Thursday, July 26, 2012

Playlist: July 25, 2012

Click to listen

Henry Butler, Basin St. Blues
     Fri 7/27 @ Yoshi's Oakland
John Pizzarelli, Honey Pie
     Thu 7/26 @ Yoshi's San Francisco
     Fri 7/27 @ Napa Valley Opera House
Shovelman, Excavating the Future
     Fri-Sat 7/27-28 @ Wanderlust Festival
Nathan James & The Rhythm Scratchers, Pain Inside Waltz
     Thu 7/26 @ Poor House Bistro

Ron Hacker & The Hacksaws, Diddley Widdley
     Fri 7/27 @ The Saloon
     Sat 7/28 @ Redwood City PAL Blues Festival
Frank Bey, Drivin' With My Eyes Closed
     Sat 7/28 @ Redwood City PAL Blues Festival
Tip of the Top, I Got To Go
     Fri 7/27 @ Murphy's Law
     Sat 7/28 @ Grand Deli Saloon
     Sun 7/29 @ Bar Three Fifty-Five
Hamilton Loomis, Bow Wow
     Thu 7/26 @ Biscuits and Blues
     Fri 7/27 @ Torch Club
     Sun 7/29 @ Moe's Alley
Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Ramblin' On My Mind
     Tue 7/31 @ Mountain Winery
Aaron Leese and the Panhandlers, Love Me
      Sun 7/29 @ Boom Boom Room
Mr. Lonesome and the Bluebelles, Just For You
Lavay Smith & Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers, Jumpin' In The Morning
     Thu 7/26 @ Harry Denton's Starlight Lounge
     Sun 7/29 @ Royal Cuckoo

Mitch Woods, Boogie Woogie Barbecue
Mississippi Jook Band, Barbecue Bust
Bessie Smith, Gimme A Pigfoot And A Bottle of Beer
Savannah Churchill and Her All Star Seven, Fat Meat Is Good Meat
Jesse Stone, Cole Slaw (Sorghum Switch)
Slim Gaillard, Potato Chips
"Big Boy" Teddy Edwards, Who Did You Give My Barbecue To? - Part 1
Tempo King and His Kings of Tempo, Alabama Barbecue
Barbecue Bob, Barbecue Blues

Champion Jack Dupree, Cabbage Greens No. 2
The Kansas City Six, Good Morning Blues
The Holmes Brothers, Concrete Jungle
Bob Dylan, Like A Rolling Stone (live)
Muddy Waters, Can't Lose What You Never Had
Michael Bloomfield, Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Playlist: July 18, 2012

Ray Davies, The Voodoo Walk
     Thu 7/19 @ The Fillmore
The Kinks, Acute Schizophrenia Paranoia Blues
Beso Nego, C'est La Vie
     Fri 7/20 @ Peri's Silver Dollar
     Sat 7/21 @ Bask Music and Arts Festival
     Sat 7/21 @ Nourish
Stéphane Wrembel, Train d'Enfer
     from the new album Origins
Stéphane Wrembel, Bistro Fada
     Wed 7/25 @ Yoshi's Oakland

Special guest: Charlie Musselwhite

     Sat 7/21 @ Yoshi's Oakland

Charlie Musselwhite, Sad and Beautiful World
Charlie Musselwhite, Cook County Blues
Charlie Musselwhite, Christo Redemptor

Phil Berkowitz, She's My Baby
     Thu 7/19 @ St Francis Winery
     Fri 7/20 @ Servino's
     Sat 7/21 @ Monaghan's On The Hill
Tip of the Top, The Sportin' Life
     Sat 7/21 @ Pleasant Hill Blues 'n Brews Festival
     Sun 7/22 @ McGovern's Bar: Benefit for Jack Cohen
Two-Tone Steiny, There's a Party Goin' On
     Tue 7/24 @ Biscuits and Blues
Quinn DeVeaux & The Blue Beat Review, I'm In Love Again
     Fri 7/20 @ The Verdi Club
     Sat 7/21 @ Bask Music and Arts Festival

