Thursday, January 31, 2013

Miles Davis Bops the Blues

Miles Davis, still in his very early days, recorded some unreleased tracks with vocalists Earl Coleman and Anne Baker in 1946. These bluesy bop numbers were released under the album name "Bopping the Blues". The performances are very mellow and shows Miles at a young age, and that early bebop sound. It's not well developed but it is an interesting take on the blues.

 Of interest, are Gene Ammons on sax  Art Blakey on the drums.

The album only has 4 songs but each one has 4 alternate takes.

Here's  'Don't Sing me the Blues' with Earl Coleman on vocals.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

'Snake Oil Blues' Now Available for Free Download

I'm happy to announce that my new song 'Snake Oil Blues' is now available for free streaming and download!

The song is my throwback to the old days of the blues. I hope you all enjoy it! 

You can view and download the track (and my older one Dem Blues is Coming) here.

Thanks to Fuad Murad of Household Productions and to Bachir Najjar for the cover design.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

My New Song 'Snake Oil Blues' to be Released Tomorrow!

Be on the lookout tomorrow when I upload my latest song called 'Snake Oil Blues', written and performed by me and produced by Fuad Murad of Household Productions.

 Here's the official description:

Snake Oil has come to mean any product with questionable or unverifiable quality or benefit, most commonly associated with the American old west. 

This song describes a man's addiction to fake drugs. t's an old school throwback to the blues of old, in the style of country / folk / Delta blues. 

This song was recorded in one day, mimicking my previous track called "Dem Blues is Coming', of having one take per track to keep it sounding more spontaneous and 'live'. 

I used D standard tuning on rhythm guitar to get a fuller sound, but used E standard for the slide solo (to use the open strings that naturally fit the D chord). Bass was played with flatwounds on a Fender Precision with vintage pickups.

Never Trust a Woman... Until She's Dead

One day she says she loves you;
And the next day she'll throw you in the street.

She'll call you every mornin'
Every mornin' noon and night
She'll call you in between times
Just to see if you're doin' alright
She'll ask to borrow five
And then she'll beg for ten
And baby that five and ten
You won't ever see again!

- BB King

(Song heard in background)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Low Down and Dirty Dog Blues - Son House

Leave it to the master of Delta Blues Son House to take us off to the distant blue moods, with this track recorded in 1942.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Read all about the Font on the Cover of Coltrane's 'A Love Supreme'

An interesting website I discovered recently is called Rock That Font, which goes pretty in depth about the typography of rock and other music albums.

It was inevitable that John Coltrane's magum opus A Love Supreme was going to be a topic of discussion.

Apparently, the font used on the cover is "Anzeigen Grotesk, which in German loosely translates to “Advertising Sans-Serif.”

Read more [here].

Saturday, January 26, 2013

New Music Store Opening in Kuwait?

My friend Omar K. has sent me this photo; a new music store apparently called "Music Square" will be opening at the Avenues Phase 3.

Could it possibly be music instruments? Or only audio? Time will tell, and if you have any news of this please let us know!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

'Prisoner of the Blues' - Sons of Blues

Here's a great slow and mellow tune by Chicago blues vocalist and harpist Billy Branch and his band the Sons of Blues, which is great for the upcoming three day weekend.

Have a great long holiday!

My Review of Chris Byar's Jazz Quartet is Up on Kuwait Music!

Fear the beard.

As I mentioned yesterday, my review of the Chris Byars Jazz Quartet concert is now up on Kuwait Music.

It was a great night for Kuwait and Jazz.

 Check it out [here].

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Tonight: The Chris Byars Jazz Quartet Live

I'll be going (and reviewing) tonight's concert featuring the Chris Byars Jazz Quartet at the Kuwait Museum.

You might remember I reviewed the show of 2011 on Kuwait Music (see it here), which featured Chris Byars and Ari Roland and I got to meet and talk with them.

Today, they return alongside Zaid Nasser on sax and Keith Balla on drums.

The show starts at 8pm. See the great information done by Kuwait Music [here] , and their interview with the band [here].

Sunday, January 20, 2013

The 25 Most Valuable Basses

Check out [this] article over on Vintage Guitar! They put up a list of the most valuable bass guitars, including pics and descriptions.

