33.45.78 All Vinyl Radio Show
with Steve Fruitman
October 19, 2020
click pic to go to Campstreams Radio Archive page
John Valenteyn Blues
Hear this show now!

Dedicated to John Valenteyn RIP

Hour One

1.   Downchild: Madison Blues – 1977 *
2.   The Rolling Stones: Time Is On My Side – 1964
3.   Sonny Boy Williamson: Pontiac Blues - 1951
4.   The Powder Blues Band: Buzzard Luck - 1979 *
5.   Henry Townsend: Poor Man Blues – 1929
6.   Taj Mahal: Bourgeois Blues – 1988
7.   Paul James Band: Shake Your Moneymaker – 1987
8.   JB Hutto & The Hawks: Pet Cream Man – 1954
9.   The Jelly Roll Kings: Slop Jar Blues – 1979
10. Little Walter: Just Your Fool – 1962
11. King Biscuit Boy: Blue Light Boogie – 1988 *
12. Ry Cooder: Viola Lee Blues – 1986
13. Ellen McIlwayne: Regretting Blues – 1982 *
14. David Clayton Thomas & The Shays: Born With The Blues – 1965 *
15. What About Bob: Keep You At A Distance – 2007 *

Hour Two

1.   Otis Spann: The Blues Never Die – 1965
2.   Robert Johnson: Me And The Devil Blues - 1937
3.   Al Cromwell: The Outskirts of Town – 1990 *
4.   Mose Scarlett: UK Blues – 1983 *
5.   Faith Nolan: Brown, Black and White Blues – 1989 *
6.   John Davis w The Original Sloth Band: Sloppy Drunk Blues – 1978 *
7.   John Lee Hooker: One Bourbon, One Scotch & One Beer – 1974
8.   Valerie Wellington: A Fool For You - 1987
9.   Whiskey Howl: Let The Good Times Roll - 1972 *
10. David Lindley: Mercury Blues – 1981
11. (Big John Little &) The Hot Toddys: Shakin’ & Stompin’ – 1959 *
12. BB King: Caledonia - 1971
13. Dutch Mason Trio: Boss Man – 1971 *
14. Albert King: I’ll Play The Blues For You – 1972

CanCon = 45%

And Now for The Particulars:

Hour One

1.   Downchild: Madison Blues
(Elmore James)
So Far: Posterity Records  PTR 13004
Toronto ON

Don Walsh: lead & slide guitar, harmonica
Tony Flaim: vocal
Jane Vasey: keys
Mike Bowser: bass
Wayne Wilson: drums
Michael O’Connell: trombone
Produced by Billy Bryans & Alan Duffy, 1977
Recorded by Terry Brown at Toronto Sound

John Valenteyn b. Holland Marsh, ON 1947 / d. October 4, 2020 (73)

Our dearest sympathies to his wife, Brenda

John was one of the founders of the Toronto Blues Society and an ardent advocate for Canadian blues.

Most of what I’m going to say about John Valentine, host of CIUT’s ‘John Valenteyn’s Blues’ since 2008, comes from a profile I made of him, after interviewing him for the CIUT newletter in 2012.

John was Ontario born and raised in the fertile fields of the Holland Marsh just north of Toronto. He later moved, at the age of 13, to Port Colborne, Ontario, on the shores of Lake Erie. He attended Queen’s University in Kingston and as a first year engineering student, was assigned to do “transmitter maintenance” at CFRC AM and FM. The FM transmitter was an archaic tube machine that required round the clock maintenance and this is what got him into radio.

“I was hanging around the radio station a lot, and a couple of years later I was hosting my own show. That was in 1970: The Saturday midnight slot. I was playing Little Walter and other blues albums from my collection.”

He was introduced to the blues via ‘The Rolling Stones’ albums in his collection.

“They had songs that I really liked a lot and they had authors credited to them, like Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry… so I started investigating and something about the music just got to me; I’ve been listening to it ever since. I found those old Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters albums and the collection started from there.”

