sat 25/09/2021

blues

theartsdesk on Vinyl 66: Etta James, BABii, George Harrison, Helloween, Cat Stevens, Gnod and more

As the summer folds away on itself, theartsdesk on Vinyl returns. Beset by backlogs at pressing plants and delayed by COVID, it's finally here, jammed to the gunwales with commentary on a grand cross section of the finest music on plastic. Dive in!...

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Out of the shadows: Dylan’s Eighties reappraised

Dylan’s 1980s weren’t great in terms of critical acclaim. As an emerging new fan, I knew that first hand from the scathing reviews accorded Shot of Love by the British music press when it was released in the summer of 1981, it seemed about as...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: Chris Barber - A Trailblazer's Legacy

The book included with this splendid box set dedicated to British jazz innovator Chris Barber includes a series of quotes paying tribute to his standing. Billy Bragg says "Chris Barber's influence on British popular music, be it through playing jazz...

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10 Questions for Harry Grafton of Red Rooster Festival

Harry Grafton (b. 1978) is the preferred title of Henry Fitzroy, 12th Duke of Grafton, custodian of Euston Hall in Suffolk and the man behind the Red Rooster Festival. The latter, during its six pre-COVID years of existence, built a reputation for...

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Album: The Cult of Dom Keller – They Carried the Dead in a UFO

While so many bands of a psychedelic bent treat the genre as if it has been pickled in aspic since the swinging sixties of London and San Francisco or maybe the motorik sounds of mid-70s West Germany, the Cult of Dom Keller don’t give any impression...

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Album: The Black Keys – Delta Kream

Blues legends Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside have long provided inspiration for singer/guitarist Dan Auerbach and drummer Patrick Carney, otherwise known as The Black Keys. They provided source material for the opening tracks of their 2002 debut...

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Album: Alice Cooper - Detroit Stories

A decade ago, Alice Cooper reconnected with his roots. He created a sequel to his 1975 album Welcome to my Nightmare with Bob Ezrin, the producer whose vision crystallized Alice Cooper, the band, and shot them to stardom in the early-Seventies. The...

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Disc of the Day 10th Anniversary: the level playing field

Theartsdesk is a labour of love. Bloody-mindedly run as a co-operative of journalists from the beginning, our obsession with maintaining a daily-updated platform for good culture writing has caused a good few grey and lost hairs over the years. But...

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Jackie Kay: Bessie Smith review – vivid writing about the Empress of the Blues

Blues singer Bessie Smith (1894-1937) had much more than an astonishingly powerful voice. It may already be almost a hundred years since she made her most significant recordings – she is from an era before amplification –  and yet her unfailing...

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Disc of the Day Celebrates 10 Years of Album Reviews

Ten years ago yesterday, on Monday 14th February 2011, one of theartsdesk’s writers, Joe Muggs, reviewed an album called Paranormale Aktivitat, by an outfit called Zwischenwelt. It was the first ever Disc of the Day, a new slot inserted into...

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Reissue CDs Weekly: John Mayall - The First Generation

The First Generation 1965–1974 is a 35-CD box set dedicated to the blues maven and propagator John Mayall. As well as the discs, there are three books: one a hardback, another reproducing fan club material, and the third a facsimile of the press...

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Albums of the Year 2020: Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

Music has been a solace during a year when we’ve both retreated into our private spaces and reached out more feverishly than ever on social media.There’s been very little live music: I’ve almost obsessively trawled YouTube for the best old footage:...

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