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!”

Pages

Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu November 3, 2011

Taking into account(ing) the 7 billionth baby

Where do Babies Come From?
janwillemsen Flickr

Where do babies come from? We may be unqualified to answer that one, but we can tell you with confidence that there’s a sucker born every minute.

Read more
Blues Time Machine
8:00 am
Fri October 28, 2011

"I Ain't Superstitious" but the song is spooky

Howlin' Wolf

For Halloween, a spooky blues that influenced a generation of rock musicians.

“I Ain’t Superstitious” is a bridge between the acoustic blues of the South and the electric blues of Chicago.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 27, 2011

Dancing with those musical skeletons from the closet

Kids used to have their own holiday. It was called Halloween. But now 50% of adults are celebrating Halloween, too. Giving up Halloween means admitting you're getting old, and no one wants to do that.

Here are some Halloween-ie tunes to help you get your spook on…

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 20, 2011

Zamfir and the magic of the ancient flute (flaut?)

The Snoot Flute!
wackystuff Flickr

It may be the first musical instrument ever: 40,000 years ago one of our ancestors blew into an animal bone and made music.

But were they fluting or flauting? There seems to be confusion, so let’s settle this right now.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 13, 2011

Tears (and fears) of a clown

Scary or Happy?
Yvesanemone Flickr

COULROPHOBIA. Fear of clowns. More common than you might think. We got a bad case of it after hearing all the nasty stuff people dressed like clowns are doing.

Besides selling hamburgers and squeezing into Volkswagens, clowns have been committing robberies and even murders…

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu October 6, 2011

Jingles: The little melodic encouragements that birthed a nation

The Birth of Jingles

Scientifically crafted earworms, designed to make us buy things we didn’t even know we wanted, were invented in the early 1920’s. Since then, jingles have become an integral part of American culture.

And to think it all began with Wheaties …

Read more
Blues Time Machine
8:00 am
Fri September 30, 2011

'Drop Down Mama' – Country blues or hard rock?

“Crying the blues” perfectly describes the style of Sleepy John Estes. His music is not very complex, and he was a solid, but not a great guitarist.

Instead, Estes is known more for his ability to write about universal themes and to sing with deep emotion. He was a big influence on early bluesmen like Big Bill Broonzy and Arthur Crudup. He also was a big inspiration for later players like Michael Bloomfield, with whom he worked in the 1960s.

“Drop Down Mama” is a song of his that has re-surfaced several times. Sleepy John Estes and Hammie Nixon recorded it in 1935.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu September 29, 2011

Can you use any money (songs) today?

Greenbacks
AMagill Flickr

Just in time for fund drive we ponder some eternal questions about money.

Can money buy you love? No, but it puts you in better bargaining position. Can money buy you happiness? No again. But you can rent it for awhile.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu September 22, 2011

Going postal ... with music

Take a letter...
Rob Weir Flickr

We’re going postal on you this week. Songs about letters and mail abound, and no wonder, with over 570,000 workers, the US Postal Service is the second largest employer in the US, behind Wal-Mart.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu September 15, 2011

Is this the face that launched a few thousand songs?

The face that launched a thousand ships.
Kotomicreations Flickr

Capable of at least 5000 expressions, the human face has inspired at least that many songs, and we listened to most of them ...

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu September 8, 2011

Husband and wives making beautiful music together

Desi and Lucy 10 years in.
Elena-lu Flickr

Being married is hard enough, but combine that with working together and you’ve got a tough proposition, so to speak.  It didn’t work out well for Ike and Tina Turner or for Sonny and Cher, but there are many musical couples who stayed together til the end.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:30 am
Thu September 1, 2011

'Hi-Ho' and other songs that lead the way on Labor Day

Stamping Hams is hard work.
Wisconsin Historical Images

It's a shame that the only thing a person can do for eight hours a day is work. Can't eat for eight hours; can't drink for eight hours; can't make love for eight hours. The only thing a person can do for eight hours is work.

So it makes sense that we would have a national holiday dedicated to work and working people, and an episode of iconic and quirky worky songs.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:00 am
Thu August 25, 2011

Sweating to the oldies, but letting the records do the spinning

Old School Fitness
kevindooley Flickr

Music and working out seem to go together. But instead of working out this week we burn calories with a quick trip down the (short) memory lane of notable exercise music. (Please consult a physician before attempting any of these exercises. If you fracture your fundibula, we can’t be responsible.)

Read more
Blues Time Machine
5:00 am
Fri August 19, 2011

'Blues in the Night' brought change, still solid after 60 years

“Blues in the Night” first was heard in the 1941 movie “Hot Nocturne."

Written by Harold Arlen and Johnny Mercer, it’s considered to be a landmark in American popular music because it was one of the first times that rural black dialect and an explicitly bluesy melody was used in a popular song.

Read more
Record Bin Roulette
4:00 am
Thu August 18, 2011

Chime in as we sing away the recession!

Please, sir, I want some more.
wikimedia

Things are so bad, a picture is now only worth 200 words. People are using the sun to get a tan. Everyone is downsizing — CEOs are even playing miniature golf.

Recession has us in depression, and we are certainly not going to let a good crisis go to waste, hence this week’s episode on songs about hard times ...

Read more

Pages