Sunday, November 30, 2014

Standard of the Week: 'Mean Ol' Frisco'

In in 1942, Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup recorded the blues standard 'Mean Ol' Frisco'.

The "Frisco" is actually a shorter term for the St. Louis-San Francisco train line, where he sings about his baby leaving him:

Well, that mean old, mean old Frisco,
And that low down Santa Fe
Well, that mean old Frisco, and that low down Santa Fe
Well it carried my baby away, and it's blown right back on me.

Ain't nothin' subtle about this old Mississippi blues track; with it's driving rhythm:

Soon enough many musicians took the song and covered it, such as:







Tuesday, November 25, 2014

'Blues Beyond the Call of Duty' - The Duke Robillard Band

Duke Robillard released his latest album "Calling All Blues!" in late September. As usual, it's high on energy and groove, with a deep southern blues vibe.

As can be seen in this soulful blues number, "Blues Beyond the Call of Duty", it heavily features his band taking up lead roles.

Duke kills it with his guitar on this one!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Video: 'I Am The Blues' / Ali Sleeq & Friends

This was taken at the Jam Kuwait event on Friday, 21st November.

This song was performed as a jam with some great and aspiring musicians (mentioned in video), never having played before together. Such is the spirit of the blues.

Video taken by Bachir Najjar.

Hope you enjoy it! And send me feedback goddammit!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

'You Said You Would Be On Time' - Otis Spann

I've been on an Otis Spann trip for some time now; you can hardly blame me... Otis' soulful voice and deep blues playing is haunting and addictive.

It is unfortunate that Otis passed away at his peak in 1970... the blues world lost one of it's pillars.

Here's a slow, midnight blues by Otis called 'You Said You Would Be On Time' from the 1968 Crying Time album:

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Today's New Re-Release: 'Southside Blues Jam' - Junior Wells

Today, the classic 1970 album Southside Blues Jam by Junior Wells will be re-released with an expanded tracklist. I wrote a previous post about a song on that album which you can read [here].

The excerpt about this release from Delmark Records: 

The follow up to Hoodoo Man Blues (DMK 612), this classic Chicago blues album is now re-issued in an expanded digipak Deluxe Edition containing unissued performances and a 16-page booklet with many never-before-seen photos. The Godfather of Blues, Junior Wells is accompanied by Buddy Guy and Louis Myers, guitar; Otis Spann, piano; Earnest Johnson, bass; Fred below, drums. Recorded December 30, 1969 and January 8, 1970, the five extra performances include Rock Me Baby, an alternate take of I Could Have Had Religion, Junior's In Charge, an eight-minute improvisational studio jam with lots of Otis Spann, and more, 73 minutes. With new notes by producer Bob Koester. A must for blues lovers.

And indeed it is a must!

Here's another track from the album, 'Stop Breaking Down':

Monday, November 17, 2014

Starting a Blues Vinyl Collection

Vinyl record sales are on an increase; it's retro appeal among hipsters, vintage enthusiasts, audiophiles, collectors, and an older generation reminded of it's simpler past are among the reasons for this. Audiophiles swear by the sound of vinyl as being 'pure' sounding compared to digital and CD formats; teens wanna look cool with records... it's the hip thing these days.

Well I got a few blues records for my birthday in September, but I had no record player. Until yesterday that is!

Say hello to my little friend.

Thanks to my friend Amin (a talented musician in his own right), I purchased his Numark portable record player... this little-player-that-could is a great starting point for a new collector; I've only got a few records now... but thanks to eBay and me being a compulsive collector... I expect my record collection to grow significantly in a short period of time.

Vintage Muddy Waters records in mint condition
Electric Mud record... psychedelic blues at it's finest.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Unholy Blues Jam: T-Bone Walker / Joe Turner / Otis Spann / George 'Harmonica' Smith

This was a great get together for the blues; imagine some of the blues legends gathered alongside for a jam... 

In 1969, Bluestime Records released an album of it's latest roster called Super Black Blues... gathering guitar legend T-Bone Walker, pianist extraordinaire Otis Spann, the blues boss vocalist Joe Turner, and harmonica pillar George 'Harmonica' Smith into the studio and released a 4 track, loose and extended jam session.

The results, alongside bassist Ron Brown, drummer Paul Humphrey, sax player Ernie Watts, and guitarist/arranger Arthur Wright, kick serious ass. Everyone is cool as ice... deepest of the blues.

Here's 'Jot's Blues' from that classic album:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

New Family Portrait

Every musician considers his instruments his family; and now that I moved to my new apartment, the family is now settled in the man cave.

From left to right (all Fender): and excuse the shitty phone picture :)

DC-10 acoustic, Jaguar Bass, US Precision Bass, Mexican Telecaster, US Precision Bass, Custom Japanese Precision Bass.

Monday, November 10, 2014

'Keep It To Yourself' - Sonny Boy Williamson II

Sonny Boy Williamson II (stressing the II, because there already was another older Sonny Boy Williamson who isn't related) was a highly influential harp player from Mississippi.

His reached his music peak in the 50's and 60's in Chicago, releasing many recordings as a solo artist as well as a prolific session player.

In the mid 60's he took part of the highly successful American Folk Blues Festivals in Europe right before his death in 1965. 

Below is one of the videos from the festival called 'Keep It To Youself'; he was known to be quite eccentric!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

New Blues Music: Grinder Blues Band

I always watch the Billboard blues charts for new blues music; and am I glad I found these guys!

Grinder Blues is a new band comprised of King X's dUg Pinnick and the Emmy award winning roots music band The Bihlman Brothers. The trio’s high-energy performances and heavy hitting sound is a fresh, contemporary spin on the blues. 

The Self-titled Album

The Grinder Blues self-titled new album debuted at number 8 on the Blues charts and has a feel of both blues-rock and Louisiana swamp blues at once; the video below is for the first single 'Burn The Bridge'. The song is drop-tuned to low C which gives it the heavy sound. 

Support new blues music where you can!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Standard of the Week: Driving Wheel Blues

In 1936, Roosevelt Sykes released 'Driving Wheel Blues' under the Decca label. This 12 bar blues features himself singing over a piano.

Since then it has become a blues standard, covered by many artists such as:







Sunday, November 2, 2014

Foo Fighters Sonic Highways Interview with Buddy Guy

The Foo Fighters new album Sonic Highways will be released on Nov. 10; however there is an ongoing documentary series on HBO right now called Foo Fighters Sonic Highways which features interviews and history information from various cities in America from where the album was recorded. The first episode was in Chicago and features an interview with Blues great Buddy Guy, as well as talking about the blues era or the 50's and 60's as well as the rock scene of the 70's and 80's.

It's a great documentary for the Fighters fans and for music fans in general; check out the Buddy Guy interview below: