A Baker’s Dozen of Blues: May 19, 2014

A Baker's Dozen Of Blues

A Baker’s Dozen Of Blues

A week of catchup and sleep (yeh again) We managed to go through our photos from the BMA’s and have them posted here on site. We included snaps from the event, plus Clarksdale & Jackson, hope ya enjoy them.

A great new #1 this week – Hard Garden, and their song ‘Showtime!’ – this band is really at the forefront of the blues combining hip-hop tendencies, with Mississippi Hill Country stlye and strait ahead blues. We at Blues411  feel this band should get serious consideration at BMA nomination time for Contemporary Blues Album of the Year, let’s see what the ‘ex-perts’ think.

A major debut for Tweed Funk as they debut at #9 on the play list with their funked uo blues/soul sound of their ‘First name Lucky’ release. Two more new debuts we feature are Cathy Lemons, long time San Francisco blyes singer & writer and her ‘Black Crow’ release. ALso we have a most underrated artist Shane Dwight in what might be his best release to date ‘This House’. Hope ya dig them and give some love to them in the market place.

One addition toour Chef Suggestion group is —  Ron Tanski — Ron’s tune ‘Blues for Jimi’ has been played as part of the show since the beginning, and I know you are all familiar with it. Now he has released his latest ‘Never Pet A Burning Dog’ which features ‘Blues for Jimi’ as well as a wealth of great piano and songwriting selections, This week we are featuring ‘What’s Cooking’ which is the nephew of my theme song.


A Baker’s Dozen of Blues, on MojoWax Radio presented by Blues Music Magazine at LIVE365.com.

Broadcast times are as follows:
Monday – 1pm EST
Tuesday – 10pm EST
Wednesday – Noon EST
Thursday –  11pm EST
Friday –  4pm EST
Saturday – 2pm EST

Remember if ya want any of these tracks just click on the link for the song/CD title or track and it will take ya to the Amazon link for it, good way to fill out that blues collection.

Oh yeah don’t forget our other show “Double Entendre Blues“, now playing on LIVE365 Mojowax Radio seven days a week. We feature them ‘dirty songs’ that fly under some folks radar but not ours. Including ‘Sugar In My Bowl‘, ‘Dirty Mutha For Ya‘, ‘Shave ’em Dry‘, and tons more of fun, slightly ribald tunes.
Mon. 11pm 
Tue.  3pm
Wed. 10am
Thu. 9pm
Fri. 6pm
Sat. 12pm
Sun. 10am

on to this weeks Baker’s Dozen….

A Baker’s Dozen:

CW LW CD TITLE Artist/ Web Site Record Label Track#/Title
1 2 “Blue Yonder” Hard Garden Hard Garden Music 10 Showtime!
2 3 “Belle of The Blues” Lisa Biales Big Song Music 10 Trouble
3 5 Move On Lisa Mann Self 1 Move On
4 8 “He Digs Me” Sunday Wilde Self 13 Walk With Me
5 7 “Brotherhood” The Holmes Brothers Alligator 9 My Word Is My Bond
6 11 Hornet’s Nest Joe Louis Walker Alligator Records 4 Stick A Fork In Me
7 9 “Drivin Me Wild” Jonn Del Toro Richardson & Sean Carney Self 8 Slow Down
8 10 “30th Anniversary Special Edition” Blue Lunch Rip Cat Records 7 Which Way To Go
9 ~ “First Name Lucky” Tweed Funk Self 1 Blues In My Soul
10 12 “Refuse To Lose” Jarekus Singleton Alligator Records 7 Hell
11 13 “Blues With Friends” Dixie Peach Big Shew Records 1 Too Much Trouble
12 ~ “This House” Shane Dwight Blues Band Electro Groove Records 6 Devil’s Noose
13 ~ “Black Crow” Cathy Lemons Vizztone 5 You’re In My Town Now

Chef Suggestions:

“Bad Attitude” Johnny Drummer Earwig Records 3 Bit Her In The Butt
“Chunkabilly Blues” Chris Lord & Cheatin’ River Self 5 Jelly Bean
“Betsy’s Kitchen” Back Pack Jones Self 6 Even God Sings The Blues
“Troubles” John & Sylvia Embry Delmark Records 2 Troubles
“Laying It Down” Arthur Migliazza Hobemian Records 12 Professor Calling Me
“Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers” Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers Self 3 Illusions
“Jigsaw Heart” Eden Brent Yellow Dog Records 8 Let’s Go Ahead and Fall In Love
“Mother Blues” Rachelle Coba Self 1 Never Been To Memphis
St. Louis Times Jim Byrnes Black Hen Music 6 The Ducks Yas Yas
Unfinished Business Lil’ Ronnie & the Blues Beats Ellersoul Records 11 You Don’t have To Go Home
“Blue Soul” Norman Taylor Soul Stew Records 9 Grace Walking
Never Pet A Burning Dog Ron Tanski Self 9 What’s Cookin’

Amuse Bouche: Blues Music Award Winner’s Spotlight

1 Rosa Lee Doug MacLeod There’s A Time Acoustic Artist & Album
2 Daddy Told Me Shawn Holt &The Teardrops Daddy Told Me Best New Artist Debut
1 Bad Bad Feeling Trampled Under Foot Badlandds Contemporary Blues Album/Bassist
9 Sweet Jelly Donut Royal Southern Brotherhood Songs From The Road DVD
10 T-Bone Blues Special Lurrie Bell Blues In My Soul Lurrie Bell
6 Taking Chances Diunna Greenleaf Trying To Hold On Koko Taylor Award
11 Trouble In Mind Victor Wainwright Family Roots Pinetop Perkins Piano Player
6 She Did Not Show John Nemeth Magic Touch Soul Blues Artist
2 You Just Like A Dresser Bobby Rush Down In Louisiana Soul Blues Album
4 He Was There James Cotton Cotton Mouth Man Traditional Males Artist
12 Christo Redemptor Charlie Musselwhite Juke Joint Chapel Harmonica
2 Blues For Celie Ronnie Earl Just For Today Guitarist
1 RL Burnside Cedric Burnside 2 Man Wrecking Crew Drums
1 I Got To Go Hummel, Norcia, Musselwhite…. Remembering Little Walter Album of the Year, Traditional Album

Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
©Blues411.com 2014
Where Blues Thrives
Photos: Leslie K. Joseph, Blues411

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A Baker’s Dozen of Blues: May 12, 2014

A Baker's Dozen Of Blues

A Baker’s Dozen Of Blues

Back from an exciting and busy week of Blues Music and schmoozing in Memphis at the Blues Music Awards. I personally want to thank the Blues Foundation for throwing such a wild party, and for doing what it does for the genre and artists. Please check them out at www.blues.org for information on joining and how you can make a difference.

Amazing night at the awards, we posted many photos live from the ceremony on facebook, also have collections of really great photos from Leslie on our page there. Must say was thrilled to see Ronnie Earl win, this man has amazing talent and soul and it is wonderful to see him recognized by the fans – kudos to y’all for excellent choice. Also to my good buddy Doug MacLeod for winning not one but 2 awards, another well deserved winner and great guy. But know that we congratulate every one who won, and each of you who were nominated cos that’s what matters everyone’s a winner.

Other big news from Memphis is that the Blues Foundation has collected enough monies to break ground on the Blues Hall of Fame. Big shout out to the blues fans who’s tireless donations and determination built the vast majority of  this suckah – look for grand opening May 2015.

Happy as can be to announce that Damon Fowler is our top of the pops leader this week. His Blind Pig release ‘Sounds of Home’ in a giant release and showcases his ability to sing, write and play music that reaches all of us.

New to the Baker’s Dozen play list is the band, Dixie Peach, fans of the Allman Brothers and ‘Southern Rock-Blues’ will be diggin’ on their work so give them a listen. On the Chef Suggestion portion our new addition is Rachelle Coba and her release, ‘Mother Blues’.

Our Amuse Bouche is part 2 of the Blues Roots of rock songs. We have had such a great response to last weeks that we decided to run a new one as a follow up and thank you to our readers & listeners.
So we take the original (as I define it – disclaimer for y’all who book knowledge to the max) play it then add a popular version after the original. It is fun, a learning experience and just damn good music.

bcradio_edited-1A Baker’s Dozen of Blues, on MojoWax Radio presented by Blues Music Magazine at LIVE365.com.

Broadcast times are as follows:
Tuesday – 10pm EST
Wednesday – Noon EST
Thursday –  11pm EST
Friday –  4pm EST
Saturday – 2pm EST


Remember if ya want any of these tracks just click on the link for the song/CD title or track and it will take ya to the Amazon link for it, good way to fill out that blues collection.

A Baker’s Dozen:

CW LW CD TITLE Artist/ Web Site Record Label Track#/Title
1 2 “Sounds of Home” Damon Fowler Blind Pig 8 Alison
2 3 “Blue Yonder” Hard Garden Hard Garden Music 10 Showtime!
3 4 “Belle of The Blues” Lisa Biales Big Song Music 10 Trouble
4 5 “Guitar Angels” James Armstrong Catfood Records 9 Blues Ain’t Nothin’
5 7 Move On Lisa Mann Self 1 Move On
6 6 “Baptized By The Mud” Kat Danser Independent 12 You Gotta Move
7 8 “Brotherhood” The Holmes Brothers Alligator 1 Stayed At The Party
8 9 “He Digs Me” Sunday Wilde Self 5 Nobody’s Fault But Mine
9 10 “Drivin Me Wild” Jonn Del Toro Richardson & Sean Carney Self 3 Lookin’ For My Baby
10 11 “30th Anniversary Special Edition” Blue Lunch Rip Cat Records 7 Which Way To Go
11 12 Hornet’s Nest Joe Louis Walker Alligator Records 4 Stick A Fork In Me
12 13 “Refuse To Lose” Jarekus Singleton Alligator Records 7 Hell
13 ~ “Blues With Friends” Dixie Peach Big Shew Records 1 Too Much Trouble

Chef Suggestions:

“Bad Attitude” Johnny Drummer Earwig Records 3 Bit Her In The Butt
“Chunkabilly Blues” Chris Lord & Cheatin’ River Self 5 Jelly Bean
“This House” Shane Dwight Blues Band Electro Groove Records 6 Devil’s Noose
“Troubles” John & Sylvia Embry Delmark Records 2 Troubles
“Betsy’s Kitchen” Back Pack Jones Self 6 Even God Sings The Blues
“Blue Soul” Norman Taylor Soul Stew Records 9 Grace Walking
“Laying It Down” Arthur Migliazza Hobemian Records 12 Professor Calling Me
“Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers” Josh Hoyer & The Shadowboxers Self 3 Illusions
“Black Crow” Cathy Lemons Vizztone 5 You’re In My Town Now
“First Name Lucky” Tweed Funk Self 1 Blues In My Soul
“Jigsaw Heart” Eden Brent Yellow Dog Records 8 Let’s Go Ahead and Fall In Love
“Compass” Polly O’Keary & The Rhythm Method Self 10 You Get Me High
“Mother Blues” Rachelle Coba Self 1 Never Been To Memphis

Amuse Bouche: Blues Roots of Rock Vol. 2

Ball & Chain Big Mama Thorton
Ball & Chain Big Brother & The Holding Company
Back Door Man Willie Dixon
Back Door Man The Doors
(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man Muddy Waters
(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man Allman Brothers
It Hurts Me Too Elmore James
It Hurts Me Too Eric Clapton
The Train Kept A Rollin’ Tiny Bradshaw
The Train Kept A Rollin’ The Yardbirds (Jeff Beck)
Shake Rattle & Roll Big Joe Turner
Shake Rattle & Roll Bill Haley & His Comets
Bull Doze Blues Henry Thomas
Goin’ Up The Country Canned Heat
Boom Boom John Lee Hooker
Boom Boom Eric Burden & The Animals

Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
©Blues411.com 2014
Where Blues Thrives
Photos: Leslie K. Joseph, Blues411

No Comments Categories: A Baker's Dozen of Blues, A Main Course of Blues, Blues, Blues411, CD Reviews, Chef's Suggestions, Entertainment, IBC, Internet Radio, Music, Office Music, Opinion, Picks to Click, Rock & Roll Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Interview: ‘Uncle’ Guy Davis Part2


Guy & Chef going boldly where no one has gone before...

Guy & Chef going boldly where no one has gone before…

continuing on with my conversation with Guy Davis aboard the 2013 October Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise. We start talking about his one man play ‘Fishy Waters’ and then take a few twists and turns that will, undoubtedly, leave some people uncomfortable….
Part One can be found here.

……And that’s what I’m looking for when I get on the radio and start singing the blues and carrying on. It’s fun. I want people to believe that magic is found in the human heart. In the human psyche. And blues is a part of that for me. The blues is my way of digging up magic.

