November 21, 2017

Key to the Highway             
2017-11-22      2-5pm   (with Gil)                 

Chicago Blues All Stars    
Booker T Laury, Sonny Blake plus    
John Lee Hooker                                            
Today should be fun.  It will be the first time Gil and I have done a show together.  It is a long tradition for the Wednesday 2-5pm alternating hosts to get together when there is a fifth Wednesday in the month, which occurs four times a year.  So here’s a little history.  When the Key to the Highway show first aired on August 28th 1990, I alternated every other week with Leslie Ann Knight until Roger Anderson (there’s a couple of names from the past) suggested it would be easier for our listeners to follow if one of us took the first and third and the other took the second and fourth week, leaving the question of what to do when that fifth Wednesday comes along, so pretty quickly the solution became clear -- do it together.  Leslie did a Jazz show titled In the Groove but, a number of months later, she turned to Blues herself and took on a Monday morning slot and also had the inspiration to put together a Blues Marathon on June 13th & 14th of 1992.  Until then, we had marathons (I recall doing a Mardi Gras weekend early on) but not a weekend devoted to a particular genre.  Leslie put on a second marathon the next year which established it as an annual event every June thereafter before she left KKUP.

Anyway, Leslie’s move to Monday mornings left a hole in the schedule so I was asked if I wanted to do every week and while I was considering maybe having different guest hosts every other week, I asked Johnnie Cozmik to do a show and he accepted but misunderstood, thinking I meant every other week.  That has got to be the best misunderstanding I have been involved in because Johnnie shared the show with me for as near as I can recall about fifteen years including the fifth Wednesdays.  Every now and then I still sneak in and visit Johnnie on his 3-5pm Thursday show and he’ll make me share the mike and say it is like those old fifth Wednesdays.  Johnnie is far and away my best friend at the station although I seldom see him anymore.

At some point, Jammin’ Jim Farris had a conflict between the show he had and his work hours so he asked Johnnie to switch shows with him.  That same conflict kept Jim from being able to come in those fifth Wednesdays and ultimately to give up the show entirely when he asked me to try to find a replacement.  Jim is still with the station although currently only on the fifth Saturdays from 6-9pm.

So, Paul Johnson requested and received the slot and held it for about five years or so.  Paul was a very comfortable fit because I actually knew him back around 1970.  His show, 50s R&B House Party (or something like that), was more oldies oriented but, particularly on those fifth Wednesdays, he weighted it more toward the Blues and R&B.  Paul was a lot of fun but he decided he needed a break and is still with KKUP but as an unassigned programmer at the moment.

So that created the opening for Gil.  I met Gil twenty-some years back before he came to KKUP and for the past ten years or so I’ve helped him put together the June Blues Marathons, through the 2017 event, but I would think we’ll still be helping Eric in whatever capacity helps him keep them going.

This week is not the fifth Wednesday, but a band I saw in Canada this summer will be playing in San Francisco on December 7th so I wanted to air a show on three of the bands I caught while in Vancouver next week, my last scheduled show before Harpdog Brown plays at Biscuits and Blues, and Gil was kind enough to make the adjustment.

I didn’t realize I was going to go into this much detail of ancient history but it is kinda cool to have done it.  Anyway, I’m looking forward to sharing this first show with my friend and let me tell you a little about the half of the show I have planned.
You guys have likely heard me extol the virtues of wearing KKUP tee shirts and how getting them is a great reason to pledge during our marathons.  So, I’m on my way out of a grocery store when a lady says, not quietly but somewhat exhuberantly, “KKUP!”  I ask her name, which leads her to recognize my voice, which brings about a brief conversation.  When she tells me her name is Gay, I realize I have spoken to her a few times on the phone and the meeting was very pleasant so, somewhere in the show, I intend to play Magic Sam’s tune I Found a New Love which includes the line “and she makes me feel so gay”, part of the reason Gay would call the couple of times I have played it in the past.  I hope you guys have had similar good times you can attribute to wearing a KKUP tee shirt or cap.
I’m figuring Gil should start off the show, then I’ll come in with a set recorded in Europe at the end of the 60s with a bunch of American artists on tour.  I’m thinking it might have been in affiliation with one of the annual American Folk Blues Festival tours which Willie Dixon coordinated back in those days but the lineups don’t exactly match any of that annual event.  On the first set, all the musicians take a turn at the mike, starting off with an ensemble jam, Chicago Boogie Style.  Then pianist Sunnyland Slim does She’s Got a Thing Goin’ On before turning the mike over to bassist Dixon for 29 Ways.  Drummer Clifton James gets his turn with Wee Hour Blues, then guitarist Johnny Shines sings Fat Mama before another ensemble number, Re Boogie, closes out the set.  These all came from a CD called the Chicago Blues Band, as does a later set with John Lee Hooker backed by these same players for five of his tunes.

Sandwiched in between those sets, and a couple more from Gil, is some stuff from a CD called Memphis Blues.  I played a Memphis Slim portion from it a couple of weeks ago, but I think this set might be even better, although the artists are not listed in the liner notes.  However, I think I have figured part of it out.  The last two songs on the set are piano numbers and you will hear them state that it is Booker T. Laury, a Memphis born keyboard man.  Those two numbers are preceded by a pair of harmonica tunes with the authorship credited to Sonny Blake, so that is a presumption I am willing to make.  The liner notes do mention Evelyn Young as the saxophone player in the ensemble who sings He Flew the Coop, apparently based on the music from Jessie Hill’s New Orleans classic Ooh Poo Pah Doo just preceding those.  But the four opening songs of the set I will not venture a guess, but still …     enjoy

