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Anne Arbor Blues & Jazz Festival 1972 45rpm Box Set
Hands down one of the greatest festival recordings ever! Out of circulation for nearly twenty years, this great two-record set from 1973 was made available once again by Classic Records. It’s a document of an incredible three days (Sept. 8-10, 1972) of powerful music, attended by more than 15,000 fans at Otis Spann Memorial Field in Ann Arbor Michigan. Hopefully, future re-examination of the Ann Arbor Festival 1972 will yield full sets by each of the participants, including those not represented on this LP, such as Miles Davis, Pharaoh Sanders, and Lightin’ Slim! Classic Records approached this obscure and rare release with the idea that it deserved the best sonic treatment ever. As such, the decision was made by Michael Hobson, founder of Classic Records, to cut the original two record set at 45 rpm** and issue it as 8 single sided 180g LP's.
B B King – Singin’ the Blues
King's vocals are exciting, playful and soulful; the horns are jumpin' and the piano honky tonks that thang all the way home. A number of the songs contained on these first recordings went on to become B.B. King classics, performed and re-recorded down through the years, but here are the first fresh, hot-from-the-oven versions of such tunes as "Did You Ever Love A Woman," "Every Day I Have The Blues" and "Sweet Little Angel." This is home cookin' and these are the original recipes.
Ben Harper – Burn to Shine
Burn to Shine is an album by Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, released in 1999 on Virgin Records America. The album shows Harper working within many different genres, including blues, rock, soul, and folk. The songs "Steal My Kisses" and "Suzie Blue" became successful on college radio. Like most other Harper albums, different versions were released in different regions within varying bonus material.
Ben Harper – Diamonds on the Inside
Diamonds On the Inside is a 2003 album by American singer-songwriter Ben Harper. Although he did not explicitly credit the Innocent Criminals for the first time in 10 years, all the touring members continue to support him on the album. On this album, Harper brought on several new additions to his band, the first being guitarist Nicky Panicci (aka Nicky P) in 2002 who is the first guitar player to be credited on a Ben Harper record. Panicci toured with Harper on the Diamonds on the Inside Tour for almost a year. After leaving Harper's band on his own accord, Marc Ford, formerly of The Black Crowes replaced Panicci and joined Harper's band.
Ben Harper – Will to Live
The Will to Live (1997), an album by Ben Harper which showed his continuing folk-centric focus, while at the same time expanding on his rock talents. This was the second album with the Innocent Criminals (uncredited), and was packaged with a special bonus CD in certain countries. The record would yield his first UK Top 75 single, Faded. To date it remains his only UK single entry
Big Maybelle : The Okeh Sessions
With her bold, gritty sound, she comes off like nothing so much as a female Howlin' Wolf, and one can't imagine her not being an influence on the full-throttle blues of Etta James, Aretha, Janis Joplin and countless others. "So Good to My Baby" features typically microphone-distorting belting from the singer, and an appropriately blazing horn section. "Gabbin' Blues", her 1952 Okeh debut smash, is a humorous dialogue between Maybelle and gossiping rival Rose Marie McCoy, the tune's co-writer. One of the most stirring cuts here is "Ocean Of Tears", a percolating, minor-key tune in which Maybelle bemoans her sorrowful state with an unforgettably cathartic angst. Also impressive, though, are ballads such as "You'll Never Know", "Ain't No Use", and "You'll Be Sorry", which show a pleasant, softer side to Maybelle's craft. "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On" - a song that she took to the top of the R&B charts before Jerry Lee Lewis turned it into a rock & roll anthem -, her 1955 single "One Monkey Don't Stop No Show" and 1954's "I'm Getting 'Long Alright", are also standouts. New York session wizards such as tenor saxophonist Sam 'The Man' Taylor and guitarist Mickey Baker provide great support throughout. The tracks contained on this album showcase one of the greatest blues singers of all time, at her prime.
Billie Holiday – The ‘Commodore’ Days
Billie Holiday has often been popularly labelled a Blues Singer, but she was never that, within the generally accepted definition. The overwhelming majority of her records are of popular songs. Tin Pan Alley trifles, which she elevates by her immense talent into significant jazz performances. It could be said that Bessie Smith brought the Blues to the popular song, while Billie Holiday took the popular song to the Blues. Her whole chequered life, sometimes intensely gay, often abysmally tragic, always defiant, imbued her with the true spirit of the Blues.
Buddy Guy & Junior Wells – Going Back To Acoustic
The results stand in stark contrast to the steamy Chicago blues the duo is best known for. Instead, these recordings are relaxed and personal, with an intimate, back-porch feel. Guy switches between six and twelve string guitars and lays down rootsy acoustic rhythms for Wells' tasteful harmonica lines. The two share vocal duties on the performances as they pay homage to the rural, country blues roots these modern bluesmen share.
Charley Musselwhite’s South Side Band – Stand Back
Vanguard may have spelled his name wrong (he prefers Charlie or Charles), but the word was out as soon as this solo debut was released: Here was a harpist every bit as authentic, as emotional, in some ways as adventuresome, as Paul Butterfield. Similarly leading a Chicago band with a veteran Black rhythm section (Fred Below on drums, Bob Anderson on bass) and rock-influenced soloists (keyboardist Barry Goldberg, guitarist Harvey Mandel), Musselwhite played with a depth that belied his age - only 22 when this was cut! His gruff vocals were considerably more affected than they would become later (clearer, more relaxed), but his renditions of "Help Me", "Early in the Morning", and his own "Strange Land" stand the test of time.
Clapton; Winwood; Wyman; Watts – The London Howlin Wolf Sessions
With the sixties British blues boom, which included acts such as John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, early Fleetwood Mac, and The Rolling Stones, a number of attempts were made to record the original blues masters such as Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker (actually the tradition was continued in the nineties by John Lee Hooker with his The Healer project) with some of the young upcoming “white” blues players. Unfortunately many of the projects lacked real impact (usually the recordings were done on the cheap, over short periods, with most of the young musicians simply too intimidated by their idols to offer any real creative input), however these sessions with the great Howlin’ Wolf proved to be one of the exceptions.
Clark Terry / Freddie Hubbard / Dizzy Gillespie / Oscar Peterson – “The Alternate Blues
These are not your classic "blowing sessions" where the players try to outdo each other. No, this is something quite different. Norman Granz revered the classic "jam session", of which this is a prime example; he produced dozens for the various labels he owned over the years. Playing this album we can see why. The heart of the blues is here in every measure.
Eric Clapton – 461 Ocean Boulevard
By opening the first side with 'Motherless Children' and closing it with 'I Shot the Sheriff', Clapton puts the rural repose of his laid-back-with-Leon music into a context of deprivation and conflict, adding bite to soft-spoken professions of need and faith that might otherwise smell faintly of the most rural of laid-back commodities, bullshit. And his honesty has its reward: better sex. The casual assurance you can hear now in his singing goes with the hip-twitching syncopation he brings to Robert Johnson's 'Steady Rolling Man' and Elmore James's 'I Can't Hold Out', and though the covers are what make this record memorable it's on 'Get Ready', written and sung with Yvonne Elliman, that his voice takes on a mellow, seductive intimacy he's never come close to before.