B411: You were saying that you like to tell stories, and you enjoy it. Tell me a little about “Fishy Waters” (his one-man play).
GD: “Fishy Waters” – that is hobo. And he’s a man of the old cloth. The story I tell takes place in 1959, so he’s talking about things that have gone on in his life from years before that. “Fishy Waters” is a reflection, to some extent, of people in my life. I had an uncle named Tommy, who was my mother’s brother. And he told me one time that he could live out in the woods, and that he could catch a wild turkey and kill it and wrap it in tin foil, and dig a hole in the ground and fill it with charcoal and throw that turkey in there in the tin foil and cook it in the fire pit and have it come out of there tasting just as good as the turkey my momma pulled out of the oven on Thanksgiving. And I was there for every word that he spoke. And he had all kinds of other stories too. About traveling thru Central America and South American in this old Rambler and running the odometer around completely back until it zeroed out and then kept going. And these stories are in me. So much of what I sing about, what I talk about are not things that I’ve necessarily lived, I think my gift, if you want to call it that, is for dialogue. For hearing words and speaking words that affect myself, affect the people that hear them. Words that appeal to the senses, the site, sound, taste ,touch, smell, that kind of thing. So “Fishy Waters” I say is a teller of tales and singer of songs. And there’s no tale so tall that he can’t tell it, nor song so sweet that he can’t sing it.

Now this doesn’t mean that I have one of those sweet Ronnie Isley kind of voices, but I’ve got the voice I have. And this is the voice I sing with and the voice that I tell stories with. And so Fishy goes from town to town and he shares the stories that he’s heard and he tells about his adventures on the road. And this reflects a lot of the magic that I’ve had in my life as a kid meeting people who’ve come thru town and maybe sitting in my dad’s living room. I’m talking about writers and actors and various kinds of craftsmen and union organizers and some celebrities, and lots of non-celebrities. And I would hear things and I would see things and I would observe things. And they’ve all become a part of my life. They’ve become part of who I am. And I think maybe I just wrote the Fishy Waters stories so that I could be everyone’s Uncle Guy. And everyone would want to invite me over for Thanksgiving. They’d just sit and listen to me tell stories while I stuff my face with their Turkey and slap yams on my tongue and swallow them down. Cause I’m a yam eatin’ kind of guy.

Live on stage with Fishy Waters.

Live on stage with Fishy Waters.

So Fishy Waters, he is fiction and thru the entire work, with the exception of some legitimate blues songs like “Dust My Broom” and “Candyman” and stuff that I’ve included, it’s fiction. But it’s meant to tell a kind of truth. Fishy Water’s biggest story is of him leaving home and wandering into a hobo camp. And how that changed his life. But on the way to that story, he tells lots of tall tales that feature giant flies, talking silk worms, and all sorts of fantastical little creatures there. The kind of creatures that probably in the Christian religion, they talk about turning water into wine, and all the miracles that Jesus did, well if you can turn water into wine, I can tell you it makes all those other miracles so much more possible. Like raising the dead, curing the lame and the deaf and the blind. Oh yeah. You drink enough of that hooch, man, you’re going to be all over with those miracles.

So there is Fishy Waters. He’s there to bring that magic. And he tells tales that tales that have to do with horror and death and lynching. And the first talk he tells, having to do with lynching is a very poignant and deep and raw kind of story. And I think it’s told on very human terms. So that audiences of all races and ethnicities and communities can relate to it. Because it’s told on very human terms. But then the next stories, that have to do with lynching or threats of beatings – are told from a humorous prospective, like the guy who is going to out run a train to get away from an ass whoopin’. And you know, out run various speeding objects. This is just another way of saying that a human being will do anything to survive. You can say it seriously or you can say it with humor. But the message is the same. There is no speed that I could not obtain to get my ass away from a bullet coming my way. That kind of thing.

Sweet lullaby

Sweet lullaby

B411: Sometimes humor works better. It relaxes you. It releases the endorphins and all that stuff they say happens when we laugh and smile.
GD: Brother – endorphins are good! To those reading this, endorphins are wonderful. And humor – I highly recommend it because there is so much going on in the world, it make you want to cry and bury your head somewhere. And you can’t tell stories about the evils of racism and lynching and continue to tell those stories and try to point your finger at one whole group of people and expect them to be able to sit there without squirming and trembling and wanting to be elsewhere. It’s got to be laid out in human terms and sometimes humorous terms. Because life is like that. I had a teacher once who said that suppose you were feeling great sadness, and that sadness was represented by a puppy, in a little tiny room with a closet with a glass panel. So you’re looking there and you could see a little brown puppy and the little black one and the white one and the red one and the spotted one and the gray one. And there are puppies all in that room. And the sad one is the one in the corner. But if you open the door, they all come out. All the sadness, all the humor, everything comes out. That’s what makes it human. That’s what I’m after as a story teller. It doesn’t make me a great one or an expert, but it makes me who I am. It’s the path that I’m on. And I recommend that people tell their stories to each other. Find ways to tell them. I recommend that students in schools when it comes to write a paper, write about something that you know. Write about your life, or if your life is too sensitive, make up a fictional one. But write it as if you wanted people to visualize it as you were writing it. Write in terms of sight, sound, taste, touch, smell. And then ask your teacher for help when it comes to grammar and sentence structure and paragraph structure. All that kind of stuff. But you’ll be motivated. You’ll find you’ll really be communicating.

Notice that I went to school, and they just had us writing about the periodic table of elements. What is aluminum? Anybody see aluminum? AL, are you here?

B411: Al U. Minum probably lives over 127th and Lenox Avenue.
GD: Yeah, bring him down. Send for him. It was quite dull. I guess they were trying to teach us ultimately how to organize our thoughts into words, into coherent, cohesive messages that we would write or create. And that takes time. And that’s not everybody’s strong suit. But if you write about something you’re interested in, you can have more fun with it. And then on top of writing, you have got to read it to each other. People need to communicate more without the internet. Maybe use the computer to write it up. People, especially young folk, have got to learn how to communicate without the mechanical aids. Not that you should never use them, but someday, man, if the NSA gets its way, they will pull the plug on the internet and everything else, what you gonna’ do when they come for you bad boys.

B411: You need the personal experience because we all share that. That’s in us, that the “one note”. The John Lee Hooker, that’s the E – boom, boom, boom. You take that away, it gets removed thru daily life and now thru internet – which I use a lot of – but this (I didn’t touch you!) this conversation.
GD: There’s not a camera in this recorder is there?
B411: Ahh, no what camera, that’s the power indicator…ahem. The further we’re removed from each other, the more isolated we become, the more mistrust. We become all foreigners. We’re not part of the world community; we’re part of our own community. I don’t know why we’re going so deep here.

Potent & veristile as an artist.

Potent & veristile as an artist.

GD: It’s all right. You say the word community – on this ship there’s community, there’s blues community. Some are performers, some are listeners. And the performers must continue to humbly realize that we need listeners. I mean yes, it’s great to jam. It’s great for us great professionals to sit amongst each other and play. Play like geniuses. If I was Watermelon Slim, [Guy says talking like Slim] “you could have Sonny Sharrock, you could have Jimi Hendrix, have Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton all sitting there playing, and they would play like geniuses. But you let one woman walk up in that room, why they’d tear those guitars to pieces. I tell you they rip them. They’d bite the strings off. Where’s that bourbon?” If I was Watermelon Slim, that’s how I would have said that.
B411: Absolutely. He probably would have thrown a few more $5 words in there.

GD: It’s about community. You just brought up that word. We gotta start thinking in terms of the whole world as a community. We’re getting semi-deep as we speak here.
B411: That’s what attracted me to the blues. I grew up listening to Sinatra to Little Richard. I had a fairly broad rock and roll base of knowledge. Then The Beatles, Stones, Yard Birds, Animals,
GD: It’s a wide pallet.
B411: Indeed, and a wide pallet can hold a heavy load! Yea, so all this stuff starts to come in. And then Rock and Roll and music sort of died. There wasn’t anything to listen to. To me, past that, I found XM radio. And there’s Bluesville. The first thing I turned on, it happened to be a show called “Front Porch” with acoustic music.

Guy talkin' the straight talk.

Guy talkin’ the straight talk.

