What can you say about James Cotton? Plenty--one of the greatest blues harp players is now 75 and still going strong! On Time for the Blues this week (7/24/11), we’ll feature tracks from his latest release, Giant! We’ll also check out Ben Waters’ tribute to Ian Stewart (not our Ian from the World Music Show)--this Ian was the long-time keyboard man for the Rolling Stones! Also, more of the Goldwax Story--discovering more lost R&B!
John and I find it very difficult to “rate” blues harpists. The legendary ones like Little Walter, Geroge “Harmonica” Smith, Charlie Musselwhite and Junior Wells all had their own styles so it's hard to compare. James Cotton is right there with them--an amazing harp player, singer and songwriter and his work with Muddy Waters in the 70’s is still some of the best blues harp you’ll ever hear. His latest release, Giant, combines his blueswailing talent with a great backing band--you can hear a sample below. Unfortunately, James doesn’t do the vocals anymore but you’ll love his playing! John brought this disc to me and we really dig that a true blues legend is still there for us today!
Ben Waters’ reputation as a premiere boogie-woogie piano player has grown in recent years and he has an impressive track record playing with the likes of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis. NPR featured his tune “Hurricane” as a song of the day in 2008 and we highly recommend you check it out here. His new release, Boogie 4 Stu: A Tribute to Ian Stewart showcases Ben’s barrelhouse style as he honors one of his main influences, Ian Stewart. Ian passed away in 1985 after 22+ years backing the Rolling Stones in studio and on tour with his distinctive boogie-woogie piano. He also contributed to Howlin’ Wolf’s London Sessions and many other blues recordings. He toured with his own band, Ian Stewart’s Rocket 88 in the late 70’s and 80’s. In paying tribute to Ian, Ben Waters has compiled a great cast of guests for Boogie 4 Stu and all of the Rolling Stones take part in one way or another! Even Mick Jagger does the vocals on one of the tracks you’ll hear!
If all that isn’t enough, we also have another episode of the Goldwax Story for you! This little-known 60’s Memphis-based record label produced wonderful R&B and Soul with amazing singers that kinda sounded like the Stax, Atlantic and Motown stars of the day. This week we’re featuring the very first single Goldwax released, The Lyrics with Darling. Add in an instrumental from Timmy Thomas and Dorothy Williams singing an Isaac Hayes tune and you’ll hear why John and I love these sides so much! We recommend Volume 1 of The Goldwax Story for all 60’s R&B fans! It’s like finding brand new music!
So, again, we hope you’ll catch a nap and stay up late with us! Time for the Blues with John Porter and Henry Cook airs Sundays at 1:00 AM.
Tell us who your favorite blues harp & keyboard players are--we’ll feature them in future shows!