You may remember him as the leader of the All-Star Frogs (1970-1983) and the Power Trio (1983-present), doing humorous and raunchy blues originals such as “Tie You Up!” and “More Love, More Money”. You may remember the Tumatoe tours of local clubs and endless spins of his songs on college radio in the ’70s and ’80s. You may not know that he played in a FIJI house band (Lothar and the Hand People) at the University of Illinois, the band name created by Bill Geist, CBS Sunday Morning News Correspondent; recorded for Warner Bros. (I Like My Job, produced by John Fogerty of Creedence Clearwater Revival fame); and was a member of REO Speedwagon — he left in 1969, evidently taking all rocking bluesy rootsy-ness with him — and he grew up on the South Side of Chicago, a blues-loving youth who hung with the legends.
The main change for the Duke Ellington Orchestra during this period was that the increasingly unreliable Bubber Miley (an alcoholic) was fired by Ellington in January 1929 and quickly replaced by Cootie Williams. Otherwise, the personnel was stable, featuring trombonist Joe Tricky Sam Nanton, altoist Johnny Hodges, and clarinetist Barney Bigard as key soloists along with trumpeters Miley, Arthur Whetsol, and Freddie Jenkins. Most of the selections from this era border on the classic, with highlights including Miley's spot on "Bandanna Babies," "I Must Have That Man," "Harlemania," and a two-part version of "Tiger Rag."
During 1928, the main stars of Duke Ellington's orchestra (in addition to the leader/pianist/composer/arranger) were trumpeter Bubber Miley, trombonist Joe Tricky Sam Nanton, clarinetist Barney Bigard, and (starting in June) altoist Johnny Hodges. All of the master takes (including ones for different labels) are being reissued in the Classics series. This disc is highlighted by "Black Beauty" (particularly Ellington's solo piano version), the heated "Hot and Bothered" (featuring guest guitarist Lonnie Johnson and singer Baby Cox), "Louisiana," and "I Can't Give You Anything but Love." Two songs feature singer Ozie Ware backed by a small combo taken from Ellington's big band. This CD has plenty of timeless classics, most of which are also available in other reissue programs.
As usual with the Classics series, the music on this CD is released complete and in chronological order, covering the music originally released by several record labels but without including alternate takes. In the case of Duke Ellington, because he would frequently record the same song slightly rearranged on several occasions for different companies, there are multiple versions of some titles on this CD, but the alternate versions that he made for the labels have been left out. During the very important period covered by this disc, the Duke Ellington Orchestra (having recently found their sound) was hired by the Cotton Club as the house band and they hit the big time…
In the blues world it's OK to be a late bloomer, and when it came to recording, Joe Beard was exactly that. The charismatic singer/guitarist, whose influences range from Jimmy Reed to Lightnin' Hopkins, worked "day gigs" when his kids were growing up and didn't start to build a catalog until he was in his fifties. Blues lovers who heard Beard's AudioQuest dates of the '90s found themselves saying, "Hey, this guy is very talented; why haven't I heard of him until now?" And, of course, the answer to that question is that his nine-to-fives and family life had kept him from being a full-time bluesman. But when his kids reached adulthood, the Mississippi native turned Rochester, NY, resident had more time to devote to music. Recorded in April 2000 (when he was 62), Dealin' is Beard's third CD for AudioQuest and underscores his ability to handle a variety of electric blues styles. Beard's appreciation of Reed and the Chicago blues is evident on gutsy, rough-and-tumble tracks like "Give Me Up and Let Me Go," "My Eyes Keep Me in Trouble," and "The Bitter Seed," a Jimmy Reed classic.