Alexis Korner - Rhythm And Blues Champion

Episodes

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Episode 1: Juvenile Delinquent20190521 (6M)
20111115 (6M)

Chris Jagger showcases the work of broadcaster and bandleader Alexis Korner and the British blues scene he pioneered.

A father figure of British blues, Alexis was the catalyst for the British Blues explosion of the 60s. As Keith Richards puts it, without Alexis there wouldn't have been the Rolling Stones. But his influence goes deeper than one band. Without Alexis there may not have been Led Zeppelin, Free, The Animals and many others. And the careers of many British musicians including Jack Bruce, Ginger Baker, Graham Bond and even Eric Clapton would have started differently.

Chris Jagger, the younger brother of Mick and accomplished musician himself, talks to many of those whom Alexis influenced and played with, including Mick Jagger, Charlie Watts, Andy Fraser (Free), Chris Barber, Zoot Money, Paul Jones, Danny Thompson and Big Jim Sullivan.

Episode one looks at Alexis' early life. His family background was complex. As he said "I'm part Turk, part Greek, part Austrian and as I don't know any part Turk part Greek part Austrian music, I feel particularly entitled to play the blues".

He became part of the early blues and skiffle scene in the exotic dives of Soho during the early 50s, playing in the bands of Chris Barber and Ken Colyer while championing and befriending the American Blues masters on their early trips to the UK.

Alexis takes a new direction in adopting the raucous Chicago blues sound of Muddy Waters. Though the electric guitars meet opposition in some parts, he begins to build a new audience through his new band Blues Incorporated and he founds what was to become the crucible of British rock, The Ealing Club.

First broadcast on Radio 2 in 2008.

Chris Jagger showcases the work of broadcaster and bandleader Alexis Korner.

Alexis Korner - Rhythm and Blues Champion

Episode 2: The Ealing Club20190522 (6M)
20111116 (6M)

Chris Jagger continues to celebrate the work of broadcaster and bandleader Alexis Korner and the British blues scene he pioneered.

The second episode tells the story of Alexis' part in the burgeoning early 60s rhythm and blues scene and The Ealing Club, a small murky cellar underneath the ABC Tea Rooms complete with tarpaulins over the drum stand to catch the condensation dripping from the ceiling. It was this unprepossessing venue that became the crucible of British rock.

Alexis formed the ultimate supergroup to play there, Blues Incorporated, only it was before any of the stars were famous. At various points, the Ealing Club's stage held Eric Burden, Paul Jones, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Charlie Watts, Eric Clapton, Graham Bond, Ginger Baker, Jack Bruce and many others. The club became the place where future blues and rock musicians got their musical education.

We hear from many of those who went there, including Charlie Watts, Mick Jagger and Paul Jones. And hear stories including the night Mick Jagger was dropped from Alexis' first BBC session and went on to form the Rolling Stones.

First broadcast in 2008.

Chris Jagger charts Alexis' part in the burgeoning early 60s rhythm and blues scene.

Alexis Korner - Rhythm and Blues Champion

Episode 3: A New Generation Of Blues20190523 (6M)
20111117 (6M)

In this third and final part, Chris Jagger tells the story of Alexis Korner's continuing influence on British music in the late 60s and beyond.

With his band Blues Incorporated and The Ealing Club, Alexis had mentored many of the stars of British R'n'B, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richard, and Eric Burden but his own career had not taken off in the same way.

Nevertheless he continued to support and recruit a new generation of blues talent. He recorded with Robert Plant and, when the call came, advised him to join Jimmy Page in Led Zeppelin. He also helped Andy Fraser and Paul Rodgers of Free, bringing them on tour with him and even naming the band. He also became a respected champion of the music with his BBC radio shows, including one where he jammed with Jimi Hendrix.

But his biggest commercial success was just around the corner. He worked with the producer Mickie Most and composer John Cameron on an unlikely rock big band album. It became CCS and became a hit album with hit singles like Tap Turns On The Water and the Zeppelin cover Whole Lotta Love, which was to become the Top of the Pops theme tune for many years.

This episode features contributions from Andy Fraser, John Cameron, Charlie Watts, Mark Lamarr and others.

First broadcast in 2008.

Chris Jagger tells the story of Alexis Korner's continuing influence on British music.

Alexis Korner - Rhythm and Blues Champion