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Friday, September 28, 2007

Chase Garrett - Cincinnati Boogie

This is an Iowa kid who knows how to boogie! I really like the kids chops! He also has a great bass player, Nick Lloyd. I remember Nick when he was playing solo delta guitar at my jam at the Raccoon River Brewery. Way to go guys! You do Iowa proud!!

The Commitments - Dark end of the Street

The great Andrew Strong leading the Commitments in that classic movie about Irish soul, The Commitments!

Whitey Johnson

Whitey Johnson doing some funky blues.

Gary "Whitey Johnson" Nicholson Interview

The Times Record News from Wichita Kansas has an interview with Gary Nicholson AKA Whitey Johnson. This guy has written some great blues tunes over the years for other artists, and now he is performing them under his moniker of Whitey Johnson. To read about it, Click HERE.

Da Bluz

I got this oldie, but a goodie in the email today. Just thought I would share it, since it is pretty funny. It is not necessaryly true, and if it was since I own a computer I can't be a bluesman:-9 But it is a funny list of blues do and don'ts!

Enjoy the weekend. I am heading out in search of blues tonight and tomorrow. So I will post when I can. TGIF!!!!

The Blues
If you are new to Blues music, or like it but never really understood the whys and wherefores, here are some very fundamental rules:
1. Most Blues begin with: "Woke up this morning..."
2. "I got a good woman" is a bad way to begin the Blues, unless you stick something nasty in the next line like, "I got a good woman, with the meanest face in town."
3. The Blues is simple. After you get the first line right, repeat It. Then find something that rhymes - sort of:
"Got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Yes, I got a good woman with the meanest face in town. Got teeth like Margaret Thatcher and she weigh 500 pound."
4. The Blues is not about choice. You stuck in a ditch, you stuck in a ditch...ain't no way out.
5. Blues cars: Chevy's, Fords, Cadillacs and broken-down trucks. Blues don't travel in no Volvos, BMW's, or Sport Utility Vehicles. Most Blues transportation is a Greyhound bus or a southbound train. Jet aircraft and state-sponsored motor pools ain't even in the running. Walkin' plays a major part in the Blues lifestyle. So does fixin' to die.
6. Teenagers can't sing the Blues. They ain't fixin' to die yet. Adults sing the Blues. In Blues, "adulthood" means being old enough to get the electric chair if you shoot a man in Memphis.
7. Blues can take place in New York City but not in Hawaii or anywhere in Canada. Hard times in Minneapolis or Seattle is probably just clinical depression. Chicago, St. Louis, Kansas City, Memphis, and Nawlins are still the best places to have the Blues. You cannot have the Blues in any place that don't get no rain.
8. A man with male pattern baldness ain't the Blues. A woman with male pattern baldness is. Breakin' yo leg 'cause you been skiing is not the Blues. Breakin' yo leg 'cause a 'gator be chomping on it is.
9. You can't have no Blues in an office or a shopping mall. The lighting is wrong. Go outside to the parking lot or sit by the dumpster.
10. Good places for the Blues:
a. highway
b. jailhouse
c. empty bed
d. bottom of a whiskey glass
11. Bad places for the Blues:
a. Nordstrom's
b. gallery openings
c. Ivy League institutions
d. golf courses
12. No one will believe it's the Blues if you wear a suit, less you happen to be an old person, and you slept in it.
13. Do you have the right to sing the Blues?
Yes, if:
a. you're older than dirt
b. you're blind
c. you shot a man in Memphis
d. you can't be satisfied
No, if:
a. you have all your teeth
b. you were once blind but now can see
c. the man in Memphis lived
d. you have a 401K or trust fund
14. Blues is not a matter of color. It's a matter of bad luck. Tiger Woods cannot sing the Blues. Sonny Liston could have. Ugly white people also got a leg up on the Blues.
15. If you ask for water and your darlin' gives you gasoline, it's the Blues. Other acceptableBlues beverages are:
a. cheap wine
b. whiskey or bourbon
c. muddy water
d. black coffee
The following are NOT Blues beverages:
a. Perrier
b. Chardonnay
c. Snapple
d. Slim Fast
16. If death occurs in a cheap motel or a shotgun shack, it's a Blues death. Stabbed in the back by a jealous lover is another Blues way to die. So are the electric chair, substance abuse and dying lonely on a broken-down cot. You can't have a Blues death if you die during a tennis match or while getting liposuction.
17. Some Blues names for women:
a. Sadie
b. Big Mama
c. Bessie
d. Fat River Dumpling
18. Some Blues names for men:
a. Joe
b. Willie
c. Little Willie
d. Big Willie
19. Persons with names like Michelle, Amber, Jennifer, Debbie, and Heather can't sing the Blues no matter how many men they shoot in Memphis.
20. It doesn't matter how tragic your life is, if you own a computer, you cannot sing the blues, period. Sorry.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Cool Stuff Going On In Cherokee Iowa!!

