THE 24TH HOUR was recorded after Big Daddy & Red Hot Java's torturous 3rd European tour (18 shows in 22 days). The band was tight and Big Daddy's voice had that gravelly tone only achieved from overuse. The entire CD was recorded, mixed, and mastered in 23 hours of studio time. Featuring the band's ordinal 4-piece lineup with Curtis Hightman on Guitar, Michael Greif on bass and Mark Blair on drums; there were no overdubs, no punch-ins, and every cut was a first take except one. Listen to Hightman's guitar part and you'll hear seamless tracks switching back and forth from lead to rhythm with ease. This is a rootsy Big Daddy & Red Hot Java with 11 cuts:
"New Cadillac" traces Big Daddy's daunting trip in a 1958 bed-on-wheels from Chicago to LA on historic Route 66 to see his woman.
"Married To Mizery" was co-written by Curtis Hightman and tells of man's greatest nightmare, a hellish marriage to a woman you can't get rid of.
"Dimples" is the John Lee Hooker classic performed in Big Daddy's special twisted way.
"Stranger Blues" is the Willie Dixon Blues nugget exposing one's fear of being a stranger in your own house.
"Red Hot Java" slyly tells the story of how the band got it's name, and is now it's the band's theme song.
"Slither & Burn" is an early Big Daddy tune exposing man's eternal desire.
"Long Way Home" is a Blues ballad about the heartache of long distance love.
"Southern Belle From Hell" describes a debutante gone bad and how that's soooooo good.
"No Glove No Love" is a campus favorite promoting the traveling man's code of the road.
"Dirty Old Town" is a Celtic favorite brought back from Ireland and Bluesified by Big Daddy. It hit the Emerald Isle's charts in 1998.
"Wes' Whiplash" instrumentally tells the story of Wes Montgomery bumping into Jeff Beck on the street.
RANDALL "BIG DADDY" WEBSTER'S BLUESOGRAPHY
Growing up in Wheaton, Illinois (also home to Jim and John Belushi), he snuck into the Windy City"s most notorious Blues clubs. They soaked in the music of Muddy Waters, Otis Span, Junior Wells, Big Joe Turner, and other Blues legends holding school on stage. Webster would often jump the "L" (elevated train) to Maxwell Street where itinerant Bluesmen plied their trade on the corner. Webster"s first guitar, a Harmony Stratatone, came from Duke"s pawnshop north of the old market. He scavenged record bins for vintage vinyl from his new Blues heroes. But eventually Chicago Top-40 radio on WLS and WCFL stole his ears.
The teenage Webster learned how to run a P.A. system, frequently working for area Blues bands in the very clubs he once snuck into as a child. During one sound check with Otis Rush, the band suddenly stopped mid-song only to hear Webster belting out a verse of Mojo. They chuckled loudly, and then Rush said, "Not bad for a skinny white kid!" The Blues flame was lit again and Webster never looked back musically.
Webster polished his vocal skills in the late 1970"s singing jingles for Chicago area radio stations, and sitting in with most any Blues band that would have him. Wrapping his four-octave tenor voice around tunes, Webster frequently was called the "Pavarotti of Blues." His vocal acrobatics and expressive singing style wrenched every bit of emotion out of each tune.
Eventually he landed at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale where Webster hosted a noon hour Big Band Blues radio show on WCIL-AM. Periodically he'd record St. Louis Bluesmen, and itinerant Blues folk musicians who lived in shanties overlooking the confluence of the Mississippi and Wabash rivers. These Bluesmen are descendent of minstrels who traveled the nation"s waterways. Using an old dreadnought acoustic guitar given to him by Will "Big House" Staughton, Webster picked tunes with his newfound Blues friends. When they ran out of covers tunes, they made them up. This was the beginning of Webster"s Blues songwriting.
By the early 1980's Webster migrated back to Chicago occasionally hosting a midnight Blues show for WAUR-FM, an oldies radio station. His guitar gathered dust. In 1985 a business opportunity in Tallahassee, Florida brought south. Suffering through too many of Chicago"s brutal winters, the Sunshine state was appealing. Once in Tallahassee, Webster hit the Blues jams to check out the scene. As his Tallahassee Blues circle grew, so did the idea of developing a horn based Blues band. By 1986 the "Mighty Big Blues Band" was born. With 5 horns, 3 backup singers, lead and rhythm guitarists, keys, bass and drums; the 13 piece group earned its name and reputation with a "wall of sound" belting out Blues and Soul classics. Their "Big Band" sound instantly captured audiences. During this tenure, master Blues harp player Lincoln "Chicago Beau" Beauchamp dubbed Webster "Big Daddy" while doing a show together. Beau marveled at Webster belting out tunes over his horn section saying, "The only thing bigger than "Big Daddy" is his voice!" Unfortunately, keeping "The Mighty Big Blues Band" together was difficult and the band folded after one CD and three successful years.
Next up was a 5-piece Soul/Funk group, "The Jive Rockets." Exploring music by the Isley Brothers, James Brown, Al Green, Bobby Blue Bland, and other Blues-based crossover artists brought a contemporary flare to "Big Daddy"s" sound. Webster had written over 300 tunes, performing many of them live. After a year with "The Jive Rockets" Webster jumped ship to the Jazz-fusion group "Zing" looking to push his "musical envelope," but he never left the Blues behind. His formally trained "Zing" band mates helped Webster polish his guitar work and songwriting skills, and he learned how to put it all on paper.
Before long the Blues beckoned again. "Big Daddy" searched for the right musicians to play in his new group "Red Hot Java." He wanted to meld his Chicago roots with the New Orleans musical gumbo he tasted on numerous trips there. Original "Red Hot Java" bassist Michael "Crash" Grief and drummer Ron "Bruno" Wilson were refugees from "The Mighty Big Blues Band." Guitarist Curtis "Cortez" Hightman played with Webster at several Blues jams. When they convened for a session it was magical. With a couple gigs under their belt, they recorded a live CD at the venerable Dave"s CC Club, a Tallahassee landmark "jook joint." Three years and two European tours later came their first studio CD "The 24th Hour" featuring 9 Webster penned tunes and two covers. The critically acclaimed 1997 release charted an Irish tune turned Blues, "Dirty Old Town." Now going on their 7th year "Big Daddy & Red Hot Java" has added a horn section. Their spring 2001 CD release "Firebrewed" features 9 "Big Daddy" tunes and a Slim Harpo inspired tune. The current Red Hot Java lineup includes Forrest "Gump" Greene on lead guitar, J. "General" Mills on drums, John "Big Tone" Toney on bass, Kez "It"s YourThing" Adams on alto and tenor sax, and Saunders "Preacha" Sermons on trombone.
Webster is a founding member of the Apalachee Blues Society, and on their board of directors. He performs "Blues-In-Schools" programs for elementary through college level students, sometimes with Blues legend Charles Atkins at Florida State University. Remaining true to the Blues heritage, Randall "Big Daddy" Webster has developed an original style called Progressive Urban Blues, which features Soul, Funk, R&B, Jazz, and Hip Hop influences. His solo shows combine original and classic Blues and the stories behind the music for "Big Daddy"s Blues Stories."