50 Great British Blues Recordings – Part 8

36) Duffy Power – Leapers and Sleepers (2004)
This 34 track 2-CD set covers blues soloist Duffy Powers’ career and Parlophone recordings from 1962-1967. Duffy’s aggressive “Shake Rattle and Roll” features wild organ by Graham Bond, Jack Bruce on bass, Ginger Baker on drums and a subdued John McLaughlin on guitar (McLaughlin toughens up on “Little Boy Blue”), as does “What’d I Say” and “I Got a Woman”. “Parchman Farm” (the Mose Allison song) and “Tired, Broke and Busted” have Power backed by The Paramounts (later Procol Harum); nice Robin Trower guitar on both. “I Don’t Care” sounds like very early Eric Clapton-era Yardbirds. “Money Honey” also features Duffy’s drummer of choice, Ginger Baker. The blues cut “I’m So Glad You’re Mine” and Southern prison song “Dollar Mamie” sport aggressive bass by Jack Bruce and drums by Ginger Baker mentor Phil Seaman. Duffy shines on Oscar Brown Jr.’s (by way of Nina Simone) “Rags and Old Iron”.

If you like this collection, then I also recommend Vampers and Champers, a 33-track (8 previously unreleased) 2-CD collection that includes Duffy’s entire Little Boy Blue LP and his fine acoustic covers of Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues” and “I Want You to Love Me”, as well as a deeply heartfelt version of Nina Simone’s “Gin House Blues”. The melody of the Beatles’ “Come Together” bears a strong resemblance to Duffy’s verses for “City Women”.

Duffy Power passed away last month at age 72.

37) Pretty Things – The Pretty Things (1965/1998)
This 1998 expansion of The Pretty Things‘ first raw blues LP adds 6 single tracks from the same period. The early Pretties sound like a damn good high energy garage blues band (although I find the amateur harmonica plating intrusive and annoying) — a far cry from their latter day pop group incarnation on Led Zeppelin’s Swansong Records. I like “Unknown Blues”, Bo Diddley’s “Mama, Keep Your Big Mouth Shut” (which sounds to me like The Standells), the rocking “Honey, I Need”, and their moody takes on Bo’s “She’s Fine, She’s Mine” and “Pretty Thing”. The two standout tracks, however, are their hits “Rosalyn” and “Don’t Bring Me Down”, both covered by David Bowie on Pin Ups.

38) The Rolling Stones – No. 2 (1964) (US variants: The Rolling Stones, Now! and 1965’s 12 x 5)
Great blues and R&B covers dominate The Rolling Stones’ second LP.

The Rolling Stones, Now!, the US version of No. 2 (there were two US versions, the other being 12 x 5) replaces Irma Thomas’ “Time Is On My Side”, ”Grown Up Wrong”, Amos Milburn’s (by way of Will Bradley) “Down the Road Apiece”, The Drifters’ “Under the Boardwalk”, Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied” and Dale Hawkins’ “Suzie Q” with ”Heart of Stone”, Bo Diddley’s “Mona (I Need You Baby)”, Barbara Lynn’s ”Oh Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin’)”, Howlin’ Wolf’s “Little Red Rooster” and “Surprise, Surprise”.

12 x 5 substitutes Chuck Berry’s “Around and Around”, Jay McShann’s “Confessin’ the Blues”, “Empty Heart”, ”Good Times, Bad Times”, Bobby Womack’s ”It’s All Over Now”, “2120 South Michigan Avenue” “Congratulations” and Wilson Pickett’s ”If You Need Me” for Solomon Burke’s “Everybody Needs Somebody to Love”, The Coasters’ ”Down Home Girl”, Chuck Berry’s ”You Can’t Catch Me”, “”What a Shame”, “Down the Road Apiece”, “I Can’t Be Satisfied”, Otis Redding’s ”Pain in My Heart”, and “Off the Hook”.

For their debut LP, 1964’s The Rolling Stones (US version: England’s Newest Hit Makers), the Stones recorded a fine collection of blues and R&B standards. On the UK version you get Bo Diddley’s “Mona (I Need You Baby)” instead of Buddy Holly’s similar song on the US LP, “Not Fade Away”.

American Version

A great version of Slim Harpo’s “I’m a King Bee” is on both the US and UK LPs.

39) Savoy Brown Blues Band – Shake Down (1967/2005)/Getting to the Point (1968/2005)
The Savoy Brown Blues Band‘s Shake Down is a gritty collection of blues standards. Their second LP, Getting to the Point, is dominated by band originals. In 2005 BGO released both of them as a 2-CD set. For me, Shake Down’s best tracks are Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”, Charles Brown’s “Black Night”, John Lee Hooker’s “It’s My Own Fault” and Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down”,

Getting to the Point has a decent, moody version of Muddy Waters’ “Honey Bee” as well as a blistering take on Muddy’s “You Need Love”, worth comparing to The Small Faces’ “You Need Loving” (from which Led Zeppelin lifted “Whole Lotta Love”). As stated above, unlike Shake Down, the rest of Getting to the Point is composed of band originals which, in my opinion, don’t come up to their classic blues cover versions. The band’s songwriting skills would soon grow, however.

40) Savoy Brown – The Savoy Brown Collection Featuring Kim Simmonds (1993)
This is a fantastic 2-CD set dominated by Savoy Brown’s great blues recordings and blues rock hits. My faves from this set are Howlin’ Wolf’s “I Ain’t Superstitious”, Bukka White’s “Shake ‘Em On Down”, their great self-penned hit “Train to Nowhere”, Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues”, “Money Can’t Save Your Soul”, their solid hit “Tell Mama” (not the Etta James song), Koko Taylor’s “Wang Dang Doodle”, their full 9:10 version of “Hellbound Train” and the Vanda/Young (of The Easybeats) song “Shot in the Head”.

More Coming Soon, British Blues Fans…

One Response to “50 Great British Blues Recordings – Part 8”

  1. Belmo says:

    “Hellbound Train” by Savoy Brown has been a favorite of mine for years. A must have for any collection.

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