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Monday, July 20, 2009

John Hammer Blues News


This Week On

Hammered By The Blues
KOWZ 1170am Sunday at 10pm (When sports talk ain't on)
On the Internet:
Tues 9am
and Sat. 11am

Guy Davis

'Sweetheart Like You'

Greg Brown
'Dream City'
Jorma Kaukonen
'River of Time'
Ray Bonneville
'Goin' By Feel'
Important Links
Fresh Stuff Ya Wanna Know
July Blue Monday
now On Line
July 25: Ribs For A Reason
Faribault, MN
* Checkout the 7 Day LIVE Blues Forecast*

Yo! Blues Buddies:

Be sure to visit to read our entire July issue. Pass this along to friends and tell them they can sign up for this weekly e-bluesblast right on the bottom of the first page of the website. Check out the links and support yer local blues band! Hope to see you at a LIVE show soon! Until then, Take care of each other, and we'll catch up with ya real soon!
John 'blueshammer' Hammer

Walkin' a Dusty Road on the Radio

Just for you folks who prefer a simpler and gentler time, we hooked up with some RED HOUSE Records troubadors. This week on Hammered By The Blues ( Sunday on KOWZ 10pm on 1170am. Classic episodes rebroadcast on line Tues at 9am and Sat at 11am on we traverse the dusty back roads of the blues startin' our journey with Guy Davis and a few powerful tunes off 'Sweetheart Like You'. We stop by the beautiful fields of grain and pick up what Greg Brown is layin' down off 'Dream City'. We take time for a little skinny dip in the creek with the wafting sweet sounds of Jorma Kaukonen off 'River of Time'. To finish up our soul healing stroll thru the country side of the blues we hang with Ray Bonneville and some simply wonderful offerings off 'Goin' By Feel'. Find a cool spot in the shade for your rockin' chair; kick off your shoes; and let your troubles drift away.
When it comes to great blues we got the stuff;
We don't waste yer time talkin' about some fluff;
This week we did country blues both raw and mellow;
Walkin' barefoot in the sun so bright and yellow!
Robert Johnson
The King of the Delta Blues Singers. Robert Johnson Lives.
by Robin Piggott
Probably the most enigmatic Singer and Guitarist of the twentieth Century is now one of the most revered and respected of all Musicians who make up the Genre of the "Blues " .I speak of course about the wonderful Robert Leroy Johnson . Born in 1911 in Hazelhurst Mississippi, in a Deep South plantation, he, in his pitifully short life has become one of the founding Fathers of the Blues.

He recorded only 36 sides over a period of a couple of months between November 1936 and June 1937 in San Antonio Texas .These remarkable recordings still bring tears to the eyes of Blues aficionados the world over and shaped the face of the music of today.

The post-war Blues of Chicago owe a great debt to Robert Johnson and it is sad to think what might have been had he lived! In just a few short years he matured from a young black guitarist into a superstar of his day .The often repeated legend was perpetuated by his contemporaries that he sold his soul to the Devil in return for his amazing guitar techniques.

His story is one of hardship tinged with great success in his own locality of the Delta and women were said to be rendered helpless as he sang his compositions. His death at the hand of a jealous husband at the age of twenty seven robbed the world of one of Americas finest ever Musicians and Blues artists.

Years after his death,in 1938, a photograph was unearthed, one of only two in existence. It shows not only his inimitable style of dress but quite remarkable slender fingers which helped him to achieve his unique mastery of the bottleneck guitar technique. He is pictured in a chalk-stripe suit which would have been somewhat overstated for a man in his position at that time. When I first saw that photograph the one thing above all else, that stood out were his beautiful long fingers that enveloped the guitar fingerboard and obviously caressed it as though it was a Woman helpless in his arms!

What about his subject matter... well nothing much has changed in the passing of time; the age old, painful process of unrequited love; of restless yearnings to move on down the line to pastures new ; to unfaithful liaisons; and of course much sexual innuendo.

