FreeWheelin' Music Safari

Blues Wednesday – Elmore James,Jr. and Bob Margolin

Today I was out doing field work but on the way there I listened to B B King’s Bluesville on XM Radio to get some ideas for listening one of the first artists I heard this morning was Elmore James. I know James’ name more than his music but the track that I heard was good so I thought , hum maybe I’ll listen to some of his music when I get home! A little while later I heard John Lee Hooker’s son John Lee Hooker, Jr and again a good track. I thought maybe I’ll listen to his Live in Istanbul album. How about some Juniors both Elmore James and John Lee. Then came Bob Margolin again another name I’ve heard but haven’t listened to his music. Rounding out the trip there came The Fabulous Thunderbirds another group that I haven’t listened to and I don’t know why. I’ve listened to and like Kim Wilson’s solo albums and Jimmie Vaughn with Stevie Ray, but not the Thunderbirds, but again the track sounded good so I conclude my list James and Hooker Juniors, Bob Margolin and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Well first Rhapsody did not have any John Lee Hooker, Jr’s albums but they did have Elmore James, Jr. and I listened to his 2010 release Baby, Please Set A Date . This is a fairly strong album from the 71 year old son of Elmore James and Mississippi restaurateur, Nora Johnson. James born Earnest Johnson has been recording blues since the 1960’s but many of those recordings have never been released. The other album on Rhapsody is a 2008 release Daddy Gave Me the Blues This album is a strong traditional “Chicago Blues” album with some good vocals from James coupled with some distinctive and nice guitar. You can check out his music at his Myspace page

Next I checked out Bob Margolin’s latest album In North Carolina Margolin has been playing blues guitar since the 1970s and 80s when he played in the Muddy Waters Band. He’ worked through the years with several bands including: Bob Margolin Blues Band, Bob Margolin All-Star Blues Jam, Legends of Chicago Blues and the Muddy Waters Reunion Band. The was recorded at his home alone,. He played all the instruments on the album and it was a personal work and what I heard he did a good job. You can read his amazing biography here. IIn reading his biography I discovered that Bob along with friends, Chip Eagle (publisher of Blues Revue and BluesWax) and Richard “Rosy” Rosenblatt (former President of Tone Cool Records, a great harp player, and an old Boston Blues Scene friend) found the VizzTone Label Group in 2007 to provide services for musicians with independent labels! Check them out they have some great artists thatI’ve listened to like Peter Parcek, Monster Mike Welch and Matthew Stubbs and many that I have to check out!!

More to follow maybe tomorrow – The Fabulous Thunderbirds and the new Buddy Guy album!

Here’s Elmore James, Jr with Jimmy Bowskill a young guitarist who I will need to check out!