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Blues on TV

GUEST,Hootenanny 25 Oct 18 - 11:04 AM
punkfolkrocker 25 Oct 18 - 11:21 AM
Cappuccino 25 Oct 18 - 11:27 AM
Jim Carroll 25 Oct 18 - 11:31 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 25 Oct 18 - 04:16 PM
GUEST 25 Oct 18 - 05:18 PM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 26 Oct 18 - 06:16 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Oct 18 - 07:02 AM
Stanron 27 Oct 18 - 07:29 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Oct 18 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Pseudonymous 27 Oct 18 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 27 Oct 18 - 09:34 AM
Senoufou 27 Oct 18 - 10:16 AM
Will Fly 27 Oct 18 - 11:24 AM
punkfolkrocker 27 Oct 18 - 12:44 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 27 Oct 18 - 03:08 PM
Dave Sutherland 27 Oct 18 - 03:30 PM
Senoufou 27 Oct 18 - 03:38 PM
punkfolkrocker 27 Oct 18 - 03:43 PM
punkfolkrocker 27 Oct 18 - 03:47 PM
Big Al Whittle 28 Oct 18 - 04:50 AM
Will Fly 28 Oct 18 - 05:00 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 28 Oct 18 - 05:15 AM
GUEST,Hootenannny 28 Oct 18 - 05:45 AM
Cappuccino 28 Oct 18 - 06:34 AM
GUEST,Mike Yates 28 Oct 18 - 09:00 AM
punkfolkrocker 28 Oct 18 - 10:07 AM
Will Fly 28 Oct 18 - 10:18 AM
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Subject: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 25 Oct 18 - 11:04 AM

For the benefit of the half dozen or so people on this site who are interested in the blues may I point out that on BBC 4 Television to-morrow Friday 26th at 8.00 pm Blues photographer and writer Val Wilmer and newcomer Cerys Matthews select their favourite blues musicians.
Val has been involved with the blues and jazz scene since she was at school and photographed Louis Armstrong.She has travelled widely pursuing the music. Should be very interesting.

Hopefully no "talking heads" from the rock world will be involved.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 25 Oct 18 - 11:21 AM

Since recent threads I've been trying to recall what exposure I had to 'authentic' Blues on the telly and radio
when I was a teenager back in the 1970s...???

I can't remember anything.. just white Brit pub rock R&B bands on the Old Grey Whistle Test...

I'm starting to think I read more music mag articles and library books about vintage Blues artists
than I ever heard or saw them...


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Cappuccino
Date: 25 Oct 18 - 11:27 AM

Cerys Matthews is the one who took over Paul Jones' Radio 2 blues show. I'm still undecided as to whether I like it now.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 25 Oct 18 - 11:31 AM

Thanks for that Hoot - just this minute debating whether it was worth recording
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 25 Oct 18 - 04:16 PM

PFR:

It's like all minority interest music and has never had a fair share of coverage on mass media. How much folk music do you hear currently?

I almost said 'real folk music' but that might start a pile of irrelevant posts.

There is masses of material available but we don't get a chance to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST
Date: 25 Oct 18 - 05:18 PM

Well I like Cerys (from Catatonia ...) 's radio show. I don't know what the blues programme used to be like before the scheduling change, because I only listen to the radio at certain times. I can listen on Mondays from like 8-30 til 9. That wasn't blues before, and now it's blues. So that's good.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 26 Oct 18 - 06:16 PM

It was okay, though they picked a very poor example of Victoria Spivey and did not appear to know that her record company was the first to record Bob Dylan. I have seen all the clips before; they are quite standard. I personally did not find T Bone Walker particularly innovative as was claimed for him. What am I missing?


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 07:02 AM

In my opinion the programme could have been more interesting if Val had been teamed up with another knowledgeable blues afficianado who had been around the blues scene a little longer than Cerys Matthews. I am sure that Val has many interesting stories that could have been brought out if teamed up with the right person.

The Ali Farka Toure clip was completely unnecessary, he was not a blues musician and I am sure that Val was correct in saying that Toure had listened to John Lee Hooker.

As for T-Bone, he may not seem to be innovative in 2018 but he certainly was when he first came along, That clip by the way I think was the one filmed in the East End of London backed by British modern jazz musicians. Not the ideal setting it's true but how much is there available of T-Bone on film? Likewise with Victoria Spivey. Apart from a clip from one of the AFBF European tours (which would have been better), what else is available.

I would also liked to have seen more of Val's photographs. I would suggest a programme focussing on Val and her photography interspersed with music from the artists.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Stanron
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 07:29 AM

T-Bone Walker held a unique position in blues history. The comments that he was too jazzy for some blues fans and too country for the jazz crowd was well made. I enjoyed the program but agree with Hootenanny that a program of the photos, music by the artists and Val's anecdotes would be a good idea.

Hang on! Isn't that what I just watched?


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 07:42 AM

Hello Hoot

Agree with your first two paragraphs entirely.

Agree with you on Ali Farka Toure.   


On Spivey, the singing and piano on the version of TB blues they chose was poor. There's a much better version of the same song from a Granada TV programme online.

They commented on how her eye rolling reflected early stage practices, yet there are videos of her rolling her eyes while actually on stage which they did not use. A good one is black snake blues (1963?) with Lonnie Johnson, also online. Maybe they could not get copyright for these better videos?

Still not sure how T Bone walker was innovative: if it's because he was 'jazzy' blues, Lonne Johnson went there already.

Agree with your last paragraph.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Pseudonymous
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 07:47 AM

I did not realise Paul Jones wasn't doing his blues radio show any more; this explains why it hasn't come up in the 'my radio' bit of my BBC Iplayer ap. Shame. Not feeling hopeful that this lady will quite hit the spot, but you never know.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 09:34 AM

Interesting to see some of these clips again (and to remember that I was around when they were made!)but Val Wilmer looked as though she would rather have been somewhere else. Probably due to Cerys Matthews' somewhat pointless comments. In fact I am sure that Val Wilmer would make the subject for a very good documentary. She has had an amazing life.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Senoufou
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 10:16 AM

Ali Farka Touré, the Malian singer and musician, has been considered by some to represent a link between modern American blues and W African blues.

Martin Scorsese made a series of documentaries ('Feel Like Going Home') which examined these links and convincingly traced the roots back to W African griots like Touré.

I think the clip of Touré was included as homage to these origins.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Will Fly
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 11:24 AM

T-Bone was really the first guitar showman - white suit, playing guitar behind his back, etc. - and listen to the licks that inspired Chuck Berry...


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 12:44 PM

Cerys Matthews - the BBC is commited to improving diversity,
and actively pre-empted potential complaints of not enough representation of Welsh women in the history of Blues music...???


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 03:08 PM

Pseudo,

Agreed, Lonnie Johnson had played with Jazz Musicians, Louis Armstrong for one and Eddie Laing for another, but surely you are not comparing his style with that of T-Bone.
And Lonnie if I remember correctly didn't play electric guitar until long after T-Bone and in a completely different style.
Re Victoria Spivey, yes there are better clips around, the one they used was an unfortunate choice.

Senofou,

I am aware of the Scorsese film. I have the set (including that awful one about British Blues: Lulu and Tom Jones????). In my opinion it proves nothing and I believe what I think Val was hinting at was that any resemblance between Toure's music and Hooker was because Toure had listened to blues. I am not knocking Toure but he was not playing or singing blues.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 03:30 PM

Agree with all the comments here; Val Wilmer would have been better on her own. Since they (she) made comments about Ready, Steady, Go they also did a great show with Sonny Boy Williamson which would have not been out of place in the programme. I have seen clips that show T-Bone Walker at his best including one where he actually jammed with Chuck Berry.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Senoufou
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 03:38 PM

That's most interesting Hootenanny.

I've noticed that much of 'traditional' West African music has been somewhat permeated with American and European styles in the 20th Century, including the blues. I've heard that this is the case with Southern African music too, although my (limited) experience is only with West Africa.

It's hard to decide who influenced whom.

Certainly, pure African rhythms are far more complex and intricate than blues beats. And the songs often seem more exuberant than sad. They're usually expected to accompany dancing, and to be played/sung at special events such as marriages.
Their instruments were/are the cora and the djembe, not the guitar.

However, most of the African slaves transported to plantations were from W Africa, and the styles of later generations' music must logically have some origins in traditional singing and playing.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 03:43 PM

The only old 'Blues Legend' me and my mates ever saw live
was at a west country arts centre circa 1975...

Sonny Boy Williamson - can't remember if he was any good or not..
but we were curious, and bugger all much else musical from America visited our town...


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 27 Oct 18 - 03:47 PM

btw.. seems the previous 2 Sonny Boy Williamsons were dead years before the one our art centre booked...


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 04:50 AM

I wonder if they kept that series of TV programmes that Josh White did in the 1960's. I was also a fan of Jazz625. Every week the Stan Tracey trio backed an American jazz maestro - Ben Webster, Wes Montgomery....

A great radio series in 1960's was Lennie Felix - it was on the same lines. I remember with particular pleasure, one week he had Jimmy Witherspoon on.

I've written to the BBC, but they just gave a curt dismissal.

On BBC WEstward - there some really fabulous folk performances. The first Carthy/Swarbick, Gerry Lockran, Noel Murphy...

It will take someone more important than me to unlock the vaults.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 05:00 AM

I've been lucky enough to see several great blues musicians when they came to the UK. The highlight of them all was seeing Reverend Gary Davis at the Free Trades Hall in Manchester in 1965. I was at college in Leeds at the time and didn't really know much about him. An older and more experienced musician friend and his wife drove us all across the Pennines in his Land Rover to see the concert.

The other people on the bill were, in order, Julie Felix, Derroll Adams & Jack Elliott, Buffy Ste. Marie - and then Davis. I waited impatiently for the man to come on, which he did, walking straight to the mic stand, hanging his white stick from it, saying "Hello Mike!" - and then swinging his J200 round from his back and launching into a wonderful display of guitar playing and impassioned singing.

A night I'll remember for ever.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 05:15 AM

Dave Sutherland:

Ready Steady Go. As Val mentioned Vicky Wickham was responsible for the blues musicians appearing among all the pop music dross. When we (myself and a couple of fellow work mates) brought Buddy Guy to the UK for the very first time in February of 1965 he too appeared. Unfortunately due to the fact that Buddy moved around quite a bit when playing the mic swung from the front of his body to the back and his vocal got lost. One of the problems of live broadcasts at that time.

PFR:

John Lee 'Sonny Boy' Williamson from Jackson, Tennessee was murdered in Chicago in 1948. Stabbed with an ice pick.
Alec 'Rice' Miller, better known as Sonny Boy Williamson - the one who toured here in the 1960's died at home in Helena, Arkansas in 1965 shortly after returning from the UK.

I have no idea who you saw circa 1975.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Hootenannny
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 05:45 AM

Will,

Like you I have been fortunate enough to see a number of the great blues musicians of the past including Gary Davis. My wife got a couple of nice photographs of him at Studio 51 in Great Newport Street, London - the old Ken Colyer Club where in addition to the J200 he played a twelve string Gibson. They (the photographs)were dated July 1966. He did come over again in 1972. What a picker!


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Cappuccino
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 06:34 AM

The comment in this show that I really enjoyed was when they were showing the well-known clip of Sister Rosetta playing that strange live show on a northern railway station platform (with an electric guitar - in the rain!). Cerys wondered what the blues artists thought of being brought to play in this weird scenario, and Val replied, perceptively, 'to them, it was just another gig...'

With regard to T-Bone Walker, I recall an interview with BB King in which he was asked about the rise of electric blues guitar playing, and he replied along the lines of : 'some of us were talking about this the other day, and we decided it all began with T-Bone Walker...'


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: GUEST,Mike Yates
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 09:00 AM

Senoufou, in the case of Ali Farka Touré it is not 'hard to decide who influenced whom'. Some French engineers were working near the Touré homestead and, in the evenings, they played John Lee Hooker LPs. When I met Ali after a gig at the Hackney Empire (a long way from Mali!)he was quite happy to say that he had picked up Hooker's guitar style by listening to these recordings. Of course, when he was 'discovered' by the outside world most people thought that they had discovered the original 'roots of the blues'.
Having said that, I must say that I love Malian music and was quite happy to see Ali and band included in the program.


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 10:07 AM

"Of course, when he was 'discovered' by the outside world most people thought that they had discovered the original 'roots of the blues'. "


Africans learning to play the Blues from American records
would be a bit like 1950s/1960s British folk revivalists learning to play trad folk by listening to recordings of American folk singers..

.. oh wait...


Btw.. that 'sonny boy' we saw mid 70s is intriguing..
must have been a dodgy booking agency pulling a con on gullible uninformed provincial venues...???


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Subject: RE: Blues on TV
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Oct 18 - 10:18 AM

This guy, perhaps?

Sonny Boy Williamson III


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