Saturday, August 31, 2013

Son Bonds Was Shot and Killed 66 Years Ago

On this day in 1947, Son Bonds, a country blues guitarist, was accidentally shot on his porch by his short-sighted neighbor, who thought he was another man. Definitely, those days were very dangerous.

He was from Brownsville, Tennessee, and from the early 1930's until his death, recorded blues and also backed up Sleepy John Estes.

One of his famous songs is called "A Hard Pill To Swallow".

New Fender Bass Reissues: Coronado & Starcaster Basses!

Fender Coronado Bass

Fender Starcaster Bass

I'll admit, I didn't see this coming.

The Coronado and Starcaster basses are being reissued by Fender. The Coronado was released in the mid-60's and didn't last that long. The Starcaster was a prototype and only a few were made in the mid-70's, which makes any original very rare.

They aren't based on any "Fender" designs like the Precision or Jazz, rather more like Gibsons.

I honestly wouldn't buy one but it seems that they won't be very expensive, so for you bassists out there who want a Fender with a twist, then try one of these. They will be out sometime later in the coming months.

Check out the specs for the Coronado [here] and the Starcaster [here].

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

What is a Jazz Musician?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Blues Sung in Spanish!

The blues is most associated with American music and culture. Surely one of it's best exports.

But how often do you hear it being sung in another language other than English? Well, Adrian Costa, a Spanish blues guitarist, shows us just how it sounds! He even explains that the blues is universal, and no matter where you are from, damnit you still get the blues.

Monday, August 26, 2013

My 2nd Article '10 Blues Songs About Drugs' Up on Project Revolver

After my first [article] on Project Revolver last month, I'm happy to announce the second article is now up on their website!

Thanks again to the team at PR for helping spread the message of the blues. Please check them out and support music!

Check out the new article, '10 Blues Songs About Drugs' [here]. And don't forget kids, drugs are bad. To a certain extent.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

London's 2013 BluesFest Has Killer Lineup

The first ever London Blues Fest will take place from the 29th of October to the 1st of November, and features a killer lineup, playing at the Royal Albert Hall:

Not only that, the day schedule features dozens artists more, including Fun Lovin Criminals frontman Huey Morgan, with his sideband The New Yorkers, and Dr. Feelgood. 

If you're in London at this time you owe it to yourself to check it out! (Range from £10 to £125)

(Images courtesy of BluesFest UK)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Review: 'Rhythm & Blues' - Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy is a living blues legend. The 77 year old guitarist has been playing the blues since he was a youngster, and eventually made his way to Chicago in the mid 50's like many of his blues compatriots. Here he made friends with Muddy Waters and Junior Wells among others, and started performing with these giants as a session player.

He hit stardom in the early 90's when his album 'Damn Right I Got The Blues" won a Grammy award (he's won 5 more along the way), and since then he's been kicking ass all over. He's one of the only blues artists to be signed to a major record label. And with this album, his took this ass whoopin' to new heights, as it's his highest selling album in opening week and reached number 27 on the Billboard charts. [SOURCE]

This album is divided into two CDs: the first being 'Rhythm' and the second being 'Blues'.

The 'Rhythm' CD is a bit unusual to hear at first because you don't expect to hear soul/R 'n' B from Buddy. What it actually turns out to be is a collection of songs of funk and soul that are not in the expected repertoire of a Chicago bluesman, which shows Buddy's musical abilities and versatility and perhaps, his confidence out of his usual comfort zone.

The first track, 'Best in Town' sets the tone; a heavy funky song, where Buddy says: 'You don't have to be the fastest gun, or a hoochie coochie man, or a seventh son', paying homage to the Chicago bluesmen Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon.

This CD features covers songs, like Junior Wells 'Messin with the Kid' which features Kid Rock, and Guitar Slim's 'I Done Got Over It'. Both feature the rock and R n B sound respectively, done well, with great guitar solos by Buddy. 'One Day Away' which features Keith Urban, was a weak song, only because I'm not into modern country-rock. And Keith Urban is there. The song although has a great message, it comes off cheesy.

Moving to CD 2, the 'Blues' CD, which obviously is my favorite of the two, is pure Chicago blues heaven.


Starting with 'Meet Me in Chicago', Buddy gets to take you to town. The songs 'Too Damn Bad', a raunchy blues about a lover trying to come back to his love, hits you right in the head, 'Evil Twin', which features Steven Tyler and Joe Perry from Aerosmith, is a slow and rockin' blues track and is just a joy to hear. Hearing Buddy and Joe square off in guitar battles creams pants. 

