Thursday, September 7, 2017

Obscure Blues: Homer Harris

no image found for Homer Harris

In my usual quest for digging up some old school blues I recently discovered a bluesman who at first I thought was actually Muddy Waters, but turned out to be really Homer Harris.

There's not much information on Homer Harris, except he was born in Drew, Mississippi in 1916, and eventually moved to Chicago.

In 1946 he recorded three tracks for Columbia, and featured Muddy Waters on guitar. My initial confusion was from "I'm Gonna Cut Your Head" as the vocals are too similar to Muddy.

It came back to me that in September 27, 1946 Muddy Waters recorded several tracks for Columbia before moving to Aristocrat (later renamed Chess) and releasing his major hit "I Can't Be Satisfied" in 1947.

Muddy was the guitarist for the 3 tracks Homer Harris would record. Separately Muddy released 'Mean Red Spider' for Columbia under the pseudonym James "Sweet Lucy" Carter. 

Homer Harris would not record anything else afterwards, working odd jobs and opening small businesses in Chicago until his death in 2000. 

These songs embody the early Chicago blues sound at I enjoy the most, and I hope you enjoy them too.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

'Xanax Blues' - Jam by Ali Sleeq & Turk

Recently I had an awesome jam with my buddy Tarek 'Turk' Kabbani of Jaybird Studios (@turkhimself on Instagram) and we recorded a song of mine called 'Xanax Blues'.

As per the usual procedure, this track was all done in one take. I played the guitars and Turk did the drums and production. Hope you all enjoy this raw blues.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Obscure Blues: 'You Told Me' - Gus Jinkins

Gus Jinkins was a blues pianist from Alabama who got some recognition in the early 50's with his intrumental track 'Tricky' got to no. 2 on the R&B charts, but he never got to huge acclaim as an artist.

He recorded songs in the 50's in Chicago under Chess and others, and I found the below song called 'You Told Me' which the type of raw blues I love, released on the Flash label in 1956:

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rocksmith Adds Four Tracks by Muddy Waters

Rocksmith is a music video game played with a guitar peripheral, and this week it will add four tracks by Muddy Waters, to be purchased as additional content.

The four songs will be:
  • Honey Bee 
  • I Can’t Be Satisfied 
  • Mannish Boy 
  • Still A Fool
This isn't the first time they added blues to the game; in 2014 they released a blues pack as well. Nice to see games try and spread the music of the blues, given it's influence on rock!

If you want to watch a video of someone playing it, check it here:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Speakin' The Blues Makes it to Top 30 Blues Music Blogs/Websites

I started this blog back in 2008, but started seriously blogging in 2011, with the sole message of spreading the blues to the region, and not only trying to share news but also coming up with my own type of content to separate myself from others.

It looks like it has paid off.

I have made it to Feedspot's Top 30 Blues Music Blogs & Websites at number 18, putting me in the same list of excellent and influential blues websites like American Blues Scene, The Blues Foundation (of which I am a member of), and many others.

As much as I know my uphill battle is with such a niche genre, and my obsession with it to the point people think I'm crazy is, my sole intention is to share the love that is the blues. And like I said in my upcoming song 'Gonna Die With The Blues':

I don't care what you think babe
Cuz I done paid my dues
and whenever I die
I'm gonna die with the blues

Thank you to all my readers and I hope I will increase my output for the remainder of this year. And remember, keep listenin' to the blues.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Rough Treatment: The J.O.B. Records Story - Brilliant Blues Collection

J.O.B. Records was started in 1949 by bluesman Jimmy Oden; and while it only lasted until 1972, it had a lot of great bluesmen under it's arm, including Eddie Boyd (who's song 'Five Long Years' got him and the label fame), Sunnyland Slim, Johnny Shines, Snooky Pryor, and Floyd Jones to name a few. 

In 2001, Westside Records released a compilation called 'Rough Treatment: The J.O.B. Records Story' of some of the tracks from the period between 1952-1962, and features some of the rawest, meanest Chicago Blues.

I promise you will NOT be dissapointed. It has 54 (!) tracks on 2 CD's. 

Here's one of the tracks, the song used as the title of this compilation, 'Rough Treatment' by Little Hudson:

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.