Tuesday, December 31, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

Special End-of-Year Mid-60s Folk Blues edition. Thanks, everybody (all three of you!), for visiting this year; “it’s been a ball playing records for y’all.” Come back next year (i.e., tomorrow) for more. . . .

Fred McDowell • Frisco Lines • 1965

Mississippi John Hurt • Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight • 1966

Reverend Gary Davis • Time Is Drawing Near • 1961

Mance Lipscomb • Spanish Flang Dang • 1964


Get ’em: You Gotta Move; The Complete Studio Recordings; Say No to the Devil; You Got to Reap What You Sow

Monday, December 30, 2013

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

Once, many years ago, I’d be playing “Whoa Back, Buck” in my room and my mom would come rushing in and demand to know, “What did he just sing?” And I’d reply, “Um, Cunningham.” ’Cause, really, Leadbelly did have another version where the “expletive” he used was “Cunningham,” due no doubt to the producer’s mom rushing into the studio and demanding to know, “What did he just sing?!” To make things even more blasphemous, the Golden Gate Quartet gospel group backs ole Lead on the version heard here. 

Less controversially, “The Eagle Rocks,” featuring Leadbelly on piano and scatting vocals was recorded four years later out on the west coast; he also made an instrumental version at the same session called “Eagle Rock Rag.”

Up next, from the “Eagle Rocks” session, Leadbelly’s Christmas. . . .



Leadbelly • The Eagle Rocks • 1944

Leadbelly • Whoa Back, Buck • 1940


Find ’em: Huddie Ledbetter’s Best; Take This Hammer

Monday, December 23, 2013

ODDS & ENDS


Charlie Feathers • Two To Choose • 1974


Charlie Feathers, vocal/guitar; Wanda Feathers, vocal; Bubba Feathers, lead guitar; Jumpin Jeff Todd, electric bass; Thumper Muth, drums. Recorded in Memphis, 20–21 November 1973.

LP cover: Discogs

Monday, December 16, 2013

Monday, December 09, 2013

ODDS & ENDS


Freddy Fender • How Much Is That Doggie In The Window • 1975

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Monday, November 25, 2013

ODDS & ENDS

ABOUT THIS FINE SERIES

As with the previous and also future titles in this series, Odds & Ends Vol. 1 purposes to present you, the listener, with the best selections available to us, the programmers, of that wide-ranging American musical genre. 

This volume in our long running series might easily be subtitled “It Came from the Garage,” as that is where many of these wonderful records and tapes that make up this set came from. Some were a little worse for the wear, some smelled strongly of mildew, but all had that something, and indeed they quite literally shouted out and implored us to put them on this collection. We believe you will agree we did the right thing.

Among the many fascinating country, blues, and gospel selections, we also present a number of tunes from the provinces of our great land—Hawaii, Louisiana, Europe, and Japan. As many of these have found their way into the slipstream of popular culture, we find they travel quite comfortably next to their more well-considered brethren.  —Irving Snurd, Radio Station WACK, Lompoc, Ca.    


The Cowboy Church Sunday School • Open Up Your Heart 

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

“Yeah, we know these sounds. These sounds come to one man. One man from Mississippi, USA. One man known as the wizard of the harp. One man known as the menace, and his name is SONNY BOY WILLIAMSON!”

With these opening remarks, a generation of young blues fans was introduced to the delights of Sonny Boy Williamson. We came because of the Yardbirds, but after the show we left with Sonny Boy. The Yardbirds, probably to scared to death, stay respectfully in the background on this live LP from 1963. We went on to discover Sonny Boy’s Chess LPs, his Trumpet sides, various Checker 45s, and many years later, more of his early 60s European recordings. All good, most great. But this is the “sounds” that started us all off. . . .


Sonny Boy Williamson & The Yardbirds • Bye Bye Bird • 1963


Get it: Sonny Boy Williamson & The Yardbirds

Friday, November 15, 2013

PETE WELDING, 1935–1995

Today would have been Pete Welding’s 78th birthday, but he only made 60. If you don’t know who he is, have a look at his abbreviated biography on Wikipedia. He was a good friend to me and many others and he is truly missed.


