Hi everyone, we’re concluding our cliff notes look at Blues Rock music of the 1960s with this posting.
Next week we’ll kick off a month long look at another category of 1960s Rock – Early Sixties Soul.
And we’ll jump into our last Sixties Blues Rock posting by noting each week’s posting features the following sections:
I. Brief Artist Bios
II. Freegal Music Recommendations Of The Week (streaming music)
III. CD Music Recommendations Of The Week
IV. Videos Of This Weeks’ Artists/Groups
V. Wild Card Print Book Recommendation Of The Week (a print book that focuses on a musician, musicians, songwriters or other musical genres, styles etc. from any musical era)
VI. References (for those who’d like to know a bit more about the artists of the week).
For our final week of listening to Sixties Blues Rock, we’re going to take a closer look at two British Blues artists and a group that were better known in the U.K. than the U.S. but that nevertheless played some great music! The two artists and one group are: Alexis Korner, Cyril Davis & The Graham Bond Organization.
Beginning Terminology Note:
To those of us who grew up after the 1960s it is helpful to note that 1960s Jazz was more closely related to Big Band music and to Rhythm and Blues music than jazz music of the seventies, eights or nineties.
Also of note, and again just for those of us who came of age after the sixties, you may have an impression of the term “R&B” as describing music with soft soulful vocals; however, in the early sixties Rhythm & Blues, R&B for short, was a term used to describe music that had strong blues roots, music that might be described as traditional rhythm and blues – today most of us would simply refer to this style of music as Blues. And I thought I should point that out, as the music of Alexis Korner, Cyril Davies, Blues Incorporated and The Graham Bond Organisation is on a different musical path than R&B music made since the 1970s. Their music really is blues with a mixture of jazz and traditional rock influences thrown to add musical color.
I. Brief Artist Bios:
Alexis Korner: Alexis Korner was born in Paris in 1928, and moved with his family to the U. K. in 1940. As a teenager he became a huge fan of American R&B. Korner learned to play piano and guitar and began playing professionally in the 1940s. It was in the mid-fifties that he ran into a guitarist and harmonica player named Cyril Davis and found that they shared a love of American Blues music.
In 1962, Korner and Davies formed the renowned Blues Incorporated band which really was the first British Blues band to break their music to a large audience. Korner and Davies not only played the blues, they encouraged others to play the blues too and, also, brought in American Blues players to play for British audiences. And thus the duo and the group they founded – Blues Incorporated, had a huge impact on British rock and blues players of the era.
Some of the musicians that played in the ever revolving line-up of Blues Incorporated included future Rolling Stones Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger & Keith Richards, early Rolling Stone member and the man subsequently known as the “Sixth Stone” Ian Stewart, future Graham Bond Orgaisation members and Cream co-founders Ginger Baker & Jack Bruce, Long John Baldry who went on to sing with Cyril Davies’s All Stars, Dick Heckstall-Smith who later played with The Graham Bond Organization & John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers, Paul Jones later lead singer of Manfred Mann (he sang lead vocals on their biggest U.S. hit Do Wah Diddy Diddy), Steve Marriott who went on to play with Humble Pie & The Small Faces and many others.
The great British Bluesman John Mayall has even noted of Korner, Davis and their band Blues Incorporated, that their success influenced him to form his renowned Bluesbreakers band.
If you want to know more about Alexis Korner YouTube offers a BBC documentary which you can access here:
Here’s a list of Korner’s sixties albums: R&B from the Marquee, Red Hot from Alex, At the Cavern, Sky High, I Wonder Who, A New Generation of Blues & Blues Inc./Alex Korner All Stars.
Korner continued to play and record through the 1970s and into the 1980s. Unfortunately, Korner died of lung cancer in 1984 at the relatively young age of 56.
Cyril Davies: Here’s the AllMusic biography of Cyril Davies: “The Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars were, after the Rolling Stones, the best British blues band of the early ’60s — and if they’d gotten to stay together a little longer under Davies, they might even have given Mick Jagger, Brian Jones, and company a real run for their money. This regrettably short-lived blues band was assembled by harpist/singer Cyril Davies (1932-1964) in 1963, following his exit from Blues Incorporated. The group’s original lineup, featuring Davies on harp and vocals, had Bernie Watson on guitar, Nicky Hopkins on piano, Ricky Brown playing bass, and Carlo Little on the drums — all four had been recruited from the ranks of Screaming Lord Sutch’s Savages. This quintet recorded an initial single, “Country Line Special,” driven by Davies’ wailing harp and vocals, that was sufficiently authentic to get it placed alongside the British releases of songs by Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and the rest of the Chess Record luminaries in England’s Pye Records catalog,” and “The Cyril Davies R&B All-Stars remain an impressive footnote in the history of British blues, however, for their handful of recordings, including “Country Line Special,” “Preachin’ the Blues,” and a hard-rocking rendition of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away.” They never recorded an album, but their songs appear on numerous anthologies including: A Shot of Rhythm and Blues (Sequel Records), Stroll On (Sony Music), and Dealing With the Devil (Sony Music).”
And I think that review nicely sums up Davies’s importance in the history of British Blues!
Cyril Davies, who had been diagnosed with Endocarditis, died suddenly after collapsing during a concert in 1964. Had he lived longer Davies might be better known today, as it is he left behind a handful of great songs and influenced numerous other British Blues musicians.
The Graham Bond Organisation: And yes indeed, the spelling is correct! They were called The Graham Bond Organisation with an “s” instead of a “z” – it is the British spelling and as they were a British band – we’ll go with the British spelling! Even though you will sometimes see the band referred to in print as The Graham Bond Organization.
Graham Bond is not well known in the U.S. However, he was an important figure in the British Blues movement of the early 1960s. R&B fan Bond played the saxophone and keyboards and was a member of Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated.
And it was while he was playing with Blues Incorporated that Bond met future Cream members Jack Bruce and Ginger Baker and saxophonist Dick Heckstall-Smith. In 1963 Bond, Bruce, Baker & Heckstall-Smith exited Korner’s band to form The Graham Bond Organisation.
The GBO played a mixture of blues based rock with strong R&B and jazz influences mixed in. Bond, who had a gruff voice, played keyboards and sang lead vocals on most songs, while Bruce played bass, wrote a few songs for the group and occasionally sang lead vocals with a smoother voice, Baker played drums and ran the band and Heckstall-Smith played the sax. This classic line-up of the band recorded three albums together: Live at Klooks Kleek (1964), The Sound of ’65 (1965) and There’s a Bond Between Us (1965).
After their third album was recorded, Bond moved to American where he continued to perform and record, Baker and Bruce who had, to say the least an acrimonious relationship, found themselves forming Cream with Eric Clapton and Dick Heckstall-Smith continued playing R&B and jazz music with John Mayall and many other musicians over the years – he even published two biographies which offer a solid look at the British Blues scene of the early sixties: The Safest Place in the World: Personal History of British Rhythm and Blues and Blowing the Blues: Fifty Years Playing the British Blues. Bond died in 1974, Heckstall-Smith in 2004 and Bruce in 2014.
Ginger Baker continues to record and even has his own website found at:
To access Freegal Music from a desktop or laptop simply click on the following link:
The Freegal Music Catalog homepage will display — it looks like this:
The Freegal Music app can be found in your app store and it looks like this:
II. Freegal Music Recommendations Of The Week:
1. Alexis Korner – Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated…Plus
This album features mellow saxophone, jolly piano playing and rave-upish guitar playing! Songs on the album include: Taboo Man, Rainy Tuesday, Preachin’ the Blues, A Little Bit Groovy and more – check it out!
Here’s a link to stream the album Alexis Korner’s Blues Incorporated…Plus
2. Cyril Davies – The Blues Anthology CD2 by various artists
This album, really is digital despite the CD2 in the title! And it and features the songs Someday Baby and Not Fade Away by Cyril Davies and the Rhythm and Blues All Stars. This set also includes songs by a number of other British Blues artists of the sixties including: Albert Lee, Jo-Ann Kelley, Earl Vince, Rod Stewart, Nicky Hopkins, Jeff Beck, Jimmy Page and more.
This is a fun collection!
Here’s a link to stream The Blues Anthology album:
3. The Graham Bond Organisation – Live At Klooks Kleek:
This album is the first GBO album and was recorded live in London in 1964. It features the songs: Wade in The Water, Early in The Morning, Person to Person Blues, What I’d Say, Spanish Blues, First Time I Met The Blues, Stormy Monday and Train Time. And despite the sound quality, which by modern standard is rough, this album give you an excellent idea of how well the band played together – the music really does swing!