2.   The Rolling Stones: Time Is On My Side
(Jerry Ragovoy  aka Norman Meade)
Big Hits (High Tide and Green Grass): London Records NPS 1
London UK

Mick Jagger: lead vocals, tambourine
Keith Richards: lead guitar, backing vocals
Brian Jones: rhythm guitar, backing vocals
Bill Wyman: bass guitar, backing vocals
Charlie Watts: drums
Ian Stewart: Vox Continental organ
Produced by Andrew Loog Oldham, 1964
Compilation Album produced, 1966
Recorded at Chess Studios,  Chicago on November 8, 1964

3.   Sonny Boy Williamson II: Pontiac Blues
(Rice Miller)
King Biscuit Time: Arhoolie Records 2020
Helena Arkansas

Rice Miller aka Sonny Boy Williamson: harmonica, vocal
Clarence Lonnie: piano
Frock: drums
Willie Wilkins: guitar
Cliff Bivens: bass, vocals
Produced by Lilian McMurry, 1951
Compilation Produced by Chris Strachwitz, 1970
Recorded Jackson, Mississippi
Original 78s recorded on portable euquipment at ACA Studios, Houston

4.   The Powder Blues Band: Buzzard Luck
(Winonie Harris)
Uncut: RCA KKLI-03656
Vancouver BC

Tom Lavin: guitar, vocals
Jack Lavin: bass, vocals
Will MacCalder: keys
Duris Maxwell: drums
David Woodward: tenor sax
Produced by Tom Lavin 1979
Recorded by Brian Campbell at Tetrahedron Studios, Vancouver
Mastered at Location Recorders, Los Angeles

John used to commute between Port Colborne and Kingston and found it convenient to take a break in Toronto, which meant that he would usually wind up on Yonge St. at A&A Records, or next door at Sam The Record Man, to pick up some blues albums. This was kind of prophetic as many years later he found himself working at Sam’s main store on Yonge St. till it closed.

“It was like coming home,” he chuckles.

He eventually ended up going to Ryerson, taking courses in radio and television arts. He found a summer job at Ryerson’s affiliated station, CJRT (the RT stood for Ryerson Technical), as a technician and operator. That eventually lead to a full-time job, behind the scenes, in 1974.

In 1984, a Saturday afternoon slot came open so he asked if he could play some of his blues records – which seemed like a natural thing to do after Joe Lewis’s legendary 3 hour program, ‘Folk Music and Folk Ways’. So for the next 16 years John co-hosted ‘The Blues Hours’ with Lewis.

5.   Henry Townsend: Poor Man Blues
(Henry Townsend)
Henry Townsend and Henry Spaulding (1929-37) Complete Recordings: Wolf Records WSE 117
Shelby MS / St Louis MO

Henry Townsend, vocal, guitar         
Produced by Johnny Parth for Wolf Records
Remastered by Hans Klement, Vienna Austria
Recorded in Chicago, November 15, 1929

6.   Taj Mahal: Bourgeois Blues
A Vision Shared: A Tribute to Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly: Folkways Records BL 44034
New York City

Taj Mahal: 12 string guitar, piano, vocals
Ralph Rinzler: mandolin
Produced by Bruce Springsteen, Jon Landau, Chuck Plotkin 1988
Recorded by Jim Robeson
Mixed by Bob Clearmountain
Executive Producer of the Project: Don DeVito and Joe McEwen, Harold Leventhal, Ralph Rinzler
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Masterdisk, New York City

Henry Saint Clair Fredericks b May 17, 1942 NYC

7.   Paul James Band: Shake Your Money Maker
(Elmore James)
Paul James Band: OPM Distribution PJ-1
Toronto ON
Paul James: guitars, lead vocal
Gary Gray: keys, bg vocal
Brian Kipping: bass, bg vocal
Adrian Vecchiola: drums
Produced by Paul James, 1987
Recorded by Doug McClement and Corby Luke at Comfort Sound, Toronto
Mastered by Peter Norman at McClear Place

That same year he was hanging out at Albert’s Hall in Toronto – a well known blues joint booked by at that time by Derek Andrews – and between Andrews, Dave Barnard (who hosted the ‘Dr. Feelgood’s Blues Emporium’ on CKLN) and they decided to found the Toronto Blue Society, which they registered in 1985 in order to promote the floundering Toronto blues scene. He served on the Toronto Blues Society’s board of directors ever since.

