All posts by FredFraser

Climax Blues BAND

My love of blues all started when I first heard the Climax Blues Band‘s first album back when they were known as the Climax Chicago Blues Band. What more can I say than this album made me a life long blues fan and to this day it’s still one of my favorite albums.

The founding members of this group were Colin Cooper, Pete Haycock and Derek Holt (which did a fine interview with). In 1983 George Glover joined the group and the group’s most recent recording was in 2019 and they still tour, mostly in Europe apparently, in 2020. Checking out their website they look like a great group to catch in concert.

Other than the sentimental favorite first album my next favorite was Sense of Direction and specifically the tune Nogales.

With 22 albums to date this band definitely has a repertoire worth checking out. If you’re familiar with this band and have a favorite tune I’d love to hear about it. Thanks for reading.

Colin James

Colin James followed a musical trajectory from rock to blues with a few creative diversions along the way. Seems a natural progression not unlike my own. There is a great story from Wikipedia how Colin James got his break when the opening act for Stevie Ray Vaughn didn’t show up. Anyway I saw a show in a pub at Whistler B.C. where he played Voodoo Thing and this video brings me right back there.

As time passed Colin James gravitated more to the blues as did I . With fond memories of Voodoo Thing burned in my memory I was thrilled to find National Steel in the blues section of the record store.

If you’re looking for a list of blues artists to check out the original artists on the track list from National Steel on Wikipedia.

The most recent tune I found by Colin James left me speechless. Well almost, all I can say is thank you Colin James.

Sean Costello

If you’re not familiar with the awesome electric guitar blues of Sean Costello you’re in for a real treat. Whenever I hear Sean I’m always blown away by the tone he got from his guitar. His tone reflects what many other top guitarist would be happy to claim as their finest moments. Here is a great example:

There are only eight Sean Costello albums and three were released posthumously.

Sean Costello was born April 16, 1979 and died April 15, 2008 one day short of his 29th birthday. Sean is being remembered by his label Landslide Records with a new release called Sean’s Blues – “A Memorial Retrospective” with many great Sean Costello tunes by various artists. It’s an interesting title considering the 12 previously unreleased tracks. Oh and the tune “Don’t Pass Me By ” is not on the album!

Now here’s a little mystery I’m hoping someone can solve for me. The track “Don’t Pass Me By ” is not on the album, even though it is the title of the album. Seem’s its owned Tone-Cool Records and they seem to have disappeared. Anyone know what happened to them?

Don’t forget – this tune is not on a Landslide CD and what happened to Tone-Cool ?

Sean’s career started early with his first album coming out when he was just 16 years old. His career was short but he certainly was rocketing to the top while he was with us. Sean played constantly in concerts and bars playing as many as 300 gigs in a year. He played with many of the greats including B.B. King, James Cotton and Buddy Guy. He spent some time with Levon Helm and was fast tracking to modern day blues royalty while accompanying Susan Tedeschi who is now part of the Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Tony’s Acoustic Challenge

I took the acoustic challenge a couple years back. I have to say it improved my dexterity and speed but it never translated into music for me. If you’re looking for something to take the boredom out of practicing with a goal to develop technique, speed and dexterity and break through to a new level of playing this is a great site.

Personally I’m a little old to worry too much about such things and just want to make music.


It’s been a year since I was a member of JamPlay. The site is packed full of a ton of content. Songs and courses of all sorts. That said there are a ton of songs out there and I struggled to find ones I really felt I wanted learn. The teacher led lessons never worked for me. When you’re learning from a teacher its nice to be able to say this song not that one. You can’t really do that and since I assume the lessons are progressive I found myself learning songs I didn’t want to learn to make progress. I can recommend this site to anyone looking to learn songs and likes the selection of song specific lessons.

I’ll probably be back at some point in time for another year as I’m sure they have added more content but right now I’m taking a different approach. These days I find songs I love and learn them, not songs I can learn to see if I love them.

Jerry’s Guitar Bar

Jerry’s guitar bar is an awesome collection of song specific lessons. There are even some free ones. The lessons cover strum or picking patterns and seem quite true to the original songs to my ear. The full lessons include a play through the song and tabs. Here is a sample of the lesson part from youtube.

I have to say I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every lesson I’ve downloaded from Jerry’s guitar bar. Do yourself a favor and pick up a free lesson and learn a new song. Here is the link:

Jim Brynes

If you’re looking to kickback with some fine acoustic blues Jim Brynes may be just what you’re looking for. Here is a fine mellow take on the classic Crossroads Blues

Here is another great cover. Now I love Doc Watson but I just like things a little raw like Jim Brynes does here.

Maybe I like the less polished sound because I can imagine playing it myself. So speaking of playing tunes here is a sort of cool lesson for this song that also provides some useful insight as to what it takes to learn a song like this.

Willie Dixon

Willie Dixon’s autobiography is entitled “I am the Blues” . So I’m not sure what to make of that statement but according to Wikipedia he wrote over 500 songs so you have thank him for one heck of a contribution to the blues music scene.

Here is a list of some of the most recorded Willie Dixon tunes:

  • Hoochie Coochie Man
  • I’m Ready
  • I Just Want To Make Love To You
  • Spoonful
  • Little Red Rooster
  • Bring It On Home
  • Wang Dang Doodle
  • Same Thing

Here is an awesome documentary on YouTube ” Willie and the new generation of blues. Documentary from the Berlin jazz festival 1977″.

If you’re wanting to kick back and hear the jazzy and bluesy side of Willie Dixon here is a full 2 hours of the best of Willie Dixon.

Thanks to Willie Dixon for all that wonderful music.

Tom Waits

I frequently find myself reflecting on an artists work as maturing and mellowing with age. Like fine wine musical tastes get more refined and in my case at least lean towards the mellower melodic soothing sounds. That’s probably why I like Tom Wait‘s older stuff more than his performing arts of recent years. I never actually realized that my favorite songs are the title tracks to the albums but I can honestly say there is not one song I don’t love on each of these albums. So with that in mind here are my favorite three Tom Wait’s albums and a song from each.

From the 1974 Album The Heart of Saturday Night the title track (Lookin’ for) The Heart of Saturday Night.

From the 1978 album Blue Valentines album the title track Blue Valentines.

From the 1980 album Heart Attack and Vine.

My favorite Tom Wait’s quote is “there’s only reason you write new songs: you get sick of the old songs“. Tom’s an original there is no doubt of that. When I listen to his musical trajectory its like he started where most of us end up and he’s going towards a more raw but still very entertaining performance. He’s like the Benjamin Button of my musical tastes.