The Liner Notes

BADASS BLUES ‘The Liner Notes’

By Sanford Cohen

We LOVE the Blues, from our heads down to our shoes.  Damn Right!

BADASS BLUES is the culmination of over 55 years of my personal journey starting with a little pillow speaker and a transistor radio as a seven year old growing up in Detroit.  In those days, the Motown Sound was our ‘local’ music.  I loved listening to WKNR ‘Keener 13’ and a highlight for me was when my Uncle Mort, a bass player around town brought his friend, Jerry Goodwin, a DJ from WKNR to OUR house!  I don’t even remember what was said sitting across the dinner table from this guy whose voice I learned to love coming out of that radio.

From there, I was hooked on radio.  I started out doing the morning announcements as an eighth grader at Lederle Jr. High in Southfield, Michigan, graduating musically to discovering the Blues when my friend and guitarist John Sazy turned me on to the great BB King’s album “Indianola Mississippi Seeds”.

The first live concert I ever saw in person was in 1969 at the age of 13.  I went to see the headline act, Three Dog Night, not even knowing anything about the opening act, John Mayall.

OMG.  “Room to Move” need I say more?  I ran out and bought “The Turning Point” the very next day becoming a lifelong fan of the British Blues Master.  You’ll hear a lot of the Bluesbreakers in our various playlists represented throughout by Clapton, Page, Beck and Mayall himself.

Canned Heat was another influential band I listened to in those days.  “Going Up the Country” was a big radio hit nationwide.   From there, I had the good fortune of acquiring the album ‘Hooker ‘n’ Heat’ and listening to the gritty, but funny John Lee Hooker’s infectious riffs and pounding foot making a believer out of me.

Now it started to get serious!  Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Elmore James, Howlin’ Wolf, the mojo started working on me for sure!  Just in time came the great Johnny Winter, Alvin Lee and Ten Years After, the Allman Bros. and a whole bunch more.

Everything, came back to BB King. “The Thrill is Gone” was probably the most commercially successful single in Blues music.  BB King continues to this day to be the most recognized Blues musician by casual fans of the Blues.  Love for BB King is not casual amongst his peers, however.

Buddy Guy, still touring into his 80’s told me that the one musician he admired and considered the most influential was by far, BB King.  We will celebrate BB King’s birthday on this station every single year on September 16th.  I had a wonderful opportunity to meet BB King in Prescott, Arizona at Yavapai College in December of 2013.  BB seemed to like talking more than playing in the latter days of his performing career and spent time with us just reminiscing about his early days in radio as “Blues Boy”.  Kneeling at the feet of the master with us, no less than Stanley Jordan, a virtuoso guitarist in his own right.  We were just in awe to be in the presence of BB King.

Which brings us to the present day and why BADASS BLUES is so much of a “thank you” to all the great artists.  Little Walter, Clarence “Frogman” Henry, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton, Bonnie Raitt, Dr. John, Ray Charles, J. Geils Band,  Stevie Ray Vaughan, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Paul Rodgers, they’re all here with a lot more to come.  After owning and operating radio stations since 1985, this was the time to create a tribute to the good feelings Terry and I have been blessed with from all the artists we have encountered over the years, both in concert and in person.

I never spend a waking moment without a tune of some kind going through my head.  This has been my life’s work.   It is an honor after all these years, to be able to bring you some of my personal favorites as well as the songs and the singers, the guitarists, lyricists and personalities that make BADASS BLUES an addictive guilty pleasure.  Enjoy!

Sanford Cohen
March 13, 2019

Reader's opinions
  1. Kristie Kreutzfeld   On   March 26, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    Howdee! from Cottonwood, AZ where we were just introduced to your station during a local Blues Fest. I, born the same year as you, grew up in Cleveland, sister city to Detroit, with transistor radio under my pillow, also. But I did not get the same Blues ‘injection’ that you did, as I was torn between Wixy 1260 “bubble gum radio” and the “Undeground FM” stations. However, everyday everything is a ‘line from a song’ as it is for you, and a friend in Tucson educated me about the blues in the ’80s from the beginning and I am forever grateful. We were fortunate to be alive in that Happening Time. Today is my first listen to your stream. I’m certain I’ll be back! And I’ll spread the word!

  2. Rick O'Shea   On   April 8, 2019 at 12:31 am

    Awesome. have loved the blues for many years and have seen many of the greats before they moved on. Thanks for putting this great music online. I just left the Windsock in Prescott where your folks let us know about your fine station.


  3. Sanford Cohen   On   April 16, 2019 at 12:46 pm

    RIP J. Geils great lead guitarist for the band that bears his name. Full House LIVE one of the best LIVE albums ever. Lead Singer Peter Wolf and Magic Dick on harp recorded in Detroit!

  4. Al Mooradian   On   April 29, 2019 at 8:00 pm

    very cool. Thanks for the reply,, the likes of Charlie Musselwhite,William Clarke, Debbie Davies, Coco Montoya, Rod Pizza, Rick Estrin, Charlie Batey, James Harman, and so much more. It was my pleasure to see all these guys in Riverside Ca at a bar called Carlos O Brians big blues venue in my younger years

  5. Sanford Cohen   On   May 2, 2019 at 10:22 am

    Known to Michigan radio listeners as Uncle Russ, Detroit Rock Radio legend Russ Gibb has died at the age of 87. Back in 1969 Gibb was on the air at WKNR-FM when a listener called in with the rumor that Paul McCartney had died and there was proof. All you had to do was play Beatles records backwards for clues. It was a conspiracy that lived on for decades. McCartney even chimed in to say that he was in fact still alive. USA Today has a lengthy piece on Gibbs as well as the Detroit News.

