Monday, 26 December 2016

The Best of 2016!

B.B. King
d? Only one way to find out! Tune in! Right now!
 At The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour, we count down the top 10 best new songs of 2016. Who'll be Number One?

The Avett Brothers? Duke Robillard? The Chace Walker Band? Applewood Road? Only one way to find out! Tune in! mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser

PLUS ... your chance to sing karaoke with B.B. King playing behind you! Don't miss the fun! Join us -- now and throughout the coming year.
And remember ... Crank it!

-- M.D. ... your chance to sing karaoke with B.B. King playing behind you! Don't miss out on the fun! Join us -- now and throughout the coming year.

And remember ... Crank it!

-- M.D.

Friday, 9 December 2016

So why is Elvis so blue, blue, blue?

Tom Petty
So what does Tom Petty want for Christmas? And why is Elvis so blue, blue, blue?
Elvis Presley

Tune into this week's edition of The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour to find out -- and to hear so much good-time music that you can't believe it all fits into a single hour!
Hear it here! mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser
Lizz Wright! Ray Bonneville! Kenny and Dolly! The Devil Makes Three! Tammy Wynette! Steve Forbert! The Drifters! And one and on.
Crank it!
Your friend,
M.D.







Saturday, 3 December 2016

Oh, What a Christmas!


B.B. King
Oh, what a Christmas to have the blues! And boy, have we got 'em this week on the The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour!
Dolly Parton

A blue Christmas, a country Christmas, and a just-plain-weird Robert Earl Keen Christmas.

Plus all the feel-good music we could cram into one hour: Dolly Parton, The Beach Boys, Loggins and Messina, Roy Orbison & so much more.

All on The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour: mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser

Turn it up! And have a blast!

M.D.

 
Do not miss it! Get in the spirit and CRANK IT UP!
 
Your friend,
 
M.D.


Saturday, 26 November 2016

Applewood Road Interview!

Applewood Road


An interview with the members of the marvelous folk trio Applewood Road, today on The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour.

Great insights, beautiful music. Along with plenty of other musical variety -- as always!

Here it hear: mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser

And turn it up!

M.D.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The listeners take control!

Norah Jones
Two Kings! Norah Jones! Paul Simon! Northern Soul! Country! Folk!
Listener requests fulfilled! The inmates running the asylum!
B.B. King
Yes, folks, it can only be a new edition of Big Fat Wide Americana Hour. http://mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser

And remember -- turn it up!

M.D. 

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The best variety on the Web!

Carlos Santana, Kenny Rogers, Flatt and Scruggs? All on the same show?

You know it. The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour Show No. 40 is the best yet!

Tune it in! Turn it up! http://mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser

Happy listening!

M.D.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

From Bass to Cash -- More Variety, More Fun!


From Fontella Bass to Johnny Cash, from Taj Mahal to Elvis Presley!

Yes! It can only be an all-new edition of The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour: http://mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser 

The best variety. The most fun you can have on the internet all week!

Now online! Check it out!

M.D.

From Bass to Cash -- More Variety, More Fun!

Fontella Bass
From Fontella Bass to Johnny Cash, from Taj Mahal to Elvis Presley!

Yes! It can only be an all-new edition of The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour: http://mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser 

The best variety. The most fun you can have on the internet all week!

Now online! Check it out!

M.D.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Chuck Berrry Records Again!

Chuck Berry
Chuck Berry recording again at 90? The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour celebrates with Berry covers -- by Linda Ronstadt! Dion! Buck Owens! Emmylou Harris!

Here it here: 
mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser

Plus so much more. New stuff from the Avett Brothers. Old stuff from Cornelius Brothers & Sister Rose. Where the hell else are you going to find a show like this?

Turn it up! I mean, crank it!

Your friend,

M.D.

Friday, 21 October 2016

Holy smokes, what a show!

Norah Jones
Three Dog Night. New stuff from the The Devil Makes Three. The Righteous Brothers. Brand new single from Nora Jones. And so much more.