Cherokee Iowa may be a small town in NW Iowa, but they have more cool things going on than towns twice their size. A lot of it is due to a handful of very cool people who want to bring art and culture to the area. They work really hard to make sure everything happens, and their hard work is paying off. Here is some of the things coming up in Cherokee for the next few months from the Gathering Place Website. BTW, I am playing a concert there on Nov 17!!!

Sep 29 2007 9:00A
Family Fall Festival at the Depot Cherokee, Iowa
Oct 4 2007 5:45P
Cherokee Connection Radio Show Cherokee, Iowa
Oct 4 2007 7:00P
Jammin’ with Mike Hoover Cherokee, Iowa
Oct 11 2007 7:00P
Music on Main Street Cherokee, Iowa
Oct 18 2007 5:45P
Cherokee Connection Radio Show Cherokee, Iowa
Oct 18 2007 7:00P
Jammin’ with Mike Hoover Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 1 2007 5:45P
Cherokee Connection Radio Show Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 1 2007 7:00P
Jammin’ with Mike Hoover Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 3 2007 8:00P
Crosby, Stills and Nash Tribute Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 15 2007 5:45P
Cherokee Connection Radio Show Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 15 2007 7:00P
Jammin’ with Mike Hoover Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 17 2007 7:30P
The Tom Gary Blues Band in Concert Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 29 2007 5:45P
The Cherokee Connection Radio Show Cherokee, Iowa
Nov 29 2007 7:00P
Jammin’ with Mike Hoover Cherokee, Iowa
Dec 13 2007 5:45P
Cherokee Connection Radio Show Cherokee, Iowa
Dec 27 2007 5:45P
Cherokee Connection Radio Show Cherokee, Iowa

Student Project: History Of The Blues

I think the person who made this is Ashley Spencer, but I hope my students watch this to get an idea of how to do a great project for their blues history class:-) I usally have them stick to one artist, but Ashley does a great job condensing the history of the blues into a couple minutes. Nice job Ashley!!! I hope you got an A!!:-)

Bobby Darin: Mojo

I think there was some sort of a remake of Muddy's classic Mojo, sometime in the 60s with different words, or perhaps Bobby was just ad libbing it, but what amazes me is how good he plays the harp, and the marimba. He certainly was an amazing performer.

Willie King: Spoonful

Willie King from the PBS mini-series The Blues. This video is a live shot from a small bar on the Chitlin Circuit.

Willie King: Blues in Schools

Willie King is one of those old time blues guys, who is still out there doing his thing. King is doing a blues in schools program, with the Alabama Blues Project. All About Jazz website has all the details about the project and the legendary Willie King. Click here for more details.

Saffire Interview

The Burlington Times in North Carolina, has an interview with the uppity women of the blues Saffire. Click here for some cool attitude:-)

San Fransisco Blues Fest

Just received an email about the San Fransisco Blues Festival which starts Tomorrow. Here is a list of performers from the SFBF website. (Check out their website HERE)

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Robert Johnson: Crossroads

This is a fan video of Robert Johnson's Crossroads. I wrote a huge post about this song on my historical rants page HERE. I think it is important however, to look at the lyrics and put it into context of what the crossroads represents. The Crossroads was where the poor, or transient people were buried in the south. It certainly was a haunted place, and not somewhere you wanted to be at AFTER DARK. Looking at the lyrics of crossroads, you can see that in the FIRST LINE Robert asked the LORD ABOVE have mercy take poor Bob if you please. Unless the devil got a new zip code, I don't think that he was crying out for Legba!! The second verse he is looking for a ride out of the crossroads, but can't find it. The third verse he is scared because the sun is going down. This is not the place to be when it is dark because the dead will rise from their burial spot at the crossroads. Fourth verse is a warning to bluesman Willie Brown to don't get stuck at the crossroads like poor Robert. Last verse is about the fact that he has no woman.

