Javier Vargas was born in Madrid. When he was nine years old, he and his family moved to Argentina, where his parents had lived during the Spanish Civil War. They lived in Mendoza, San Luis, Buenos Aires and also in Mar del Plata, where he started playing the guitar with young musicians in places such as garages. He took guitar lessons, and he also used to go clubs to listen to groups playing blues live.
The first guitar Vargas had, present from his father, it was a Spanish guitar with naylon strings. When he got his first electrical guitar Javier had only 12 years.Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Cream, Rolling Stones, The Doors, Jimi Hendrix etc. became famous and influenced by all this new and amazing music, Vargas decided to play guitar professionally. He was also inspired by the American Blues of B.B.King, Albert King, Freddy King, Albert Collins…
Even though the Ford Blues Band has never had a problem putting across mediocre material, songwriting is not one of the outfit’s strong points. With successful studio albums covering both Michael Bloomfield and his old boss Paul Butterfield already in Ford Blues Band’s catalog, the group plays to its strengths with a live recording, cherrypicking the best songs from both and adding the raw energy that live concerts typically generate. The result is a crackling disc that is not surprisingly a showcase for guitarists Robben Ford, Chris Cain and Volker Strifler as well as harmonica ace Andy Just. Despite liner notes that frustratingly don’t specify which of the three guitarists plays lead on the tracks — it only states which side of the speakers the musician is relegated to, which can be confusing — or the dates of the recordings, this is a rollicking performance as the Ford Blues Band charges through the songs with passion and energy. Out of the eight tracks, only six pertain directly to the titular stars, with “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” (aping a version by Butterfield) and a ten minute, slow blues workout “Blues for MB” a bit on the generic side. The performances of these are hot, but it does detract slightly from the concept and there were plenty of other tunes more directly associated with the musicians that could have been chosen. Regardless, there are too few bands that even attempt to perform Butterfield’s classic “East West” instrumental (here titled “East/West Redux”) so even if, at only nine minutes, this is on the short side (the original ran 13), it’s a thrilling reminder of the groundbreaking aspects of Butterfield and Bloomfield in their prime. The group raids the Electric Flag catalog for its Bloomfield covers of “Killing Floor” and “Groovin’ Is Easy” and adds a small horn section to replicate the originals. Their version of Bloomfield’s obscure “Peter’s Trip” also prominently employs sax and trumpet for a sort of Blood, Sweat & Tears approach. It is the most unusual and least bluesy selection here. Robben Ford’s vocals throughout are serviceable at best, but it’s his guitar that really sizzles, especially on the seven-minute version of “I Got a Mind to Give Up Living.” While none of this will make fans forget the originals, it’s a consistently enjoyable and well-recorded effort and the band’s hearts were obviously in it. Hopefully this will inspire some new listeners to check out the sources.
‘Whatever’s For Us’ was once a difficult album to find, and is probably why alot of people thought that her career began with 1976’s self titled album.
‘Whatever’s For Us’ is simply a stunning album with some beautiful piano playing. Highlights include ‘Alice’ and ‘It Could Have Been Better’. The opening track ‘My Family’ is the perfect choice, and as the inner sleeve notes suggest, very early Elton John sounding.
The repackaged CD allows us all to truly appreciate the beginning of Joan Armatrading, who in my opinion is underrated in many countries. This CD also includes a bonus single which was also previously hard to find.
If you buy this, then the album “Joan Armatrading”, you will really appreciate this fine artist. Two listens of the song “Love and Affection” will cement your thoughts on how great she is.
Guitarist Alvin Youngblood Hart dedicates his third release Start With the Soul to, among others, the late Thin Lizzy leader Phil Lynott. This isn’t just lip service, as you can immediately hear when the opening roar of “Fightin’ Hard” comes blaring through. Hart doesn’t go out of his way to appeal only to blues followers. He has the natural ability to fuse twangy country, Hendrix, funk, and reggae into his Delta blues style without regard to genres. Start With the Soul is unlike other releases from artists who at the beginning of their career display an acoustic Delta approach only to end up incorporating a very commercial soul sound for the sake of reaching a wider audience or receiving minuscule radio airplay. The choice of cover versions is revealing; Chuck Berry’s “Back to Memphis,” Cornelius Brothers and Sister Rose’s 1971 hit “Treat Her Like a Lady,” and the Sonics’ mid-’60s garage rocker “The Hustler” lose none of the vigor of the originals. Credit should be given to the legendary Memphis producer Jim Dickinson for capturing the gritty sound critical to this kind of undertaking. It will be interesting to see where Hart goes with future releases.