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KPLU All Blues host John Kessler has expanded "The Blues Time Machine," which has been a popular segment on his weekend blues shows. The weekly series tracks one great blues song through history - from its earliest recording to its latest and sometimes, with some surprising interpretations. "The Blues Time Machine" airs on KPLU on Fridays at 12:10 p.m. during the "Blue Plate Special," and on All Blues Saturdays and Sundays at 8 and 11 p.m.

Hendrix inspired by Earl King's 'Come On'

Earl King
Earl King

Earl King is one of the great songwriters and performers to come out of New Orleans, and his legacy continues to live on. Many of his compositions, including “Big Chief," “Trick Bag” and “These Lonely, Lonely Nights” have become an important part of the New Orleans “songbook."

His 1960 recording of “Come On Pts. 1 & 2” is punctuated with many starts and stops, featuring his expressive voice and aggressive and precise guitar work. If you look through Jimi Hendrix’s early releases, there are only a handful of songs among the dozens that he did not write. Earl King’s “Come On” is one of those.

The song appearing on Hendrix's 1968 album Electric Ladyland.

Hendrix upped the ante by increasing the tempo, but kept the guitar part pretty much the same as the original. You can listen to the studio recording below, but if you are a Hendrix fan you might be interested in this live recording from Berlin, 1969 (audio only):

Mac Rebennack, aka Dr. John, another New Orleans legend, took on the tune in 1972, turning it into a full-on party. When he performs live, Dr. John often plays guitar on the tune. But, here he is at the piano with Joe Walsh on guitar having fun with the song:

Stevie Ray Vaughan was a huge fan of Jimi Hendrix and “covered” some Hendix tunes, including “Voodoo Chile," “Little Wing” and “Come On”.

“I actually learned to play from Jimi’s records. I remember getting my little stereo and I would mike that up with a Shure PA … and I’d have all this set up in my room. Of course, the parents were at work. I would go in there, dress up as cool as I could, and try to learn his stuff.” Stevie Ray Vaughan in a 1989 Guitar Player interview.

Here’s a live recording of SVR and band working through "Come On, Pt. 3":

Here are the complete versions of “Come On”

Earl King  “Come On Pts. 1 & 2”  1960

Jimi Hendrix “Come On Pt. 1” 1968

Dr. John “Let The Good Times Roll” 1972

Stevie Ray Vaughan  “Come On Pt. 3”  1985

The Blues Time Machine” is a weekly feature tracking one great blues song through time. The series is hosted by John Kessler, from KPLU’s  “All Blues,” and is published here every Friday and airs on KPLU 88.5 on Fridays at 12:10 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday at 8 p.m. and 11 p.m.

John has worked as a professional bassist for 20 years, including a 15 year stint as Musical Director of the Mountain Stage radio program. John has been at KNKX since 1999 where he hosts “All Blues”, is producer of the BirdNote radio program, and co-hosts “Record Bin Roulette”. John is also the recording engineer for KNKX “In-Studio Performances”. Not surprisingly, John's main musical interests are jazz and blues, and he is still performing around Seattle.