Album of the month

Blues enthusiast and board member Willem van de Kraats has been pulling an album from his large collection of vinyl every Sunday morning for years, sitting down with a cup of coffee and enjoying the blues. That Sunday ritual gave us the idea of doing this monthly on a larger scale. Blues lovers choose their favorite album, write their personal memories with it and mail them to  Willem and Jos du Floo together form a jury and choose the best entry. We publish that choice on our website, share it on social media, and Jos plays a song from the LP every Sunday for a month in his blues program ‘Highstreet Jazz&Blues’ op Regio90FMThe first album of the month was announced by Jos on Sunday, October 4.  Below all the elected albums and the stories can be read back and a nice archive of wonderful blues albums will be created in the coming years. 

Mei 2024

‘Beware of the Dog’ to me is a masterpiece where every note is infused with pure raw blues energy. The album touches me deep in my soul and brings back a lot of memories. The electrifying opening track “Give Me Back My Wig” immediately sets the right tone. The raw, unpolished sounds of Hound Dog Taylor’s guitar grab attention and weave a story of passion and authenticity. His unique playing style, characterized by raw slide guitar and intense, emotional vocals, immediately plunge you into the depth of his musical expression. Other highlights of the album include: “Let’s Get Funky,” “Comin’ Around The Mountain,” “It’s Allright” and “Freddies Blues. Each song feels like a voyage of discovery within the blues world, with Hound Dog Taylor making his own mark with his idiosyncratic guitar playing that is complemented by the tight rhythm section of Brewer Phillips & Ted Harvey, which propels the music with an irresistible energy. What makes the album truly remarkable is the unpolished, spontaneous live atmosphere it exudes. It instantly transports you to a sultry intimate blues club. This creates a unique listening experience that stimulates the senses and evokes a profound appreciation for the raw beauty of blues culture. ‘Beware of the Dog’ is not just another album: it is a musical treasure that transcends time. It has the power to awaken emotions, evoke memories and send you reeling on the waves of timeless blues. Hound Dog Taylor’s legacy lives on in this masterpiece, and it remains a source of joy and inspiration for anyone who opens up to the power of sincere music. So it was this album that inspired me to record my own Hound Dog Taylor Tribute. Thus, the following songs come from ‘Beware Of The Dog’: ‘Give Me Back My Wig’, ‘Let’s Get Funky’ and ‘Freddie’s Blues’. I very much enjoyed the live shows I got to play with Richard van Bergen and King Berik, where we wanted to bring back the raw energetic music experience of Hound Dog Taylor. Our second album “How How How How” was also completely inspired by the music and energy of Hound Dog Taylor. Beware Of The Dog: highly recommended!
Guy Verlinde

april 2024

Almost 20 years old and living in rooms for the first time. One room to be exact, but using the common kitchen and shower. After two weeks of tasting this immeasurable freedom, an unexpected phone call came. “Father here, I’m coming to see you.” Fright, excitement, but fun. Quickly cleaned up the mess. Two weeks of frank and free living had now turned the room into an amazingly large mess. Where is the laundry basket? Hm, I don’t have one. Then everything under the bed. The bottle of cologne mother gave me came in handy in this one. Father came in with a huge box. “Here Leendert, I’m sure you can put this to good use.” The box bulged with cans of canned goods and home-made preserves. That whole week I ate canned soup, green beans and hachee. The box was still almost full after this week but I threw it all in the trash. It must all have spoiled after about seven days, I thought. Only much later did I understand the concept of canned food. Canned and preserved vegetables last for years. Oops, mistake. I never dared tell Dad. Thinking you already know a lot. It was the same way with music. The Stones, Zeppelin, Hendrix, I knew it all. Also, by now I had a real pickup with about 50/ 60 records. My collection was already quite something. But did you really know that much? No, of course not. The great voyage of discovery had only just begun. Fortunately. Our landlord – a tad eccentric, but oh so sweet man – was a bit older than us and played very different music during dinner cooking than we were used to. Admittedly, at first I ignored his musical tastes but gradually I began to understand a little more. Not long after that came the big hit. Landlord Joop was playing music I had never heard before. Music that from then on changed everything. Music that was nothing like the rock, blues and pop I was used to. On the turntable was the LP “Bongo Fury” by Frank Zappa. A live record from 1975 with a guest appearance by the legendary Captain Beefhart. Totally unknown territory for me. Well, I knew the name Zappa from a Top 40 hit, but that penny hadn’t dropped yet. But now this record! Totally absurd but also very catchy music that had me completely in its grip. I wanted to hear more of this. Quickly went to the store and bought the LP. For weeks that thing was on the pickup. After work, playing it right away, the a and b sides, one after the other. Sound at 10. My roommates didn’t like it as much but then that was too bad. They just had to get used to my new love. In the months and years that followed I bought just about everything by Zappa. The man became my hero. Also went to two concerts. They are my fondest memories. For the layman, this is somewhat difficult to understand. Zappa`s music is often not very accessible, but if you take your time and are open to it, a world will open up for you. My musical world opened up with “Bongo Fury. The record that turned everything upside down. The record that had malingering with everything that belonged in music. The record that has been so important to me. Thank you Joop, I hope you are doing well. “Music is the best” FZ    
Leen Wander

