Sunday, September 30, 2012

Muddy Waters Memes

It's not usual to find Muddy Waters (or other bluesmen) memes; but this is the internet, so they exist. Here are a few I found on Quick Meme:

Saturday, September 29, 2012

100 Greatest Blues Songs

Over on Blues-Ain't Nothing But, a list of unknown origin or authorship was posted. It contains what seems to be a good, but perhaps not accurate, list of the top 100 blues songs of all time.

It features the cream of the crop of the best blues players, from Delta to Chicago to Texas.

You can check the full list [here], and I'll post the top 20 for you:

1. Memphis Blues – W.C. Handy
2. Crazy Blues – Mamie Smith
3. Pine Top Boogie – Pine Top Smith
4. Dust My Broom – Elmore James
5. Boogie Chillun – John Lee Hooker
6. Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters
7. Stormy Monday – T-Bone Walker
8. Hellhound On My Trail – Robert Johnson
9. Spoonful – Willie Dixon
10. The Thrill Is Gone – B.B. King
11. Good Morning Little Schoolgirl – Sonny Boy Williamson I
12. Born Under A Bad Sign – Albert King
13. Forty Four Blues – Roosevelt Sykes
14. Smokestack Lightnin’ – Howlin’ Wolf
15. Statesboro Blues – Taj Mahal
16. Hoochie Coochie Man – Muddy Waters
17. Juke - Little Walter
18. The Little Red Rooster – Willie Dixon
19. Come In My Kitchen – Robert Johnson
20. I’m a King Bee – Slim Harpo

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Embassy Gig Tomorrow!

Tomorrow, I've got a gig at the British Embassy (before you ask, it's a private event; sorry!).

The band consists of fellow Lounging Criminals band mates and others of another local band. There is no band name as of yet (procrastination to the max!)

We'll be playing some covers and a few originals, of a "hard-funk rock" if that term works.

I haven't been on the stage in Kuwait since the Bija Concert since June!

Here's a pic of my Jaguar Bass all packed up and ready to rock!

If I have any pics I'll post 'em at a later date.

African Blues

We all know the blues that started in the United States at the turn of the 20th century came from the African slaves working in the plantations of the South.

And those slaves brought their musical heritage with them, especially those from western Africa.

I've come across the most famous "African blues" musician, Ali Farka Touré. He is from Mali and was known for mixing his native music with American blues. He's their most famous musician, and is even ranked number 76 on Rolling Stone's  “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Here's a song from his 1990 album , called Hondia, and it shows how the blues was rooted in African music.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Is Innovation Required in Jazz Today?


There's a really cool (and long) article on the state of jazz today over on Pop Matters, written by Will Layman.

 If you have some time to spare, check out the article [here].

Monday, September 24, 2012

Happy Birthday Blind Lemon Jefferson!

Today in 1893, "Blind" Lemon Henry Jefferson was born. He was extremely influential in setting the blues firmly on the ground. In the 20's, he became very popular until his early death in 1929. Happy 119th Birthday Blind Lemon!

 Here's one of his famous songs, "Black Snake Moan" from 1927:

Booze and the Blues - A Mutual Relationship

You can't have the blues without booze (unless you live in Kuwait, which means you got the blues on a whole new level); alcohol is a common subject and commodity that has been mentioned (and used) in blues music since it's origins.

 Booze is an ailment to feeling lonesome, sick, or heartbroken. It's also drunk when you are celebrating an event or holiday. Add to it the Prohibition Era of the United States in the early 20th century, and the organized crime, bootlegging, and speakeasies that became rampant in those times, up to the Great Depression.

 Booze can lead to dangerous situations, like losing your baby, your friends, bad health, committing adultery and murder, or being sick. It can also lift your spirits and ease the pains of normal life, hence a good subject and perfect for the blues!

