Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Samuel L. Jackson Sings the Blues

A while back, I wrote an article about essential blues movies. One of them was Black Snake Moan, featuring Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci.

Blues lovers should watch the movie immediately!

I was listening to the soundtrack again last night and it's amazing to hear Jackson sing and PLAY the blues. He spent a year practicing several hours a day on the guitar.

Here's a solo performance from the soundtrack, called "Just Like a Bird Without a Feather" (music starts at 00:40) :

Monday, July 30, 2012

Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill Broonzy

Big Bill Broonzy was a legendary Delta bluesman and one of the most prolific. His early music from the 1920's and 30's are the staple of the younger blues generations.

Many of his songs became standards, such as CC Rider, Key to the Highway, Mistreatin' Mama, and others.

Most of the songs were all played in the old Delta / country style of blues.

In 1960, another blues giant, Muddy Waters, was taking Chicago by storm. He decided to record his mentor's music into his modern electric blues style.

The album covers 10 Broonzy songs, with power of electric guitars and harps and piano, and of course, Muddy's wailing vocals.

If you are a fan of both these men, I recommend you go out and buy this album!

Here's the original Broonzy song "Lonesome Road Blues", followed by the Muddy Waters cover:

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recording Continues on my Solo Collaboration with Fuad Murad!

In the last few days I started a fresh new recording of a solo collaboration between Avant-Garde Music Projects and Fuad Murad of Household Productions.

The track is a raw gritty slow blues, featuring guitar slide solos, harmonica riffs, heavy bass, and great production. And some shisha on the side.

Hopefully we will have more to show you soon, and we will also release a more upbeat remix of the song too, so stay tuned!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

The "Nothing but the Blues" 40 CD Box Collection

So just how much do I like the blues?

Well in 2002 I got a 40 (yes forty) CD box set, which is basically a chronicle of all the pre-World War II blues.

Ain't nuthin' but!

I got this in 2002 from Beirut's Virgin Megastore. Back in those days as a university student (I'm an AUB graduate) I was broke most of the time, but as you know, everyone is willing to pay for his hobbies.

It's got almost all the major blues artists of the Delta blues, only Muddy Waters' music being the newest (1950).

Now that's a lot of blues!
You got the like of Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup, Big Bill Broonzy, Lightnin' Hopkins, Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker... and each case has two CD's. All of the recordings pre-date 1950.

Listening to this collection makes you appreciate each artist's persona, writing, and style. There's a crap load of history in this box set!

Album Review : Putumayo presents "Blues Lounge"

I picked this up from Kuwait's Virgin Megatore (RIP) back in 2004 or 2005. I thought that you guys would like to know how this album shapes up in the world of chillout music.

Putumao is a record label that releases electronica fused world music. It's got reggae, salsa, Middle Eastern and other world music mixed with some of the best DJ's and release compilation albums.

For this release, called Blues Lounge, as Putumayo state, is "a unique collection of modern electronica blended with classic acoustic blues".

Obviously, as a blues fanatic, I had to buy this CD to see how creative electro musicians could envision the blues from their perspective.

There are 10 tracks all by various artists, including the famous Moby.

The first thing I noticed is that the word "blues" seems to be misunderstood by those DJ's. Only a handful of songs actually have bluesy undertones. The song "Pablo's Blues" samples the king of the Delta blues Robert Johnson's song "Come on in my Kitchen" to great success, as does "Death Letter" by Johnny Farmer, which samples Son House's "Death Letter Blues". Others, like "Camioux" by Boozoo Bajou feat. Wayne Martin, sounds like a standard chillout track you might hear at a nightclub before the techno hits in. Moby's track "Run On" should not even be on this album... the song's lyrics are from "God's Gonna Cut you Down", which is not even a blues song!

The album obviously should not be heard as a blues album; you will end up with a lot of hatred and disgust, repeating "THIS ISN'T BLUES" over and over in your head.

However, it is a nice break from hearing the blues standards and to have a fresh perspective. After all, everyone sees the blues in different ways.

