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Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 Fender Guitars & Basses



It's that time of year again folks!

Every winter the latest Fender guitars and basses are announced, and here I have complied them all for you!

I can't say I'm very excited for these models this year though. Go to Fender's website for more information.

GUITARS


AMERICAN STANDARD STRATOCASTER HSS SHAWBUCKER 


 LIMITED EDITION AMERICAN SPECIAL STRATOCASTER HSS 

 LIMITED EDITION AMERICAN SPECIAL STRATOCASTER 


SANDBLASTED STRATOCASTER


STANDARD STRATOCASTER HH


STANDARD STRATOCASTER HSH 


 STANDARD STRATOCASTER HSS WITH FLOYD ROSE


SPECIAL EDITION '60S STRATOCASTER LACQUER 


SPECIAL EDITION DAVID LOZEAU ART STRATOCASTER® (4 models)







DAVE MURRAY STRATOCASTER 


SERGIO VALLIN SIGNATURE GUITAR 


SANDBLASTED TELECASTER 


STANDARD TELECASTER HH 


ROAD WORN '60S JAGUAR 


60S JAGUAR LACQUER 


ROAD WORN '60S JAZZMASTER 


60S JAZZMASTER LACQUER

STANDARD JAZZMASTER HH 


BASSES 


SANDBLASTED PRECISION BASS 


DELUXE ACTIVE PRECISION BASS OKOUME


DEE DEE RAMONE PRECISION BASS 


STEVE HARRIS PRECISION BASS 


SANDBLASTED JAZZ BASS


U.S.A. GEDDY LEE JAZZ BASS


DELUXE ACTIVE JAZZ BASS OKOUME 


DELUXE ACTIVE JAZZ BASS V OKOUME 


 STANDARD JAGUAR BASS 


 STANDARD DIMENSION BASS IV


'Married Woman Blues' - J.B. Hutto



Joseph Benjamin "J.B." Hutto was a blues musician active in the 50's, and later from the mid-60s till his death in 1983.

He was a guitar player inspired by the works of Elmore James, and when he moved to Chicago in 1949 from South Carolina, he started getting gigs here and there and started a band called The Hawks.

In true blues fashion, he stopped playing music when a woman took his guitar and smashed it on her husband's head, and worked as a janitor for 11 years, before picking up his guitar again in the mid-60's. Since then he recorded several albums and worked with many other artists.

Here's one of his first recordings upon returning to the music business, called 'Married Woman Blues' on the Chicago/the Blues/Today! Vol. 1 compilation album released on Vanguard:


Thursday, January 22, 2015

In Memory of Blind Willie Johnson



Today marks the 118th birthday of blues and gospel singer Blind Willie Johnson. He was born in 1897. 

He bridged the gap between blues and spiritual music, recording the standard "John the Revelator" and many other songs, including "Nobody's Fault But Mine" which was recorded in 1927, also known as a very popular song recorded by Led Zeppelin.

Here's 'Nobody's Fault But Mine' for you below. Blind Willie, hope you're having a grand old time with the Maker.






Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Standard of the Week: 'Dust My Broom'



In 1936, blues legend Robert Johnson recorded 'I Believe I'll Dust My Broom', which had inspiration from older blues songs such as 'I Believe I'll Go Back Home' by The Sparks Brothers in 1932 and 'Old Original Kokomo Blues' by Kokomo Arnold from 1934. The song is a standard, upbeat blues shuffle:



However, the "definitive" version of this song is by Elmore James, recorded in 1951 in Mississippi. It features the classic and timeless slide guitar riff in open D tuning. The guitar is overdriven and that gave it's driving, rocking sound:


This version has been claimed as one of the most recognizable guitar riffs in history, and that simple triplet run caused a storm among musicians, and was instrumental in the rise of rock and roll.

It has since been selected for the Blues Foundation Blues Hall of Fame, the Grammy Hall of Fame, and the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry.

Here are a few of the hundreds who covered the song:


HOWLIN' WOLF



THE YARDBIRDS (of ERIC CLAPTON / JIMMY PAGE fame)



FLEETWOOD MAC



ZZ TOP



BEN HARPER



JOHNNY WINTER



Monday, January 19, 2015

Closer Look: Minor Blues



In the general (and most popular) structure of the blues, called the '12-bar blues', the dominant chords are used for the key of a particular song. So for example, in the key of E, you would use the E7, A7, and B7 chords for that structure. 

In some cases however, and when you need an extra 'modal' sound or "less happy" tonality, you would instead use the minor chord. So instead of E7, you would play Em. This results in a completely different sound in a blues structure. Many bluesmen and jazz players used their own variations on the common 12-bar blues to add some variety. These added chords or the mellow minor sound tend to shift the blues sound to R&B or soul territory, as well as more variety in soloing to use more extended scales and chords.

The most popular minor blues song is by far B.B. King's 'The Thrill is Gone':



Some other great minor blues are:


'I Hear Nothing But The Blues' - Albert King





'Midnight Blues' - Gary Moore




'Double Trouble' - Otis Rush




'Moon Blues' - Otis Spann




'Who's Been Talkin' - Howlin Wolf


Sunday, January 18, 2015

Pink Anderson & Floyd Council; The Men Behind 'Pink Floyd'

Pink & Floyd
Many people (myself included back when I started listening to the band) wonder what is the meaning of Pink Floyd's name. 'Does it have to do with drugs?' is the most common conception due to the band's association with drugs.

But the answer is much, much simpler.

In 1965, the Syd Barrett put the first names of Carolina blues musicians Pink Anderson and Floyd Council together, changing the band's name from The Tea Set to The Pink Floyd Sound. 


It's basically that simple. Everyone, meet Pink and Floyd!






For more Floyd stuff, check out my video review of Pink Floyd's latest album below:


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Last Remaining Old School Mississippi Blues Musicians


The Huffington Post has published an article showcasing the last remaining old school blues musicians in Mississippi. The photographs were taken by Lou Bopp when he undertook an adventure to capture the blues aura of the Mississippi.

You can see the full list of photos [here]. Thanks Rita for the tip!


Big George Brock



Pat Thomas


T Model Ford


Monday, January 12, 2015

Standard of the Week: 'I'm a King Bee' - Slim Harpo





Slim Harpo, real name James Moore, was an influential blues harmonica player from Louisiana. To celebrate what would have been his 91st birthday (he was born on January 11, 1924), I thought I'd visit this classic blues recording.

 In 1957, Harpo's 'I'm a King Bee' was released to much acclaim, becoming Slim's most famous song. The swamp blues style of heavy rhythms just drives it on home. In 2006, the song received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award for it's legacy. 

The call and response tune with the sexual innuendo makes it raunchy and fun.





Dozens of musicians covered it, including:


MUDDY WATERS


THE ROLLING STONES


THE DOORS


THE GRATEFUL DEAD


AEROSMITH




Sunday, January 11, 2015

Blues & Religion


via Mojohand

'Blues is my religion, 7 days a week. The world is my chapel, the congregation is the people I meet' - Sonny Rhodes, from "Blues is My Religion".




It is accepted that the blues has origins from spirituals (among other things); the hymns that were sung in chapels rang across the halls and into the deepest parts of the soul. 

However, the blues was not the type of music to expect hope, forgiveness, salvation, or mercy. For the story of man ever since his origins was deep in sin (if you believe the gospel of course). 

Ever since the legend of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the devil at a crossroads became popular, the blues has been associated with being the blasphemous step-dad of the gospel (I say step-dad because otherwise it would entail purity or fidelity, which the blues ain't.)

Religious imagery is prevalent throughout blues music, particularly the blues of the 20's and 30's; songs talk about the devil, make fun of the preachers and reverends, use biblical imagery and speak of the afterlife, both heaven and hell, in frank terms. From the early days of the blues, there was an attack on religion and some of it's ways. One famous example is Son House's classic song "Preachin' Blues':

Oh, I'm gonna get me religion, I'm gonna join the Baptist Church (2X)
Oh, I'm gonna be a Baptist preacher and I sure won't have to work

I'm gonna preach these blues an' I want everybody to shout

Oooo…oh, I want everybody to shout
I'm gonna do like a prisoner, I'm gonna roll my time out

Oh, in my room, I bow down to pray (2X)

But the blues came along and blowed my spirit away

Oooh, I'd've had religion on this very day (2X)

But the womens and whiskey well they would no let me pray






new version from 1965 (for clarity):



Several blues men and women of that era such as Ma Rainey and others started singing songs about the hypocrisy of preachers, who claim to be pure and innocent but are drunkards and adulterers. Even as late as 1972, Muddy Waters in his song "Can't Get No Grindin", he states:

Some people said that a preacher won't steal;
I caught one down in my corn field.

Many bluesmen sich as B.B. King learned to sing at church, and some are very religious; however the real salvation of the blues lies within yourself, and not in the hands of a preacher or God. 

As a side note for further reading, many blues musicians used voodoo imagery in their songs. You can read more about Voodoo and the Blues in an article I wrote here.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

To Haters & Terrorists: Up Yours


Just in the past week, we had the whole Mia Khalifa controversy, the racist article in Al-Nahar and then just yesterday the horrible death of 12 people at Charlie Hebdo in Paris, being the biggest headlines.

I'm not an eloquent writer or speaker and many others have given their 2 cents much better than I can, and given the situation I didn't want to write a song about it, so I'll just say this:


Screw the haters, the intolerant, the oppressors, tyrants, and terrorists.

We and Martin Luther King Jr. have had enough of your shit.