februari 2024

It was usually in the middle of the night, around 4 a.m. or so. For the first few seconds, which seemed like minutes, I didn’t remember exactly where I was or what time it really was. Beside my bed, the green, orange and red lights of the equalizer on my stereo still danced up and down full of energy. As in my now tired ears Freddy King sings “If you keep trying you’ll make it through” and his guitar playing continues to echo, I realize that by now it is time to turn off the music and go to sleep without headphones on my head. Tomorrow is another day. And assume that’s another day where ‘Freddy King – His Early Years’ will be played. In my late teens I found out about the existence of blues through Jimi Hendrix. An uncle of mine was a musician and he had recorded a number of records on cassette tapes, including this compilation LP of Freddie King: His Early Years. And in no time I was obsessed with old blues in which the early recordings of Muddy Waters and Freddy King were at the top of my rankings. I had just picked up the guitar again after years of illness had prevented me from playing.And Freddy’s howling, screaming vocals that he perfectly interspersed with those pointed and then screaming, howling notes on his guitar fit that period perfectly. And if there was one goal in my life, it was to learn to play guitar like Freddy. And so I decided to brainwash myself by putting the cassette tape of Freddy King – His Early Years back on repeat at night and falling asleep to the beautiful sounds of this giant.
Steven van der Nat (Little Steve & the Big Beat)

januari 2024

The Soul of Blues Harmonica from 1964 (Chess) by Big Walter “Shakey” Horton was the first record that has been very important for my harmonica playing. His melodic way of playing is what touched me. I saw Walter live at the Blues Estafette in Utrecht in 1981. Very impressive and I was floored. No photos were allowed of him I can remember. He was particularly bothered by the flash light. I was there with Klaas Vermeulen (harmonica player friend, who died on 27 November 2020) and Rien and Marion Wisse of the then Blues Magazine Block. Easy is one of Big Walter’s songs that I still play (derived from Ivory Joe Hunter’s ‘l Almost lost My mind’, which was recorded by Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis. Big Walter Horton’s melodic way of playing is what appeals to me so much, his influences come from the music of his time and that can be heard, such as Bigband and Jazz bands. Easy also features on my CD ‘Gait’, released in 2010. I can recommend everyone to have a listen to that.
Gait Klein Kromhof (Bluesmuzikant - Champagne Charlie)

december 2023

Why this album? And not an old blues hero, like ‘John Lee Hooker’ or ‘Muddy Waters’? This album is for me the best blues album of today! It is a solo album and also an acoustic album. Two things I stand for myself and as icing on the cake also live…. The perfection of not being perfect at all is perfection to me! His ‘National’ guitar sounds so pure and direct, his voice is not yet lubricated… Ian puts on something very special this afternoon. He is on top form, his playing is pure raw and full of passion. The setlist this afternoon is fantastic, from old blues classics to Gospel, supplemented with his own work. He chats it all up with great stories and anecdotes. The album was recorded by the BBC, live at the Royal Albert Hall on Oct. 31, 2013. “THE concert you should have been at!” Thank goodness this live album was made of it. I’m sure there are now more people who claim to have attended this concert than were actually there…that’s how it works: “Oh yes I was there that night, it was unprecedentedly good!” The album begins with the song “The Silver Spurs,” right in with an uptempo blues. You can hear him sigh and support not yet played hot at all. He sets it the way you want to hear it and then his voice comes, this one breaks and it’s perfect. So the songs follow each other and after the 3rd song you are there, that afternoon in October. So the songs follow each other and after the 3rd song you are there, that afternoon in October. Sweat is running through your living room speakers and the smell of alcohol and cigarettes from the night before permeate your nostrils like incense. With the announcement of the last song, an 1850’s Traditional “Hard Times” by Stephen Foster (a great songwriter from the 1800’s), the album is over… All that remains is, “If only I had been there on that afternoon in October 2013 in London!” Happy listening!    
Robbert Duijf