Holy smokes, what a show we have for you this week!

Did I mention Patsy Cline, Cyrstal Gayle, K.D. Lang and John Lee Hooker? Soul, blues, country, bluegrass, jazz, doo-wop – oh my goodness!

You can’t miss with a show like this. The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour, starting Saturday, Oct. 22. 

Hear it here: http://mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser And turn it up!

-- M.D. 


Three Dog Night

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Dylan wins Nobel!


Bob Dylan wins the Nobel Prize for literature! 


Tune into the Big Fat Wide Americana hour now for a celebration of Dylan's music -- sung by himself and by others.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

New Norah Jones single!


The brand new single from Norah Jones -- just released! Plus a cut from Paul Simon's new album. 

And so, so much more. All on The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour.

Join the crowd. Tune us in. And crank it!

Your friend,

M.D.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Springsteen at 67!

Bruce Springsteen
By M.D. Spenser

Bruce Springsteen just turned 67 – and published his autobiography, too.

At The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour, we pay tribute to The Boss, and also give you a wide variety of American music, old and new.

From the Mavericks to Kim Richey, the Pointer Sisters and more – it might be your best entertainment all week.

Visit us at The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour: http://mdspenser.wixsite.com/mdspenser
. And turn it up!

Your friend,

M.D.
The Pointer Sisters
Dolly Parton


Sunday, 2 October 2016

Dennis

Dennis

Open Your Eyes

By M.D. Spenser

Open Your Eyes is a lovely and inventive folk-pop album by an eight-piece British band called Dennis -- 11 songs marked by gentle horns, rich instrumentation and delightful vocal harmonies. 

All the songs are originals, credited to the full band – and fine songs they are. Whoever is crafting them understands that many of the best songs are moods and moments rather than narratives; they ask questions rather answer them, and they wonder rather than declaim.

The song Give Me Soul, for example, has lyrics comprised of a mere 50 words, yet it evokes longing and need. And the lyrics to Leaving You Alone – sung over a danceable rhythm accented here and there by hand claps – are punctuated largely by question marks: ‘Lately I’ve been asking questions/Maybe I should be leaving you alone?’ 

Many of the songs are beautifully orchestrated. One of them, though – Talk For Hours – is a cappella but for hand claps and drums. 

The song-writing, from the opening track to the final note, exhibits experience and control: A couple of the songs are less than two minutes long – and they are the more powerful for it. 

Most of these songs sound entirely new yet immediately familiar. They are about desire, about doubt, about hope. 

Hometown, the final number in the set, speaks of being well-grounded. ‘I really love my hometown,’ the lyrics go, ‘I really love the way we keep hanging around/I really love the way it makes me stay.’ The song refers no doubt to someplace in County Durham, a good 270 miles north of London, where the band is from. 

For music-lovers whose tastes encompass diversity, this album is a gem. I hope the band members are all getting along because we need to hear more from Dennis. What a find.

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Happy Birthday to the Boss

Bruce Springsteen
Bruce Springsteen turned 67 this month – and published his autobiography, too.

At The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour, we nod in tribute to The Boss, and also give you a wide variety of American music, old and new.

Kim Richey
From Shirley Bassey to the Mavericks, from Kim Richey to the Pointer Sisters and so much more – you know it’s your best entertainment all week.


Your friend,

M.D.
Shirley Bassey




Thursday, 29 September 2016

Jake Calypso and Archie Lee Hooker

Archie Lee Hooker
Vance, Mississippi . . .

By M.D. Spenser

There are plenty of reasons to be sceptical about this CD.

 It relies too heavily on Archie Lee Hooker’s familial relationship with blues great John Lee Hooker rather than letting the music speak for itself. The words to track one, which mention Archie’s acquaintance with just about every bluesman who ever became famous – John Hurt, Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and others – read more like a CV than song lyrics. 

