Hound Dog Taylor was born 101 years ago today (4/12/1915)! It was Bruce Iglauer’s burning desire to release an album by his favorite band – Hound Dog Taylor & The HouseRockers - that started Alligator Records in 1971. Take some time today and check out one of his foot-stomping shuffles, supercharged boogies or a searing slow blues on Spotify or Apple Music. Happy Birthday HDT!
One the nation’s leading music tastemakers, Los Angeles, CA’s NPR station KCRW-FM, has selected Tom Waits’ “John The Revelator” from the critically-acclaimed tribute album God Don’t Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson as Today’s Top Tune. Download it today for free.
It will only be available for download on Wednesday, March 9th. Following that, it will be streamed through KCRW’s Today’s Top Tune Postcast.
Chicago Tonight, a nightly news program on Chicago’s primary public television station WTTW, ran a fascinating profile last night on one of the newest artists on the Alligator roster, Toronzo Cannon. Host Phil Ponce talks with Toronzo about his brand new release, The Chicago Way, his history, his influences and his day job as a CTA bus driver for the last 22 years. Also interviewed is Alligator president Bruce Iglauer and we find out what attracted Bruce to signing this longtime Chicago bluesman. Watch the video here.
REMEMBERING DAVID BOWIE: Late in 1985 or early in 1986 Alligator got a phone call from one of David Bowie's assistants. Bowie was recording music for the animated film “Labyrinth.” He was looking for a blues guitar player to play on a song called “Underground” and had discovered one of Albert Collins' Alligator albums (apparently he hadn't heard of Albert before then). He wanted Albert to fly to New York the next day to record a guitar part. Albert was in the middle of a six-night stand at Albert’s Hall in Toronto. I called him and persuaded him to get up at 6 a.m. and fly to New York. We met at the airport and took a cab to Atlantic Records’ studio where Bowie was working on the soundtrack along with Arif Mardin, the famous producer/arranger. Bowie was a very gracious host, warmly greeting Albert and making both of us feel very welcome. In about an hour, Albert cut a selection of solos for the song on his famous Fender Telecaster. We took a moment to have our pictures taken (I’m the one who isn't David Bowie or Albert Collins) and then headed back for the airport so Albert could play in Toronto that night. If you listen to the song, you can hear Albert most clearly in the last 20 seconds of the song, though he’s mixed pretty low. By the way, not only did David Bowie have no idea who Albert Collins was until the day before the session, but Albert had no idea who David Bowie was until I called him to come to New York. —Bruce Iglauer
Grammy-nominated blues/roots/R&B vocalist Shemekia Copeland will perform live and be the subject of a feature interview on PBS's nationally televised program, The Tavis Smiley Show, on Wednesday, November 4. Host Tavis Smiley talks to Copeland about her new CD, Outskirts Of Love, and her life as, according to the Wall Street Journal, "a fresh, gripping roots music performer." For broadcast times and stations, please click here.
Alligator Records is pleased to announce the signing of roots rock/blues band Moreland & Arbuckle. The self-described "roots and blues from the heartland" group (guitarist Aaron Moreland, harpist/vocalist Dustin Arbuckle and drummer Kendall Newby) will release their as yet untitled label debut -- produced by Matt Bayles (Mastodon, The Sword) -- in Spring, 2016. Read all about it here.
Alligator Records is proud to announce the first quarter 2016 release of God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson. The album (to be issued on CD and vinyl) features newly recorded versions of the iconic slide guitarist/vocalist's most seminal material. Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks and *Susan Tedeschi*, Cowboy Junkies, The Blind Boys of Alabama, Sinead O'Connor, Luther Dickinson, Maria McKee, and Rickie Lee Jones all deliver deeply moving interpretations of Johnson's otherworldly "gospel blues" music. To read the whole story click here.
Shemekia Copeland was featured on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday (10/10). In addition to performing two songs, Shemekia spoke with host Scott Simon about her brand new release, Outskirts Of Love, her father’s influence and more. Weekend Edition Saturday is heard on NPR member stations across the United States and around the globe on NPR Worldwide and reaches an audience of nearly four million listeners each week. You can listen to the entire eight minute segment here.
Shemekia Copeland performed "Drivin' Out Of Nashville" from her brand new release, Outskirts Of Love, on Music City Roots - Live From The Factory in Franklin, TN (9/17) while she was in Nashville for the Americana Music Convention. Check it out here. More stellar video from this performance coming soon!
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.