GD: Speaking of XM and Sirius, they better get Bill Wax back on that show. I’m gonna kick down the door and knock…I’m sorry. I’m back.
B411: But that, I started writing to Bill. Instead of saying “Bill, play Guy Davis”, it would be “Bill, I heard you interview Guy Davis. He’s an incredible story teller, I loved it. He did a song that was about something, and I related to it. And could you play that song because I really didn’t catch the whole thing.” Then Bill starts to respond. He starts writing me back. He says, “Wow, that’s…” A relationship developed from that. And I don’t know this man from Adam. He embraced me. I go to the BMAs. I go on the Blues Cruise. I’m overwhelmed by the talent, the humbleness. And that community. And I said that’s what I’m doing. That’s my calling baby.
GD: Let me tell you about the first time I met Bill Wax. A human being who I think deserves a lot of credit when it comes to keeping the blues alive. Who’s no longer employed by Sirius/XM, and I think it’s a big mistake. When I walked into the Sirius/XM building in Washington, DC, it’s like being inside the Starship Enterprise. It’s like very long corridors with few pictures on them. And these huge open windows, Plexiglas windows on each side, inside of each was sort of a studio a kind of table area and maybe a little bit of recording equipment here and there. Mostly there were laptops in there. There was one sort of grand preforming area, but it looked like you were just walking along in a space ship and wondering where the Klingon lived. You’re there and you’re looking around. Bill made it human. He showed me this laptop. He didn’t even have to come in to work. He could just email himself tapping one button, it had this pre-programmed list of songs to play. And Bill could just sit home and sniff his flower pots. But no, he liked to be there. He liked to interview people. He liked to ask questions much like yourself. He liked to get some human feeling cooking. Finding out where he’s at with the community and stories. He invited me to do that. He recorded me doing “Going Down Slow”, a version that I didn’t think I did very well with. And years later, I heard that interview played on XM and the “Going Down Slow” sounded good! I said damn man, I didn’t realize it was that good. Because I was connected and I didn’t realize it at the time. Maybe it’s a performers job to be in the moment.

*As Watermelon Slim would say again [Guy says talking like Slim] “In case your deciding that you want to perform, you’ve got to be in the moment. It means if you’ve got bourbon bottle in one hand and you’ve got to have a glass in the other and that’s being in the moment. Dag gummit’. Can you wrap brain pan around that?”
And Watermelon Slim is gone from the room now – he stepped out the door. I tease him because I love him.

B411: I love Slim also. He’s another storyteller. His music, his stories. There are some great stories. These are the guys that keep it alive. Cause the blues in essence is the spoken word. Well it was the chants. I don’t mean to get all educational with my history here, I’m just a baby. It was field chants, which then translated into stories and sounds that passed along to the children and into music. And you can correct this, but it’s sketchy, but it’s what I’ve learned

GD: You’re saying it fine. Field hollers, the blues came up out of that stuff. [Said in a field holler/sing song voice]

Ah, Rosie, o’lord care,

Ah Rosie, o’lord care when she walk she really rocks behind

When she walks she really rocks behind

Ain’t that enough to worry convicts mind.”

Yes, it is enough. These men on the chain gang were singing what they knew and what they wanted to know. To sing about them women.
Ah man, there are some aspects of the blues and the early blues and the pre-blues. And the use of the N word. I don’t think should be forbidden or outlawed as much as it need to be introduced by someone like Bill Wax who can give a context to the word and it’s use and the way things were sung about. There’s an aspect of the blues that I’ve heard reflected. Especially in work songs something “I don’t want no jet black woman, she’s too mean lord, lord, she’s too mean.” Such a line, is not considered politically correct because it’s hurtful. It’s like looking at a group of beautiful women and telling them, that you’re not on this list, you can’t get on this line kind of thing. But it was something that was going on, and being sung about in the prisons. I would love to know is there was some kind of research to indicate where that, who started that line? I imagine that it came post reconstruction. Back when they had the, I think they’re called the Black Laws, when slavery ended, they no longer had slaves as a source of labor to build this country. So they turned to prisons. And what I’m calling the Black Laws, I’m not sure if that’s the right term, ensured that if a Black man and a White man stood before a judge, charged with the same crime, the Black man would do more time. And his labor would be continued to be used to build the country, to hoe the fields and harvest the plants and to build the buildings and dig the ditches. So, these are the people that the blues is written about. Even if the blues didn’t come into its recognizable form to us until 19 what ever – WC Handy said 1907, but you know it’s somewhere back there. These are the people that the blues are being sung about. The dispossessed people, those people hijacked from the street, and thrown into prison.

B411: It’s the same horse, but a different color. You can call it what you want, it’s slavery. It’s indentured servitude.

Singing and teaching, the Blues is oral history.

Singing and teaching, the Blues is oral history.

GD: I guess I just wanted it to never be forgotten that I don’t want the word, the N word to necessarily vanish from the face of the earth and imprison anybody who uses it. It just has to be used with a certain clear understanding that it is a word that riots have been started over, blood has been spilled over. And rappers seem to use indiscriminately sometimes. I’ve even hear white rappers use it to each other. So the whole thing gets kooky.

B411: It’s morphed.
GD: It has morphed. But I don’t want it to morph so much that people forget where the blues came from.

B411: Well, do you want to end here?
GD: I think we about got to the end.

*Click here to listen to Guy impersonate Watermelon Slim & sing his “Oh Rosie” song….

