New Blues Show 22 playlist

Tommy Lee Cook 

New Blues Show 22
Broadcast on BishopFM 105.9 on Sunday 25th April, 6-8pm
(Available for d’load very soon)

Oli Brown – Real Good Time
Tommy Lee Cook – Monkey Around
Frank Latorre & The King Bees – Liar
Paul James – Phonograph Blues
Joanne Shaw Taylor – Just Another Word
Wilson T. King – Albert
8 Ball Aitken – pt.2 of interview and 3 tracks from Rebel With A Cause
Tommy Lee Cook – Too Much Stuff
Donna Greene & The Roadhouse Daddies – Mess Around
Harvey Mandel – Ramblin’ Pony
Jim Byrnes – Jailbird Love Song
Ry Cooder – Think It’s Gonna Work Out Fine
Jeff Healey – Me & My Crazy Self
Sy Klopps – Mercury Blues
Samuel James – The Water’s Always Changing
Robben Ford – Chevrolet
Retro Deluxe – That Old Rooster
Pete Anderson – Even Things Up
Ben Robinson – Easy Part’s Over
Moreland & Arbuckle – Bound & Determined
Big Joe Williams – Baby Please Don’t Go
Grandpa Elliott – Baby What You Want Me To Do
Joe Bonamassa – Look Over Yonder Wall
Tony Joe White – As The Crow Flies
JP Blues Band – Die Happy
Rick Pisano – Ain’t Got The Blues Since I Met You

The Blues Show on BishopFM 105.9

The Hypnagogic Jerks

No – not a new jamband I’ve discovered! (The Hypnic Jerks already exist, as you can see in the poster)

I’ve got hypnagogic (or hypnic) jerks.

I was seeing the doctor about my longstanding and increasingly painful back problem (Ah, Tramadol!) and I mentioned that I’d developed a couple of twitches (one in the stomach and one in the shoulders/neck) which only happen when I go to bed and try to sleep, or when I’m relaxed, reading or watching TV). I was concerned that they might be symptomatic of something else. They’re not – I have them and I probably always will. They started out being annoying but now they’re a real nuisance. Must be a sign of me getting old(er)!

New Blues Show 21 playlist and link

BishopFM Blues Show 21
broadcast 6-8pm April 18th 2010

Download here or stream using the doobrie below

Johnny Charles – Step On It
Frank Latorre & The King Bees – Up From Here
Andy Sharrocks & The Smoking Jackets – Ain’t Getting My Share
The Poorboys – She’s Tuff
Charlie Morris Band – Got Greedy
Rob Gough – Reality
Chris Cain – Drinkin’ Straight Tequila
B.B.King – See That My Grave Is Kept Clean
Todd Wolfe – Mississippi Queen
JP Blues Band – Some Kind Of Hurricane
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Look at Little Sister
Sean Chambers – Ten Till Midnight
Sandy Mack – Road Warrior
Oli Brown – No Diggity
British Blues Quintet – As The Years Go Passing By
Blues Buddha – Better At Hello
Shakura Saida – Mr. Right
Wilson T. King – Vigilante Man
8 Ball Aitken – interview and 3 tracks from Rebel With A Cause
Albert Castiglia – Night Time Is The Right Time
Oli Brown – Evil Soul
Rusty Wright Band – World Upside Down
Donna Greene & The Roadhouse Daddies – You Can Have My Husband

VHT Special 6 Combo – first impressions

Two members of a local band, Something Real, have bought these small amps this week. Although I don’t buy much equipment, I’m always more likely to take notice of other musician’s views – they will have more influence on my choice than what the manufacturer might say about their product.  And I would certainly give house space to one of these – if I had the funds. This amp comes into a market which is fairly well populated, but I guess the 2 bonuses are the price (see later) and the fact that, for those so inclined, it can be easily modified. Fairly soon (if not already) there’ll be posts on the web about how to mod these amps to do even more wonderful things.
Here’s what Gash from the band had to say:
Well, I’ve had a couple of hours with it this afternoon, and I am really impressed. It was very well packaged, and the build quality seems excellent. The styling and finish of the amp seems to hint at a price that far outweighs what I actually paid. Quite a heavy little thing as well.

Didn’t take long to get some nice sounds out of it, although I’m sure more tinkering will produce a far larger range of tones. I can say that this is one little amp that really made the most of the pickup configurations available on the guitar I was using. I was expecting the amp to be very good, but wasn’t too sure about the speaker. I shouldn’t have worried……..it’s loud, and very clear!!!

Also, for ‘bedroom’ use, the ‘Low Power’ (3 watt I think) option is great for getting some distortion at volume levels suitable in the home. On high power the 10″ speaker goes much louder than I was expecting – seriously too loud for the house. Footswitchable boost (footswitch included in the package) is handy as well.

Absolutely love it!! And as I said to our lead guitarist when I was telling him what I thought of it, I love the leather carrying handle – I know that sounds daft, but its things like that which add a nice little touch of class.

Hand wired valve amp at this price?

Well worth every penny of £120

There’s another look at this amp here 

Here’s what the VHT website has to say:

Boutique amp players will love the Special 6’s combination of handwired tube goodness, unique features and unparalleled value. The mod-friendly Special 6 is easy to customize for home amp builders and tube amp enthusiasts.

The Special 6 gets its powerful tube sound from one 12AX7 preamp tube and one 6V6 output tube. It boasts a footswitchable Gain Boost feature that significantly expands its range of tones — it’s the only amp in its class that excels at both clean and overdriven tones, and it’s the only amp in its class to offer a footswitchable boost. With the Gain Boost, players can instantly toggle between clean rhythm tones and overdriven leads, essentially duplicating the footswitchable functions of a 2-channel amp in an all-tube, handwired, simple, 2-knob package.

To further expand its range of tones, the Special 6 also features a High/Low power switch that enhances low-volume tones with extra-smooth richness (when in half-power mode). It’s a great feature for recording, or for low-volume “bedroom” players. In high-power mode, it’s one of the few amps in its class that is loud enough to compete with a strong drummer. The Special 6 combo is outfitted with a special high sensitivity 10″ VHT Special Design speaker.
6 Watts
One 6V6 Output Tube
One 12AX7 Preamp Tube
Volume and Tone Controls
Footswitchable Boost Mode
High/Low Power Switch
10” VHT High-Sensitivity Speaker
4, 8, and 16 Ohm Speaker Jacks
Mod-Friendly Eyelet-Type Board
Hand-wired In China

Model: AV-SP1-6

Blues Show returns tomorrow

Yes, after a break to relocate and upgrade, BishopFM is back on the air this week, which means I’ll be doing my blues show on Sunday from 6-8pm. I’ve got lots of new CDs to play.
Unfortunately we’re not streaming live yet – we need a sponsor for that. Anybody interested?

"Life Is A Jam" says David Gans

When I first heard of David Gans a long time ago I thought he was jamband royalty – a member of the extended Grateful Dead family and friend of the band, a writer about The Grateful Dead (and others), a long time radio presenter with shows about, you guessed it – the Grateful Dead. I saw his name on a Henry Kaiser album playing tunes by the Grateful Dead and realised that he was a musician too. Since then I’ve bought a couple of David’s CDs directly from him and I’ve downloaded many live shows of his music, which incorporate his own songs, telling stories about life in America, love – of course, and, yes, Grateful Dead tunes too. He also creates entrancing soundscapes using his looper pedal – both in solo settings and in collaboration with many musicians from the jamband scene.
Life for an independent musician is tough  – tougher still in the current economic climate, so when I had the opportunity recently to support David by buying his latest “single”, I jumped at the opportunity. He has written and recorded a new song “Life is A Jam” with some interesting  musicians. The CD contains 3 versions of the song, each of which extends into a jam. Rather than waste words trying to describe the songs to you, let me just say that “Life Is A Jam’ is a jaunty tune linking life and music and jamming. If you are in search of “spiritual entrainment” as David sings, I suggest you check the 3 songs out. While there are some left, you can order the CD from here. (A download will be available very soon.)
The CD is a limited edition which was necessitated by needing some physical media to circulate to radio stations in the US. David decided to offset the cost of producing these CDs by offering the surplus to fans from his website. 
David has been kind enough to answer a few questions about the song, the recording and the CD.

I first asked David about the songwriting process: 
As is so often the case, I can’t really tell you how the song came into existence. There is a mysterious quality to songwriting that I cherish. But I can tell you that the basic rhythm of the “A” section (aka “the verse) derives from my love of Donna the Buffalo. I love Jeb Puryear’s grooves; this song began as an attempt to do something along those lines. It moved in its own direction, of course; once you start coming up with words, the rhythm mutates – a sort of co-evolution, you might say. At one point there were four more lines in the second chorus, but they fell by the wayside as the song solidified.
David had this to say about deciding to put the CD together:
I recorded it in December, when I found myself with a small wad of uncommitted cash. I have no hope of having the money to do a full CD any time in the near future, so I decided to record the one song. If make any money on this one, I’ll roll it into another “single.” The music business is more or less extinct at this point, so I might as well try my luck as a “singles” artist and see what happens. 
THE CD features one of my favourite guitar players, Mark Karan of Jemimah Puddleduck and Ratdog as well as keyboard player Mookie Siegel – a veteran of the jamband scene. I asked David how he chose the musicians for the project:
I chose these musicians because they’re all great! I have played with Mookie many times in various situations, and I have been a great admirer of the other guys’ playing. I offered them all a fairly standard day rate to do the session and we found a date that worked for everybody. I was confident that this group would work well together.  
The trick is to hire great players. I knew these guys would be able to make something good happen. 
 I asked David about the performance itself. he told me that, with the exception of the background vocals,  it was played live in the studio but recorded to multitrack, to allow mixing later:
We ran through the song several times, trying various grooves and textures. We did a few takes with a “jam in D” at the end, and we tried it a few times with a four-chord pattern derived from the “B” section of the song (resulting in nothing memorable), and we jammed in E minor a couple of times. I was gratified by the musicians’ attitude: no one was in a hurry to pack up and go, so we had plenty of time to develop a working relationship and ended the day with several worthwhile takes.
I asked David if this meant that the jams were planned in some way?
He said: Not really. Just the simplest – “stay in D this time,” or “Ease into a jam in E minor,” or “let’s try it with these four chords.”

The session was recorded at Megasonic Sound. David said:
The studio is fairly new, owned and operated by Jeremy Goody; I met him at his previous place of employment, Bay Records, where he engineered my 1998 single “Monica Lewinsky.”
A few days after the session, Jeremy and I listened to everything and made rough mixes of everything we thought might be a keeper. I spent some time reviewing the roughs, and then Jeremy and I made final mixes of the three takes that I released.
I’ve listened to the CD many times since it arrived in the post last week – I love the song itself and the sentiments in the lyrics. I love the jams too; each different, of course, but each full of moments when “The music plays the band” and each full of promise of what might happen next. For as long as David continues to produce interesting music I’ll continue to support him as much as I can. I hope you’ll do the same.

Dweezil Zappa has a busy summer

I’ve been a fan of Frank Zappa’s music for a long long time. His twisted words and twisting guitar solos rattled round my brain in many euphoric states of mind. I was fortunate enough to see him play twice and they were both awesome gigs. As a lyricist he makes me smile, (though sometimes he makes me cringe too!) As a musical visionary he was unparalleled and he remains one of my favourite guitar players to this day – even if all I can play from his huge repertoire is the riff to Willie The Pimp.

I first heard Dweezil Zappa play in 1987  on a free flexi single – Sharleena – that used to come with Guitar Player magazine. Naturally I was stunned with his playing even then – but I expected him to be a great guitar player, he’s FZ’s son, after all!

I haven’t actually listened to much of Dweezil’s music at all since then, though there was a shortened version of a Zappa plays Zappa gig on the tv last year or the year before – and wonderful it was too. I also featured a video here of Dweezil in the studio.

Dweezil is embarking on a Zappa plays Zappa European tour this summer, with the last date at The Sage in Gateshead in July, and I’m going to do my best to be there.

He also has a new live CD/DVD available soon and you can hear a taster of some of the tracks here.

But the thing that would have me putting my credit card (if I had one) in the slot when I win the lottery is Dweezilla.

“DWEEZILLA is a 4-day, 5-night music boot camp designed to expand the harmonic horizons of both amateur and professional musicians alike. This musical exploration and development camp will occur in the heart of the “Forever Wild” Catskill Forest Preserve in Big Indian, New York at the Full Moon Resort from Sunday, June 20th to Friday, June 25th 2010.

I’d be particularly interested in The “Air Sculpture” approach: “How to free your mind and unleash your imagination – capture lightning in a bottle. Abandon pre-composed licks and learn to react in the moment.”

I could certainly do with some of that lightning in a bottle in my playing!