Bluepower Blog

  • BluePower Presents....Eddie Ponder....Musician, Father And Teacher!

    Eddie PonderI first met Eddie Ponder in 1973. He became the prime drummer for a group of excellent musicians known as The Hollywood Central Allstars. The Allstars were assembled during a time when I was endeavoring to develop business in the studio of which I was part owner; Hollywood Central Recorders.

    Eddie was born in Florida and raised in Mississippi. He played Jazz along the East Coast until he received a call to join the popular West Coast duo, Zimmerman and Greenberg for an album produced by Al Schmidt.

    Eddie was then selected as drummer for Bobbie Gentry's band and traveled the world behind her monster hit, "Ode To Billy Joe".

    The Hollywood Central Allstars were a group of ladies and gentlemen who would show up on Tuesday evenings to play music with each other. There was no commercial enterprise involved. Just musicians gathering for the love of playing off each other and to network.

    Beside Eddie on drums, some of the HCAS participants through the years were: Michelle Brourman (piano), Paul Uhrig (bass), Doug Haywood (bass), Richard Trees (guitar), Rick Cunha (guitar), John Braheny (violin), Steve Puglisi (Fender Rhodes), Warren Zevon (piano), and Waddy Wachtel (guitar). All these wonderful musicians went on to make huge contributions to world and film music.

    The Hollywood Central Allstar sessions became so popular in 1975 that the studio could no longer contain all the people who either came to play or simply watch. This is how I managed to get the studio rolling and into the black for the first time. It was fun and it worked.

    In early 1975, Eddie went on the road with Don Everly (the Everly Brothers weren't on speaking terms at that time). How's this for a band?....Don Everly (vocals and rhythm guitar), Eddie Ponder (drums), Warren Zevon (keys), Paul Uhrig (bass) and Lindsay Buckingham (lead guitar).

    As a producer, I found that Eddie Ponder could play any type of music and through the years that I operated Hollywood Central, utilized Eddie with every artist and type of music that came through the doors. This included commercials, videos, trailers and all manner of musical projects including a special attraction for Universal Studios called Dracula's Palace which ran for nine years.

    Eddie played on sessions for Timi Yuro, The Coasters, Bobby Vee and Warren Zevon in those early days. Soon, he was to be called on to play with one of the greatest country rock groups in American musical history; The Flying Burrito Brothers.

    While playing with the Burritos, Eddie found that he was to become a dad. Eddie decided to come home from the road and become prepared for the greatest responsibility a man can have; fatherhood.

    In order to sustain himself and his family, Eddie became a Special Education teacher working with autistic children. A job which Eddie says was the most rewarding of all the gigs he has ever had.

    Mr. Ponder is currently keeping his sticks in play with the fabulous Ms. Spanky McFarlane and Our Gang. If you see they're playing.... go and see them.

    Eddie Ponder is a great musician, loving father and astute teacher. Not to mention, a truly great friend.

    Thank you my friend, for all your help and support throughout the years.

    John Rhys/

    Eddie Ponder 1941/2018 Rest In Peace My Dear Friend.

    Eddie Ponder....Musician, Father and Teacher!
  • Paying For The Privilegeā€¦.Crooked-Eye Tommy!

    I haven't been doing reviews for a while. I had a bad attitude. Couldn't seem to find anything I liked. Perhaps I hadn't gotten the old blues out of my system and was still listening for the 40s and 50s? Fat chance. For the most part, that's all gone now. Down that dark, railroad track of time.

    So many bands today are releasing blues CDs. I guess because the format is relatively simple and there aren't that many changes. But believe me, the blues just isn't all that simple. If you have never really felt the blues deep down inside, how do you expect to convey those feelings to an audience? Do you wonder why you don't receive the respect you think you deserve?

    A couple of weeks ago, a marketing friend sent me a CD he thought I would like. At first listen, I didn't. Perhaps I thought I would hear something along the lines of Stevie Ray Vaughan. I should have known better. There was only one Stevie Ray. And to be honest, I should have been listening to the group on the CD and "NOT" superimposing what I would have liked to have heard. I should be listening for anything that meant something along the blues tradition.

    After listening twice, I decided to call Tommy Marsh (Crooked Eye Tommy). While I was speaking with Mr. Marsh he mentioned that his band was paying for the privilege to play the blues by working various day jobs. I liked his honesty and straightforwardness. He said the learning curve (since this was their their first CD) was mighty steep and there were all sorts of lessons to be learned. Selecting the right studio and engineer was primary. Picking tunes in different keys so the album didn't sound the same was also necessary. I decided to listen again.

    On this third listen I was amazed to find several cuts which I could get behind.

