Blues & Roots

20 Feet From Stardom
The highlight of what I saw of last night’s Oscars was Darlene Love singing “His Eye Is on the Sparrow” as she joined the makers of 20 Feet From Stardom to accept the Academy Award for Best Documentary. ...
Martin Luther King Jr
A Change Is Gonna Come
Sam Cooke’s Civil Rights Era Anthem Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking. (Photo by Julian Wasser//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images) Today’s national holiday honoring Dr. Martin Luther King....
Alberta Hunter: Timeless Classic Blues
Here’s some delightful footage of Alberta Hunter singing “My Handy Man” in a 1981 performance filmed at the Smithsonian.  That’s Gerald Cook, her music director, at the piano.  Alberta was 86 at the time,...
Allen Toussaint, R.I.P.
Allen Toussaint died on Monday, November 9, at age 77. A heart attack claimed his life shortly after he’d completed a concert in Madrid. The news of his passing hit me hard Tuesday morning, and that night...
Aretha Franklin, 1942-2018, R.I.P
LISTEN • 32:53 [not available at present] Aretha Franklin at President Barack Obama’s Inauguration, January 20, 2009 As with many of you, my Aretha Franklin vigil began with the news of August...
Aretha Franklin: Prayers for Lady Soul
Alas, Aretha Franklin died on Thursday, August 16, three days after I posted the tribute below to the Queen of Soul.  We listened to Ree for our three-hour drive to Cape Cod on Wednesday night...
B.B. King Birthday
Today is B.B. King’s 87th birthday.  Long live the King! I first saw B.B. on a bill with James Cotton and Paul Butterfield at Harvard Stadium.  I think it cost $2.25.  B.B....
B.B. King, R.I.P.
B.B. King at the Monterey Jazz Festival, 1967 (Monterey County Herald Archives)
Bert Jansch, R.I.P.
I was saddened to read tonight of the death of Bert Jansch at age 67.  I first saw the guitarist with Pentangle in 1971, last a few years ago at the Iron Horse. Danny Thompson, bassist with Pentangle,...
Big Joe’s Proteges: Bob Dylan and Mike Bloomfield
Two Degrees of Separation I blogged about Mike Bloomfield and Bob Dylan in December, writing here about their first encounter in Chicago in 1963, the crucial role that Bloomfield played backing...
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