Allman Brothers Band’s 50th Anniversary Collection

The Allman Brothers Band career retrospective, ‘Trouble No More: 50th Anniversary Collection,’ will be released on February 28th via Island Mercury/UMe paying tribute to the 50th anniversary of the pioneering Southern blues- rock legends and their massive body of work.

The original band consisting of Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, Dickey Betts, brothers Duane Allman, and Gregg Allman andJaimoe, finally came together cutting anoriginal 1969 demo of Muddy Waters’ ‘Trouble No More,’ which has remained unreleased for more than half a century, opens the new, 10 vinyl LP or 5 CD box set (there is also a digital version).

‘Trouble No More’ is produced by Allman Brothers Band historians and aficionados Bill Levenson, John Lynskeyand Kirk Westwith sixty-one tracks from across the Allman Brothers Band career, including live performances, rarities and seven previously unreleased tracks from the very beginning of the band until the very end. The collection is bookended with a live performance of ‘Trouble No More’ from the Allman Brothers Band’s final show at New York’s Beacon Theatre, New York that brought the band’s legend to a close.

Ahead of the release, the previously unreleased demo recording of ‘Trouble No More’ is available for streaming now and for immediate download with digital album pre-order. Preorder/listen here:

The deluxe vinyl box set presents the band’s legacy across 10 vinyl albums packaged in five gatefold jackets housed in a wood veneer wrapped slipcase with gold graphics, accompanied by a 56-page book and will also be released as a limited edition coloured vinyl collection via the online music retailer uDiscover with each album pressed on orange and red splatter coloured vinyl evoking the insides of a peach.

The 5 CD edition will be packaged in a 12-panel ‘soft pack book’ and includes an 88 page booklet. Both editions feature a 9000-word essay on the history of the band by John Lynskey, unreleased band photos along with newly shot photos of memorabilia from the Big House Museum in the band’s adopted hometown Macon, Georgia and a recap of the 13 incarnations of the band line up.

The digital version of the album will mirror the 5 CD set and be available for streaming and download, including Apple Digital Master.

All recordings have been newly mastered by Jason NeSmith at Chase Park Transduction in Athens, Ga. and sound better than ever. View the album trailer by clicking the graphic above or click here:

The collection’is grouped into five distinct eras representing the various stages of the band’s recording and performance history, divided by the group’s stints on the Capricorn, Arista and Epic labels, as well as the band’s own Peach imprint.

Starting with ‘The Capricorn Years 1969 – 1979 Part I’, the collection kicks off at the beginning of the Allman Brothers story with the previously unreleased 1969 demo version of ‘Trouble No More,’ and includes highlights from their self-titled debut album including ‘Don’t Want You No More’ and ‘It’s Not My Cross To Bear,’ ‘Whipping Post;’ plus standouts from their second album, ‘Idlewild South’,such as ‘Midnight Rider;’ Dickey Betts’ first song writing effort for the band, ‘Revival;’ and ‘Don’t Keep Me Wondering,’ with Duane Allman’s slide guitar work centre stage.

The original line up’s legacy album, the ’Live At Filmore East’, recorded in March 1971 at Bill Graham’s East Village theatre, is represented with Blind Willie McTell’s ‘Statesboro Blues,’ T Bone Walker’s ‘Stormy Monday’ and the dazzling 13 minute instrumental odyssey, ‘In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed,’ where every member is in perfect harmony.

As Lynskey writes in the comprehensive liners: “There is no question, however, that The Allman Brothers Band was at their best up on a stage, playing live music for an audience. The group played with unbridled energy, and without constraints. While their set list did not vary all that much from night to night in the early days, the band’s desire to explore, create and improvise guaranteed that each show would be a different listening experience. Their marathon concerts became the stuff of legend, and that spirit was captured on At Fillmore East, the live set by which all others are measured.”

‘The Capricorn Years 1969 -1979, Part II’ collects together songs from the Allman Brothers Band’s double album, ‘Eat A Peach’, with tracks recorded in 1971 with Duane Allman before he tragically died in a motorcycle accident.