Oh yeah, Happy Thanksgiving!
Since it is still relatively new, I thought I’d mention that KKUP is now streaming on the internet and, while it is still in a developing stage, we have been putting out the word.  I’m not all of that good with high-tech stuff, but it seems pretty easy to access.  If you go to our website at you will see on the home page a strip of options immediately above the pictures of the musicians the next to the last option being LISTEN ONLINE.  By clicking this, it brings up a choice of desktop or mobile.  I can only speak for the desktop but after maybe a minute I was receiving a crystal clear feed.  As already mentioned, this is still a work in progress and we are currently limited to a finite number of listeners at any one time.  I mention this so you will be aware to turn off the application when you are not actually listening.  (I put the player in my favorites bar for the easiest of access.)  Now we can reach our listeners in Los Gatos and Palo Alto, even my family in Canada.  Let your friends elsewhere know they can now listen to your favorite station, and while they have the home page open they can check out our schedule.
Chicago Boogie Style
She’s Got a Thing Goin’ On
29 Ways
Wee Hour Blues
Fat Mama
Re Boogie
   The Chicago Blues Band   24mins

Call Me the Boogie Man
Form 1040 Blues
That’s Where I Am Coming From
You’ll Soon Be Singing the Blues
He Flew the Coop
‘Fore Day Train
Shakin’ That Thing
Early in the Morning
Memphis Blues
   Sonny Blake, Booker T. Laury + others   27mins

Crawling King Snake
Dimples (I Love the Way You Walk)
It Serve Me Right to Suffer
Boom Boom, I’m Gonna Shoot You Right Down
   John Lee Hooker & Chicago Blues Band 20mins

November 7, 2017

Key to the Highway                 
2017-11-08      2-5pm                    

Canned Heat                                    
Cannonball Adderley                       
Memphis Slim                                                        
We have some scratches on a few of today’s tracks, but here’s hoping you’ll find the music behind them worth it.
It had to be 1966 or 1967 that I first saw Canned Heat at the Bold Knight, a teenage music venue in Sunnyvale, and again at Spartan Stadium around 1970 in a show that also included Ike & Tina Turner, Albert King and, I’m pretty sure, Les McCann and Eddie Harris.  And one last time in Santa Cruz at the Catalyst around 1978, where I was hanging with an old jamming buddy, John Cassady, the son of Neal Cassady who was the cult hero protagonist in Jack Kerouac’s beat generation novel On the Road.  I’ll always remember being impressed by John’s modesty when the Doobie Brother’s Pat Simmonds walked away from our conversation and John said to the effect, “He’s in awe of me because of my Dad and I’m in awe of his guitar playing.”  John was always a pretty good guitar player, in my book.
Story two: so there I am Monday evening, listening to an intro to the PBS Newshour, and they’re telling me about an Independent Lens presentation on John Coltrane later that night and, having just completed this essay on Cannonball Adderley which mentions very briefly his time with Coltrane in the Miles Davis group, which in turn got me looking into inexpensive Coltrane box sets that were available.  Unlike Adderley and his Bop roots that I have come to kinda understand, Coltrane has represented why I used to feel that I didn’t understand Jazz at all.  It’s like I bite off a chunk of Jazz by taking a chance at the flea market or something and then having it take a few years to digest.  I have a Coltrane album or two but never really liked what I heard enough for much of a listen.  After viewing the TV show I still don’t know if Coltrane is for me because, while the snippets I heard (including some shots of Adderley with ‘Trane and Davis) were some very good playing, it just isn’t at the intensity of, say, the Cannonball you’ll hear today.  Still, I think I will look further into his post-1957 material when he got off heroin, and I certainly recommend you watch the documentary if you get the chance.
Canned Heat pretty much came into existence through the love of the Blues belonging to its two lead singers, Bob “The Bear” Hite and Alan “Blind Owl” Wilson, both well-established record collectors and traders from the Los Angeles area.  Hite’s Topanga Canyon home had become a meeting place of like-minded folk and it was almost a natural extension that they should form a jug band in 1965.  Hite would be the main singer while Wilson would provide harmonica and bottleneck guitar, initially backed by drummer Keith Sawyer, bassist Stu Brotman and lead guitarist Mike Perlowin.  In just a matter of days, both Perlowin and Sawyer gave up and replacements were found in guitarist Teddy Edwards and Ron Holmes.
Another friend of Hite’s, guitarist Henry Vestine, asked to join the group.  The Sunflower, so called because at one point all the band members were apparently required to have a nickname, had previous experience with Frank Zappa’s Mothers of Invention until excessive drug use got him expelled.  Not long afterwards, drummer Frank Cook brought his jazz experience to the group, having played with bassist Charlie Haden and trumpeter Chet Baker as well as the Soul artists Shirley Ellis and Dobie Gray.  This was about the time guitarist Edwards went on to join Linda Ronstadt’s band, The Stone Poneys. 

