Blues

Blues Time Machine
4:38 pm
Sun March 24, 2013

'Walkin' Blues' still has legs

Legendary bluesman Son House

It’s one of the defining songs of the Blues, written by one of its formative figures, Son House. The opening lyric “Woke up this morning…” would be considered trite today, but its 1930 recording date makes it more iconic than anything.

With its simple but insistent guitar rhythm and mournful lyrics, “Walkin’ Blues” is a virtual blueprint for Delta Blues, and a powerful influence on the development of modern blues.

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Take 5
5:01 am
Tue March 19, 2013

Take 5 goes meta: A list of 5 songs about lists

Detail from the cover art to Louis Armstrong Meets Oscar Peterson.
Verve Records

Over the past few years, Take 5’s theme-based music lists have covered a wide variety of subjects. We’ve covered all the seasons of the year, all the holidays, different types of weather, the careers of jazz legends, the cutting-edge work of up-and-coming jazz artists and have gotten into the musical minutiae of things like flowers, birds, baseball, prohibition and civil rights.  And now it’s time for Take 5 to go meta and present a five-song list of songs about….LISTS.  It had to happen sooner or later.

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Jazz & Blues
12:00 pm
Fri March 15, 2013

'Early in the Morning' - samba, rumba and history

Louis Jordan's music was a bridge between jazz and rock.

Louis Jordan is one of the pioneers of American music, and an important force in the transition from the Jazz Era to Rock and Roll. He was one of the first to down-size the big band format to a combo of five or six players, pounding out high energy jump, swing and rhythm and blues for dance audiences.

One of the early bands to use electric guitar, he established a musical style that rock originators like Bill Haley followed closely. Louis Jordan’s 1947 recording of “Early in the Morning” is an example of the influence of Afro Cuban rhythms on American music.

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Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri March 8, 2013

'Shake 'Em On Down' created the cutting edge for blues

Bukka White

The Blues Time Machine

Most blues started in the country before becoming urbanized, and Bukka White brought his brand of Mississippi blues to Chicago in the 1930’s and 40’s.

It is likely that he met and learned from elemental bluesman Charley Patton, and he was known for playing a National steel guitar with a slide. He recorded “Shake ‘Em On Down” in 1937 and established the cutting edge.

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Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri March 1, 2013

Little Walter's 'Mellow Down Easy' rips through time

Little Walter

The Blues Time Machine

Little Walter made a harmonica sound like nothing that had been heard before – somewhere between a saxophone and an electric guitar. By the early 1950’s he not only used amplification, he used the amp to creatively alter his sound with distortion and sonic effects.

You might say he was the Jimi Hendrix of the harmonica. One song in particular has rolled through history: 'Mellow Down Easy.'

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Blues Time Machine
12:00 pm
Fri February 22, 2013

Still a mystery who wrote 'One Way Out'

The Blues Time Machine

It’s another one of those mysteries — who actually wrote “One Way Out”?

Elmore James recorded it in 1961, but didn’t release it until ’65. Sonny Boy Williamson released a version in 1961 and 1965 and G.L. Crockett had a 1965 hit with the same song under a different name.

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Blues Time Machine
12:05 pm
Fri February 8, 2013

Many rivers converged to make a New Orleans classic: 'Iko Iko'

Mardi Gras Indian
Joel Mann

The Blues Time Machine

It’s one of the most iconic songs from New Orleans, and like the city, it’s origin and meaning are a product of may different influences.

Its meaning is still being debated by scholars and linguists, but “Iko Iko” was first recorded in 1953 by James “Sugar Boy” Crawford, who wrote the pop song “Jock-A-Mo” based on 2 different Mardi Gras Indian chants. The Mardi Gras “Indians” are actually African-American groups who have been parading as Indian tribes at Mardi Gras since the mid-19th Century.

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Listen Now!
12:51 am
Thu February 7, 2013

Listen to the 50 Greatest Jazz Vocals of All Time

Last month more than 4,600 votes were cast by our listeners for the songs they felt were the greatest jazz vocal of all time.

The votes have been counted and the top 50 songs are now available below in our 24/7 stream!

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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

The Blues Time Machine

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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Blues
6:00 am
Mon January 28, 2013

Cold Weather Blues: 5 songs that feel your mid-winter pain

Kirsten Kendrick and Nick Morrison discuss the songs

In the Western Hemisphere, January is typically the coldest month of the year.  Most of us feel that if we can somehow drag ourselves through January, things will begin to turn around and we’ll be on the road to springtime. 

But January is also typically the month that feels as if it will never end.  So as we slog through the cold rain and snow, awaiting January’s demise, here are five winter blues songs to help get us through:

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Jazz
7:25 pm
Wed January 23, 2013

SFJAZZ Center star-studded opening concert

Thirty years after presenting its first concerts in San Francisco, the organization SFJAZZ has built a permanent home and performance venue. The SFJAZZ Center, conceived as the first stand-alone building for jazz in the U.S., opened with a star-studded concert on Jan. 23.

Listen to the concert. Video will be available in the following days. 

Vote Now!
3:19 pm
Tue January 8, 2013

50 Great Jazz Vocals: What songs should make the list?

Click on the link below to cast your vote!

We are putting together a list of the 50 Quintessential Jazz Vocals of All Time. 

According to who? Well, according to you!  

This is your chance to cast your vote for the songs you think should be on a 'best-of'' jazz vocals list. Vote for up to three songs, and please include the song title and artist's name. 

After we compile the results, the quintessential 50 will be available for streaming on Jazz24.org and KPLU.org.

VOTE NOW!

NPR jazz
10:20 am
Thu October 4, 2012

Diana Krall Brings Sexy Back In Time

Mark Seliger Courtesy of the artist

Originally published on Thu October 4, 2012 12:26 pm

When listening to Diana Krall's fun, smart new recording Glad Rag Doll, it's helpful to consider a question recently posed by Gyp Rosetti, the sensitive psychopath lending sparks to this season of HBO's Prohibition-era series Boardwalk Empire.

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It's The Fall Pledge Drive!
12:00 am
Wed October 3, 2012

Fall Fund Drive: 5 of your favorite studio sessions from the past year

The Fall Fund Drive is already half way over, and will end at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. If you enjoy our studio sessions, and all of the programming you hear each day on KPLU, please show your support today and help us reach our goal of $400,000 in 4 days before time runs out!

Speaking of studio sessions, let's take a look back at the five most popular in-studio performances from the past year:

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Blues Time Machine
5:00 am
Sat August 4, 2012

Tracking the 'Big Road Blues' and a soul sold at the crossroads

The only known image of Tommy Johnson

Tommy Johnson’s songs may not be very well known, but he was a hugely influential blues player and also may be the source of one of the most enduring legends of the blues – the Devil and the Crossroads.

While this legend is sometimes associated with Robert Johnson (no relation), it was Tommy Johnson who first cultivated a story about himself that he met the devil at a crossroads, and sold his soul in exchange for his musical ability.

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