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Blues

You are currently browsing the archive for the Blues category.

Give the drummer some

“A Bit of the Blues”  Osie Johnson and his orchestra RCA Victor Records  (1956)  Featuring: Osie Johnson (vocal), Nick Travis (tp), Hal McKusick (as, cl), Al Cohn (ts), Milt Hilton (b), Gus Johnson   In the 1950s and the first half of the 1960s, Osie Johnson was one of the most in-demand drummers in New York, making a countless number of recordings and working steadily in the studios.  Johnson was a member of Earl Hines’ band during 1951-1953. Stints with Dorothy Donegan and Illinois Jacquet followed before he became a busy session musician, playing and recording with a who’s who of mainstream (including Coleman Hawkins, Dinah Washington, Wes Montgomery, and Sonny Stitt). In addition to contributing tasteful and supportive drums, Osie Johnson was an occasional composer, arranger, and singer, leading sessions for Jazztone (1955) and RCA (1956).

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (48 votes, average: 4.00 out of 5)
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Sugar, sugar

Nina Simone (1933-2003) “Sings the Blues”   RCA Victor Records   (1967)     “Do I Move You?”, “In the Dark,” “Day and Night,” “My Man’s Gone Now,”   “I Want a Little Sugar in My Bowl,” “Backlash Blues,” (a civil rights song written by her friend the poet Langston Hughes) and “The House of the Rising Sun”   (Nina first recorded this song in 1962.   After The Animals version became a hit she re-recorded this faster version.)   Musicians here include   Eric Gale , Rudy Stevenson (guitar); Buddy Lucas (harmonica, tenor saxophone); Bob Bushnell (6-string bass); Ernie Hayes (Organ), Bernard “Pretty” Purdie (drums).     (Editors note: I saw Nina live at Carnegie Hall in 1991 or 92.   You could hear a pin drop.   The place was like a cathedral.   It was magical.)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (71 votes, average: 4.07 out of 5)
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One funky LP sleeve

Freddie Robinson, Guitar and Vocals   “Off the Cuff” (1973)   Enterprise Records (Stax)   With Wilton Felder (Bass), Monk Higgins (Electric Piano also Producer, Arranger and Conductor), Joe Sample (Keyboards), Harold Mason (Drums), Red Holloway (Tenor Sax) and George Bohannon (Trombone).   Darlene Love adds to the backing vocals.   Art Direction by Ron Gorden, Artwork by Edwin Murrell

After playing blues guitar on Chess studio recordings with Howlin’ Wolf and Little Walter, Robinson played in Jerry Butler’s band from 1963-67. He also worked with Syl Johnson and then moved to Los Angeles to be part of Ray Charles’ outfit.

(“Off the Cuff” was sampled by Ice T in “Pulse of the Rhyme”)

1. Off the cuff       2. Georgia on my mind       3. Could it be I’m falling in love       4. Smoking       5. Medicine man       6. River’s invitations       7. Changing dreams       8. Try it one time       9. You’re on my mind       10. You never ever miss away       11. I remember

(Also check out “The Coming Atlantis on World Pacific)

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (41 votes, average: 3.17 out of 5)
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Blues cigar

Mississippi Fred McDowell   “1904-1972”   Photo by Baron Wolman   Just Sunshine Records   Recorded September 8-10, 1969 at Malaco Sound Recording Studios, in Jackson, Miss.; prod. by Tommy Couch; Fred McDowell, g, voc; Jerry Puckett, b; Darin Lancaster, dr Liner notes by Michael Cuscuna     Mississippi Fred McDowell taught a young Bonnie Raitt the slide guitar and his recording of “You Gotta Move” was covered by the Rolling Stones on “Sticky Fingers.”   There’s a nice story about Fred’s last live recording session on Oblivion Records You can buy a print of this cover shot at Wolfgang’s Vault

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (66 votes, average: 3.86 out of 5)
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My Converse

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This is a great, hard-to-find John Lee Hooker lp recorded in 1971 and released in 1973 on ABC. “Going Down” features rockers Van Morrison and Elvin Bishop, while the other numbers include great r&b and jazz session guys like John Klemmer, Cliff Coulter, Mel Brown, Don “sugarcane” Harris, etc. But the highlight for me is a the first song on the second side – Younger Stud

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The cover photo is by Al Kramer and designed by Ruby Mazur.

All I wore in the early 1970’s were high-top Converse like these.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (26 votes, average: 3.62 out of 5)
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Hooker with a heart of gold

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John Lee Hooker Plays and Sings the Blues   Chess LP 1454.   Early fifties recordings (When Hook was a younger stud) compiled and released by Chess in 1961.   Personnel: John Lee Hooker vocals; guitar.   (Eddie Kirkland guitar on “Just Me and My Telephone”.)   Studs Terkel writes the liner notes.   Another cool cover photo by Chess house photog Don Bronstein.   This is back porch music from the heart of the Delta.   “Although he often reworked themes by earlier bluesmen during this period, it was rare that Hooker outright covered another artist’s material. So his riveting interpretations of Muddy Waters’s ‘Please Don’t Go’ and Big Maceo Merriweather’s ‘Worried Life Blues’ peak this collection”

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (55 votes, average: 4.40 out of 5)
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Nobody loves you when you’re…

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“Down and Out Blues”   Sonny Boy Willamson sings   (1959) Checker Records   Cover by Don Bronstein   (No that’s not Rice Miller – aka Sonny Boy – on the cover!)

Sonny’s debut album, he was 60 years old when this was released by Chess Records.   “Down and Out Blues” is full of songs that have become blues staples, including “Don’t Start Me to Talkin’,” “

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and “Your Funeral and My Trial.” Chess Records’ crack regulars, spearheaded by Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Rogers, Fred Below, Otis Spann and Robert Jr. Lockwood provide suitably gritty support to Sonny Boy’s blues harp, helping to make this 12-song, 34 minute set some of the best electric blues ever recorded.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (55 votes, average: 4.15 out of 5)
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Don’t go breakin’ my heart

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Bobby “Blue” Bland   “Ain’t Nothing You Can Do”   Duke Records (1964)   Cover art by Rene

When you got a heartache, there ain’t nothing you can do

When you meet a friend, you smile because you’re glad

When a friend deceives you, it makes you feel so bad

When you lose your loved one, it make you feel so blue

And then you got a heartache, and there ain’t nothing you can do

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (35 votes, average: 4.26 out of 5)
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I love you man!!

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“Here’s the Man.   I mean the man.   The Dynamic Bobby… Bobby Bland!!”   Duke Records   (1962)   One of my personal favorites.   From the amazing James Brown at the Apollo-like introduction into “

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” to “Ain’t That Loving You” and “Turn On Your Love Light” this one is soulful and funky and his band is so tight!

Tracks:   36-22-36 / You’re the One (That I Adore) / Turn on Your Love Light / Who Will the Next Fool Be / You’re Worth It All / Blues in the Night /Your Friends / Ain’t that Loving You / Jelly Jelly Jelly / Twistin’ Up the Road / Stormy Monday Blues

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (20 votes, average: 4.45 out of 5)
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If the house is a rockin’

Etta James Rocks the House.   Argo Records.   An incredible live show from the New Era Club in Nashville, Tenn. in 1963.   Features guitarist David T. Walker fronting a killer band. This album rivals B.B. King Live at the Regal for best live blues record ever. Etta James sings so tough, so ballsy, I can’t think of another singer to compare her to. She almost makes even Wilson Pickett and James Brown sound like wimps. On a couple of songs, she does some scatting you have to hear to believe.   Besides the incredible singing, the other thing that makes this album a joy is the audience. Their excitement is palpable. On a couple of songs, Etta gets a thrilling call and response going with them, and their energy seems to feed her. The album is the next best thing to Etta James in person. (bluemamma) 1. Something’s Got A Hold On Me 2. Baby What You Want Me To Do 3. What’d I Say 4. Money (That’s What I Want) 5. Seven Day Fool 6. Sweet Little Angel 7. Ooh Poo Pah Doo 8. Woke Up This Morning 9. Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby 10. All I Could Do Is Cry 11. I Just Want To Make Love To You

January 20, 2012 – RIP Peaches!

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (58 votes, average: 4.09 out of 5)
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