Fender took 3 out of the top 5 plus the #1 for a 1960-62 Fender Jazz Bass.

Check out that link above for the full list!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Buddy Guy Performs 'Damn Right, I've Got the Blues' on Letterman

Legendary blues great Buddy Guy is still going strong with the blues, and is one of the surviving pillars of the genre.

He just performed his classic song from the same titled Grammy winning album 'Damn Right, I've Got the Blues' on the 16th of January on the David Letterman show.

It sounds just as fresh from 22 years ago!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Have You Ever Been Mistreated?

... then you know just what I'm talkin' about.

This blues standard, called "Five Long Years" written and performed by Eddie Boyd, went to number one in the Billboard R&B charts in 1952. This song was covered by dozens of artists, such as Freddie King and Eric Clapton.

It describes the normal working man, coming home to his woman, who as most women do, had the nerve to throw him out, despite his hard efforts to please her.

Here's the live version performed by Boyd himself in 1965:

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

'It's Been a Long Time Baby' - William Clarke

This is a sweet tune by blues harpist and vocalist William Clarke; he had his breakthrough in the early 90's but sadly died in 1996 from heart failure.

It's pretty long at almost 7 minutes, but this blues is best heard all the way through.

Fender's New American Vintage Basses

It's been pretty hush hush for a while, but Fender finally announced their new updated American Vintage bass product line.

Since the early 80's Fender had the same vintage series ('57 & '62 for the Precision Bass, and '62 & '75 for the Jazz Bass); this is the first time they revamp the line, with new vintage years; '58 & '63 for the Precision Bass, and '64 & '74 for the Jazz Bass. They feature period correct details, hardware, finish, and pickups. There are some vintage custom color options, such as Faded Sonic Blue on the 63 P-Bass and Lake Placid Blue on the 64 J-Bass (with matching headstock!!)

I'm loving them! Need to get a '63 P-Bass in Olympic White now!!! Below are all the series with all the color options. Go to Fender's American Vintage site for videos and detailed specs. Which one would you choose?

 1958 Precision Bass

1963 Precision Bass

1964 Jazz Bass

1974 JazzBass

Sunday, January 13, 2013

48 Years Ago: Bob Dylan Records 'Subterranean Homesick Blues'

In what became Bob Dylan's never ending nightmare, he finally picked up the electric guitar and moved to a more blues and rock based electric sound. This did not bode well with his fans who consider him an acoustic folk hero.

 But he never turned back, and kept on going. This track, Subterranean Homesick Blues, was recorded on this day in 1965 for the album 'Bringing it all Back Home'.  It features surreal lyrics, a 'talking blues' flow and awesome 60's electric sound.

Also noting that the video clip was very innovative for it's time. Here it is below!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

15 Jazz Albums To Look Out For In 2013

Over on NPR's A Blog Supreme, they listed 15 albums to look forward to this year.

Some artists include Joe Lovano, a Miles Davis unreleased live bootleg album, and Wayne Shorter.

Check out the whole list [here].

Legolas Meets Louis Armstrong

Thursday, January 10, 2013

She's a Mean Mistreatin' Mama

"You remember, baby - when I knocked upon your door
You had the nerve to tell me - that you didn't want me no more"
The great standard by the king of the electric slide guitar, Elmore James!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

2013 Dubai Jazz Fest Final Lineup

I've expressed my dissapointment at the lineup of the Dubai Jazz Fest this year, which includes 4 major pop bands that are non-jazz related (Deep Purple, Three Doors Down, The Script, and One Republic).

Finally the full lineup has been revealed as below:

It's nice to see Lebanese jazz artist Guy Manoukian on the list; he's a superb player.

The lineup is smaller than last year's festival, but there is a nice focus on blues, from Toni Lynn to Barrence Whitfield.

You can buy your tickets now on their official site, and the full program can be downloaded [here].

Fender Updates their "Select" Series

Last year, Fender launched a new series of guitars and basses, the Select series. High end and top quality instruments.

Yesterday, an update to the series as been made with the following new instruments (see their [official website] for more details and specs:

Thinline Telecaster 

Active Jazz Bass

Carved Blackwood Top Telecaster 

Carved Maple Top Jazzmaster

Stratocaster HSS

Telecaster HH

Thinline Telecaster with Gold Hardware

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Lifesize Replica of HAL 900 of 2001: A Space Odyssey

This must be the coolest piece of movie or cultural merchandise.

It is a known fact that I am in love with 2001: A Space Odyssey, a novel by Arthur C. Clarke and movie directed by Stanley Kubrick from 1968.

It is one of the best movies ever made, and is an everlasting story on human advancement and space exploration. Of course it goes deeper than that, but it's not the issue here.

ThinkGeek has sent out emails (and to me of course) to market their newest item; a lifesize (!) replica of the HAL 9000 computer found on the spaceship Discovery. It remains the staple of the series and is one of the most recognized characters worldwide.

It's not cheap ($499) but if you have the cash this is an awesome piece to be put at home as a great collectible and conversation piece.

HAL 9000 Life-Size Replica
  • The most movie-accurate HAL 9000 replica ever created.
  • Based on the blueprints and studio files from the 1967 movie.
  • Machined in 6061 aircraft-grade aluminum. Black components are anodized.
  • Custom-ground glass lens with red LED eye (sticker included to make this lens have the Nikkor wording as seen in some close-ups).
  • Digital sound randomly cycles through 15 phrases from the film.
  • Trigger HAL's speech by talking to him (must talk for over 1200 Ms (1.2 seconds) to trigger voice activation) or by pressing a button on most IR remote controls.
  • Did we mention this is frickin' HAL 9000?
  • Rotate the lens ring to activate.
  • Two minute auto-shutoff (to conserve battery) (or point an IR remote at it and hold button for 4 seconds).
  • Easily mounts to wall (wall mounting hardware not included).
  • Hand-assembled to make sure they are perfect.
  • Batteries: 1 9-volt (included).
  • Weight: approx. 2 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 13.6" x 4.6" x 1.125" (exact to the movie blueprints)
See more info (including a video) [here], and here's a video from the movie fearing HAL:

Monday, January 7, 2013

2013 Fender Custom Shop P-Bass Pro ... a Step Back?

I love the Fender Custom Shop Precision Bass Pro... it's got the best of the Precision and Jazz basses... but the 2013 version is so uninspired:

A Telecaster/'51 headstock, a new Fender bridge and Seymour Duncan pickups? And BLACK!? Very boring and I think it's a step back from the 2012 version:

The full specs of the 2013 version are [here].

Why is the Blues called the 'Blues'?

The great singer and author of the award winning book ' The Language of the Blues: From Alcorub to Zuzu, Debra Devi, has written a great article at the Huffington Post about why we call the genre of music "The Blues", that name.

 It's a great read for you folks out there who want to know more about the history of the music, from it's roots in Africa until modern times.

 Go go on over to that article [here] and have a history lesson, while listening to some great blues as below!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Blues & Hip Hop = NuBlues

There's a British band called NuBlues which I just recently started listening to.

Interesting fusion of both genres; check out this track called "Blues Man on the Run" from the album Dreams of a Bluesman. The band has split up since 2008.

Best of Blues 2012: Otis Taylor's 'Contraband'

I have previously written about Otis Taylor in 2011, and how his album 'Contraband' was due for release.

And yes, what a release it was.

"Songs on the album again tell tales of love, loss, injustice, inequality, and war but Taylor doesn't consider his music an act of activism, but of art...Contraband is again built on a foundation of traditional blues sounds, styles, and structures and the unusual rhythmic and instrumental sounds that have become the hallmark of Taylor's sound." Blinded by Sound

I usually write about blues from the old days, but there are some strong blues performers from today, and Otis Taylor is no exception. The album was released in February 2012, with tons of glaring reviews, many publications naming it one the best albums blues albums of the year.

This album continues and improves upon his 'trance' or 'hypnotic' style of blues, featuring heavy droning rhythms and lyrics that encompass different issues, including religion and historical injustices.

There are also a handful of acoustic tracks, alongside the usual electric sounds of his band.

If you are looking for a nice, almost trippy, twist to the blues, go out and buy this album.

Here's a track from the album called "Contraband Blues':