Here are the lyrics:

I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroads, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above, have mercy now, save poor Bob if you please

Standin' at the crossroads, tried to flag a ride
Whee-hee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by

Standin' at the crossroads, risin' sun goin' down
Standin' at the crossroads baby, the risin' sun goin' down
I believe to my soul now, po' Bob is sinkin' down

You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin', Lord, baby I'm sinkin' down

I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked east and west
I went to the crossroad, babe, I looked east and west
Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress

One thing about the video. There is a picture of what I think might be either Satan, or St. Michael casting Satan into the pit, which comes up during the Willie Brown verse. So, the mythology is hard to escape!


I am surprised no one caught it, but I have the lyrics for take one above, and the video is actually take two!!! Those who listened and followed the lyrics must have wondered what was going on! I am looking for the lyrics to take two. Once I get them I will update the post again.

Blues And Snake Update

If you had the chance to read my post about Blues and Snake (click here) then you probably enjoyed one of my rants on lazy reporting, and bands riding on the coattails of blues. However, I need to make a correction. I received a comment from one of the guys in the band who explained that the reporter made up a lot of the story, and that they never claimed to be a blues band. That they did have some sort of influence from Howling Wolf, but they consider themselves to be a hardcore band.

I do feel sorry that I was hard on the kids, after all I should know that reporters make up quotes, misquote, and are generally pretty lazy. I not saying all reporters are that way. Dana Larson, who is the editor for the Pilot Tribune, here in Storm Lake, has always done a great job anytime I have talked to him for a story. Yet, almost every interview i have had over the years has ended up garbled, and messed up. So much so, that I have just grown to distrust almost everyone, but Dana.

Sometimes bad reporting has ruined reputations almost beyond repair. I think one of the greatest tragedies of bad reporting goes back to the death of Mama Cass. Almost everyone thinks that she died from choking on a ham sandwich. However, that is not true. What happened was a reporter pressed the medical examiner to speculate on why she died. The medical examiner knew a half eaten sandwich was found in the room, and speculated that she died of a heart attack while choking on the sandwich. Of course, he later found out that she didn't choke, but died from a heart attack. After all Cass was a big woman, and was in ill health. Unfortunately Mama Cass became the but of a ton of jokes, because people made fun of the fact that a fat woman died choking on a sandwich even though IT WASN'T TRUE.

Finally, I need to address one comment about musical snobbery that came from one of the blues and snakes fans that left a comment on the board. It is not musical snobbery to defend the blues. It is also not a case that I know more about blues then anyone else and I am flaunting it. What I am doing is trying get the truth out about the blues. there is so much BS about blues, that it tires me, when people called it the "devils music" or "depressing music" or when a band thinks they can get a gig, or sell more cds by claiming they are blues, when they have no clue what the blues are. I would say that wouldn't you get angry if I were to call myself a hardcore band, and try to pass myself off as that???? Of course you would say that my music is not hardcore! Yup! Just like I would say that the music you listen to is not blues! I don't think I am being a snob about that. I also will continue to battle the misconception that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil to play the blues. Perhaps this is a trivial matter to many of you, but it is important to me. Robert worked hard to learn and play his instrument. EVERY blues performer worked hard, and practiced for years to learn to play the blues. It sells Robert and every blues performer that followed him short, to believe that the blues is so easy that all you have to do is go down to the crossroads late at night and sign a paper selling your soul, and you are a bluesman. If you do a search on Robert Johnson on this site, you will see a lot of posts about this issue. I write about it, because I am tired of hearing the story. It has nothing to do with the blues, and the connection be the devil, or Legba, or Satan, and the blues is a minor part that receives far too much press, and legitimacy from lazy reporters who have watch the movie Crossroads, once to many time.

Bottom line, to the band Blues and Snake, keep up the good work. I think you guys are a great band. To anyone else offended get a life:-)

Gary Primich update

No official word on cause of death of Gary Primich, but both his ex-wife, and a former band mate have said they think he died of a drug overdose. He was only 49 years old. Now I know that the young people who read this board think that 49 is over the hill, but in blues years, he was a very young man. You really don't hit your stride in the blues until you get to 40. From reading one of Primichs band mates blog, it seems that Gary had gotten into some of the hard stuff. It is unfortunate if it is true that we have lost another great bluesman to drugs and or, alcohol. The list of fallen blues performers to either or both is long and tragic. Regardless of why he died, I think it is important that we remember how he lived, and the music he left behind. The one thing about the blues is that it lives on. Primich left a large body of work that can be listened too, or watched for years to come. So he may have left us early, but he at least left us with a great gift of his blues.