“Doing the radio show kind of made me a blues celebrity around town and I would get asked to MC at various concerts. Harbourfront was big, since Derek Andrews was booking it back then. They had a ‘Soul and Blues Festival’. I got asked to MC for ‘Downchild Blues Band’; (blues legend) Robert Jr. Lockwood was also on that bill. That was the first time that I was not talking to a single microphone in a studio. I found myself in front of 3,000 people and that was quite an experience.”

In 1986 the fledgling Toronto Blues Society was named “Blues Foundation of the Year” by ‘The Blues Foundation’, founders of the W.C. Handy Awards, in Memphis, Tennessee.

“We would send them our monthly magazine and they found out about us that way and ya! In ’86 we were voted the Blues Foundation of the Year which was a big feather in our cap, for sure.”

8.   JB Hutto & The Hawks: Pet Cream Man
(JB Hutto)
45 Single: Chance Records; CH-1160
Blackville, South Carolina

JB Hutto: guitar, vocal
Eddie Hines: drums
Joe Custom: guitar
George Mayweather: harmonica
Produced 1954

Joseph Benjamin Hutto (b. Blackville, South Carolina, April 26, 1926 – June 12, 1983 Harvey, Illinois)

After serving in the Korean War, Hutto put his band together. Their entire recorded output was in the year 1954. Disillusioned, he gave up performing after a woman broke his guitar over her husband's head one night in a club where he was playing. He took a janitorial job for most of the 1960s. He then formed a new band called The Hawks and recorded a few albums in the 70s.

In 1985, the Blues Foundation inducted Hutto into its Hall of Fame. His nephew, Lil' Ed Williams (of Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials) has carried on his legacy, playing and singing in a style close to his uncle's

9.   The Jelly Roll Kings: Slop Jar Blues
(Sam Carr / Frank Frost / Jack Johnson)
Rockin’ The Juke Joint Down: Earwig Records – LPS 4901
Clarksdale MS

Frank Frost: harmonica, keys, vocals
Jack Johnson: guitar
Sam Carr: drums
Produced by Michael Robert Frank, 1979
Recorded by Ron Capone and John Hamden at Ardent Recordings Inc., Memphis

Frank Frost (April 15, 1936 – October 12, 1999) Auvergne, Jackson County, Arkansas d. October 12, 1999 (aged 63) Helena

Was chosen to play by Ry Cooder,  in the movie Crossroads 1986. At the age of 15, Frost left for St. Louis, where he became a guitarist. At the age of 18, Frost began touring with drummer Sam Carr and Robert Nighthawk. Soon after touring, he toured again with Sonny Williamson for several years, who helped teach him how to play the harmonica

Sam Carr b. Samuel Lee McCollum, April 17, 1926 / d. September 21, 2009

In 1956, Carr began working regularly with Frank Frost

Jack Johnson b. Lambert, Mississippi in 1940. died March 14, 2011 (70 Memphis

Joined Jelly Roll Kings in 1962.

10. Little Walter: Just Your Fool
(Marion Walter Jacobs)
Boss Blues Harmonica: Cadet Records CH 60014-2
Chicago IL

Walter Jacobs: vocal and blues harp
Otis Spann: piano
Fred Robinson, Luther Tucker: guitars
Willie Dixon and/or Jimmie Lee Robinson: bass
Fred Below or George Hunter: drums
Produced by Sam & Leonard Chess, 1962
Recorded at Chess Studios, Chicago 1960

Marion Walter Jacobs  b. Marksville, Louisiana May 1, 1930 / d. Feb 15, 1968 (37) Chicago

Walter made his first released recordings in 1947 for Bernard Abrams' tiny Ora-Nelle label, which operated out of the back room of Abrams' Maxwell Radio and Records store in the heart of the Maxwell Street market area in Chicago. Was involved in a fight while taking a break from a performance at a nightclub on the South Side of Chicago and died in his sleep.

2008 - Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: Little Walter inducted: Sideman category)
In 2010, Cyndi Lauper recorded "Just Your Fool" for her album Memphis Blues

11. King Biscuit Boy: Blue Light Boogie
(J.M. Robinson)
Richard Newell aka King Biscuit Boy: Stony Plain Records SPL 1120
Hamilton ON

King Biscuit Boy: vocals, harmonica
Dennis Grasely aka Sonny Del Rio: saxes
John Lewis: guitar
Teddy Joe Brown: piano
Neil Nickafor: bass
Paul Panchezak: drums
Produced by Andy Grigg & Richard Newell, 1988
Recorded & Mixed at Sound Path Studios, Oakville ON by Richard Lightheart
Richard Alfred Newell (March 9, 1944 January 5, 2003)

This is one of my favourite Canadian blues tracks! I love the beat, the dog howls, the feel of the song. Sonny Del Rio is a fabulous musician, known to jump up on a table to blow a sax solo. The Hamilton Spectator rated Richard Newell as the 11th most popular Hamiltonian of all time!

2012 marked the 29th anniversary of the great ‘Chicago Blues Festival’ and John has made his way there for all but four of them.

John is currently the co-chair of the nominating panel of the annual ‘Maple Blues Awards’, which is a huge job.

“We organize a panel of blues experts across the country – radio personalities, journalists, festival booking agents – to come up with a list of nominees, five nominees in 17 categories.”

 He is also the co-chair of the blues committee for the Juno awards, as well.

“To me it’s really important to get the word out about blues artists across the country. Blues artists in Canada tend to be very regionally-oriented. There are artists in different parts of the country that we never get to hear about and I do all this to get the word about them out. That’s the kind of thing that I’m really interested in doing. Keeping the scene going by keeping the best recordings visible – and audible – to everybody across the country.”

12. Ry Cooder: Viola Lee Blues
(Noah Lewis)
Crossroads Motion Picture Soundtrack: Warner Brothers 92 53991
Los Angeles CA

Ry Cooder: vocal, mandolin
Jim Keltner: drums
Jorge Calderon: bass
Jim Dickinson: piano, guitar
George Bohannon: baritone horn
Walt Sereth: soprano sax
Produced by Ry Cooder, 1986
Recorded at Ocean Way Studios, Los Angeles by Mark Ettel
Second engineers: Tony Chiappa & Dave Ahlert
Mixed at Ocean Way and Record One by Judy Last
Mastered by Bernie Grundman

Originally recorded by Cannons Jug Stompers, the song was written by Cannon’s longtime partner, harmonica playing Noah Lewis. Apparently, Lewis was an amazing blues harp player who inspired Rice Miller who went by the name of Sonny Boy Williamson (II). Lewis was able to play two harps at once, even through his nose.

13. Ellen McIlwayne: Regretting Blues
(Jack Bruce / Duffy Power)
Everybody Needs It: Blind Pig Records PHE 6017
Calgary AB

Ellen Mcllwayne: guitar, piano, vocals
Jack Bruce: bass, bg vocals
Howard Levy: keys
Paul Wertico: drums
Larry McCabe: trombone
Kim Cusack: clarinet
Produced by Ellen Mcllwayne, 1982
Recorded by Mike Rasfeld at Acme Studios Chicgo
Mastered by Bob Ludwig at Masterdisc, NYC

Ellen McIlwaine (born October 1, 1945 in Nashville, Tennessee)

Her great back up band includes the legendary Cream singer, Jack Bruce on bass, and vocals.

14. David Clayton Thomas & The Shays: Born With The Blues
(David Clayton Thomas / Tom Collacott)
Back On The Street Again: Pickwick (Capitol) Records (mono) SPC-3245

David Clayton-Thomas: vocals
Fred Keeler, lead guitar
Scott Richards, bass
John Netherell, drums
Ritchie Cates, rhythm guitar
Produced by Duff Roman, 1965
The Album Production not listed circa 1972

David Henry Thomsett b. 3 September 1941 Kingston upon Thames, Surrey UK

RIP Russell Blakely

The next track features Russ Blakely on guitar and singing one of his own compositions, the first track on the band’s 2007 CD.

15. What About Bob: Keep You At A Distance
(Russell Blakely)
A New Romance: independent release – no serial

Russ Blakely: Lead vocal, guitar
Robert LaPorte: drums
Andrew Heathcote: guitar
Bob Baron: percussion, vocals
Bruce Bamford: bass
Produced by Andrew Heathcote, 2007
Recorded by Danny Scott at Lindan Manor Recording Studio, Markham ON

Russell Blakely b. Drummonville Quebec April 26, 1949 / d. Toronto 2020

Russ grew up in Pointe Claire QC, a suburb of Montreal. He graduated from Concordia University  and was a technical expert at Rogers until his retirement 10 years ago.

What About Bob band member Rob LaPort said: “I met Russ around 1987(ish) at the Duchess of Markham, probably a jam session. In fact I met all future members of WAB at the Duchess and Russ was an original member and played Bass and a great lead; a  bg vox singer. He also played guitar and eventually keys too.

Such a talent.”

He played with What About Bob band and the many other bands and performed almost to the end of his life. He died of cancer.

Hour Two

1.   Otis Spann: The Blues Never Die
(Otis Spann)
The Blues Never Die: Prestige Records PR 7719
Chicago IL

Otis Spann: Piano, vocal
Milton Rector: bass
S.P. Leary: drums
Dirty Rivers: guitar
James Madison: guitar
James Cotton: harmonica
Produced by Samuel Charters, 1965
Recorded November 24, 1964
Liner Notes by Pete Welding

Otis Spann (b. Mississippi, March 21 1924 or 1930 / d. April 24, 1970, Chicago)

By the age of 14, he was plaing in bands in the Jackson area (of Mississippi). He moved to Chicago in 1946 where he was mentorred by Big Maceo Merriweather whom he replaced as Muddy Waters’ pianist in 1952. He stayed with Waters until 1968, having worked on albums with Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Fleetwood Mac etc. Headstone Inscription: “Otis played the deepest boues we ever heard - He’ll play forever in our hearts”. He succumbed to liver cancer in 1970 and was posthumously elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.

John came to CIUT in 2008, after a five year break from radio, helping Ian Angus on “Let The Good Times Roll”, doing special ten minute segments based on his monthly CD review column for ‘Maple Blues Magazine’, something which he has been doing for ever since.

“Ian considered me an expert on Canadian talent and that’s what he required on his show, so that got me back into radio. And I would sub for him when he was on his various vacations.”

Angus eventually relocated closer to his work in Ottawa and John was asked to take over the show.

2.   Robert Johnson: Me And the Devil
(Robert Johnson)
King of the Delta Blues Singers Vol 1&2: Blue Diamond CBS Records 22190
Hazelhurst, MS

Robert Johnson: guitar, vocal
Produced by Don Law
Recorded by Don Law June 20, 1937, The Vitagraph Building, Dallas Texas

Robert Leroy Johnson (b. May 8, 1911 near Hazelhurst MS / d. August 16, 1938 Greenwood MS (27)

Johnson reportedly recorded facing the wall, which has been cited as evidence he was a shy man and reserved performer. This conclusion was played up in the inaccurate liner notes of the 1961 release of King of the Delta Blues Singers. Ry Cooder speculates that Johnson played facing a corner to enhance the sound of the guitar, a technique he calls "corner loading".

3.   Al Cromwell: The Outskirts of Town
(WW Weldon / R Jordan)
Live on Acoustic Workshop, CIUT FM

Al Cromwell: guitar, vocals
Rick Fielding: guitar
Steve Fruitman: jug
Produced and Recorded live on-air by DB Hawkes, 1990    
Mastered by Steve Fruitman

b. Finny’s Cove, Nova Scotia 1938 / d. Sept 28, 1995 Toronto (56)

Born in Nova Scotia, the family moved up to Montreal where Al grew up before relocating to Toronto. He got into the coffee house scene, folk music and blues, teamed up with boyhood friend, Doug Bush (Johnson). Played the first Mariposa Folk Festival up in Orillia ON in 1961.

