Various Artists – American Folk Blues Festival ’65 (1966)

FrontCover1.jpgThe American Folk Blues Festival was a music festival that toured Europe as an annual event for several years beginning in 1962. It introduced audiences in Europe, including the UK, to leading blues performers of the day such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson, most of whom had never previously performed outside the US. The tours attracted substantial media coverage, including TV shows, and contributed to the growth of the audience for blues music in Europe.

German jazz publicist Joachim-Ernst Berendt first had the idea of bringing original African-American blues performers to Europe. Jazz and rock and roll had become very popular, and both genres drew influences directly back to the blues. Berendt thought that European audiences would flock to concert halls to see them in person.

Promoters Horst Lippmann and Fritz Rau brought this idea to reality. By contacting Willie Dixon, an influential blues composer and bassist from Chicago, they were given access to the blues culture of the southern United States. The first festival was held in 1962, and they continued almost annually until 1972, after an eight-year hiatus reviving the festival in 1980 until its final performance in 1985.
Performances and audiences

The concerts featured some of the leading blues artists of the 1960s, such as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Willie Dixon, John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy Williamson, some playing in unique combinations such as T-Bone Walker playing guitar for pianist Memphis Slim, Otis Rush with Junior Wells, Sonny Boy Williamson with Muddy Waters. The Festival DVDs include the only known footage of Little Walter, and rare recordings of John Lee Hooker playing harmonica.

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The audience at Manchester in 1962, the first venue for the festival in Britain, included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Jimmy Page. Subsequent attendees at the first London festivals are believed to have also included such influential musicians as Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, and Steve Winwood.[citation needed] Collectively these were the primary movers in the blues explosion that would lead to the British Invasion.

Sonny Boy Williamson’s visit to London with the 1963 festival led to him spending a year in Europe including recording the Sonny Boy Williamson and The Yardbirds album,[1] (first released on Star-Club Records in 1965), and recording with The Animals.

On 7 May 1964, Granada Television broadcast Blues and Gospel Train, a programme directed by John Hamp featuring Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Rev. Gary Davis, Cousin Joe and Otis Spann. For filming, the company transformed the disused Wilbraham Road railway station into “Chorltonville”, giving it the supposed appearance of a southern U.S.-style station. About 200 fans were brought by train to the platform opposite the performers. The performance was interrupted by a rainstorm, after which Tharpe performed the gospel song “Didn’t It Rain”.

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Blues musicians who performed on the American Folk Blues Festival tours included Muddy Waters, Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Sippie Wallace, T-Bone Walker, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Memphis Slim, Otis Rush, Lonnie Johnson, Eddie Boyd, Big Walter Horton, Junior Wells, Big Joe Williams, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Willie Dixon, Otis Spann, Big Mama Thornton, Bukka White, Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf (with a band made up of Sunnyland Slim, Hubert Sumlin, Willie Dixon and drummer Clifton James), Champion Jack Dupree, Son House, Skip James, Sleepy John Estes, Little Brother Montgomery, Victoria Spivey, J. B. Lenoir, Little Walter, Carey Bell, Louisiana Red, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Joe Turner, Buddy Guy, Magic Sam, Lee Jackson, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Roosevelt Sykes, Doctor Ross, Koko Taylor, Hound Dog Taylor, Archie Edwards,Helen Humes and Sugar Pie DeSanto.

Many of the concerts were released on a long-running annual series of records, which was collated again for release in the 1990s. (by wikipedia)

And here´s a very special album from this great festival tradition.

Despite the fact that the most of the American Blues Festivals are recorded live, the 1965 edition was done in the studio. This allows combinations which hardly could be achieved in a concert-hall and this album makes frank use of it.

For example, you will hear Buddy Guy not only on guitar, but also on bass behind John Lee Hooker and other artists, or, Eddie Boyd who switched over to organ.

Okay … listen to another milestone of the American Folk Blues Festival … and you will some masters of the Blues !

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Personnel:
Fred Below (drums)
Eddie Boyd (vocals, keyboards)
Fred McDowell (vocals guitar)
Buddy Guy (guitar, vocals, bass)
John Lee Hooker (vocals, guitar)
Big Walter “Shakey” Horton (harmonica, vocals)
Lonesome Jimmy Lee (bass, guitar, vocals)
Doctor Ross (vocals, guitar, drums)
Roosevelt Sykes (piano, vocals)
Big Mama Thornton (vocals)

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Tracklist:
01. Fred McDowell: Highway 61 (McDowell) 3.07
02. J.B. Lenoir: Slow Down (Lenoir) 1.52
03. Big Walter “Shakey” Horton: Christine (Horton) 4.04
04. Roosevelt Sykes: Come On Back Home (Sykes) 2.35
05. Eddie Boyd: Five Long Years (Boyd) 3.18
06. Eddie Boyd: The Big Question (Boyd) 2.52
07. Lonesome Jimmy Lee: Rosalie (Robinson) 2.15
08. John Lee Hooker: King Of The World (Hooker) 3.43
09. John Lee Hooker: Della Mae (Hooker) 4.08
10. Buddy Guy: First Time I Met The Blues (Guy) 4.33
11. Big Mama Thornton: Hound Dog (Leiber/Stoller) 3.21
12. Doctor Ross: My Black Name Is Ringing (Ross) 4.32

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Walter Shakey Horton – With Hot Cottage (1974)

FrontCover1.JPGWalter Horton, better known as Big Walter (Horton) or Walter “Shakey” Horton (April 6, 1921 – December 8, 1981) was an American blues harmonica player. A quiet, unassuming, shy man, he is remembered as one of the premier harmonica players in the history of blues. Willie Dixon once called Horton “the best harmonica player I ever heard.”