Released in February 1972, the cuts featured on the set include ‘Blue Sky,’ written and sung by Dickey Betts; ‘Melissa,’ Gregg Allman’s tribute to his lost brother and ‘One Way Out,’ recorded live in June 1971, on the closing night of the Fillmore East. ‘Hot ‘Lanta’ and ‘You Don’t Love Me’ from a live performance at New York’s A&R Studios broadcast on WPLJ radio and ‘Ain’t Wastin’ Time No More,’ recorded at Puerto Rico’s ‘Mar Y Sol Festival,’ in April 1972, showcase the band in a variety of live settings.

Songs from their number one selling album, ‘Brothers And Sisters’, include Dickey’s country infused hit single, ‘Ramblin Man’ and ‘Wasted Words,’ which were the last two songs to feature bassist Berry Oakley who also tragically died in a motorcycle accident at the same age as Duane, just 24 years old. Part II concludes with a previously unreleased outtake of ‘Early Morning Blues,’ a standard blues number that eventually morphed into ‘Jelly Jelly.’

As The Allman Brothers experienced one blow after another, ‘Brothers And Sisters’tore up the charts. ‘The Capricorn Years, 1969-1979, Part III/The Arista Years, 1980-1981’ launches with two live performances from their historic ‘Summer Jam’ show in July 1973 with the Grateful Dead at Watkins Glen, New York which drew more than half a million fans to the grounds of the famed raceway. ‘Come And Go Blues,’ released on the live album, ‘Wipe the Windows, Check The Oil, Dollar Gas’, by Gregg Allman while ‘Mountain Jam’ is a previously unreleased version that grew out of a line from Donovan’s ‘First There Is A Mountain’ into a 12 minute jam.

The band’s record ‘Win, Lose Or Draw’, recorded in 1975 after a couple years apart following the release and subsequent tours for Gregg and Dickey’s debut solo albums and is highlighted here with the moving title track, their inspired rendition of Muddy Waters’ ‘Can’t Lose What You Never Had’ and the instrumental, ‘High Falls.’

As a result of fractures in the band, they disbanded after the album’s tour and they remained apart for four years. Overtures were made and an impromptu performance together made them yearn to be together again, the original members – Butch,  Dickey, Jaimoe and Gregg – decamped to the studio and recorded 1979’s ‘Enlightened Rogues’.

Included here are standouts ‘Crazy Love,’ ‘Can’t Take It With You,’ ‘Pegasus’ and a live version of Gregg’s autobiographical ‘Just Ain’t Easy.’ The end of the decade would also mark the end of their time with Capricorn, as a result of the label going bankrupt, and a new label home with Clive Davis’ Arista Records, which they signed to in 1980. ‘Hell and High Water,’ and ‘Angeline’ from the resulting album, ‘Reach For The Sky’, released in August 1980, had glossier production and synthesizers.

Sadly, Jaimoe and the group would part ways again after this. ‘Never Knew How Much,’ a ballad that originated during the sessions for Gregg’s solo album, ‘Laid Back’, and ‘Leavin’‘ a song that may have foreshadowed what was to come from their album, ‘Brothers Of The Road’, released in August 1981, round out the chapter.

In 1989, after years apart and several solo albums, the original members of the band were approached about doing a reunion tour to promote an upcoming career box set, and Butch, Dickey, Jaimoe and Gregg all agreed.

For the tour, they recruited Warren Haynes, a guitarist that Dickey had been playing with, and went out as a seven-piece. The shows so well received that the band, now signed to Epic, recorded ‘Seven Turns’, their first album together in nearly a decade.

‘The Epic Years, 1989 – 2000’ includes the album’s title track, considered one of Dickey’s best songs and ‘Good Clean Fun,’ which received solid airplay on MTV. The album was a resounding statement that the Allman’s were back. Not wanting to waste time, they quickly set to work on 1991’s ‘Shades Of Two Worlds’which saw Dickey take a dominant role as a songwriter, as heard on ‘Nobody Knows,’ and Warren emerge as an influential member of the group, co-writing five songs with either Dickey or Gregg, including ‘End Of The Line,’ which sounded like vintage Allman Brothers.

