Bluepower Blog

  • Barney Ales....The Master Of Motown!

    During my career in the music industry, I have had the opportunity of meeting some great people; both men and women. However; it was not until I met Barney Ales, that I really had the chance to see one of the most powerful men in the music industry in action. Since I was promoting product for Motown Records at the time (1964), I had an excellent insider's view.

    He sat in a humble office located upstairs at Hitsville on West Grand Boulevard in the Motor City....Detroit, Michigan. From there Barney controlled the flow of Motown Records' product all over the world.

    For years, many people speculated that Barney owned Motown, not Berry Gordy. Berry was an astute businessman and knew he needed a white man to front Motown in order to collect monies from the (mostly white) distributors and rack jobbers. Berry could have made no better choice than Barney Ales.

    Knowing the potential of the Motown machine; discerning the machine's many talents (including his own) and knowing how to collect the rewards....was Barney's talent.

    This interview with Mr. Ales was recorded at his home in Malibu several months ago on a mini-cassette recorder. I have been holding back the interview because I couldn't figure how I wanted to produce it. I have decided to run the interview alone (sans music cuts) as the discussion is quite informative (and humorous) by itself. The interview is totally un-edited.

    There are four parts to this interview. Anyone remotely interested in the music business of the Motown era and of that time period will want to tune in to a talk with one of the most fascinating men to ever work the music industry.

    Let's put it this way....Barney Ales has an incredible sense of business acumen and used it to grow one of the most prestigious and profitable entertainment companies of all time; Motown Records.

    John Rhys/

    Listen to: Barney Ales....Master Of Motown (Part One)!

    Listen to: Barney Ales....Master Of Motown (Part Two)!

    Listen to: Barney Ales....Master Of Motown (Part Three)!

    Listen to: Barney Ales....Master Of Motown (Part Four)!

  • Good Morning Blues!

    The show today stars....(in no particular order)

    Detroit Women....Rattle Your Cage....Silk City
    Markus James....Calabash Blues....Firenzer Records
    Andy Cowan....Sweet Release....Warner Music
    Steve Fister....Dodgin Bullets....2nd Degree Records
    Walter Trout....Full Circle....RUF
    Various....Blues Guitar Women....RUF
    Andy Cowan....Train I'm On....52 CD
    Joe Bonamassa....You & Me....Premier Artists

    Here's the music:

    1)...."It's A Blessing"....Maria Muldaur and Bonnie Raitt
    Blues Guitar Women....RUF Records
    2)...."Hand Clappin'"....Red Prysock....Mercury Records
    3)...."Canefield Blues"....Andy Cowan
    Train I'm On....52 CD
    4)...."Mediterranean Breakfast"....Sue Foley
    Blues Guitar Women....RUF Records
    5)...."Clouds On The Horizon".... Walter Trout and Joe Bonamassa
    Full Circle....RUF Records
    6)...."Asking Around For You"....Joe Bonamassa
    You & Me....Premier Artists
    7)...."Old Weakness"....Terrie Lea/Detroit Women
    Rattle Your Cage....Silk City Records
    8)...."Need A Believer"....Markus James
    Calabash Blues....Firenzer Records
    9)...."Sweet Release"....Andy Cowan
    Sweet Release....ABC/Warner Music
    10).."Zig Zag Talk"....Steve Fister
    Dodgin Bullets....2nd Degree Records
    11).."Highway Song"....Walter Trout and John Mayall
    Full Circle....RUF Records
    12).."Judgement Day Blues"....Carolyn Wonderland
    Blues Guitar Women....RUF Records
    13).."Django"....Joe Bonamassa
    You & Me....Premier Artists
    14).."Handclappin' "....Red Prysock....Mercury Records

    I wish I had had more room. There could easily have been another ten cuts in this show. What the hell! I'll save them for next time.

    Thanks for tuning in. We'd love to hear from you if you enjoyed the show. You may reach us at

    John Rhys-Eddins/

  • A BluePower Replay....The Blues From Catalonia!

    Since we have been involved with BluePower, we have been sent the Blues from some strange places. The country of origin for tonight's music is certainly not a place known for the Blues. Until now, that is. The music and artists for tonight's show come from the relatively little known country of Catalonia. To be quite honest, I have been to Barcelona, Spain before and never knew it was the capitol of Catalonia. I always thought Barcelona was part of Spain. Well....that's a long story and one you should possibly dig into a bit. Catalonia's history is worth studying.

    Catalonia is a Mediterranean country located on the northwestern triangle of the Iberian Peninsular. Historically, it's location has turned it into a land of peace, where various peoples and cultures have come together.

    The CD we're presenting tonight is titled Blues Cat and features artists who all hail from Catalonia, Spain.