  6. Joe and Jenna   On   May 17, 2019 at 5:13 am

    What a great story. We will have Badassblues in our background at home and on the road from here on out! Thanks Sanford and Terry, for bringing the Blues to our mountain home. -JJJJ

  7. lillian grausnick   On   June 17, 2019 at 8:23 pm

    Just discovered your station today…..Real Blues!!!! great programming What a pleasure it is just to listen.
    Thank you. and perhaps sometime in the future a little jazz?

  8. June   On   June 18, 2019 at 12:34 pm

    I remember all of this very well, being from Oak Park, Michigan myself. I was so happy to find your station on the radio. I live on the south side of Havasu and you come in loud and clear. Haven’t changed my radio station yet as I am sooooo enjoying this great music. Welcome !

    • Sanford Cohen   On   January 3, 2020 at 3:57 am

      Oak Park eh? I lived on Radclift near 9 mile and Greenfield. Glad to be in Havasu for sure. Tell your friends to download our free app from the App Store. Just search Badass Blues.

  9. Doug   On   September 4, 2019 at 12:57 am

    WOW! How have I not found this station before today? I hit the “seek” button on the car radio was was pleased to hear , a rare around these parts, John Lee Hooker song coming out of the speakers. And then more and more great blues kept pouring out! Unheard of in this classic rock/country soaked area. What a pleasant surprise to realize this a dedicated blues station!!! THANK YOU!
    Happy listener, Doug. Parker Dam AZ.

    • Sanford Cohen   On   January 3, 2020 at 3:55 am

      Sorry it took so long to reply but I’m glad you found us. Tell your friends around the world about our free app at the App Store. Just search Badass Blues!

  10. Bruce Taylor   On   January 3, 2020 at 1:17 am

    Sanford, I just figured out that I’m about 16 years ahead of you (in age) but I LOVE that we love some of the same music. I used to hang at Warsaw Wally’s when I lived in Phoenix. I think I still remember the day I discovered Van Morrison on the radio. He’s still a favorite. Keep on rockin’, Sanford.

    • Sanford Cohen   On   January 3, 2020 at 3:54 am

      Glad you’re listening. We are growing the playlist and getting lots of good feedback. Tell all your friends to tune in. We have an app in the App Store for free. Just search Badass Blues!

  11. Randy   On   March 25, 2020 at 1:47 am

    Coming from Detroit “rock city”….you would think that town with the grit of Detroit would have a 24/7 Blues Station. Nada. This station will be playing all the time when I go home. What a great find; Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy, John Lee Hooker (worked the assembly line at Dodge Main in Detroit) to Stevie Ray and the Doobies. Great job – take a bow. I love this station!!!!!!!!!

    • Sanford Cohen   On   March 25, 2020 at 2:35 am

      Yeah imagine that! I just love listening to this all day and night. It is our pleasure to make you enjoy radio again!

  12. Doug Y   On   April 11, 2020 at 11:51 pm

    Glad I found your station. I have loved the blues ever since my high school friend Kevin (RIP) turned me on to John Mayall, Chicken Shack, Pter Green’s Fleetwood Mac and so much more! Keep playin the blues and I’ll keep listening!!

    • Sanford Cohen   On   April 12, 2020 at 2:48 am

      Download our free Badass Blues app from the App Store and tell all your pals in AZ and everywhere to listen in. Glad you like it!!

  13. Pete Porte   On   September 14, 2021 at 11:58 pm

    Sanford – from a fellow Michigander (Central Michigan) now living as a Desert Rat in Havasu. One of my first concerts was also Three Dog Night (Pine Nob Michigan) wanted to say thanks for all the fantastic Blues you play. I listen whenever I can. Love old style FM Radio!! – am old enough to remember before FM radio existed. Keep it coming

    • Sanford Cohen   On   October 5, 2021 at 3:34 pm

      Hi Pete! Glad you like Badass Blues. Go to your App Store or Google play and download AZ HOMETOWN RADIO and you’ll get the Badass Blues app for Bluetooth and mobile devices. Thanks for listening!

    • Sanford Cohen   On   April 16, 2022 at 8:55 pm

      Greetings Pilla! Your in laws can access Badass Blues via our local domain
      The over the air station on 101.7 is in Lake Havasu City. Glad you like BB in Sweden!

    • Sanford Cohen   On   April 16, 2022 at 8:52 pm

      Hi Joe! We do not share our playlist so as not to encourage copycats or help satellite radio curate their clearly less deep cut rotation.

  14. daniel mielke   On   April 13, 2022 at 12:53 pm

    It was great meeting you at the Havasu fireworks show. Thanks for turning me on to your Bad Ass blues station. We listened to it on our way back to Minnesota and will continue to listen here. I’ll also be sending your link to my Minnesota Blues Society
    BoBo’s. It still want a Tee shirt
    Dan Mielke

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