Muddy Waters performs for the 1966 special, The Blues, which aired on Festival. (CBC Still Photo Collection)
In 1966, CBC Television invited some of North America's greats blues performers to gather in a Toronto studio and record performances together and individually.
The session lasted over three days and the results were originally televised as a 90-minute special of the CBC series, Festival
aired from 1960-1970 and was CBC's home for performing arts programming.
The special, simply called The Blues
, became famous. It included the Muddy Waters Blues Band, Big Joe Williams, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Sunnyland Slim, Willie Dixon and Jesse Fuller. Paddy Sampson produced the show and Barry Callaghan served as host.
Muddy Waters and his band performed You Can't Lose What You Never Had
and Got My Mojo Workin'
, the latter with James Cotton on harmonica. Dixon goes solo on Bassology
. The appearances by Terry and McGhee and Mable Hillery are considered rare and feature How Long This Train Been Gone
The demand for the program has seen some of its complications reissued twice since. The original session tapes were also found and restored in 1996.
Muddy Waters would go on to make other appearances on CBC, including during Expo 67 when he performed a free jazz concert with the Dave Brubeck Quartet, which was highlighted on the CBC program, Expodition
.Listen to a clip from the episode:
The popularity of The Blues
set a demand for the style of music on CBC. In 1987, CBC Radio introduced the long-running national program Saturday Night Blues
, from Edmonton with host Holger Petersen
.Saturday Night Blues
offers a broad spectrum of blues-based music - everything from Mississippi Delta blues to roots rock, zydeco and swing. Performers visit Petersen in the studio or are interviewed backstage at concerts.
Petersen has been a broadcaster, record producer, album collector and serious blues fan for over 30 years. His collection of blues records numbers in the thousands (he lost count years ago, let's put it this way, the guy will never be able to move). Besides hosting Saturday Night Blues
, Holger is the owner of Stony Plain Records in Edmonton.
Posted on Sep 30, 2011 6:00:00 AM