I discovered the blues as a teenager. It was all the fault of a guy called Mike Raven(left). Way back in the beginning of time, he had a soul and blues radio programme called – um – The Mike Raven Show. The first half was soul but the second half was blues. What the hell is this stuff? I asked my teenage self. Low down, ancient scrubbsy stuff from the Mississippi Delta mostly, plus some electric Chicago stuff was the answer. I was hooked. I started to besiege the local library for books on the blues. Who are these guys? These guys are good – to borrow a phrase.
Mike Raven himself was an interesting guy. He had been an army officer and later a pirate radio DJ, an actor in horror films, a sculptor of some note and a sheep farmer. He died in 1997. But the effect lingers on…
Three songs – the first is Cream’s version of Robert Johnson’s Crossroads – again from the beginning of time. I make no apology for this – after the Delta and Chicago, Britain is the third (adoptive) home of the blues.
The second is John Lee Hooker performing Boom Boom at the Montreux Jazz Festival (don’t expect me ever to blog on jazz – leaves me cold). If this were performed by some gangsta rapper as opposed to the elderly gent, then the complaints as to violent lyrics would come flooding in. But they don’t.
As a bonus, here is a third song. Again John Lee Hooker with Bad Like Jesse James. Violent lyrics again, but I defy you not to find at least one foot tapping.