If you are into chillout music you might enjoy this album when you invite your friends over for a cocktail. Otherwise this album should be skipped, because it doesn't do the blues well, and therefore it doesn't do electro that well either.

My favorite track is the first one, "Midnight Dream" by Little Axe. Here it is for ya:

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Canned Heat Blues - Tommy Johnson

While this old Delta blues standard by Tommy Johnson (from 1928!!!) is about Sterno, a cooking jelly alcohol (Google it), I'm gonna use it to explain how freaking hot it is in Kuwait right now.

In a nutshell? It's canned heat! A hot potato I tell ya!

So enjoy this track and lament on not being able to go to the beach (beach weather with no dust, a rarity, but during Ramadan)!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Miles Davis Meets Kenny G.

Miles' death stare sums up the whole picture.


Monday, July 23, 2012

No Storage Space at Home? Use your Car!

Some dude abandoned his classic Cadillac and dumped his junk in it for storage yesterday in the Jabriya area.

Let's see what I could find:

- Blanket
- Papers stuffed in a Kuwait Cement Factory package
- A small mattress
- Large picture frame
- A box containing an HP printer
- A wooden table/stand

So next time, buy a Cadillac... it can fit wonders!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Real Delta Blues : Son House's "Walkin' Blues" (1941)

I never get tired of the old school, low-down and dirty Delta blues.

The pioneer who inspired Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters (among hundreds of others even today) was Son House.

Take a trip back to pre-war Mississippi with this one!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Rick Estrin: The Most Interesting Man in the Blues

Rick Estrin & the Nightcats (formerly Little Charlie & the Nightcats) have released a new promotional video for their upcoming tour, which is quite hilarious and parodies the "Most Interesting Man in the World" Dos Equis beer commercials, and popular internet meme.


Check out the video here:

Advantage of Ramadan: Empty Parking Lots!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Wanton Bishops : The Raw Blues

via The Wanton Bishops official page.

Thanks to my friend Nasri Atallah for introducing me to Lebanese blues/rock/Americana duo, The Wanton Bishops.

I'm always happy to see Lebanese bands take on their own version of the blues; and The Wanton Bishops are no exception, after hearing their EP, Bad Rhyme.

A duo comprised of Nader Mansour and Eddy Ghosein, the Wanton Bishops blend blues and Americana music with rock, and the sound was very raw and bone crunching.

I hope these gentlemen release a full album and I hope to see them live in Lebanon the next time I am there.

You can visit their Facebook page [here] , and it also has the Bad Rhyme EP on there for your listening pleasure. You can also see their interview with the Daily Star [here].

Good luck guys!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

MEGATON: BSB Reunites for Another Album... WHY!?


So your favorite manly men have reunited for another album... if this isn't the blues I don't know what is!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Remembering John Coltrane after 45 Years

On this day in 1967, jazz veteran and saxophone extraordinaire John Coltrane passed away. He was 40 years old.

The legend says "the good die young". This legend certainly holds true in many cases such as Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc etc. These were all artists at their prime. Coltrane's death took many by surprise... even Miles Davis commented: "Coltrane's death shocked everyone, took everyone by surprise. I knew he hadn't looked too good... But I didn't know he was that sick—or even sick at all."

John Coltrane was no exception. I've spoken so much about Coltrane in this blog that I might sound redundant... but the truth to the matter is Coltrane remains my all time favorite jazz musician.

Today, Coltrane would have been 85. Let's commemorate this occasion by a somber, haunting track by the great man himself called "Spiritual" from the Afro Blue Impressions album:

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Check out my Article on Kuwait Music!

Another Kuwait Music topic... check out the article I wrote for Kuwait Music today!

Check it [here].

And again thanks to KM for their continuing support!!

Check out my T-Shirt from Kuwait Music!

Kuwait Music, as usual, have started a new initiative to get people to write articles and get involved.

The incentive? T-shirts!!

I am one of the oldest writing contributors to Kuwait Music, so here's their design of my t-shirt:

You can check out the rest of the t-shirts for writers Hashim, Ahmad, Kathryn, Dejan, Kareem, and Nur [here].

Thanks Kuwait Music as usual for supporting the local scene, and look out for my interview there soon!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Coltrane on Coltrane

Downbeat Magazine has published a rare interview of John Coltrane where he discusses his influences from 1960, in full. He talks about Theolonious Monk, Miles Davis among others, and some tidbits about his sax playing.

Check out the link and read it (it's quite long) but is full of insight of the man supreme.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Chill out with Art Blakey's "Yama"

This track, written by Lee Morgan (see this post for more insight on Morgan), on the 1960 "Night in Tunisia" album is, for me, the standout track.

Art Blakey was known for having his talented musicians take the center stage and write their own music for the Jazz Messengers. This album is a showcase of those several originals.

Yama is a laid back track compared to the rest of the upbeat songs of the album... I love that midnight jazz sound.

Hope you relax to this track as I do, and have a good, and hopefully dust free, weekend!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Muddy Waters & Rolling Stones DVD Set for Release


Eagle Rock Entertainment has released a new concert DVD called "Muddy Waters & The Rolling Stones Live at the Checkerboard Lounge", from November 22, 1981.

Just some quick information / trivia: The Rolling Stones named themselves after Muddy Waters' song Rolling Stone" and is one of their major influences. A great father & son moment here!

Pledge Open for BB King Box Set

Over at Pledge Music, BB King and Co. are asking your help to release a career spanning 10 CD Box Set.

From the release:
By ‘pre-ordering’ or pledging, you will jump the queue and get your copy before anybody else. As the campaign progresses, you will also be able to choose from a growing range of items and some amazing extras.
By pledging, you will also gain access to a special Pledgers-only Updates Page where we will post exclusive content, news and updates to keep you both informed and entertained!
And as if all this weren’t enough, whether you choose the 10 CD Boxed Set or the 4CD cut down version every Pledger will be entitled to a very special download of the album “Lucille Talks Back” from the King of the Blues, B.B. King.(TBD)

· Two CDs chronicling his early years on Bullet, Modern/RPM and Kent/Crown Records
· Eight CDs chronicling his recording achievements on ABC-Paramount, ABC Bluesway, ABC, ABC/Impulse, MCA and Geffen Records, as well as high profile collaborations
· Highlights include key recordings from every ABC/MCA/Geffen era album
· Rare, non-album singles
· Rare album tracks
· Previously unreleased recordings from his historic May 2, 1970 Carnegie Hall Concert
· Rare “One Touch” EP tracks:
· Collaborations with Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, U2,Elton John, Robert Cray, Etta James, Bonnie Raitt, Gary Moore, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and others.
· Packaging to feature career spanning photos and memorabilia, essays by noted authors Ashley Kahn and Dick Shurman, extensive recording credits

Please note this is a Global offer, available to everybody everywhere.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Get your Hardcopy of Bazaar Mag and Read my Interview!

So who still didn't check out my interview?

The hardcopy is now available in select stores and cafes throughout Kuwait :) Hope you enjoy it!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Exclusive Review of BB King Live in Lebanon by Mubarak Jamal

It's time everyone!

Last week I posted that we would have a surprise guest review for the BB King show in Lebanon, and boy did he deliver!

My friend and fellow bassist of the Jelly Shot band in Kuwait, Mubarak Jamal, was lucky enough to go and see the blues legend BB King in my home country of Lebanon, at the Byblos (Jbeil) International Festival.

So without further ado, I'm gonna let the lucky basta... uhhh I mean Mubarak tell us, in fine detail, how it all went down!

Review after the jump!

Catch my Interview in Bazaar Magazine!

My interview with Bazaar Magazine has been published in both printed and online versions! You can view the online version [here] and find your free printed copy in select locations throughout Kuwait. (page 134-135)

I would like to thank Bazaar Magazine for being awesome, supportive, and the opportunity, and Kareem Chehayeb for conducting the interview!

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The Reason People Hate Jazz

Happy Birthday Hank Mobley!

Today in 1930, Hank Mobley, sax player and jazz great was born.

He was a dedicated Blue Note Records artist and released countless hard-bop classics, the most known being "Soul Station".

So chill to this track and have a great one Hank!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Lazy Friday Blues

Here's one for all of you people enjoying Friday in bed or on the couch.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Another Fire; This Time in Salwa

That's block 6 on Fahaheel Road taken while I was on my way home.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Tomorrow BB King in Lebanon, Guest Review to be Posted

Referring to my previous post about legendary bluesman BB King performing in Lebanon on July 5, which I unfortunately cannot attend, Speakin' the Blues has agreed with a surprise guest, who will be attending, to write a review of the show.

Look out of the review in the coming week.

PS, whoever is attending is a lucky bastard.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Exhibition Called "John Coltrane VS the Jazz Critics 1961-1966" to Open

A new photographic and documentary exhibit by David Tegnell & Phyllis Bridges called "John Coltrane VS the Jazz Critics 1961-1966" will open from August 24 - September 16 at the Yalik's Modern Art Gallery in North Carolina.

Here's what the official website had to say about the free exhibition:

Yalik's Modern Art presents a documentary exhibit recounting former High Point resident John Coltrane's uneasy relationship with jazz critics during the tumultuous Civil Rights period. The exhibit, titled Coltrane vs. the Jazz Critics: 1961-1966, coincides with the 2012 John Coltrane International Jazz and Blues Festival, Saturday, September 1st.

Through an examination of photographs, letters, record reviews, commentaries, musical examples, and artifacts, Coltrane and the Jazz Critics details the strategies Coltrane employed to weather a concerted campaign by Down Beat magazine to discredit his musical experiments in the years before Coltrane produced his most original and enduring recordings.

The exhibit was conceived by David Tegnell, author of the article, "Hamlet: Coltrane's Origins," Jazz Perspectives (2007), and produced by gallery owner, Phyllis Bridges. Coltrane vs. the Jazz Critics is being underwritten by the Hayden-Harman Foundation and Friends of John Coltrane, and will run from August 24 - September 16th.

The official website is [here].

Sheikh Jaber Bridge - Qualified Companies Results

Happy Birthday James Cotton!

James Cotton was born on July 1, 1935. Cotton, a legendary and influential blues harp (harmonica) player, is known for his tenure with the Muddy Waters Blues Band, having played on many of the mid to late 50's classic hits. He later on reunited with Waters for his comeback album "Hard Again" in 1977.

You can't miss his intro harp:

He would become a great solo artist in his own right, winning a Grammy Award in 1996 Traditional Blues Album Category, "Deep in the Blues".

He is still performing to this day... a true champion of the Chicago blues!

Have a good one James!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

New John Coltrane Compilation, Covers Prestige Era

As like the newest Miles Davis compilation, another low priced collection from the Prestige record label is out, this time about jazz giant John Coltrane.

You can see the tracklisting [here], which covers songs from albums such as Bahia, Soultrane, and others.

Another quick way to get into the mid-50's jazz sound of Coltrane.

Here's one of the tracks called "Traneing In":

New Miles Davis Compilation: "The Very Best of the Miles Davis Quintet"

This Miles Davis compilation is more of a greatest hits than a collection of all the CD's recorded with the first Miles Davis Quintet ( John Coltrane on the tenor saxophone, Red Garland on piano, Paul Chambers on bass, and Philly Joe Jones on drums) the mid 50's.

This 10 track collection includes select tracks of 5 albums: Cookin' with The Miles Davis Quintet, Relaxin' with The Miles Davis Quintet, Workin' with The Miles Davis Quintet, Steamin' with The Miles Davis Quintet, and Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants.

This is a great quick album to pick up if you want that mid '50's hard bop sound.

Dubai: Urban Jungle, and Pitbull

Just got back from a quick weekend to Dubai... always a fun place to be.

Quick roundup:

Watched the Italy-Germany game at Atlantis - Nasimi Bay.

The crowd at the Italy-Germany game at Atlantis - Nasimi Bay.

Darth Sleeq (I did end up buying it!)

Karl Wolf opens the show

Yep, Mr. Worldwide himself; Pitbull! I was just at the stage!