Live sessions recorded for the Radio 2 Rhythm & Blues Series Introduced by Paul Jones, Produced by Dave Shannon.
Many thanks to Mick Eve who stood in on sax for the Radio 2 session.
In July 1985 Paul Jones provided three weeks holiday relief for BBC Radio Two's "Night Owls" programme by recalling the arrival of Rhythm and Blues in this country from America in the Sixties. It was a labour of love for Paul whose enthusiasm for R&B is matched by an insight and expertise gained as front man with Manfred Mann (who started as the Mann Hugg Blues Band and more recently with the Blues Band.
The success of Paul's prototype series persuaded Radio Two to give Rhythm and Blues a longer run and indeed, its first regular outlet on network radio since the premature and much lamented death of Alexis Korner. This LP represents the best of the sessions recorded specially for the Rhythm and Blues shows by top R&B bands in the country from veterans like Rory Gallagher and Groundhogs to relative newcomers like Blues 'n' Trouble and the Boogie Brothers Blues Band. It was a delight to record them and have them on the programme and it's marvellous to have them preserved in this more permanent form by BBC Records.
Irishman RORY GALLAGHER'S career has taken him from local showbands to superstardom on the international concert circuit. In the late Sixties as leader of the archetypal power trio "Taste" he earned a place in the pantheon of guitar heroes which includes Eric Clapton, Peter Green, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page, Jimmy (sic) Hendrix and so on. The climax for "Taste" was a stunning appearance at the Isle of Wight festival in 1970 and since then Rory's dedication to the blues has been a model of consistency. His track on this album is a blistering tour de force of guitar technique with Rory unleashing musical thunderbolts as only he can.
JOHNNY MARS, the only black American on the L.P. was brought up in South Carolina but has lived in London since 1972. On the night he arrived here he turned up at a Howling Wolf benefit concert at London's Hundred Club, sat in with the Brunning Hall Blues Band and was immediately invited to join. Since then he's been a stalwart of the British blues scene, guesting with leading bands with his compelling vocals and virtuoso harmonica.
Formed in 1979 more from motives of recreation than ambition the BLUES BAND enjoyed success as spectacular as it was unexpected. The pedigree of the personnel and the musicianship and discipline of the arrangements brought them five albums, innumerable broadcasts and a hectic international concert itinerary, at a time when blues was far from fashionable. Pressure of touring plus individual projects within and without the music business led to inevitable disintegration and although they still perform occasionally it's hard to know whether they're farewell gigs or reunion concerts.
JUICE ON THE LOOSE have been London's most consistent and popular crowdpullers since they formed in 1978 as a loose conglomeration of musicians acting as a houseband for visiting American R&B singers. In this capacity they've accompanied a formidable procession of artists recording albums with two of them - Willie Egan and Big Jay McNeely - for the Ace label which also recognised Juice On The Loose's growing status by releasing their first solo album 3 years ago. After several personnel changes the current line-up not only maintains the Juice On The Loose tradition of hot Rhythm and Blues but also reflects the taste of London's music pubs for gospel, soul, Cajun and Zydeco etc.
THE BALHAM ALLIGATORS are the nearest approximation to swomp life south of the Thames and are the leading British exponents of the music of South Louisiana, especially Zydeco. Zydeco, for the uninitiated, is a close relation of Cajun but performed by the black French speaking Creoles of the bayou country. The song is from one of Zydeco's favourite sons, Rockin' Sidney, and the gravelly 60-a-day vocal is from Geraint Watkins, former Juice On The Loose man and a popular fixture of London's R&B scene for many years.
Phoenix might be a more fitting name than GROUNDHOGS so often have they been disbanded since their formation in 1963, only to emerge in some new permutation, a tribute to the commitment and energy of leader Tony McPhee. After riding the Sixties blues booms they enjoyed commerical success in the early Seventies as a heavy metal band and shared the bill at the 1970 Isle of Wight festival with Rory Gallagher's "Taste". But whether doing a solo acoustic gig or pulverising audiences with electric and slide guitar Tony McPhee's approach is raw, uncompromising and authentic. Perhaps this explains the Groundhogs success in accompanying visiting American blues legends like Little Walter and John Lee Hooker. A warm welcome to Groundhogs on their return to the British Blues Circuit.
Paul Jones regards Tim Elliot, lead singer of Edinburgh band BLUES 'N' TROUBLE, as the most convincing blues vocalist this country has produced. Certainly the meaty session they recorded for us bears out this judgement, and that of B.B. King who described them as "...the best white blues band around". Their tour with B.B. in 1985 was a highlight of their short career but their growing reputation in the clubs should soon have them headlining in their own right.
Like Juice On The Loose, the DELUXE BLUES BAND was created to back visiting American blues men, specifically Eddie Clearwater and Carey Bell, in the early Eighties, but gelled so well in their own right that they became one of the most powerful and consistent attractions on the British and European blues circuits. Much of their material is composed by American Anglophile Danny Adler whose guitar and vocals are backed by a rhythm section with the most impeccable credentials. Bassist Bob Brunning's vast experience, including spells with Savoy Brown and Fleetwood Mac, equipped him uniquely to write an encyclopaedic account of British Blues, "Blues: The British Connection", published in May 1986.
"Panache, vitality, style, humour, energy, entertainment...I can't wait to see them again" - the collective sentiments of a highly appreciative music press towards BIG TOWN PLAYBOYS who specialise in the re-creation of the "American west coast R&B of the Forties and Fifties. It helps to have Mickey Sanchez (dubbed the "Latin Lothario" for his swarthy good looks) who, as vocalist and pianist, is Amos Milburn reincarnate. Their musical authenticity ond period accuracy is based on painstaking attention to detail and their irresistible live act is summed up by the title track of their first album on 'Making Waves', "no need for no doctor, no need for no pills, the Playboy Boogie gonna cure your ills".
The newest, biggest and youngest line-up on the album the BOOGIE BROTHERS BLUES BAND make a habit of breaking attendance records at London's R&B clubs and are preceded everywhere they go by "house full" and "sold out" signs. This track was part of their debut broadcast so we'll watch their development with interest as will the multitude of fans they've converted with their beefy, soul-tinged sound and irrepressible stage act.
Dave Shannon, Producer 'Rhythm & Blues'
(P) (C) 1986 BBC Records And Tapes/Enterprises Ltd.
All rights of the producer and of the owner of the recorded work reserved. Unauthorised copying, public performance, broadcasting, hiring or rental of this recording prohibited.
Made and printed in England.