Dunedin blues fan Tony Nielsen is not letting his “one big regret” get in the way of delivering a diverse programme of blues music on Otago Access Radio.
The host of Saturday afternoon show Bluesology decided to sell his 1000-strong collection of blues LPs back in the 1970s, to free up cash to support his growing family. Despite some niggling remorse over the move, he says it has made him all the wiser in rebuilding his collection.
“The good thing is I’ve now got the knowledge of which are the best LPs to get. Back in the sixties when I was first importing them, it was a bit of a blind guess.”
While Mr Nielsen’s blues collection was well short of its former impressive size, he was steadily augmenting a sizeable CD catalogue with new vinyl purchases.
“I prefer to play vinyl because it does offer a greater authenticity to the sound, but everyone will have that debate.”
Mr Nielsen developed an appreciation of the genre as a teenager growing up in New Plymouth, first enjoying the blues-influenced rock of British acts such as the Rolling Stones, Pretty Things and John Mayall. He then moved on to what he calls “the real thing”, the music of black American blues artists from the 1920s forward.
Bluesology was an opportunity to share a passion for blues in all its forms, he said.
“I’m trying to convey the breadth of blues music from the 1920s right through to today, because there are a number of younger artists who are true to the tradition although they have modernised it somewhat. I don’t have any hang-ups or boundaries.”
Mr Nielsen, who spent more than 40 years working in radio across New Zealand and in Australia, has special memories of some of his heroes in live performance.
“The very first blues concert I saw was Muddy Waters playing at the YMCA in Auckland around 1969. It was incredible. And Freddie King, Hound Dog Taylor and BB King were others who came to New Zealand. I was very lucky.”
Bluesology airs every Saturday at 4pm on OAR 105.4FM and 1575AM. Podcasts are available from www.oar.org.nz.
Photo: The real thing: Tony Nielsen hosts Bluesology on Otago Access Radio.