John Kessler http://kplu.org en Here's The Man To Thank For The Sound Of The Harmonica As We Know It http://kplu.org/post/heres-man-thank-sound-harmonica-we-know-it <p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/142387195&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>The song “Juke” by Little Walter Jacobs might not sound revolutionary to modern ears, but when it first came out in 1951, nobody had ever had heard harmonica played like this — ever. It really has an aggressive, in-your-face sound.</p> Tue, 01 Apr 2014 12:00:00 +0000 John Kessler & Nick Morrison 15506 at http://kplu.org Here's The Man To Thank For The Sound Of The Harmonica As We Know It This, We Agree, Was The First-Ever Recorded Rock And Roll Song http://kplu.org/post/we-agree-was-first-ever-recorded-rock-and-roll-song <p></p><p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">What was the first recorded rock and roll song?</span></p><p>Before we can answer that question, we have to go back and figure out the ingredients of rock and roll. We can identify three most important ingredients: gospel, jump and blues.&nbsp;</p><p> Tue, 04 Mar 2014 13:00:00 +0000 John Kessler & Nick Morrison 14298 at http://kplu.org This, We Agree, Was The First-Ever Recorded Rock And Roll Song The long flight of Muddy's 'Honey Bee' http://kplu.org/post/long-flight-muddys-honey-bee <p></p><p><strong>Muddy Waters</strong> was born in rural Mississippi, and learned his blues at the feet of Son House and Robert Johnson.</p><p>By the 1940’s he took that delta blues to Chicago and led the gradual transition to electrified urban blues. He then recorded “Honey Bee” in 1951 with just bass and guitar accompaniment. The sound was closer to the delta, but you can hear the beginnings of the more aggressive modern sound starting to happen.</p><p> Tue, 25 Feb 2014 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 3541 at http://kplu.org The long flight of Muddy's 'Honey Bee' Hendrix inspired by Earl King's 'Come On' http://kplu.org/post/hendrix-inspired-earl-kings-come <p></p><p><strong>Earl King</strong> is one of the great songwriters and performers to come out of New Orleans, and his legacy continues to live on. Many of his compositions, including “Big Chief," “Trick Bag” and “These Lonely, Lonely Nights” have become an important part of the New Orleans “songbook."</p><p>His 1960 recording of “Come On Pts. 1 &amp; 2” is punctuated with many starts and stops, featuring his expressive voice and aggressive and precise guitar work. If you look through <strong>Jimi Hendrix</strong>’s early releases, there are only a handful of songs among the dozens that he did not write. Earl King’s “Come On” is one of those.</p><p> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 3382 at http://kplu.org Hendrix inspired by Earl King's 'Come On' 'Black Rat' comes from the most powerful singer to walk the Earth http://kplu.org/post/black-rat-comes-most-powerful-singer-walk-earth <p></p><p>The urban blues of places like Detroit and Chicago came from country blues. <strong>Little Son Joe</strong> and his better known partner <strong>Memphis Minnie</strong> were among the players who brought the blues to the cities, paving the way for Muddy Waters and others who would follow.</p><p>Memphis Minnie is known as one of the best guitarists and singers in the blues, and had a prolific career lasting 40 years. She married Little Son Joe (Ernest Lawlars) in the late 1930’s and they recorded “Black Rat Swing” in 1941 with Joe on vocals.</p><p> Fri, 31 Jan 2014 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 3303 at http://kplu.org 'Black Rat' comes from the most powerful singer to walk the Earth 10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2013 http://kplu.org/post/10-artists-you-should-have-known-2013 <p>It's usually easy to keep up with your favorite artists. You can follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook and check them out when they come to your town.</p><p>Falling in love with unfamiliar bands? That's not quite as simple. There are so many aspiring musicians out there, you can't possibly listen to all of them.</p><p>But a few lucky people get to listen to random new artists for a living, including public radio hosts. So we asked NPR stations around the country to highlight their favorite musical discoveries of the year. The results ranged from a Pulitzer Prize winner to stars of the Kansas City BBQ circuit.</p><p>Read on for more about the 10 artists you should have known in 2013.</p><p> Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:00:00 +0000 John Kessler & NPR Music Stations 11904 at http://kplu.org 10 Artists You Should Have Known In 2013 John Kessler’s Top 10 Blues Albums Of 2013 http://kplu.org/post/john-kessler-s-top-10-blues-albums-2013 <p><strong style="line-height: 1.5;">Boz Scaggs: Memphis (429 Records)</strong></p><p>A tribute to the Memphis soul-blues tradition, made with some of the city’s best players. His unique rasp has only improved with age, and perfectly complements the laid-back groove that permeates the release. Not all the material is “soul” music, some of the best tracks are the bluesy “Cadillac Walk” and “Dry Spell”. Boz is a master of the simmering blues vibe, slightly restrained, but overflowing with mojo.</p><p><strong>James Cotton: Cotton Mouth Man (Alligator Records)</strong></p> Sat, 14 Dec 2013 15:01:00 +0000 John Kessler 11492 at http://kplu.org John Kessler’s Top 10 Blues Albums Of 2013 'Cold Shot,' Stevie Ray Vaughan's real Texas Shuffle http://kplu.org/post/cold-shot-stevie-ray-vaughans-real-texas-shuffle <p><strong>Stevie Ray Vaughan</strong> almost single-handedly brought blues to the mainstream in the 1980’s and 90’s with over a dozen Billboard singles and four Grammy awards. He’ll always be considered one of the most original guitar players of all time.</p><p>Though musically untrained, he was an astute student of the blues, and much of what he popularized is built on the work of his fellow Texas bluesmen.</p><p> Sat, 14 Dec 2013 15:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2813 at http://kplu.org 'Cold Shot,' Stevie Ray Vaughan's real Texas Shuffle Everybody's got the 'Fever,' but Peggy Lee's got it bad http://kplu.org/post/everybodys-got-fever-peggy-lees-got-it-bad <p></p><p>Chances are you’ve heard Peggy Lee’s iconic version of “Fever”– it’s one of the steamiest love songs ever written. But the original recording was released two years earlier by Little Willie John in 1956.</p><p> Fri, 06 Dec 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2659 at http://kplu.org Everybody's got the 'Fever,' but Peggy Lee's got it bad 'Kokomo Blues' Among the Roots of 'Sweet Home Chicago' http://kplu.org/post/kokomo-blues-among-roots-sweet-home-chicago <p></p><p>“Sweet Home Chicago” is one of the best known blues songs ever written. But historians seem to agree that when Robert Johnson recorded the song in 1936, he borrowed heavily to make his masterpiece.</p><p>“Kokomo Blues” is clearly one of the building blocks of that better known blues song. Scrapper Blackwell came out with it in 1928.</p><p> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2595 at http://kplu.org 'Kokomo Blues' Among the Roots of 'Sweet Home Chicago' Following "Blues With a Feeling" through cutting-edge changes http://kplu.org/post/following-blues-feeling-through-cutting-edge-changes <p></p><p>Here’s a perfect example of a song that changed with the times, and was at the cutting edge of those changes.</p><p>Drummer and singer <strong>Rabon Tarrant</strong> recorded “Blues With a Feeling” in 1947, a time when big band swing music was in transition to rock and roll. This version straddles both genres with the beat of rock and roll, but the more jazzy instrumentation of piano, sax and trumpet.</p><p> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2539 at http://kplu.org Following "Blues With a Feeling" through cutting-edge changes Robert Johnson at the Crossroads represents Delta blues the best http://kplu.org/post/robert-johnson-crossroads-represents-delta-blues-best <p></p><p>If I had to pick one person to represent Delta blues at the peak of its expression, it would be <strong>Robert Johnson</strong>.</p><p>Saying that he was a superlative guitar player, impassioned singer and masterful lyricist seems barely adequate to convey the importance of the work he accomplished in his 27 years. Many of his songs became not only blues standards but would be a huge influence on rock music.</p><p> Fri, 15 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 2456 at http://kplu.org Robert Johnson at the Crossroads represents Delta blues the best 'Eyesight To The Blind' and the Rock Opera 'Tommy' http://kplu.org/post/eyesight-blind-and-rock-opera-tommy <p><strong>Sonny Boy Williamson</strong> was a blues originator who helped shape the sound of modern blues. In his life, he knew the first generation of Delta bluesmen, and would go on to see the birth of modern rock music. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s, and with Eric Clapton in the 1960’s. His ability to span eras is a testament to the timelessness of his voice and harmonica.</p> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 20:00:00 +0000 John Kessler 6719 at http://kplu.org 'Eyesight To The Blind' and the Rock Opera 'Tommy' 'Traveling Riverside Blues' and the Roots of Led Zeppelin http://kplu.org/post/traveling-riverside-blues-and-roots-led-zeppelin <p><strong>Robert Johnson</strong> has become a mythical figure of the blues, who acquired his prodigious skills in a deal with the devil at the crossroads. The truth is he was a man who worked very hard to turn himself into a musician. His early attempts at music – sitting in with legends Charley Patton and Son House—were not successful, and he didn’t appear to have much in the way of musical talent.</p><p>But then Johnson found a teacher in Ike Zinneman, an unrecorded Mississippi blues player, spending a year developing his musicianship.</p><p> Fri, 01 Nov 2013 18:30:00 +0000 John Kessler 6636 at http://kplu.org 'Traveling Riverside Blues' and the Roots of Led Zeppelin The Piedmont Blues of "Crow Jane" http://kplu.org/post/piedmont-blues-crow-jane <p>It’s hard to trace the exact source of “Crow Jane”, but it’s a song that has outlasted many others from the early days of the blues. Its roots lay in the Piedmont region of Virginia and North and South Carolina. Rev. Gary Davis was known to perform it during the 1920’s, and the first recording was made in 1927 by guitarist <strong>Julius Daniels</strong>. Daniels is important partly because he was one of the first Black guitarists to record in the Southeast, inspiring others to follow.</p> Fri, 25 Oct 2013 18:30:00 +0000 John Kessler 6547 at http://kplu.org The Piedmont Blues of "Crow Jane"