 I complied a few songs that talk about alcohol abuse; so here we go:

 Pigmeat And Whiskey Blues - Josh White

I got drunk last night folks, talkin' all out my head 
Drunk last night, talkin' all out my head 
It wouldn't have been so bad, but my baby heard every word I said

 'Bad Whiskey Blues' : Leroy Carr & Black Boy Shine

I'm going back home, and start drinkin' again
I'm going back home, and start drinkin' again
My whiskey is almost done, and my baby just begin

 'Sittin' Here and Drinkin' (Whiskey Blues)  - Muddy Waters

Well I bin sittin here drinkin, I'm just as lonesome as a man can be
Well I bin sittin here drinkin, I'm just as lonesome as a man can be
Well now you know tell me dollar woman player remains
I wunder were you the one for me

'When I Been Drinkin' - Big Bill Broonzy

I don't need no money, I've got lucky oil on my hands
I don't need no woman's voice, always raisin' sand
When I been drinking, yeah, when I been drinking
Now, when I come home, baby, please let me lay down and rest

Corn Liquor Blues - Lewis Black

I want you to put one bottle : in my hand
So I can drink my way : to the Promised Land

Oh Lord mama when I die : I want you to bury me low
So these corn liquor gals : know I ain't coming here no more

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Happy Birthday John Coltrane!

I really don't have to speak too much about one of my favorite artists of all time, the jazz sax legend, John Coltrane.

On September 23, 1926, John Coltrane was born. And here we are 86 years later celebrating the birth of this divine individual.

From humble beginnings, to drug abuse, to jazz giant, Coltrane defied the odds time and time again as showed by his start from bebop, and then shifting into hard-bop as a solo artist (his "Blue Train" album remains a staple of that era in the late 50's, fooling around with modal jazz (where he became a central figure, including performing on jazz's best selling album "Kind of Blue" by Miles Davis) and showcasing his capabilities with "Giant Steps" and "My Favorite Things", into more freedom and into avant-garde and free jazz until his death in 1967.

His seminal album,A Love Supreme, remains one of the best albums of all time and is of legendary status. I could keep talking forever, about how he was canonized as a saint by the African Orthodox Church, about his spiritual pursuits, about his immense musical contribution, but I'd rather let the man show you himself; "Impressions" from 1965, in his final years.


Saturday, September 22, 2012

Just Another Day at a Public Hospital

My wife's sister gave birth today; so I went to visit her in Sabah's maternity hospital. Truely a desolate place... freaks me out.

Here are a few snaps from the visit:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Kokomo Arnold - Country Blues Master

From Georgia, James "Kokomo" Arnold played his own unique style of blues; his haunting vocals and slide guitar works were impeccable. His music influenced many, including Elvis Presley, Aerosmith, and even Robert Johnson. He didn't continue his music career after 1938; even though many wanted him to return after the explosion of blues interest in the 50's.

 Here's "Cold Winter Blues" from 1937:

Even Mario Gets the Blues

He found out the Princess was in another castle, possibly getting it on with Bowser.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Blog now has Dynamic Views in Mobile

Have you been checking out "Speakin' the Blues" on your mobile? Well, now it's got a fresh dynamic view, plus it's got social networking buttons and a spiffy clean design! 

Take a look here and enjoy the blog while on the go!

Keep Calm and ...

Well... do it!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Johnny "Guitar" Watson - The Gangsta of Love

Before the Bloods, Crips, or Hip-Hop, another gangsta was in town, and his name was Johnny "Guitar" Watson!

Originally a bluesman, he later found fame as a funk master in the late 70's and 80's.

"Gangster of Love" is arguably his most famous song, recorded in 1957; so check it out below!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Kuwait Music Ads featuring Me!

If you ever visit Kuwait Music you might find some local musicians being featured in their new ad campaigns. Guess who is featured as well ;)

Thanks KM for your continued support of the local music scene!

Happy Birthday B.B. King!

At 87 years old, B.B. King is still at it and going strong!

He's one of the only survivors from the "old blues gang", the movers and shakers of the genre.

I want to wish him a great birthday celebration and to keep playing the blues!

Here's a video of the King in full force!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Happy Birthday Cannonball Adderley!

On this day in 1928, jazz sax great Julian "Cannonball" Adderley was born.

He is a great solo artist in his own right, but arguably his biggest achievement that soared him to new heights was when he joined the Miles Davis' band in 1957 and played on the seminal Miles Davis albums Milestones and Kind of Blue.