Robert Johnson's skill as a poet of the time and place is absolutely unsurpassed in my estimation! For sure he borrowed words, phrases, and guitar licks from his peers, but moulded them into something quite unique that not only stands the test of time but has a relevance to today's Rock music.

There cannot be any Blues Band on this Planet that has not been influenced by Johnson and his music and this is a testament to the greatness of the man! The list of recordings of Johnson's songs by modern artists is endless and forms the backbone of the resurgence of the Blues in the early sixties in Britain and continues to this day! Most of the long lasting Bands of the R,n,B revolution of 62, 63, and on into the seventies have recorded several of Roberts songs.

Notable amongst these would be The Rolling Stones, John Mayall's Bluesbreakers, Cream,The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, Eric Clapton, Elmore James, and many more. Johnson's songs transcribed particularly well to the new Electric guitar line-ups of the fifties and on into the sixties. Probably one of the most popular of his songs, which I can't imagine anyone not having heard in a modern format, is of course Crossroad Blues.

This song was recorded live at the Fillmore in San Francisco in 1968 by the great Eric Clapton and his two buddies, Jack Bruce on bass and stickman, Ginger Baker .This song also featured in Cream's farewell concert at the Albert Hall in London in 1969. I doubt whether Johnson envisaged this treatment of his song when he wrote it or that his poetry would one day be the cornerstone of the Blues Revival of the Sixties. It is a poignant end to his story that the great impresario John Hammond, who later went onto sign -up a young Bob Dylan in 1962, was just too late when he searched for Robert to appear in the momentous concert at Carnegie Hall in 1938 .Robert Johnson was dead but his spirit and his music will live on for ever in the hearts and minds of the lovers of the music we call THE BLUES .

© Robin Piggott 2004 Key to the Highway Publications.
About the Author
Robin Piggott is a life long disciple of the Blues and is a Professional Driving Instructor in Limerick, Ireland.His web site is

TwinCities & other MN venues:
Tue 21
-Mick Sterling/Movies & Music Night; Stillwater
Wed 22-Davina & the Vagabonds/Lees Liquor Lounge;Mpls
Thu 23-Davina & the Vagabonds/Forest Laker
-T Albert Lloyd/Legends; St Cloud
-Mick Sterling/Gianni's; Wayzata
Fri 24-NiteRail/Sugar Room; Mankato
-Davina & the Vagabonds/Hells Kitchen; Mpls
-Cool Disposition/Applewood Rustic Grill; Burnsville
- Swamp Kings/Mickey's; Heidleberg
-Irresistibles/Narrows; Navarre
- Lisa Wenger/Neumann's; St Paul
Sat 25-Brunch w/ Davina/Trygs; Mpls
-Hamilton Loomis/Famous Dave's; Mpls
-Big Walter Smith; Mick Sterling/Elk River Blues Fest; Elk River
-Don King/McMahon's; Mpls
-Soul Tight Committee/MN Music Café; St Paul
- Swamp Kings/Dixie's on Grand; St Paul
-Cliff Parks/Neumann's; St Paul
-Everett Smithson/(6:30)Cross Lake Music Series;(9:30)Wolfhound Bar; Emily
Sun 26-Blues Brunch w/ The Bros Curtis/Famous Dave's; Mpls
-Sam Kuusisto/Narrows; Navarre
-T Albert Lloyd/Oz; Elko
-Memphis & the Meantimes/Whiskey Junction; Mpls

Iowa Venues:
Wed 22
-Hamilton Loomis/Blues On Grand
Thu 23-Randy McAllister/Surf Ballroom; Clear Lake
Fri 24-Joanna Connor/Blues On Grand
-Randy McAllister/Betsy's; Fort Dodge
Sat 25-The Bel Airs/Blues On Grand
Sun 26-Tinsley Ellis/Blues On Grand

Nebraska Venues:
Thu 23-Hamilton Loomis/Murphy's
Fri 25-Lil' Slim Blues/Zoo Bar

Wisconsin Venues:
Thu 23-Jessica Lind & Brian Reed/Historic Trempealeau Hotel; Trempealeau
Fri 24-Matt Haeffel/Historic Trempealeau Hotel; Trempealeau
-Doghouse Jon & the Misbehavers/Piggy Blues; La Crosse
Sat 25-Doghouse Jon & the Misbehavers/Piggy Blues; La Crosse

BB's Jazz Blues & Soups-St. Louis, MO:
Visit for an updated July Calendar!

Ground Zero Blues Club-Clarksdale, MS:
Wed 22-Marshall Drew
Thu 23-Blues Jam w/ Guitar Mikey
Fri 24-Stan Street & Hambone Blues Band
Sat 25-Big T & the Family

Sat 25
-RIBS FOR A REASON/Faribault Ice Hockey Arena; Faribault, MN Info:
Sat 25-DODGEVILLE BLUES FEST/Dodgeville, WI Info:
Sat 25 -Belgrade Blues and Jazz Fest/ North Mankato

Every Week All Month Long (all venues)
Every Sunday
-Tom Hunter(10:45a)/United Methodist Church; Minnetonka, MN
-Cadillac vs. Cornbread/Palmer's; Mpls
-Blues Jam w/ Big Bob Scoggin/McMahon's Irish Pub; Mpls
-Toby Marshall/(7-10)Cherokee Sirloin Room; W St. Paul
-Barbara Blue/(4-8)Silky O'Sullivan's; Beale St-Memphis, TN
-Open Blues Jam w/ Moses Oakland/(8p) Famous Dave's; Mpls
-Open Blues Jam /Floyd's; Victoria, MN
Every Monday-Best Damn Blues Jam in Town/Shaw's Bar & Grill; Mpls
-Willie Murphy/American Legion #523; Golden Valley, MN
-True Blue Mondays-Lunch w/ Ellis Kell/(12p)Mojo's-River Music Experience;
Every Tuesday-Paul Mayasich & Friends/Hollihan's; White Bear Lake
-Big Daddy Cade/(8p)Centerfields; Mpls
-Bob Pace & the Blues Groove/Blues On Grand; Des Moines, IA
Every Wednesday-Blues Jam w/Curtis & the Kicks/Jethro's Char House; N St Paul, MN
-The Butanes/Eagles Club #34; 25th St., Mpls
-Dave Lambert/Neisen's; Savage; MN
-Paul Mayasich & Friends/School of the Wise II; Chanhassen, MN
- Root City/Glueks; Mpls
- John Iden & Jim Ouska/TGI Fridays; Eden Prairie, MN
- Big Daddy Cade Jam/(7p)Baggins; Fridley, MN
- Curtis Marlatt & the Kicks hosted Jam/Jethro's Char House; Mahtomedi, MN
-Barbara Blue/(7-9)Silky O'Sullivan's; Beale St-Memphis, TN
-Wed. Blues Jam/Nighthawks Tap; La Crosse, WI
- Matt Woods & the Thunderbolts/Blues On Grand; Des Moines, IA
- Open Mic Night/Redstone Room-River Music Experience; Davenport, IA
- Cryin' Shame; Big Mike Aguirre/BB's Jazz Blues & Soups; St Louis, MO
Every Thursday - Dan Ristrom & the Big Throwdown/Gluek's; Mpls
- John Burlingame hosts Acoustic Open Mic Night/Main Entrance; Prairie du Chien, WI
-Barbara Blue/(7-9)Silky O'Sullivan's; Beale St-Memphis, TN
- Legendary Blues Jam/Blues On Grand; Des Moines, IA
- Blues Jam/Ground Zero Blues Club/ Clarksdale; MS
- Leroy Pierson/(7-9:30)BB's Jazz Blues & Soups; St. Louis, MO
Every Friday-The Butanes/McMahon's; Mpls
-Front Porch Swingin' Liquor Pigs/Eagles #34; Mpls
-Barbara Blue/(7-9)Silky O'Sullivan's; Beale St-Memphis, TN
-Leroy Pierson/(7-9:30)BB's Jazz Blues & Soups; St. Louis, MO
Every Saturday-Barbara Blue/(5-9)Silky O'Sullivan's; Beale St Memphis

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