Fruitland Jackson In Des Moines

Received an email from Serena, at CIBS, and she sent out a reminder about an upcoming show with Fruitland Jackson. The show is at the Forest Ave Library in Des Moines on November 18:

Nov. 18 – (Sun.) 2:00 PM – Special Celebration: Award winning guitarist/oral historian Fruteland Jackson presents “All About The Blues”

SPECIAL HOURS 2:00 PM – 5:00 PM - This Sunday Only!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Sister Rosetta Tharpe: Down By The Riverside

Sister Rosetta Tharpe could play guitar, and even though this live shot is not her at her best, it is still pretty good.

Cab Calloway And Bo Jangles

This is another short clip. This comes from the movie Stormy Weather, and features The Cab Calloway Band, and a brief appearance at the beginning by Bill "Bo Jangles" Robinson.

Bo Diddley: Road Runner

A very short clip of Bo Diddley doing Road Runner. Check out the female guitar player! Pretty amazing for the 1950s!

Memphis Minnie Gets Highway Sign

I have been reporting about highway signs for blues artists in Mississippi since the beginning of the blog, and now Memphis Minnie has hers!! Tommy Johnson also gets one!!! Hmmmmmm, wonder who made a deal with the devil for that one:-) Also the Rabbit Foot Minstrels will have a highway marker. (click here for story) Mississippi is really getting behind blues tourism, and it is a great story. For more on Mississippi Tourism click HERE.

The Rebirth Of Soul??

This is an interesting article from Canada's Exclaim Website. It covers a lot of ground, and makes an argument that soul is on the upsurge. From some of the new British soul hitting the charts, to the reemergence of some older soul artists, it is apparent that soul music is making a comeback. I think that this is true. I am seeing more great young soul and blues artists starting to make impacts on the scene, and certainly some of the older performers, who really never went away, are getting some attention. However, I haven't seen that with the blues yet. I would think that since soul and blues are so intertwined especially in the south, that if soul is on the upswing, then it makes sense that blues should also experience a rise. Lets hope its true!

Corey Harris Wins McArthur Fellowship

Anyone who watches PBS has probably seen a show that has received funding from the John D. and Catherine T. McArthur fund. Now you can add bluesman to the list of winners. Corey Harris has won a 500,000 dollar fellowship from the McArthur fund to study the African American music, and how it is intertwined from Africa, to the Caribbean, to the United States. Corey is the first blues artist to have won the award. To read more about it, check out this story from the Hook News Blog.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Gary Primich: Harp Solo

Gary Primich with Nick Curran. Nice instrumental. Rest in peace Gary.

Gary Primich: Baby I'm Cutting In On You

Slow blues on the street. An interesting video that looks like it was shot at the same time as the previous video.

Gary Primich: I'm Nervous Fellow

In honor of Gary Primich I am posting some of his videos tonight.

Gary Primich RIP

Just got this shocking news from the All About Jazz News website. Gary Primich died yesterday. No news on why. This is shocking news to me, since I wasn't aware that he had any health issues. For a biography check out the all about Jazz News website here. I will update if I find anymore information.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Artist Of The Week: Otis Taylor

Artist of the week is Otis Taylor. Taylor returned to the blues in 1995, after an almost 20 year layoff. Since that time he has released seven CDs. Taylor is one of the good ones. If you would like some more information about Otis Taylor, check out his really great website HERE. Remember to watch the video check out the Google video box on the left side of the blog.

Photo Of The Week: ZZZ Records

One of the last Vinyl outlets around in Des Moines is ZZZ Records. Nate owns the store, and until recently I thought he lived there!!:-) Nate has thousands of LPs from all types of bands. He also has local music, and some of the bands around Des Moines still put out independently released LPs. Nate is located in the East Village on Locust. The East Village is Des Moines latest hotspot. Tons of shopping, music, and food. I suppose it is sort of a smaller version of Omaha's Old Market area. Check him out next time you are in town.