Here’s a link to stream the album Live At Klooks Kleek:
Freegal Wild Card Streaming Pick Of The Week:
The Aaron Copland Collection: Orchestral Music And Music For Solo Piano:
This week’s Freegal Wild Card Pick is a long ways away from the Blues! It is a cool Aaron Copland album!
And If you’re not really into classical music you might not be aware of how important Aaron Copland’s music is in the history of American music…
Before Copland came along if someone said “Classical Music” they were apt to be referring to music composed by a European composer. The cliff notes version of the story is that when Copland first came to the public’s attention in the 1940s – he changed all that – here was an American composer who could create fantastic, majestic music! And for that reason alone, if you aren’t a classical music fan you should check him out – at least listen to Fanfare for the Common Man.
And for anyone else who is game, give a listen to the entire album The Aaron Copland Collection: Orchestral Music And Music For Solo Piano album. The album features the songs Fanfare for the Common Man, An Outdoor Adventures, Our Town, John Henry, songs from Rodeo, Billy The Kid, Appalachian Spring, Lincoln Portrait and much more!
Here’s a link to stream the Copland album:
III. Compact Discs Recommendations:
This week I’m only going to recommend two CDs as Cyril Davies didn’t record any full-length albums and the two songs of his I recommended from the Freegal Catalog give you a good idea of what his music sounded like. (If we get a request for a CD that features Cyril Davies’s music – we’ll get one!)
Alexis Korner – R&B from the Marquee:
Despite the title the album was not recorded live in concert, although it was recorded live in the studio during one long session. This album features the multi-instrumentalist Alexis Korner on vocals, Cyril Davies on harmonica and vocals, Dick Heckstall-Smith on sax, Keith Scott on piano, Graham Burbridge on drums, Spike Heatley on bass and Long John Baldry singing on a few songs. This is a great collection of music. Standout songs in the collection include: Spooky But Nice, Gotta Move, Got My Mojo Working, I Though You Heard That Train Whistle blow, I Want’ To Put A Tiger In Your Tank, and, honestly, the whole album is swinging fun!
Here’s a link to request the R&B from the Marquee album via StarCat:
The Graham Bond Organisation – The Sound of ’65 and There’s A Bond Between Us
The AllMusic site has a great review of this double album set, written by Bruce Eder, and here it is:“This two-LPs-on-one-CD package is essential listening for anyone who is seriously interested in either British blues, the Rolling Stones’ early sound, or the history of popular music, in England or America, during the late ’50s and early ’60s. In England during the years 1957-1962, jazz and blues used to intermix freely, especially among younger blues enthusiasts and more open-minded jazzmen — by 1963, most of the former had gone off to form bands like the Rolling Stones, the Yardbirds, the Pretty Things, etc., with guitars a the forefront of their sound, while the latter (most notably British blues godfather Alexis Korner) kept some jazz elements in their work. The Graham Bond Organization (along with Zoot Money’s Big Roll Band and other, similar outfits) represented the jazzier side of the British blues boom, less charismatic and sexually provocative than blues-rock bands like the Stones or the Yardbirds, but no less potent a product of the same inspiration, sax and organ being much more prominent in their sound. Indeed, Bond’s playing on the organ as represented on this CD is the distant antecedent to Keith Emerson’s more ambitious keyboard excursions of 3-4 years later, without the incessant copping of classical riffs. The playing and singing (by Graham Bond and a young Jack Bruce) are curiously soulful, and when Ginger Baker takes a solo on “Oh Baby,” it’s a beautiful, powerful, even lyrical experience (as drum solos go), and one of those bold, transcendant, virtuoso moments, akin to Brian Jones’ harmonica solo on the Stones’ version of “Hi Heel Sneakers.” The band was more exciting on stage, as the evidence of their one surviving early live performance indicates, but they were worth hearing on record as well.”