Horton was born in Horn Lake, Mississippi. He was playing the harmonica by the time he was five years old.[3] In his early teens, he lived in Memphis, Tennessee. He claimed that his earliest recordings were done there in the late 1920s with the Memphis Jug Band,[3] but there is no documentation of them, and some blues researchers have stated that this story was likely to have been fabricated by Horton. (He also claimed to have taught some harmonica techniques to Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson I, but these claims are unsubstantiated and, in the case of Williamson, who was older than Horton, dubious.)

Like many of his peers, he lived on a meager income during much of his career and endured racial discrimination in the racially segregated United States. In the 1930s he played with numerous blues performers in the Mississippi Delta region. It is generally accepted that he was first recorded in Memphis, backing the guitarist Little Buddy Doyle WalterHorton01.jpgon Doyle’s recordings for Okeh Records and Vocalion Records in 1939. These recordings were acoustic duets, in a style popularized by Sleepy John Estes and his harmonicist Hammie Nixon, among others. On these recordings, Horton’s style was not yet fully realized, but there are clear hints of what was to come. He eventually stopped playing the harmonica for a living, because of poor health, and worked mainly outside the music industry in the 1940s. By the early 1950s, he was playing music again. He was among the first to be recorded by Sam Phillips, at Sun Records in Memphis, who later recorded Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash. For his recordings for Sun, Horton was accompanied by the young pianist Phineas Newborn, Jr., who later was a well-known jazz pianist. Horton’s instrumental track “Easy”, recorded around this time, was based on Ivory Joe Hunter’s “I Almost Lost My Mind”.

During the early 1950s he appeared on the Chicago blues scene, frequently playing with Memphis and Delta musicians who had also moved north, including the guitarists Eddie Taylor and Johnny Shines. When Junior Wells left the Muddy Waters band at the end of 1952, Horton replaced him long enough to play on one session, in January 1953.

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Also known as Mumbles and Shakey (because of his head motion while playing the harmonica), Horton was active in the Chicago blues scene during the 1960s, as blues music gained popularity with white audiences. From the early 1960s onward, he recorded and frequently performed as a sideman with Taylor, Shines, Johnny Young, Sunnyland Slim, Willie Dixon and many others. He toured extensively, usually as a backing musician, and in the 1970s he performed at blues and folk music festivals in the United States and Europe, frequently with Dixon’s Chicago All-Stars. He also performed on recordings by blues and rock stars, such as Fleetwood Mac and Johnny Winter.

walterhorton05In October 1968, while touring the United Kingdom, he recorded the album Southern Comfort with the guitarist Martin Stone (previously with the band Savoy Brown and later a member of the band Mighty Baby). In the late 1970s he toured the United States with Homesick James Williamson, Guido Sinclair, Eddie Taylor, Richard Molina, Bradley Pierce Smith and Paul Nebenzahl, and he performed on National Public Radio broadcasts. Two of the best compilation albums of his work are Mouth-Harp Maestro and Fine Cuts. Also notable is the album Big Walter Horton and Carey Bell, released by Alligator Records in 1972.

He worked at blues festivals and often performed at the Maxwell Street market in Chicago. In 1977, he played on the Muddy Waters album I’m Ready, produced by Johnny Winter. He also recorded for Blind Pig Records during this period. Horton accompanied John Lee Hooker in the 1980 film The Blues Brothers. His final recordings were made in 1980.

Horton died of heart failure in Chicago in 1981, at the age of 60, and was buried in Restvale Cemetery, in Alsip, Illinois.

He was posthumously inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1982. (by wikipedia)

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And here´s a very rare recording with this master of the blues harmonica from the early Seventies (recorded in 1972, published in 1974). He recorded this album with a totally unknown Canadian blues band called “Hot Cottage” (as far as I know this was their only studio album).

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And … this album is one of the lost pearls of Blues … not only because of this great version of “Hound Dog”(with a brilliant Nancy Nash on vocals … you can hear her great voice on “Worried,Worried (a la Chess 1952) ” once more) … but the whole album is a real treasure of the Blues … believe me …  !!!

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Personnel:
Walter Shakey Horton (vocals, harmonica)
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Hot Cottage:
Steve Boddington (guitar)
Bob Derkash (piano)
Brian Koehli (bass)
Nancy Nash (vocals)
Lyndsey Umrysh (drums)

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Tracklist:
01. Big Walter’s Boogie (Horton) 3.06
02. Hard Heated Woman (Horton) 3.53
03. John Henry (Traditional) 0.41
04. Hound Dog (Leiber/Stoller) 2.13
05. Interview (Horton) 1.13
06. They Call Me Big Walter (Horton/Boddington/Derkash/Koehli/Nash/Umrysh) 6.37
07. Looka Here (Miller) 2.34
08. Shakey’s Edmonton Blues (Horton/Boddington/Derkash/Koehli/Nash/Umrysh) 3.32
09. Sugar Mama (Burnett) 3.16
10. Joe Chicago (Horton/Boddington/Derkash/Koehli/Nash/Umrysh) 3.46
11. Worried,Worried (a la Chess 1952) (Horton/Boddington/Derkash/Koehli Nash/Umrysh) 5.35
12. Turkey In The Straw 0.37
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13. Hound Dog & Hard Hearted Woman (great video clip)

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Walter Horton (Big Walter Horton/Walter “Shakey” Horton
(April 6, 1921 – December 8, 1981)

Big Walter Horton & Paul Butterfield – An Offer You Can´t Refuse (1972)

FrontCover1“An Offer You Can’t Refuse” is one of the best blues harmonica compilations put together. Walter Horton’s material on this recording is some of the best music I have ever heard in my life. Horton’s control, note choice, and near endless well of ideas give a textbook example of what every harmonica player (and musician) needs to do in order to be a competent musician.
Horton’s treatment of “Easy” is a bit sparser than the one he did with Jimmy Deberry long ago; he takes a more restrained approach, but still lets it loose on certain parts of the song. Absolutely brilliant work.

“Have a Good Time” is a straight ahead exchange with Robert Nighthawk backing (as throughout the record), Horton lays it hard and down-home through his solos showing just how to treat the song. Horton’s virtue is that he leaves a good amount of space to let his notes breathe through his solos, so that they don’t bunch up and sound insignificant.
“Mean Mistreater” is a slow blues in 1st position that is soulful and pretty. This is how all you harp players need to solo over a slow blues, beautifully done; Nighthawk’s backing is simple and dead-on as well. All you SRV clone twits can learn a thing or two from Robert Nighthawk, it ain’t always about the soloing!

“In the Mood” is an upbeat frisky deal that has Horton throwing notes down with authority. Great singing and solid backing with Horton doing some very hard (yet musical) lines make this alone worth the price of the CD.
“West Side Blues” is a steady, high and lonesome blues feel with very tasteful soloing on Horton’s part. Horton plays the melody through much of this song, but makes it sound wonderful.
“Louise” is another steady feeling blues with Horton singing and dominating; beautiful lines, with acoustic harp make this a winner.

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“Tin Pan Alley” is a sweet lowdown song, Horton’s soloing is slow and well paced.
“Walter’s Boogie” rounds out the Horton section; uptempo, and seriously well done, Horton lays a lesson in tone and control that is near scary at times. Very well done.
The Butterfield section was taken from a 1963 night club gig with Smokey Smothers and Sam Lay. A nice recording, not Butterfield’s best, but a good sneak preview of what was to come from the illustrious Butterfield. A great recording that’s worth your money. If you are learning to play harmonica, this CD should be in your library; it will do more for you than most instructional books could ever do. (an amazon cutomer)

Paul Butterfield

Paul Butterfield’s 1960 high school yearbook photo

An album released on the Red Lightnin’ label in 1972 consisting of one side of Big Walter Horton and the other side with very early Paul Butterfield (1963) (See: Big Walter Horton). Contains six tracks with Butterfield, Smokey Smothers on guitar, Jerome Arnold on bass, and Sam Lay on drums. This was recorded at Big Johns, the North side Chicago club where the Butterfield Band first played in 1963 — some two years before the material on the first Paul Butterfield Blues Band album, which was released in 1965. The six tracks include two instrumentals, “Got My Mojo Working” and the Butterfield-authored tune “Loaded.” Although this is very early Butterfield, the harp playing is excellent and already in his own unique style. The singing is a little rough and heavy sounding. Butterfield fans will want to find this rare vinyl for musical and historical reasons. (by Michael Erlewine)

Recorded live  at the “Big Johns” Club,Wells Street, Chicago, Summer 1963 

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Personnel:

Big Walter Horton:
Big Walter Horton (vocals, harmonica)
Robert Nighthawk (guitar)

Paul Butterfield:
Jerome Arnold (bass)
Paul Butterfield (vocals, harmonica)
Sam Lay (drums)
Smokey Smothers (guitar)

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Tracklist:

Big Walter Horton:
01. Easy (Horton) 3.16
02. Have A Good Time (Horton) 3.18
03. Mean Mistreater (Carr/Horton) 3.03
04. In The Mood (Horton) 3.07
05. West Side Blues (Horton) 3-08
06. Louise (Morganfield) 4.04
07. Tin Pan Alley (Geddins) 2.52
08. Walters Boogie, This Is It (Horton) 2.45

Paul Butterfield:
09. Everythings Gonna Be Alright (Jacobs) 3.40
10. Poor Boy (Horton) 3.53
11. Got My Mojo Working (Morganfield) 3.07
12. Last Night (Jacobs) 4.38
13. Loaded (Butterfield) 2.52
14. One Room Country Shack (Walton) 4.54

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