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Battle of the Blues: Muddy vs. Wolf

What's the best way to honor blues legends Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf? Stage a virtual cutting contest.

Masters of the Blues Harp

Blowin' the blues with Little Walter, Sonny Boy II, Lazy Lester, Big Walter Horton, Slim Harpo, Annie Raines, Rod Piazza, Kim Wilson, etc.

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A Brief History of American Roots Music

From W.C. Handy to The Black Keys: A quick look at how American roots music evolved in the 20th Century. Footnotes available upon request.

RCR’s Greatest Hits

I’ve been at this RCR thing for nearly five years now, and we just published our 250th post. Imagine if I would’ve put all that effort into a solid money-making venture, like cooking meth, [...]

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The Best of Paul Butterfield

Is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum worth arguing about? Some say no – the whole idea of enshrining punks and metalheads in some shiny glass-plated pyramid that many of them would rather [...]

4

Me and The Bo

Let’s revisit one of our first posts, from October 2009 (Bo Diddley passed away the previous year at the age of 79). He signed his name “The Bo” and was referred to by The New [...]

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The Other Take

Alternate Takes. Some artists – especially jazz musicians – live by them. Others do their best to make sure they never see the light of day. And there’s often some merit to the latter approach, [...]

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Sonny Boy II: The Chess Years

America’s greatest musical export? That’s easy – Chess blues and rock ‘n roll. New Orleans R&B might be a close second, and you can’t deny the lasting, global impact of jazz greats like Miles [...]

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Little Walter, By the Book

Here’s a re-post of an item we first published back in October 2009 (RCR’s third post… we’re now up to 115). It remains the most visited page on our site, by far – and it [...]

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Vintage Video Madness, Round 1

Couldn’t write much this week. Too busy taking side bets on my March Madness brackets. When you know as little as I do about college basketball, you have to be fairly resourceful in filling [...]

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Chess Blues Rarities

A few months ago, my blogging buddy April asked me what I thought about the movie “Cadillac Records,” a glossy look back at the birth of modern electric blues at Chicago’s Chess label in the ‘50s [...]

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The Great American Blues Instrumental

Much has been said and written about the great blues singers – Muddy, B.B., Bessie, Wolf, Big Mama, Sonny Boy… But I think it’s time to praise one of the more overlooked subgenres of the [...]

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Butter’s Best

I’ve played blues harp for years… not on the same level as, say, Charlie Musselwhite, but I can get the attention of a bar full of drunks. One band I played in never seemed to make it [...]

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Jumpin’ the Blues

Another big, sprawling topic – more than one post can handle. And another cheap excuse to share a few of my favorite examples of the form. But what is jump blues, exactly? Some would describe it [...]

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Odds/Ends…

Time to dig through the old mail bag and respond to a few comments about previous posts… Most of these comments show up on the blog, but a few others take a more direct route – either via email [...]

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Me and The Bo

Bluesman Little Walter was the troubled genius of Chess Records.  But when it came to just plain crazy, it was hard to top Walter’s label-mate, Bo Diddley, who recorded some of the most [...]

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Little Walter, By the Book

Greetings from Carefree, AZ… where they like to point out “it’s a ‘dry’ heat.” I’m using this brief respite from the Rubber City as an opportunity to read yet [...]