The world has lost one of its most charismatic, iconic and beloved musicians. B.B. King absolutely earned his title as “King Of The Blues.” His career spanned 70 years, and his contributions to the world’s music are unmatched. He is perhaps the most influential electric guitar player in history, and his talent as a singer and storyteller are among the greatest ever. With both his voice and his guitar, B.B. King could connect directly from his soul to yours, and deliver the healing power of the blues.
A lot of the photos we’re seeing posted today are of B.B. in his later years, when he was struggling with health problems. I remember seeing him for the first time in 1969 in Cincinnati, on his feet for hours, playing two shows a night for two nights, with different audiences for each show (except for me). Although he could have played the same set four times in a row, instead he followed his own emotions and the emotional feedback from the audience, and chose different songs, tempos and grooves for every set. At the end of each set, he was standing there drained, soaked in sweat, having delivered all he had. They were amazingly physical, intense and soul-wrenching performances.
We are blessed to have had such a gracious, intelligent, and immensely talented man as the world ambassador of the blues. –Bruce Iglauer
The Blues Foundation announced the winners of the 2015 Blues Music Awards, the blues world's highest honors. Three Alligator artists received five Blues Music Awards. Elvin Bishop led all artists with three wins--Album, Song and Band of the Year. Selwyn Birchwood, winner of the 2013 Int’l Blues Challenge, received the award for Best New Artist Album of the Year. Marcia Ball won the Pinetop Perkins Piano Player of the Year Award, her 10th career Blues Music Award. Read all about it here:
Wendell Holmes, vocalist, guitarist, pianist and songwriter of the acclaimed soul/blues band The Holmes Brothers has recently been diagnosed with pulmonary hypertension and has announced his retirement from performing and touring. Read all about it here.
Check out Alligator Records on Spotify! The Genuine Houserockin’ Blues From Alligator playlist features more than three hours of music from across our vast catalog and will be updated regularly.
The blues has lost a great champion. Sam Charters, the pioneering blues producer and author, died on March 19 at the age of 85. Sam was the author of The Country Blues, one of the first scholarly works on the blues. But his major contribution to my life (and so many others) was producing the groundbreaking three-LP set Chicago/The Blues/Today!! on Vanguard Records. Released in 1966, it was the first exposure many of us had to the Chicago blues as it was played in clubs, rather than as it was produced for singles. The series introduced many fans to Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Otis Rush, J.B. Hutto, Johnny Young, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Charlie Musselwhite and more. It was the model for Alligator’s Living Chicago Blues series, recorded in 1978 and 1980. Sam also produced excellent records by Junior Wells, James Cotton, Buddy Guy and many more. The Clifton Chenier album that he produced, I’m Here!, was licensed to Alligator by Sonet Records in Sweden and it won our first Grammy. With his writing and his productions, Sam Charters gave a huge gift to every blues fan. Thanks, Sam. —Bruce Iglauer
David Maxwell, one of the great blues pianists of his generation, died on Friday, Feb. 13 as a result of prostate cancer. He was 70. David was a proud student of all the older generation masters of blues keyboards and probably the finest purveyor of the Otis Spann tradition and style in the world (David learned directly from Otis). He played with Muddy Waters, Bonnie Raitt, Skip James, John Lee Hooker, James Cotton, Freddie King, Hubert Sumlin, Louisiana Red and Levon Helm, among many others. David appeared on all three Alligator albums by his close friend, Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin. David’s "Conversations in Blue: David Maxwell / Otis Spann" CD won the 2012 Blues Music Award for Acoustic Album of the Year. His latest CD, Blues in Other Colors, received widespread acclaim for his fusing of traditional blues, using non-western instruments, with music from other countries. More details can be found on his website at www.davidmaxwell.com David was a modest, smart, funny and sweet man who always brought 100% of his talent to whatever recording or gig he was part of. He was deservedly beloved by his fellow musicians and honored by fans worldwide. – Bruce Iglauer
If you missed Jarekus Singleton’s performance on the live weekly webcast/radio broadcast Music City Roots - Live from the Factory on February 11th, you can see his stunning performance here. Jarekus’ performance begins around the 1:12:35 mark.
Nine brand new digital-only Best Of collections from Alligator are available starting today. These nine are available exclusively through iTunes until 1/14. Also included is the already-available Best Of Michael Burks. Perfect gifts for the holidays (and a perfect gift for you to give to yourself)! Order yours here.
The Blues Foundation announced the nominees for the 2015 Blues Music Awards, the blues world's highest honors. Seven Alligator recording artists received a total of 19 nominations: Elvin Bishop (6), Rick Estrin & The Nightcats (4), Jarekus Singleton (3), Marcia Ball (2), Joe Louis Walker (2), Selwyn Birchwood (1), Curtis Salgado (1) and . For additional details see here.
TuneIn -- the world's largest audio network -- officially launched Alligator Records Radio today (12/9). The Alligator Records Radio station will stream songs 24/7 from Alligator's extensive catalog of music covering 43 years of blues and roots rock releases. The station, featuring themed and special programs, is available here or fans can simply search "Alligator Records" on the free TuneIn Radio app (at iTunes or Google Play) or on TuneIn.com to listen to Alligator Records Radio.
Elvin Bishop’s brand new Alligator Records CD, Can’t Even Do Wrong Right, received high praise on today’s edition of the nationally syndicated NPR program, Fresh Air. In his review, Fresh Air’s Pop Music critic Ken Tucker called Bishop’s music “completely fresh” and “enduring and fun,” and said, “Few young whippersnappers feature the stuff that makes Elvin Bishop such a continuing gas--the raspy chuckle in his singing and the sharp sting of his guitar. He invites you to contradict the title of this album, to insist that he can do wrong right. Just right.” You can listen to the entire review online here.
Selwyn Birchwood’s electrifying afternoon performance today for WXPN’s Free At Noon series (8/22)...he held nothing back! You can see great action shots from the show and hear the set here.
The nationally syndicated NPR radio program World Cafe featured Alligator recording artist Jarekus Singleton today, July 30th. Listen to the interview and hear his story here.
Alligator Records president Bruce Iglauer to receive “Iconic Innovators” Award from Airplay Direct. Read all about it here.