Here’s a link to request the CD set The Sound of ’65 and There’s A Bond Between Us through StarCat:
Wild Card DVD Pick Of The Week:
Our Wild Card DVD recommendation of the week is a new addition to the library’s collection put out by from The Criterion Collection:
In a Lonely Place (1950)
Here’s a description of this classic film: When a gifted but washed-up screenwriter with a hair-trigger temper Humphrey Bogart (Casablanca), in a revelatory, vulnerable performance becomes the prime suspect in a brutal Tinseltown murder, the only person who can supply an alibi for him is a seductive neighbor (The Big Heat s Gloria Grahame) with her own troubled past. The emotionally charged In a Lonely Place, freely adapted from a Dorothy B. Hughes thriller, is a brilliant, turbulent mix of suspenseful noir and devastating melodrama, fueled by powerhouse performances. An uncompromising tale of two people desperate to love yet struggling with their demons and each other, this is one of the greatest films of the 1950s, and a benchmark in the career of the classic Hollywood auteur Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause).
Here’s a link to StarCat to request In A Lonely Place:
IV: Videos Of This Weeks’ Artists/Groups:
Alexis Korner – Angel Band 1978
Alexis Korner – Spoonful
Cyril Davies All Stars featuring Long John Baldry from 1963 – I’ve Got My Mojo Working – Davies covers vocals and Long John is the one with the tambourine:
The Graham Bond Organization – Hoochie Coochie Man:
I suspect this video was recorded from the TV and it is fuzzy but it does open a window into the 1960s and lets us watch The Graham Bond Organization play live — and wow, how young Jack Bruce looks!
Here’s the link to the video:
The Graham Bond Organization – Green Onions – 1964: This video isn’t a concert clip but it does feature a neat & clear photo of the band. The GBO band members are, from left to right, Graham Bond, Dick Heckstall-Smith, Jack Bruce & Ginger Baker.
Here’s a link to the clip Green Onions:
V. Wild Card Print Book Recommendation Of The Week:
25 Folksong Solos for Children: with Recorded Accompaniments
(Vocal Collection). Folksongs especially arranged for a child’s solo voice (including a unchanged boy’s treble voice), with a limited range, designed to encourage lyric singing, and easy piano accompaniments. Contents: All the Pretty Little Horses * Animal Fair * Annabel Lee * The Ash Grove * Bill Grogan’s Goat * Cradle Song * Every Night When the Sun Goes In *Father’s Whiskers * The Generous Fiddler * How Can I Keep from Singing * Hush, Little Baby * The Lark in the Morn * Little Brown Dog * The Mermaid * My White Horse * On Mondays I Never Go to Work * Poor Lonesome Cowboy * The Red River Valley * Scarborough Fair * Shenandoah * Simple Gifts * The Streets of Laredo * Sweet the Evening Air of May * Tell Me Why * The Water Is Wide.
Here’s a link to StarCat to request the book 25 Folksong Solos for Children:
VI. General References & Artist Specific References:
The Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits by Joel Whitburn (Billboard Books. New York. 2009.)
Blues: The British Connection by Bob Brunning, London: Blandford Press. 1986
Sixties Rock: A Listener’s Guide by Robert Santelli (Contemporary Books. Chicago. 1985.)
Winwood’s life after Traffic By MIKE ZWERIN and INTERNATIONAL HERALD TRIBUNEFEB. 25, 2004. https://goo.gl/q3xthS
Artist Specific References:
Alexis Korner Biography
Alexis Korner, Father of Us All: The man who has influenced a universe of British musicians and movements
Alexis Korner The Biography – Amazon Review:
Cyril Davies AllMusic Biography by Bruce Eder
Graham Bond Biography by Richie Unterberger
Graham Bond Live at Klooks Kleek – AllMusic Review by Bruce Eder
Graham Bond Organisation: The Sound of 65 AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Graham Bond Organisation: There’s a Bond Between Us AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger
Alexis Korner AllMusic Discography
Graham Bond Organization AllMusic Discography
R&B: From The Roundhouse, To The Ealing Club, To The Marquee – Amazon Description
Have a great day!
P.S. If you have any questions about how to download or stream free music through the Freegal Music service to a desktop or laptop computer or how to download and use the Freegal Music app let us know! Drop by the library or give us a call at: 607-936-3713
*You must have a library card at a Southern Tier Library System member library to enjoy the Freegal Music Service. Your card can be from any library in the system, and the system includes all public libraries in Steuben, Chemung, Yates, Schuyler and Allegheny Counties and including our own Southeast Steuben Count Library in Corning, New York. Library cards are free and at our library you can obtain one by visiting the Circulation Desk and presenting staff with a form of ID that features both your name and your current address.