 Al Cromwell made quite a name for himself playing blues in Toronto in the 1960s, then for personal reasons, he quit the scene. I think it was Rick Fielding who found him washing windows on Queen Street West and got him into the studio. He was nervous, sweating, but as soon as the music took over, he was the coolest. He recorded a song for Live at Grossman's Vol 1 but apart from some YouTube video, this might be one of his last recordings.

4.   Mose Scarlett: UK Blues
(Mose Scarlett)
Stalling For Time…: Second Avenue Records – SAS 1002
Toronto ON

Mose Scarlett: vocal, guitar
Bob Disalle: drums
Dennis Pendrith: bass
Chris Whiteley: harmonica
Ken Whiteley: mandolin
Produced by Bruce Cockburn, 1981
Recorded by Greg Roberts & Dan Durbin at Kensington Sound, Toronto
Mixed by Tim Harrison at Manta Sound, Toronto

Mose Scarlett d. May 30, 2019 Toronto

“My focus for the program is to show the variety of blues talent that’s out there, on our side of the border as well as the U.S. A lot of people say that now that the last generation of artists, like Buddy Guy and BB King, are getting older – that when they go, there’s no more blues. But that’s not true! There are dozens of blues acts in virtually every town across the country and I feel that it’s my job to bring the world’s attention to them, if I can, by playing them on the radio, getting their recordings and doing whatever I can to promote them.”

He is also aware that there is an important function to promote younger artists to younger audiences, to help pass the torch.

“I’ve been playing recordings by younger guys, some as young as 18, to show that it’s not just the BB Kings and the Buddy Guy’s who can perform good blues. It’s music that reflects life. Jimmy Bowskill, for instance, a young man from Peterborough who started playing at 11 years of age at Jeff Healey’s club. He’s got a new CD coming out on the Roof label out of Germany. There’s a young man who’s doing things around the world and making a name for himself. That’s the kind of person I like to promote.”

5.   Faith Nolan: Brown, Black and White Blues
(William “Big Bill” Broonzy)
Freedom To Love: Aural Tradition ATR 302
Toronto ON

Faith Nolan: vocal
Michael Creber: piano
Roy Forbes: guitars
Laurence Knight: bass
Chris Nordquist: drums
Produced by Roy Forbes, 1989
Recorded & Mixed by Rolf Hannemann at Mushroom Studios, Vancouver BC January 1989

Faith Nolan b. Halifax Nova Scotia, 1957

Lee Conley Bradley aka Big Bill Broonzy b. June 26, 1893? Lake Dick, AK – d Aug 14, 1958 (65) Chicago

6.   John Davis w The Original Sloth Band: Sloppy Drunk Blues
(JL Williams)
1978.: Troubadour Records TR-006
Toronto ON

John Davis, vocal, piano
Bill Bryans, drums
Tom Evans, mandolin
Mike Gardner, bass
Chris Whiteley, harmonica
Ken Whiteley, washboard
Produced by The Original Sloth Band, 1978
Recorded and mixed by Dan Lanois at Grant Avenue Studios, Hamilton ON
Mastered at JAMF
Recorded Jan 4, 1978

Blind John Davis b. Hattiesburg, Miss. Dec 7, 1913 / d. Chicago Oct 12, 1985 (71)

When he was 2 yrs old, Davis’s family migrated up to Chicago where he grew up but he was blinded at the age of 9. He took up the piano and got to play on sessions by Big Bill Broonzy, Tampa Red and the original Sonny Boy Williamson between 1937 and 1942. He and Broonzy toured Europe in 1952 but returned to Chicago only to have his house burn down, taking the life of his wife with it. Bruce Iglauer did an album with him for Alligator in 1978 (Heavy Timbre).

