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dimanche 24 janvier 2021

AFBF 1969/ The Complete Sessions





After Al Smith in 1968, the line up of the AFBF 1969 European tour was once again given to a blues producer. This time it was the great Arhoolie's founder and manager Chris Strachwitz who also introduced on stage each artist, mostly bluesmen who had recorded on Arhoolie with the exception of Magic Sam and Carey Bell.

            The Paris show which I attended was quite good with Juke Boy Bonner starting with several of his own compositions and some Jimmy Reed's numbers. As far as I remember, Alex Moore appeared a little frail and, alone on the big concert stage, seemed to be hidden behind his piano, playing more for himself than for the audience. John Jackson followed, certainly the first Piedmont style bluesman to grace those AFBF's. I will have the opportunity to visit Mr Jackson ten years after at his home near Washington DC and he remembered this tour fondly but apologized himself for being too restrained and shy at that time before an European audience that he didn't know previously.


Clifton Chenier and his brother were their usual excellent showmen, introducing himself in French and mocking Chris Strachwitz who "sait pas parler français, le pauvre gars" (can't speak French, the poor boy!). 

Earl Hooker lighted the stage on fire with several instrumentals, displaying a dexterity on his double neck guitar that stunned the audience, singing some numbers with a young Carey Bell who was at that time mostly unknown but blowed like hell.


  Magic Sam closed the show with his trio and played a wonderful driving set that started a thunder of applause. I chatted a little bit with him and he told me to come to visit him in Chicago, telling me he was going to sign a contract with a major label for which he had great expectations. Unfortunately, Sam would die less than two months after this show!

            So, here are the titles from this tour that I've been able to gather for my "Blue Eye" blog.

                                                                       Gérard HERZHAFT



All titles recorded in Europe during October 1969


Juke Boy Bonner, vcl/g/hca.

01. Jumping with Juke Boy

02. Running shoes

Alex Moore, vcl/pno.

03. Across the Atlantic Ocean

John Jackson, vcl/g.

04. Poor boy

05. John Jackson's breakdown

06. You ain't no woman

Clifton Chenier, vcl/acc; Cleveland Chenier, rubboard; Robert St Julien, dms.

07. Zydeco et pas sale (Les haricots sont pas salés)

08. Wrap it up

Earl Hooker, vcl/g; Carey Bell, hca; Mac Thompson, bs; Robert St Julien, dms.

09. Earl's boogie

10. Going up and down

11. Crosscut saw

12. Blue shadows fall

Carey Bell, hca; Earl Hooker, g; Mac Thompson, bs; Robert St Julien, dms.

13. Rocking with chromonica

Magic Sam, vcl/g; Mac Thompson, bs; Robert St Julien, dms.

14. Easy baby

15. Looking good

16. All your love


All photos taken from my programme by Chris Strachwitz, Horst Lippman, Tom Revis.

12 commentaires:

  1. AFBF 1969/ The Complete Sessions

    OK? And thanks for any feedback

  2. Thanks for another excellent collection. A great variety of fine artists and different styles on this one. (And John Jackson didn't have anything to apologise for; he sounds good here.)

  3. Great stuff, thanks a lot. Looking foreward to Juke Boy Bonner.

  4. I have to say that the joy it brings me to see your continuing series of AFBF recordings brings me complete joy. The official releases have always been the foundational bedrock of my blues house, ever since I discovered them.

    I was friends with Carey Bell for years and used to go on tour with him to film/document his shows.

    Here's a few Carey Bell stories:
    One time we flew into Heathrow airport in England for a plane change to then fly to Germany to start a 3-week European tour. As Carey, the whole band (all white guys), and I went through a loose security checkpoint, everyone got through quickly except for Carey. OF COURSE he was the only one stopped and questioned in detail. They were asking him his purpose in coming from the States, his profession, and more. When they asked his profession, he said "I'm a musician." Then to the next "What instrument do you play?" question, Carey replied "Harmonica." as they opened up and searched his harmonica box which contained all of his harps. The next question the inquiring English tall-hatted-Bobby asked was "How about you play us a tune?", to which Carey replied... "I'm a professional. When I play, I get paid. MOTHERFUCKER." Haaaaaaaa.... well I had already broken out my video camera and was filming the exchange, which unfolded in this unexpected manner as it went on, with me initially simply thinking "This will be a good start to the tour footage, us arriving at our first stop." After Carey's final response, another Bobby quickly approached me and covered up my video camera lens with his hand and nearly knocked it out of my hand, while Carey was then allowed to proceed and we were on our way to a great 3-week tour ahead of us. That was the ONLY such incident on the tour. This was circa mid-1990's.

    Another favorite Carey Bell story is Carey not liking interviews. Carey was pretty much a man of few words to begin with. I heard one interview where he was asked lengthy, detailed questions to which he mostly gave simple "Yeah" or "Nah" responses. It was quite amusing. Carey once revealed his disdain for interviews by saying "They ask me all kinds of stupid questions. They wanna know what color socks motherfucking Elmore James wore. He's dead! Ask me about me. I'm ALIVE, MOTHERFUCKER!"

    Sorry if I offend anyone with the cussing. If so, it is quite unintended. But I just wanted to relate the real story.

  5. What a great job , Thanks and sorry that i don't comment more often . Thanks for all (and that is a lot !)

  6. Wonderful to hear more from this tour, which I saw in Gothenburg... memories are revived! Merci beaucoup!

    Stuffy from sweden