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All things Blues!

Michael Bourne and Bob Porter Share Their Favorite Blues Albums of 2018

Michael Bourne with two of the year's best blues albums, by Elvin Bishop and Marcia Ball

WBGO's blues hosts, Michael Bourne and Bob Porter, ring in the new year with their favorite blues tunes of 2018.

Michael Bourne, host, Blues Break and Singers Unlimited

Curtis Salgado and Alan Hager, "Hell in a Handbasket," from "Rough Cut"

"It's got everything, it's got covers, it's got classics. My pick is a romping, stomping song. After all the stuff he's gone through, he's survived to sing the blues and then some."

Dave Keyes, "Strange Things Happening," from "The Healing"

"Dave's album is terrific. This is a Sister Rosetta Tharpe Song that he recorded."

Elvin Bishop's Big Fun Trio, "Lookin' Good," from "Something Smells Funky Round Here"

"My favorite blues song of the year is not actually a song, it's really a monologue. It's a musing from Elvin Bishop, and in fact it is amusing when he's singing about or talking about lookin' good."

Marcia Ball, "Take a Little Louisiana," from "Shine Bright" (MB)

"She stomps and romps like nobody else. She was born on the Texas side, she hung out and partied on the Louisiana side, hence this song."

Bob Porter, host, Portraits in Blue, Swing Party, and Saturday Morning Function

Shameka Copeland, "Americans," from "America's Child"

"Shameka Copeland has been a part of this station since she was a teenager. She is so versatile a performer, and it really works out beautifully."

Southern Avenue, "Love Me Right," from "Southern Avenue"

"If you've never seen them before, you would think they were named after a street in Memphis, Tennessee, but once you see them perform you think the street was named after them."

Theresa James and the Rhythm Tramps, "Find Me a Bar," from "Here in Babylon"

"She lives in California with her husband who is the bass player and principal songwriter for the band, Terry Wilson, who's very good too."

Frank Bey, "Give It to Get It," from "Back in Business"

"He is somebody who has come back after being off the scene for a long time. Making a living in this business has never been easy. He switched labels and is now being produced by Tom Hambridge down in Nashville. Nashville, by the way, has an extremely interesting and very good blues scene going. It's not just country music down there."

Maria Muldaur, "Don't you Feel My Leg," from "Don't You Feel My Leg: The Naughty Blues of Blue Lu Barker"

"This was a record that had been waiting to happen by somebody, and I'm just truly happy it was done by Maria Maldaur."

Jon Cleary, "Frenchman Street Blues, from "Dyna-Mite"

"He's probably been the best pianist in New Orleans for many years. Frenchman Street has become the new Bourbon Street, if you will. It's where everybody goes for entertainment. Lots of good stuff to be heard on that street. Unfortunately it's getting very crowded now and it's not all that much fun any longer. But Frenchman Street Blues is just a lovely song about New Orleans."

Produced by Sarah Kerson

Michael Bourne, who died on August 21, 2022, was a presence on the air at WBGO between the end of 1984 and the start of 2022 when he retired from full-time hosting duty. He is the host of the Singers Unlimited Podcast by WBGO Studios. Previously, he hosted the popular Singers Unlimited (1985-2022). He also hosted the equally popular Blues Break for several years. Michael is a senior contributor to Down Beat, with the magazine since 1969. Doctor Bourne earned a PhD in Theatre from Indiana University -- which comes in handy when he's a theatre critic for the WBGO Journal.
Bob Porter, who died on April 10, 2021, was a steadfast presence on the air at WBGO for more than 40 years. His voice continues to be heard through repeat broadcasts of Portraits in Blue, his flagship blues program; Saturday Morning Function, a mix of classic soul and rhythm and blues; and Swing Party, featuring music from the swing era.