7.   John Lee Hooker: One Bourbon, One Scotch & One Beer
(John Lee Hooker)
Free Beer And Chicken: ABC Records ABCD 838
Chicago IL

Clifford Coulter Clavinet, Synthesizer, Bass
Hollywood Fats, Wa-Wa Watson:  Guitar
Ron Beck: Drums
Joe Cocker: Tambourine
John Lee Hooker: Vocals, Guitar
Produced by Ed Michel, 1974
Recorded At the Record Plant, Sausalito CA and The Village Recorder by Baker Bigsby, Dominic Lumetta, Gil Fortis and Tom Anderson
Mastered at Kendun Recorders

John Lee Hooker b. Tutwiler MS Aug 22, 1912 / d. June 21, 2001 Los Altos CA

Has several Grammy’s including Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, 2000

Other than blues, John Valenteyn is interested in recent classical music.

“I work downtown at HMV on the jazz and classical floor so we play a lot of that music there. I have a small hobby of trying to get classical music and blues together, like string quartets playing blues. I find that quite interesting.”

I asked John what one of his most unique blues experiences was?

“I was going to the ‘Sunflower Blues Festival’ in Clarksdale, Mississippi – ground zero of the blues. I got into Memphis late, picked up my rental car and if you know anything about The Delta, you know that it’s dead flat; there is nothing in The Delta but a flat alluvial plain. It was raining slightly when I left Memphis but it was pouring by the time I got to Batesville and there was sheet lightning. It’s now getting to be midnight and with the sheet lightning, for about a fraction of a second, you could see for miles. And the rain was so heavy that it was building up on the soil – it wasn’t draining away fast enough – so the road I was on was about three inches above the water on either side of the road. Talk about white knuckling to stay on the road!”

8.   Valerie Wellington: A Fool For You
(Charles / Hill)
The New Bluebloods: Alligator Records 7707
Chicago IL

Valerie Wellington: vocals
John Duich: guitar
Sumito Arioshi: piano
Nick Charles: bass
Brady Williams: drums
Produced by Bruce Iglauer, 1987
Recorded by Justin Niebank & Fred Brietberg at Streeterville Studios, Chicago
Mastered by Tom Coyne at Frankford/Wayne, New York City

Valerie Eileen Hall b. Chicago November 14, 1959 January 2, 1993 Maywood, Il

Began performing on piano at age 5. In her teens started touring in blues bands and was nominated for a Chicago Blues Award before her first album even came out. Unfortunately, she only recorded 2 albums: Million Dollar Secret 1984 and Life in the Big City 1991. Wellington died at the age of 33.

9.   Whiskey Howl: Let The Good Times Roll
(Theard / Moore)
Whiskey Howl: Pacemaker PACE-056
Toronto ON

John Witmer, vocals
Richard Fruchtman, bass
Wayne Wilson, drums
Michael Pickett, harmonica, vocals
Dave Morrison, guitar, vocals
Produced by Johnny Sandlin, 1972
Recorded by David Stock at Eastern Sound Studios, Toronto

10. David Lindley: Mercury Blues
(KC Douglas)
El Rayo-X: Asylum Records X5E-524
Los Angeles CA

David Lindley: vocal, electric guitar
Ras Baboo: percussion
Ian Wallace: drums
Bob Glaub: bass
Produced by Jackson Browne & Greg Ladanyi, 1981
Recorded by Greg Ladanyi at Record One, Los Angeles
Mastered by Doug Sax & Mike Reese at The Mastering Lab

David Perry Lindley b. March 21, 1944, San Marino, California

Played in the band Kaleidoscope in 60s, then solo career and worked mostly studio musician. Teamed up with Ry Cooder for several albums. He recorded 2 great albums with El Rayo-X.

As John and I did back to back programs, for a few years I would see him weekly, getting ready in the studio as he was finishing up. One day I turned to him and asked: “What was the first Canadian blues recording.” For a moment I had him stumped as he thought about it and then, in the flash of an instant he said: “Must’ave been in the 50’s so it’s gotta be Big John Little.”

Big John ‘T-Bone’ Little sang and played guitar in a band out of Niagara Falls and would play Port Colborne a lot. Being Black, T-Bone played the blues; being a country boy, he also played C&W and yodeled. He was in a band called ‘Big John Little and the Rockers’ who went over to Buffalo to record two songs.  ‘Shakin’ And Stompin’’ was released as a single on the Shan-Todd Records label in Buffalo in 1959 under the false band name ‘The Hot Toddys’. It was backed with Rockin’ Crickets which Big John claims was a favourite of a very young Jimi Hendrix.