Desmond Dekker & The Aces, 007 (Shanty Town)
Santana, Fried Neck Bones And Some Home Fries
William Bell, Just As I Thought
Screamin' Jay Hawkins, I Put A Spell On You
Albert King, Born Under a Bad Sign
Lonnie Mack, Hound Dog Man
Phoebe Snow, Baby Work Out
Geoff Muldaur and the Texas Sheiks, Fan It
Maria Muldaur, Get You Next To Me

The Blues Broads, It Won't Be Long
     from the forthcoming album The Blues Broads
Zac Harmon, Drowning in Hollywood
     from the new album Music Is Medicine
Tail Dragger & Bob Corritore, So Ezee
     from the new album Longtime Friends in the Blues
Billy Boy Arnold, Going Back To Arkansas
     from the new album Sings Big Bill Broonzy
Chris Smither, Hundred Dollar Valentine
     from the new album Hundred Dollar Valentine

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Playlist: July 11, 2012

John Mayall, Why Worry
     Tue 7/17 @ Yoshi's Oakland
John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers, Little Girl
Etta James & Sugar Pie DeSanto, In The Basement Part 1
Kim Nalley, At Last
     Wed-Sun 7/11-15 @ Rrazz Room
     Wed 7/18: Tribute to Etta James
Etta James, Dreamer
The Plāto'nes, The Perqs of Hypocrisy
     Sun 7/15: Philosophy Talk Live at the Marsh

Fountain Blues Festival: July 14

Elvin Bishop, His Eye Is On The Sparrow
Ruthie Foster, The Titanic
Lurrie Bell, The Devil Ain't Got No Music
John Primer et al, The Blues Had a Baby (and They Named It Rock and Roll)
Canned Heat, Gorgo Boogie

California Worldfest: July 12-15

Meklit Hadero, Walls
Jessica Fichot, Bang Bang (你怎能瞞過我)
Rupa & The April Fishes, Culpa De La Luna

New York Gypsy All-Stars, Romantech

Little Charlie & The Nightcats, Tag (You're It)
Rick Estrin & The Nightcats, Lucky You
     from the new album One Wrong Turn
Albert Collins, Robert Cray & Johnny Copeland, T-Bone Shuffle
Koko Taylor, I'm A Woman
Hound Dog Taylor, Taylor's Rock

Willie Cobbs, Big Boss Man
Bill Cosby, Big Boss Man
Woody Guthrie, Dusty Old Dust (So Long It's Been Good to Know Yuh)
Bob Dylan, Dear Mrs. Roosevelt
Bob Dylan and Mavis Staples, Gonna Change My Way Of Thinking
Mavis Staples, Wonderful Savior
Lurrie Bell, Death Don't Have No Mercy
     from the new album The Devil Ain't Got No Music
     Sat 7/14 @ Biscuits and Blues

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Playlist: July 4, 2012

Oscar Peterson Trio, Hymn to Freedom
Gaucho, Pearl
     Mon 7/09 @ Yoshi's Oakland: Part-Time Sweetheart CD Release
Lionel Young, Summertime
     Sat 7/07 @ Biscuits and Blues
     Sun 7/08 @ Half Moon Bay Brewing Company

Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Baseball Canto
Bob Dylan, Catfish
Teddy Brannon Orchestra, Don Newcombe Really Throws That Ball
Watermelon Slim & The Workers, Max the Baseball Clown
Chance Halladay, Home Run
Holmes Brothers, Rounding Third
Palmetto Jazz Quartet, Base Ball Blues
Sister Wynona Carr, The Ball Game
Mabel Scott, Baseball Boogie

Monday, July 2, 2012

Live From The Fog City Blues Vol 1

A little over a month after the KALW membership drive for which it was created, the CD exists: Live From The Fog City Blues Vol 1 compiles the best live-on-the-air performances of original material by Bay Area musicians from the program's first five years. It's available at Cover design and artwork by my wife Andrea -- though be sure to picture the bottom image as a clear sticker on a recycled-paper sleeve more or less the color of the top image. Trust me, it looks awesome.