Love, Peace & Chicken Grease


©Blues411.com 2014
photos by: Leslie K. Joseph
Where Blues Thrives


Office Music: Post Thanksgiving Chill with Some New Men of the Blues

Well we visited the ladies at about the onset of the official holiday season, so now that we are in full grip of the season I thought it might be nice to meet at a bar after work with some of the guys who can make the Blues sound like no others. So tell the bartender what yer having, pull up a stool and let’s chill with the boys.

Tip Of The Top: From Memphis to Greaseland (Delta King Records)

Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area these guys were the 2011 Golden Gate Blues Society IBC competitors and did well – bowing out as semi-finalists. Featuring a solid cast of veteran blues-men Jon Lawton (guitar/vocals), Frank DeRose (bass), Aki Kumar (harp/vocals) and Carlos Velasco (drums). Together they have put together 13 high energy tracks with 7 of them originals – which is always good in my book.

Tip of the Top is not just a cover band that you see at the bar every weekend going through the motions and calling it the Blues. These cats got the feel and groove that sets them apart from the aforementioned posers to the throne.

‘I Ain’t Worried’ is a call and response good time shuffle that starts off the disc and sets us up for what becomes a party on a disc. Written by Mr. Lawson this track has the feel of a Rod Piazza west coast swing number and excellent harp work by Aki lets us know they are here to play.

Nice harp work is an essential element here with Mr. Kumar displaying a proven ability to play in various styles and tones. Not just a draw & blower he especially does justice to the Little Walter cover ‘Rocker’. Definately one to get the feet moving. He provides added depth fronting the vocals chops on Sonny Boy Williamson’s ‘Fattening Frogs for Snakes’. Tasty guitar work by Mr. Lawton adds to the classic feel of this cut. Other covers include a surf/rumba version of “One Way Out’ that while paying tribute to the previous versions comes up original and tasty as pie. The disc ends with a slowed down version of the Brownie McGhee classic ‘The Sportin’ Life’. Mr. Lawton provides well paced vocals and guitar work over the stage setting bass of Mr. DeRose.

This release was recorded at Chris ‘Kid’ Andersen’s Greaseland Studios in California and Mr. Kid adds some of his well-appointed brand of guitar work on ‘She’s Fine’ as an added tip on the tip of the top.

Dave Keller: ‘Where I’m Coming From’ (self release)

I first met Dave at the 2011 Blues Music Awards in Memphis, a gentle spoken unassuming young man who is one hell of an R&B Blues-man. To quote Mr. Mose Allison ‘white boy sings the blues’ – it isn’t just that – it’s way better than that. So here’s this guy who is up in Montpelier, VT., yeh the Blues Capital of…
As the first strains of ‘More Than I Can Stand’ hits our unexpected ears, we are thrust into a swirling world of horns, lap steel & percussion that makes one want to jump up and dance. It’s like a Stax/Volt party for a new generation. We get a little feel of Jackson Five on ‘If I Ever Get You Back’ with ringing guitar and a percussion of horns that creates a wall of funk about 6 inches deep.
Mr. Keller is backed by The Revelations, an R&B band that usually backs up soul singer Tre’ Williams. It is Mr. Williams who shares vocals on ‘The Things We Have To Do’ a soulful countdown of these things we have to do in life. Both reaffirming and inspirational this cut reminds me of some of the old school duets from the late seventies that featured black and white soul singers working together.

Mr. Keller’s voice has a depth and soul to it that has to make him one of the most talented unsigned artists around. His guitar playing has the edge and grit to it that fits right in with the sound and landscape. His version of ‘Pouring Water On A Drowning Man’ recalls an early Van Morrison meets Otis Redding. Throughout this release The Revelations along with a cast of horn players provide ample room for Mr. Keller to work his blue-eyed soul and address his funkiness at all the right levels, good job !

With ‘Where I’m Coming From’ we are treated to the sound of Motown/Memphis soul stew and so tasty folks. If you cut your R&B teeth with these sounds you will slip this release on like a comfy pair of Cons, and sit back in your Member’s Only jacket, and open up that 40 oz bottle of Olde English 8oo and get the party started.

Now wait, if you didn’t grow up with that sound, don’t be dismayed or turned off here. These are not re-treads like K-Tel, but an artist with a deep love of and respect of this music taking it to the the next level, contemporizing it, yet paying serious homage to the roots and those who came before. This is a communal form of music, danceable, movin’ to the groove and shake your hips and roll your ackie-dackie.

