Tuesday, September 23, 2014

THE VALENCIAN KING OF THE BLUES HARP IS DANNY BOY SÁNCHEZ

click to enlarge
Danny Boy Sánchez is the undisputed king of the blues harmonica in the Valencian region, hands down!

by Karla Darocas

All the CBlues crew and me more than most, are absolutely thrilled to have this incredible talent come and  celebrate with us at the 2nd Annual Books & Blues Festival. (October 19, 2014)

Back in June, I begged my music man Tom Poole to find me a champion. Tom really pulled a winner out of his contacts. Wow!!

Sonny Boy Sánchez is the real deal and he is CBBlues very special guest.



It is an honour for me to research and document this 48 years young talent and educator who has his heart and passion firmly rooted in the blues tradition.

Blues Power 1990
click to enlarge  
He has been singing and blowing his harp while sharing the stage with international blues veterans such as John Mayall, Buddy Guy, Rod Piazza, Philip Walker, Lonnie Brooks, Buddy Scott, Big Jack Johnson… to name-drop a few.

According to the award winning blues journalist and broadcaster - Vicente Zumel host of the popular radio show - La Hora del Blues,

"He is one of the Spanish blues harmonica pioneers. He is also a good person, an excellent harp player and a real blues lover."

Danny Boy, who fashioned his stage name after the late blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson, has a giant list of guest appearances at blues festivals. They include the famous Cazorla Blues Festival and Blues Festival Benicassim and Blues Festival Antequera – Málaga – just to name three, but there are many more on the list.

click to enlarge
Danny boy was influenced by the great American blues performers who came to Valencia in the early 80’s such as Buddy Guy and Junior Wells. His main influences are the classic performers such as Little Walter, Sonny Boy Williamson, Walter Horton as well as more current blues super stars like George Smith, Billy Branch, William Clarke and Mark Hummel.

His career began in 1987 as a self-taught entertainer who went on to form many bands such as Blues Power, Bluesville, Danny Boy & the Jumpers. Today, he performs under the band name of the Danny Boy Blues Band.

In 1991, he started to teach blues harmonica professionally and helped to inspire and launch other Valencian blues performers such as Alicante-based blues harpist - Juan Jose Alfonso Hernandez.

"Danny Boy is one of the greatest harmonica players in Spain and at a European level. He has that characteristic tone that is "very Chicago". He taught me blues structure, both in theory and in practice. I have to thank him for the patience he has shown me"

Danny Boy with Kike Pons
click to enlarge
In 2007, Danny Boy hooked up with two more Spanish blues harmonica legends to create the “Spanish Blues Harp Attack” CD. Together with Castilian harmonica player Ñaco Goñi and the Sevillian Mingo Balaguer  the CD was produced by the Basque record label - Gaztelupeko Hotsak.

On the 19th of October, 2014 - Danny Boy will be bringing his long time guitar slinger friend Kike Pons, another Valenciano. Kike Pons developed his passion for the blues via British blues-rocker Graham Foster. He went on to join the party band Jam-Ones out of Oliva. Finally, he studied classical and jazz guitar which lead him to the Valecian folk music scene, where he met the traditional blues and Danny Boy.


INTERVIEW

CBBLUES: How did you get into the blues?

click to enlarge
  • DANNY BOY: I used to play harmonica since I was a little child. I used to hear all kinds of good music on the radio and then I started buying all the records and tapes I could. I mean from Led Zeppelin or Deep Purple to Pink Floyd or Supertramp.

Then of course I discovered the British blues revivalist like Eric Clapton and John Mayall. This was very good for me.

The real milestone for me was when I first heard real American Blues. First the records: Living Chicago Blues, Little Walter, Sonny Boy, BB King and Freddy King.

Finally I had the chance to see a live blues concerts in Valencia with such big blues artist as Buddy Guy with  Junior Wells Chicago Blues band and Johnny Copeland  Texas Blues Band 1987  then James Cotton 1988,  Billy Branch 1989, Carey Bell and Lonie Brooks, etc… Then I was really hooked!


CBBLUES: Do you believe in blues music as a grass roots music that can be enjoyed by all cultures?

  • DANNY BOY: Of course, it is a feeling all we get and I usually say that the blues is the "Esperanto" of music, because you can find a bunch of musicians from every corner of this planet playing together in a Blues in a jam when they don´t even know each other.

We must never forget that the blues was born in USA as an expression of the black people at that time. Nowadays, the blues is a feeling all cultures can share and experience.

The enigma and fascination of the blues is that you can say, "I have the blues," but you can´t say "I have the Jazz or I have the rock and roll or reggae.


CBBLUES: What is your favourite blues song - lyrics - and why??

  • DANNY BOY: I really do not have a favourite but if I have to choose a few then it could be the crazy lyrics of Sonny Boy Williamson – ‘KEEP IT TO YOURSELF’ or ‘HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE’ or ‘DON’T LOSE YOUR EYE’

***********************************************
KEEP IT TO YOURSELF – SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON

Baby, do me a favor, keep our business to yourself
Please, darling, do me a favor, keep our business to yourself
I don't want you to tell nobody in your family
And don't mention it to nobody else

Don't tell your mother
Don't tell your father
Don't tell your sister
Don't mention it to your brother
Please, darling, keep our business to yourself
Don't you tell nobody
And don't mention it to nobody else

You have a husband
I have a wife
If you start to talking
That's gonna mess up our life
Please, please baby, keep our business to yourself
Don't you tell nobody
And don't mention it to nobody else
Goodbye darling.

***********************************************
HAVE YOU EVER BEEN IN LOVE – SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON

Have you ever been in love with a woman, like I am in love today
Have you ever been in love with a woman, like I am in love today
I wonder to myself, why she broke my heart this way

Oh baby, I know you don't understand
Oh baby, oh baby, I know you don't understand
It's so tough, that you drive a man insane

The woman I'm talkin' about, she's specially built
A heavied hipped woman, her shoulders are full filled
She got knee action body, hydraulic hips
Air conditioned stomach makes her, back bone slip
Have you ever been in love, like I am in love today
I'm cryin' and beggin' the little girl, why she treat me this a way

Said she would meet me, a quarter to nine
Better believe it dear 'cause, wasn't on time but
Have you been in love, like I'm in love today
She broke my heart, I wonder why she treat me this a way

***********************************************
DON’T LOSE YOUR EYE – SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON

Don't lose your eye, man to spite your face,
Don't lose your eye, man to spite your face,
Because if people started snitchin' on ya, can't hide at no place

If you do wrong, the world gonna find you out
If you do wrong, the world gonna find you out
You know you can't do wrong and get by, ain't no use in tryin', the dogs that doubt

If I was you, I'd play fair in anything I do
If I was you, I'd play fair in anything I do
Any time that the people find out that you're crooked man their not goin', do nothin' in the world for you

My daddy taught me, ever since I was a child
My daddy taught me, ever since I was a child
Always treat your neighbors right, be fair with your friends like wild