Wishing Cannonball a great day up in heaven!

This song is from the great 1958 album "Somethin' Else" which features Miles Davis, Art Blakey, Hank & Sam Jones.

See the Evolution of Blues Clubs in Chicago!

The Encyclopedia of Chicago has a very informative map page showing the evolution of blues clubs in the city between 1945-2001.

It's an interesting showcase of how the blues spread into mainstream daily life of Chicago.

Check out the maps [here].

Friday, September 14, 2012

Junior Kimbrough - The Hypnotic Blues

You don't often hear the name Junior Kimbrough; he's a very underrated Delta bluesman from back in the day.

He actually found more fame in his later years in the 90's before he passed away in 1998. He was known for his repetitive hypnotic rhythms and haunting voice, not to mention his sweet guitar playing.

Listen to this song from his 1993 release Sad Days, Lonely Nightsm called "Release Me", and dive head first into the heavy blues.

Sleepy John Estes - The Sound of Country Blues

Sleepy John Estes is a very influential bluesman. His country blues sounds of the 20's and 30's set a standard that many modern players incorporated and learned from.

This song, "Someday Baby Blues" was actually re-recorded by Muddy Waters into "Trouble No More" and by Bob Dylan to "Someday Baby" in his album Modern Times in 2006.

Have a lazy Friday with these blues!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Need a Guitar Slide with Mojo? Try the "Blues Bottle"!

If you heard my new single (well why didn't you! See the right panel)... you will hear my slide guitar; played with a Dunlop "blues bottle'.

I don't have it with me as I write this so I used the pictures off the web.

Back in the old pre-Depression days of the Mississippi Delta, bluesmen broke medicine bottles to creat slides for guitar playing, hence the term "bottleneck" guitar.

The Dunlop Blues Bottle is shaped like a bottleneck... hell even the package is super groovy:

So if you are looking for a slide that's also very bluesy in effect and looks, get this one! It's also durable and sounds great on strings to due it's very rigid structure.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cosby Show: Kenny sings the Blues with BB King!

The Cosby Show was (is) one of my favorite sitcoms of all time. OF ALL TIME. Anything with Bill Cosby is gold. I grew up to this show in the 80's.

And then I remembered that BB King was a special guest in one of the episodes. Well lordy lord, I found it!

The whole episode is about BB King, but here's the coolest part from the episode... kid neighbor Kenny meets BB he wails on the blues!

Pretty funny to watch... check out the 80's fashion!

Cheers! (no good quality videos available sorry)

What Blues Guitarists Really Do

Steve Vai VS The Blues - The Ultimate Duel

Anyone remember the movie Crossroads from 1986?

Here's the synopsis via Wikipedia:

Eugene Martone has a fascination for the blues while he studies classical guitar at the Juilliard School for Performing Arts in New York City. Researching blues and guitar music brings famed Robert Johnson's mythically creative acclaim to his attention; especially intriguing are the legends surrounding exactly how Johnson became so talented - most notably the one claiming he "sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads" (a concept taken from Faust) , as well as a famed "missing song" that was lost, supposedly evermore, to the world.

And guess who the Devil is? Well none other than shred guitar master Steve Vai.

An interesting battle ensues between them... who wins?! Watch and see! (Ry Cooder played the slide guitar parts).

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What's Your Blues Name?

Mine's Fat Fingers Davis... find out yours and post it in the comments!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Even Wallstreet CEO's Get the Blues

via Huffington Post

Bad Places to Get the Blues

Let's face it... if you just shot a man in Memphis, you got the Blues. If you're in a swamp and you get stung by a million mosquitos, you got the Blues. If you're living by the dumpster in the parking lot 'cause your baby done thrown you out your house, then you got the Blues.

But, there are some places where you JUST CAN'T GET THE BLUES, no matter how many men you shot in Memphis.

Here's a few of those places:

Not having your favorite flavor at Pinkberry

Losing your Ball at a Golf Course

No hot chicks in your class at an Ivy League Institution somewhere near Boston

The Republican National Convention (or... maybe this is can be the blues?)

Spilling your drink IN DA CLUB

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Muddy Waters "King of the Electric Blues" CD Collection

From 1977 - 1981, Muddy Waters released his final four albums under the Blue Sky/Sony label with help from Johnny Winter. These albums would be his best selling, and he won 3 Grammy Awards from these albums.

They are:

Hard Again - 1977
I'm Ready - 1978
Muddy "Mississippi" Waters LIVE - 1979
King Bee - 1981

If you are wondering if there is a collection from Muddy's final era, then the answer is yes!

The collection called "King of the Electric Blues" is just that: a collection 18 tracks covering the 4 albums. The tracklist is below, with the corresponding album name in parentheses:

1. I`m A King Bee (King Bee)
2. Champagne & Reefer (King Bee)
3. Mean Old Frisco Blues (King Bee)
4. Sad Sad Day (King Bee)
5. No Escape From The Blues (King Bee)
6. She`s Nineteen Years Old (LIVE)
7. Nine Below Zero(LIVE)
8. Howling Wolf(LIVE)
9. Baby Please Don`t Go(LIVE)
10. I`m Your Hoochie Coochie Man (I'm Ready)
11. Rock Me(I'm Ready)
12. Good Morning Little School Girl(I'm Ready)
13. I`m Ready(I'm Ready)
14. Mannish Boy (Hard Again)
15. The Blues Had A Baby And They Named It Rock And Roll (Hard Again)
16. I Want To Be Loved (Hard Again)
17. 33 Years (I'm Ready)
18. Who Do You Trust (I'm Ready)

I have this collection (as well as the 4 albums but whatever), and it's a must if you want to hear the best stuff or to have everything one CD!

Kuwait Music Shows Support to My Single

Kuwait Music (God bless their souls) have always been there for the Kuwaiti music scene, and me in the process. They are showing support of my solo single! Again big up to KM and their great team for pushing the limits and boundaries.

You can see their article here, and you can download my song FREE over on the right column or over on my Bandcamp page.

Famous Blues Guitars!

BLACKIE - Eric Clapton


THE HOSS - Muddy Waters

NUMBER ONE - Stevie Ray Vaughan



THE ICE PICK - Albert Collins

Saturday, September 8, 2012

My Solo Single "Dem Blues is Coming" is OUT NOW!

Finally, my first ever solo recording is out available for FREE download over at my Bandcamp page.

This is the first music collaboration by Avant-Garde Music Projects, and I am very happy to have worked with Fuad Murad of Household Productions for the song!

Please listen to it and please review/comment/critique the song, which will enable me to take all your ideas for future recordings!

Credits for the song:

Ali Sleeq: Vocals, Slide & Rhythm Guitar, Bass
Fuad Murad of Household Productions: Drum Loops, Mixing & Mastering, Production

Cover Design: Bachir Najjar

Check it out below, and you can also download the track for free!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Jimmy Reed!

On this day in 1925, and coincidentally it's my birthday too (check previous post), Chicago blues guitarist Jimmy Reed was born.

He is credited for writing some of the best blues standards, such as "Big Boss Man", and "Bright Light, Big City", seen below.

Have a good one in heaven Jimmy!

My Monstrous and Kickass Birthday Present(s)!

Today I turn 31, and what better way to celebrate my (near) mid-life crisis with a little toy?

Well, not a LITTLE one really.

Thanks to my lovely wife, my family, and my great friends who pitched in to buy me a new (drum roll):


Now THAT'S big!

It's a Hartke VX3500 bass amp... 350 watts of power, in a 4 X 10" speaker combination.

It's also got a 10 band EQ (which can be muted), 2 channels: tube (yes, it's got a real TUBE) and solid state, compression, low and high pass filters... I mean, this thing has got it all!

And let's just say... when volume is on "2" ... the house shakes as if there's an earthquake!

Again, thanks to all for getting me this wonderful gift... it's much needed :) I'll be sure to use this baby on the road or the studio!

Oh yeah just as an addition, my dad got me an Ottoman Turk ring, dating sometime between 1915-1920:

Thanks for the great wishes from everyone :) Love ya back!