Thursday, October 31, 2013

Lightnin' Hopkins ... Short Haired Woman

Sam John Hopkins (March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982), better known as Lightnin’ Hopkins, was an American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist, from Houston, Texas. Rolling Stone magazine included Hopkins at number 71 on their list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

Robert "Mack" McCormick stated, "Hopkins is the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act".

Born in Centerville, Texas, Hopkins' childhood was immersed in the sounds of the blues and he developed a deeper appreciation at the age of 8 when he met Blind Lemon Jefferson at a church picnic in Buffalo, Texas. That day, Hopkins felt the blues was "in him" and went on to learn from his older (somewhat distant) cousin, country blues singer Alger "Texas" Alexander. Hopkins had another cousin, the Texas electric blues guitarist Frankie Lee Sims, with whom he later recorded. Hopkins began accompanying Blind Lemon Jefferson on guitar in informal church gatherings. Jefferson supposedly never let anyone play with him except for young Hopkins, who learned much from and was influenced greatly by Blind Lemon Jefferson thanks to these gatherings.

In 1946 whilst singing on Dowling St. in Houston's Third Ward (which would become his home base), he was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum from the Los Angeles-based record label Aladdin Records. She convinced Hopkins to travel to Los Angeles, where he accompanied pianist Wilson Smith. The duo recorded twelve tracks in their first sessions in 1946. An Aladdin Records executive decided the pair needed more dynamism in their names and dubbed Hopkins "Lightnin'" and Wilson "Thunder".

Hopkins recorded more sides for Aladdin in 1947. He returned to Houston and began recording for the Gold Star Records label. During the late 1940s and 1950s Hopkins rarely performed outside Texas. However, he recorded prolifically, occasionally traveling to the Mid-West and Eastern United States for recording sessions and concert appearances. It has been estimated that he recorded between 800 and 1000 songs during his career.

 In 1960, he signed to Tradition Records. The recordings which followed included his song "Mojo Hand" in 1960. In 1968, Hopkins recorded the album Free Form Patterns backed by the rhythm section of psychedelic rock band the 13th Floor Elevators. Through the 1960s and into the 1970s, Hopkins released one or sometimes two albums a year and toured, playing at major folk festivals and at folk clubs and on college campuses in the U.S. and internationally.

Known as Houston's poet-in-residence for 35 years, Hopkins recorded more albums than any other bluesman. He died of esophageal cancer in Houston on January 30, 1982, at the age of 69. His New York Times obituary named him as "one of the great country blues and perhaps the greatest single influence on rock guitar players."

This compilation presents the best of the legendary early output of the man who kept alive the Texas country blues tradition.

1. Moon Rise Blues
2. Picture on the Wall
3. Henny Penny Blues
4. Untrue Blues
5. Mama's Baby Child
6. T-Model Blues
7. Feel So Bad
8. Down Baby
9. Let Me Play with Your Poodle
10. Mercy
11. Short Haired Woman
12. Fast Mail Rambler
13. Big Mama Jump
14. Baby Please Don't Go
15. Shining Moon
16. Mad with You
17. Someday Baby
18. You Don't Know
19. Lightnin's Boogie
20. Honey Babe

Monday, October 28, 2013

Norine Braun new release "Coventus The Eye Of The Heart" ..roots blues from Vancouver BC

Canadian artist Norine Braun bridges the gap between a singer-songwriter and a rock and roll performer with her new release Conventus The Eye of the Heart. Norine Braun's music falls somewhere in between the intimate, heartfelt approach of folk and the energy of pop, roots rock, just as if Joni Mitchell, kd lang and Colin James would join Patti Smith and Prince for a jam, somewhere in the vast wilderness of the Canadian landscape. Her music blinks an eye to the past, while firmly looking forward, blending timeless elements such as blues, rock, funk and country and presenting them to the audience with a freshness and balance that are in tune with today's sensibilities.

Norine's diverse approach to songwriting and her prowess as a heartfelt performer are the fundaments of her solid reputation within her local scene, and beyond: This talented artist received recognition from events such as L.A. Music Awards, The Best Female Musicians Magazine and many more.

Ever the chameleon, hardworking DIY Norine Braun is set to release her ninth studio album, adding to her impressive and prolific catalogue. "Conventus The Eye of the Heart", an inspired piece of music centered around the concept of "unions", something that affected Norine's life in several disguises. Vancouver’s finest musicians have joined her again on the musical journey for Conventus. Adam Popowitz has produced, engineered and performed guitar and bass on Conventus, Elliot Polsky performs on drums and percussion, Alice Fraser performs on keys and Huggybear Leonard performs on blues harp and penny whistle.

Emotional, heartfelt and eclectic: Norine Braun in 3 words. "Her voice has the viscosity of a jazz crooner, the elegance of a gospel singer, and the heart of a folk or blues artist." Bryan Rogers

About her latest release, Norine says "Conventus The Eye of the Heart" is my new and ninth album born out of life’s unions and struggles. The past couple of years I encountered many unions in different disguises. I was diagnosed and cured of colon cancer. As I lay in my hospital bed last January, I listened to my roughly recorded demos of these songs and I let them show me the way to health. Music was a healing activity that held my interest and focus in my recovery.

This past year I also embraced a most magnificent union. I married my partner of 25 years on Halloween 2012 the anniversary of our first meeting. I watched my partner's mother dementia advance and witnessed a great love and strength as we moved through this life transition. I looked at the union in my own family of origin relationship and how my life’s journey as an adoptee has greatly shaped who I am. All of these unions, union of self and body, self and spirit, family union, union of love and marriage are found in the creation of these songs and my new album.

This music is not only my story, it’s also your story in fact it’s our story, it’s everybody’s story. We have all known someone who felt lonely, defeated, betrayed, rejected, scared, and yet found the strength to get back up, fight and win. We all know when we find that union with someone, something or within ourselves we can overcome and celebrate and cherish everything. This is what Conventus is about for me. Conventus is a celebration of union and of life"

Marty's review: One thing I enjoy very much is discovering new music, and discovering Norine Braun was a special moment. Norine’s new album “Conventus The Eye of the Heart” is certainly a treat for the ears and soul. A combination of raunchy, electric blues with some acoustic numbers and Norine’s clear and articulate vocals that generate soul and passion into her heartfelt lyrics. The production on the album is top-notch to say the least, with a tight sound that has a raw blues edge to it. It’s also funky, jazzy and tracks like “The Sleek Train” and “Fire Flames” have a spaced out feel to them that are not unlike Daniel Lanois productions. No comparisons here though as Norine has her own sound which she delivers with aplomb. All the essential blues elements are here with searing electric guitars, soulful harmonica, rolling shuffle beats and Norine’s gutsy vocal delivery. The acoustic tracks like “Boy”, “I Found You” and “How Would We Know” are beautifully done with stirring backup vocals, delicate acoustic guitar and even some backwards electric guitar sounds. The title track “Conventus” has an acoustic opening with quiet background vocals that develops into a danceable number with happy vibe. My favourite tracks: “Lightning”, “The Sleek Train” and “Today”.

or listen below:

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Buddy Guy and Junior Wells...Alone and Acoustic

 Originally released in 1981, this album features blues greats Buddy Guy and Junior Wells unplugged. Two men, one day in Paris, one acoustic guitar and one harmonica with each sharing the vocal duties. While the material is not new, it is performed with such individuality and conviction that other interpretations of this same material pales in comparison. There are 15 songs arranged into an hours worth of deep south acoustic blues. This has got to be one of Alligators finest releases and is a must have for any fan of these two giants, fans of acoustic blues and fans of the blues period.

 It would be great if more blues albums were made this way. The pure sound of a 12 string guitar and a unamplified harmonica. From the folk blues of "Big Boat" to the John Lee Hooker homage in "Boogie Chillen", the pairing in "Alone and Acoustic" is seamless - you can almost see one person playing the guitar and harmonica while singing.

1. Give Me My Coat & Shoes
2. Big Boat (Buddy & Junior's Thing)
3. Sweet Black Girl
4. Diggin' My Potatoes
5. Don't Leave Me
6. Rollin' & Tumblin'
7. I'm In The Mood
8. Hi-Heel Sneakers
9. Wrong Doing Woman
10. Cut You Loose
11. Sally Mae
12. Catfish Blues
13. My Home's In The Delta
14. Boogie Chillen
15. Medley: Baby What You Want Me To Do/That's Alright


Friday, October 25, 2013

Dai and The Ramblers new album "Duw Duw" ...folksy, bluesy and foot stompin'..!

In 2012, guitarist and singer Dai Price and double bassist Rupert Gillett were jamming in one of South-East London's grubbier boozers when accordionist Alan Dunn and fiddler Bob Loveday asked if they could join in. Lo and behold, Dai & The Ramblers were born. A year or so later, the band were asked to play a gig in ex Thin Lizzy manager Ted Carroll's back garden. Excited by what he heard, Ted suggested hooking them up with Grammy Award-winning producer Liam Watson to record their debut album at Toe Rag studios in Hackney. Over three days in the studio, it wasn't hard to bottle their gutsy home-grown folk 'n' blues sound.
They kept it simple: four musicians, a handful of mics and no fussing around.

As lead singer Dai Price recalls, "we went into the sessions with a 'one man, one voice' approach, by which I mean that the record should be exactly like what you'd get at one of our gigs. We're a hard-working band, and we've played hundreds of gigs together, so we knew we had the musical telepathy to get something real and raw on tape, without the need for overdubs. Rupert Gillett and I are a tight little rhythm section, and it was a privilege to have players like Bob Loveday and Alan Dunn leading the charge with the soloing. They've played with everyone: Van Morrison, Paul McCartney, Loudon Wainright, Richard Thompson and Nick Lowe... so they had the experience to help us take the songs to another level".

Despite the tube-driven analogue sound of the album and a somewhat old-fashioned approach to making a record, Duw Duw is no exercise in nostalgia. As well as tackling 50s classics by the likes of Lieber and Stoller, Dai & The Ramblers offer a fresh interpretation of Freddie Hubbard's classic Little Sunflower as well as a generous helping of Dai's own folk and zydeco-inspired compositions.

Dai & The Ramblers' debut album, "Duw Duw", is released on the 12th of November 2013. Aptly, the title translates into English as something like "oh my goodness".

Marty's review: If you like your music rootsy, bluesy, folksy, acoustic and just plain down to earth, then Duw Duw by Dai and The Ramblers must be heard and added to your collection. The music is a mix of New Orleans style Cajun and Zydeco numbers combined with covers of classic tunes like "Iko Iko", "Sugar Bee", "The Weight" and "What'd I Say". Guitarist Dai Price's clear and smooth vocals remind me of Chris Rea and the band is more than competent with their instrumentation utilising fiddle, accordion, double bass and guitar. Several foot stompers will have you jumping around your living room and the more reflective numbers will have you enjoying those laid back moments. Every track is a winner in my opinion, and if I had to pick out a few stand outs I would say "Chicken and The Hawk", "The Weight" and "Way Down In the Hole". Enjoy regularly!

find out more at:

listen here or down below

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Daniel Glover.."Chase Our Dreams" new release from forthcoming EP

Daniel Glover hails from Cardigan, Britain (UK). His Soundcloud page describes his music as "A Raw Acoustic and Folk Sound from the Dark and Deep depths of this Young Man's Broken Thoughts... Cold, Real, Observational, and Harsh Home Truths with Songs that also ignite Hope." 

..and his Facebook page says "A sound that resonates a deep understanding of life's heartaches and hopes. This young man's skill with the modern day ballad, his beautiful voice and his commited and energetic performance will leave you uplifted and hungry for more."

Say no more...just listen to this man's voice and take it in...

Listen to streaming tracks here:

Facebook page:

 "Chase our Dreams"  is from Daniel Glovers' first EP "The Heavy Mind sessions" recorded live in London in August and due for release in November.

Texas Blues 1947-51 Bill Quinn's Gold Star Recordings

Gold Star was founded in October 1941 by Bill Quinn under the name Quinn Recording. In 1950 Quinn changed the name of the studio to Gold Star Studios. They are the oldest continuously operating studios in the southeastern United States. Huey P Meaux took control in the early 1970s and gave the studio its current name, SugarHill Recording Studios.

The studio was important in launching the careers of such artists as Lightnin' Hopkins, The Big Bopper, George Jones, the Sir Douglas Quintet, Roy Head, and Freddy Fender. It is renowned for its collection of vintage recording equipment, reverb chamber rooms, EMT plates and a long history of music. A landmark in the Houston music community, SugarHill celebrated its 69th year of operation in October 2011.

Quinn's Gold Star Records featured Country music, then still commonly known as hillbilly music, Blues and Cajun music. In his first few years of business, Bill Quinn also recorded radio commercials and birthday greetings. That changed when Gold Star released its first hit record, a song called "Jole Blon" by Harry Choates, a swing and dance tune that and became the first and only Cajun record to reach the Billboard Top Five. It is still popular today.

The Gold Star label had a string of hits throughout the late-1940s, 50s and 60s including:

  • Lightnin' Hopkins: "T-Model Blues" and "Tim Moore's Farm" were both top 10 hits (1948)
  • George Jones' first hit "Why Baby Why" (1955)
  • Six more George Jones hit singles: "What Am I Worth", "You Gotta Be My Baby", "Just One More", "Yearning", "Too Much Water" and "Don't Stop the Music" (1956)
  • The Big Bopper's hit "Chantilly Lace" (1958)
  • Johnny Preston's "Running Bear", written by The Big Bopper (1959)
  • James O'Gwynn's "Talk to Me Lonesome Heart" and Eddie Noack's "Have Blues Will Travel/The Price of Love" (1959)
  • Willie Nelson's first two official hits: "Family Bible" (a song he wrote for Claude Gray) and "Night Life" (1959 & 1960) (Night Life was recorded by Ray Price in 1960).

This is a collection of blues recordings made between 1947 and 1951 and originally as released as 78rpms on the Gold Star Label.

1. Gamling Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
2. Homeless Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
3. Cairo Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
4. Evil Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
5. Back To Santa Fe - Lee Hunter
6. Trying, Trying - L. C. Williams
7. You Never Miss The Water - L.C. Williams
8. Cruel Hearted Woman - Thunder Smith
9. Big Stars Are Falling - Thunder Smith
10. Hole In The Wall - L. C. Williams
11. Boogie All The Time - L. C. Williams
12. Rock Island Blues - Leroy Ervin
13. Blue, Black, And Evil - Lil' Son Jackson
14. Roberta Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
15. Freedom Train Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
16. Ground Hog Blues - Lil' Son Jackson
17. Bad Whiskey, Bad Woman - Lil' Son Jackson
18. Santa Fe Blues - Thunder Smith
19. Black Woman - L.C. Williams
20. Strike Blues - L.C. Williams
21. You Can't Take It With You Baby - L.C. Williams
22. Jet Black Woman - Buddy Chiles
23. No Money, No Love - Lil' Son Jackson
24. Gone With The Wind - Lil' Son Jackson
25. I Won't Be Here Long - L.C. Williams
26. Angel Child - Andy Thomas
27. All The Way From Texas - Perry Cain

Monday, October 14, 2013

Mr. Matthew James debut album "Worried Blues"....roots blues from Toronto, Canada

Mr. Matthew James is a new roots blues artist from Toronto, Canada. Equipped with resonators, finger picks, stomp boxes and harmonicas, this 21-year old musician found his voice in music closing in on a century old. 

Worried Blue is "a mix of originals and covers of traditional country blues tunes. While the sounds may be from the 1920s, the emotions expressed are very much part of the vocabulary of today’s youth anxious about tomorrow’s world." Will McGuirk, Durham Region news

FREE sample downloads available here:

James says of playing music: “Sound for me evokes emotion and it is the emotion that is evoked from the slide guitar that does it for me, .... It’s almost as if, with the slide, with a lot of blues, the guitar does the talking.” 

For more info please visit Mr. Matthew James online: 


Friday, October 11, 2013

Down and Up release by Indie Blues Duo SUNSHINE from Brooklyn NY

When you mix jazz, blues and Brazilian roots music with Brooklyn Indie sensibilities the result is pure SUNSHINE. Sunshine's music is traditional blues mixed with indie-folk and can be compared to Muddy Waters and Alberta Hunter meets Elliot Smith and Sparkle Horse.  The Brooklyn based duo of Steve Ferrara and Amy Santos will release their self-produced debut CD Down and Up Blues on Tuesday, October 29th  which will be available on bandcampcd baby, itunes, and amazon.  

you can sample 6 tracks here: 

Sunshine was born one fine day in Manhattan's East Village when Amy sang a song and Steve played her guitar. They quickly realized that making music together was fun, and sounded pretty cool, so they kept doing it. After they relocated to Bushwick, Brooklyn, Steve convinced Amy to play bass too.

Since then they have performed their music in NYC, Montreal, Paris, New Orleans, San Francisco, Austin and Nashville. They play from their gut and heart, but never with their head. Amy and Steve love all kinds of music from different places and eras, but the blues threads everything together into Sunshine's unique sound. As their circle of fellow musicians widens, Sunshine has become a collective of sorts. Their friends have contributed drums, organ, piano, trumpet, cajon, congas, slide guitar, harmonica, banjo and Jennifer to the mix. Every performance is tailor made for the venue, the audience and the roster of musicians that share in it. Now the creative process has transformed into something that's not just fun, but fulfilling too.

Marty's review: Sunshine's debut album is a well produced mix of traditional blues, indie folk and New Orleans style jazz tracks that will appeal to all listeners of quality music. Amy and Steve alternate lead vocals on 8 tracks and duet on 2 others. From the electric blues of "Long sweet Helen", "Rise Above" and "Things That Harm Me", to the New Orleans flavoured "A Thousand Love Songs" and "Finger String" plus the Indie/Folk of "Masterpiece of Mud", "Dry Eyed Tampa" and "Until We Both Close Down", the album delivers in every way. Utilising both electric and acoustic guitars plus other instruments like banjo, trumpet, harmonica and piano, the sounds come together with relative ease and the album flows along without being eclectic and Steve and Amy's lyrics are from the heart with lots of soul. My personal favourites - "Long Sweet Helen", "A Thousand Love Songs" and the electric blues jam "Rise Above".

Amy and Steve hope you enjoy their music, whether it be on you car stereo, from your noise canceling headphones, through a speaker in the window of your front porch or however else you choose to listen.

"Their predominantly bluesy style melded elements from the muddy depths of the art form with catchier almost-pop melodies to create a very pleasing though edgy sound." J.McLean of Forget The Box

"(Sunshine) had everyone in a packed Barfly all riled up and rowdy. The band played their soulful, dance-able songs with contagious energy and exuberance."
 Bianca David 

Pre-order Down and Up Blues now at

and visit at for more information and videos

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tayo Irvine Hendrix new album release "Experience This"

 ‘EXPERIENCE this’ released on 23rd September 2013

Tayo Irvine Hendrix has music running through her veins. Since being given a drum at three years old, Tayo has developed a love of music and a sound of her own that is perfectly encapsulated by her forthcoming album ‘EXPERIENCE this’.

 EXPERIENCE this’ is a collection of songs that takes each listener on a journey. The album showcases Tayo’s stunning and powerful voice as well as a wide range of musical influences. Alongside the blues and soul elements, Tayo’s work as a healer has also helped to shape the sound, bringing mantras to the mainstream and creating an accessible sound.

Throughout her thirty years in the music industry, Tayo has had the honour of working with some incredible musicians and this album once again saw Tayo bring together a stellar team.  As well as the first class musicians with whom Tayo collaborated for the record, the album is mixed by Blake Eiseman, the man responsible for Pink’s debut album and known for his work with the likes of Usher, Janet Jackson and Aretha Franklin.

Tayo Irvine Hendrix is a drummer, percussionist, vocalist, songwriter and composer, a true creative who was undoubtedly destined for the musical world. Her famous name aside, Tayo’s music is, as suggested by the album’s title, an experience.
The first single released from the album was the blues infused ‘Crazy Dayze’; released on September 9th, it is available for download now.

Praise for Tayo Irvine Hendrix:

Her music is, indeed, an experience and quite a special one” – Music News

“Tayo Irvine Hendrix has a sound of her own” – AAA Music

Marty's reviewTayo Irvine Hendrix' new album has an apt title.."Experience This". And it is a must listen to experience at that. Tayo's many talents shine on this debut release as she confronts love, life and all that goes with it on an 11 track collection of finely produced tracks that will keep you hitting the replay button more than once. A mostly upbeat recording that combines soul, funk, jazz, African rhythms, blues, pop, dance and even a few Indian beats make this album a unique experience that will not disappoint. Tayo's clear, sultry and sometimes sexy vocals are supported by a tight rhythm section with a touch a brass, acoustic guitar and flute. Whilst the general feel of the album is in the funky/jazz/soul vein, there is also the spiritual ballad "Calling All Angels" and the new age sound of "Om Namah Shivaya" with Indian rhythms and beautiful chanting. The song lyrics show Tayo's confident and positive outlook on life and are written from the heart. My favourite tracks are "I Am Rama", "Calling All Angels" and "History". Tayo Irvine Hendrix defies musical genres and is an experience you won't forget.

For more information and to keep up with Tayo’s journey please visit:


Experience the album at iTunes here: