The Mike Duke Project ….took a while

I first met Mike Duke during the heyday of Wet Willie back in the 1970’s. Wet Willie was part of the sound emanating from Macon, Georgia, the home of Capricorn Records. Along with the Allman Brothers Band and the Marshall Tucker Band. Wet Willie helped solidify the main stream appeal of southern style rock music with its blues, soul, and country influences. And that was in no small part due to the talent of Mike Duke He was, and remains, a gifted song writer, singer, and keyboard player.

After the luster of Wet Willie faded for Mike, he moved on, doing a stint with The Outlaws and then relocating to the San Francisco Bay area where he spent most of the 1980’s. During that time he wrote several tunes that became hits for Huey Lewis and enhanced his reputation as a songwriter. During the 1990’s he moved to Nashville and was a featured member of Delbert McClinton’s band. In 1998, he moved back to Northern California and has been there ever since.

This album “….took a while” includes tunes that span the length of his career since the 1970’s and yet is, amazingly, his debut album! All of the songs are written by Mike and four of them are newly recorded. One tune, Torn & Scarred, was actually written by Mike in 1969 while he worked with a black church in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. It is a sweet little gospel song with Mike pounding the ivories and singing with a voice that has lost none of its power or range after all these years.

My favorite cut on the album is a new recording of I Can’t Let You Go featuring some tasteful lead guitar licks from Elvin Bishop. It should get a lot of airplay on stations and streams that feature soul blues music. I will certainly be playing it during my roadhouse blues sets on BMFR.

I also loved another new recording, I’m Not Sad Tonight, that features Gary Vogensen on guitar and his long time friend, Angela Strehli, as part of the backing vocals. Mike’s voice and keyboard playing transported me back…just remembering…but I’m not sad….just dang happy he came out with this album!

The album has the demo version of Hope You Love Me Like You Say You Do recorded in 1980. Huey Lewis loved it when encouraged by Bob Brown, his manager, to give it a listen. And it was performed by Huey on his second album in 1982. Mike’s demo recording started a life long friendship with Bob who also played a major part in getting this album recorded and released.

Let Her Go And Start Over is another tune on the album that I really enjoyed that Mike recorded in 1981 and was used by Huey on one of his albums. Other songs on the album that I recommend for a listen are Little Miss Ponytail and That’s What So Good About the South (featuring Jack Pearson). And there is also a little zydeco influenced jewel of a tune Let Me Be Your Fool Tonight that you just have to hear.

I remember Mike as a young affable musician with obvious talent who took enjoyment from keyboard playing, the chance to sing for audiences, and have people hear songs he had written. He didn’t avidly seek the limelight or stardom like so many of his contemporaries and that is probably why It took a damn long while for Bob Brown to convince Mike to release his first solo album. My hope is that several more will follow in short order!


The Mike Duke Project…took a while (2019 Little Village Foundation)

Tuesday Roadhouse Nooner on BMFR 12pm EST

Join us today on BMFR for a roadhouse mix of contemporary blues and classic tunes. The NOONER is comin at ya live at High Noon EST!  Keep your Tuesday rollin’ right!!!

http://www.bluesmusicfan.com

You can find today’s intended playlist below.

ARTIST TITLE
Freddie King Manhole
Blackburn Good Woman Reprise
Jack Pearson I Can Fix It
Wet Willie Jailhouse Moan
Brandon Santini Drive You Off My Mind
The Allman Brothers Band One Way Out
JJ Grey & Mofro 99 Shades of Crazy
Larkin Poe Mississippi
Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson Keep It Simple
Nick Moss Band Was I Ever Heard
Royal Southern Brotherhood Fire on the Mountain
Devon Allman Watch What You Say
Willie Nelson feat. Susan Tedeschi Kansas City
Jimmy Hall Twenty-Nine Ways
Marcia Ball So Many Rivers to Cross
Tab Benoit Blues Come Walkin In
Ian Siegal & The Mississippi Mudbloods I Am The Train
Johnny Neel Mighty Mississippi
Gov’t Mule Mule
Joe Bonamassa High Water Everywhere
Little Feat Let It Roll
Gregg Allman Before the Bullets Fly (Live)
Dani Wilde, Victoria Smith, Samantha Fish Mississippi Kisses
Johnny Winter Dust My Broom (Featuring Derek Trucks)

Some Thursday Southern Roadhouse Blues 3 pm EST on BMFR

Got a mix with a lot of southern roadhouse blues today on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com! Tune in at 3 pm EST for tunes from the Allman Brothers, Susan Tedeschi, Gov’t Mule, and many more!

