We are live in New Orleans at Preservation Hall for the nouveau stylings and hybrid sounds that have been cooking up in the historic jazz hub including funky new grooves from the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, paired with singer Tom Waits, bluegrasser Del McCoury and New Orleans hoodoo rocker Dr. John. Then, we look back to post-war England with session guitarist Albert Lee who grew up hearing American music on the radio and eventually crossed the pond to play rock & roll stateside. Plus, we explore the roots of rock with blues harpist Little Walter, western swingers Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys and rockabilly picker Carl Perkins.
The Rolling Stones have been around for over five decades and touring almost as long. This week we listen back to Stones songs about working people, the band’s sources in blues, country and gospel, and speak with two of their sidemen who share their tales of working with the group. Pianist and Rolling Stones music director, Chuck Leavell got a fateful call to join the band in 1982 while working on his family’s Georgia tree plantation, but before that he played with the Allman Brothers. Singer and percussionist Bernard Fowler was touring with Herbie Hancock before he got the call to come work with the Stones. He recently made a spoken word recording of their songs as social commentary. Then a conversation with Missouri’s own Narvel Felts, who tells us about his journey from the cotton fields to the famed studios of Sun and Mercury Records as a rockabilly singer, and later adventures in country and pop. Narvel is a marvel—a maker of some of the best rock n roll songs you’ve never heard.
We revel in the live sounds of New Orleans and South Louisiana. First, turn it up for the “New Sound of New Orleans” with the Soul Rebels brass band, live in conversation and performance, joined by “stretch music” trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah and preacher’s kid turned soul powerhouse Tonya Boyd-Cannon. Then, a listen back to favorite performances by the late swamp blues icon Lazy Lester, French blues supergroup Cowboy Stew, R&B hawkers James Hunter Six from England and young rising Kansas City guitarist and singer Samantha Fish—all at the 2018 Baton Rouge Blues Festival. Finally, it’s Cajun modernists the Lost Bayou Ramblers live at Preservation Hall in New Orleans’ French Quarter featuring songs from their Grammy winning CD “Kalenda.”
Photo by James Billeaudeau