Blues…it’s a universal solvent in music. There’s blues in jazz, R & B, roots rock and soul, country, Cajun, Latin, funk, hip-hop, rock and pop… It’s everywhere! We’ll hear from all corners of the musical map including Bessie Smith, Buddy Guy, Freddy Fender and Clifton Chenier and more. Then an hour with Octogenarian electric country blues man Little Freddie King live from Marigny Studios in New Orleans.
Who was Harry Smith? The short answer about the 20th century polymath and hustler might be divined in his legendary 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music, an LP collection of mostly Southern US folk songs from 78rpm records. “The Anthology” established a cult of listening and influenced popular and folk revival artists from John Sebastian and the New Lost City Ramblers to rockers like Jerry Garcia of the Grateful Dead and Beck. We’ll talk with Smith biographer John Szwed about Harry’s life as an artist, record collector and 1950’s bohemian. Then, old and new covers of the Anthology and its B-sides from Gillian Welch, Bob Dylan, Gatemouth Brown and Amythyst Kiah.
It’s back to the Golden Age of doo wop and classic songs of the era from Black and White groups. In conversation with Dion DiMucci, the Bronx born and raised singer who made his name first with his neighborhood group the Belmonts, we talk about his Italian American roots and love of the blues. Then, we explore the roads to doo wop from gospel quartets, R&B and jazz, including songs by Sam Cooke, The Mills Brothers and Jimmy Reed.
Come along for a jaunt around New Orleans, in this archive edition of American Routes, as we visit great nightclubs and tune in to live local music over two decades. We visit the legendary Tipitina’s, an Uptown institution that showcased homegrown talent like Professor Longhair, James Booker, Dr. John, and the Neville Brothers, and is now run by the funk band Galactic. Then, a visit to the long-closed Donna’s Bar & Grille in the French Quarter, where clarinetist Evan Christopher and piano player Tom McDermott made waves with their unique blend of New Orleans, Caribbean, and classical music. Plus a recipe for a classic New Orleans cocktail, the Sazerac, and music for late night parties or hangover mornings.