first album in 1965. Morphing in a similar direction as Michael Bloomfield’s Electric Flag, this edition of the Butterfield Blues Band prominently fronted the horn section of David Sanborn on alto sax, Gene Dinwiddie on tenor, and Keith Johnson on trumpet. The band’s direction was full tilt, horn-dominated soul music, first explored on The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw, which took them farther away from the highly regarded gritty blues experimentation of East-West and the duel guitar attack of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop. This album also signaled the final appearance of AACM and Art Ensemble of Chicago drummer Phillip Wilson, whose Butterfield swan song was the collaboration with Dinwiddie on the hippie gospel track Paul Butterfield01.jpg“Love March,” of which an appropriately disjointed live version appeared on the Woodstock soundtrack album. The difference between Butterfield’s 1965 street survival ode “Born in Chicago” (“My father told me ‘son you’d better get a gun”) and “Love March” (“Sing a glad song, sing all the time”) left fans wondering if the band had become a bit too democratic. However, on cuts like “Losing Hand,” some of the band’s original fervor remains. Butterfield’s harp intertwining with the horn section sounds like a lost Junior Parker outtake and the Jimmy Rogers’ penned “Walking by Myself,” is the closest this band comes to the gutsy Windy City blues of its heyday. The remaining tracks aren’t horrible, but tend to run out of ideas quickly, unfortunately making what may have been decent material (with a little more effort) sound premature.  (by Al Campbell)

In fact, this is a superb album …you can hear hwo Butterfield switched from the tradtional Chicago Blues into a great jazz-rock sound ….

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Personnel:
Paul Butterfield (harmonica, vocals, flute on 01.)
Gene Dinwiddie (saxophone, flute, guitar, keyboards, vocals on 01,. background vocals)
Howard “Buzz” Feiten (guitar, organ, french horn on 01., vocals on 09. + 11, background vocals)
Rod Hicks (bass, cello, vocals on 11,,background vocals)
Ted Harris (piano)
Keith Johnson (trumpet)
Trevor Lawrence (saxophone)
Steve Madaio (trumpet)
David Sanborn (saxophone)
Phillip Wilson (drums, vocals on 01., background vocals)
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Fred Beckmeier (bass on 08. + 11.)
Jerry Ragovoy (piano on 08.)

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Tracklist:
01. Love March (Dinwiddie/Wilson) 2.58
02. No Amount Of Loving (Butterfield) 3.14
03. Morning Sunrise (Butterfield/Wilson) 2.41
04. Losing Hand (Calhoun) 3.35
05. Walking By Myself (Lane) 4.31
06. Except You (Ragovoy) 3.53
07. Love Disease (Dinwiddie) 3.29
08. Where Did My Baby Go (Ragovoy) 4.23
09. All In A Day (Hicks) 2.28
10. So Far So Good (Hicks) 2.28
11. Buddy’s Advice (Feiten) 3.21
12. Keep On Moving (Butterfield) 5.02

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Various - 1980

Paul Butterfield (December 17, 1942 – May 4, 1987)

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Lonnie Brooks – Sweet Home Chicago (1975)

FrontCover1Lonnie Brooks (born Lee Baker Jr., December 18, 1933 – April 1, 2017) was an American blues singer and guitarist. The musicologist Robert Palmer, writing in Rolling Stone, stated, “His music is witty, soulful and ferociously energetic, brimming with novel harmonic turnarounds, committed vocals and simply astonishing guitar work.” Jon Pareles, a music critic for the New York Times, wrote, “He sings in a rowdy baritone, sliding and rasping in songs that celebrate lust, fulfilled and unfulfilled; his guitar solos are pointed and unhurried, with a tone that slices cleanly across the beat. Wearing a cowboy hat, he looks like the embodiment of a good-time bluesman.” Howard Reich, a music critic for the Chicago Tribune, wrote, “…the music that thundered from Brooks’ instrument and voice…shook the room. His sound was so huge and delivery so ferocious as to make everything alongside him seem a little smaller.” (by wikipe

