Thursday, August 28, 2014

Stevie Ray Vaughan 12-CD Collection Coming Soon

A 12-CD collection of the late Texas blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan will be released on October 28 called "Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble: The Complete Epic Recordings Collection" which will include all his studio and live recordings under the Epic Label for the first time, as well as two CDs of rare tracks. 

In a word:


Modes of Transport in the Blues

The blues isn't about having it easy. You're always on the move because life doesn't stand still. Sometimes you gotta go back to your hometown, sometimes to find your woman (or man) or to go to Louisiana to meet that gypsy woman who told your mother when you was only the age of 5 that... ummm... anyways; here are a few modes of transport for the blues as described by the artists in their songs:








and of course, WALKING

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Fender Rumor Mill: Classic Player Rascal Bass

Just last week I reported 2 rumored Fender basses, and here's another spotted in the wild (not confirmed officially by Fender).

ITS FUCKING AWESOME; retro and unusual for a Fender design:

The Fender Classic Player Rascal Bass (Ocean Turquoise)

Product description off of Dawsons UK:

"The new Fender Classic Player Rascal electric bass guitar has been a labour of love for Master Builder Jason Smith. Few could say that Fender runs through their veins like Smith, whose father is Dan Smith - a Fender legend in his own right. Drawing from his experience of the Fender family, and utilising his impeccable skill set, Smith has created a sublime model that is set to become a modern classic.

Short-Scale Body

The Classic Player Rascal bass features a curvy and perfectly proportioned short-scale body that revives the look and feel of vintage models. The body has been crafted using alder, a tonewood that has been favoured by Fender since the late 50s due to its delightfully balanced tonal output. Alder is capable of producing rumbling lows, punchy mids, and crisp highs, with the utmost articulation across the frequency spectrum. The stunning ocean turquoise finish is complimented exquisitely by the pearloid pickguard.

Supportive Maple Neck

Fitted to the body is a bolt-on maple neck, which offers a supportive and slender playing surface to navigate. Married to the neck is a sumptuous rosewood fingerboard, home to 21 eager frets that are adorned with white dot position inlays to guide you along in style. The neck plays very fast, allowing you to execute fingerboard gymnastics with the greatest of ease.

Classic Lipstick Pickups

In order to recreate the sound of vintage models, Jason Smith has fitted the Classic Player Rascal with three 'Lipstick' single-coil pickups in the neck, middle and bridge positions respectively. Control over the pickups comes in the form of master volume and master tone pots that are paired with a 5-way Strat-style pickup selector switch. The tonal versatility of this little beauty cannot be overstated, with a huge range of sounds waiting to be pulled out for you to play with.

Tough and Ready Hardware

The Rascal is fitted with a rugged and reliable hard tail bridge, which creates a seamless connection between the strings and body. Adjustment of each string is easy, which means that controlling intonation is straightforward. Vintage-style tuning machines maintain tuning integrity throughout each and every performance with the utmost precision. No matter how enthusiastically you play, the Rascal is more than a match for you.
As you'd expect from a guitar designed and built by a Master Builder, the Fender Classic Player Rascal electric bass guitar in ocean turquoise is one that both collectors and players can appreciate. The attention to detail shown by Jason Smith is remarkable, and as he's an accomplished musician himself, you just know the Rascal is a dream to perform with."
Here's a video demo by GAK UK:

Detroit Blues Playlist

Detroit's famous Hastings Street, where the blues is king. 

Last week I made a playlist of 10 Chicago Blues songs; and this week keeping up with the urban blues, I made a list of 10 Detroit Blues songs!

Both styles are pretty much the same, but Chicago blues is the more prominent of the two. Detroit is just as gritty, but being the city of Motown it was overshadowed. The biggest name in Detroit blues is John Lee Hooker.

