Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated – Red Hot From Alex (1964)

FrontCover1Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner (19 April 1928 – 1 January 1984), known professionally as Alexis Korner, was a British blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as “a founding father of British blues”. A major influence on the sound of the British music scene in the 1960s, Korner was instrumental in the formation of several notable British bands including The Rolling Stones and Free.

After the war, Korner played piano and guitar (his first guitar was built by friend and author Sydney Hopkins, who wrote Mister God, This Is Anna) and in 1949 joined Chris Barber’s Jazz Band[8] where he met blues harmonica player Cyril Davies. They started playing together as a duo, started the influential London Blues and Barrelhouse Club in 1955 and made their first record together in 1957. Korner made his first official record on Decca Records DFE 6286 in the company of Ken Colyer’s Skiffle Group. His talent extended to playing mandolin on one of the tracks of this rare British EP, recorded in London on 28 July Alexis Korner011955. Korner encouraged many American blues artists, previously virtually unknown in Britain, to perform at the London Blues and Barrelhouse Club, which he established with Davies at the Round House pub in Soho.

Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated, or simply Blues Incorporated, were an English blues band formed in London in 1961, led by Alexis Korner and including at various times Jack Bruce, Charlie Watts, Terry Cox, Davy Graham, Ginger Baker, Art Wood, Long John Baldry, Ronnie Jones, Danny Thompson, Graham Bond, Cyril Davies, Malcolm Cecil, Dick Heckstall-Smith and Mick Jagger.

Korner (1928–1984) was a member of Chris Barber’s Jazz Band in the 1950s, and met up with Cyril Davies (1932–1964) who shared his passion for American blues. In 1954 they teamed up as a duo, began playing blues in London jazz clubs, and opened their own club, the London Blues and Barrelhouse Club, where they featured visiting bluesmen from America. The club embraced aspiring young musicians, including in its early days Charlie Watts, Long John Baldry, and Jack Bruce.

In 1961 Korner and Davies formed Blues Incorporated, the first amplified R&B band in Britain, and brought in singer Baldry (sometimes replaced by Art Wood), drummer Watts, bassist Bruce, and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. It was an informal band: its membership was intended to be fluid.

On 17 March 1962, Korner and Davies established a regular “Rhythm and Blues Night” at the Ealing Jazz Club. This brought together many more fans of blues and R&B music including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Eric Clapton, Rod Stewart, Paul Jones, John Mayall, Zoot Money, and Jimmy Page, some of whom would occasionally sit in on Blues Incorporated performances. Watts left the group around this time to join the Rolling Stones and suggested Ginger Baker as his replacement.

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From 3 May 1962, Blues Incorporated secured a Thursday-night residency at the Marquee Club, which brought them to the attention of record producer and promoter Jack Good who arranged a recording contract with Decca Records resulting in the LP R&B from the Marquee, released in late 1962. The album was actually recorded in the Decca studio and featured Baldry as lead singer with songs by Muddy Waters, Jimmy Witherspoon and Leroy Carr.

Late in 1962 Davies disagreed with Korner’s intention to add a brass section to the band and turn more towards jazz than blues, so left to form his own group, the Cyril Davies All-Stars, and was replaced by Graham Bond. Blues Incorporated found a new residency at the Flamingo club but, shortly afterwards, Bond, Bruce and Baker left to form the Graham Bond Organisation.

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Blues Incorporated concentrated on live work rather than recording and the group only released two singles on Parlophone, “I Need Your Loving” / “Please Please Please Please” (1964) and “Little Baby” / “Roberta” (1965). In 1964 they released the LPs At The Cavern and Red Hot From Alex, with American Herbie Goins as lead singer and Danny Thompson, later of Pentangle, on bass. By the time of the group’s last album Sky High (credited to Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated) in 1965, the group included Duffy Power on vocals. Korner dissolved the group in 1966. (wikipedia)

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And here´s his second album with his Blues Incorporated:

One of Alexis Korner’s better and more obscure albums, Red Hot From Alex, features the 1964 version of Blues Incorporated, supported by alumnus Dick Heckstall-Smith on tenor sax on a handful of tracks, recreating their live sound in the studio. The results are reasonably successful, the group at times achieving a fairly intense, swinging ensemble sound that, at its best, carries an infectious level of excitement. This band’s sound is a lot slicker throughout than that of the version of Blues Incorporated that played the Marquee Club in 1962 and 1963 and left behind the album R&B From The Marquee. The opener, “Woke Up This Morning,” has a convincingly funky sound, driven by Herbie Goins’ vocals, and a fairly together rhythm section, though Dave Castle’s alto sax seems a little too lightweight to pull off the authenticity. The group leaps back to somewhat purer blues on “Skippin’,” featuring Heckstall-Smith’s tenor, Korner playing some suitably animated rhythm guitar, and Ron Edgeworth aggressively attacking his organ. The first minute of “Herbie’s Tune” offers a great showcase for Korner’s guitar, soon joined by Heckstall-Smith’s sax, and Edgeworth’s organ, while “Stormy Monday” throws a flute into an otherwise similar mix — one can easily imagine Brian Jones dueting with Korner on those cuts.

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The only real flaw in the album, apart from an over-reliance on jazz at the expense of blues, is the lack of any real charismatic presence within the band, vocally or instrumentally — “Stormy Monday” shows off the group to best advantage, with Korner in the spotlight playing some of the flashiest and most compelling blues licks of his career, and if the album could have had a few more tracks like that, it just might have found an audience not far from the listenership that John Mayall and Graham Bond were cultivating; a little too much of what surrounds the blues here, however, is significantly less exciting jazz, played well enough, but otherwise not really terribly diverting — “Roberta,” “It’s Happening,” and “Jones” probably went over big at the group’s club dates, but just don’t make for great moments on record, and Korner’s own “Cabbage Greens,” showcasing his low-wattage guitar pyrotechnics (which just might prove refreshing to those weary of, or only versed in, the Jimi Hendrix/Jimmy Page school of blues guitar) and Edgeworth’s organ playing, isn’t much more interesting. “Chicken Shack” is the track that best captures the group’s sound at its most engaging, and the album is a welcome document of their work, but it’s more of a historic curio than an essential acquisition, on a musical par with, say, John Mayall Plays John Mayall. (by Bruce Eder)


Dave Castle (saxophone)
Ron Edgeworth (keyboards)
Barry Howten (drums)
Alexis Korner (guitar)
Art Theman (saxophone)
Danny Thompson (bass)
Herbie Goins (vocals, percussion on 01., 04.,- 06. + 10.)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone on 02., 03. + 09.)

A German reissue:

01. Woke Up This Morning (King) 2.37
02. Skippin’ (Korner) 2.14
03. Herbie’s Tune (Korner) 4.00
04. Stormy Monday (Walker) 4.40
05. It’s Happening (Bond) 2.06
06. Roberta (Koprner) 2.26
07. Jones (Terry/Ellington) 3.52
08. Cabbage Greens (Korner) 2.10
09. Chicken Shack (Smith) 2.01
10. Haitian Fight Song (Mingus) 3.32



Alternate edition:

More from Alexis Korner:

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Alexis Korner – Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Testament) (1980)

FrontCover1Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner (19 April 1928 – 1 January 1984), known professionally as Alexis Korner, was a British blues musician and radio broadcaster, who has sometimes been referred to as “a founding father of British blues”.