The French Black & Blue label was savvy enough to spirit Brooks into a studio when he was touring the continent in 1975 as part of Chicago Blues Festival ’75. As befits the jam-session ambience of the date (pianist Willie Mabon, harpist Mack Simmons, and two-thirds of the Aces are on hand), hoary standards predominate: “Crosscut Saw,” “Things I Used to Do,” “Mama Talk to Your Daughter,” and the ubiquitous title track (which remains a signature song). The omnipresent “The Train and the Horse” returns as well. (by Bill Dahl)

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A prolific musician known for his intense guitar solos and his raspy but strong singing voice, Mr. Brooks told The Chicago Tribune in 1992 that the blues did not come naturally to him at first.

“Then one night, I saw Magic Sam in a little blues club on the South Side,” he said, referring to the blues singer and guitarist born Samuel Maghett. “He went onstage right after he’d gotten into a big fight with his girlfriend, and it was like he was taking it out on his guitar.

“I seen how it came from the heart, so I went home to the basement, and got into that mood that Magic Sam had been in, and the blues came to me.” (nytimes.com)

Oh yes … that´s the Blues and the Blues only !

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Alternate frontcovers

Personnel:
Fred Below (drums)
Lonnie Brooks (guitar, vocals)
Willie Mabon (piano)
Dave Myers (bass)
Little Mac Simmons (harmonica)
Hubert Sumlin (guitar)

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Tracklist:
01. Sweet Home Chicago (Johnson) 5.01
02. Two Guitars Shuffle (Brooks) 6.24
03. Crosscut Saw (Clennan) 5.40
04. Reconsider Baby (Fulson) 3.12
05. Things I Used To Do (Jones) 4.12
06. The Train And The Horse (Brooks) 5.08
07. Crazy About My Baby (Jacobs) 5.32
08. Big Leg Woman (Temple) 3.28
09. Mama Talk To Your Daughter (Brooks) 3.25
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10. Woke Up This Morning (King) 4.11

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Hot Tuna – Live In Japan, 1997 (2004)

EagleFrontCover1.jpgLive in Japan is a live album by Hot Tuna recorded in 1997 in Yokohama, Japan. Originally the band planned to play an electric set as part of their Japanese tour, but the venue in Yokohama was quite small (only holding fifty people) and there wasn’t any room for an electric setup. The band played acoustic, and afterwards Jack Casady suggested to Jorma Kaukonen that the recording was good enough for a new live album. Michael Falzarano and Kaukonen listened to the tape and decided that Casady was right, and a new album was released. The album was Hot Tuna’s last release on Relix Records. In 2004 Eagle Records remastered the album and re-released it with previously unreleased performances of “Parchman Farm”, “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, “Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning” and “Folsom Prison.” Three of the tracks from the initial release were dropped from the remaster: “Hesitation Blues”, “Candy Man” and “Keep on Truckin'”.(by wikipedia)

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Live In Japan is the eighth live Hot Tuna performance released by Relix Records. It was recorded in a cramped club in Yokohama in 1997. The show was an impromptu acoustic set because the club was too small to hold the all the band’s electric equipment. However don’t expect the delicate, interwoven acoustic blues of 1969’s Hot Tuna (Recorded Live). Even though Hot Tuna draws on much of the same material here, the treatments are up-tempo and at times a little muddy. Like many of the Relix offerings, Live In Japan has a bootleg feel that is both immediate and rough. This version of Hot Tuna features Pete Sears, formerly of Jefferson Starship, on keyboards and accordion. He gives Hot Tuna a different dimension that is not always a smooth fit. As usual, though, the finger- picking of Jorma Kaukonen and the rumbling bass of Jack Casady dominate the stage. Their talents remain undiminished. This is an exuberant performance that must have been great to see. But home listeners may find themselves saying, “I guess you had to be there.” (by S. Colby Miller)

