Every Tuesday at 7pm Pacific Time, Chicago Bob presents an hour of blues on KPTZ FM, 91.9 Radio in Port Townsend WA. We also stream it live worldwide on KPTZ.org. The format is 2/3 music and 1/3 stories and background. We talk about the musicians, studio sessions, the times and the trends, stories to make the music come alive again. Each week has a topic to tie together the music and stories.
Here are the shows from the first part of 2022:
January 4, 2022 – “Ink” Williams
Jay Mayo Williams was one of the most successful blues record producers of the 20s and 30s. They said he got his nickname “Ink” from signing up so many artists to his record labels like Brunswick, Vocalion, Decca and Black Patti. But really it was from being one of the few black players in the National Football League in the early 1920s. We’ll hear from several of the artists he worked with.
January 11, 2022 – Lester Melrose
Lester Melrose was a Chicago producer in the 30s and 40s, and he set up a house band for Bluebird Records that defined Chicago blues even before electric guitars came out. The Bluebird records had a consistent sound as strong as Motown or any other label. We’ll check out the pre-Muddy Waters scene in Chicago blues.
January 18, 2022 – Alabama Blues
Right next to Mississippi, but they have their own flavor. The “blackbelt” is mainly named for a belt of black soil across a mid-south band in the state, but it also refers to the culture and the music, as deep and rich as any area anywhere. We’ll hear from Birmingham George, Vera Hall, Dock Reed and more from the blackbelt.
January 25, 2022 – Georgia Blues
Georgia sits between the deep south of Dixie and the plains of the Piedmont, and Blues From Georgia will reflect the hard, down home feel of the delta blended with the swing and ragtime of the Atlantic coast. Jesse Fuller, Barbecue Bob and Buddy Moss from the mainland, plus Bessie Jones from the Gullah culture in the Sea Islands off Georgia’s coast.
February 1, 2022 – Chess Records, Part II
Owned and operated by Leonard and Phil Chess, this classic blues label was a powerhouse in the Chicago Blues scene from the 1940s through the late 60s. They set the standard for the plugged in Chicago Blues bands with stars like Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf, Little Walter, Bo Diddley, Etta James and more.
February 8, 2022 – Vee-Jay Records
Set up in the early 50s by (V)ivian and (J)ames Bracken, Vee-Jayhad some major successes with recording stars that had been turned down by other labels. Jimmy Reed was turned down by Chess and went across the street to create a lot of hits for Vee-Jay. The Beatles were turned down by Capitol Records and released their first records on Vee-Jay. The company had an “eventful” financial history which led to their closing in 1964.
February 15, 2022 – King Records
Yet another strong blues label, King Records out of Cincinnati specialized in country and R&B music, with a unique access to southern and northern listeners. Started up in 1943 by Sid Nathan, they developed the first vertically integrated business model. they had major hits with Johnny Otis, Wynonie Harris, The Platters, Freddie King, Roy Brown and more. King and its subsidiary labels put out over 19,000 records in 25 years.
February 22, 2022 – Gospel & Blues
Ever notice how Gospel and Blues sound similar? Often the juke joint musicians took a short nap after Saturday night and inspired congregations on Sunday morning. Sometimes they were even sober. The race record labels served both of these markets, and we’ll check out some early gospel.
March 1, 2022 – The Devil’s Music
Once again we focus on “The Devil’s Music,” after last week’s gospel tunes. Not quite two sides of the same coin but close. Sometimes the church musicians only got a short nap after Saturday night. Songs about the devil, stories of various crossroads, and questions whether the devil has any music at all.
March 8, 2022 – Up And Coming Blues Musicians
We promote several up and coming musicians as the best hope for keeping this beloved culture vibrant. The ethnic counter cultural music of the 20s and 30s has morphed into establishment business interests and yet there are still voices to be heard, still connected to real roots. Times change but the blues rolls on, and these are some of the people who keep it going.
March 15, 2022 – African Blues, Part II
Back to Africa, our second show to highlight the rhythms and harmonies mainly from west central Africa and their relationships to blues and other descendant musical forms. We’ll see how the influence runs both ways in a connected world.
March 22, 2022 – The Grammies Part I
Grammy nominations for Best Traditional Blues Album. We’ll hear from Elvin Bishop & Charlie Musselwhite, Blues Traveler, Cedric Burnside, Guy Davis and Kim Wilson. Nominees were announced last November but the gala was postponed by Covid.
March 29, 2022 – The Grammies Part II
Grammy nominations for Best Contemporary Blues Album. We’ll hear from the Black Keys, Joe Bonamassa, Shemekia Copeland, Steve Cropper and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram. Winners will finally be announced on April 3.
April 5, 2022 – Blues Music Awards
It’s Awards season! The Blues Foundation had five nominees for Contemporary Blues Album. We’ll hear from Tommy Castro, Chris Cain, Curtis Salgado, the Altered Five Blues Band, and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram.
April 12, 2022 – Trolling Songs
Once again we have tunes to advertise the great romantic talents of the singers. These tunes were very popular with singers. Plus a few of the ladies in the audiences.
April 19, 2022 – Blues Hall of Fame Part I – Artists
More awards: The Blues Foundation in Memphis hosted the 43rd Blues Music Awards on May 5. One key category of interest is their list of new members to the Blues Hall Of Fame. Tonight we honor Bogan, Little Willie John, Johnnie Taylor, Otis Blackwell and Mary Katherine Aldin. They’re digging deeper now that the superstars are covered and that’s a perfect focus for a show like Deeper Blues.
April 26, 2022 – Blues Hall of Fame Part II – Recordings
The Blues Hall Of Fame also added five individual recordings to the Hall of Fame. We’ll hear from Sonny Boy Williamson II, Bobby “Blue” Bland, Roy Brown, B.B. King, and the Baby Face Leroy Trio. We’ll play the songs inducted this year and a few more from this year’s honored guests.
May 3, 2022 – Ode To Bessie
The great Bessie Smith, undisputed and original Empress Of The Blues, is our honored guest in absentia. She was one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on all vocalists ever since. We’ll hear a few of her own original recordings and several of her songs done by others with better microphones.