John Kessler

All Blues Host

John has worked as a professional bassist for 20 years, including a 15 year stint as Musical Director of the Mountain Stage radio program. John has been at KPLU since 1999 where he hosts “All Blues”, is producer of the BirdNote radio program, and co-hosts “Record Bin Roulette”. John is also the recording engineer for KPLU “In-Studio Performances”. Not surprisingly, John's main musical interests are jazz and blues, and he is still performing around Seattle.

His most memorable and satisfying KPLU radio moment was getting an email from Jimmy Lane, a bluesman and the son of blues legend Jimmy Rogers, who said something like “You’re playing the good stuff, keep it up!”

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Jazz & Blues
12:00 pm
Fri February 1, 2013

'That's All Right' and the father of rock and roll

The Father of Rock and Roll

Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup has been called the “father of rock and roll” for writing the song that launched Elvis Presley’s career. His own career had a rough start-- after migrating from Mississippi around 1940, he was living on the Chicago streets, playing for tips.

His unique, though unpolished sound was distinctive enough to land him a record deal, and he had several songs on the mid-40’s r & b charts. Despite the success of his songs, he was never paid fairly for the music he composed and worked as a laborer to support his family.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:49 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Strange History of Super Bowl Halftime Shows

He Played the 1st Super Bowl

It all started innocently enough with Al Hirt, Carol Channing and Up With People. Later things got hipper with New Kids and Michael Jackson, and then there was the infamous 2004 "nipple incident". Britney Spears, U-2, The Who...we tackle them all.

And please be sure to waste 4 minutes of your time watching the newest addition to the Record Bin Roulette bag of tricks...SEE THE VIDEO:

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Record Bin Roulette
10:13 am
Thu January 17, 2013

Wake Up! Here's an Episode About Sleep

You won't be able to sleep after experiencing this thrilling episode.Learn who sleeps in the nude and many other fascinating things, with accompaniment from Bobby Lewis, Petula Clark, The Beatles and special cameos from The Three Stooges.

Now you can WATCH RBR in living color !

Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri January 11, 2013

Blind Willie Johnson cared about 'The Soul of a Man,' others dug the music

Blind Willie Johnson

Blind Willie Johnson was a bluesman and a preacher. His lyrics were spiritual, and his music was blues.

Though he only made 30 recordings, his work is a lasting part of the blues legacy. Early players like Son House and Fred McDowell played his tunes, and his influence reached people like Bob Dylan and Led Zeppelin. In 1930 he recorded “The Soul of a Man” accompanied by his wife, Willie B. Harris.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu January 10, 2013

Reefer Madness & Pop Music

With Cannabis now legal in Washington and Colorado, we decided to roll out an episode that features Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson and Cab Calloway. We find out which President inhaled and which one did not. Special appearance from Puff the Magic Dragon.

Here's the NEW psychotronic VIDEO version of RBR.

Did he inhale?

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Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri January 4, 2013

'Dust My Broom' sets the standard for blues guitar

Elmore James

"I believe I’ll dust my broom" is an old saying meaning to make a new start.

With that catchy phrase, and a distinctive guitar riff Robert Johnson created an important piece of blues history when he recorded “I Believe I’ll Dust My Broom” in 1936.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu January 3, 2013

Harping for Hit Songs

The harp has lent its angelic touch to many a pop song, and we've plucked tunes from Cher, The Beatles and The Carpenters. Guest appearances from Harpo Marx and a lady who plays the harp to calm zoo animals. Really.

Here's what radio looks like...it's the shiny new VIDEO version of RBR:

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Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri December 28, 2012

"Going Up The Country" and the roots of the Blues

Roots of the Blues

Henry Thomas is literally a link to an earlier time.

Born in 1874, his music is a patchwork of blues, rags and folk songs. His use of quills, or pan-pipes, is a relic of a nearly vanished African American tradition. Listening to Henry Thomas gives a glimpse of what music might have sounded like before “the blues."

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Record Bin Roulette
12:33 pm
Thu December 27, 2012

Shaken, not stirred: 50 years of James Bond

Here's the dazzling new VIDEO version of RBR:

50 years ago James Bond hit the big screen with Dr. No, and with it’s heady cocktail of intrigue, treachery and sex, pretty much set the standard for every spy movie to follow.

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Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri December 21, 2012

'Help Me' goes from blues to alt-rock

Sonny Boy Williamson

Sonny Boy Williamson’s career had a wide range. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s and with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page in the 1960’s. His ability to span eras is a testament to the timelessness of his voice and harmonica.

Sonny Boy Williamson recorded “Help Me” in 1963, and it bears a striking similarity to the instrumental “Green Onions," from Booker T and the MGs one year earlier. It is unusual because it uses minor chords, and has a sort of dark and foreboding sound.

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All Blues
7:00 am
Fri December 21, 2012

John Kessler's Top 10 Blues albums of 2012

Here are the top 10 Blues albums of 2012 according to KPLU's John Kessler, host of "All Blues" and "The Blues Time Machine" and co-host of "Record Bin Roulette".

JOAN OSBORNE:  BRING IT ON HOME,  Saguaro Road Records

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Record Bin Roulette
4:31 am
Thu December 20, 2012

The Great Christmas Carol Challenge

This week we pit musical legends against upstarts and imitators.

You be the judge and jury…

Let’s start with the best selling single of all time, Christmas or not…50 million copies of Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” have been sold. Here’s the crooner singing "White Christmas":

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Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri December 14, 2012

'Mercy, Mercy' and young Hendrix showcase the rhythm in R&B

Don Covay

This song emphasizes the “rhythm” in “rhythm & blues."

“Mercy, Mercy” or “Have Mercy” was recorded by Don Covay in 1964. It features 22-year-old Jimi Hendrix on guitar. He’s still a few years away from his own solo career, but his guitar playing is recognizable.

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Record Bin Roulette
4:21 am
Thu December 13, 2012

Singing In The End Of The World

While we are planning to be here after December 21, we offer this apocalyptic episode starring some notable crackpots, as well as The Doors, REM, The Beatles and Marlene Dietrich.

Here's what RBR looks like in living, breathing color!

Watch our new VIDEOS!

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Jazz & Blues
12:00 pm
Fri December 7, 2012

Just a 'Spoonful' of blues ... and the rest is history

Howlin' Wolf

It’s a modern blues standard with roots in the 1920’s, one of Willie Dixon’s many great compositions, and it can trace its origin in part to a Charlie Patton song from 1929: “A Spoonful Blues."

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