A major influence on the sound of the British music scene in the 1960s, Korner was instrumental in the formation of several notable British bands including The Rolling Stones and Free.

Korner died of lung cancer aged 55 years, on 1 January 1984. He was survived by a daughter, singer Sappho Gillett Korner (died 2006) and two sons, guitarist Nicholas ‘Nico’ Korner (died 1988) and sound engineer Damian Korner (died 2008). (wikipedia)

And here´s a rare live recording he did together with the great Colin Hodkginson on bass:

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Korner working acoustically in the company of another guitarist (who plays electric) and bassist in Paris in 1993. The crowd is largely folkie restrained as Korner delivers a laid-back performance of standards like “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer”,”Stump Blues” “High-Heel Sneakers” or  “32-20 Blues” with several of his originals fleshing things out. The recording quality is good and Korner and company turn in an enjoyable — and very British — set of blues and R&B in the grand old tradition. (by Cub Koda)


As always, Alexis played his archaic form of the blues here …like his great idols of the pre World War II blues era

Recorded live at La Chapelle des Lombards, Pais/France, March 1980


Colin Hodkginson (bass, vocals)
Alexisk Korner (guitar vocals)

Alternate frontcovers:

01. One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer (Toombs) 2.58
02. Stump Blues (Boonzy) 4.56
03. Stream Line Train (Nelson/Lofton) / My Babe (Dixon) 5.26
04. 32-20 Blues (Johnson) 5.06
05. High-Heel Sneakers (Higginbotham) 4.31
06. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) 7.13
07. Mary Open The Door (Power) 6.10


  • (coming soon)

More from Alexis Korner:

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Alexis Korner & Snape – The Accidental Band (Accidentally Borne In New Orleans) (1972)

FrontCover1Without Alexis Korner, there still might have been a British blues scene in the early 1960s, but chances are that it would have been very different from the one that spawned the Rolling Stones, nurtured the early talents of Eric Clapton, and made it possible for figures such as John Mayall to reach an audience. Born of mixed Turkish/Greek/Austrian descent, Korner spent the first decade of his life in France, Switzerland, and North Africa, and arrived in London in May of 1940, just in time for the German blitz, during which Korner discovered American blues. One of the most vivid memories of his teen years was listening to a record of bluesman Jimmy Yancey during a German air raid. “From then on,” he recalled in an interview, “all I wanted to do was play the blues.”

After the war, Korner started playing piano and then guitar, and in 1947 he tried playing electric blues, but didn’t like the sound of the pick-ups that were then in use, and returned to acoustic playing. In 1949, he joined Chris Barber’s Jazz Band and in 1952 he became part of the much larger Ken Colyer Jazz Group, which had merged with Barber’s band. Among those whom Korner crossed paths with during this era was Cyril Davies, a guitarist and harmonica player. The two found their interests in American blues completely complementary, and in 1954 they began making the rounds of the jazz clubs as an electric blues duo. They started the London Blues and Barrelhouse Club, where, in addition to their own performances, Korner and Davies brought visiting American bluesmen to listen and play. Very soon they were attracting blues enthusiasts from all over England.

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Korner and Davies made their first record in 1957, and in early 1962, they formed Blues Incorporated, a “supergroup” (for its time) consisting of the best players on the early-’60s British blues scene. Korner (guitar, vocals), Davies (harmonica, vocals), Ken Scott (piano), and Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone) formed the core, with a revolving membership featuring Charlie Watts or Graham Burbridge on drums, Spike Heatley or Jack Bruce on bass, and a rotating coterie of guest vocalists including Long John Baldry, Ronnie Jones, and Art Wood (older brother of Ron Wood). Most London jazz clubs were closed to them, so in March of 1962 they opened their own club, which quickly began attracting large crowds of young enthusiasts, among them Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, and Brian Jones, all of whom participated at some point with the group’s performances; others included Ian Stewart, Steve Marriott, Paul Jones, and Manfred Mann. In May of 1962, Blues Incorporated was invited to a regular residency at London’s Marquee Club, where the crowds grew even bigger and more enthusiastic. John Mayall later credited Blues Incorporated with giving him the inspiration to form his own Bluesbreakers group.

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Record producers began to take notice, and in June of 1962 producer Jack Good arranged to record a live performance by the band. The resulting record, R&B from the Marquee, the first full-length album ever made by a British blues band, was released in November of 1962. The album consisted of largely of American standards, especially Willie Dixon numbers, rounded out with a few originals. At virtually the same time that Blues Incorporated’s debut was going into stores, Cyril Davies left the group over Korner’s decision to add horns to their sound. Korner soldiered on, but the explosion of British rock in 1963, and the wave of blues-based rock bands that followed, including the Rolling Stones, the Animals, and the Yardbirds undercut any chance he had for commercial success. His more studied brand of blues was left stranded in a commercial backwater — there were still regular gigs and recordings, but no chart hits, and not much recognition. While his one-time acolytes the Rolling Stones and the Cream made the front pages of music magazines all over the world, Korner was relegated to the blues pages of England’s music papers, and, though not yet 40, to the role of “elder statesman.”

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For a time, Korner hosted Five O’Clock Club, a children’s television show that introduced a whole new generation of British youth to American blues and jazz. He also wrote about blues for the music papers, and was a detractor of the flashy, psychedelic, and commercialized blues-rock of the late ’60s, which he resented for its focus on extended solos and its fixation on Chicago blues. He continued recording as well, cutting a never-completed album with future Led Zeppelin vocalist Robert Plant in early 1968. Korner’s performing career in England was limited, but he could always play to large audiences in Europe, especially in Scandinavia, and there were always new Korner records coming out. It was while touring Scandinavia that he first hooked up with vocalist Peter Thorup, who became Korner’s collaborator over the next several years in the band New Church. After his dismissal from the Rolling Stones, Brian Jones considered joining New Church; Korner, however, rejected the idea, because he didn’t want his new band to be caught up in any controversy. In 1972, he became peripherally involved in the breakup of another band, inheriting the services of Boz Burrell, Mel Collins, and Ian Wallace when they quit King Crimson.

Alexis Korner04It was during the ’70s that Korner had his only major hit, as leader (with Peter Thorup) of the 25-member big-band ensemble CCS. Their version of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” charted in England, and led to a tour and television appearances. In response, Korner released Bootleg Him, a retrospective compiled from tapes in his personal collection, including recordings with Robert Plant, Mick Jagger, and Charlie Watts. Korner played on the “supersession” album B.B. King in London, and cut his own, similar album, Get Off My Cloud, with Keith Richards, Peter Frampton, Nicky Hopkins, and members of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band. When Mick Taylor left the Rolling Stones in 1975, Korner was mentioned as a possible replacement, but the spot eventually went to Ron Wood. In 1978, for Korner’s 50th birthday, an all-star concert was held featuring Eric Clapton, Paul Jones, Chris Farlowe, and Zoot Money, which was later released as a video.

