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Tony Burke

Tony Burke

Tony Burke started to get serious about rock and blues music in the late 1960s, avidly reading NME, Melody Maker and Rolling Stone, and in the 1970s Blues & Soul and Let it Rock, Black Music and Sounds  – as well as frequenting Manchester's many record shops, market stalls, second hand shops and clubs in search of great music. 

Charlie Gillett's Sound Of The City became his bible, along with John Broven's Walking To New Orleans and Mike Rowe's Chicago Blues which led to a voyage of discovery into blues, R&B and rock 'n' roll as well as discovering magazines like Blues Unlimited, Shout, Hot Buttered Soul and Whiskey Women and…, all magazines that helped him dig deeper.

Occasional reviews appeared in Blues Unlimited, articles and discographies (sometimes in conjunction with fellow fans/researchers) were published in the short lived Pickin' The Blues – which became Blues & Rhythm, The Gospel Truth in 1984. Tony became a regular contributor and its production editor – taking over the editorship in mid 1986 until the present day. 

Besides Blues & Rhythm, articles, reviews and obituaries have appeared in Record Collector, Maverick and the Morning Star, newspaper along with sleeve and booklet notes for reissue labels such as Charly, Ace, Route 66, Krazy Kat and others. In addition to all things blues and R&B, Tony has a predilection for West Coast rock, Frank Zappa/Captain Beefheart, the Byrds, the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, Springsteen, Robert Plant, Rory Gallagher, rockabilly, western swing and alt.country/Americana.

27 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by artist

Johnny Ace, Bobby Bland, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Big Mama Thornton, O.V. Wright: Galen Gart and Roy C. Ames: Duke/Peacock Records – An illustrated history with discography (Big Nickel Publications)

Book Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, August 1990

BIG NICKEL PUBLICATIONS continue their unsurpassed service of providing a mine of information to R&B record collectors with another addition to its catalogue of books, ...

Eddie Boyd, 1914-1994

Obituary by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, September 1994

BLUES PIANIST and singer Eddie Boyd died on July 13th in Helsinki aged 79 on July 13th, in Helsinki, Finland, a city in which he'd ...

Robert Cray: Young Bob's Blues

Interview by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, February 1989

ON OCTOBER 24th, 1988, Robert Cray played a sell out gig at the Manchester Apollo. He was riding high and on this extensive UK tour ...

Dick Dale, 1937-2019

Obituary by Tony Burke, Record Collector, May 2019

THE PIONEER OF "surf rock" guitar, Dick Dale died on March 16th aged 81. Born Richard Anthony Monsour on 4th May, 1937, in Boston, Dale developed a ...

Lee Dorsey 1924-1986

Obituary by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, January 1987

LEE DORSEY, who died on December 1st, 1986, after a long and brave struggle against cancer and emphysema, will be best remembered in the UK ...

Champion Jack Dupree: The Joe Davis Sessions 1945-1946

Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, December 1990

IT IS PERHAPS fitting that the last CD of the Month for 1990 features a bluesman who began his recording career half a century ago ...

Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings – The Centennial Collection

Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, October 2011

THIS IS THE complete Robert Johnson on one double CD – the lot, all 42 Robert Johnson recordings – including all thirteen alternate takes plus ...

Robert Johnson: The Very Last Fair Deal Gone Down? A preview of the "ultimate" Robert Johnson reissue package

Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, May 2011

ONE HUNDRED years ago, on 8th May, 1911, Robert Johnson was born – so expect to read a lot about Po' Bob, especially in the ...

Louis Jordan: John Chilton: Let The Good Times Roll – The Story Of Louis Jordan And His Music (Quartet Books)

Book Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, February 1993

YOU'VE HEARD the records, maybe even bought the recent Bear Family nine-CD box set (The Complete Decca Recordings) – now read the biography. ...

Clydie King, 1943-2019

Obituary by Tony Burke, Record Collector, March 2019

CLYDIE KING, who became one of the leading session and go-to back up singers during the 1970s, died  on 7th January, aged 75. ...

Lazy Lester, Lightnin' Slim, Slim Harpo: Randy Fox: Shake Your Hips – The Excello Records Story

Book Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, March 2019

FOR MANY UK blues fans, Mike Vernon's Blue Horizon Records opened the door to Excello Records. ...

Memphis Slim: Obituary: Memphis Slim

Obituary by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, May 1988

FOLLOWING RECENT reports of his serious illness, it came as little surprise to many blues fans that Memphis Slim sadly passed on of February 24th ...

Ella Mae Morse, 1924-1999

Obituary by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, December 1999

ELLA MAE MORSE, whose 1942 hit 'Cow-Cow Boogie' became the first million selling disc for Capitol Records, died on October 16th at the Western Arizona ...

Charley Patton: Paramount Records and the Blues Twilight Zone

Report by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, December 2003

DISCOVERIES MAGAZINE in the USA has called it "the single most significant blues music related discovery – ever. It is so deep and vast there ...

Wilson Pickett: Tony Fletcher: In The Midnight Hour – The Life And Soul of Wilson Pickett (Oxford University Press)

Book Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, December 2017

BACK IN THE mid-1960s, Wilson Pickett was one of my main men. A series of great singles waxed for Atlantic, including 'In The Midnight Hour', covers of ...

Ernest Stoneman: Ernest R Stoneman: The Unsung Father Of Country Music 1925-1934

Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, March 2009

JIMMIE RODGERS is normally identified as the "father of country music". However, in the booklet notes to this two-CD, 46-track set, Hank Sapoznick argues a ...

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson: "Goodbye Mr. Cleanhead – things ain't what they used to be…" A Tribute to Eddie Vinson

Obituary by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, August 1988

EDDIE "CLEANHEAD" Vinson, who died on July 2nd at the California Hospital in Los Angeles after suffering a coronary and cancer of the throat and ...

List of genre pieces

Desperate Man Blues – Discovering The Roots of American Music

Film/DVD/TV Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, March 2007

JOE BUSSARD, "King Of Record Collectors", would be an excellent contributor to the UK television series 'Grumpy Old Men'. ...

Bill Sykes: Sit Down, Listen To This! – The Roger Eagle Story/Pat Long: The History Of The NME

Book Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, October 2012

THE LATE Roger Eagle was an enigma. Born in Oxford into a middle class family during the Second World War, like many others of his ...

Garth Cartwright: Going For A Song

Book Review by Tony Burke, Morning Star, 24 March 2018

THE RETURN OF the vinyl album and record fairs teaming with "pre-owned" albums, 45s, CDs and even 78s has generated a new interest in the ...

Laurence Cane-Honeysett: The Story of Trojan Records

Book Review by Tony Burke, Morning Star, 15 December 2018

GROWING UP in the early 1960s in Manchester, with grandparents living in Moss Side, the infectious music of bluebeat and ska records newly imported from ...

Les Fancourt and Bob McGrath: The Blues Discography 1943–1970 (Third Edition)

Book Excerpt by Tony Burke, Eyeball Productions, February 2019

WELCOME TO the expanded and revised third edition of The Blues Discography 1943–1970. It is now 50 years since Mike Leadbitter and Neil Slaven first ...

Norman Jopling: Shake It Up Baby – Notes From A Pop Music Reporter, 1961-1972 (Rock History Ltd.)

Book Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, May 2015

IN THE EARLY 1960s the U.K.'s music press was dominated by a small group of weekly papers, notably the New Musical Express, (aka NME), the ...

Richard Carlin: Godfather of the Music Business – Morris Levy (University of Mississippi Press)

Book Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, October 2016

MORRIS LEVY WAS born in 1927 and rose through the ranks of the U.S. music business starting by running a hatcheck concession in New York ...

Various Artists: Gastonia Gallop – Cotton Mill Songs & Hillbilly Blues

Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, March 2010

Piedmont Textile Workers On Record, Gaston County, North Carolina 1927–1931 ...

Various Artists: Take Me To The River – A Southern Soul Story 1961-1977

Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, March 2009

"WHILE MOTOWN targeted its super-slick beat at teenagers, the much tougher Southern soul issued on labels such as Stax, Hi and Goldwax from Memphis; Fame ...

Various Artists: Texas Hillbillies – 1922-1937 Restored and Remastered

Review by Tony Burke, Blues & Rhythm, April 2019

NINETY-THREE sides of vintage and rare old-time music from the Lone Star state (mostly instrumentals) on a four CD set – culled from the record ...

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