And the song mentions the word ‘boogie’, of course – John lee Hooker having been known as the king of the boogie. 

Then, in case anyone has still somehow failed to get the point, the music stops suddenly in mid-song so we can clearly hear Archie announce, ‘My uncle, John Lee.’ 

Jake Calypso
Beyond that, the pairing of an elderly Mississippi bluesman and a middle-aged French rockabilly singer would seem ill-fated from the start. And at 18 tracks – most of which have perhaps two chords -- the album’s just too long. 

Yet one is reminded of Mark Twain’s quip: ‘Wagner’s music is better than it sounds.’ That’s the case here, too. 

Archie Lee Hooker is genuinely steeped in the blues experience. There’s a song about all his father had to do to keep the family fed – and another about how, later, the father took off, leaving his wife and children with nothing to eat and no place to sleep. 

These songs ring true. The beat is propulsive, like John Lee’s, and Archie even imitates his uncle’s stutter: “The blues is in my bones, in my bones.” 

Calypso makes no attempt to inject rockabilly into the proceedings, which would have been discordant. 

These songs are deeply informed by growing up poor in the Delta. Some of them will probably grow on you over time. 

But if you want to hear stuff that sounds like John Lee Hooker, your best bet is to buy a John Lee Hooker album. True, this CD is better than it sounds. But still, Archie can’t hold a handle to John Lee.


Ed Deane

Wireless set

Audiophiles who appreciate variety and musicianship should make space on their shelves for this eclectic and deeply satisfying CD. 

Ed Deane
Deane, a Dublin-born guitarist, has been kicking around as a session player and sometime frontman since the 1960s, so he must be pushing 70. Still, his musical intelligence ranges over a variety of styles: every cut on this album feels fresh and innovative. And Deane’s voice somehow sounds like that of a teenager. 

Some of the cuts have a carefree, radio-friendly feel. Deane’s age notwithstanding, I Need a Holiday, written by Dan Penn and Chuck Prophet, should be a hit today – people should blast it out as they cruise in their convertibles with the tops down. Just feel-good stuff. 

The blues are here, too, in the form of covers of Muddy Waters’ I Can’t Be Satisfied and Taj Mahal’s Queen Bee. 

Half of the 12 songs on the album are instrumentals, and Deane’s impeccable musicianship shines – from tasty slide to fluidly picked leads to wonderful chord changes. (He is, by the way, one of those weirdos who plays the guitar left-handed and upside-down – weirdos whose number also included the great guitarist Albert King.) 

It’s For You, with its flamenco feel, was influenced, Dean says, both by Robert Johnson and Francisco Tarrega, a Spanish classical guitarist and composer who died more than a century ago. 

And Nick Lowe, with whom Deane toured in the 1990s, probably influenced the opening cut, Vampire. Harlem Nocturne, sounds bluesy but eerie. 

And Deane describes the mellow closing track, an instrumental in which his relaxed yet emotive guitar ranges over a rich backdrop of instruments, as “the nearest I’ve managed to get to playing with a string orchestra.” 

Always impeccable, always fresh, always innovative, this is a CD you’ll return to over the years. This one will stand the test of time.

M.D. Spenser

Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Jason Rosenblatt


http://jasonrosenblatt.com/
Wiseman's Rag

First things first: Whatever the sales force  might try to convince you, this CD is not blues, it’s jazz. 

That said, it’s a fine album that will add joy and depth to any collection that embraces variety. 

Jason Rosenblatt, a Canadian, plays harmonica and keyboards, the primary instruments heard here. Other players contribute guitar, drums and bass – including jazz bass solos, one of which, if I may say so, sounds much like the next. But the album is driven largely by harp and piano. 

It’s a happy album. The harmonica dances lightly above the keyboards, which sometimes anchors the proceedings with an enjoyable ragtime beat. Even songs about break-up and loss bounce right along. No slow weepers here. Nor is this the kind of esoteric, free-form jazz that eschews melody, rhythm and sense. It’s good fun. 

Seven of the 13 tracks here are instrumentals. The other six feature Rosenblatt’s pleasant, androgynous vocals. 

True, two of the songs do feature the word ‘blues’ in their titles – Modern Life Blues and C Harp Blues. But calling a song the blues doesn’t make it so. 

In fairness, it must be said that the next-to-last track, You’ll Take The Highway, could be considered blues, but that’s the only one. 

Bottom line: People who listen to nothing other than pure blues should give this CD a pass. Audiophiles with diverse tastes will find this to be a pleasing addition to their collections.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Brassy, blue and bold

Lex Grey
Like big, brassy, strong women singing the blues? Tune into this week’s Big Fat Wide Americana Hour!

New stuff, old stuff – Marcia Ball, Candye Kane, Lex Grey, Etta James and so much more.

Plus blues from around the world, with country, bluegrass and soul stirred in, as well.

It’s a rollicking good time! See you there!

Your friend, M.D.



Etta James

Grey, Lex, and the Urban Pioneers

Lex Grey
Heal My Soul

By M.D. Spenser

If you like your blues sung by bold, strong, brassy women, add this CD to your collection at once. 

Lex Grey’s vocals are high-octane and top-notch. And the band, the Urban Pioneers, support her well, with rockin’ guitar, swingin’ clarinet and tasty sax, as the song demands.

Grey and the band are based in New York, and the 10 songs here are mostly reflections on city life and the urban landscape. 

The opening cut, Factory, seems to be the fantasy of someone living in a cramped apartment and longing for more space. Grey sings that she wants to live in a former factory, where all the rooms are big, no one can call her kitchen small, there’s a train set on the floor – “and urinals hanging on the walls.” 

Well, OK, whatever floats your boat. 

Other songs, such as Hobo Soup and Junkman, offer stark portraits of the cityscape. 

Not every cut works as well as the others. Black Stallion – which, yes, is a song about a horse – apparently stayed in the vaults a long time. And there it should have remained. 

But the real thing here isn’t the words. It’s Lex Grey’s hard-edged, oestrogen-fuelled vocals, which follow the in the footsteps of blues belters like Candye Kane, or Shirley Bassey doing Hey Big Spender, or even – dare we say it? – the great Etta James doing almost anything.

Unabashed sexuality infuses every note. You get the feeling Grey could sing from the phone book and make you get up and dance in a way you wouldn’t want your granny to see. 

It appears that so far the band’s audience is primarily regional. It should be global. She’s that good.

Saturday, 20 August 2016

The best of the best!

Mitch Ryder
New Keb’ Mo’, mid-career Aretha, young John Hiatt… this week’s edition of The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour has it all.

And crank up the volume for Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels! High-octane stuff!


We’re on a three-week hiatus at TBFWAH, so we’ll be playing the best of our past shows for your enjoyment! The best of the best.

Your friend,

M.D

Keb' Mo'

Friday, 12 August 2016

A Mexican Tribute!

Carlos Santana
New edition of The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour is online now!

A tribute to the vast influence of Mexico on American music! Carlos Santana, Tom Russell, Tish Hinojosa, Joe Ely, Doug Sahm, and so many others!

Along with our regular variety of blues, country, folk, bluegrass, etc., of course. The unexpected, always!

Tish Hinojosa
Great fun! Turn it up! 








Your friend,


M.D. 


Tom Russell

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Wowza! From zero to 34 in just six months!

B.B. King
I had hopes but I could never have imagined this.

In the six months since The Big Fat Wide Americana Hour was launched, it’s gone from nothing to a show that’s drawn listeners in 34 countries.

I wanted to commemorate the milestone – and do something that might bring the same kind of luck over the next six months, too.

Bonnie Raitt
Tune in and you'll see! As always, the show's at mdspenser.wix.com/mdspenser

To our fans around the world, a huge thank you.

And remember – turn it up. I mean, crank it!

Your friend,

M.D.


Delbert McClinton