Putumayo is pleased to present Blues Café, a captivating collection of laidback blues by legends and new discoveries from the Mississippi Delta and beyond. Available this Friday, April 29, this release includes a CD, album download card and booklet with extensive information about the artists and songs. The album will also be available for download and streaming on major platforms.
This is Putumayo’s first official collaboration with Music Maker Foundation, which supports carriers of America’s oldest roots music traditions and assists senior artists with resources they need to live. In addition to licensing three songs, Putumayo will contribute 5% of its proceeds to MMF. During the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, featured artists Alabama Slim and Little Freddie King will perform at A Gallery for Fine Photography’s exhibition of photographs by Tim Duffy, Founder and Director of Music Maker Foundation, on May 5 from 1-4 PM. Little Freddie King has performed in all of the Jazz Fests except for the first annual event.
The album opens with Lightnin’ Hopkins’ guitar strike and raw emotional power of “Found My Baby Crying.” The blues has traveled far and wide, including to France, the home of the next musician, roots music devotee Arnaud Fradin & His Roots Combo, who honors Delta blues traditions on “Good Morning Love.”
Back-to-back guitar and harmonica duos keep this musical train moving along: first, with Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee’s “Walk On”. This classic embodies the acoustic folk blues tradition of the ‘50s and ‘60s, defined by guitar fingerpicking and upbeat harmonica. Then, Junior Wells teams up with iconic bluesman Buddy Guy to offer the cool Chicago blues tune “In The Wee Hours.” Another quintessential Chicago guitarist Lurrie Bell becomes introspective on “Blues In My Soul,” showing the blues’ ability to stir up strong emotions of joy and sorrow.
The prolific saxophonist Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson played with scores of jazz greats during his career but returns here to his roots with a bluesy rendition of “Somebody Got To Go.” New Orleans notables, Alabama Slim & Little Freddie King follow with “I Got The Blues,” a cut from a collaborative album recorded by Music Maker Foundation in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. John Dee Holeman & The Waifs Band, also recorded by MMF, deliver a soulful twelve bar blues on “Comin’ Home To You.” Holeman was an NEA National Heritage Fellowship recipient.
Legendary trio, Otis Spann, James Cotton and Muddy Waters unite for a slow-rolling number which recalls the genre’s Delta roots still prevalent in blues music today, proving that, as the song title states, “The Blues Never Die.” Closing out this journey into the intricate blues tradition is Algia Mae Hinton, recorded by MMF, with a Piedmont blues rendition of the classic lament, “Going Down the Road Feeling Bad.”
Elderly blues musicians, despite their importance in keeping the roots of the music alive, are threatened today. The social and economic disorders that first challenged their forerunners are still a long way from being cured. We encourage fans of the blues and this album to contribute to Music Maker Foundation at www.musicmaker.org.