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Relix front + back cover

Personnel:
Jack Casady (bass)
Michael Falzarano (guitar)
Jorma Kaukonen (guitar, vocals)
Pete Sears (keyboards)
Harvey Sorgen (drums, percussion)

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Tracklist:
01. Walkin’ Blues (Johnson) 5.16
02. Parchman Farm (Allison) 5.37
03. True Religion (Traditional) 5.20
04. Been So Long (Kaukonen) 3.52
05. Uncle Sam Blues (Traditional) 5.11
06. Vampire Woman (Smith) 2.59
07. Follow The Drinking Gourd (Traditional) 5.05
08. Keep Your Lamps Trimmed & Burning” (Rev. Gary Davis) – 4:19
09. Let Us Get Together Right Down Here (Davis) 3.00
10. Third Week In The Chelsea (Kaukonen) 5.05
11. 99 Year Blues (Daniels) 6.23
12. Ice Age (Kaukonen) 6.38
13. San Francisco Bay Blues (Fuller) 4.25
14. Folsom Prison Blues (Cash) 4.04
15. Mann’s Fate (Kaukonen) 6.09

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Tony Joe White – Tony Joe (1970)

LPFrontCover1.jpgTony Joe White (July 23, 1943 – October 24, 2018) was an American singer-songwriter and guitarist, best known for his 1969 hit “Polk Salad Annie” and for “Rainy Night in Georgia”, which he wrote but was first made popular by Brook Benton in 1970. He also wrote “Steamy Windows” and “Undercover Agent for the Blues”, both hits for Tina Turner in 1989; those two songs came by way of Turner’s producer at the time, Mark Knopfler, who was a friend of White. “Polk Salad Annie” was also recorded by Elvis Presley and Tom Jones.

Tony Joe White was the youngest of seven children who grew up on a cotton farm near Oak Grove, Louisiana. He first began performing music at school dances, and after graduating from high school he performed in night clubs in Texas and Louisiana.

In 1967, White signed with Monument Records, which operated from a recording studio in the Nashville suburb of Hendersonville, Tennessee, and produced a variety of sounds, including rock and roll, country and western, and rhythm and blues. Billy Swan was his producer.

Over the next three years, White released four singles with no commercial success in the U.S., although “Soul Francisco” was a hit in France. “Polk Salad Annie” had been released for nine months and written off as a failure by his record label, when it finally entered the U.S. charts in July 1969. It climbed to the Top Ten by early August, and eventually reached No. 8, becoming White’s biggest hit.

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White’s first album, 1969’s Black and White, was recorded with Muscle Shoals/Nashville musicians David Briggs, Norbert Putnam, and Jerry Carrigan, and featured “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” and “Polk Salad Annie”, along with a cover of Jimmy Webb’s “Wichita Lineman”. “Willie and Laura Mae Jones” was covered by Dusty Springfield and released as a single, later added to reissues of her 1969 album Dusty in Memphis.

Three more singles quickly followed, all minor hits, and White toured with Steppenwolf, Anne Murray, Sly & the Family Stone, Creedence Clearwater Revival and other major rock acts of the 1970s, playing in France, Germany, Belgium, Sweden and England.

In 1973, White appeared in the film Catch My Soul, a rock-opera adaption of Shakespeare’s Othello. White played and sang four and composed seven songs for the musical.

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In late September 1973, White was recruited by record producer Huey Meaux to sit in on the Memphis sessions that became Jerry Lee Lewis’s Southern Roots album.[citation needed] By all accounts,[citation needed] these sessions were a three-day, around-the-clock party, which not only reunited the original MGs (Steve Cropper, Donald “Duck” Dunn and Al Jackson, Jr. of Booker T. and the MGs fame) for the first time in three years, but also featured Carl Perkins, Mark Lindsay (of Paul Revere & the Raiders), and Wayne Jackson plus The Memphis Horns.