Mississippi Fred McDowell and Pete Welding 
at Pete’s apartment, Los Angeles, CA, 1968.
Photo copyright © 2013 by Brad Barrett,
All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES


Chuck Berry • Thirty Days • 1955

Howlin’ Wolf • Moanin’ At Midnight • 1951

Bo Diddley • You Can’t Judge A Book By Its Cover • 1962


Get ’em: Chuck Berry Rocks; Howlin’ Wolf: The Definitive Collection; Bo Diddley: His Best

Sunday, November 10, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

It was this song, side one, track 3, on a loaned copy of The Best of Muddy Waters that really lit something up inside and turned your correspondent into a blues fan. “Aw, take me wit’cha man, when you go!”


Muddy Waters • Louisiana Blues • 1950


Get it: His Best, 1947 to 1955

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

We got these three live tunes slapdash on the U.S. version of Out of Our Heads and December’s Children (with the U.K. cover photo for Out of Our Heads); the kids in Great Britain got an EP called Got LIVE If You Want It (unrelated to the later U.S. LP of the same name) with a couple more tracks a month earlier than the U.S. Out of Our Heads. Got all that? Well, get these. . . .


The Rolling Stones • Route 66 / I’m Moving On / I’m Alright • 1965


Get ’em: Out of Our Heads; December’s Children; or Singles 1963–1965

LP cover: Discogs

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES


Sam Hinton • Talking Atomic Blues • 1963

Phil Ochs • Draft Dodger Rag • 1965


Get ’em: Newport BroadsideI Ain’t Marching Anymore

Album cover: All Music

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

Lights flicker from the opposite loft . . .


Bob Dylan • Visions of Johanna • 1966


Get it: Blonde on Blonde

Sunday, October 20, 2013

ALLEY SPECIAL

First time I heard Wright Holmes he scared me a little bit. I didn’t know what to make of the intense craziness of “Alley Special” heard on a Blues Classics LP many years ago. Many years after that, I heard his other two issued performances and was pretty well convinced we had a real Texas madman on our hands here. I believe I read somewhere that he later gave up blues for the church . . . hope that helped! Anyway, here for your Sunday listening is the great and not famous Wright Holmes as he sounded in a Houston recording studio in 1947 singing his blues and cranking out some really unhinged guitar solos.



Wright Holmes • Alley Special

Photo: Wright Holmes, 1967, courtesy of American Music.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

CAN’T GET NO GRINDIN’ . . .


Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie

click on song title to listen


Memphis Minnie, vocal/guitar; Kansas Joe, vocal/guitar. Chicago, 11 October 1930

This track and 20 others featuring great sides by artists like Charley Patton, Blind Blake, Lil McClintock, and others, are available on the CD that comes with this year’s (2013) Classic Blues Artwork from the 1920’s calendar available from Blues Images.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

A great little EP in a heavy cardboard sleeve was making the rounds in 1966. Here are two of the three tunes it contained. . . .


Country Joe & The Fish • Bass Strings / Section 43 • 1966


Find ’em: Collectors Items: The First Three EP’s

EP cover: 45cat

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

“I Want You” was the jaunty radio hit in the summer of ’66 but the flip was the scary side that pulled you down onto Rue Morgue Avenue and wrung you out until you drag-assed yourself back home muttering “I do believe I’ve had enough. . . .”


Bob Dylan • I Want You • 1966

Bob Dylan • Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues • 1966


Get ’em: Blonde on Blonde; A Musical History (The Band)

45 picture sleeve: Rate Your Music

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Saturday, September 21, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

This story’s been told here before. Here it is again. . . . 1965. I’m driving around in my little 1960 blue Falcon, “radio tuned to rock’n’roll.” This country song keeps coming on and I immediately switch stations. What are they doing playing this kind of stuff on my station? One day I tune in just as the song ends and the DJ says, “That was ‘Act Naturally’ by The Beatles.” Whaaat?!? Well, after that, I started listening to it and, eating my prejudice for lunch, began to really like it. 
I mean, it was the Beatles, y’know? Sometime later, one of my friends played me a song he was learning on his guitar, “Buckaroo,” by some guy called Buck Owens. That was pretty fine too. Little by little. . . . Well, at some point along the way I heard Buck Owens’ original of “Act Naturally,” and became a big fan, though the Beatles’ version is still a frozen-in-time favorite. 
And how do you get Ringo to sound good? Have him sing country!



The Beatles • Act Naturally • 1965


Get it: Help!

For Buck’s original, click here.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

In September 1965 the followup single to “Like a Rolling Stone” took to the airwaves. In southern California the song announced as “Positively 4th Street” was a mistakenly pressed early version of “Can You Please Crawl Out Your Window.” It aired for a couple of weeks and then without fanfare a “new” version of “Positively 4th Street” quietly took its place. It sounded much like other songs recorded during the Highway 61 Revisited sessions, with prominent Al Kooper organ, and perhaps not many listeners noticed the switch. The next month Joan Baez released Farewell, Angelina, her first album utilizing the currently popular “folk rock” sound, i.e., light amplified accompaniment a la Bringing It All Back Home or The Byrds’ Mr. Tambourine Man. The album featured two new Dylan songs along with a mix of traditional tunes, songs by Woody Guthrie, Donovan and Pete Seeger, as well as two older Dylan compositions. The title track was a previously unheard Bob Dylan song with mysterious apocalyptic lyrics beautifully sung by Baez as a sad, resigned benediction.


Bob Dylan • Positively 4th Street • 1965

Joan Baez • Farewell, Angelina • 1965


Get ’em: Bob Dylan’s Greatest Hits; Farewell, Angelina

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

DINOSAURIC PRECEPTION ROADMAP BLUES

Between “Subterranean Homesick Blues” and the release of Blonde on Blonde the following year, the summer of 1965 provided a lot of nourishment for a just-born Bob Dylan fan. “Like a Rolling Stone” hit the airwaves in July and in August Highway 61 Revisited was released to mind boggling effect. The rest of the summer was spent playing catch up, discovering the five albums that preceded it. There were a few more songs on the radio that fall and the following spring to tide us over until the next album arrived. A lot of fun awaited a naïve, uncultured kid opening the door (or having it opened) into a whole new previously unknown world. Another Side’s “Motorpsycho Nitemare” was funny even if many of the cultural references (Psycho, La Dolce Vita) were missed, though the absurdity of the Fidel Castro/Barry Goldwater joke registered by virtue of quick glances at the newspaper headlines before heading for the comics page in years prior; “I Shall Be Free” from Freewheelin’ was similarly funny, and Bob’s response to President Kennedy’s “growth” query, “Brigitte Bardot, Anita Ekberg, Sophia Loren, country’ll grow” was pretty easy to figure out. “When the Ship Comes In,” however, seemed a little scary, was it about a commie takeover? “Something is happening here but you don’t know what it is, do you. . . .” Ultimately the dark imagery and gallows humor of songs like “Visions of Johanna” and “Desolation Row” won out until ever diminishing returns post-John Wesley Harding found the young acolyte pitching his tent more or less permanently in the blues camp. . . .


Bob Dylan • Highway 51 • 1962

Bob Dylan • Motorpsycho Nitemare • 1964


Get ’em: Bob Dylan; Another Side of Bob Dylan

Album cover: All Music

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Cowboy Jack Clement 1931–2013


Waylon Jennings • Let’s All Help The Cowboys (Sing The Blues) • 1975
(written and co-produced by Jack Clement)




Bobby Bare • Miller’s Cave • 1966
(written by Jack Clement)



Johnny Cash & The Tennessee Two • Guess Things Happen That Way • 1958
(written and produced by Jack Clement)

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

SUNNY BOY & HIS PALS

Three guys, two with guitars, a Mississippi “string band” if you will. Duet vocals. Traditional lyrics cobbled together. Six sides total from two sessions in 1927. Black Patti recordings issued and then leased out to other labels. Different artist names label to label. Long “Cleve” Reed and Little Harvey Hull (The Down Home Boys); Papa Harvey Hull and The Down Home Boys; Sunny Boy and His Pals; Daddy Moon Hayes and His Boys; Original Louisiana Entertainers; Long “Cleve” Reed – Little Harvey Hull – Down Home Boys. Rare as all get-out. “Stack”/“Mama” only known copy; owner declined five figure sale offer. All more than worthy of your ears. Hear a bygone era going going went.

Harvey Hull, vocals (lead vocal on “Gang of Brown Skin Women,” “Don’t You Leave Me Here,” “Mama You Don’t Know How”); Long “Cleve” Reed, vocals (lead vocals on “The France Blues,” “Two Little Tommies Blues,” “Original Stack O’ Lee Blues”), humming, guitar; Sunny Wilson, guitar.



Long “Cleve” Reed & Little Harvey Hull (The Down Home Boys)



Get ’em, Find ’em: 18 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920’s Vol. 8, 24 Classic Blues Songs from the 1920’s Vol. 12, Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, Mississippi Moaners, Never Let the Same Bee Sting You Twice

Illustration: (left to right) Long “Cleve” Reed, Papa Harvey Hull, Sunny Wilson, from 1927 Chicago Defender ad

Sunday, July 28, 2013

YA OURDA

Here’s what I know about this record: It’s from Tunisia, recorded around 1947, the singer Louisa Tounsia is a Sephardic Jew, and I think it’s really great.


Louisa Tounsia • Ya Ourda • c.1947



Photo: last.fm

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

ORIGIN JAZZ LIBRARY, Part 2

In the years between Harry Smith’s 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music and the start-up of Nick Perls’ Belzona/Yazoo Records in 1967, Pete Whelan and Bill Givens began to reissue country blues 78s on LP under the Origin Jazz Library imprint beginning in 1960. They drew upon the pioneering collections of Whelan, Bernard Klatzko, James McCune, and others, who had begun to acquire obscure country blues records back in the 1940s when very few record collectors paid much interest to the genre, concentrating instead of classic jazz. OJL’s first issue was Charlie Patton! 1929-32, the first microgroove collection to collect a dozen of Patton’s sides in one place. OJL kept up a modest reissue program through the mid-60s, issuing full LPs by Henry Thomas, another Charley Patton volume, Crying Sam Collins, and many anthologies featuring Mississippi blues, early female country blues singers, jug bands, early jazz, etc. Two of their country blues collections, Really! The Country Blues and Country Blues Encores introduced the folkie crowd to such great country blues artists as Tommy Johnson, William Moore, Son House, Skip James, George “Bullet” Williams, Garfield Akers, Blind Joe Reynolds, Jaybird Coleman, Charlie Jordan, and many others. The cover graphics were crude but effective, many of the LPs had booklets with essays and discographical information inside the sleeve, the remastering was adequate for the time period (Yazoo’s Nick Perls would bring 78 remastering up to state of the art a few years later), and the musical selections were outstanding. In 1967 Pete Whelan bowed out and Bill Givens took over, continuing to issue LPs up until his death in 1999. By that time, Yazoo had long been the premier reissue label for classic country blues, issuing on their own collections many of the blues sides originally put out by Origin with state of the art remastering, and the Austrian Document label was pretty far along in its ambition to issue every single prewar blues 78 ever recorded. Many of these records have made it to CD in the past 20 or so years, and Yazoo again often has the superior sound reproduction and presentation.  

Here, then, is a selection of great country blues that first made the transition from shellac to vinyl on the second eight OJL releases. Tunes from the first eight can be found at http://magicjukebox.blogspot.com/2013/06/origin-jazz-library-part-1.html

click on individual song titles to listen:

Going to Town – Dewey Jackson’s Peacock Orchestra. 1926
Whoopee Blues – King Solomon Hill (Joe Holmes), vocal/guitar. 1932
Dough Roller Blues – Garfield Akers, vocal/guitar; Joe Calicott, guitar. 1930
I Am Bound for the Promised Land – Alfred G. Karnes, vocal/harp-guitar. 1927
Rock of Ages – Blind Willie Davis, vocal/guitar. 1928
John Henry Blues – The Two Poor Boys: Joe Evans, vocal/guitar or mandolin; 
  Arthur McClain, vocal/guitar or mandolin. 1931
Stomp ’Em Down to the Bricks – Henry Brown, piano; Lawrence Casey, guitar/speech. 
  1929
Lonesome Road Blues – Smith & Irvine: W. M. Smith, — Irvine, piano duet. 1932




Most of the songs heard here can be found in top sound quality on various Yazoo and Blues Images CDs.

Album covers courtesy American Music.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Johnnie Taylor Blues, pt 2

Before we slow down the pace here too much at Blues All Kinds, we wanted to finish up a couple of “series” that started here earlier this year. First up. . . .

When Sam Cooke left the Soul Stirrers to sing pop music, Johnnie Taylor was drafted in from the Highway QCs to replace him, just as Cooke had been similarly picked from the QCs to take over for R. H. Harris when he left the Stirrers. One of my long-time favorite Soul Stirrers sides is “The Love of God,” with a gorgeous Johnnie Taylor lead. I saw this record described in print once as a pedestrian pop ballad; I only wish the Taylor incarnation of the Soul Stirrers had done more of them. . . . (This is the flip side of “Out on a Hill,” posted earlier.)

The label pic shown is from an early 70s reissue; looks like Specialty wanted to capitalize on Johnnie Taylor’s popularity as a soul singer and at the same time plug their recent LP comp The Original Soul Stirrers.



The Soul Stirrers • The Love of God • 1958

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

San Diego Folk & Blues

Have a look: San Diego Folk & Blues 1965–1970 is now available as a hardbound book featuring photographs of the San Diego folk and blues scene in the mid- to late 60s. Images include both live and informal portraits of local folkies and blues singers such as Ray Bierl, Jack Tempchin, Kathy & Carol, Tom Jacobson, Gary McCoy, David Cheney, Warren Hughey, Lou & Virginia Curtiss, Bruce Frye, Stan Smith, Suzie Halgedahl, John German, Thomas Shaw, Bob Jeffery, and Dennis Kruse, as well as visiting performers such as Lightnin’ Hopkins, Mary McCaslin, Juke Boy Bonner, Robert Pete Williams, Jesse Fuller, Doc & Merle Watson, and Sam Chatmon. Also shown are San Diego institutions Folk Arts and the Blue Guitar. The book is available to view and purchase now at Blurb.com. Blues Live 1967–1970, featured here in April, is also available.




Thursday, July 11, 2013

BROW BRIDGE WALTZ


Floyd LeBlanc & His French Fiddle • Brow Bridge Waltz • 1947

click on song title to listen


“Brow Bridge” = Breaux Bridge, Louisiana

Monday, June 24, 2013

CAN’T GO DOWN THIS DARK ROAD BY MYSELF

Here’s Floyd Jones with a très hypnotic remake of his classic “Dark Road;” Little Walter on harmonica. . . .


Floyd Jones & His Guitar • Dark Road • 1951




Sunday, June 23, 2013

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ORIGIN JAZZ LIBRARY, Part 1

In the years between Harry Smith’s 1952 Anthology of American Folk Music and the start-up of Nick Perls’ Belzona/Yazoo Records in 1967, Pete Whelan and Bill Givens began to reissue country blues 78s on LP under the Origin Jazz Library imprint beginning in 1960. They drew upon the pioneering collections of Whelan, Bernard Klatzko, James McCune, and others, who had begun to acquire obscure country blues records back in the 1940s when very few record collectors paid much interest to the genre, concentrating instead on classic jazz. OJL’s first issue was Charlie Patton! 1929-32, the first microgroove collection to collect a dozen of Patton’s sides in one place. OJL kept up a modest reissue program through the mid-60s, issuing full LPs by Henry Thomas, another Charley Patton volume, Crying Sam Collins, and many anthologies featuring Mississippi blues, early female country blues singers, jug bands, early jazz, etc. Two of their country blues collections, Really! The Country Blues and Country Blues Encores introduced the folkie crowd to such great country blues artists as Tommy Johnson, William Moore, Son House, Skip James, George “Bullet” Williams, Garfield Akers, Blind Joe Reynolds, Jaybird Coleman, Charlie Jordan, and many others. The cover graphics were crude but effective, many of the LPs had booklets with essays and discographical information inside the sleeve, the remastering was adequate for the time period (Yazoo’s Nick Perls would bring 78 remastering up to state of the art a few years later), and the musical selections were outstanding. In 1967 Pete Whelan bowed out and Bill Givens took over, continuing to issue LPs up until his death in 1999. By that time, Yazoo had long been the premier reissue label for classic country blues, issuing on their own collections many of the blues sides originally put out by Origin with state of the art remastering, and the Austrian Document label was pretty far along in its ambition to issue every single prewar blues 78 ever recorded.

Here, then, is a selection of great country blues that first made the transition from shellac to vinyl on the first half dozen or so OJL albums. 

click on individual song titles to listen:

Moon Going Down – Charley Patton, vocal/guitar; Willie Brown, 2nd guitar. 1930
Touch Me Light Mama – George “Bullet” Williams, harmonica solo/spoken; 
  unknown, vocal. 1928
Texas Easy Street Blues – Henry Thomas “Ragtime Texas,” vocal/guitar. 1928
Going To Germany – Cannon’s Jug Stompers: Gus Cannon, banjo/jug; Noah Lewis, 
  vocal/harmonica; Hosea Woods, guitar/spoken. 1929
Got The Blues Can’t Be Satisfied – Mississippi John Hurt, vocal/guitar. 1928
Rolling Log Blues – Lottie Kimbrough & Winston HolmesLottie Kimbrough, vocal; 
  Miles Pruitt, guitar. 1928
A Spoonful Blues – Charley Patton, vocal/guitar. 1929
Outside Woman Blues – Blind Joe Reynolds, vocal/guitar. 1929




All of the songs heard here can be found in top sound quality on various Yazoo and Blues Images CDs.

Album covers courtesy American Music

Friday, June 07, 2013

JOLIE BLONDE


Chuck Guillory • Jolie Blonde • 1982


Get it: Grand Texas

Chuck Guillory, fiddle; Preston Manuel, vocal, guitar; Gervis Stanford, second fiddle; Michael Doucet, mandolin; David Doucet, lead guitar; Curzy “Porkchop” Roy, drums. Recorded in Crowley, Louisiana, 17 Dec 1982

Friday, May 31, 2013

In misery

Strangled, high-pitched vocals in waltz time, soloing fiddles, accordions, and steel guitars . . . as therapeutic as any gutbucket blues. . . .



Huey Meaux-Andrew Cormier & The Rambling Aces • Dans Les Misere
vocal: Rodney LeJune • 1958



Photo: “The Rambling Aces with Andrew Cormier (accordion), Rodney LeJune (drums), and Huey Meaux (emcee), 
c. 1962.” Johnnie Allan Collection via Floyd’s Early Cajun Singles 1957–1960, Ace CDCHD 743, 2007.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

GRANDMA AND GRANDPA HAD ’EM TOO

Blind Willie McTell’s most well-known song is probably familiar to many music fans with even a passing interest in the blues, but I was recently reminded of how new and out of context “Statesboro Blues” sounded the first time I heard it on the album The Country Blues which Folkways issued as kind of an aural appendix to Sam Charters’ book of the same name. This flashback arrived courtesy of Aki Kaurismäki’s 2011 movie Le HavreIn it the character Idrissa, a young African refugee, plays it on the ancient record player in the house of Marcel Marx, who is trying to help Idrissa avoid deportation. Via this “new” setting, I heard it with fresh ears and was happy to rediscover a great song I had taken for granted for decades.



Blind Willie McTell • Statesboro Blues • 1928


Get it: The Best of Blind Willie McTell

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Or just a cold and lonely, lovely work of art?


Elvis Presley • Mona Lisa • 1959



Image: the “alternate,” Isleworth Mona Lisa. Prob. Leonardo da Vinci, c1503

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

JOHNNIE TAYLOR BLUES

When Sam Cooke left the Soul Stirrers to sing pop music, Johnnie Taylor was drafted in from the Highway QCs to replace him, just as Cooke had been similarly picked from the QCs to take over for R. H. Harris when he left the Stirrers. Through all the changes, second lead Paul Foster held steady; that’s him taking over after Johnnie’s passionate vocal in the last minute and a half of “Out on a Hill.” The flip of this record is “The Love of God,” another great Taylor lead, and one of my all-time favorite Soul Stirrers sides.


The Soul Stirrers • Out on a Hill • 1958

click on song title to listen



Friday, April 05, 2013

Blues Live

Blues Live 1967–1970 has just been released as a jacketed hardcover book, available at Blurb.com. It features 18 “portraits” of country and modern blues singers who were active during the latter half of the 1960s. Inside are portraits of Mance Lipscomb, Jesse Fuller, Son House, Charlie Musselwhite and Louis Myers of the Chicago Blues Stars, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Sam Chatmon, Juke Boy Bonner, John Hammond, Johnny Shines, Big Walter Horton, Howlin’ Wolf, Lightning Hopkins, George “Harmonica” Smith, Albert Collins, Robert Jeffery, and B. B. King. Front and back jacket photographs feature different images of Albert Collins and Howlin’ Wolf to those shown inside. It is also available as an ebook for the iPad (both at Blurb and in the iTunes store) minus the back cover image of Wolf. Check it out. . . .