Thursday, September 26, 2013

'I'm Going to Mississippi' - Magic Slim

Magic Slim was a great bluesman, winning many awards including 'Best Traditional Male Artist' in the 2013 Blues Awards. He sadly died in February of this year.

Magic Slim's performance is fantastic on this track. Hope you enjoy it, it's not often you see a Fender Jazzmaster in the blues!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

'Pigeon Jazz in the City' - A Literal Title

To introduce the Standard Bank Joy of Jazz festival 2012, a full jazz ensemble was set up in Pigeon Square in Johannesburg. Seeds and popcorn were scattered over the instruments and the new jazz band called 'Featherweights', assembled to create music. It wasn't long before the sounds of pigeon jazz filled the air - much to the delight of passers-by.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Our 'Peace One Day' Concert Videos

A couple of videos have surfed courtesy of Karrouhat Studio of our live performance on Saturday, hope you enjoy!

1) Breathe - Pink Floyd (see the bass solo at the end!) ;)

2) Machtoub - Autostrad

Sunday, September 22, 2013

'Little Red Rooster' - Luther Allison

Luther Alison, like many hundreds of others, have covered the William Dixon penned, Howlin' Wolf song "Little Red Rooster", however his version is so amped up on some serious nitro that I had to share it.

The Pan Arabian Enquirer Trolls The Dubai Jazz Fest (With Good Reason)

The Pan Arabian Enquirer, the highly popular satirical tabloid website, has eloquently trolled the Dubai Jazz Festival.

The headline reads:

Middle East metalheads, country fans and ravers looking forward to hearing line-up for Dubai Jazz Festival 2014

Then ends with a headshot:

“I hope it’s Megadeth, or maybe even Tiesto,” said Qatari jazz fan Mustapha Watson. 

This is a direct response to the Dubai Jazz Festival calling the 2013 event "Rocking the City" and featuring 3 Doors Down, Deep Purple, One Republic, and The Script as the headliners of the "jazz" festival, leaving the real jazz musicians sidelined to a jazz corner, and many fans confused and upset. 

I wrote about this previously, and it's great to see this issue become a major scandal. I also want to point out that the organizers are not pros, and had this to say about those who complained about the music and artist choices:

Thanks to the Pan Arabian Enquirer for their sweet execution, however the 2014 Dubai Jazz Fest already signed up Olly Murs, a pop star from the UK who was on X-Factor.

We hope the next festival is actually focused on jazz and not trying to be a pop concert aimed at making sick amounts of money under that disguise.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

iOS7 Loves The Blues

So I updated to iOS7 last night. One of the new features is iTunes Radio. 

So I clicked 'Blues' to check the available stations, one of which is called 'Windy City Blues' (ie Chicago Blues) and lo and behold, Mannish Boy by Muddy Waters was the first track.

It's as if they knew I was gonna check it; well played Apple!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Feature: Mississippi's 'Lost' Blues Music Masters

The BBC has put up a short video feature about George Mitchell, who travelled to Mississippi in 1967 in looking for America's undiscovered blues musicians, which he discusses and also his new book 'Mississippi Hill Country Blues 1967'.

You can check out the video [here].

Monday, September 16, 2013

Happy Birthday B.B.King!

On this day in 1925, Riley King, better known as  B.B. King, was born in Mississippi.

I don't really have to explain how important B.B. is in the blues and music world; he's one of the best guitarists ever (ranked 6th by Rolling Stone), and was inducted into the Rock N' Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.

AT 88 he's still kicking ass, and he was in Lebanon last year (too bad I didn't go).

Another birthday salute to Mr. King, one of the last remaining original blues gangsters!

Here's B.B. King performing "How Blue Can You Get" at Farm Aid 1985:

Two Upcoming Shows in Kuwait You Must Attend

We all know that the music scene in Kuwait is pretty much on life support (not a very good one either). This whole year I haven't performed even once!

Until now.

On September 21, I'll be performing alongside Basil Al-Hadi and the Karrouhat Band at the Contemporary Art Platform for Peace One Day:

(click for hi-rez)

Sometime at the end of November I'll be performing once again with Nawaf Gheraibah's orchestral ensemble, more details to be announced soon:

Stay on the lookout for more music and my activities!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

'Airport Blues' - Silas 'The Godfather' Hogan

Silas 'The Godfather' Hogan was a Louisiana swamp blues musician. Swamp blues is a sub-genre of the blues based in Louisiana around the Baton Rouge area.

Although he was an active guitar player, we would only record his first album in the mid-60's while he was in his 50's.

He didn't reach high popularity, yet his deep blues sound is sought after by many musicians.

Here's one of his famous tunes called 'Airport Blues' recorded in 1963.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Indian Driver Sings the Blues

I received this video on my smartphone from a friend and I had to upload it.

This is insanely funny and random, especially from this part of the world!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm Now a Crossroads Member of the National Blues Museum

I posted about the National  Blues Museum recently, and being the blues lover that I am, I donated some money to the blues cause.

Thanks to the National Blues Museum for sending me the certificate and letter of recognition for this. I wish them the best of luck in their project, which is to be open very soon!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Someone's Pissed Off John Coltrane

Found this on the internet. There's always something new to discover.

Monday, September 9, 2013

The Blues Collection by Tarek Chemaly

Continuing the collaboration with Tarek Chemaly of Beirut/NTSC, I present to you another four graphic arts, inspired by (in order) Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, BB King, and John Lee Hooker. 

 The play on words with Lebanese humor really adds to these great works of art. 

Here we go!!

Fender Vintage Hot Rod Basses Unveiled!

Another new unveiling from Fender, this time American made 'Vintage Hot Rod' series, which are already available in the guitar variants years ago.

The 60's Precision and 70's Jazz basses feature vintage looks, pickups and necks, with modern appointments such as P/J pickup configurations and graphite support rods. You can check the specs of both [here] and [here].

Fender have been on a roll with the new models (check out my previous posts) and these are great for players who want the best of both worlds!! I already have 4 Fender basses but I can't stop wanting more!

Vintage Hot Rod 60's Precision Bass

Vintage Hot Rod 70's Jazz Bass

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Happy Birthday Memphis Slim!

Today in 1915, John Len Chatman, AKA Memphis Slim, was born in Tennessee.

His piano and vocal skills were what made him one of the most prolific bluesmen, having over 500 recordings made and dozens of albums. He is also remembered for the great live music sessions in Europe in the 60's and 70's where all were performed and recorded for the whole world to enjoy, as one of the leading blues ambassadors. 

He was inducted to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1989, one year after his death.

Here's his most known song, "Everyday I Have the Blues" live in 1962. Here's to you Memphis!

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Exclusive Art: 'Fishing in Muddy Waters' by Tarek Chemaly

Click for Hi-Res

This blues graphic art, complete with a vintage Lebanese twist,  was designed for Speakin' The Blues by renowned artist Tarek Chemaly. A talented creative artist, writer, and university lecturer, Tarek also runs the blog Beirut/NTSC (Never Twice Same City).

Old Lebanese ads from the 60's and 70's had a certain feel and design to them. Tarek and I were talking about infusing this retro/vintage style with a blues theme. I recommended Muddy Waters, the king of Chicago Blues. From his side, this is what Tarek had to say about his concept:

"Fishing in muddy waters or "الاصطياد في مياه عكرة" is an Arabic expression which means that whatever you cannot fish in regular water due to the low speed of the muddy water, you can end up fishing while it is in it's worst conditions. So the expression eventually means "abusing someone's situation" or "taking advantage of someone's bad situation".
Thanks to Tarek for creating this great piece of art, and look out for more upcoming collaborations with other Lebanese artists soon!