Somewhere along the line the name Canned Heat was chosen, the street name of the toxic substance sold beginning in 1914 as Sterno for campfire cooking that became a secondary choice among some who could not afford alcohol, and the subject of a 1928 song by Tommy Johnson, Canned Heat Blues.  With its lineup pretty well set by 1966 (Hite, Wilson, Vestine, Brotman and Cook), Johnny Otis brought them into his studio just off Los Angeles’ Vine Street to lay down an album which would not be released until 1970 as Vintage Heat on Janus Records. 
While waiting for the band to amass some gigs, Brotman signed up for the summer with an Armenian belly dancing troupe out of Fresno, and when Heat needed a quick contract signing he was unavailable.  He would carry on in the World Music genre with David Linley’s Kaleidoscope.  A short term solution was found in Mark Andes, but after a couple of months he returned to his earlier band, The Red Roosters, which would change its name ultimately to Spirit.
In March 1967, the vacancy was filled by Larry Taylor, brother of the Ventures’ drummer Mel Taylor.  The Mole, as he was to be known, had plenty of background, having played live with Jerry Lee Lewis and Chuck Berry and recorded for the Monkees.  This was what the band needed and the next month they were in the studio for Liberty Records’ Calvin Carter who, in his former capacity as A&R man for Vee Jay Records, had recorded the likes of Jimmy Reed and John Lee Hooker.  A single with Rollin’ and Tumblin’ backed by Bullfrog Blues was released and the full album, comprised entirely of old Blues tunes, was released in July 1967.  Self-titled, the album charted #76 on Billboard.
Between the release of the single and the release of the LP was an appearance on Saturday, June 17th 1967 at the Monterey Pop Festival.  Along with a cover photo of the band at Monterey, Down Beat Magazine was quoted inside its covers, “Technically, Vestine and Wilson are quite possibly the best two-guitar team in the world and Wilson has certainly become our finest white blues harmonica man. Together with powerhouse vocalist Bob Hite, they performed the country and Chicago blues idiom of the 1950s so skillfully and naturally that the question of which race the music belongs to becomes totally irrelevant."  The group can be seen on the D.A. Pennebaker documentary while Bullfrog Blues and Dust My Broom appear on the 1992 25th Anniversary issue 4CD box set.
The band was busted in Denver after a police informant established that drugs could be found and, in order to come up with the $10,000 bail, band manager Skip Taylor had to sell off their publishing rights to Liberty Records president Al Bennett.  Canned Heat’s musical telling of the story can be found in the song My Crime from their second LP, Boogie with Canned Heat.
Frank Cook was replaced that year by Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra, his first gig being December 1st as Canned Heat shared billing with the Doors at the Long Beach Auditorium.  Fito, the last step to a long-lasting lineup, had been playing with the band Bluesberry Jam, which would become Pacific Gas & Electric.  Although not appearing on the artwork, de la Parra provided all the drumming for the second Heat album.
While Hite’s powerful voice was heard on most of the vocals, it seemed that Wilson’s falsetto was the hit maker.  On the Road Again, Blind Owl’s retelling of the 1953 Floyd Jones number from the Boogie album, received worldwide acclaim, earning #1 in most markets although only #16 U.S.  The band also got an opportunity to stretch out their solos on the eleven-minute Fried Hockey Boogie, which brought them the nickname Kings of the Boogie, even leading to later collaborations with the true Boogie King, John Lee Hooker.
In the spring of 1968, the boys brought Sunnyland Slim out of retirement and backed him on his album Slim’s Got His Thing Going On for a Liberty Records subsidiary.  To return the favor, Slim’s piano can be heard on the track Turpentine Moan from Heat’s second LP.
Now with some financial stability, the band’s managers Skip Taylor and John Hartmann (along with Gary Essert) took over a Hollywood club and named it the Kaleidescope, unofficially making Canned Heat the house band and host to many of the touring Rock bands.  The band played to an 80,000 crowd at the First Annual 1968 Newport Pop Festival and then, in September, embarked on their first European tour.  The month included concert and other appearances such as a TV appearance on Britain’s Top of the Pops.  At the German show Beat Club they lip-synched On the Road Again as the song climbed to #1 on almost the entire continent.
Their next hit, reaching #1 in 25 countries and #11 in the U.S., was another Wilson falsetto, Going Up the Country, instrumentally an almost exact duplicate of Henry Thomas’ 1928 Bull Doze Blues to which Wilson added new lyrics.  It came from the October released double album, Living the Blues, which really had less material than its predecessor once you removed the 19 minute Parthenogenesis and one entire LP for the forty minute Refried Boogie, a live expanded version of Fried Hockey Boogie recorded at the Kaleidescope.  Still, they did find room for an excellent version of One Kind Favor, the Blind Lemon Jefferson tune also known as Please See that my Grave is Kept Clean.  Recorded at the Kaleidescope around the same time was the confusingly titled Live at the Topanga Corral, released by Wand Records in 1971 because Liberty did not want a live recording.  The band rode out the year with a New Year’s Eve concert at Los Angeles’ Shrine Auditorium featuring Bob Hite coming into the arena on the back of a huge elephant which was painted purple dayglow.
Early in 1969, the band met Texas guitarist Albert Collins and convinced him to relocate to Los Angeles, even finding him an agent and introducing him to executives at United Artists.  Collins chose Love Can Be Found Anywhere as the title for his first UA album, a line taken from the Heat song Fried Hockey Boogie.

I picked up a copy of the July 1969 LP Hallelujah for a quarter at a flea market but never gave it much of a listen, but Melody Maker reported better with, “While less ambitious than some of their work, this is nonetheless an excellent blues-based album and they remain the most convincing of the white electric blues groups."  I doubt we’ll ever hear it because today’s show covers the first three albums plus the few Monterey tunes available, thus taking the cream of the crop, although later stuff with Harvey Mandel or their albums with John Lee Hooker might brings us around to take another look..    
A few nights after the album’s release, Henry Vestine and Larry Taylor had a falling out and Vestine quit.  They were at San Francisco’s Fillmore West so Michael Bloomfield and Harvey Mandel were brought in to jam away the next evening and, when both were offered the open position, Mandel accepted.  The band had a couple of more Fillmore gigs before Mandel would get his baptism under fire when the band was helicoptered in for their sunset performance on the second day of the legendary Woodstock Festival.  While the band was not shown in the documentary film, Going Up the Country was played as the theme under the opening shots and titles and was also included on the original triple LP.  Woodstock Boogie was issued on the follow-up double LP, Leaving this Town appeared on a special 25th Anniversary Collection and A Change is Gonna Come made it onto a director’s cut of the film, leaving only Let’s Work Together from the set still to be issued in some form.
Let’s work Together was selected from the Future Blues album as the single to represent their 1970 European tour (many tracks from which were harvested for a live album), but the band made sure the version by the song’s author, Wilbert Harrison, had an opportunity to impact the market before their own American issue was released.  Once it came out, it became the only Top Ten hit utilizing Bob Hite’s vocal.  The album Canned Heat ’70 Concert reached #15 in the U.K. but met with little enthusiasm at home, and shortly after the group’s May return Larry Taylor left to join John Mayall, who had moved to Laurel Canyon, and Harvey Mandel was soon to follow.
Replacing them was the return of Henry Vestine along with bassist Antonio de la Barreda who had played with de la Parra for five years in Mexico City.  The first project for this new lineup was the double LP Hooker ‘n’ Heat, co-produced by Skip Taylor and Bob Hite since Hite was not needed for vocal.  Hooker played solo on some tunes, in duet with Wilson’s piano or guitar on others (Hooker expressed that he considered Wilson “the best harmonica player ever) and backed by the full band on others.  It became the first album to ever chart for John Lee when it hit #73 in February 1971.  Despite the band’s successes, Wilson was exceedingly depressed, maybe even once trying to end his life by driving off the road to Hite’s home.  On September 5th 1970, as the band was readying for a Festival in Germany, word came that Wilson had been found on a hillside near Hite’s home dead from barbiturate overdose at the age of 27.  The Hooker ‘n’ Heat album had to be wrapped up after his death.
Years later, in 1978, there was a reunion and the album Hooker ‘n’ Heat: Live at the Fox Venice Theater hit the shelves in 1981.  For his 1989 highly successful album The Healer, John Lee invited many guests to join on a song each and Canned Heat was not left off the list.
To fulfill their September tour obligations and upcoming recording sessions, Joel Scott-Hill was brought in.  Historical Figures and Ancient Heads came out at the end of 1971, including what might be an interesting duet between Hite and Little Richard (Rockin’ with the King), but still the new lineup was not destined for longevity when de la Parra was not comfortable and wanted out, but Hite convinced him to stay and Scott-Hill and de la Barreda were let go instead.  Bob’s brother Richard Hite took over on bass along with Ed Beyer manning the keyboards and James Shane adding rhythm guitar and vocals as the final album for Liberty, The New Age, was distributed in 1973.
The band took on another European tour which is captured in part on the DVD Canned Heat Live at Montreux and also included studio sessions done in Paris with Memphis Slim on September 18th 1970, but it would be three years before the album Memphis Heat, after overdubbing the Memphis Horns of STAX Records fame, would make it to the shelves. The same French producer, Phillipe Rault, would have them in the studio again in 1973 with Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, creating his Gate’s on the Heat release.  They would later join Brown on stage at the Montreux Jazz Festival which has been caught on a DVD.
The band now without a label and $30,000 in debt, longtime manager Skip Taylor recommended they sell the future royalties for their existing Liberty material to the company and sign on with Atlantic Records before he himself left the band.  Atlantic’s 1973 album One More River to Cross gave the band a different sound by adding the Muscle Shoal Horns.  The sheer volume of drug and alcohol use by the band made it difficult for even noted producer Tom Dowd to get good material from them.  By the end of 1974 there was enough amassed for an album but Atlantic ate its losses and ended its contract before the record could be released.  Most of the material was soon lost in a fire but de la Parra was able to restore enough for a 1997 release, The Ties That Bind.
At a concert at the Mammoth Ski Resort, The Bear came unglued in a foul rage at the audience, leading Vestine, Shane and Beyer to remove themselves from the band, leaving only de la Parra and the Hites.  Replacements were found in late 1974 in pianist Gene Taylor and guitarist Chris Morgan, but Taylor left in 1976 as a result of an argument while on tour in Germany.  For a brief span, former Chicken Shack guitarist Stan Webb became a member, later replaced by Mark Skyer, but it was looking more and more like you couldn’t tell the players without a scorecard.  After an unsuccessful 1977 album for Takoma Records, Human Condition, continuing arguments brought about resignations from Skyer, Morgan and even Richard Hite in 1977.  I don’t know about the rest of the band, but Hite hired bass player Richard Exley, but he too left because of Hite’s excessive intoxication, returning occasionally as a personal favor when Hite found it almost impossible to find musicians.  At this point, Canned Heat amounted to only Hite and de la Parra.
De la Parra had become a partner in an East Hollywood recording studio through which he was back working again with Larry Taylor, who in turn brought guitarist Mike “Hollywood Fats” Mann and pianist Ronnie Barron into the Canned Heat scene, some of the best Blues players on the Los Angeles landscape.  A disagreement with Taylor caused Barron to leave, being replaced by the blind pianist Jay Spell.  In 1979, one of these iterations of the band played the 10th Anniversary of Woodstock, released in 1995 as Canned Heat in Concert.  Another recording for Cream Records put the band in more of an R&B vein, which displeased Fats to the point of walking out mid-project to be completed by Mike Halby.  Tensions with de la Parra and Hite combined with the change in musical direction caused Taylor to rejoin Mann in the Hollywood Fats Band.  Spell would bring in bass player Jon Lamb and Henry Vestine once again came back, this time to share guitar duties with Halby.
Another new manager booked the band almost nonstop on military bases around the States, Europe and Japan, but when he came home tired and still broke Spell left the band.  Lamb left after one more tour right before Christmas 1980.  Ernie Rodriguez came in as the new bassist in time to lay down the album Kings of the Boogie.  Hite was finally removed from the band (and his misery) when, on April 5th 1981, he collapsed of a heroin overdose on stage at L.A.’s Paladium and was later found dead at de la Parra’s home.  He was only 38.
Here is where I am going to step away from this soap opera, although I really wanted to earlier as Canned Heat became musically less and less relevant.  I shall overlook details of the numerous player changes that would occur over the next 35 years as well as the albums issued and only add some highlights from this point on.  Vestine got in a tiff with Rodriguez and was out again, replaced by Walter Trout until he signed on with John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers in 1985, opening the door once again for Vestine.  Halby left due to conflicts with de la Parra around 1984.  Taylor and Barron would return, but Barron’s and Vestine’s stays were short-lived, Vestine’s ouster much because of the return of Taylor.  Respected SoCal guitarist Junior Watson was in the group from the late 80s into the early 90s, by which time Harvey Mandel was ready for what turned out to be only a few tours.  Taylor couldn’t get along with de la Parra so he left.  Vestine and Watson came back and played together.  Skip Taylor took over management again and former members including Larry Taylor, Barron and Mandel helped put together the 1994 release Internal Combustion.  The next year a member, James Thornbury, left with no animosity after ten years.  Mandel was back in 1996, as was Larry Taylor.  Vestine, ailing from cancer, died after the final day of a European tour after which Taylor and Watson quit.
The band appears to be still together with three of its early members, all being in the band before Woodstock.  The only one who never left is drummer Fito de la Parra, who began in 1967.  Bassist Larry Taylor also joined in ’67 but had vast periods out of the group; his timeline in looks like this: 1967-70, 1978-80 1987-92, 1996-97, and 2010 currently.  Lead guitarist Harvey Mandel joined immediately before Woodstock, so his timeline would be 1969-70, 1990-92, 1996-99 and 2010 currently.  The fourth member of Canned Heat is multi-instrumentalist Dale Wesley Spalding, who came on board in 2008.
Julian Edwin “Cannonball” Adderley was born in Tampa, Florida on September 15th 1928.  The family moved to Tallahassee when his parents acquired teaching positions at Florida A & M University.  His high school friends thought his appetite reminiscent of a cannibal, a nickname which morphed into Cannonball.  Both he and his brother Nat, a trumpet / cornet player, played in Ray Charles’ ensemble while Ray resided in Tallahassee in the early 40s.
Following his own music education at Florida A&M, Cannonball moved to Broward County in 1948 where he took the position of band director at Fort Lauderdale’s Dillard High School, staying into 1950.  Having constructed a fine performing reputation locally, he left the state in 1955 for New York City, encouraged by fellow altoist Eddie Vinson, intent on conducting his graduate studies at one of the city’s music conservatories.  These intentions were set back after taking his sax into the CafĂ© Bohemia one evening and being asked to sit in with Oscar Pettiford’s group in place of a tardy regular, impressing so much that word went out espousing him as the heir apparent to Charlie Parker.
He and Nat put together their own group in 1957 after Cannonball signed a contract with Savoy Records, but by October Miles Davis had recruited Julian into his ensemble just three months before tenor saxman John Coltrane’s return to the Davis group.  Trumpeter Davis, along with drummer Art Blakey and pianist Hank Jones, graced Adderley’s initial release, Somethin’ Else, followed up by Cannonball playing on Miles’ LPs Milestones and Kind of Blue.  Pianist Bill Evans, from the Davis sextet, joined the Adderley group on the next two endeavors, Portrait of Cannonball and Know What I Mean?
After departing the Davis group, Julian and Nat put together another quintet and maintained combos of varying sizes thereafter.  The most noteworthy members during the sixties included saxmen Charles Lloyd and Yusef Lateef, pianists Bobby Timmons, Victor Feldman and Joe Zawinul, and bassists Ray Brown and Victor Gaskin, and those are only the names familiar to me from a much longer list provided by Wikipedia; after all, Jazz is not my bailiwick!  Toward the end of the decade, the Adderley sound began to move away from its Bop roots in the direction of Electric Jazz.
Aside from his music, Cannonball appeared in a 1975 episode of the David Carradine TV series Kung Fu.  Four weeks after a cerebral hemorrhage, Adderley died on August 8th 1975 in Gary, Indiana’s St, Mary’s Methodist Hospital at 46 years of age and lies buried in Tallahassee’s Southside Cemetery.  Later in the year, Down Beat Magazine inducted him into their Jazz Hall of Fame.
I first became aware of Memphis Slim through a desire to find music performed by Willie Dixon.  I already knew that Willie had written so many of the tunes recorded by the white guys like the Stones, the Animals, Paul Butterfield, John Mayall, etc., and that he wrote them originally for guys like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry and others of the Chess Records ilk, and I was probably aware that he played bass on many of the recordings by those original artists, but I wanted to find some stuff where he really stood out.  In the late ‘60s I had a friend whom I considered my Blues guru, Bob Sidebottom, the owner of a comic book store on San Jose’s hippie row by San Jose State University who was a big time Jazz and Blues fan.  I asked him one time if he had any interesting Dixon stuff and he pulled out an album of duet work with pianist Memphis Slim, The Blues Every Which Way, which was long out of print.  He wanted ten bucks for it and I wanted it enough that I paid it, the most I have ever paid for a piece of vinyl.  You must forgive the scratches from much use on less than the best turntables, but there couldn’t have been a better example of Dixon’s virtuosity than this where he could come out as more than just a backing instrument in a band, and you will be able to make your own decision when we play quite a bit of it on our first Memphis Slim set.  Slim and Willie often played and toured together during their long careers in small group settings, sometimes with a drummer and a guitar player and occasionally with a horn or two.  They were also the backbone of the earliest American Folk Blues Festival concerts in Europe which Willie helped a couple of Germans set up beginning in 1963.
Slim became one of the large number of black musicians who toured Europe and found the treatment he received so much more respectful than he was used to that he made it his home, only occasionally returning to the U.S. for tours and sessions.  He did much recording around his home in Paris and the album that forms the second Slim set is such an item, recorded in the south of France.  The notes aren’t specific about the date except that it might be as a part of a 50th anniversary concert for le Hot Club de France (presumably the album title) in 1983.  He is joined by percussionist Michel Denis and one of the early female saxophone players, Evelyn Young, who also sang on one track.  The idea that it was at said concert is backed up by the CD including about half its songs by unnamed artists with guitar and harmonica with little or no piano.  These tracks might even be better than those chosen but since they don’t appear to include Slim I did not include them today but likely will when I share a fifth Wednesday show with Gil.
I have lots more Memphis Slim material so I will not try to fill out his biography today but just speak of things relevant to today’s music.     enjoy
Since it is still relatively new, I thought I’d mention that KKUP is now streaming on the internet and, while it is still in a developing stage, we have been putting out the word.  I’m not all of that good with high-tech stuff, but it seems pretty easy to access.  If you go to our website at you will see on the home page a strip of options immediately above the pictures of the musicians the next to the last option being LISTEN ONLINE.  By clicking this, it brings up a choice of desktop or mobile.  I can only speak for the desktop but after maybe a minute I was receiving a crystal clear feed.  As already mentioned, this is still a work in progress and we are currently limited to a finite number of listeners at any one time.  I mention this so you will be aware to turn off the application when you are not actually listening.  (I put the player in my favorites bar for the easiest of access.)  Now we can reach our listeners in Los Gatos and Palo Alto, even my family in Canada.  Let your friends elsewhere know they can now listen to your favorite station, and while they have the home page open they can check out our schedule.
World in a Jug
Big Road Blues
On the Road Again (demo version)
Evil Woman
I Wish You Would
It’s a Mean Old World
The Hunter
Evil Goin’ On
   Canned Heat   27mins

