Blues Archive

Albert King: Born Under a Bad Sign - One of 13 children. As a child in Arkansas, picked cotton. Grew up to be 6’4”, 250 pounds on a thin day. Known to carry a .45 in his waistband. Think

Best of Friends - When the bullshit level in the national conversation approaches the red line, I go back to basics. Men. Women. Sex. Love. John Lee Hooker. Why John Lee Hooker? As Bonnie Raitt, who recorded

Big Mama Thornton - The first night she sang at Harlem's Apollo Theater, she was Willie Mae Thornton, and she was

Blind Willie Johnson - Guest Butler Mark Hipgrave lends his voluminous musical expertise to a blues show on community radio station 4ZZZ in Brisbane, Australia. On, he recently shared his enthusiasm for Son House.

Buddy Guy: A Man and the The Blues - Eric Clapton called him the "greatest blues guitarist ever." On his first trip to England, Rod Stewart volunteered to be his valet. Jimi Hendrix said of him, “Heaven is lying at his feet while listening to

Canned Heat - If the creation of beauty is its own reward, then Canned Heat is in the Pantheon of Gorgeousness. But if beauty is held to worldly metrics --- fame and fortune ---

Charlie Musselwhite - He was born in Mississippi, a poor kid, an only child. One day he heard a black man sing as he worked. The blues surrounded the boy and soothed him. He

Etta James - Talk about “born to sing the blues.” She was named Jamesetta Hawkins. Her mother was 14 and completely uninterested in the parenting grind. She never knew who her father was (although, decades

Howlin’ Wolf - Sex. As the reward for surviving the day. As intimate touch, souls connecting through flesh, a magic communion, maybe the closest we can come to the Divine. Or just rabid

Junior Wells - He was making $1.50 a week on a soda truck in West Memphis to earn the money for a harmonica. But it cost $2. The pawnshop owner walked away from

Otis Spann - At 8, Otis Spann was playing piano. At 14, he was performing with groups in Jackson, Mississippi. At 17, when his mother died, he was sent to

R.L. Burnside - R.L. Burnside (1926-2005) was the last of the hard-core blues musicians. Born in Mississippi, he worked as a sharecropper until he heard about better opportunities in

Seasick Steve - There are unlikely success stories, and then there is Seasick Steve. Born Steven Gene Wold, Seasick Steve is in his 60s, lives in Norway, mostly plays a three-string guitar that came

Slim Harpo - The news sucks. It has sucked for weeks. There is every indication it will continue to suck. Faced with a tsunami of stupid, we have choices. We can raise our voices,

Son House - At community ratio station 4ZZZ in Brisbane, Australia, they indulge me by letting me do a monthly historical piece on an artist who has moved on to that big recording

Watch Your Step - A white, blonde blues singer from Beverly Hills --- yes, it could happen. But you'd have a