november 2023

When I received this request to name my favourite/most important LP, chaos immediately ensued in my head. Help! Aretha Franklin, Bonnie Raitt, Howlin’ Wolf (very audibly present), Ray Charles, Robert Wilkins, Snooks Eaglin, Otis Rush all reported as my favourite…Van Morrison dealt out a few hefty shoves left and right, because he was my favourite, wasn’t he? What about Hank Williams, and Steve Winwood? No, I’m not going to come out of this, there is stupidly too much good music made. Favourite band then? Stones, Duke Ellington, The Band, Little Feat (Oh yes, Lowell George… was also among them. How he sings Long distance love, so beautiful). And now I’ve certainly not mentioned 10 other “favourites”…. In short, I’m going to limit myself to an LP that actually turned me on to singing the blues as a 15-year-old. Then, admittedly, another choice-stress moment immediately presents itself. I was gripped by the blues in the way it was known at the time (and I am talking about the mid/late 60s): through the Dutch and English blues bands. And then through their sources of inspiration. I was particularly fond of (and also a bit in love with Eelco Gelling) the LP Greetings from Grolloo by Cuby & the Blizzards, in the line-up at the time, also with Herman Brood. The song Somebody will know someday was the absolute favourite, with that beautiful piano part and masterful solo by Eelco. But then John Lee Hooker came into my life. I had been playing guitar myself for quite some time but at that age I actually preferred to sing, and the song that actually made me become a blues singer was on an LP by John Lee Hooker. That was Something Else for a while: that voice, those hypnotic guitar licks. I discovered that I could play quite a blues scheme, and one of my favourite songs was “I’m in the mood” on that particular record. This was what I wanted to be able to do, make music with that intensity! Of course, at first only in my room…. 5 years later, at age 20, I was asked by Barrelhouse and that same song became the successful final song of our gigs for a very long time. Of course in a really exciting Barrelhouse arrangement…. So, hence the choice of: John Lee Hooker Anthology du Blues No.4 ! Also check out young John Lee Hooker on Youtube with Serves me right to suffer from 1969 and you’ll see what I mean….  
Tineke Schoenmaker (Barrelhouse)

sept 2023

Muddy Waters album “Live At Mr. Kellys” from 1971 took my heart into the blues. I bought this album (Cassette) a sunny saturday in the summer of 1974, and I was nine years old. Acually I got money from my sweet grandmother to buy the 45rpm of WATERLOO with ABBA that won the Eurovision that same year. I took the bus all alone to town to buy this album and when I finish the deal, I had 10 Norwegian Krones (Nok) left (apx. 1 EURO). At the entrance of the record shop there where a big bowl with cassettes for Nok. 10,- each. I grew up with my mothers 1950/60’s albums, but couldnt’t find any cassette with some of them (Rick Nelson, Elvis, Cliff Richard, Roy Orbison, Brook Benton aso), so I ended up with a cassette with a cool cover in cool colors. This was MUDDY WATERS, that I never heard about before. When I came home of course the first thing I did was to put on ABBA cause I liked that song. Later on the same Saturday Night I put the Muddy cassette in my new cassette player and the rest is history. I played trumpet in the local school brassband (my father was the director) since I was 7 years old and the first song on this live recording was «WHAT IS THAT SHE GOT». Don’t know how to describe it, but it blow me away total. The harmonica work on this tune is among the best I still hear and in the cassette cover/ sleve it says the it was Mr Joe Denim on Mississippi «Trumpet» on track 1, 3 & 9. On the other songs there where Paul Oscher on harp. For years after 1974 I was looking for more music with Mr. Joe Denim, but no luck before I meet a hippie in 1981. He told me that “Joe Denim” was James Cotton. In the pseudonymic contract-hopping tradition, where sidemen show up on other peoples’ records under names like “Friendly Chap” and “Dirty Rivers,” Mr Joe Denim was James Cotton. He worked with Muddy several years before going solo and Muddy insisted that he should play harmonic at this fantastic live show. I was lucky enough to meet my mentor James Henry Cotton twice and he will forever be my hero. Still listen to his solos and fill in’s on this album, and I will never get tired of It. I also meet Paul Oscher and we shared a bottle of Jack Daniels while he told me about this fabulous recording from June 1971. Mr. Superharp (James Cotton…or Mr Joe Denim if You like) died in 2017, but he will forever be my biggest influence since I first heard his fabulous playing in July 1974.
Kjell Brovol (Jolly Jumper & director Bluesfestival BluesinHell (Norway).