Most of the songs on the CD such as 'All That Makes me Happy is the Blues' and 'My Mama Loved Me', while strict blues, features very pure and real songwriting, where he talks about his personal upbringing, about his single mother, and all his hardships. It's very personal and it makes the music much more relatable.

Of course,  there's time for fun, with 'Blues Don't Care', saying "Try to run but there's no escape, just a middle finger in the hand of fate", describing that you can't escape the blues.

The album is a must-have for blues lovers, for guitar slinger lovers, and if you are wanting to explore your music options, GET THIS ALBUM.

I'm happy to see and hear Buddy still performing and leading the blues mothership at his growing age, and from the looks of it, he's not going anywhere anytime soon!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Seasick Steve - 3 String Playin' Hobo

Seasick Steve, a blues musician who spent most of his life roaming the US and Europe as a hobo,  exploded in popularity when he performed a show in the UK in 2006, playing a 3-string guitar and just stomping on his "Mississippi drumbox".

Since then, he's released several albums and has toured the world. Ain't too bad if I say so myself.

Here's his breakthrough song, "Dog House Boogie":

Monday, August 19, 2013

Buddy Guy's Latest Release in My Hands, Review Soon!

Look out for my review of 'Rhythm & Blues', Buddy Guy's latest release. He is currently ambassador of the blues, and in a recent [article] in The Huffington Post, Guy expressed that blues should be more prominent on the radio:

"I'm not saying play the blues every day like everything else," said Guy, who released the album Tuesday, the same day he turned 77. "Just play the blues two or three times a week and I'll be happy with that."

And who wouldn't agree? Stay tuned for the review soon!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Real Blues Story - Herman E. Johnson

Herman E. Johnson was was born on this day in 1909, and his story is befitting of the deep blues.

Not much information is available of Herman; I searched the internet and all I could find was [this] small biography:

Another of the many performers briefly illuminated by the spotlight of the folk-blues revival of the 1960s, Louisiana-born country bluesman Herman E. Johnson was the product of a highly religious family environment, a background which heavily informed the spiritual imagery which was a hallmark of his later work as a performer. His early adult years were spent in a fruitless search for steady work which led him from the country to the city and back again; he picked up the guitar around 1927 as a respite from jobs ranging from picking cotton to pouring concrete to working at a scrap metal yard. Eventually,Johnson landed work at the Esso refinery in Baton Rouge, where he worked for 15 years before being unexpectedly fired; scrambling to find work -- an experience memorably recalled in his song "Depression Blues" -- he finally was hired as a janitor at Southern University in nearby Scotlandville. He held the same job at the time of his lone recording session, cut in Baton Rouge by Dr. Harry Oster in 1961; after suffering a stroke in 1970, Johnson went into retirement, and died on February 2, 1975.

Scrounging around for work, settling to be a janitor and recording one session during that time, Herman really lived the blues.

Here's one of his songs called "Po' Boy", a real deep Louisiana Country Blues:

Friday, August 16, 2013

My Cover of Muddy Waters 'I Feel Like Going Home'

Played in open G early this morning. Don't mind the slips ;)

Thursday, August 15, 2013

63 Years Ago: 'Ludella' Recorded by Jimmy Rogers

In 1950, Jimmy Rogers recorded this blues classic for Chess Records. It was also his first solo recording for the label along with 'That's All Right". 

It was recorded similarly Muddy Waters' performance ; Ernest "Big" Crawford on bass, Little Walter on harmonica, and Jimmy singing and playing the guitar. 

Rogers was most well known for being in Muddy Waters band; but he eventually went on his own in 1954, before quitting the industry for a few years until his comeback in the early 80's.  He died in 1997 and was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1995.

Have a listen to this great classic!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Even BB King Didn't Escape the 80's

The 80's was a crazy decade; pink neon, denim jackets, new wave, Ronald Reagan...  and just about everyone was on cocaine.

I won't lie and say there wasn't some good music coming out of the 80's, however for the most part it was mostly cheese. And to stay relevant in the business, many established musicians caught that '80's sound'. Even blues legend BB King was not immune to this.

The movie "Into the Night" which starred Jeff Goldblum, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Dan Aykroyd (of the Blues Brothers fame), featured three songs by BB King on the soundtrack, with "Into The Night" being title track of the movie (the other two were 'In the Midnight Hour' and 'Lucille').