From 1976 to 1983, White released three more albums, each on a different label. Trying to combine his own swamp-rock sound with the popular disco music at the time, the results were not met with success and White gave up his career as a singer and concentrated on writing songs. During this time frame, he collaborated with American expat Joe Dassin on his only English-language album, Home Made Ice Cream, and its French-language counterpart Blue Country.

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In 1989, White produced one non-single track on Tina Turner’s Foreign Affair album, the rest of the album was produced by Dan Hartman. Playing a variety of instruments on the album, he also wrote four songs, including the title song and the hit single “Steamy Windows”. As a result of this he became managed by Roger Davies, who was Turner’s manager at the time, and he obtained a new contract with Polydor.

The resulting album, 1991’s Closer to the Truth, was a commercial success[citation needed] and put White back in the spotlight. He released two more albums for Polydor; The Path of a Decent Groove and Lake Placid Blues which was co-produced by Roger Davies.

In the 1990s, White toured Germany and France with Joe Cocker and Eric Clapton, and in 1992 he played the Montreux Festival.

In 1996, Tina Turner released the song “On Silent Wings” written by White.

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In 2000, Hip-O Records released One Hot July in the U.S., giving White his first new major-label domestic release in 17 years. The critically acclaimed The Beginning appeared on Swamp Records in 2001, followed by Heroines, featuring several duets with female vocalists including Jessi Colter, Shelby Lynne, Emmylou Harris, Lucinda Williams, and Michelle White, on Sanctuary in 2004, and a live Austin City Limits concert, Live from Austin, TX, on New West Records in 2006. In 2004, White was the featured guest artist in an episode of the Legends Rock TV Show and Concert Series, produced by Megabien Entertainment.

In 2007, White released another live recording, Take Home the Swamp, as well as the compilation Introduction to Tony Joe White. Elkie Brooks recorded one of White’s songs, “Out of The Rain”, on her 2005 Electric Lady album. On July 14, 2006, in Magny-Cours, France, White performed as a warm-up act for Roger Waters’ The Dark Side of the Moon concert. White’s album, entitled Uncovered, was released in September 2006 and featured collaborations with Mark Knopfler, Michael McDonald, Eric Clapton, and J.J. Cale.

The song “Elements and Things” from the 1969 album …Continued features prominently during the horse-racing scenes in the 2012 HBO television series “Luck”.

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In 2013, White signed to Yep Roc Records and released Hoodoo. Mother Jones called the album “Steamy, Irresistible” and No Depression noted Tony Joe White is “the real king of the swamp.”  He also made his Live…with Jools Holland debut in London, playing songs from Hoodoo.

On October 15, 2014, White appeared on The Late Show with David Letterman alongside the Foo Fighters to perform “Polk Salad Annie”. Pointing to White, Letterman told his TV audience, “Holy cow! … If I was this guy, you could all kiss my ass. And I mean that.”

In May 2016, Tony Joe White released Rain Crow on Yep Roc Records. The lead track “Hoochie Woman” was co-written with his wife, Leann. The track “Conjure Child” is a follow up to an earlier song, “Conjure Woman.”

The album Bad Mouthin’ was released in September 2018 again on Yep Roc Records. The album contains six self-penned songs and five blues standards written by, amongst others, Charley Patton and John Lee Hooker. On the album White also performs a cover of the Elvis Presley song “Heartbreak Hotel”. White plays acoustic and electric guitar on the album which was produced by his son Jody White and has a signature Tony Joe White laid back sound.

White died of a heart attack on October 24, 2018, at the age of 75 (by wikipedia)

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Alternate front + back cover

Tony Joe was the third studio album released by Tony Joe White. It was released on Monument Records and contained the singles “High Sheriff of Calhoun Parrish” and “Save Your Sugar For Me” It was recorded at RCA Victor Studios, Nashville and Lyn-Lou Studios, Memphis in 1970. It was produced by Billy Swan. A mixture of original recordings and covers, it featured White’s versions of “Hard To Handle” made popular by Otis Redding and “Boom Boom” by John Lee Hooker. (by wikipedia)

A true icon of swamp rock, Tony Joe White parlayed his songwriting talent and idiosyncratic vocals into a modestly successful country and rock career in Europe as well as America. And on this album you can hear, why I will call him a criminally underrated musician … he was one of the finest in the white boy blues scene …

Various single sleeves (“Groupie Girl”) from all over the world:

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Personnel:
David Briggs (organ)
Jerry Carrigan (drums)
Sammy Creason (drums)
Tommy McClure (bass)
Norbert Putnam (bass)
Mike Utley (organ)
Tony Joe White (vocals, guitar, harmonica)
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The Nashville Horns & Strings

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Tracklist:
01. Stud-Spider (White) 5.36
02. High Sheriff Of Calhoun Parrish (White) 3.50
03. Widow Wimberly (White) 3.41
04. Conjure Woman (White) 3.58
05. Save Your Sugar For Me (White) 2.20
06. Groupie Girl (White) 3.04
07. Hard To Handle (Redding/Isbell/Jones) 2.52
08. What Does It Take (Bullock/Bristol/Fuqua) 3.40
09. My Friend (Fritts/Oldham) 3.09
10. Stockholm Blues (White) 3.27
11. Boom Boom (Hooker) 7.56

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Tony Joe White (July 23, 1943 – October 24, 2018)

REST IN PEACE !

Chuck Leavell – Back To The Woods (2012)

FrontCover1.jpgChuck Leavell pays homage to the early pioneers of blues piano including Leroy Carr, Little Brother Montgomery, Otis Span, Ray Charles and others. Guest appearances by Keith Richards, John Mayer, Danny Barnes and more.:

Pianist and ace session player Chuck Leavell’s many fans consider him to be a true master of his instrument; his fills and solos possess imagination, lightning-quick twists and turns, imaginative chord voicings, and a very physical attack. His detractors claim he plays far too many notes and plays them loudly, that he cannot be a backing or ensemble player because he always has to stand out. One has to ask this question of the latter group: if these criticisms are accurate, would he be sought out by the Allman Brothers, George Harrison, the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, and the Black Crowes (just to name a few)? Back to the Woods: A Tribute to the Pioneers of Blues Piano is a fine collection of 15 standards from the greats of the blues piano canon, with tunes by Leroy Carr, Little Brother Montgomery, Otis Spann, Memphis Slim, Charlie Spand, and Charlie Calhoun, among others.

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Leavell is backed by Chris Enghauser on upright bass and Louis Romanos on drums throughout, but there is a slew of well-known guests on the session to boot: Danny Barnes plays loads of guitar and banjo, Keith Richards and John Mayer each appear on a couple of tracks (both on Spann’s “Boots and Shoes”), and Randall Bramblett plays saxophone on a few more. Carr is obviously the muse here; five of his tunes are included in this mix, including “Mean Mistreater.” Other highlights include Barrelhouse Buck McFarland’s “I Got to Go Blues,” the title track authored by Spand, and the reimagined Skip James number “If You Haven’t Any Hay.” This is a spirited collection, played and recorded beautifully. If anything, perhaps it’s a bit too clean, but that’s a trifling. The set also includes song annotations by Leavell and a liner essay by blues historian Larry Cohn. (by Thom Jurek)

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Personnel:
Chris Enghauser (bass)
Chuck Leavell (piano, vocals)
Louis Romanos (drums, percussion)
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Danny Barnes (guitar on 04., 07., 13. + 14., banjo on 06., vocals on 13., tuba on 07. + 13.)
David Blackmon (violin on 08.)
Randall Bramblett (saxophone on 05., 10. + 11.)
Davis Causey (guitar on 04., 05., 10. + 11.)
Neal Fountain (guitar on 01., bass on 11.)
Col. Bruce Hampton (vocals on 08.)
John Mayer (guitar on 03. + 09.)
Tom Ryan (saxophone 0n 05. + 11.)
Keith Richards (guitar on 02. + 09.)
Candi Staton (vocals on 10. + 14.)

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Tracklist:
01. No Special Rider (Montgomery) 3.00
02. Evening Train (Carr) 4.10
03. Wish Me Well (Slim) 2.46
04. Low Down Dirty Dog (Carr) 4.24
05. Losing Hand (Calhoun) 3.46
06. Naptown Blues (Carr) 3.41
07. Back To the Woods (Spand) 5.22
08. I Got To Go Blues McFarland) 3.04
09. Boots And Shoes (Spann) 4.02
10. Mean Mistreater (Carr) 5.08
11. Southern Casey Jones (James) 3.39
12. If You Haven’t Any Hay (James) 2.50
13. Memphis Town (Carr) 3.46
14. The Blues Is All Wrong (Manning) 2.45
15. Vicksburg Blues (Montgomery) 3.21

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Muddy Waters – Hard Again (1977)

FrontCover1.jpgHard Again is the twelfth studio album by American blues singer Muddy Waters. It was recorded by producer Johnny Winter.

Released on January 10, 1977, Hard Again was Muddy’s first album on the Blue Sky label after leaving Chess Records, and was well received by critics.

In August 1975, Chess Records was sold to All Platinum Records and became a reissue label only. It was sometime after this when Muddy Waters left the label and he did not record any new studio material until he signed with Johnny Winter’s Blue Sky label in October 1976.

The sessions for Hard Again were recorded across the space of three days. Producing the session was Johnny Winter and engineering the sessions was Dave Still – who previously engineered Johnny’s brother Edgar, Foghat, and Alan Merrill. For the recordings Muddy used his then current touring band of guitarist Bob Margolin, pianist Pinetop Perkins, and drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith. Other backing members during the sessions were harmonicist James Cotton, who performed with Muddy at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1960, and bassist Charles Calmese, who performed with both Johnny Winter and James Cotton in the past.

Three of the songs on the album – “Mannish Boy”, “I Want to Be Loved”, and “I Can’t Be Satisfied” – were re-recordings of songs that were previously recorded for Chess Records. One of the songs recorded, “The Blues Had a Baby and They Named It Rock and Roll, Pt. 2”, was co-written by Brownie McGhee and another song, “Bus Driver”, was co-written by T. Abrahamson.

Hard Again peaked at #143 on the Billboard 200, which was his first appearance on the chart since Fathers and Sons in 1969. The album won the Grammy Award for Best Ethnic or Traditional Folk Recording the year of its release. (by wikipedia)

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After a string of mediocre albums throughout most of the 1970s, Muddy Waters hooked up with Johnny Winter for 1977’s Hard Again, a startling comeback and a gritty demonstration of the master’s powers. Fronting a band that includes such luminaries as James Cotton and “Pine Top” Perkins, Waters is not only at the top of his game, but is having the time of his life while he’s at it. The bits of studio chatter that close “Mannish Boy” and open “Bus Driver” show him to be relaxed and obviously excited about the proceedings. Part of this has to be because the record sounds so good. Winter has gone for an extremely bare production style, clearly aiming to capture Waters in conversation with a band in what sounds like a single studio room. This means that sometimes the songs threaten to explode in chaos as two or three musicians begin soloing simultaneously. Such messiness is actually perfect in keeping with the raw nature of this music; you simply couldn’t have it any other way. There is something so incredibly gratifying about hearing Waters shout out for different soloists, about the band missing hits or messing with the tempos. Hey this isn’t pop music, it’s the blues, and a little dirt never hurt anybody. The unsung star of this session is drummer Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, whose deep grooves make this record come alive. The five-minute, one-chord “Mannish Boy” wouldn’t be nearly as compelling as it is if it weren’t for Smith’s colossal pocket. Great blues from one of the dominant voices of the genre. (by Daniel Gioffre)

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Personnel:
Charles Calmese (bass)
James Cotton (harmonica)
Bob Margolin (guitar)
Pinetop Perkins (piano)
Willie “Big Eyes” Smith (drums)
Muddy Waters (vocals, guitar)
Johnny Winter (guitar, miscellaneous screaming)

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Tracklist:
01. Mannish Boy (Morganfield/McDaniel/London) 5.24
02. Bus Driver (Morganfield/Abrahamson) 7.48
03. I Want To Be Loved (Dixon) 2.21
04. Jealous Hearted Man (Morganfield) 4.25
05. I Can’t Be Satisfied (Morganfield) 3.31
06. The Blues Had A Baby and They Named It Rock And Roll, Pt. 2 (Morganfield/McGhee) 3.36
07. Deep Down In Florida (Morganfield) 5.27
08. Crosseyed Cat (Morganfield) 6.01
09. Little Girl (Morganfield) 7.07

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McKinley “Muddy Waters” Morganfield (April 4, 1913 or 1915 – April 30, 1983)

Otis Rush (& Friends) – Live At Montreux (1986)

FrontCover1.jpgOtis Rush Jr. (April 29, 1935 – September 29, 2018) was an American blues guitarist and singer-songwriter. His distinctive guitar style featured a slow-burning sound and long bent notes. With qualities similar to the styles of other 1950s artists Magic Sam and Buddy Guy, his sound became known as West Side Chicago blues and was an influence on many musicians, including Michael Bloomfield, Peter Green and Eric Clapton.

Rush was left-handed and strummed with his left hand while fretting with his right. However, his guitars were strung with the low E string at the bottom, in reverse or upside-down to typical guitarists. He often played with the little finger of his pick hand curled under the low E for positioning. It is widely believed that this contributed to his distinctive sound. He had a wide-ranging, powerful tenor voice.

The son of Julia Campbell Boyd and Otis C. Rush, he was born near Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1935.

Rush moved to Chicago, Illinois, in 1949 and after being inspired by Muddy Waters made a name for himself playing in blues clubs on the South and West Side of the city. From 1956 to 1958, he recorded for independent label Cobra Records and released eight singles, some featuring Ike Turner or Jody Williams on guitar. His first single, “I Can’t Quit You Baby”, in 1956 reached number 6 on the Billboard R&B chart. During his tenure with Cobra, he recorded some of his best-known songs, such as “Double Trouble” and “All Your Love (I Miss Loving).”

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Cobra Records went bankrupt in 1959, and Rush signed a recording contract with Chess Records in 1960. He recorded eight tracks for the label, four of which were released on two singles that year. Six tracks, including the two singles, were later included on the album Door to Door in 1969, a compilation also featuring Chess recordings by Albert King. Rush went into the studio for Duke Records in 1962, but only one single, “Homework” backed with “I Have to Laugh”, was issued by the label. It was also released in Great Britain as Vocalion VP9260 in 1963. In 1965, he recorded for Vanguard; these recordings are included on the label’s compilation album Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol. 2. Rush began playing in other cities in the United States and in Europe during the 1960s, notably with the American Folk Blues Festival.

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In 1969, his album Mourning in the Morning was released by Cotillion Records. Recorded at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, the album was produced by Michael Bloomfield and Nick Gravenites (then of the band Electric Flag). The sound incorporated soul music and rock, a new direction for Rush.

Otis Rush04In 1971, Rush recorded the album Right Place, Wrong Time in San Francisco for Capitol Records, but Capitol did not release it. The album was finally issued in 1976, when Rush purchased the master from Capitol and had it released by P-Vine Records in Japan. Bullfrog Records released it in the United States soon after. The album has since gained a reputation as one of his best works. He also released some albums for Delmark Records and for Sonet Records in Europe during the 1970s, but by the end of the decade he had stopped performing and recording.

Rush made a comeback in 1985 with a U.S. tour and the release of a live album, Tops, recorded at the San Francisco Blues Festival.

He released Ain’t Enough Comin’ In in 1994, his first studio album in 16 years.[3][6] Any Place I’m Goin’ followed in 1998, and he earned his first Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1999. Rush did not record a new studio album after 1998 but he continued to tour and perform until 2003, when he suffered a stroke. In 2002, he was featured on the Bo Diddley tribute album Hey Bo Diddley – A Tribute!, performing the song “I’m a Man”, produced by Carla Olson. Rush’s 2006 album Live…and in Concert from San Francisco, a live recording from 1999, was released by Blues Express Records. Video footage of the same show was released on the DVD Live Part 1 in 2003.

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In June 2016, Rush made a rare appearance at the Chicago Blues Festival in Grant Park. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel honored Rush’s appearance by declaring June 12 to be Otis Rush Day in Chicago. Due to his ongoing health problems Rush was unable to play, but celebrated on the sidelines with his family who stood around him.

Rush was elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1984.

In 2015, Rolling Stone ranked Rush number 53 on its 100 Greatest Guitarists list.

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The Jazz Foundation of America honored Rush with a Lifetime Achievement Award on April 20, 2018 “for a lifetime of genius and leaving an indelible mark in the world of blues and the universal language of music.”

Rush’s death on September 29, 2018, from complications arising from his stroke in 2003, was announced on his website by his wife Masaki.

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Gregg Parker, CEO and a founder of the Chicago Blues Museum said of Rush: “He was one of the last great blues guitar heroes. He was an electric god”. Writing in The New York Times, Bill Friskics-Warren said, “A richly emotive singer and a guitarist of great skill and imagination, Mr. Rush was in the vanguard of a small circle of late-1950s innovators, including Buddy Guy and Magic Sam, whose music, steeped in R&B, heralded a new era for Chicago blues.” (by wikipedia)

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And here´s an exciting performance at the Montreux Jazz Festival:

Southpaw guitarist Otis Rush made his debut in 1956 with a cover of Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby”, charting his first Top Ten R&B hit. Over the course of his 50-year career, Rush has established himself as one of the premiere bluesmen on the Chicago circuit.

Often credited with being one of the architects of the West side guitar style, Rush’s esteemed status as a prime Chicago innovator is eternally assured by his trademark sound. Blues fans have said that his combination of ringing, vibrato-enhanced guitar work with an intense vocal delivery is powerful enough to force the hair on the backs of their necks upwards in silent salute.

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Otis Rush Live At Montreux 1986 features the Chicago blues legend at his spine-tingling best. For his first appearance at the Montreux Festival, Rush is joined on stage by fellow blues stars Eric Clapton and Luther Allison for a truly special show. The DVD features nearly an hour-and-a-half of performances of Rush classics, including “All Your Love (I Miss Loving)”, “Double Trouble” and many more. (amazon review)

This 1986 concert by Otis Rush was the first of four appeances that the legendary bluesman has made at the Montreux Festival to date. This particular night turned out to be a very special one when he was joined on stage by first Eric Clapton and then Luther Allison as they rockedtheir way through a set of Otis Rush classics and blues standards in a truly unforgettable performance.

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Personnel:
Fred Barnes (bass)
Professor Eddie Lusk (vocals, keyboards)
Anthony Palmer (guitar)
Otis Rush (guitar, vocals)
Eddie Turner (drums)
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Luther Allison (guitar, vocals on 12.)
Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals on 09. – 12.)

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Tracklist:
01. Tops (Rush) 4.37
02. I Wonder Why (Will My Man Be Home Tonight) (London) 7.09
03. Lonely Man (Campbell) 4.28
04. Gambler’s Blues (B.B.King/Pate) 8.58
05. Natural Ball (A.King) 5.37
06. Right Place, Wrong Time (Rush) 6.09
07. Mean Old World (Walker) 5.19
08. You Don’t Love Me (Cobb) 3.45
09. Crosscut Saw (Ford) 7.05
10. Double Trouble (Rush) 5.11
11. All Your Love (I Miss Loving) (Rush) 7.07
12. Every Day I Have The Blues (Chatman) 9.07

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Otis Rush Jr. (April 29, 1935 – September 29, 2018)
RIP and … thanks a lot !!!