Blues

Charley Crockett is a new name to me, though I feel I ought to have heard of a guy who’s made 14 albums in nine years. His hybrid of country, blues and soul taps into that sound forged at Muscle Shoals in the late Sixties and Seventies, with smouldering horns and searing blues guitar matched to a country twang.

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Here’s a sultry slice of Southern soul from The Ohio Players’ debut album, long before they became disco-funkateers with a string of hits.

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One of the best riffs of all time when Muddy Waters recorded it back in 1955, it somehow sounds even better in the dextrous hands of George Thorogood a quarter of a century later.

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It’s always dangerous to try messing with perfection but this take on a Gil Scott-Heron classic stands up alongside his tribute to Lady Day and John Coltrane.

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Not sure how I’ve missed seeing or hearing this remarkable piece of pop history before – a ten-year-old Michael Jackson singing the blues.

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This all too brief but beautiful fingerpicked blues was written by Elizabeth Cotten when she was 12 years old. Here she is singing and playing it 80 years later, shortly before her death.

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I wasn’t planning to watch Jools Holland’s Hootenanny on New Year’s Eve. And when I did switch over after the fireworks I certainly didn’t expect to witness an exciting new talent.

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On the surface, this is little more than a thinly disguised rewrite of Like A Rolling Stone. But there’s something special about it too… especially that familiar guitar sound. Those licks, borrowed more or less straight from Mike Bloomfield’s on the Dylan song, are played by a young session player called Jimmy Hendrix.

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Merry Clayton is best known for her gospelly backing vocals on the Stones’ anti-war anthem Gimme Shelter, wailing in harmony with Jagger. But there was much more to her than that.

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Bo Diddley – Pollution

26th November 2023 · 1970, 1970s, Blues, Music

Bo Diddley’s heyday was long gone by 1970 and he was mostly seen as a heritage act on the oldies circuit (if at all) by the time he tackled the topical issue of Pollution. But it’s a great track.

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