Life is too short for boring music

Blues Industry

JB Long

It is a cliché that old-time Blues players got ripped off by their managers, and it’s true that some were bullies and monsters who exploited their musicians mercilessly. JB Long was a Carolina businessman who managed some big Piedmont Blues players in their early days, and while he may have helped himself to some publishing…

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TOMMY TUCKER

Tommy Tucker is a nursery-rhyme name that has popped up several times in musical history, from rappers to Swing Band leaders, but it was also the name of a gravel-voiced R&B singer from the 60s. With deep roots in jump-Blues himself, Tommy played organ and piano on his great, boozy party records, and he is…

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TAB BENOIT

Tab Benoit has taken an old-fashioned route in his Blues career. Like Rory Gallagher in the 1970s, and Joe Bonamassa today, Tab releases high-quality albums then tours relentlessly to play the music to his people, and the result is a rock-solid fan base that doesn’t depend on radio stations and record companies to keep on…

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PETE WELDING

Some record companies are set up to exploit commercial markets and make their owners a lot of money, but Pete Weldon set up Testament Records with the aim of bringing hidden talents to the public. With a solid profession as a writer, Pete was more interested in having brilliant recordings in the can than having…

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BRUCE BASTIN

In 1958, Muddy Waters played a gig at St. Pancras Town Hall in London as guest of Chris Barber, the bandleader whose love of the Blues was to spark the British Blues Boom in the following decade. In the audience that night was a teenaged Bruce Bastin, the future musicologist, writer and label owner whose…

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DICK WATERMAN

During the late 50s and early 60s, college campuses and downtown coffee shops often rang to the sound of Folk music. One branch of country music that young people found exciting was Delta Blues, and when they realised many of these guys must still be alive, many took up the quest to locate these ‘living…

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BRUCE IGLAUER

Alligator Records was born from the passion for Blues music felt by its founder Bruce Iglauer. Bruce was working for a record company in Chicago when he heard an exciting slide-guitarist in a club, and when he couldn’t get his boss to bring him into the studio, he did the job himself. This started a…

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CHRIS STRACHWITZ

“Arr-hoolie” was a field call, common among agricultural workers back when the Blues began, and when the young Chris Strachwitz and his friend Mack McCormick were drifting around the South in 1960 looking for Blues singers to record, it was suggested as the name for a new record company. Arhoolie went on to be a…

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PAUL OLIVER

Paul Oliver is a remarkable man and a prolific author, whose name is spoken in awe by people who regard him as a fountain of wisdom on his chosen subject. However, they may not know of his alternative career in quite a different sphere. The author of seminal musical writings like ‘Blues Fell This Morning’…

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MEL LONDON

Mel London is perhaps best known as a record producer and record label owner, but he was also a talented songwriter whose work was often in the R&B charts when he was still in his early 20s. His Chief Records became one of the most progressive independent labels in Chicago in the 50s, during the…

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