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The Blues Project! Joe Louis Walker and Li'l Ronnie Episode 2!

Hope you will join us this week (4/5/14) on Time for the Blues as we listen to some great music and tell a few bad jokes. You’ll be glad you took a nap and hung out with us. We're featuring 60's The Blues Project, new Joe Louis Walker and another visit from Li'l Ronnie Owens!

Let the Professor get all professorial for a few minutes. Henry and I are showcasing some very interesting and more obscure groups than they should be. I’ll let him talk about The Blues Project – I actually didn’t know anything about them, but if you are into hard-driving psychedelic influenced groups, you are going to love these guys.

Joe Louis Walker - Hornet's Nest cover I’m going to tackle Joe Louis Walker. You’ve probably heard us play sides before from JLW, but we’ve never really told his story. Walker was born on Christmas Day 1949 in San Francisco. By the time he was 8, he was a guitar prodigy, and by 16 he was tearing up the Bay Area playing in various bands.

While he was still in his formative years, Walker played with John Lee Hooker, J.J. Malone, Buddy Miles, Otis Rush, Thelonious Monk, Willie Dixon, Charlie Musselwhite, Steve Miller, Nick Lowe, John Mayall, Muddy Waters, and Jimi Hendrix, to name quite a few! By 1968, he had forged a friendship with Mike Bloomfield; they were roommates for many years until Bloomfield's untimely death.

I can only imagine what those jam sessions sounded like.

Later he did what a lot of us do after college--we follow our heads rather than our hearts. Trouble is, once the blues get a hold of you, they never let  go. Slowly he made his way back and before too long he was writing, playing, singing, and producing. Oh yeah, he really turned up the heat and made his way all the way back in the business. The 1993 release of B.B. King's Grammy Award-winning "Blues Summit" album featured a duet with Walker (a Walker original, "Everybody's Had the Blues"). The live DVD release featured another duet with Walker (a rendition of "T-Bone Shuffle").

There’s more to his story, but I’m going to let his music tell the rest. We'll feature tracks from his latest CD "Hornet's Nest" on Alligator! Suffice to say, if Walker is not on your musical radar, let us fine tune it for you.

Blues Project's Projections cover (Henry on The Blues Project)--I knew about these guys some time back, but in the mid-to-late sixties, there were so many influential Chicago influenced blues-rock-psychedlic efforts from Paul Butterfield to Electric Flag, somehow this group slipped my mind for awhile. In searching for some Al Kooper stuff (legendary keyboard player, composer, producer) I ran across a link to The Blues Project. Turned out it was Al's first concerted group effort after he played on Bob Dylan's electric crossover LP, "Highway 61 Revisted."

In 1965 Geenwich Village blues guitarist Danny Kalb formed The Blues Project, naming the band after an Elektra Records compilation from the previous year that included Kalb and other New York acoustic blues players. Only this Project was anything but acoustic! Kalb teamed up with gutiarist Steve Katz, vocalist Tommy Flanders, bass (and flute) player Andy Kulberg and drummer Roy Blumenfeld. The last piece that made this group special was Al Kooper..funny thing was..it took a bit before a record company would give them a deal. But when Verve Records did, they made their first LP a live set...good choice..amazing energy!

But enough history...I finally got my greedy little mitts on Project's "Anthology" and have not stopped listening to it! We featured their live version of "Jelly, Jelly" last week as a teaser...this week you won't believe how they change up "Hoochie Coochie Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City"--check the sample! (OK, John--I'm done now.)

As Henry keeps cleaning up his office – and teasing me about the condition of mine – he'll also feature a couple of sides from the Alastair Greene Band and Aaron Williams and the Hoodoo. For some reason, Henry lost track of these two CDs from 2009 and 2011 respectively, so we featured tracks from them some weeks ago and we want to give you another taste!

Plus we continue our conversation with the one and only Richmond harpmaster Li’l Ronnie Owens and he talks to us about his collaboration with another one of our favorites, Terry Garland. Hey Terry, we’d like to have you one the show as well. Let’s keep talking.

So please join us for all this fun. It’s the fastest hour on late night radio and we love to share it with you. Time for the Blues with John Porter and Henry Cook airs Saturdays at 11:00 p.m.