So strap in and dig the sound of the big city somewhere around Hastings Street and the Black Bottom neighborhood:

10 - 32-20 - Doctor Ross

9 - Hard Hearted Woman - Eddie 'Guitar' Burns

8 - Have Blues Will Travel - Calvin Frazier

7 - Soft Pillow - Joe Weaver

6 - Stop Breakin' Down - Baby Boy Warren

5 -  Freak Blues - Andre Williams

4 - I'll Get Over You - Johnnie Bassett

3 -  I Cried My Last Tear - Alberta Adams

2 - 10 Below Zero - Bobo Jenkins

and finally, a full album from John Lee Hooker, Urban Blues:

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Some Voodoo Items Used in the Blues

Previously on the blog I wrote about Voodoo and it's relationship with the blues; check that post out for a brief history about it, along side some blues songs with voodoo references in them.

For today, I'll highlight some of the voodoo items that are mentioned in blues songs, to bring a more visual representation of the blues imagery to life, and some of their uses:

Or a mojo bag, used to create a magic spell or effect by combining several ingredients in it.

Used to bring the bearer positive effects, even though the black cat is usually seen as a sign of evil. 

From the plant of the same name, given by legends of folk hero John The Conqueror; used in many combinations in creations of spells or curses. 

From the old school term meaning to cast a voodoo spell, this dust is mostly made up of dirt from a graveyard, used to harm others when mixed in a mojo hand.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Two New Fender Artist Basses All But Confirmed

I always post rumors and sneak peaks for upcoming Fender guitars and basses. And today is no exception!

Chicago Music Exchange has posted 2 pics on their Instagram, but Fender has still not officially announced them:



Not particularly interesting on Dee Dee's bass; it's just a white Precision Bass which every punk bassist in existence used (Paul Simonon, Sid Vicious etc). One can easily mod a P-Bass to look exactly the same. However it will be made in Mexico and therefore will be cheaper.

As for Clayton's bass, I really hate U2 with a passion but the bass itself is sweet; Sherwood Green is an awesome vintage color and matching headstocks are always welcome! However there is no neck binding which is strange for a Jazz Bass with block inlays!

What do you think of these upcoming basses?

10 Selected Chicago Blues Songs

By the late 1940's, the Chicago blues scene was growing fast; many of the migrating musicians from Mississippi and other Southern states started finding fame by bringing the blues to the big city. By the late 50's, it was set in stone and dozens of bluesmen made their mark on music history. The urban blues sound shaped rock music and the world was never the same again.

There cannot be a definitive top 10 list of Chicago blues, but I've come up with a list that should satiate your musical needs:

10 - I Can't Quit You Baby - Otis Rush

9- Hoodoo Man Blues - Junior Wells 

8- Sweet Home Chicago - Magic Sam

7- Juke- Little Walter 

6- Evil -Howlin' Wolf

5- Blues Don't Like Nobody - Otis Spann

4- That's All Right - Jimmy Rogers

3- Big Boss Man - Jimmy Reed

2- Too Wet to Plow - Johnny Shines

1- I Just Want to Make Love To You - Muddy Waters

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Video of Snake Oil Blues - My Original

This song is an original of mine; you can download / stream the studio version [here].

Snakes and shit

This video is a low-res version of a snippet from the upcoming documentary called 'Heated Melodies' by Lebanese filmmaker Naseem Nakad.

Look out for more news on that subject soon, and I hope you enjoyed this spontaneous performance.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Whiskey Man Blues - Scrapper Blackwell

Scrapper Blackwell was an important bluesman, most notably accompanying Leroy Carr as guitar-piano duo in the 20's. 

This song fits with an article I wrote previously called 'Booze and the Blues: 10 Blues Songs About Alcohol' on Project Revolver.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Rare Find: Muddy Waters' Dr. Pepper Radio Ad

It's not unusual for jazz or blues musicians to be part of product advertisement; Miles Davis did an ad for Honda scooters many years ago, and John Lee Hooker was in an ad for Lee Jeans, but this is a new rare find... Muddy Waters doing an ad for soft drink maker Dr. Pepper!

It's strange to hear a 12 bar blues talking about drinking Dr. Pepper... but the discovery is still great!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Robin Williams (with Bill Bailey) Sing the Blues

RIP Robin Williams; to keep the content relevant to the blog here's Robin and Bill Bailey singing the 'Royal Birthday Blues', performed for Prince Charles' 60th birthday. It's brilliant as always.

