Tuesday, March 07, 2006

House of the Blues

I love the blues. And I can remember the moment that I converted. The only thought I had of it before then was that it was repetitive; the whole thing was about somebody done messing with my happy home or another mule kicking in my stall. It was no better or worse than country or folk in this respect but it wasn't for a fringe punk like me.
When I woke to the blues it really was just like a bolt and that's the thrill for me - tending to intellectualise everything; here was something that I'd thought little of the day before. I hadn't mulled over the place of WC Handy or Son House in the pantheon. It's a feeling.
I've been fortunate, having seen Albert Collins, Brownie McGee, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Bo Diddley. I missed Johnny Johnson and it's not like I didn't have a few chances. But that's the way it goes. I prefer to dwell on the great performances I did see rather than the ones I missed.

The nice side effect of falling for the blues is that you get to hear along with your own idols the music that first pushed their buttons. Knowing that Willie Dixon wrote Back Door Man, Spoonful, Little Red Rooster, Seventh Son.. makes him inestimably great in my eyes as he is the backbone and influence for the Chicago blues scene, giving Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf some of their best songs. But these songs are equally well known among the blues rock fraternity. I can't imagine Eric Clapton without the generation before and the songs they wrote.

3 Comments:

At 1:53 am , Blogger Sherry P said...

i love the blues. i am thrilled now that recordings are easy to come by. it wasn't always that way. i could get tons of motown( i love that as well), but few blues albums. now, those great blues artists are finally getting their proper dues. there are some wonderful documentaries out there now,got those artists on film before they passed on or found rare clips and remastered them. i'm so happy that there is now a whole new audience for some of the finest music ever.

 
At 5:57 pm , Blogger RobNoxious said...

2 items:

1st, In regards to the Blues, if you enjoy that truly Raw Mississipi Delta stuff, there's a label called "Fat Possum Records" that went down to the Delta a few years ago, and recorded some of the old guys who are still down there playing it. It's definately worth a listen, some of it is undenyably great. Ever hear a true Mississippi Blues song about runnin' out of Crack? It's something.

And Willie Dixon absolutely rules.

2nd, Please do me a favor and check in on my Blog. I've been trying to fix it to be legible on different resolutions than my own computer. (1024 x 768) I think I've got it licked, but would you please take a look and let me know how it looks on your box? I would really appreciate it, and any feedback. Thanks.

Cheers,
-Rob

 
At 9:41 pm , Blogger Berko Wills said...

I will be sure and do so. Sherry, agree with you about the availability of blues recordings - there are some superb bargains to be had. I've bought double CDs of Sleepy John Estes and Bessie Smith for a very good price. And it is now possible to get the entire recordings of Rooseveldt Sykes in separate volumes.

Rob, yes I haven't heard a lot of Fat Possum output but they sound like characters, with names like T Model Ford. I'll definitely keep an eye out.
I haven't heard the Mississippi crack song but there's some a compilation of prostitute songs that tell it like it is and I've heard some songs that very casually mention drug use because, hey, that's another part of their lives.

There's a fabulous dvd called Lightning in a Bottle that was directed by Martin Scorsese, features some stunning performances of the standards by surviving blues greats.

 

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