Many other highlights from this era include ‘Low Dirty Mean,’ from the 1992 live album, ‘Play All Night: Live At The Beacon Theater’, a rare live performance of Robert Johnson’s ‘Come On Into My Kitchen,’ and songs from 1994’s ‘Where It All Begins’, including the stellar title track and the live favorite ‘Soulshine,’ which displayed Warren’s singer/songwriter talents. It concludes with the unreleased ‘I’m Not Crying,’ a composition written by Jack Pearsonwho replaced Warren after he left to focus on his band Gov’t Mule.

The final chapter, ‘The Peach Years, 2000 – 2014’, spans a variety of line up changes, most notably the departure of original member Dickey Betts and the introduction of guitarist Derek Trucks, the nephew of Butch Trucks. The younger Trucks delivers an emotionally-charged solo alongside Dickey’s recent replacement, Jimmy Herring, on the previously unreleased, ‘Loan Me A Dime,’ recorded on August 26th, 2000, the day bassist Allen Woodypassed away.

Gregg sounds especially emotional on the powerful performance. Woody’s death shook the band but it was out of this tragedy that Warren would make his way back to his brothers. Included here is a spectacular, never-released live performance from the band’s 2001 Beacon run of ‘Desdemona,’ a new song that Warren and Gregg wrote together.

The tune, along with the shimmering ‘TheHigh Cost Of Low Living’ and the poignant ‘Old Before My Time,’ would be featured on their final album, ‘Hittin’ The Note’, released in 2003, some of their best work in years.

Two unreleased gems from the band’s 2005 annual stand at the Beacon Theatre include a rare version of ‘Blue Sky’ with Gregg handling the lead vocals and Derek’s and Warren’s solos augmented by lively piano work from long time former bandmate Chuck Leavell, who was sitting in for the March 21st show; and Warren and Derek’s wonderful interpretation of Duane’s instrumental, ‘Little Martha,’ from that same night.

Appropriately the collection culminates with a live version of ‘Trouble No More,’ the first song the original band ever played together and the last song of their career.

As Lynskey writes: “In those four minutes, 45 years came pouring out of the speakers; 45 years of superior blues/rock music, created by incomparable musicians. The final notes echoed through the theatre early in the morning of October 29, 43 years to the day that Duane Allman died.”

The Allman Brothers Band have weathered extreme adversity – and band who reinvented themselves in the face of loss and tragedy and sell millions of records along the way. This new collection is a compelling summary of the Rock and Roll Hall Of Famer’s timelessly brilliant and influential contributions to American music.

On March 10th, 2020 for one night only at Madison Square Garden in New York City, Jaimoe, Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks, Oteil Burbridge, Marc Quinones joined by Duane Trucks, Reese Wynans and special guest Chuck Leavell will celebrate 50 years of the music of The Allman Brothers Band.

This one-time concert event will be a celebration of The Allman Brothers Band’s illustrious career. It notably marks the first time in more than five years that these legendary players will be together on stage to perform their iconic hits, and the first time since the passing of founding members Gregg Allman and Butch Trucks. It will undoubtedly be emotionally charged, and an unforgettable night not to be missed. The show sold out immediately upon going on sale.


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Trailer For New Martin Scorsese Documentary On The Band

“It was so beautiful it went up in flames,” Robbie Robertson says of the Band’s story. From executive producers Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, and Ron Howard and director Daniel Roher is the latest Band documentary, which touches extensively on Robertson’s own journey.

Once Were Brothers: Robbie Robertson and the Band comes to theatres on February 21st.

Also interviewed are Robbie Robertson’s collaborators and friends: Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Eric Clapton, Scorsese himself, and others. “Once Were Brothers” refers to a song on Robbie’s sixth solo album, Sinematic, which features Citizen Cope and Frederic Yonnet.