Toronzo Cannon: Leaving Mood (Delmark Records)http://web.me.com/toronzocannon/Toronzo_s_Website/Home.html
Mr. Cannon grew up on the South Side of Chicago not far from Theresa’s Lounge. From an early age the blues held an attraction. Yet it had laid dormant for many years till he started jamming around town where he rediscovered the music of his youth and family and hasn’t dated another muse since.

I first saw Toronzo at the 2010 Chicago Blues Festival, an unknown playing on a big stage while we waited for Carl Weathersby and Larry McCray for the heavy weight throw-down. Well I was hoo-dooed, this cat blew me away. Passion, joy, showmanship and talent all there for anyone to see, all they had to do was look. I have been a fan ever since.

This, is his first release for Delmark Records, he pays tribute in his own way at those who have inspired him and makes a strong statement in doing so. He gives us ‘Chico’s Song’ which is an ode to the late Chico Banks. He opens the disc with ‘She Loved Me’ which deals (as many of these songs) with a gritty reality built around a driving rhythm and visceral lyrics – these are the blues of today. How things can get away from you and turn upside down in a moments notice, how one sacrifices their life for another and the ramifications of actions. The barrel of reality is not only pointed at the area of personal relationships but also at the system that exists. In ‘Open Letter(To Whom It May Concern)’ Mr. Cannon aims his flying V and poignant lyrics at certain people in the current blues scene and the environment that is more than dog-eat-dog. The vocal treatment is akin to a corner preacher on his soapbox pitching fire and brimstone and telling us of the evils around us.

But dour and dark is not the only places he visits. He offers a sexy, steamy low down version of Nina Simone’s ‘Do I Move You’ with a back beat that puts it right on the G-spot and there’s no answer required. When Mr. Cannon serves up the funk he is quite adept at getting the honey to drip and the feet to move. A prime example is ‘Ernestine’ featuring Mr. Carl Weathersby on searing solos, Mr. Weathersby also treats us to his fine guitar work on ‘Hard Luck’. A modern tale of trying to get by that we all can relate to.

This is a fine release that showcases Mr. Cannon’s ability to play the blues in many forms, he is not a one-dimensional artist, not the standard shuffle king – he is an urban blues master who brings a lot of soul and feeling to the scene – jump on the bus now while you can get a seat.

Keith Patterson: Stone Cold & Blue (self released)

Out of South Carolina, Mr. Keith Patterson provides us with guitar driven, hard-edged blues music that fills venues and has people dancing like no one is watching. With the opening riffs (which have a feel of ‘School’s Out For Summer’) he sets the stage for a rollicking eleven cut release that has enough style and energy to please just about everyone.

‘Take Me Down To Charleston’ is a fast paced shuffle that hails the virtues of that town in South Carolina that is becoming the home for some seriously good blues bands and venues to hear them in. Some fine slide work provided by Todd Roth, serves us up a bit of grease otherwise provided by some pork BBQ and roasted oysters on the track.
A particularly fine track is ‘Keep The Blues Alive’ where he wears the title like a badge of honor and vows to do whatever it takes to do just that. Nasty guitar work that leads us to poignant lyrics and a visit over the edge of a failing relationship is served up in ‘Shades of Gray’.

Mr. Patterson’s song writing is emotional and heart felt, there is a passion to it that is amplified by the instrumentation and provides us with a solid sound scape. Though not all hard driving and fierce, the majority of cuts are. He does show us the ability to change gears and gives us a slower paced vocals and songs. From declarations of what is inevitable in ‘Time For A Change’ to ‘Fascination’ which is a more electric slow burner where he implores his lady to close their eyes and let the other become their fascination. This cut has a slight feel of some of the earlier rock-blues hybrids that came about in the late nineties early aught’s, but with a true blues spirit to it.

A solid release that gives us a glimpse at what Mr. Patterson can do and where his influences lie. Pat Travers, Joe Bonamassa, early Led Zep, as well as the likes of B.B. King, Jeff Healy and Eric Clapton and just enough funk to keep it dirty and original. With this solid first release I am looking forward to his next release, and if I he is playing anywhere near me in South Carolina I will most certainly go see him perform.

So while these artists might be new to some, or even all, of us they certainly are worth listening to. They are all adept at their brand of blues and their spirit level is on the rise. Would be a nice gift to turn someone on to some new blues folks this holiday season.

Until next time,
Love, Peace & Chicken Grease
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photos: Courtesy of artists