Tuesday, July 11, 2017

'Third Degree' - One Song, Two Versions

In 1953, veteran bluesman Eddie Boyd released 'Third Degree', a blues hit written by another legend Willie Dixon. It reached No. 3 on the R&B charts. 

 The song hits a sweet spot for showing the plight of those who are uneducated or poor and are taken advantage of by authorities, as well as scapegaoting them. The song in it's original form is very mellow and somber:


And then skip ahead 33 years, late guitar legend Johnny Winter covered the song in his signature smokin' gi-tar playing. It turns things up a notch, with an extended solo in the middle, but still evokes the theme of the song. Hope you enjoy this interpretation, showing how you can reimagine a tune and still keep it relevant:

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

'Check My Baby's Oil' - Lil' Ed & The Blues Imperials

Lil' Ed is one of the best bluesmen on the circuit toda; he got his first break in 1987 with Alligator Records, and has been touring and releasing albums ever since. His backing band, The Blues Imperials, elevate the sound to great heights. 

Here's a slow and heavy blues track off his 2008 album 'Full Tilt", which captures the spirit of old school Chicago blues, his birthtown: 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Muddy Waters Mural to be Unveiled in Chicago

As part of the Chicago Blues Festival, the city of Chicago and blues fans are set for a site of wonder, as Brazilian street artist Eduardo Kobra will unveil his mural of blues legend Muddy Waters, on Thursday June 8th.

The Chicago Blues Fest runs from June 9-11 and is free for everyone. (no one planning to be kind enough to fund my trip?)

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Hip Hop X Blues - 2 Live Blues / 2 Live Crew

2 Live Crew are a notoriously obscene, yet influential, hip hop crew from Miami. They were very popular in the 80's and 90's, known for controversial subject matter in their albums.

There's one track on their most famous 1989 album As Nasty As I Wanna Be called '2 Live Blues', which is them rapping over the ever classic blues call and response rhythm, which was sampled from blues/soul man Clarence Carter's 'Love Me With a Feeling'. So let's take a step back in time to classic hip hop.


Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Happy Birthday Little Walter!

On May 1, 1930, blues harmonica legend Marion Walter Jacobs, AKA Little Walter, was born.

Walter would become one of the main pillars of blues harmonica in the Chicago scene, also famously known for being in Muddy Waters' blues band before going solo. His solo career would also be highly successful will hits like "Juke", "My Babe" and others.

He died at an early age in 1968 due to injuries in a nightclub fight. 

Here's a rare live performance from 1967:

Monday, May 1, 2017

Blues for May 1st

Today is May 1, the International Workers Day, or Labor Day in the US.

The Blues is no stranger to the toils of hard work and the troubles we all must endure, from harsh working conditions to a mean ol' boss man to put food on the table.

So here's a few songs I selected for you on this occasion:







Thursday, April 20, 2017

Celebrate 4/20 with the Blues

Yeah yeah we know, it's April 20. And potheads will be very sure to let us know, even if you only tried it once.

So if you want to get blazed, take a toke of Muddy Waters' anthem to the leafy green:

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Blues for Mother's Day

Today the day we acknowledge and thank the women of the world who have given their lives, effort, and time to take care of us. While mostly it is a time for celebration, the blues is always relevant.

Mothers go through so much to ensure we become better people, to stay healthy, to learn to do things right and to always be good.

It's definitely not easy to be a mother, so here's a small list of blues songs that talk about the hardships and tribulations of mothers everywhere (well except Elmore James' but I digress):

Mother's Blues - Leadbelly 

Mother Blues - Son Seals

Nobody Loves Me But My Mother - B.B. King

Mean Mistreatin' Mama - Elmore James

Motherless Child - O.V. Wright

Monday, March 13, 2017

Blues Book: 'The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music's Golden Age'

Art and blues? A history of visuals of the blues world? TAKE MY MONEY.

I purchased the blues/art book 'The Art of the Blues: A Visual Treasury of Black Music's Golden Age' by Bill Dahl, which compiles the history of cover art, poster work, and advertisements for all things blues in this amazing book. It's brings the blues image and lifestyle alive, making us feel the music just by looking at it. Bill Dahl, a  music journalist and historian who has written liner notes for countless reissues of classic blues, soul, R&B, and rock albums, is the perfect author to gather all this wonderful information.

If you are into the blues as I am, or if you are into vintage art, or simply want a book for your growing coffee table collection, then this one is for you.

Monday, March 6, 2017

David Gilmour Plays the Blues

Pink Floyd are not strangers to the blues; I have already mentioned that previously [here] and [here]. Hell their band name is a mish-mash of two bluesmen's names.

So since today is lead guitarist David Gilmour's birthday, I thought I'd showcase Gilmour playing some blues from the late 80's for ya.

Have a good one Dave!