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Blues Record Collector John Tefteller, Who Paid $37,100 For 78rpm

By Roger Park

John Tefteller is a well-known rare blues record collector. In 2013, Tefteller purchased “Alcohol and Jake Blues” by Tommy Johnson (1930), a very rare blues 78 rpm record, on eBay for $37,100.
Tommy Johnson made five records for the Paramount label in 1929 and 1930. Johnson, unrelated to bluesman Robert Johnson, was a little known and very under-appreciated singer/guitar player from Crystal Springs, Mississippi. I love collecting records (mainly 33 rpm). However, being the budget-conscious (i.e. “cheap”) record consumer, I will gripe when paying over $37 for a record at Amoeba Music while John Tefteller paid $37,100 for one.

What made this Tommy Johnson blues record so rare? How did Tefteller get into collecting 78 rpm records? What advice does he have for folks wanting to get into collecting 78 rpm records? John Tefteller was kind enough to speak to me and provide insights on the unique world of 78 record collecting.
rarest blues record?
That’s not the rarest blues record. It’s complicated when you say “rarest.” The way I look at it, “rarest” means that only one copy remains in existence. Then, you can call it the “rarest.”

What makes these blues 78s so rare today?
In the 1920s and 1930s the companies that produced these records made limited copies of the records for a limited audience. That small audience, through time, either broke, wore the records out or threw them away. The record companies rarely kept any masters and there was no way to trace the purchasing and selling of the music. So, it’s made these blues records from that period extraordinarily hard to find.
Everything changed after WWII. There was better record keeping. However, the records from 1926 to 1935, if you can find them today, are super rare.
Back to the “Alcohol and Jake Blues” by Tommy Johnson record, how did you find that?
I had a copy of that record (before the eBay purchase), which was the only [known] copy in existence. But it was really beat up, noisy and distorted. On eBay, I saw that somebody in South Carolina was selling it. He had a picture of it and it was in nice shape. I put in a really “stupid” high bid because here’s a chance for me to get another copy of that record. I had no idea what the record would sell for. I knew how rare it was but didn’t know how desirable it was. Well, I made it (the winning bid) for $37,100. When it was first listed, the seller was asking $100 for it but within a few days, the price shot up.

Did the seller of the record realize how rare it was?
I don’t think so. The owner bought it at an estate sale for a few dollars. [Note: Tefteller went to South Carolina to pick up the record in person.]
How many records do you own including all the formats: 78, 33, 45 etc.?
My business, World’s Rarest Records, has an inventory about half a million records. While my person collection is around 5,000 records.

When did you start collecting 78 rpms and blues 78 rpms?
1972. I was a kid in Jr. High School back then. But it wasn’t until the 1980s when I started to collect blues records.
Vinyl album sales in the U.S. have grown for the 13th consecutive year. Any insights on vinyl’s popularity?
What I see is that people are tired of music that doesn’t come with anything. The music comes off a computer or phone, but it doesn’t have a cover to it, photographs, liner notes—there’s nothing to attach to other than the music.
The young people buying records like the concept of a visual thing with the listening pleasure. When you combine the two together, it’s a more powerful experience than just downloading the song from a computer. Young people are enjoying the option of holding a 33 rpm record or 45 rpm record. There are some companies that are even reproducing 78 rpm records.

Artist Robert Crumb is a famous 78 rpm collector. Any other famous folks who collect 78s?
Keith Richards is a collector. The actor Matt Dillon collects rare pre-Castro era Cuban 78s.
Robert Crumb was a big 78 collector and still has a very diverse collection which includes jazz, jug bands, popular acts, ethnic music, blues, etc. My collection has a focus on blues, rare blues. Crumb is currently really not buying anything these days.

Any advice for folks looking to get into collecting 78 rpms?
There is different advice for folks collecting specific types of records. It’s best first-off to limit yourself to things you really like and that are affordable to you. Stay within your ability to buy them.
And for purchasing a 78 rpm record player?
You can get a cheap 78 rpm record player on the market today for $100. But I don’t advise you doing that; in fact, you might do more harm to the records. There are players in the $500-600 range that are decent. Then, there are turntables that cost thousands of dollars. I often come across 78 rpms in thrift stores and garage sales. Is that a good way to get into collecting 78s?
I don’t recommend collecting the “old way”: thrift stores, estate sales, swap meets. You can do that, but you’ll be combing through a lot of beat up records in poor condition. That approach to collecting takes a lot of time, patience and dealing with frustrations.
Find out who the 78 rpm dealers are, the honest guys, the ones who specialize in the genre you’re looking to collect. Go with them and stick with them.

According to John Tefteller, this You Tube clip above “is taken from the original super beat up copy and poorly equalized. It sounds awful.” Tefteller suggests checking out the good-sounding reissues on CD sold on There are also loads of fantastic blues-related items like CDs, shirts, calendars, posters, etc.

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The Ballad Of Jethro Tull

In addition to a massive 50th anniversary tour Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull has announced the first official book.The Ballad of Jethro Tull’— a lavishly illustrated history of the band  is now available.

There are two editions of book one of which comes with a seven-inch vinyl record of frontman Ian Anderson reading a specially written poem called ‘The Ballad of Jethro Tull. The B-side of the 7″ features Anderson reading an 1808 Walter Scott poem titled ‘Marmion’ alongside a cathedral organ. It will only be available with the ‘signature’ edition, limited to 500 copies and signed by Anderson himself. Two art prints are also included.

Tull’s kicked off its 50th anniversary in 2018 and extended the shows well into 2019.

“In the USA – many would argue – 2019 is really the 50th Anniversary for US fans since we first visited in early 1969,” Anderson said.

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Cream 1968 Farewell Tour Box Set Due

A four-disc box set of Cream’s farwell 1968 tour will feature previously unreleased concert recordings from 1968.

Goodbye Tour Live 1968 features performances at the Oakland Coliseum Arena; the Forum in Los Angeles and the San Diego Sport Arena during their final trip to California, along with the famous farewell show at London’s  Royal Albert Hall. While some of the material has been around before and bootlegged, 19 of the 36 tracks have not previously been released in full.

“Cream was a shambling circus of diverse personalities who happened to find that catalyst together” said Eric Clapton in a statement. “Any one of us could have played unaccompanied for a good length of time. So you put the three of us together in front of an audience willing to dig it limitlessly, we could have gone on forever.  And we did – just going for the moon every time we played.”

Goodbye Tour Live 1968 also marks the first time the Albert Hall show has been available on CD, having only been released on DVD in the past. It’s the first authorised launch of all four shows, and the recordings have been remastered from the original tapes. The set will be released on February 7th.

Ten days later, on February 17th, Clapton will lead a tribute concert to drummer the late Ginger Baker who did in October 2019.

 The tribute show will take place at London’s Hammersmith Apollo and will feature music the pair worked on in both Cream and Blind Faith.

Cream – ‘Goodbye Tour Live 1968’ Track List

Disc 1: Oakland Coliseum Arena
1. “White Room”
2. “Politician”
3. “Crossroads”
4. “Sunshine of Your Love”
5. “Spoonful”
6. “Deserted Cities of the Heart”
7. “Passing the Time”
8. “I’m So Glad”

Disc 2: The Forum, Los Angeles
1. “Introduction”
2. “White Room”
3. “Politician”
4. “I’m So Glad”
5. “Sitting on Top of the World”
6. “Crossroads”
7. “Sunshine of Your Love”
8. “Traintime”
9. “Toad”
10. “Spoonful”

Disc 3: San Diego Sports Arena
1. “White Room”
2. “Politician”
3. “I’m So Glad”
4. “Sitting on Top of the World”
5. “Sunshine of Your Love”
6. “Crossroads”
7. “Traintime”
8. “Toad”
9. “Spoonful”

Disc 4: Royal Albert Hall, London
1. “White Room”
2. “Politician”
3. “I’m So Glad”
4. “Sitting on Top of the World”
5. “Crossroads”
6. “Toad”
7. “Spoonful”
8. “Sunshine of Your Love”
9. “Steppin’ Out”

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Swamp Pop Spectacular – London 19th April 2020

Posted in 45 rpm, 78rpm, Americana, Country/Hillbilly, Rhythm & Blues, Rock & Roll | Leave a comment

Howlin’ Wolf Live At Big Duke’s Flamingo, Chicago 1971

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Zappa’s Iconic ‘Hot Rats’ Album To Be Reissued As Six CD Box In December

December 20thwill see the release of a 6 CD box set of Frank Zappa’s ‘Hot Rats’ to mark the  50th anniversary of the release of perhaps Zappa’s best known album.