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In 1981, Korner formed the last and greatest “supergroup” of his career, Rocket 88, featuring himself on guitar, Jack Bruce on upright bass, Ian Stewart on piano, and Charlie Watts on drums, backed by trombonists and saxmen, and one or two additional keyboard players. They toured Europe and recorded several gigs, the highlights of which were included on a self-titled album released by Atlantic Records. In contrast to the many blues-rock fusion records with which Korner had been associated, Rocket 88 mixed blues with boogie-woogie jazz, the group’s repertory consisting largely of songs written by W. C. Handy and Pete Johnson.

After a well-received appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival in the early ’80s, there were rumors afterward that he intended to become more active musically, but his health was in decline by this time. A chain smoker all of his life, Korner died of lung cancer at the beginning of 1984. (by Bruce Eder)
Alexis Korner07Some great musicians were playing the 1972 New Orleans circuit when they serendipitously got together and jammed. That association lead to this outstanding album. It is my favorite album. Every song is a gem. If you like Blues you’ll love this album. If you like Rock, you’ll love this album too. Alexis Korner’s throaty vocals enhance both traditional tunes and those he authored, along with great harmony and musical backing by some terrific talent. Play any song, and I’m sure you’ll want to hear more. (by Gary Shelton)

The US edition “Accidentally Borne In New Orleans” (1973):

Alexis Korner was a down and dirty bluesman. He wasn’t afraid to throw himself into his music completely, even if it meant at times sounding raw and unrehearsed. That’s not the case in these sessions. Recorded with a pickup band from members of King Krimson (who allegedly walked off their tour with Mr. Fripp to play with Alexis), these sessions are tight and flawless.


The arrangements are tight, and Alexis’s signature Gallois tobacco voice out on top. Simply great tracks. If you want to know what they really sounded like live, you can hunt down the live double vinyl set that was issued only in Germany. There you’ll get the loose music that made Alexis Alexis. Here you’ll get polished, well crafted songs from the master of British blues. (J. Murry Middleton)

One of the finest Alxis Korner albums ever !

Recorded at Wally Heider Studios, San Francisco/Island Studios, London, April-July 1972


Boz Burrell (bass)
Mel Collins (saxophone, flute, piano)
Alexis Korner (vocals, guitar)
Peter Thorup (guitar, slide-guitar, vocals)
Ian Wallace (drums)
Tim Hinkley (piano on 07.)
Stevie Marriott (organ on 08.)
Zoot Money (piano on 01.)
background vocals:
Mike Patto – Olly Halsall – Sappho Korner – Stevie Marriott – Tim Hinkley


01. Gospel Ship (Traditional) 3.35
02. One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer (Toombs) 3.04
03. Sweet Sympathy (Korner) 3.53
04. Rock Me (Traditional) 6.30
05. Don’t Change On Me (Reeves/Holiday) 3.46
06. You Got The Power (To Turn Me On) (Chambers) 4.45
07. Lo And Behold (Taylor) 6.56
08. Country Shoes (Korner) 4.11



Read the very intersting and detailed liner notes by drummer Ian Wallace !

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Alexis Korner – Live In Bremen (1971)

FrontCover1.jpgWithout Alexis Korner, there still might have been a British blues scene in the early 1960s, but chances are that it would have been very different from the one that spawned the Rolling Stones, nurtured the early talents of Eric Clapton, and made it possible for figures such as John Mayall to reach an audience. Born of mixed Turkish/Greek/Austrian descent, Korner spent the first decade of his life in France, Switzerland, and North Africa, and arrived in London in May of 1940, just in time for the German blitz, during which Korner discovered American blues. One of the most vivid memories of his teen years was listening to a record of bluesman Jimmy Yancey during a German air raid. “From then on,” he recalled in an interview, “all I wanted to do was play the blues.”

After a well-received appearance at the Cambridge Folk Festival in the early ’80s, there were rumors afterward that he intended to become more active musically, but his health was in decline by this time. A chain smoker all of his life, Korner died of lung cancer at the beginning of 1984. (by Bruce Eder)

And here´s a pretty good and extremly rare and good broadcast recording from 1971 …

… it´s another item from my large tape collection.

And you can hear this very special blues musician … who was so important for the Blues scene in UK.

And all the stage announcements are in German, because Alexis Korner´s mother comes from Austria.

Enjoy this rarity !

Recorded live at the Theater am Goetheplatz, Bremen/Germany,
June 6, 1971


Alexis Korner (guitar, vocals)
Zoot Money (piano, vocals, guitar)
Peter Thorup (guitar, vocals)


01. Mary Open The Door (Power) 5.57
02. Tuning 0.58
03. Mighty Mighty (Spade And Whitey) (Mayfield) 7.25
04. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Traditional) 5.53
05. Going Down Slow (Oden) 3.34
06. Announcement 0.19
07. It Ain´t Easy (Davies) 3.35
08. Cannon Ball Blues (Rider/Morton/Bloom) 2.30
09. You Got The Power (To Turn Me On) (Chambers) 8.14
10. Lo And Behold (Taylor) 6.24
11. Six Days On The Road (Montgomery/Greene) 3.32
12. The Wind Cries Mary (Hendrix) 4.39
13. Live in Bremen (uncut edition) (Part 1) 30.51
14. Live in Bremen (uncut edition) (Part 2) 23.31



Alexis Korner – A New Generation Of Blues (1968)

FrontCover1In 1968, Alexis Korner found himself in a strange position. What little commercial success he’d archived as a Blues musician seemed to be disappearing out of sight, as his album sold fewer and fewer copies. And as he’d taken Blues Incorporated into increasingly Jazzy areas, he’d been overtaken by the new British Blues boomers like John Mayall, Fleetwood Mac and Chicken Shack, who all majored on the sort of guitar pyrotechnics Alexis was never going to aspire to. Consequently, that year Alexis somehow found himself working the Folk circuit for the first time in many years, in addition to the traditional Jazz and Blues clubs.

Yet as the ‘Blues guru’ of Britain, his star had never shone brighter. Guests at his 40th birthday party in April had included Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithful, John Mayall and Ginger Baker had jammed together, Charlie Watts chatted with Alexis’ children, and Ornette Coleman drifted around talking with the many other celebrities who’d turned up. Alexis had also narrated a film about Jimi Hendrix, See My Music Talking, fronted a three part radio series about British Blues, kicked off a new R&B series on the BBC World Service, and began what became a very lucrative career in advertising, blessed, as he was, with a signature voice straight from three o’clock in the morning.

However, Alexis didn’t abandon his recording career – not least because a handy, if modest, Advance was always on offer, and he had a family to provide for. At the time, Alexis was associated with the Bryan Morrison Agency. As well as providing agent services, Morrison also shared management duties with Alexis to promote a new band whom Alexis had discovered, called Free. Within this arrangement, Alexis signed a production deal with Morrison for an album, called New Generation Of Blues – to be released on the Liberty label, which listed other Blues acts on its roster like The Groundhogs, the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation and Canned Heat.


The big question for Alexis was, who could he get to play on his new record? Since the demise of Blues Inc, he was working without a regular band, whilst most of the musicians who’d started out with him were now in their own well-established bands. Moreover, the business had moved on. Unlike the Jazz world, it was very hard for what were now Rock musicians to just turn up on one another’s records without managers and record companies becoming extremely pissed off. So, once again, it was to Jazz that Alexis turned. But he had a problem here as well. The obvious choice would be the last rhythm section, who’d made up the final incarnation of Blues Incorporated; bassist Danny Thompson and drummer Terry Cox. But that association had ended acrimoniously a year ago. The reason? Money. It was almost written into the contract that bandleaders would fall out with the other musicians over money. The employees would always gripe that the leader was taking too much of a share; the leader would complain that ‘they’ never understood that he had all the extras to pay – transport, PA and so on. Alexis, though, seemed especially difficult to deal with over money, and the big bust-up came when a cheque he gave to Danny Thompson bounced.

BroxIn truth, storm clouds had already been gathering. The band, plus saxophonist/flautist Ray Warleigh, had a reasonably full date sheet; but much of this was hardly more than cabaret work and when Alexis had refused to play the Hilton Hotel many months earlier, Blues Inc was no more. By 1968, both Thompson and Cox were spearheading the new phenomenon of Folk-Rock with Pentangle, but still Alexis managed to sweet talk them both – and Ray Warleigh, plus pianist Steve Miller – into interrupting their busy schedules to lay some tracks down intermittently over March-April at the Sound Techniques Studio, which in due course came together as A New Generation Of Blues.

The opening track, ‘Mary Open The Door’, was written by Duffy Power, arguably one of the most underrated Blues singers this country has ever produced. Born Ray Howard, Duffy became part of Larry Parnes’ Rock’n’Roll stable, which included Marty Wilde and Billy Fury. But after a series of failed singles, gruelling tours and disillusionment with Parnes’ questionable management tactics, Duffy quit Rock’n’Roll and moved into the Blues/Jazz scene. He recorded The Beatles’ ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ with Graham Bond, plus some remarkable Jazz/Blues material with the likes of John McLaughlin, Phil Seaman and the rhythm sections of Bruce/Baker and Thompson/Cox, all of which was criminally ignored and he slipped into bouts of despair and drug-driven mental illness. He played & sang with Alexis in Blues Incorporated – even appearing with them on their dreaded Five O’clock Club TV show residency (on which Duffy was famously once caught smoking a huge joint – he’d thought he was out of camera shot!). He was also heavily featured on Sky High (check out CMRCD 1416), on which he took lead vocals on several tracks, in addition to playing harp. But he had a strained relationship with Alexis who, according to Duffy, took one of his songs and credited himself with its composition – and call him ‘Duff’, which irritated Duffy considerably. Nor could Duffy understand why Alexis asked him to stand down for some songs during live performances. Yet they remained friends until Alexis’ death. Duffy recalls that ‘Mary Open The Door’ had been inspired by a relationship he had with a girl, whose boyfriend came round one day and hammered on the door yelling to be let in.


A New Generation Of Blues has a production feel at once more subtle and more substantial than Alexis’ previous two albums, I Wonder Who and Sky High, with excellent support from his former band members – whatever their previous differences. Indeed, the stripped-down, off-stark production, with Ray Warleigh’s flute adding a light, airy feel (most notably on the first two tracks), lent the album a rather ethereal tone, something which was invariably observed in the album’s album’s reviews. But equally, there were timeless songs full of Blues passion, like ‘Go Down Sunshine’ and the achingly-beautiful ‘The Same For You’ (Alexis’ long recording career is dotted liberally with real gems like these – often a perfect synthesis of a man and his guitar – which, taken together, could perhaps yet make a creditable Alexis Unplugged album). He delivers a pair couple of fine, contemporary R&B covers in the shape of Freddie King’s ‘I’m Tore Down’ (which got Side Two off to a truly magnificent start) and Chris Kenner’s much-travelled ‘Something You Got’, although some reviewers identified Alexis’ ‘A Flower’ as the album’s outstanding track.


Rare single from France

While Alexis was always happy to nurture new talent – and those musicians owing him a debt is long and illustrious – he could demonstrate a parochial territorialism about The Blues itself, and especially in some of his journalism, could be quite vitriolic about those he saw not keeping the flame burning true and fierce. Yet on ‘What’s That Sound I Hear?’, you get a sense that Alexis knows well enough that he has been outgunned by the fastest guitarists in the West, name-checking Clapton, Hendrix and Peter Green (it’s a great track – EMI should perhaps have issued it as a single!). Blues Incorporated as an entity was by now long dead, and therefore this album can be regarded as Alexis’ pure Blues swansong, as he literally passes The Blues mantle over a new generation. As is well-documented, Alexis was never particularly comfortable in the recording studio – indeed, his son, Damian, has often said that much of the best of Alexis came during rehearsals, before the tapes were running. Here, though, as we have seen, he delivered some heart-felt performances accompanied by some deft acoustic Blues guitar.

The bonus tracks are largely taken from contemporaneous BBC sessions and reflect Alexis during a period, without a regular band, just playing with many of the new musicians who were shipping up on the London Blues scene. Multi-instrumentalist Victor Brox hailed from Manchester and came south, boasting a degree in philosophy and a stint as leader of the Victor Brox Blues Train. He teamed up with Alexis and they formed a duo lasting about nine months, during the course of which (on November 28th ’67) they recorded a great Rhythm & Blues BBC session, which yielded the first three of these bonus tracks, Muddy’s ‘Louisiana Blues’, the ubiquitous ‘Corrina Corrina’, and the mighty Joe Tex’s ‘The Love You Save’. While Alexis and Victor were working together, drummer Aynsley Dunbar brought Victor into his new Retaliation. Dunbar, too, had been helped out by Alexis when he came south from Liverpool; he sat in with Alexis on a night when John Mayall was in the audience who promptly signed the drummer for the Bluesbreakers.


1968 was also a watershed period for a young Midlands singer Robert Plant. By the age of 15, he was a dedicated Blues fan, hanging out at all the local clubs, hair down his back with his parents dreams of young Robert becoming a chartered accountant fading into the distance. He scuffed around with long-forgotten bands, then made some progress with The Crawling King Snakes and the Band of Joy, both with John Bonham. But it still wasn’t happening. He’d set himself the target of making it by 20 or giving it up altogether. He’d been born in August 1948 – his birthday was looming. Alexis often played in Birmingham; one day he met up with Robert and the two went out as a duo, sharing brandy, wine and dope on the way. Alexis took Robert through his twentieth birthday, urging him all the time not to give up. Plant said later, “Alexis absorbed me in his large family .. helped me build my confidence and aided my schooling for what was to come”. Jimmy Page was looking for a singer for the New Yardbirds and had given Robert’s name by singer Terry Reid. Robert Plant got to the call, asked Alexis, who just said “Go!”.

But before then, they began to lay down tracks at De Lane Lea for what was intended to be an album, with pianist Steve Miller. They had just got through two songs, ‘Steal Away’ and ‘Operator’, when the session started for the first Led Zeppelin album – and Robert was gone for good. A snatch of ‘Steal Away’ can be heard on ‘How Many More Times’ – and while we are on matters Zeppelin, a version of ‘In The Evening’ appeared much later on In Through The Out Door.


American soul singer PP Arnold sings with British blues musician Alexis Korner (1928 – 1984) at an anti H-Bomb demonstration near St Paul Cathedral, London,
UK, 15th April 1968.