Straight Life
A Little Taste
Blue Funk
Limehouse Blues
   Cannonball Adderly   27mins

4 O’clock Boogie
Choo Choo
John Henry
After Hours
One More Time
Now Howdy
C Rocker
   Memphis Slim & Willie Dixon   24mins

Rollin’ and Tumblin’
Dust My Broom
Bullfrog Blues
My Crime
Whiskey and Wimmen
One Kind Favor
Pony Blues
My Mistake
Fannie Mae
   Canned Heat   35mins

Spontaneous Combustion
You Got It!
Bohemia After Dark
   Cannonball Adderly   22mins

All By Myself
Going Back to Memphis
Do You Think I’ve Got the Blues
Bye Bye Blues
   Memphis Slim   10mins

Fried Hockey Boogie
   Canned Heat   11mins

October 24, 2017

Key to the Highway                 
2017-10-25      2-5pm                    

Buddy Guy                 1959-1968                                                 
Ruth Brown                1949-1960             
First of all, I wish to thank Jim Thomas for filling in last minute for me two weeks ago, but I found out that Monday that my son’s mother was an early victim of the Santa Rosa fires and I needed to make myself available to him.

I usually prefer to include three artists on each show but I think today’s will be fine with only two.  I have been putting off Buddy Guy because a long time ago I burned most of his material (and many others’) to CDs so I would still have it after selling the original discs to afford the purchase of more stuff, but when I input the CD-Rs into my library I have to type in all the data and I do enough typing for these blogs.  Also, I used to have his book Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues but I fear it got lost in my last move, so I’ll hold off on writing a full bio until I look for it longer.  Enough of that useless information, now about the music.

We start with some of Guy’s earliest recordings, three tracks from his 1959 Cobra sessions.  Shortly thereafter he went over to Chess Records and one of the early releases was a live show LP where the guitarist joined drummer Fred Below, bassist Jack Meyers, pianist Otis Spann, and Jarrett Gibson and Donald Hankins on saxes to back the vocals of Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf.  It is an extreme rarity for me to play a bunch of slow tunes in a row but that is about the only option here and it seems to work okay. 

Recorded July 26th 1963, the album was released under a couple of names, the more correct Live at Big Bill’s Copa Cabana but I think the version I have was called Folk Festival of the Blues.  Anyway, the introductory tune mentions harmonica players Little Walter (I don’t recall him at all) and Sonny Boy Williamson.  I do recall there was something hinky about the album and I think it was that Sonny Boy’s tracks were actually studio numbers with audience noise overdubbed but I’m not positive.  I can’t find the album; it’s probably hiding out with the book.  Willie Dixon only sings on the first tune and does not play bass at all, then Buddy, Wolf and Muddy each sing slow tunes before Waters closes out the set with Got My Mojo Working.  Got to have a closer that moves!

I know it was 1966 when I first heard Buddy as he backed up Junior Wells on five tracks from volume 1 of the 1966 Vanguard three-record set Chicago / The Blues / Today! and we include their portion in its entirety as our middle set.  Guitarist Buddy and harmonica man Junior both had long individual careers, but they often got back together as a team, and at least once for contractual reasons listing Buddy as Friendly Chap.  Since this session was under Junior’s name, maybe this counts as that third artist.