The Hot Rats Sessions, compiles every composition recorded during the July 1969 studio sessions, including an “abundance of rare and unedited mixes, work mixes, relevant Vault nuggets and complete basic tracks mixed from the original multi-track master tapes,” according to a release.

The first four discs include the studio sessions, showcasing the creative process behind Hot Rats tracks like “Peaches En Regalia,” “It Must Be A Camel” and the Captain Beefheart-featuring “Willie The Pimp,” plus non-LP songs like “Transition” and “Natasha.”

The Hot Rats Sessions also comes with a 28-page book featuring never-before-seen photographs from both the recording sessions and the Hot Rats album cover shoot; an alternate image from the cover shoot appears on the reissue. The Simpsons‘ Matt Groening also contributes a written tribute to Hot Rats, an album he says “spun me around like a propeller beanie, and melted my brain.”

Additionally, the original Hot Rats album will also be available as a single-LP reissue pressed on translucent hot pink 180-gram vinyl on December 20th, one day before what would have been Zappa’s 79th birthday.

 The Hot Rats Sessions Track List

1. Piano Music (Section 1)
2. Piano Music (Section 3)
3. Peaches En Regalia (Prototype)
4. Peaches En Regalia (Section 1, In Session)
5. Peaches En Regalia (Section 1, Master Take)
6. Peaches Jam – Part 1
7. Peaches Jam – Part 2
8. Peaches En Regalia (Section 3, In Session)
9. Peaches En Regalia (Section 3, Master Take)
10. Arabesque (In Session)
11. Arabesque (Master Take)
12. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (In Session)

1. It Must Be A Camel (Part 1, In Session)
2. It Must Be a Camel (Part 1, Master Take)
3. It Must Be a Camel (Intercut, In Session)
4. It Must Be a Camel (Intercut, Master Take)
5. Natasha (In Session)
6. Natasha (Master Take)
7. Bognor Regis (Unedited Master)
8. Willie The Pimp (In Session)
9. Willie The Pimp (Unedited Master Take)
10. Willie The Pimp (Guitar OD 1)
11. Willie The Pimp (Guitar OD 2)

1. Transition (Section 1, In Session)
2. Transition (Section 1, Master Take)
3. Transition (Section 2, Intercut, In Session)
4. Transition (Section 2, Intercut, Master Take)
5. Transition (Section 3, Intercut, In Session)
6. Transition (Section 3, Intercut, Master Take)
7. Lil’ Clanton Shuffle (Unedited Master)
8. Directly From My Heart To You (Unedited Master)
9. Another Waltz (Unedited Master)

1. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (Remake)
2. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (Take 1)
3. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (Master Take)
4. Big Legs (Unedited Master Take)
5. It Must Be a Camel (Percussion Tracks)
6. Arabesque (Guitar OD Mix)
7. Transition (Full Version)
8. Piano Music (Section 3, OD Version)

1. Peaches En Regalia (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
2. Willie The Pimp (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
3. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
4. Little Umbrellas (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
5. The Gumbo Variations (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
6. It Must Be A Camel (1987 Digital Re-Mix)
7. The Origin Of Hot Rats
8. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #1
9. Peaches En Regalia (1969 Mono Single Master)
10. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #2
11. Little Umbrellas (1969 Mono Single Master)
12. Lil’ Clanton Shuffle (1972 Whitney Studios Mix)

1. Little Umbrellas (Cucamonga Version)
2. Little Umbrellas (1969 Mix Outtake)
3. It Must Be A Camel (1969 Mix Outtake)
4. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1969 Mix Outtake)
5. More Of The Story Of Willie The Pimp
6. Willie The Pimp (Vocal Tracks)
7. Willie The Pimp (1969 Quick Mix)
8. Dame Margret’s Son To Be A Bride (1969 Quick Mix)
9. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #3
10. Bognor Regis (1970 Record Plant Mix)
11. Peaches En Regalia (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
12. Son Of Mr. Green Genes (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
13. Little Umbrellas (1969 Rhythm Track Mix)
14. Arabesque (Guitar Tracks)
15. Hot Rats Vintage Promotion Ad #4

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Blues Kings From Baton Rouge



2-CD (Digisleeve) with 52-page booklet, 53 Tracks. Total playing time approx. c. 148 minutes.

• A taster of the blues from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on two compact discs.

• Like New Orleans, Memphis or St. Louis alongside the Mississippi river, Baton Rouge was a blues hotbed.

From the first commercial recordings made in 1954, the story goes back to 1971.

• For the first time the story of the blues from Baton Rouge is told in all its facets.

• Blues expert Martin Hawkins tells the story of local blues singers and players that got onto records.

• The story goes beyond the Excello sound and the music of Lightnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo, and also features folk music by Willie B. Thomas, Robert Pete Williams and others.

• A detailed introduction to the topic and artist biographies for each individual performer can be found in the extensive 52-page illustrated booklet.

• The recordings have been carefully remastered for this edition.

• Limited edition of 1,000 copies worldwide!

These two CDs contain a more or less chronological taster of the blues from Baton Rouge, one of the several cities alongside the mighty Mississippi that has been thought of or thinks of itself as a blues town. Like New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis and some smaller places, Baton Rouge’s local blues players made a big contribution to the recorded legacy of the blues.

We really don’t know what the blue sound of Baton Rouge was before about 1954, when its first bluesman was recorded, and by the 1970s the blues as current, recorded, black music was dying out, melding with R&B and the sounds of soul. Those newer sounds were still a part of black culture and, increasingly, of white culture locally and internationally, but a different muse, a different music, a different story.

We concentrate on the period between 1954 and 1971, featuring here, together for the first time, those Baton Rouge singers and players who got onto records, one way or another. Some were aspiring professionals aiming for the stars, or at least for a local juke box spin, while others were local ‘folk’ performers plucked from their everyday life to sing for the man with the remote tape machine and a microphone. The blues from Baton Rouge has tended to be seen as synonymous either with the sound of Excello Records, the label that issued the music of Lightnin’ Slim, Slim Harpo and others, or, as the revived, endangered, folk music of the likes of Willie B. Thomas or Robert Pete Williams. Baton Rouge was home to all these men, and many others, during the post-war heyday of the recorded blues.

The first blues singer and guitarist to be recorded was Otis Hicks, Lightning Slim (later spelled Lightnin’ Slim). The man who put Lightning onto records was J. D. Miller, a white songwriter, entrepreneur, and recording engineer based in Crowley, Louisiana. Miller had worked out a deal with Excello Records in Nashville, Tennessee, whereby Miller would make master recordings for Excello to release through their better distribution networks. Lightning Slim introduced James Moore to Miller. Moore became known as Slim Harpo. He was much more of a stylist than Lightning Slim or Lazy Lester, but in the end the man whose music became most identified with the Excello label and with Baton Rouge blues, the ‘swamp-blues.’

Other men who found their way to Miller included Lazy Lester, Schoolboy Cleve, Lonesome Sundown, Jimmy Dotson, Tabby Thomas, Jimmy Anderson, Silas Hogan, Moses ‘Whispering’ Smith, and Arthur ‘Guitar’ Kelley.

In a parallel universe, northern college audiences and folk festival attendees were able to listen to blues players from Baton Rouge on LP discs that were far removed from the jukebox fare of Excello. They were recorded between 1958 and 1961 by Harry Oster and released on his Folk Lyric label.

So sit back and enjoy a chunk of blues history from the deep south of the USA on the Mississippi River, as told by UK blues expert and historian, Martin Hawkins.


Posted in 45 rpm, 78rpm, Americana, Blues, Compact Disc, Rare Records, Rhythm & Blues, Roots, You Tube | Leave a comment

New Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes You Tube Clip For ‘Catfish Blues’

The official video for Catfish Blues by Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes, from his upcoming Easy Eye Sound release ‘Cypress Grove’, out October 18th

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