Although there turned out to be just the right number of locals-playing-originals for an hour-long set (more on that later), the concept of this compilation goes back a few years. It began New Year's Eve 2008, which fell on a Wednesday, which meant I'd be on the air, with a need to do something special. The program was just about two years old at that point, and a New Year's Eve broadcast seemed like the right opportunity for some sort of retrospection. In-studio performances were rare in the show's first year on the air, but by 2008 they were happening more frequently, and so I compiled and played an hour of some of my favorites. And then headed out to whatever New Year's party I was due at.

Fast-forward a few months to the 2009 spring pledge drive. It occurred to me that instead of offering some commercial CD as a thank-you gift, I might try to use the work I'd done for that New Year's Eve special to put together an album of live-on-the-air performances, as a truer representation of the show's value (to me and, hopefully, to listeners). The folks at the station were relatively receptive, so I set about figuring out what needed to be done. That turned out to be mostly a matter of permissions – from the performers (either directly or through their record label), and in the case of non-original compositions, from the music publishers. And ay, there was the rub. Given what had been played live in the Fog City Blues studio up to that point, it was going to take some work to get clearance for some of those blues standards (whose copyrights were held by entities with few reasons to accommodate my endeavors) needed to flesh out the disc. I did reach out and get permission from a few folks -- including an early conquest on the show, the Canadian band whose music I'd been following longer than any other active musicians, Blue Rodeo -- but not enough to get the project off the ground. And so we went with the new CDs from two recent visitors to the show, Chris Cotton and John Németh, as thank-you gifts. Not too shabby, but alas.

The idea was floated now and again over the next couple of years. But KALW's membership drives were evolving, eventually hitting on a thank-you-gift-less format that as an on-air personality I certainly had no qualms with. It was with the fifth anniversary of the show this year that the idea became viable again, for a number of reasons. First, having somewhat hastily put together a special program for the on-air fifth anniversary in January, I decided to revive another idea from over a year prior (actually, my wife's idea) to put on a live event -- a "Fog City Blues Revue" -- with some of our favorite local bands playing short sets at a local venue. With a little help from my friends and her, that came together in May for a slightly belated "Fifth Anniversary Revue," by which time I'd learned that KALW's spring membership drive would be a touch old-school -- still interruption-free ("No programming was harmed in the course of this pledge drive"), but we would be bringing back the bevy of thank-you gifts.

The stars were aligning. With five years on the air there had to be enough in-studio performances of original songs to dispense with the covers; there would be no seeking of separate publishing rights. And if that were the case, maybe we could make it hyper-local -- Bay Area musicians playing Bay Area blues. Of course that meant abandoning some great music played on the show: the Chicago purists, the Delta revivalists, the Gypsy jazz bands (local as well as fresh off the plane from Europe), not to mention those sentimental favorites from my home & native land, Blue Rodeo. But by creating a self-limiting set of justifiable criteria, I could leapfrog over a lot of unsatisfying decision-making, and... voilà: Live From The Fog City Blues Vol 1.

But of course it wasn't just voilà. Not only was there was some technical tweaking to do, but the sequencing became all-consuming -- after all, that's the essential creative work that goes in to every episode of Fog City Blues. Which track to open with? What kind of balance between solo and band performances, moody versus uptempo tunes? Group the harp players together or spread them out? Which track worked best as closer -- and which one worked best immediately before it, to heighten the drama? What story would this tracklist tell? In the end in took a couple of iterations, with input from trusted auditioners, along with a healthy dose of telling myself, more than once, "Good enough." It's just part of the story of blues in Bay Area as heard on KALW.

Especially without a track from Blue Rodeo.