The song features BB playing his signature guitar licks, which save the song, but the drum sampling and the synths are just cringeworthy.

Let's be glad the 80's are behind us; as no one was safe.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Blues Musicians on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Of the hundreds of artists that have their own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, California, only three blues musicians have their own stars.

They are:

John Lee Hooker

B.B. King

Bonnie Raitt

Seeing that two of these three actually released a song together, here's John Lee Hooker and Bonnie Raitt performing "I'm In The Mood" :

Monday, August 12, 2013

Check Out The National Blues Museum

Established in 2010, The National Blues Museum in St. Louis, Missouri, is the home of the blues in the USA. Funded by the government and other investors, the National Blues Museum seeks to preserve the history of the blues and provide national awareness for the genre that shaped Western Music. It is the first of such type in the USA.

The  museum will feature exhibit space along with a classroom and a small theater. It will cover the history of blues and its influence on rock ’n’ roll, jazz other music genres, with a focus on interactive elements. Among the areas slated to be included are Evolution of the Blues, Blues Icons & Legends and a Blues Lab. There are lectures and public programs available right now. 

It's set to open early 2014, and it still requires our help. The donor initiative is called 'Buck Up for the Blues'.

If you don't want to donate directly, they have an online shop where you can buy some merchandise to support.

Someday I hope to visit this great place! Here's the video about the museum

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Design a Buddy Guy Poster!

Creative Allies has started a commemorative poster design contest, asking inspiration from Buddy Guy's new album Rhythm and Blues! The award is $500.

There's been some great entries so far; I've posted a few below. I'm no artist (at least not a visual artist - ZING) and would have loved to participate.

 See the contest page [here].

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

51st Street Blues - Charles Mingus

"I was born swinging and clapped my hands in church as a little boy, but I've grown up and I like to do things other than just swing. But blues can do more than just swing." - Charles Mingus

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Spanish Rap Meets Muddy Waters

Rapsusklei, a Spanish rapper, used a sample of Muddy Waters' "Hoochie Coochie Man" , to a not-so-bad effect.

Obviously I have no idea what he's saying, and I don't like the kids talking at the intro, but otherwise not a bad attempt. 

If I get some positive responses I could start a regular segment of blues / jazz samples with modern music styles.

20 Terrible Blues Song Names

Taken from Conan O'Brien's website, fan submitted:

The Terrible 20: Blues Song Titles

  1. "Alcoholism And Depression Hotel"
  2. "My Baby Left Me For A Guy With A Mullet"
  3. "Black Magic Walrus"
  4. "Give Me Back My February Issue of 'Cat Fancy' Magazine Please, Blues"
  5. "I Got Gastrointestinal Discomfort Troubles"
  6. “Born Under a Jersey Overpass”
  7. I've Misplaced My Back Scratcher” 
  8. “No One Lets Me Ride Shotgun Blues”
  9. "The View’ Is on While I’m on the Elliptical Blues”
  10. “Ain’t No Salt on My Fries”
  11. “I Only Got Me 140 Characters”
  12. “Unidentified Rash Boogie”
  13. “Accidentally Bought Lean Pockets Blues”
  14. “Ain’t Nobody That Can Break This Hundred”
  15. “Ain’t Got No Battery Left”
  16. "My Old Lady Is Actually Quite Nice To Me”
  17. “Undescended Testicle Boogie”
  18. “Let’s All Get Drunk for Christmas and Slap Each Other Out”
  19. “I Got Sick on Your Rug Blues”
  20. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Bath Salts” 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Useless Info: Chicken Waffle Tenders Inspired by Jazz Musicians

So apparently, Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen (the chicken fast-food franchise) is offering a limited time meal which is fried chicken tenders dipped in waffle batter.

The inspiration behind this meal comes from jazz musicians; in the 40's and 50's Los Angeles, jazz musicians who finished their sets late would be hungry from all the boppin', and would go to a restaurant and there would be leftover chicken, which they mixed with waffle batter, as that was being prepped for breakfast.

As per the chief brand officer of Popeyes Dick Lynch said:

"Jazz is so embedded in the culture of New Orleans that we didn't have to look too hard to find a correction," he said. "We're looking to real culinary trends, no matter where they came from. The older the better, frankly."

So there you have it; yet another cultural achievement given to us by jazz.