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Author Archives: Dan Forte

Neil Barnes, Ron Thompson, and others and Bettye LaVette

Hyde & Seek and Worthy
This Blues Has Soul
 
Hyde-&-Seek

Blues harpist Neil Barnes is one of the greater San Francisco area’s best-kept secrets. His 2007 CD, This Was Then, Now, is a compilation of a 45 and an EP he released in the ’80s, along with some previously unreleased live material. For having (more…)

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R.J. & the Del Guapos

Rockin! With R.J. & the Del Guapos
 
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Guitarist/vocalist R.J. Ronquillo’s quartet utilizes three-fourths of the Panamericans, with him taking the place of Joao Erbetta. You can’t do much better than saxophonist Ron Dziubla, bassist Rob Douglas, and drummer Pete Curry – and they didn’t even have to leave their (more…)

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Big Apple Blues and Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King

Energy and Fat Man’s Shine Parlor
Blues A-Plenty
 
Big-Apple-Blues

Considering that its first-cousin, jazz, is predominantly an instrumental form, it’s surprising that there are so few instrumental blues albums. In terms of guitar, of course, Freddie King excelled most successfully, but that was more than a half-century ago. In recent years, Ronnie Earl (more…)

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Captain Beefheart

Sun Zoom Spark: 1970 to 1972
Ahead of His – or Anyone’s – Time
 
Captain-Beefheart

“Lick My Decals Off, Baby,” “Woe-Is-Uh-Me-Bop,” “My Head Is My Only House Unless It Rains.” That’s right – we’re talking about Don Van Vliet, a.k.a. Captain Beefheart, and his Magic Band. Beefheart and co. emerged from the Southern California desert in the mid ’60s. Their first full-fledged (more…)

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Jorma Kaukonen

Hot Tuna, Part 1
 
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Guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bassist Jack Casady have been playing music together for 53 years – 40 of them as Hot Tuna. What started as an acoustic splinter group from their gig with Jefferson Airplane morphed into both acoustic and electric variations and myriad combinations.Released on the heels of Tuna’s successful “blues tour” with Charlie […]

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Billy Mure

Supersonic Guitarist Remembered
 
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Guitar great Billy Mure (born November 4, 1915) passed away September 25, at the age of 97. He last performed on August 2, playing Dixieland banjo at Squid Lips, where he lived in Sebastian, Florida. Mure played on innumerable sessions from the ’50s to the ’70s, but is (more…)

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Sergio Diab

Stratoman
 
Sergio-Diab

Brazil and the guitar have a long, prolific relationship with each other, from the classical compositions of Villa-Lobos to Laurindo Almeida’s mix of classical and jazz to the bossa nova of Antonio Carlos Jobim and Joao Gilberto. Two standouts carrying the torch today are Joao Erbetta (more…)

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Markus James

Head For the Hills
 
Markus-James

James is Virginia-born but has spent time in Northern California and West Africa. His work with three Malian musicians resulted in the documentary film Timbuktoubab. He points out the too-similar-to-be-coincidence similarity between the black fife and drum bands in Northern Mississippi’s hill country and West Africa. The (more…)

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Buddy Guy

Keeping the Blues Alive and Definitely Kicking
 
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It was February 21, 2012. As part of the White House’s music series, “Red, White & Blues” featured a cavalcade of blues and blues-influenced greats including B.B. King, Jeff Beck, Mick Jagger, Derek Trucks, Susan Tedeschi, Keb’ Mo’, and guitar legend Buddy Guy. President Obama thanked the performers as they wrapped up the evening with […]

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Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble

The Complete Epic Recordings Collection
The Good, The Bad, and The Troubling
 
Stevie-Ray-Vaughan

One of the greatest blues guitarists of any era, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s recorded output with his band, Double Trouble, consisted of only five albums (four studio, one live) during his lifetime. And though he hit the scene like the self-described hurricane in his adaptation of (more…)

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