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTIST TITLE
Kentucky Headhunters With Johnnie Johnson Fast Train
Jack Pearson I Feel All Right
Susan Tedeschi Little By Little (with The Derek Trucks Band)
The Allman Brothers Band Things You Used to Do
Gov’t Mule Million Miles From Yesterday
Eric Clapton Losing Hand
Devon Allman Back to You
Niecie Baby It’s Working
Tinsley Ellis Drivin’ Woman
Sean Chambers Cry On Me
Tucci High Roller
Albert Castiglia Triflin’
Damon Fowler Trouble
Gregg Allman Band Demons
Bonnie Raitt Million Miles
B.B. King & Eric Clapton Days Of Old
Jack Bruce & Friends Send For Me
Shaun Kirk Let Me Put My Love Into You
Shaun Murphy Go Away
WYNONNA JUDD That Was Yesterday
Tiffany Pollack & Eric Johanson Keep It Simple
Mike Zito 39 Days
Joe Bonamassa Down Around My Place (With John Hiatt)
Tom Hambridge This End of the Road (ft Sonny Landreth)
Chris Rea Never Tie Me Down

A Roadhouse Quickie for Tuesday, April 16th!

It’s a busy day for me today, but I still have time for a one hour Roadhouse Quickie at 12 Noon EST on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com! Join me for new tunes by Mary Lane, Arlen Roth, Harpdog Brown, the Manx Marriner Mainline, and Big Joe & the Dynaflows!

Below is the intended playlist.

ARTIST TITLE
Arlen Roth Tuff Tele
John Latini Pull Me Up
Genevieve Chadwick One Time Thing
Manx Marriner Mainline Everybody Knows
Harpdog Brown Blue Light Boogie
Mary Lane Blues Give Me A Feeling
Big Jay McNeely & Dana Gillespie Give Me Your Best Shot
Arlen Roth I Can Fix It (ft Jack Pearson)
Big Joe and the Dynaflows Driving Wheel
Slackjaw Don’t Give Me No Jive
Ghalia and Mamas Boys Have You Seen My Woman
RJ & The Houndogs Give Me One Reason
Arlen Roth Joe’s Blues (ft Joe Bonamassa)

Telecastin’ the night away on Arlen Roth’s Tele Masters

Released in the early 1950’s, the Fender Telecaster was the first commercially successful solid body guitar and has been used by blues, rock, and country bands ever since because of its distinctive tone (and relatively cheap price!). Famous artists like Buck Owens, Albert Collins, and Muddy Waters played the Telecaster in the fifties and Keith Richards and Jimmy Page have used it in an exquisite manner since the 1960’s.  On his new album, Tele Masters, Arlen Roth displays his own love and mastery of the Telecaster with a stellar set of 16 tunes.

Arlen Roth_buick and telecaster

Over the years, Arlen has performed with Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, Levon Helm, Ry Cooder, Johnny Winter, Rick Vito, and Sonny Landreth (click here for a great live performance by them of Blues Attack ) to name just a few.  He has been voted one of the 100 Most Influential Guitarists of All Time by Vintage Guitars magazine….and my bet is that many of you have never heard his music!  Well, I hope we can change that after a listen to this inspiring new album.

The list of artists that contributed to this effort is impressive.  The most notable to regular readers of my blog is Joe BonamassaJoe’s Blues is Bonamassa’s tribute to the legendary Albert Collins and is a must have for collectors of Joe’s tunes. Also contributing on the recording are Steve Cropper (yeah THAT Steve Cropper), Vince Gill, Brad Paisley, Jack Pearson, Albert Lee, Jerry Donahue, Johnny Hiland, Bill Kirchen, Brent Mason, Will Ray, Red Volkaert, Cindy Cashdollar, Billy Panda, Bryan Sutton, Tommy MacDonald, and Steve Wariner.  The drummer on the album and its producer is one of my favorite people, Grammy Award winner Tom Hambridge who plays with Buddy Guy.  Tom’s production of the songs brings out the best in Arlen and showcases the distinctive attributes of the Telecaster in a way that is engaging and entertaining.  The album is primarily instrumental but features several songs with vocals that I really loved.

Arlen Roth_TeleMaster album

Jack Pearson, a notable musician and singer who played with the Allman Brothers Band and also toured with Gregg Allman, is featured on vocals and guitar on two awesome blues cuts: I Can Fix It (where he and Arlen do a great job of trading guitar licks) and on an inspiring version of Key to the Highway.  The fabulous Steve Cropper contributes vocals and guitar licks on the bluesy White Lightning.  All three cuts will get significant airplay during my upcoming sets on http://www.bluesmusicfan.com.

But what truly underpins this album is the guitar artistry of Arlen Roth. He recorded his first album in 1978 and now, fifteen albums later, we hear his guitar playing at its very best.  Besides the blues tunes, he romps through a haunting rendition of Ghost Riders in the Sky, a lovely cover of Tennessee Waltz with his daughter, Lexie Roth, on vocals, cranks it up on Rumble, and then lays down the case for why the Telecaster is such a great guitar on the badass instrumental, Tuff Tele.

This album is worth spending an evening with as I have done.  Get yourself a drink, a smoke, or whatever relaxes you and telecast the night away with Arlen Roth and friends.


2019 Aquinnah Records