Our closing set is still from early in Buddy’s career (he is still active to this day), another Vanguard album titled This is Buddy Guy from a live 1968 concert.  Upon listening to the full CD, I think you’ll agree this is a great way to close out the show.
If I have one fault in my choice of artists for the show that I could point to, and I’m sure there are many more, it might be that I just don’t play enough Blues women.  It’s not like I’m a misogynist, far from it; it’s just that not that many women pack the punch that appeals to me.  That has changed somewhat in the past couple of decades, especially with some guitar players, but I do not cater to the contemporary.  Especially since I have been doing these essays, I prefer to choose longtime favorites (or some that I overlooked back in the day) that have a full enough history to delve into.

I remember one concert, maybe even before I came to KKUP, where the San Francisco Blues Festival had an excellent lineup of women: pianist Katie Webster, who was making the Bay Area her home, Koko Taylor and Ruth Brown.  Any three consecutive artists of any gender would have been hard pressed to put on a more exciting show.  I’ll look at all three eventually, but let’s begin today with Miss Rhythm, Ruth Brown.

She was born Ruth Alston Weston in Portsmouth, Virginia on January 12th 1928, the first of seven children.  Her father was a dock worker as well as the director of their church’s choir.  She listened to the Jazz vocalists Sarah Vaughan, Dinah Washington and Billie Holiday, leaving home at seventeen with her soon-to-be husband, trumpeter and bandleader Jimmy Brown, after having honed her chops at USO shows and in nightclubs.  She spent a month with the Lucky Millinder orchestra as the second singer behind Annisteen Allen in 1947, but lost that gig when she delivered a round of drinks to members of the band.  Almost immediately, she met up with Cab Calloway’s sister Blanche, who set her up with a gig at the Washington, D.C., nightclub Crystal Cavern, where Ms. Calloway was not only the bandleader but the club owner as well, before becoming Ruth’s fulltime manager.  The gig was supposed to last a week but got stretched out to sixteen weeks.

While performing at the Cavern, Willis Conover, who would later become the Voice of America deejay, caught her act and recommended her to the recently-formed (in October 1947) Atlantic Records.  Atlantic’s owners Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson left New York City to hear her at the Cavern.  There she was singing mostly ballads but Ertegun suggested she would do better with Rhythm & Blues, although once with the label they still sent her some schlocky material in search of commercial success.  Before she could get to an audition, she and Blanche were involved in a car crash on their way to a gig at New York’s Apollo that put Ruth in the hospital for nine months, and that is where she inked her contract.  She was still on crutches when, on May 25th 1949, she cut her first session (not counting one song laid down as a trial run April 6th) producing So Long which, at number 6 on Billboards R&B chart and remaining for nine weeks, was only Atlantic’s second hit record, the first being Stick McGhee’s Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee in April ‘49.  She would wind up with a total of 24 chartings in her time with the label between 1949 and 1961.

Her unreleased Hey Pretty Baby from September 14th 1949 was a duet with her husband Jimmy Brown.  Atlantic used different backing bands for each session, but they did tend to use repeat songwriters more often.  Her next hit, September 1950’s Teardrops from My Eyes (staying #1 on Billboard’s R&B list for 11 of its 26 weeks on the chart), was penned by Rudy Toombs, as were I’ll Wait for You, 5-10-15 Hours (#1 for 7 of its 13 weeks) and Daddy Daddy (peaking at #3 in its 8 week stay), both released in 1952, all from the 40-track 2CD collection Miss Rhythm.  Herb Abramson recalled, “(Rudy Toombs) came in and sang, ‘Give me five-ten-fifteen minutes of your love’.  I said that minutes was not enough in this era of The Sixty-Minute Man – we better make it fifteen hours of your love.”  Ruth remembered, “That was Willis Gator Tail Jackson.  He used to talk to me through his horn.”  Tenor sax player Jackson would become her second husband.  The duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller penned I Wanna Do More, Lucky Lips and I Can’t Hear a Word You Say and there are also a couple of Brook Benton numbers, Why Me and I Don’t Know, that were also chosen.

As well as being dubbed Miss Rhythm by Frankie Laine, 1951 saw Ruth chart again with I’ll Wait for You (#3) and I Know (#7).  In addition to the two previously mentioned Toombs tunes from 1952, Ruth charted again the next year with Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean, not only hitting #1 R&B for 5 of its 16 weeks but also moving into the pop chart for the first time at #23.  The song was also chosen by the readers of Down Beat as the number one R&B record of 1953.  Then came a two-sided hit with Wild Wild Young Men at #3 while charting for 11 weeks and Mend Your Ways at #7, all this leading to Ruth receiving the 1953 Bessie Smith Award from the Pittsburgh Courier for being the best female Blues singer.

Nipsey Russell was the emcee when Ruth toured with Duke Ellington and Billy Eckstein around 1953 or 1954, and he opined, “She was a superstar by then.  She would have at that time, I would guess, maybe four hit records on the charts.  At that point, she was bigger than Dinah (Washington) or anybody.  She was the thing.”  Regarding Ruth only having once made it to the pop charts, Russell explained, “Ruth Brown appealed to anybody that heard her – she didn’t just appeal to black listeners.  The limitation of her appeal at that time would be the limitation of the exposure.  Many of the records that they called Rhythm and Blues – which is a euphemism for race and black – were not played on some general stations.  It would mean she’d be big in a city like Detroit where there’s a mass black population and therefore two or three radio stations that played black records.  In a city where there’s not much of a black population and no black station, she wouldn’t be as well known.”  Throughout her career, Ruth extensively toured the southern states, and it was reportedly said, “In the South Ruth Brown is better known than Coca-Cola”.

Ruth scored another #1 with 1954’s Oh What a Dream, one of the two songs authored by Chick Willis on the CDs which I opted not to include.  Brown followed that up with another chart topper, Mambo Baby, before the year was out.

