Classic song: Key to the Highway by Chas Segar and Big Bill Broonzy

“When I was about 14, I saw Big Bill Broonzy on TV and that was an incredible thing. Because maybe if I’d just heard it, it might not have had the same effect. But to see footage of Broonzy playing ‘Hey Hey,’ this was a real blues artist and I felt like I was looking into heaven. That was it for me and then, when I went to explore his music, the song that always came back to me was an incredible version of ‘Key To The Highway.’ That was the one that I thought somehow would, like Crossroads, capture the whole journey of being a musician and a traveling journeyman.””
– Eric Clapton (2003)

“Key to the Highway” is a blues standard that has been performed and recorded by several blues and other artists. Blues pianist Charlie Segar first recorded the song in 1940. Jazz Gillum and Big Bill Broonzy followed with recordings during 1940–41, using an arrangement that has become the standard. When Little Walter updated the song in 1958 in an electric Chicago blues style, it became a success on the R&B record chart. Continue reading “Classic song: Key to the Highway by Chas Segar and Big Bill Broonzy”

Classic Concert: Muddy Waters at Rockpalast 1978

Muddy Waters Bluesband live at Rockpalast is a great document of a fantastic musician and stage personality. It really shows Muddy’s magnetism and skill in working a crowd. Especially when he abandons his guitar for “Mannish Boy” and at the end prowls the stage, manic preaching-style, as he jumps up and down, bemoaning the fact that “another mule is kicking in your stall”. His falsetto is sweet and true here, and gives us a glimpse of the strong sexual attraction Waters exuded in the fifties. What an artist, what a stage presence!

This is a fabulous blues concert!

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Georgia Blues: Blind Willie McTell , Blind Willie’s Blues (Documentary) 1997

Blind Willie’s Blues

A 54-minute documentary film about the life, times, and music of blues legend Blind Willie McTell.
With music masters Taj Mahal Stefan Grossman,historian Daphne Duval Harrison,and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
Written and produced by David Fulmer

“Nothing less than the economic, social, and
historical evolution of America’s indigenous music.”
— Video Librarian

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Classic concert: Led Zeppelin live Denmark 1969 (full TV performance) plus bonus clip

Here’s a short but sweet film of what Led Zeppelin looked and sounded like in the first year of the band’s history. This was mid March, 1969. Their debut album, Led Zeppelin, had been out in USA for three months.

Led Zeppelin was on a tour of the UK and Scandinavia when they visited TV-Byen studios in Gladsaxe, Denmark, to play four songs from the new album:

0:11 Communication Breakdown
2:58 Dazed and Confused
12:13 Babe I’m Gonna Leave You
19:01 How Many More Times
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January 12: Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin (debut album) in 1969

Led Zeppelin is the eponymous debut studio album by the English rock band Led Zeppelin, released on 12 January 1969 in the United States and on 31 March 1969 in the United Kingdom by Atlantic Records. Featuring integral contributions from each of the group’s four members, the album was recorded in October 1968 at Olympic Studios in London and established their fusion style of blues rock.

Although the album was not critically well-received when first released, it was commercially successful, and critics have since come to view it in a more favourable light. In 2003, Led Zeppelin was ranked at #29 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time, and keeping that position after the list was updated in 2012. In 2004, the album was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame. Continue reading “January 12: Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin (debut album) in 1969”

January 11: Howlin Wolf released Howlin Wolf (album) in 1962

Howlin’ Wolf is the third studio album from Chicago blues singer/guitarist/harmonicist Howlin’ Wolf. It is a collection of six singles previously released by the Chess label from 1960 through 1962. This was a common practise at the time.

Because of the illustration on its sleeve, shot by Don Bronstein, staff photgrapher at Playboy magazine and house photographer at Chess Records, the album is often called The Rockin’ Chair Album, a nickname even added to the cover on some reissue pressings of the LP.

Howlin’ Wolf’s second album brings together some of the blues great’s best singles from the late ’50s and early ’60s. Also available as a fine two-fer with his debut, Moanin’ in the Moonlight, the so-called Rockin’ Chair Album represents the cream of Wolf’s Chicago blues work. Those tracks afforded classic status are many, including “Spoonful,” “The Red Rooster,” “Wang Dang Doodle,” “Back Door Man,” “Shake for Me,” and “Who’s Been Talking?” Also featuring the fine work of Chess house producer and bassist Willie Dixon and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, Rockin’ Chair qualifies as one of pinnacles of early electric blues, and is an essential album for any quality blues collection.
– Stephen Cook (Allmusic)*

*= note that he concider it the second, not third, Howlin Wolf album. This is debateable since all the first three Wolf albums were released in 1962 (according to allmusic, but Wikipedia says that the debut was released in 1959), and it’s often hard to find the exact date of release of these recordings.
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