And so to the last tracks on this expanded album, where Alexis dips into the gene pool of Blues standards, just one man alone with his guitar. Another superb Rhythm & Blues BBC session – recorded on March 19th ’69 – finds Alexis in fine form, as per usual (indeed, his live BBC sessions were uniformly excellent). He was no guitar virtuoso and he knew it, but what he lacked in technical fluidity, he made up for with passion and commitment – although actually he was a far better acoustic guitar player than most gave him credit for. It’s interesting to note that live, he performs ‘Go Down Sunshine’ in a lower key than the album version, and the four-song session wraps up with superlative performances of ‘Stump Blues’, ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ and ‘Just The Blues’.

Like all Alexis’ s albums thus far, A New Generation Of Blues failed to make much of a commercial impact. As we’ve discussed, this was doubtless due to its rather plaintive, stripped-down, largely acoustic feel, which was very much at odds with the sounds elsewhere of the late 60s Blues Boom. This becomes particularly apparent when comparing this album to those of other contemporary (essentially, guitar-driven) UK Blues bands, such as John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac, Chicken Shack, Cream, etc. Nonetheless it remains one of Alexis’s career milestones, and it certainly includes some of his finest solo performances. (Harry Shapiro)


A basically competent, though hardly enthralling, effort from the British bluesman that alternates between minimal, acoustic-flavored production and fuller arrangements with jazzy touches of flute and upright bass. Korner wrote about half of the material, leaving the rest of the space open for R&B/blues covers and adaptations of traditional standards. “The Same for You” has a strange, ever-so-slight psychedelic influence, with its swirling flute, fake fadeout, and odd antiestablishment lyrics. Korner’s voice is (and always would be) a tuneless bark, but it sounds better here than it did on the first album to prominently feature his vocals (I Wonder Who, 1967). As such, this album is one of the best representations of Korner as a frontman. (by Richie Unterberger)


Terry Cox (drums)
Alexis Korner (vocals, guitar)
Steve Miller (piano)
Danny Thompson (bass)
Ray Warleigh (flute, saxophone)
Victor Brox (violin on 12., trumpet, vocals on 13., piano on 14.
Robert Plant (vocals, guitar on 15., 16.


01. Mary Open The Door (Power) 3.30
02 Little Bitty Girl (Traditional) 6.29
03. Baby Don’t You Love Me (Traditional) 3.26
04. Go Down Sunshine (Korner) 4.06
05. The Same For You (Korner) 4.11
06. I’m Tore Down (King) 2.09
07. In The Evening (Traditional) 4.37
08. Somethin’ You Got (Kenner) 2.24
09. New Worried Blues (Korner) 2.37
10. What’s That Sound I Hear(Korner) 3.18
11. A Flower (Korner) 2.14
Various BBC sessions:
12. Louisiana Blues (Morganfield) 3.14
13. Corrina Corrina (Traditional) 3.09
14. The Love You Save (Tex) 5.39
15. Operator (Korner/Plant/Miller) 4.39
16. Steal Away (Korner/Plant/Miller) 4.45
17. Go Down Sunshine. (Korner) 4.09
18. Stump Blues (Broonzy) 3.36
19. Sweet Home Chicago (Johnson) 3.18
20. Just The Blues (Korner) 2.53





Alexis Korner (19 April 1928 – 1 January 1984)

Cyril Davies (feat. Alexis Korner) – The Legendary Cyril Davies Album (1970)

FrontCover1Cyril Davies (23 January 1932 – 7 January 1964) was an English blues musician, and one of the first blues harmonica players in England.

Born at St Mildred’s, 15 Hawthorn Drive, Willowbank, Denham, Buckinghamshire, he was the son of William Albert Davies, a labourer, and his wife Margaret Mary (née Jones). He had an elder brother named Glyn, and the family is believed to have come from Wales.

Cyril Davies began his career in the early 1950s first within Steve Lane’s Southern Stompers, then in 1955 formed an acoustic skiffle and blues group with Alexis Korner. He began as a banjo and 12-string guitar player before becoming a Chicago-style blues harmonica player after hearing Little Walter. Working by day as a panel beater, he ran an unsuccessful skiffle club before meeting Korner, then Davies and Korner opened a London Rhythm and Blues club “England’s Firstest and Bestest Skiffle Club”, later known as the “London Blues and Barrelhouse Club”. Popular with other musicians, the club hosted gigs by blues musicians such as Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee and Memphis Slim.

During this period Davies and Korner worked as session musicians, and often backed Ottilie Patterson during her featured set with husband Chris Barber’s band, using amplified instruments for the first time – which did not go down well with their blues purist audience and many fellow musicians. After closing the blues club, Davies and Korner went their separate ways, and, influenced by Muddy Waters electric sound, Davies formed his own electric blues band.

In 1961, Chris Barber recruited Davies and Korner to play harmonica and electric guitar in accompanying Barber’s band regularly at its Wednesday and Friday night sets at the Marquee Club, a popular London jazz club. This opportunity granted Davies and Korner some exposure to the London music scene, but the duo wished to focus more on blues and R&B. The two decided to found their own rhythm and blues group and, in a show of support, Barber offered them the intermission slot at the Marquee on Wednesday nights.


Korner supplied musicians for the rhythm sections, and Davies recruited Art Wood and Long John Baldry to be the vocalists. They named the group Blues Incorporated, and their initial performances at the Marquee were very well received. However, they realized the need for additional performance opportunities and, since most jazz and folk clubs in London were wary of electric guitars, Davies and Korner decided to found their own club at which they could perform. In 1962 they founded the Ealing Club, which featured performances by both Blues Incorporated and other Trad jazz outfits popular in England at the time. The club proved to be a popular sensation in the burgeoning R&B scene, and attracted such far-flung admirers and future stars as Mick Jagger and Eric Burdon. Jagger was in the audience for the second night at the club and got up to sing “Got My Mojo Working”.


In June 1962 they recorded R&B from the Marquee,[4] actually recorded in Decca Records’ studio. After touring the UK and headlining a residency at the Marquee,[2] by October 1962 there was musical tension in the band as some members wanted to play crowd pleasers like Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley songs while Cyril Davies and others members were blues purists who wanted to play what they saw as only genuine Chicago-style R&B.[5][6] Following his departure from Blues Incorporated in October 1962, Davies then formed the Cyril Davies All-Stars[7] in November 1962 and recorded five tracks for Pye Records, who had announced an R&B label featuring music imported from Davies’ favourite Chicago musicians (“Country Line Special”, “Chicago Calling”, “Preaching the Blues”, “Sweet Mary” and “Someday Baby”). The original line-up was largely recruited from Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages, and featured both Long John Baldry and Davies on vocals to give Davies room to play harmonica. The band, later known simply as the All-Stars was subject to frequent personnel changes.


After contracting pleurisy in 1963, Davies began to drink heavily to assuage the pain while undergoing a heavy touring schedule. He died in January 1964,[9] after collapsing during an engagement at a night club on Eel Pie Island, Twickenham in London.[10] The official cause of death was given as endocarditis,[11] although leukaemia is often quoted. The core band was taken over by Long John Baldry and formed the basis of his ‘Hoochie Coochie Men’.