1955 was a big year for Ruth, beginning with another two-sided hit with As Long As I’m Moving (#4) and I Can See Everybody’s Baby (#7), then Ever Since My Baby’s Been Gone (#13), It’s Love, Baby (24 Hours a Day) at #4, the #8 duet with Clyde McPhatter Love Has Joined Us Together, before winding up the year at #3 with I Wanna Do More.  Actually, that last one might have charted very early 1956 and I was tempted to play its B-side as well, Old Man River, since I had played it the last two shows by Roy Milton and Tiny Bradshaw, but this version just was not very exciting; I did notice that the first word was spelled differently three times, Ol’, Ole and Old.

All of her success that year culminated in a poll of R&B deejays published by Billboard in November of 1955 proclaiming Ruth Brown second only to Fats Domino as their favorite singer.  Similarly, Cash Box deemed her the favorite R&B artist for the second year in a row.  During the year she also made an appearance on TV’s Showtime at the Apollo where, coincidentally, former husband Jimmy Brown was in the band.  Her poise and sense of humor showed up in her banter with the show’s emcee, foreboding her future acting success

In 1956, Ruth had a #10 with Sweet Baby of Mine, then broke once again into the pop chart at #25 in its 9 weeks with Lucky Lips (#6 R&B).  This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’ (#7 R&B, #24 pop, written specifically for her by Bobby Darin and Mann Curtis) and Why Me (#17 R&B) were both recorded on July 30th 1958   By 1959, the pop charts were more inclusive of R&B items and Ruth put three songs on both charts: I Don’t Know (5 R&B, 64 pop), I Can’t Hear a Word You Say (23, 96) and 1960’s Don’t Deceive Me (10 & 62). 

In addition to the nickname Miss Rhythm, Ruth was called the Queen of R&B and The Girl with a Tear in Her Voice.  That last title brings to mind a singing technique, hard for me to describe, but where it’s like she kinda shortens her breath on the last syllable of a line.  You can catch it in Daddy Daddy or I Wanna Do More; the only other one I am aware to use the style is Jazz alto saxophonist and R&B singer Eddie Vinson.  Also, Ruth’s success with the fledgling Atlantic Records caused the label to be referred to as the house that Ruth built, a nifty task considering the label also housed Big Joe Turner (beginning in 1951) and Ray Charles (1952-1959) during her tenure

After her departure from Atlantic, Ruth recorded for Philips, Mainstream and Skye, among others, mostly in a Jazz vein and often in a live setting, before settling down in the ‘60s to raise her two sons.  She found herself back in front of audiences again in 1975 at the prompting of comedian Redd Foxx, which led to an acting career on the TV comedy Hello Larry, John Waters’ 1985 movie Hairspray, a pair of public radio series Harlem Hit Parade and Blues Stage, and a few stage shows.  She was in the off-Broadway cast of the musical Staggerlee and the Broadway productions of Amen Corner and Black and Blue, the latter bringing a 1989 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical and leading to her 1989 album Blues on Broadway.  Other albums from her resurgence were 1988’s Have a  Good Time, Fine and Mellow from 1991, the 1993 Songs of My Life (at merely three, the only album of her last five to rate less than four stars from the All Music Guide), and 1997’s R + B = Ruth Brown,  She was a recipient of the Pioneer Award in 1989, its first year, inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame in 1992, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, but what must not be overlooked was her groundbreaking work to establish musician’s rights and fair distribution of royalties, culminating in the 1987 formation of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.  Ruth died November 17th 2006.     enjoy
Since it is still relatively new, I thought I’d mention that KKUP is now streaming on the internet and, while it is still in a developing stage, we have been putting out the word.  I’m not all of that good with high-tech stuff, but it seems pretty easy to access.  If you go to our website at you will see on the home page a strip of options immediately above the pictures of the musicians the next to the last option being LISTEN ONLINE.  By clicking this, it brings up a choice of desktop or mobile.  I can only speak for the desktop but after maybe a minute I was receiving a crystal clear feed.  As already mentioned, this is still a work in progress and we are currently limited to a finite number of listeners at any one time.  I mention this so you will be aware to turn off the application when you are not actually listening.  (I put the player in my favorites bar for the easiest of access.)  Now we can reach our listeners in Los Gatos and Palo Alto, even my family in Canada.  Let your friends elsewhere know they can now listen to your favorite station, and while they have the home page open they can check out our schedule.
This is the End
Try to Quit You Baby
You Sure Can’t Do
Wee Wee Baby
Don’t Know Which Way to Go
Sugar Mama   (Howlin’ Wolf)
Sitting and Thinking   (Muddy Waters)
Got My Mojo Working   (Muddy Waters)
   Buddy Guy   29mins

Shine On
5-10-15 Hours
Sentimental Journey
R.B. Blues
Daddy Daddy
Hey Pretty Baby
Teardrops from my Eyes
I’ll Get Along Somehow (part one)
I Know
It’s All for You
Wild Wild Young Men
Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean
   Ruth Brown   33mins

Help Me (A Tribute to Sonny Boy Williamson)
It Hurts Me Too
Messin’ with the Kid
Viet Cong Blues
All Night Long (Rock Me Baby)
   Junior Wells with Buddy Guy   18mins

As Long as I’m Moving
It’s Love Baby
I Wanna Do More
Love Has Joined us Together
Ever Since My Baby’s Been Gone
Why Me
I Can’t Hear a Word You Say
Lucky Lips
I Don’t Know
Takin’ Care of Business
Love Contest
This Little Girl’s Gone Rockin’
   Ruth Brown   31mins

I Got My Eyes on You
The Things I Used to Do
(You Give Me) Fever
Knock on Wood
I Had a Dream Last Night
24 Hours of the Day
You Were Wrong
I’m Not the Best
   Buddy Guy   40mins