Tune in and rock the blues with two guitar men who do it with great authority. First up is Arkansas wild man and original Sun Records rockabilly Sonny Burgess who still tears it up, playing his hits “We Wanna Boogie,” “Red-Headed Woman” and others well into his seventies. And hear a live set from the late great New Orleans bluesman and human jukebox Snooks Eaglin, recorded onstage in 2007 at his home base, the famous Rock ‘n’ Bowl nightclub, where one can do either of those, or both, at the same time. Feel the beat in blues, jazz, Western swing and more with a music mix designed to rock your blues away.
This week we visit with two masters of Southern soul. Multi-instrumentalist Booker T. Jones, along with his group the MGs, helped to create the legendary Stax sound. We talk with Booker T. about growing up in Memphis and his current work with the up and coming Southern rock band the Drive-By Truckers. Soul singer Jimmy Hughes got his start at another landmark of Southern music, Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Hughes shares stories about his classic hits “Steal Away” and “Why Not Tonight,” as well as his move from gospel to soul and back again.
American Routes joins with two record men this week to study the means of production… in jazz and country. Michael Cuscuna, founder of Mosaic Records, talks about his reissuing of lavish collectors sets of jazz from Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Count Basie and many more. Al Hawkes joins us from the Maine woods, where he’s been making old-time country, bluegrass and rockabilly records since 1955—some of his own, some on his independent Event Records label.
Easter weekend is a time for reflection and family, and our guests certainly fit the bill. Donald Harrison, Jr. is a saxophone player and New Orleans native now based in New York. Harrison’s ties to New Orleans run deep, musically and culturally. His work has long echoed strains of Mardi Gras Indian chants and street beats… not surprisingly as his late father was Big Chief of the Guardians of the Flame tribe, a position Donald Jr. has since assumed. Wendell and Sherman Holmes, plus longtime friend Popsy Dixon make up the Holmes Brothers, a vocal group best known for putting their personal stamp on blues, gospel, country, pop and more. The brothers join us to talk about the transition from Christ Church, Virginia to New York and back again to home and family.
What’s in a name? Listen in and you’ll find out why Emmett Ellis Jr. became the bluesman Bobby Rush; how folks get names like Topsy (Chapman), Sherman & Wendell (Holmes); and how country singer George Jones became known as “the possum.” Also, we talk to Yale anthropologist David Watts about names of non-human primates.