August 29, 2017

Key to the Highway      
2017-08-30    2-5PM                       

Jimmy Witherspoon   
Freddie King   
ZZ Top   
Johnny Winter                                                                                                              
It is another fifth Wednesday but, unfortunately, my alternating host Gil de Leon has commitments with his mother so might only join me towards the end of the show if at all.  Having lost my mother three years ago, I say go for it, Gil, get as much time in as you can. 
Anyway, as I was listening to the sports on TV Sunday, they did a segment on what I recall was the 49ers third draft pick, a cornerback named Witherspoon, and they brought out the fact that he was the grandson of the great Jazzy Blues vocalist Jimmy Witherspoon.  ‘Spoon is one of those guys in my collection who is so often gets overlooked, probably because a lot of his stuff was just too slow for my taste, but catch him in a concert setting and he shows what he can really do. 
The two sets today were recorded on three separate dates in 1959 but appear on the CD The ‘Spoon Concerts, the first from December 2nd and 9th was released originally as the LP Witherspoon, Mulligan, Webster at the Renaissance (obviously with Gerry Mulligan on baritone sax and Ben Webster on tenor, along with drummer Mel Lewis, bassist Leroy Vinnegar and pianist Jimmy Rowles), while the second set, recorded October 2nd, was originally put out as Jimmy Witherspoon at Monterey and had even better known Jazz backing with trumpeter Roy Eldridge, Webster again on tenor along with Coleman Hawkins, Woody Herman on clarinet and pianist Earl “Fatha” Hines playing piano.  Lewis is once again behind the drum kit and the bass chores are handled by Vernon Alley.
Freddie King is absolutely one of my favorite Bluesmen but I’ve been hesitant to play him lately because I would be intimidated having to write an essay to match my esteem for him (the same can be said for Magic Sam and Luther Allison), but fifth Wednesdays kinda release me from that self-imposed obligation.  After choosing ‘Spoon’s live stuff, I picked a couple of live albums to use for Freddie and decided that would be the route I would take for the whole show.  His first set comes from the CD Live in Nancy, 1975 Vol. 1 and includes his longtime bass player (and cousin, I believe) Benny Turner.
I really believe that I have Freddie King misfiled in my system.  I put my discs and their liner notes into binders and I have him right in the front of my Texas Blues book even though he is more stylistically a Chicago Bluesman, but I like him front and center rather than buried in one of my two Chicago books.  So while I had the Texas book open I decided ZZ Top’s first album, Fandango, would be a rockin’ complement to what was already played.  ZZ Top consists of drummer Frank Beard and two vocalists, bassist Dusty Hill and lead guitarist / harmonica player Billy Gibbons.
But Johnny Winter was too similar to ZZ so I fit the second ‘Spoon set between the two Texas guitar-centric groups.  For 1976’s Captured Live, Winter is supported by drummer Richard Hughes, bassist Randy Jo Hobbs and second guitarist Floyd Radford.  We conclude today with the date uncertain Freddie King’s Live at the Texas Opry House.  As usual, it was difficult cutting out the last ten or fifteen minutes of good music in order to fit on 2CDs; in fact, I had to cut a large song which left enough room for a live Johnny Winter version of Johnny B. Goode at the end if there is time.        enjoy
Since this is a train of thought styled posting -- no research or biographical stuff – I wish to mention my longest friend has been on my mind the last couple of weeks.  So, to my high school buddy Steve in the Texas, stay safe old friend.
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.
Time’s Getting’ Tougher than Tough
How Long Blues
Corrna, Corina
Roll ‘em Pete
Every Day
Goin’ to Kansas City
Trouble in Mind
St. Louis Blues
   Jimmy Witherspoon   28mins

Messin’ with the Kid
Stormy Monday Blues
Sen-sa-shun / Lookin’ Good / Boogie Chillun
Goin’ Down
   Freddie King   27mins

Jailhouse Rock
Backdoor Medley: Backdoor Love Affair, Mellow
    Down Easy, Backdoor Love Affair No. 2, Long
    Distance Boogie
Nasty Dogs and Funky Kings
Mexican Blackbird
I Heard it on the X
   ZZ Top   29mins

Good Rockin’ Tonight
Ain’t Nobody’s Business
Big Fine Girl
When I Been Drinkin’
   Jimmy Witherspoon   19mins

Bony Maronie
Roll with Me
Rock and Roll People
It’s All Over Now
Highway 61 Revisited
   Johnny Winter   33mins

Ain’t Gonna Worry Anymore
Guitar Blues
Sweet Home Chicago
   Freddie King   17mins

Johnny B. Goode
   Johnny Winter   3mins

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