August 2023

There have been so many great blues albums made over the years that it is very difficult to choose just one. After much consideration, I did go with an artist who I feel is truly among the top blues music artists. I came across this fantastic album by Bonnie Raitt after seeing a live recording of this performance. Anyway, I was familiar with her music beforehand, but after seeing this I was completely sold. The album contains some of my favorite songs such as “Love sneaking up on you” and “Angel of Montgomery,” but have come to appreciate these songs even more after hearing them in live jacket. Raitt’s slide playing is so unique and recognizable that it stands out right away. Her husky, smoky voice also comes through again and stands out beautifully in the whole. There are also a good number of guest musicians playing along such as Charles Brown, Kim Wilson, Bruce Hornsby, Bryan Adams and Jackson Browne. They all add their individuality to the record. If you watch the live performance as well, you can see the experience and musicality of Raitt and the other musicians added to that. Therefore, it is definitely a must-see. For me, Bonnie Raitt is definitely a musical inspiration. This album really introduced me to Bonnie Raitt’s music and it is certainly not the last thing I will listen to from her. She is one of the best and most versatile blues musicians out there and there are few who can match her. In my opinion, she is a true female blues legend and I hope many more like her may follow.
Nienke Dingemans

July 2023

At our house, I was quite spoiled with music. Mijn vader had een hele rits aan platen, waar ik als kleine knul maar al te graag mijn kleffe grijpvingertjes in wilde zetten, al was het alleen maar vanwege de afbeeldingen en de aantrekkingskracht van al die mensen die er op afgebeeld stonden: muzikanten, wat een raar volkje. The house was also full of reels for a Revox tape recorder. Daar werd nog wel eens wat mee opgenomen en afgespeeld. Fantastic and incredibly complicated, all those needles, discs, spools, magnets and miles of tape just to fill our living room with the hip sounds of the 60s and 70s. I cherish fond memories of whole Sundays playing with my train under a blanket of Pink Floyd, the Stones, Jimi Hendrix and Cuby & The Blizzards. My father’s love for the latter band was a holdover from the 1960s, when he himself played in many a youth band (and who didn’t in those days). Later we also got a cassette deck on the cabinet and the collection expanded to include music which was skillfully and illegally exchanged between my father and his friends/colleagues. So suddenly there was a bin of tapes with the word “CHESS” written large on them. Deze collectie opende mijn ogen als het gaat om de oorsprong van de Blues. Terwijl ik eerder dacht dat de Blues een fenomeen was uit de wilde jaren van mijn ouders, doorspekt met de geluiden van elektrische instrumenten in een twelve-bar korsetje gesnoerd, bleek al gauw dat het hier ging om een sterk staaltje jatwerk. Guys like Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker were already bringing me a little closer to the truth. I had to learn more about that. Seeing the movie “Crossroads,” in which Ralph Macchio takes on the devilish Steve Vai in a symbolic duel between (Blues) rock and authentic Blues, I realized it could be a great scavenger hunt. Robert Johnson, Blind Willie McTell, Skip James, Son House and so on…. that was the “real shit!” However, the real itch to pick up a guitar myself and put my fingers in a double ship knot came with an LP by Mississippi John Hurt, The Original 1928 Recordings. Maybe this isn’t an obvious choice for everyone but his inimitable picking and alternate bass work blew me away completely. All this is also framed by, perhaps, the most genial voice in the history of the Blues. Anyone who hears this man sing is instantly transported back to times long gone, brought with honesty by one man with one voice and, I secretly suspect, 26 or so fingers. The subjects John Hurt sings about contrast greatly with his conversational sound. Sex (Candy Man Blues), Adultery/Murder (Frankie) and psychopaths (Stack o’Lee Blues) all pass in review in the oeuvre of this blues legend. A record that, with your eyes closed, is great for daydreaming away on a Sunday afternoon with a good glass of “whatever” and possibly a guitar on your lap. Definitely worth a try!
Imco Ceelen (Duketown Slim)

juni 2023

When I was 19, the first LP by The Paul Butterfield Band came out. Before that I had been listening to blues by Muddy Waters, Willy Dixon, Rolling Stones etc. But when I put this LP on my turntable it came in like a bomb. It was Chicago blues that was just a little different, blues with energy, passion, tight and straight ahead. That wasn’t surprising in the end because Chicago-born Paul Butterfield was one of the most innovative singers/mouth harmonica players in Chicago blues. In 1963 Paul formed the band with Mike Bloomfield, Elvin Bishop, Jerome Arnold and Sam Lay and they made 5 albums, the first of which is still the best for me and impressed me the most. Listen to ‘Mellow Down Easy’ (Willy Dixon) and ‘Blues With A Feeling’ (Little Walter) and you will break down. But also the songs ‘Born in Chicago’ and ‘Shake your Money Maker’ are gems. The band disbanded after 8 years (1971) and Paul Butterfield died on May 4, 1987. The LP I have is no longer playable, it went from black to gray, so I just bought the CD some time ago.  
Rien van Rijn (Vintage Brothers)