'I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline)' - Howlin' Wolf

The Wolf with his band, including Hubert Sumlin

Chester Burnett , AKA Howlin' Wolf, was one of the main pillars of the Chicago blues, along side label friend/rival Muddy Waters. 

His vocal style, multi-instrumental playing and stage presence led him to be one of the top musicians of all time, being listed number 54 on Rolling Stone Magazines '100 Greatest Artists'. He is also inducted in the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Hall of Fame, with several blues and rock standards under his helm.

This song from 1956, is one such standard, and it popularized the blues saying 'I asked her for water but she gave me gasoline'. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

ZZ Top to Release Album With... David Guetta?!

Apparently, ZZ Top, the bearded blues-rockers, will be releasing an album with electronic music DJ / laptop fiddler David Guetta.

According to NME, 'the unlikely duo met up earlier this year for a recording session in Ibiza and laid down ten completed tracks'. According to ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons: 

"It's a far cry from what people might expect -- 'Gibbons and electronic stuff?' "But a lot of people have overlooked the fact that one of the things that made (ZZ Top's) 'Eliminator' so interesting was the opportunity to go into that experimental side of things and fool around with the coolest new toys that could be found in the recording studio. I'm always fascinated by that, so my time in Spain was very fruitful."

David Guetta found fame by teaming up with well-known pop stars; now it seems he's expanding genres. I'm very skeptical and while I'm a traditionalist, it might be worth checking for... reasons. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Cover of 'I Can't Be Satisfied' Is Now Up!

I hope you guys enjoy my cover of the classic Muddy Waters track 'I Can't Be Satisfied' which I wrote about earlier; the recording contains minimal production and each track was done in one take.

The guitar is tuned to open G to facilitate the slide.

Audio production by Abdulrahman Soofi
Video production by Bachir Najjar

It's up on Soundcloud here:

And you can watch the video on Youtube:

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Standard of the Week: Five Long Years

In 1952, bluesman Eddie Boyd released what would become a blues standard, 'Five Long Years' on the J.OB. label. The song is a straight up slow tempo 12-bar blues, where the singer tells us about how his woman is never satisfied with all the hard work and money he is slaving for.

Here's a live version from 1965:

It went on to become a number one hit on the Billboard R & B charts, and has been covered by many artists, such as:

Muddy Waters

Buddy Guy

Eric Clapton

B. B. King

Freddie King

Monday, August 4, 2014

Blues Releases for August

Here's a rundown of some of the main blues releases for August, so get your summer money saved!

Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson – 'For Pops'

Bloomfield, Kooper & Stills – 'Super Session'

Blues Pills – 'Blues Pills' 

Cactus – 'Live In The USA'

Elvin Bishop – 'Can’t Even Do Wrong Right'

Louisiana Red – 'The Sky Is Crying'

Mike Zito & the Wheel – 'Songs From The Road'

Ruthie Foster – 'Promise Of A Brand New Day'

Stevie Ray Vaughan – 'Texas Hurricane'

Sugar Ray & the Bluetones – 'Living Tear To Tear'

Walter Trout – 'Breakin’ The Rules'

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Traditional Blues by The Doors - 'Cars Hiss By My Window'

The Doors is one of the greatest bands of all time, and were a central part of  mid to late 60's music. What set them apart was the lyricism of Jim Morrison and their psychedelic blues-rock, as well as being American! (Most bands who were taking the world by storm at the time were British - The Beatles, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, etc).

This song is from the final Doors album with Jim Morrison, L.A. Woman, released in 1971 (Morrison would pass away a few months after). This album was a return to basics and their more familiar bluesy rock, but with some real blues numbers including 'Crawling King Snake' and 'Been Down So Long'

Track 4 is called 'Cars Hiss By My Window', which is a pure 12-bar blues and fitting to this blog. The lazy / hazy sound just takes you away, as the shuffling guitars and organ trudge the way over Morrison's doom and gloom lyrics and howling at the end of the song. A Doors classic.