This home-made two-hour CD I made is the second collection of my favorite British blues recordings. It was the Brits who turned me (and millions of others from my generation) on to our very own homegrown genre of music: The Blues. Crank it up!
1) The UK blues super-group The Blues Band originally consisted of ex-Manfred Mann members Paul Jones (vocals & harmonica) and Tom McGuinness (guitar), drummer Hughie Flint from John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, vocalist, ex-John Dummer Blues Band Dave Kelly (vocals & slide guitar) and ex-Wild Turkey bassist Gary Fletcher. When their first LP debuted the press headlines ran “From ‘Doo Wah Diddy’ to ‘Diddy Wah Diddy’”, highlighting the Willie Dixon/Bo Diddley song chosen for inclusion here.
2) Jeff Beck’s powerful guitarwork propels The Yardbirds cover Elmore James’ “I Must Have Done Somebody Wrong”: “I Ain’t Done Wrong”.
3) Humble Pie, another British “super-group” boasted Steve Marriott (ex-Small Faces) and Peter Frampton (ex-Herd) on guitars and vocals, plus Greg Ridley (ex-Spooky Tooth on bass and Jerry Shirley (ex-Apostolic Intervention) on drums. Here is their re-arranged cover of the Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters blues classic “I’m Ready”.
4) Ian Anderson and Mick Abrahams of Jethro Tull perform a blues duet on “Some Day the Sun Won’t Shine For You” from 1968’s This Was LP.
5) Before Eric Clapton recorded Freddie King’s “Steppin’ Out” with his bands The Powerhouse and Cream, he cut this version with John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers.
6) The last single recorded by Fleetwood Mac when Peter Green, the group’s founder, was still a member of the band was his haunting “Green Manalishi (with the Three-Pronged Crown)”.
7) Willie Dixon’s song “You Need Love” was first recorded by Muddy Waters. This version by Steve Marriott and The Small Faces (renamed “You Need Loving”) was covered by Led Zeppelin as “Whole Lotta Love”.
“Porcupine Juice” was one of three terrific instrumentals recorded by Santa Barbara Machine Head. That’s future Deep Purple founder Jon Lord on organ and future Faces and Rolling Stones member Ron Wood on that wild lead guitar.
9) The most unusual twelve-bar blues on this disc is “For Example” by The Nice. Keyboardist Keith Emerson became even more famous after he co-founded Emerson Lake & Palmer.
10) Tom Jones and Jools Holland perform a rollicking version of Cab Calloway’s classic blues hit “St. James Infirmary”.
11) Jellybread was led by piano whiz Pete Wingfield, whose “Eighteen with a Bullet” was a hit in 1975. That’s his vocals and playing on the blues-rock classic “Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Flu”.
12) Eric Burdon never lost his love for singing the blues as evidenced by this recent recording of Blind Willie Johnson’s “Soul of a Man”.
13) Freddie King’s great blues instrumental “The Stumble” is well-covered by Peter Green from back in his John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers days.
14) My favorite version of the eerie Screamin’ Jay Hawkins blues classic “I Put a Spell On You” is by the Crazy World of Arthur Brown. “Stop it! Stop it! Please — PLEASE!”
15) The Pretty Things were rough and raw during their early days, as evidenced by their hit “Rosalyn”, a song later covered by David Bowie on his Pin-Ups LP.
16) Before the membership of the Aynsley Dunbar Retaliation solidified, they cut “Stone Cold Crazy” when Rod Stewart and Peter Green were briefly part of Aynsley’s group.
17) Koko Taylor’s Chess Records hit “Wang Dang Doodle” gets covered in a lively version by the Welsh band Love Sculpture. That’s Dave Edmunds on guitar and vocals.
18) UK pop star Lulu recorded “Drown in My Own Tears” with Jeff Beck on guitar for the Martin Scorsese PBS television series The Blues.
19) Jeff Beck strikes again, giving support and inspiration to Paul Rodgers on the Willie Dixon/Muddy Waters blues classic “I Just Want to Make Love to You”.
20) Where would the blues be without great train songs? Savoy Brown (formerly the Savoy Brown Blues Band) hit with their great 1969 blues composition “Train to Nowhere”.