In October 2014 the compilation entitled Preachin’ The Blues: The Cyril Davies Memorial Album was finally released on GVC Records (GVC2040) in Great Britain. (by wikipedia)

Early in the morning of January 8th, 1964, I received a telephone call from John Martin: “I’m sorry to be the one who has to tell you this, John, but Cyril died last night.” Cyril had been taken to hospital at six in the evening and within five hours was dead. I just could not believe it – he had been ill for some months, that I knew, but the suddenness of his death threw me. Some days before, as we were crossing the footbridge from our old stamping ground Eel Pie Island, he had said something that flashed back into my mind at that moment. “You know, John, I think this will be the last time I’ll walk on this bridge”.

As it happened, that particular evening at the Island was to be his last public appearance.


The first time I ever met Cyril Davies was a few weeks before the earliest tracks on this album were recorded. I was only a young kid just out of school at that time, just playing guitar and singing a little and very much in love with the blues. Although I had been listening to records by Bill Broonzy, and Muddy Waters among others since I was twelve, I had never heard English people playing and singing the blues until the evening I walked into the Roundhouse (the pub in Soho, not Arnold Wesker’s ex-railway turntable shed) and heard Cyril and Alexis Korner. I used to go every Thursday evening and they would invite me to join them on the piece of lino between the piano and the bar, which served as the bandstand, encouraging me in my desire to be part of the blues scene. Those were great days, because apart from Cyril, Alex and myself performing, there were visits to the club by Big Bill, Muddy, Memphis Slim, Otis Spann, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Derroll Adams and many more.

Of course, Cyril was better known then as a twelve-string guitarist than as a harmonica player. But later, in the days of the “Blues Incorporated” and the All Stars”, he never played guitar on stage, so naturally became absolutely identified with harmonica. I have always thought it a great pity that his guitar playing was never utilized on his recordings for Decca and Pye. However, this situation can now be rectified as we listen to this collection of memorable recordings thanks to Doug Dobell.


As I listen, I look back and think of the little black Alsatian Uschi (still alive and well and monstrous in Kent) that he gave me from the litter of his scrapyard watchdog Kim. The entire barful of dockers on Teesside for whom he bought drinks all night. The inimitable way he curbed a tribal civil war in the back of a Timpson’s coach outside Middlesbrough Infirmary. My sudden arrival back to sobriety one night in Burslem with a well-aimed harmonica hurled at my head from the stage. But there’s not enough room on this sleeve to tell it all. Perhaps Doug might let me record an album one day so that I can tell you the WHOLE story of the Legendary Cyril Davies. (by Long John Baldry, taken from the originaL liner notes)

It´s time to honour Cyril Davies, one of the first blues man in UK. Listn !


Cyril Davies (guitar, vocals, harmonica)
Jeff Bradford (mandolin, kazoo, guitar on 06. + 12.)
Mike Collins (washboard on 02., 10. + 11)
Alexis Korner (guitar, mandolin, vocals on 02., 03., 05., 08. – 11.
Terry Plant (bass on 02., 05., 10. + 11.)
Lisa Turner (banjo, vocals on 06 . + 12.)
Reg Turner (jug on 06. + 12.)


01 Leaving Blues (Ledbetter) 3.15
02- Roundhouse Stomp (Johnson) 2.53
03. Rotten Break (Taylor) 3.48
04. K.C. Moan (Blackman) 2.54
05. Skip To My Lou (Traditional) 1.54
06. It’s The Same Old Thing (Shade) 2.19
07. Alberta (Leadbelly) 2.43
08. Hesitation Blues (Handy) 2.29
09. Ella Speed (Traditional) 2.58
10. Good Morning (Leadbelly) 2.36
11. Boll Weevil (Brownwell) 3.25
12. Short Legs Shuffle (Bradford) 2.34




Davy Graham with Alexis Korner – 34 A.D. (1962)

OriginalFrontCover1Davy Graham’s debut EP was released in 1962, consisting of three acoustic guitar instrumentals. The first of these, “Angie” (written when he was only 19), is the one tune that Graham is best remembered for to this day, and with it he is often credited as single-handedly inventing the idea of the folk guitar instrumental (though John Fahey was doing something similar in America at the time). The legacy of this one song is vast, as it inspired a whole generation of acoustic guitarists (it was covered by Bert Jansch, Paul Simon and many others).

The title track “3/4 AD” was a duet with Alexis Korner, also on guitar, who helped discover Graham and organize this first recording. Korner also wrote the sleeve notes which praised Graham highly and called him “a genuinely gifted guitarist who rightly refuses to let himself be fenced into one field of music.” Stylistically, the EP could be comfortably called folk music, but there are strong shades of blues, jazz, and perhaps more in his playing. Indeed Graham never felt he had to be confined to one genre, and with his later releases he explored well outside the boundaries of folk music. Even from this early release it is obvious that he had to be one of the best acoustic guitarists of his age… and this was just the beginning! (by stuckinthepast,blogspot)

Alexis KornerExperiment, per se, has only a limited value. What is of importance is the confirmation of an emotionally valid step forward in music. Musicians or singers have to be fiercely aware of the ‘rightness’ in their music in order to make it last. They may appear to be reticent or shy but, in their private selves, they must be sure.

Most good performers are, to a large extent, self-centred. They do not have to be rude, arrogant or offhand – neither do they have to be bland and ingratiating. They may be incredibly weak in many respects, but they are firm in their music. These statements apply to both Davy and me.

Davy Graham is just over 21. He is a genuinely gifted guitarist who rightly, refuses to let himself be fenced into one field of music. The great traditional folk banjo and guitar pickers have influenced his playing. Josh White, who can hardly be fitted into this category, has also exerted considerable influence. But then, so have the great modern jazz players. The fierce belief of good Gospel groups, the great blues singers, all have influenced him as have the Baroque composers.

At times he has wanted to take up other instruments because he wanted the extra sound. Fortunately, he has always been too lazy to do anything about it, with the result that he has been forced to make these sounds on guitar. So something new emerges. He gets a chance to work out his ideas at Nick’s diner, in Fulham, where he works several nights a week. He has also played the streets of Paris and had it rough – and, in his way, he has had it good, with a crowd of worshipful fans sitting at his feet. What he has learned is that, to keep his music alive, he needs to play in front of audiences; he needs to communicate.

His approach to a tune seems to be basically through the tune itself. Both ‘Angi’ – Baroque or Modern Jazz Quartet influenced – and his ‘Train Blues’ – a piece of pure rhythmic impressionism – testify to this. This approach is probably why Davy is best as a soloist. Yet one of Davy’s most telling performances is in our duet, 3/4 A.D. (The title is derived from the time signature and our respective initials). Inspired by Miles Davis’ ‘Kind Of Blue’ and Charles Mingus’ ‘Better Git It In Your Soul’, with a definite bow towards Jimmy Giuffre in the second theme, it is simply the Blues. It is not folk, it is not jazz; it is just music the way we feel it when we are playing together.

Davy Graham

There is a lovely swoop at the beginning of Davy’s opening solo. It is completely Davy, playing you will notice, harmonies rather than single-note lines, sinuous but expansive. Then a complete change in the next chorus. That is me. A hammering, shouting gospel approach which I could never get rid of, even if I wanted to. In the second theme, the solo work is all Davy.

The solo voice, treble first, then bass, in the last two choruses, is by me. It is just the way it happened to work out. We certainly would not play it exactly the same way again; it was an experiment which we may never repeat. It was however an experiment which we ‘know’ was right. (taken from the original liner-notes, written by Alxis Korner)

The recording was made by Bill Leader at his home, ‘North Villas’ London in April 1961.Released in April 1962

Alternate frontcovers:

Davy Graham (guitar)
Alexis Korner (guitar on 03.)

01. Angi (Graham) 2.29
02. Davy’s Train Blues (Graham) 3.03
03. 3/4 A.D. (Korner/Graham) 4.40




Alexis Korner – Eat A Little Rhythm And Blues (VHS rip) (1988)

frontcoverAlexis Korner (born Alexis Andrew Nicholas Koerner, 19 April 1928 in Paris, France – died 1 January 1984 in Westminster, Central London), was an English blues musician, born to an Austrian father and Greek mother.

Korner is probably best remembered as a networker and blues historian, although he was a proficient guitarist and a distinctive (if not accomplished) vocalist. Often referred to as “the Father of British Blues”, Korner was instrumental in bringing together various English blues musicians.

In 1961, Korner and Davies formed Blues Incorporated, initially a loose-knit group of musicians with a shared love of electric blues and R&B music. The group included, at various times, such influential musicians as Charlie Watts, Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Long John Baldry, Graham Bond, Danny Thompson and Dick Heckstall-Smith. It also attracted a wider crowd of mostly younger fans, some of whom occasionally performed with the group, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Rod Stewart, John Mayall and Jimmy Page.

In 1970 Korner and Peter Thorup formed a big band ensemble, C.C.S. – short for The Collective Consciousness Society – which had several hit singles produced by Mickie Most, including a version of Led Zeppelin’s “Whole Lotta Love” which was used as the theme for BBC’s Top Of The Pops for several years. This was the period of Korner’s greatest commercial success in the UK.

In 1973, he formed another group, Snape, with Boz Burrell, Mel Collins, and Ian Wallace, previously together in King Crimson. Korner also played on B.B. King’s Supersession album, and cut his own, similar album, Get Off My Cloud, with Keith Richards, Peter Frampton, Nicky Hopkins, and members of Joe Cocker’s Grease Band.

In the mid 1970s, while touring Germany, he established an intensive working relationship with bassist Colin Hodgkinson who played for the support act Back Door. They would continue to collaborate until the end.

In the 1970s Korner’s main career was in broadcasting. In 1973 he presented a six part documentary for the BBC, The Rolling Stones Story, and in 1977 he established a weekly blues and soul show on Radio 1, which ran until 1981. He also used his gravelly voice to great effect as an advertising voice over artist.

In 1978, for Korner’s 50th birthday, an all-star concert was held featuring many of his friends mentioned above, as well as Eric Clapton, Paul Jones, Chris Farlowe, Zoot Money and other friends, which was later released as The Party Album, and as a video.

And here´s the video, including interviews with Alexis Korner, Paul Jones and Zoot Money.
















What a hell of a party … with such fine musicians … and I will present the official “Party” double album in this blog very soon … And please don´t forget: this is a VHS rip …


Eric Clapton (guitar)
Mel Collins (saxophone)
Chris Farlowe (vocals)
Neil Ford (guitar)
Dick Heckstall-Smith (saxophone)
Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals)
Paul Jones (harmonica)
Alexis Korner (guitar, vocals)
Zoot Money (keyboards, vocals)
Dick Morrissey (saxophone)
Duffy Power (harmonica)
Stu Speer (drums)
John Surman (saxophone)
Art Themen (saxophone)
Mike Zwerin (trombone)


01. Louisiana Blues (Traditional)  4.00
02. Whole Mess Of Blues (Pomus/Shuman) 5.41
03. Linin’ Track (Traditional) 3.14
04. Blue Monday (Domino/Bartholomew) 3.02
05. Skipping (Korner) 3.10
06. Spoonful (Dixon) 6.42
07. Finkles Cafe (Korner) / Dooji Wooji (Ellington) 9.43
08. Got To Get You Off My Mind (Burke/Burke/Moore) 6.27
09. Stormy Monday (Walker) 9.00
10. Hi-Heel Sneakers (Higginbotham) 6.20




Various Artists – Raw Blues (1967)

FrontCover1From this modest beginning Mike Vernon was eventually able to lure several ‘name’ Stateside blues men to ‘The Supreme Record Company’s’ then head offices on London’s Albert Embankment, for the purpose of inking a recording contract, and thereafter driving them to West Hampstead — Decca’s studio complex. Simultaneously, his was the influence which convinced some of Britain’s finest home-grown exponents of the genre to follow a similar course.

This package, aptly titled Raw Blues, was assembled by Mike and issued on Decca’s subsidiary ‘Ace Of Clubs’ label in January 1967 (ACL (Mono)/SCL (Stereo) 1220). An intriguing collection of artifacts, its wetter of big name participants may now be appreciated through the sophisticated medium of sound which is a compact disc. The technology may be smoother these days, but the blues remain as raw as ever…

A few details about the contents and its protagonists wouldn’t go amiss: Bom Jackson, Mississippi, on 21 st March 1930, Otis Spann shared his parents affections with two brothers and two sisters. Product of a musically inclined family, his father Frank Euston Spann played piano and mother Josephine was formerly a guitarist with Memphis Minnie, a top vocalist who knew a good picker when she heard one, having married another Jackson six-string resident, Joe McCoy (Kansas Joe). Mot surprisingly, Otis took to music like a duck to water, adopting piano as his chosen Instrument Largely self-taught, in later life he always acknowledged the influence Big Maceo Merriweather had upon his style. Gaining confidence as a result of forming a small band with some other local juveniles, when he heard about a neighbourhood talent competition happening at the Alamo Theatre he entered and won — as a singer — performing Coot Davis’ Four O’clock Blues.

CurtisJonesCurtis Jones

With the passing years he pursued medical studies at Jackson’s Campbell College in the hope of becoming a doctor. When not buried in textbooks, he displayed a sporting prowess at boxing and football, briefly even turning professional at the latter. Between 1946 and ’51 the U.S. Army called upon his time, but after discharge he relinquished all thoughts of any other occupation than music and moved to Chicago. The rest of the family had domiciled themselves there two years earlier, when mother died. Swiftly contacted by Muddy Waters, Otis joined the great guitarist/vocalist and stayed with his outfit for many years thereafter, although between 1952 and the time of this recording he’d also supplied studio accompaniment for such legends as Chuck Berry, Howlin’ Wolf, Bo Diddley and Lowell Fulson.

Visiting Britain in May 1964 for a tour, our subject recorded an acclaimed Decca LP: The Blues Of Otis Spann (LK 4615). Included here are the four additional cuts from that London session of May 4th: Pretty Girls Everywhere (a), My Home In The Desert and the McKinley Morganfield (alias Muddy Waters) duo Country Boy and You’re Gonna Need My Help. Personnel: Otis Spann (Vocal, Piano); ‘Brother’ (Guitar); Ransom K nowli ng (Bass); Little Willie Smith (Drums); add Eric Clapton (Gtr.) on (a) only. Further south in New Orleans, seaport metropolis of Louisiana, on Independence Day 1910, was bom William Thomas ‘Champion Jack’ Dupree. His father was French, while mother was a descendant of the Cherokee Indian tribe.

Tragically, both were killed when the family home burnt down during his seventh year. After spending the next seven cooped up in an institution he ran away, but not before he’d mastered the basics of singing and playing piano. Thereafter he maintained his existence by thumping the untuned pianos of seedy dubs and houses of ill-repute, acquiring the technique known as’ Barrelhouse’ playing thanks to prominent exponent of the art Willie Hall, otherwise billed as Drive ’em Down.

ChampionJackDupreeChampion Jack Dupree

The Depression found our subject attempting to make ends meet by taking up boxing—whence ‘Champion Jack’ — but by the mid-Thirties he’d joined forces with Cotton Club keyboarder Leroy Carr. Upon the tatter’s early death Jack was offered the unfortunate vacancy, which he accepted. In 1940 the Okeh label added him to their roster; it was the first of a multitude of labels great and small to do so over the next thirty years, including King — where he notched a big hit on the R ‘ n’ B charts, Walkingthe Blues, in 1955-and Atlantic.

As blues music gained European popularity through the Fifties, many big names were lured from America to tour and occasionally record as a bonus. Big Bill Broonzy was instrumental in persuading Dupree to take the plunge, and he liked it so much that by 1960 he’d married an English giri half his age and settled in Zurich, Switzerland.  From here he was able to commute around Europe, finding appreciative audiences for his set which at that time still included some dance routines — early in his career he’d worked in vaudeville performing the tap variety.

By 1965 he was living in and working out of Denmark’s capital, and the following February Mike Vernon signed him to a three album deal for Decca. The first of these, From New Orleans To Chicago (LK 4747), hit the shops in April, and included here are the two tracks from those sessions which were omitted through lack of space: Calcutta Blues (a) and the Eddie Boyd penned 24 Hours. Backed by an all-star British group, Now deservedly billed as ‘The Father Of British Blues’, John Mayall is rightly predominant on this collection. As one of the handful of pioneers responsible for popularizing the style in the U.K., his contribution cannot be overstated.

The Bluesbreakers became a veritable ‘nursery’ for so many future stars in their formative years, and amongst the home grown contingent on display here are some of the finest. Of his two solo billings, the impassioned Burn Out Your Blind Eyes and Milkman Strut, this second title prevailed, according to Vernon’s original album sleeve note, when the daily delivery to the studios saw the dairy employee wander in midway through a ‘take’, deposit his crate, and nonchalantly walk out slamming the door behind him…

OtisSpannOtis Spann

Of John’s pairing with organist Steve Anglo, it may now be revealed that for Anglo read Winwood. Owing to contractual obligations elsewhere he could not appear under his true identity when the album was published. Rhythm section duties on Long Night belonged to then Bluesbreakers’ members John McVie (Bass) and drummer Aynsley Dunbar.

The Mayall and Clapton liaisons here, John’s Lonely Years and Eric’s instrumental Bernard Jenkins, were cut at Mike’s instigation and originally issued as a back-to-back limited edition 45 on his own Purdah label. Dating from the period between the players’ joint collaborations under contract to firstly Andrew Oldhams Immediate company and then Decca, (Bluesbreakers era), both were committed through a single microphone in the middle of the capital’s Wessex Studios in Soho, hence the unusual sound.

At the time of its taping, Peter Green had recently been recruited to the Mayall ranks as Eric’s axe wielding replacement. On his own composition, Evil Woman Blues, he displayed a mature prowess at both playing and singing despite his relative lack of experience. In time, of course, he formed Fleetwood Mac, but that’s another story… Legendary purveyors of the blues from both sides of the Atlantic are gathered together in this one historical little collocation. We all owe grateful thanks to Mike Vernon for making it possible. Why wait? Just play on… (by John Tracy)

What a line-up !!!

Eric ClaptonEric Clapton, 1966

Eric Clapton (guitar, vocals)
Jack Fallon (bass)
Aynsley Dunbar (drums)
Champion Jack Dupree (piano, vocals)
Peter Green (guitar, vocals)
Keef Hartley (drums)
Curtis Jones (piano, vocals)
Ransom Knowling -(bass)
Alexis Korner (guitar)
John Mayall (guitar, harmonica, piano, vocals)
John Mcvie (bass)
Malcolm Pool (bass)
Little Willie Smith (drums)
Otis Spann (piano, vocals)
Eddie Taylor (drums)
Steve “Anglo” Winwood (organ)


01. Otis Spann: Pretty Girls Everywhere (Church/Williams) 2.57
02. John Mayall: Burn Out Your Blind Eyes (Mayall) 3.00
03. Champion Jack Dupree: Calcutta Blues (Unknown) 4.00
04. John Mayall & Steve Anglo: Long Night (Mayall,/Anglo) 2.04
05. Otis Spann: Country Boy (Morganfiled) 3.34
06. Curtis Jones: You Got Good Business (Jones) 3.23
07. John Mayall & Eric Clapton: Lonely Years (Mayall) 3.21
08. Peter Green & John Mayall: Evil Woman Blues (Green) 4.04
09. Otis Spann: My Home In The Desert (Unknown) 4.20
10. John Mayall: Milkman Strut (Mayall) 2.26
11. Champion Jack Dupree: 24 Hours (Boyd) 4.07
12. Curtis Jones: Roll Me Over (Jones) 2.38
13. John Mayall & Eric Clapton: Bernard Jenkins (Clapton) 3.50
14. Otis Spann: You Gonna Need My Help (Morganfield) 3.25


Alexis Korner – Audimax Hamburg (1969)

FrontCover1This is another “Riffmaster” rip from an old tape I got 30 years ago.

It´s a broadcast recording of an exciting performance by Alexis Korner and Peter Thorup feat a very young Colin Hodgkinson (pre- Back Door) and Ray Warleight (He has played and recorded with major figures and bands of the UK jazz and blues scene, including Mike Oldfield, Alexis Korner, Tubby Hayes, Humphrey Lyttelton, Terry Smith, Ronnie Scott, Long John Baldry, Nick Drake, Charlie Watts, John Mayall, Allan Holdsworth, Soft Machine, Georgie Fame, Mike Westbrook, Dick Morrissey and Kenny Wheeler, as well as accompanying visiting major foreign artists such as Champion Jack Dupree)

As we all know, Alexis Korner (19 April 1928 – 1 January 1984) was a British blues musician who has sometimes been referred to as “a founding father of British blues”.. He was a major influence on the sound of the British music scene in the 1960s.

And he had a very unique style to play the blues. Listen to this rare recordings and enjoy Alexis Korner & friends …

Recorded live at the Audimax, Hamburg/Germany, December 09, 1969

Colin Hodgkinson (bass, vocals)
Alexis Korner (guitar, vocals)
Peter Thorup (guitar, vocals)
Ray Warleight (saxophone, vocals)

01. Polly Put the Kettle On (Traditional/Williamson) 1.44
02. Little Sister (unknown)4.45
03. Mary Open The Door (Powell) 5.33
04. Make Up Your Mind (unknown) 4.32
05. Down The Road Ago (unknown) 3.43
06. Evil Woman (Voodoo Queen) (unknown) 4.28
07. Mighty Mighty Spade (Mayfield) 4.16
08. Rivers Invitation (Mayfield) 4.28
09. Right Rosie (unknown)  12.51
10. Rock Me Baby (incomplete) (Broonzy) 0.27