A Fierce Shot of the Rockin’ Blues – Sean Chambers

Sean Chambers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With a great roadhouse blues voice tinged with the spirit of Johnny Winter and a  guitar style reminiscent of both Gary Moore and Alvin Lee, Sean Chambers is my first nominee for rockin’ blues artist of 2017.  His new album, Trouble & Whiskey, is an intense display of virtuoso guitar work and inspired vocals.  He does a great job of covering B.B. King’s “Be Careful with a Fool” and absolutely tears up Canned Heat’s “Bullfrog Blues“.  And “Cut off my Right Arm” features some bad ass guitar licks.  “Gonna Groove” is funked up blues perfect for dancin’ to on a Saturday night at your favorite juke joint.  “I Need Your Lovin‘” is just incredible blues rock and “Sweeter Than a Honey Bee” is some fine swamp blues..appropriate for this Florida based artist.

Sean truly shines on the grindin blues title cut, “Trouble and Whiskey” and the sultry blues rocker “Handyman” (with Jimmy Bennett).  And I absolutely loved the instrumental “Travelin’ North” featuring New Jersey’s bad ass John Ginty on keyboards. The slidin blues cut “Bottle Keeps Staring at Me” conjured visions of Johnny Winter and is sure to be a hit.

I seldom recommend every song on a CD but this is a pleasant exception. (My second in a row!) His talent should come as no surprise since he honed his skills playing with the great Hubert Sumlin starting back in 1998 and he has been payin his dues ever since…hopefully it will now pay off in a big way!  This is my first exposure to Sean and I intend to go back and listen to some of his other albums including “The Rock House Sessions” which was produced by Reese Wynans.

Sean will be touring the rest of June in Florida and then wander up to Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, and Massachusetts in July!  I can only hope he will add a date in Connecticut so that I can get a shot of his bad ass rockin’ blues live!

Sean Chambers = Trouble and Whiskey (2017 American Showplace Music label)

https://www.facebook.com/seanchambersmusic/

Advertisements

B.B. King – The Best of the Bluesman

I have had a couple of people ask me for album recommendations for B.B. King.  From a discography of over 40 studio albums and a dozen or so live recordings, I think these 5 are quality representatives of a lifetime of recording:

  • Completely Well (1969) ABC Records
  • Live in Cook County Jail (1971) Geffen Records
  • Blues on the Bayou (1998) Geffen Records
  • Riding with the King (with Eric Clapton) (2000) Reprise Records
  • One Kind Favor (2008) Geffen Records

And now for some of the best B.B. King single tunes:

  • Three O’ Clock Blues (1991 Remaster)
  • The Thrill is Gone (1969)
  • When Love Comes to Town (with U2) (1988)
  • Why I Sing the Blues (1992)
  • Lucille (1968)

I hope you enjoy them as much as I do.  And if you have a set of five favorites, just a leave a comment!

A Toast to B.B. King

When a bluesman passes, we mourn for just a bit and then celebrate their lives with song, the clinking of glasses, and the telling of stories amongst friends.

I first saw B.B. King at the age of sixteen back in 1969.  I attended a Johnny Winters concert and BB was the opening act.  I had no idea of who he was.  Dressed in a white shirt and black tie, he and his band came up on stage to the murmurs of the teenage crowd.  “Who is this dude?”  Once he started playing, the audience sat in stunned silence as BB began to make love to Lucille. It was an electrifying performance and by the third or fourth song, everyone was on their feet. I will never forget that night; I was introduced to the blues by the King himself!

The traveling bard telling stories and singing songs is one of the oldest art forms known to man.  B.B. told the story of the blues in concert a reported 15,000 times in his career. He rose from humble roots in the cotton fields in Mississippi and spread the music of the blues literally across the globe. And his legacy of songs will be sung long after we return to the dust from whence we came. If you have a story about B.B., share the memory with family and friends and us……

Rest in peace Riley King!  I count it a blessing to have lived during the era of the King of the Blues, though I wish you could have stayed just a little longer.

A Blues Primer for Electric Blues and Blues Rock Artists

What is the blues? I get asked that question a lot and it is not as easy to answer as it might sound. The blues covers a lot of territory from its roots in the African culture and rhythms of the American Deep South to the latest music from Buddy Guy and Joe Bonamassa. There is the delta blues of the 1920’s, 30’s, and 40’s personified in the music of Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Skip James, Son House, and Sonny Boy Williamson to name just a few. There is the electric blues (and soul blues) of Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Junior Wells, Buddy Guy, Elmore James, Albert King, Freddie King, John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon, and Howlin’ Wolf that emigrated from the American south to the cities of the northern United States during the 40’s and 50’s , primarily to Chicago. Both the delta and Chicago blues were reinterpreted by a bunch of young urban kids in bands like the Rolling Stones, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the Doors, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Jimi Hendrix, and many others to create the blues rock genre. There are country blues, jazz blues, soul blues, jump blues, Kansas City Blues, St. Louis blues, New Orleans blues, gospel blues, swamp blues, and the West Coast blues. There are female blues (and jazz) from the likes of Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Etta James, Janis Joplin, Janiva Magness, Koko Taylor, and Beth Hart. The blues is a broad diversified music genre that has expanded from the Mississippi Delta and is now enjoyed all over the world.

So for me, the blues is about the music. It has no color, though we all pay our deep respects to the early black blues men and women artists who worked the fields, the juke joints, and battled the menace of segregation. The blues is definitely not politically correct, and it is not confined to one type of lyric composition or music style. It is the music of the soul battling the everyday demons that haunt us all. The stories it tells in the music often don’t have happy ending and deal with jealousy, lust, drinking, anger, remorse, and sadness. But they also address joy, faith, and profound love. The blues instrument of choice for me is the electric guitar but the acoustic guitar, the bass, drums, the Hammond organ, the harmonica, the piano and electric keyboards, and a variety of horns populate the music of the blues.

So if you’d like to learn more about the blues, listen to the music! Download some to support the artists, checkout out Spotify on the internet, visit my stream at http://s1.nexuscast.com:8043 , and most importantly, go see them LIVE! Blues artists almost to a person are accessible at their shows. They are you and me…real down to earth people. And they love their blues. They have to….. since most can’t make a living solely from the blues unless they stay on the road paying their dues. Below is a list of artists that I enjoy from the electric blues and blues rock genres; many have passed on but there are plenty that are out there touring regularly. It is not an all inclusive list but it will get you started! Enjoy the artists and the tunes!

Electric and Soul Blues Artists

B.B. King, Albert King, Freddie King, Buddy Guy, Etta James, Eric Clapton, Luther Allison, Janiva Magness, Koko Taylor, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson II, Little Walter, Hubert Sumlin, Albert Collins, AC Reed, Chris Thomas King, Curtis Salgado, Deborah Coleman, Dion, Boz Scaggs, Hound Dog Taylor, Elmore James, Willie Dixon, Ian Siegal, Irma Thomas, Jimmy Reed, Ray Charles, Joe Lewis Walker, Johnny Copeland, Shemika Copeland, Junior Wells, Keb Mo, Tab Benoit, Kim Wilson, Lonnie Brooks, Lonnie Mack, Magic Sam, Magic Slim, Marcia Ball, Maria Muldaur, Mary Bridget Davies, Mavis Staples, Melody Gardot, Mississippi Fred McDowell, RL Burnside, Nina Simone, Otis Rush, Robert Cray, Robert Johnson, Ronnie Baker Brooks, Ruthie Foster, Seasick Steve, Taj Mahal, and T-Bone Walker.

Blues Rock Artists

Joe Bonamassa, Beth Hart, Albert Cummings, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Jimmy Vaughan, 24 Pesos, The Black Keys, the Rolling Stones, Cream, Alvin Lee, Robin Trower, Albert Castiglia, Damon Fowler, Ana Popovic, Meena, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Bonnie Raitt, Bryce Janey, Jack White, Julian Sass, Coco Montoya, Colin James, Dave Hole, David Gogo, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, the Tedeschi Trucks Band, Eric Gales, Dr. John, Van Morrison, Steve Miller Band, Johnny Winter, Elvin Bishop, Eric Sardinas, the Allman Brothers, Gary Clark Jr, Gary Moore, Jeff Healey, George Thorogood, Gov’t Mule, Greg Allman, Devon Allman, The Royal Southern Brotherhood, Trampled Under Foot, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Thackery, Joanne Shaw Taylor, Jonny Lang, Joss Stone, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, the Fabulous Thunderbirds, Leslie West, Mike Zito, Nick Moss, Ollie Brown, Omar and the Howlers, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Pat Travers, Chuck Berry, Fleetwood Mac, Rory Gallagher, Samantha Fish, Sena Ehrhardt, Sonny Landreth, Stacy Mitchart, JJ Grey & Mofro, The Blues Brothers, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band, Peter Green, Tinsley Ellis, Tommy Castro, Grand Funk Railroad, Joe Cocker, Tony Jo White, Ty Curtis Band, ZZ Ward, Walter Trout, and Warren Haynes.

A Love Affair with the Blues

It all starts for me in the 1950’s with the emergence of the electric guitar and two gifted artists: Muddy Waters and B.B. King.  They were at the head of an entourage of talented players and singers who electrified and expanded the delta blues and exposed a generation of teenagers growing up in the late fifties and sixties to a sound that they embraced, massaged, and have passed onto an exciting new generation of blues artists.

Most, but not all, of the electric blues artists from the 1950’s  that I love were based in Chicago, a rough house city where there were opportunities not available In the segregated southern United States.  Many arrived by train and settled on the south side of the city, Muddy Waters among them. Sleeping on the couch of relatives, working during the day, and playing the blues at night and on weekends, he electrified audiences with his voice and his sensual style.  By the end of the decade of the fifties, he, along with Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, reigned over Chicago and he was traveling to Europe to wow audiences on the continent.  The gigs in Europe featuring songs written by his one time bass guitarist, Willie Dixon, would eventually fire the imagination of Eric Clapton, Jimmy Page, and Mick Jagger, among others, and the British Blues would be born.

While Muddy headed north, a young man from Mississippi stayed closer to home and made a name for himself and his guitar in Memphis, Tennessee. As a singer and DJ in Memphis in the late 1940’s, he picked up the nickname, the Beale Street Blues Boy, which was later shortened to B.B. Within years, he was to be acknowledged as the King of Blues, the one and only B.B. King. With his guitar, Lucille, he has become the living embodiment of the blues.  His distinctive voice and guitar playing style brought droves of new fans to the blues and he has continually strived to share his stage with promising talent.  Among them was an 11 year old boy who is my favorite modern blues guitarist and singer, Joe Bonamassa.

On this blog, I hope to expose readers to my favorite blues artists and to review blues music.  I also have a 24 hour blues stream where you can listen to selections from my collection of 40,000 or so blues tunes. ( http://www.s1.nexuscast.com:8043 ).  I am partial to what I term, the rockin’ blues, a style of blues that I was exposed to as a young man by Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, the Doors, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix.  But I love all electric blues….the rhythm….the lyrics….the passion.  It is a life long love affair.