    The first cut on the CD titled, "Crooked Eye Tommy" tells the story of Tommy's young life and, if it's true, gives Tommy the right to sing the blues.

    The second cut I like is "Somebody's Got To Pay". There are a lot of crooks in the American corporate system that have gotten away with lots of good, hard-working folks cash, homes, autos and lives. So far, no one is paying.

    The third cut is number 9 on the CD. It's title, "Mad And Disgusted" covers most of America's attitude today.

    You should check out Crooked Eye Tommy and their new CD, Butterflies And Snakes

    I am changing my attitude. I'm going to listen more to the new artists as they have just as much to say as the old guys from way back when. All you have to do is listen without preconceptions. You'll be surprised.

    But I will always bear in mind....the blues ain't easy to play....honestly.

    John Rhys Eddins

  • Bobby Jameson, A Man Of Trial And Tribulation!

    Bobby Jameson 2.jpg

    I first met Bobby Jameson in Detroit in 1963. His second record had just been released and my roomate, Terry Knight, loved the record and was playing it constantly on his radio show at CKLW in Windsor, Ontario.

    One afternoon, Terry invited me to Boblo Island to meet Bobby who was performing his new disc in the park on Boblo. After his performance, I was introduced to Bobby and we had a few words together. I liked him.

    It was almost ten years later that I met him again in Hollywood. We were both at GRT Records on Sunset trying to collect monies that were long over due. In this office we started our relationship again and it continued until Bobby's untimely demise on the 12th of May, 2015. 

    Bobby survived his brother Bill's death promptly followed by the passing of his mom. I had never heard him so down. Bobby was now completely alone familywise and when we last spoke I admit I was afraid for him. Bobby was not known to be the most stable of humans at best and would often become so angry I couldn't talk him down. He had every right to be angry as he had never received a penny for any of the many songs he had written and only tiny advances for the several LPs he had recorded for several record companies. People released his albums without his permission and kept any and all profits for themselves. Bobby had every right to be upset.

    There was a side of Bobby only a few of us ever saw. That was the kind-hearted poet, the lover of anything artistic and a true talent.

    Bobby and I wrote several songs together but there is only one which will explain my deep feelings for a man almost everyone thought was crazy. The link is below.
  • BB Kingā€¦.America' s Ambassador Of Music! Gone, But Not Forgotten!

    B.B. KING is an American icon. He has won more awards than his home in Las Vegas will hold. He has been named "America's Ambassador Of Music" by the President of the United States. With all these achievements, the man remains the utmost in humility. In this most articulate interview, Mr. King speaks of the South in the 50's, Racemusic, and lists his major influences. Recorded after a tremendous performance at The Mirage Hotel, a remarkable man tells the truth about his life as an original bluesman. (Please click on our sponsor. It helps keep us alive during this critical period.) ESI Event Services (Go to B.B.'s own web site! Click on the link in blue.)B.B. King

    Listen to Part 1

    Listen to Part 2

  • In The Beginning....Skip James!

    After several months of deliberation, BluePower has come to the conclusion that it would be beneficial to develop a series which exposed the many fine artists who added so much to the rich heritage of the American folk tradition called The Blues.

    In order to accomplish our goals in this regard, we needed the product necessary to assemble these pieces of business. Coming to our aid in the form of early Blues product was Mr. Alec Palao and his great company, Ace Records of London, England whom we gratefully thank for their generosity and kindness.

    Our first show highlights one of the strangest and most unique Blues artists of all time....Nehemiah Curtis James who came to be known as Skip James.

    Born in 1902 in Bentonia, Mississippi, Mr. James struggled all his life to find a place in the world of the Blues. It took him til nearly the end of his life before he was discovered by three, up and coming, young musicians who talked him into taking a giant step to become known.

    Listen as BluePower tells a brief history of Mr. Skip James and plays some of his amazing music.

    Stay Tuned....
    John Rhys

    Here's the music:

    1)...."Hand Clappin' "....Red Prysock....Mercury Records
    2)...."Hard Time Killing Floor Blues....Skip James....Blues From The Delta....Ace Records
    3)...."Careless Love"....Skip James....Blues From The Delta....Ace Records
    4)...."Devil Got My Woman"....Skip James....Blues From The Delta....Ace Records
    5)...."Crow Jane"....Skip James....Blues From The Delta....Ace Records
    6)...."I'm So Glad"....Skip James....Blues From The Delta....Ace Records
    7)...."I'm So Glad"....Cream....Fresh Cream....Atlantic Records
    8)...."Hand Clappin' "....Red Prysock....Mercury Records

    Click here to go to Ace Records!