    The CD was sent to us from our friend, Vicente Zumel of Barcelona. Vicente has been producing and hosting a Blues radio show in Barcelona for 25 years called La Hora Del Blues. The man has a remarkable set of archives and does a wonderfully impromptu show. Please give a listen when you have time.

    BluePower sends it's congratulations to all the talented artists of Catalan and apologizes for the fact that we could not get to all the great players on Blues Cat this time around. We hope you'll forgive us.

    Thanks for tuning in.
    John Rhys/

    Tonight's artists are:

    1)....Theme...."Koz's Walk"....Koz Kosinski
    2)...."Woatinee"....Amadeu Casas
    3)...."Blues Through My Veins"....Alex A. & TNT
    4)...."Sugar Sweet"....Joan Pau Cumellas-Miguel Talavera
    5)...."Drowning In The Blues"....Loti Lewis
    6)...."Waiting At The Train Station"....Joan Vinyals-Cece Giannotti
    7)...."Trist Gris"....Errol Woiski
    8)...."Cara De Foc"....Big Mama & Joan Pau Cumellas
    9)...."Cansat"....Blues De Picolat
    10)..."Jungle's Groove"....Lluis Coloma

    Click here to play....BluePower Presents....The Blues From Catalonia!

    Click here to go to....La Hora Del Blues!

    If you are an aspiring guitarist....please be sure to check out BluePower's Company Store. We have our first basic guitar lesson now available with more lessons being added soon. Help yourself....and help BluePower as well.
  • Bobby Barth....Slidemaster!

    I've known Bobby Barth since he was nineteen years old. We met in 1974. That seems like a mighty long time ago. I've witnessed a lot of talented guitarists since then and Bobby rates as one of the best players I've ever heard.

    Bobby is an ornery, cantankerous man. Not prone to offering compliments to many people. I don't like to brag but Bobby gave me a compliment about a year ago.

    Bobby stayed with Lori and I for a bit during the early eighties. During that time, we would sit and play guitar well into the night. Now me, I'm just a hack when it comes to picking the guitar. The one thing I do well is the Merle Travis "double thumb" technique. Bobby asked me to teach him the technique. Bear in mind, this was sometime around 1984.

    About a year ago (2006) Bobby called me and said, "Listen to this." he then proceeded to play some of the most low-down and beautiful , slide-driven Blues I had ever heard. I was flabbergasted. Bobby said, "I just wanted to thank you for teaching me that technique. It only took me a couple of decades to learn it." And he proceeded to laugh.

    In March, Lori and I went to New Orleans. While we were there, Bobby and his wife Nancie had us stay with them for several days. Bobby showed us the city of New Orleans and all it's manifest ups and downs. The night before we left for LA, I managed to get him to sit down for a few minutes for an interview. In this interview Bobby plays some astonishing slide guitar.

    We think you will enjoy this interview as it covers a lot of territory. Bobby plays three pieces on this video. Three pieces of shear magic. See for yourself.

    Thanks for watching.
    John Rhys/Guitar Speak

    Click below to play: Bobby Barth....Slidemaster Of Blackfoot!

    Bobby Barth plays Dean Guitars Exclusively!

  • A BluePower Profile....50 Sticks Of Dynamite!

    A band is said to be a sum of its parts...if you were to remove Ian McFadyen from the equation you'd probably be left with less than a dozen sticks of Dynamite...Ian writes and sings most of the bands repertoire and his 6'2" suit and tie clad "Mr. Clean" persona is impossible to ignore as he powerfully unleashes an electric wall of sound from his amplified 5 string banjo complete with double cut-away black horns. In forming the band, Ian recruited friend and mythical musician Whitey Wingland to be his wingman on guitar and harmonica, met bassist Michael Dominguez via a mutual friend, and when their original drummer skipped town...Chris Jensen eagerly accepted the invitation to become 50's regular drummer.

    The band is definitely building it's following of those who can't seem to get enough. It's interesting to see 50 Sticks fans come into the room cool, calm and collected only to leave at the end of the night drenched in their own sweat, a little hoarse from hollering and with authentic smiles from ear to ear...they kind of look like they've had a huge blast. Expect to hear 50 Sticks of Dynamite blow the roof off a place near you soon...better yet…be there when they detonate next!

    Bio from:
    Photo by: Kevin Eckert-Smith

    Thanks for listening!
    John Rhys

    Here's The Music:

    1...."Better Man"....50 Sticks Of Dynamite
    2...."Walkin' Tall Blues"....50 Sticks Of Dynamite
    3...."Be My Woman"....50 Sticks Of Dynamite
    4...."Carry Me Down To My Grave"....50 Sticks Of Dynamite

    Click Below To Play: