Thursday, August 27, 2015

'Good Morning Mr. Blues' - Otis Spann

Most of you listen to Fairuz with your morning coffee; I present you a chill alternative!

Otis Spann was one of the pillars of Chicago blues piano until his untimely death in 1970. He also had a souldful voice to boot.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Slave Man Blues

I might not be in Beirut to support the Tol3et Re7etkom cause, however I have donated to the Indiegogo campaign and signed the petition, which you can too! I'm sending you my blues support, stay safe everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

'Personal Manager' Live - Albert King

In 1967, Albert King released his first album on Stax Records (2nd overall), 'Born Under a Bad Sign', to widespread acclaim, featuring several songs that would eventually become standards, like the title track, 'Crosscut Saw', and 'Personal Manager', which you can see below in an extended live version at the Fillmore in 1968. 

Truly electrifying, with the added soul horn section, and Albert's distinctive guitar style.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

'Too Much Alcohol' - JB Hutto

JB Hutto was a bluesman who was inspired by the work of Elmore James; in the late 50's he became disillusioned with music and quit for a while. 

He worked as a janitor to make ends meet, until he was picked up to record some music for Vanguard.

This song is a product of that session, and he kept playing until he died in 1983.





Wednesday, August 12, 2015

'Bessie' - a Blues Film Not to Miss

A few months ago, HBO released a TV film called 'Bessie', starring Queen Latifah.

It's a biofilm about 'The Empress of the Blues' Bessie Smith, who was one of the top female blues artists alongside Ma Rainey, Victoria Spivey, and dozens of others.

I'm not a movie critic but the film captured the spirit of the depression era, how she rose to fame, generally everything feels right and the performances are spot on. 

I watched it on OSN, so you can look for that now, or if you can get your hands on it somehow, because it's a great movie about blues history, which we lack so far (see this post about some blues films).

Here's a song from the movie, 'Down Hearted Blues' (cover):





Tuesday, August 11, 2015

'Cleanhead Blues' - Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson

Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson was an American jump bluesman, and alto saxophonist. 

He was nicknamed 'Cleanhead' after an incident in which his hair was accidentally destroyed by lye contained in a hair straightening product.

He is well known in crossing over to R&B and jazz territory as well.

Here's one of his signature tunes, where he discusses his baldness, with a humorous result:





Sunday, August 9, 2015

Buddy Guy on the Future of the Blues

The last remaining OG bluesman Buddy Guy has spoken about the future of the blues in a recent interview with NPR (full interview here):

I wonder if there aren't as many young black musicians devoting themselves to the blues. Do you worry about the future of blues music?

I worry about the future of blues music whether you are black or white. If they don't hear it like I did and listen to it and don't know about it — you ever been to Louisiana where they cook all this gumbo?
I have. I love it.
I do, too. [Laughs.] So if you never tasted it, you wouldn't love it. That's what's happening with the blues. Now, the young people don't know nothing about it unless — I know satellite [radio] do play blues, but we need more than that. I tell everybody I would love to hear Muddy Waters twice a week. I'm not telling you to play him all day, all night; just play him. Let the young people know where it all started."
His new album, 'Born to Play Guitar' has been released and I'll be reviewing it soon.

Here's a song off the new album; no embed is available sorry:

Monday, August 3, 2015

The Chicago Blues Session - Sunnyland Slim & Little Brother Montgomery

In 1960, legendary blues pianist Sunnyland Slim and jazz pianist Little Brother Montgomery got together and recorded a full length album full of blues and jazzy pieces, showcasing each person's background. Jump Jackson appears on drums on a few tracks.

Here is the full vinyl, conveniently placed on Youtube, perfect for your work commute or your way back home: