Sat November 24, 2012
Marc On The Blues

Nine O'clock Blues: A Look Back At 'Lightning In A Bottle'

This will be one of those ‘I can’t believe it was that long ago’ moments. In a little over two months the official “Year of the Blues” will be 10 years in the past.

The United States Congress declared that Feb. 1, 2003 would mark the beginning of the “Year of the Blues.” Just six days later, Feb. 7, marked the day that a benefit concert, a “Salute To The Blues,” took place at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. That benefit brought together one of the greatest assemblies of Blues talent ever.

That concert was just one part of a multimedia yearlong celebration of Blues music that included many events around the country, the centerpiece of which was a series of seven documentary films. In addition to those films presented by Martin Scorsese, one more film was made by Antoine Fuqua documenting the kickoff concert.

It was called Lightning in a Bottle.

There’s no way I can do the accompanying album justice in one short set, so I’ll whet your appetite here and hope you go and get the 2 CD set.

Credit Sony

  • B. B. King
  • Big Boy Arnold
  • Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown
  • Keb’ Mo’
  • Dr. John
  • Shemekia Copeland
  • Buddy Guy
  • Bonnie Raitt
  • Robert Jr. Lockwood
  • Ruth Brown
  • 4 Neville brothers
  • Mavis Staples
  • Robert Cray
  • Levon Helm
  • Hubert Sumlin
  • Natalie Cole
  • Greg Allman
  • David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards
  • Jimmie Vaughan
  • John Hammond, Jr.
  • Solomon Burke…

I’m tired of typing and that was barely over 1/3 of them! The pull-out from the album folds out to reveal a picture taken that night and I don’t know of any other photo that includes more Blues legends.

Also on this week’s show we’ll jump back to 1967 for a track from the very first and eponymous Taj Mahal album.

While nothing could have prepared us for the depth and breadth of talent shown by Taj over the years, it is interesting to look back to the beginning and re-discover the wide ranging material on the album which touches on Chicago, Mississippi, Louisiana and more, even venturing into the realms of Zydeco.

Taj Mahal has been, from the beginning, both a missionary for the traditions of the Blues, while also being a visionary for the future of the Blues. It is hard to imagine how anyone could mine so many veins and satisfy Taj’s multiple missions in one work. Though a monumental order, Taj still managed to turn out a genuinely cohesive set. A remarkable achievement.

The album Taj Mahal is available on CD and is well worth having in your collection.

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