By Ken Wallis, Blues & Roots Radio
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Over the past few months, there’ve been a ton of challenges and postings about albums that have a big impact on folks. I’m going to jump in on this with my blog with a similar posting but with a difference.
I’m going to highlight the ten BLUES albums that started me down the road to blues nirvana. And I’ll do five this week and five next week.
Now like many a fence sitter, I’m going to qualify this. These were the albums that I started playing during the 60s and 70s and then onwards. (Yes indeed you can surmise that I’m an oldie myself). Frankly, I really didn’t know I was Blues lover. I just dug the music. And I’m only including albums I first listened to, not ones I searched out later.
B.B. King – Live At Cooke County Jail
I wore the grooves out on this record. This was probably my first real exposure to the Blues. It was released in 1971 and featured B.B. at his best. From the moment the warden gets booed, you know this is gonna be a great tome with The Thrill Is Gone, Worry,Worry, Everyday I have The Blues and How Blue can You Get. Especially when he sings “I gave you seven children. And now you wanna give em back”. Years later I met B.B. and got his guitar pick. It was magic
Jimi Hendrix – Band of Gypsys
I still have one of Jimi’s solos from Who Knows as my cell phone ringtone. Recorded at the Fillmore East, New Year’s Eve 1969, if featured Billy Cox on bass and the incomparable Buddy Miles on drums and vocals. Ok I get it. Some classify this album as psychedelic. But it’s raw Blues in its highest form. On the recording he wishes everyone a Happy New Year. I played that for years on every New Year’s Eve.
Could you imagine if he was still around today? He was going to bring Stevie Winwood into the mix for what he called Blue Sky Church Music.
Eric Clapton – Cream/Derek r& The Dominoes
What can I say that hasn’t already been said about Eric Clapton? He spearheaded the British Blues invasion in 1970. With Cream, White Room defined Clapton’s emergence. It was just the beginning. Derek and The Dominos took the world by storm with a double album that brought forward the classic Layla. With Duane Allman on slide, the tune was all about Eric’s affair with Patty Boyd, George Harrison’s wife. Clapton’s expertise led me to the next album.
Howlin’ Wolf – The London Howlin’ Wolf Session
The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions is an album by blues legend Howlin' Wolf released in 1971 on Chess Records, and on Rolling Stones Records in Britain. Wolf’s distinctive voice is backed by Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Charlie Watts, and Bill Wyman. Classic tunes like I Ain’t Superstitious, Built For Comfort, Siitin On Top Of The World, and Wang Dang Doodle are highlighted on this release.
Mike Bloomfield AL Cooper Stephen Stills – Super Session.
Super Session is one of those rare albums that just seems to get better with time. It was conceived in 1968 by Al Kooper and featured the work of guitarists Mike Bloomfield and Stephen Stills. Bloomfield and Stills don’t play together on the album. Bloomfield plays on side one, and Stills on side two.
Originally Bloomfield was to play the entire album, but fell ill and couldn’t finish the recording. Kooper brought in Stills to complete the album. From the first cut on side A with Bloomfield playing Albert’s Shuffle to Stephen Stills on Side B with Season of the Witch, this album is a must have for any collection.
Well there you have it. The first five albums, in no particular order. Next week I’ll reveal the next five. And while you’re waiting breathlessly for the next 5 albums, check some of the first five out. They’re classics. Simply YouTube them.