John’s eyes then lit up with an idea: “We should get him up here! He lives in Port Colbourne and he’d do it, I’m sure, and we could both interview him: me on his blues side and you on the Country.” So we did this and it was enlightening!

(Big John’s still out there, playing, turning 91 as of November, 2020)

11. (Big John Little &) The Hot Toddys: Shakin’ & Stompin’
(Big John Little)
45 Single bw Rockin’ Crickets: Shan-Todd Records ST-0056
Niagara Falls ON

Big John “T-Bone” Little: rhythm guitar, vocals
Bill Pernell: sax
Vaughan Jonah: guitar
Garry Kelba: drums
Produced by Tom Shannon & Phil Todaro, March 1959
Recorded at Shan-Todd studios, Buffalo NY by Phil Todaro

Big John Little b. Niagara Falls ON November 1929
The real name of the band was ‘Big John Little and the Rockers’ but recorded, at their producer’s insistance, as The Hot-Toddys. This wasn’t their first recording though…their first record was I’ll Always Love You bw Rock With Me Baby released on the Tri-Fi label out of NYC. Later, under the leadership of Big John Little, they released 1 LP, Twist, on the Metro label out of Montreal and were totally ripped off again. The same album was re-packaged and re-released (without John’s okay) as ‘Big John and The Beetlers’; it was the same album on the Rusticana label out of Quebec. John was well connected and was on very friendly terms with Stompin’ Tom Connors and BB King (who gave him one of his Lucilles).

Now in his 91st year, Big John “T-Bone” Little still performs in and around the Niagara Falls region.

12. BB King: Caledonia
(F Moore)
BB King in London: ABC Records – ABCX-730
Chicago IL

BB King: Lucille, vocal
Jim Price: trumpet
Ollie Mitchell: trumpet
Chuck Findley: trombone
Bobby Keys: tenor sax
Bill Perkins: baritone sax, clarinet
Duster Bennett: harmonica
Gary Wright: organ
Rick Wright: electric piano
Peter Green: guitar
Klaus Voorman: bass
Jim Gordon: drums
Produced by Ed Michel and Joe Zagarino, 1971
Recorded at Olympic & Command Studios, London by Zags June 9 – 16, 1971

Riley Benjamin King b Berclair, Mi September 16, 1925 / d. Las Vegas Nv May 14, 2015

13. Dutch Mason Trio: Boss Man
At The Candlelight: Paragon Records ALS 263
Lunenburg NS

Dutch Mason: piano, guitar, vocals
Ronnie Miller: bass
Ken Clattenburg: drums
Produced by Bill Fisher, 1971
Recorded by Jack Hutchinson
Mixed by Bill Bessey
Cover: Jarvis Darville

Dutch Mason b. 19 February 1938 / d. Truro NS 23 December 2006

John has gotten to meet a lot of his heroes.

“Meeting Bo Diddley was fascinating. I had never known that, for a while, he was a sheriff in Arizona. And he talked about helping teens growing up without having to resort to crime. And it was a fascinating conversation. Honey Boy Edwards, and Henry Townsend (who began recording back in 1929): they were wonderful people. And Homesick James…he was one of those players who didn’t record because he knew what record companies were about and he was asking too many questions. So they would ignore him. He claims to have written a lot of the songs that are accredited to Elmore James.”

What blues album has he worn the grooves out of?

“Albert King’s ‘I’ll Play The Blues For You’.”

Again, our dearest sympathies to John’s wife, Brenda.

14. Albert King: I’ll Play The Blues For You (edit)
(Jerry Beach)
Chronicle: Stax Records STX-4123
Indianola Mississippi

Albert King: Gibson Flying V guitar, vocals
The Bar-Kays
Memphis Horns
Produced by Allen Jones, 1972
Recorded at Stax Records, Memphis by William Brown
Mastered by L Nix

Albert Nelson b. Indianola, Miss, April 25, 1923 / d. Dec21, 1992 Memphis (69)

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