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Chess Records & Damon Albarn & Kelis Reviews

Jim and Greg explore the history and influence of Chess Records. During its 25-year run, the Chicago label put out music by Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters—forever changing the sound of rock and roll.

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Chess Records

50 years ago, The Rolling Stones touched down in the United States for their very first American tour. While here, the band made a pilgrimage to Chicago's legendary Chess Records to record their take on tunes from the label's blues heavyweights like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and Chuck Berry. Those Chess sessions appeared on The Stones second album, 12 x 5, which also debuted 50-years ago. To mark the occasion, Jim and Greg explore the history and legacy of Chess, whose 25-year run produced music that influenced rockers like Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Jimi Hendrix and more. Jim and Greg highlight these Chess artists:

  • Muddy Waters
  • Willie Dixon
  • Chuck Berry
  • Howlin' Wolf
  • Little Walter
  • Sonny Boy Williamson
  • Bobby Charles
  • Buddy Guy
reviewEveryday Robots (Special Edition)Everyday Robots available on iTunes

Damon Albarn Everyday Robots

Since founding the Britpop group Blur, frontman Damon Albarn has bounced from project to project – writing and singing for Gorillaz, collaborating with African artists on Mali Music, and even composing an opera called Dr Dee. But only now, at age 46, has Albarn finally released a solo album. Everyday Robots is a deeply personal debut, with Albarn boldly exploring his dark past, existential crises and struggles with heroin. But the constant brooding is too much for Greg. He insists that Albarn's work with Gorillaz was just as personal, yet more upbeat, and with hooks you could dig into. Robots, on the other hand, is a Trash It. Jim couldn't disagree more. He considers the album a masterpiece, with Albarn baring his soul over“heartbeat percussion”and stripped-down instrumentals, and would absolutely Buy It.

reviewFoodFood available on iTunes

Kelis Food

Singer (and Cooking Channel personality) Kelis Rogers has just released her sixth album, called, appropriately, Food. Kelis was huge in the UK in the early 2000s, but her 2003 hit "Milkshake" was the first (and last) time that American audiences paid her much attention. On Food, Kelis is again blending the creative and the culinary — not only does the album have songs titled "Breakfast" and "Jerk Ribs," but she also uses cooking to signify themes of love and family, notes Jim. He's thrilled to see Kelis creating energetic neo-soul again. Greg hears“layers of flavors”on the album, and appreciates that producer Dave Sitek took care to showcase her voice, which comes out as sultry, ragged, and honest. Food is some of the best music Kelis has made, and our hosts gobble it up. It's a double Buy It.


Featured Songs

  1. The Rolling Stones, Around and Around, 12 X 5, London, 1964
  2. Muddy Waters, Hard Day Blues, Muddy Waters 1941–1946, Document, 2001
  3. Jackie Brentson and his Delta Cats, Rocket 88, Rocket 88 (Single), Chess, 1951
  4. Muddy Waters, Rollin' Stone, His Best 1947-55 (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  5. Muddy Waters, (I'm Your) Hoochie Coochie Man, His Best 1947-55 (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  6. Howlin' Wolf, Smokestack Lightning, His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  7. Little Walter, My Babe, His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  8. Sonny Boy Williamson, Don‘t Start Me To Talkin’, His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  9. Little Walter, Blues With A Feeling, His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  10. The Rolling Stones, I Can't Be Satisfied, The Rolling Stones No. 2, Decca, 1965
  11. Bo Diddley, I'm A Man, His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  12. Chuck Berry, Maybellene, The Definitive Collection, Chess, 2006
  13. Howlin' Wolf, Moanin' at Midnight, His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  14. Foghat, I Just Wanna Make Love To You, Foghat, Bearsville, 1972
  15. Jeff Beck, Let Me Love You, Truth, Epic, 1968
  16. Bobby Charles,“See You Later Alligator,”Introduction to Bobby Charles, 2006, Fuel 2000
  17. Buddy Guy, First Time I Met The Blues, Buddy's Blues (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  18. Bo Diddley, Who Do You Love, His Best (Chess 50th Anniversary Collection), Chess, 1997
  19. Damon Albarn, Everyday Robots, Everyday Robots, Parlophone, 2014
  20. Damon Albarn, Lonely Press Play, Everyday Robots, Parlophone, 2014
  21. Kelis, Jerk Ribs, Food, Ninja Tune, 2014
  22. Kelis, Breakfast, Food, Ninja Tune, 2014
  23. Kelis, Milkshake, Tasty, Star Trak/Arista, 2003
  24. Kelis, Biscuits N' Gravy, Food, Ninja Tune, 2014
  25. Kelis, Dreamer, Food, Ninja Tune, 2014
  26. Frank Zappa, You Didn't Try to Call Me, Safe Muffinz, TAKRL, 1971
  27. ABBA, Bang-A-Boomerang, ABBA, Polar, 1975
  28. ABBA, Thank You for the Music, ABBA: The Album, Polar, 1977
  29. Robbie Fulks, Georgia Hard, Georgia Hard, Yep Roc, 2005
  30. Marvin Gaye, Star-Spangled Banner (Live at 1983 NBA All-Star Game), unreleased, N/A, 1983

Footnotes Chess Records The Rolling Stones play Chess Chess Records in the movies Chess' influence in the U.K. Damon Albarn's homepage About Albarn Albarn makes Mali Music Dr Dee Albarn animated Jim reviews ‘Everyday Robots’ Greg reviews ‘Everyday Robots’ Kelis' homepage Kelis cooks“Milkshake” Dave Sitek Greg reviews ‘Food’ Jim reviews ‘Food’