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So long, Wolfman, so long

Today we bid a sad farewell to the last of the old-school Mississippi Hill Country bluesmen: Mr. Robert Belfour was a purveyor or that gritty, driving, riff-based, often one-chord Hill Country style pioneered by people like Mississippi Fred McDowell, and in more recent years popularized by artists like RL Burnside, Junior Kimbrough and Jessie Mae Hemphill. Let's take a listen, then, as we pay our respects to the "Wolfman", to some of his rocking, soulful blues. Here's Black Mattie, I Got My Eyes On You, Hill Stomp, Go Ahead On, My Baby's Gone, Done Got Old and You Got Me Crying. And here's an hour-long recording from February 2013, via NPR: Robert Belfour: Live In Concert.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 25, 2015 - 13 comments

Reginald D. Hunter's Songs of the South

In a three-part series on BBC2 in the UK over February and March, Reginald D. Hunter travels across the (USA) south and explores the music and culture. There is a bunch of intriguing clips in advance. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 16, 2015 - 7 comments

"The black communities were just too difficult to work in"

“[M]uch of the music he recorded this way, including many blues and work songs, are powerful expressions of overlooked cultures. But his quest for a ‘pure’ black music untouched by white influences was problematic... This much is undeniable: right at the time the Civil Rights movement was trying to bring whites and blacks together in a common cause, Lomax drew a hard line between white music and black music that — with help from the record companies — helped keep us apart.” How Alan Lomax Segregated Music.
posted by koeselitz on Feb 8, 2015 - 55 comments

goin' jukin' tonight

LAST OF THE MISSISSIPPI JUKES is Robert Mugge's 86-minute film from 2002, focussing on the juke joint tradition in Mississippi, with special emphasis on Jackson's Subway Lounge and Clarksdale's Ground Zero Blues Club.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jan 17, 2015 - 5 comments

2 bassists, 2 clarinets, 1 cellist, 1 tape-delay technician, 1 pianist

Bing & Ruth is a modern classical ensemble that plays minimalist, piano-driven music. Several videos from Tomorrow Was The Golden Age (RVNG Intl.), their 2014 album, are on Youtube: Warble, TWTGA, Police Police Police Police Police, The Towns We Love Is Our Town (Alternate), and Reflector. Their first album, City Lake, can be streamed on Soundcloud. The Bing & Ruth and Kenitle Floors EPs can be streamed on Bandcamp.
B&R is the project of David Moore, who also leads (parodic?) bluegrass band The Piledrivers and country band Pepper Johnson, and is member of experimental electronic group Emar Diem and blues rockers Langhorne Slim & The Law. In October, Will Stephenson interviewed Moore for BOMB. In 2010, Le Blogotheque released a short film of Moore set to his music.
posted by Going To Maine on Dec 19, 2014 - 8 comments

Félix le Chat

10 year-old is handed a guitar, shrugs off the blues
posted by a lungful of dragon on Oct 17, 2014 - 23 comments

If it ain't broke, break it: the unspoken motto of The Kinks

"HH [Henry Hauser]: Ryan and Nina are right on target. The Ray-Dave sibling rivalry sparked many of The Kinks' most spontaneous (and brilliant) musical moments. The Storyteller, Ray's riveting account of early life in the Davies household and his band’s rise to prominence, has him describing how he and Dave exchanged scornful looks while recording "You Really Got Me". The elder Davies swears that if you listen closely, you can actually hear Dave yelling "Fuckkkoffff" right before his guitar solo. Ray salvaged the track by covering up Dave's profane exclamation with his own unscripted outburst ("Owwwww noooooo!"), and the impromptu rock scream turned into one of the most memorable quirks in Kinks history. It perfectly captures the animalistic agony that accompanies hopeless infatuation. Without the Ray-Dave rivalry, it would never have happened."

Henry Hauser, Ryan Bray, Nina Corcoran, and Stevie Dunbar at Consequence of Sound hold a round-table discussion in "Dusting 'Em Off: The Kinks – The Kinks". [more inside]
posted by joseph conrad is fully awesome on Oct 7, 2014 - 28 comments

Ah dubba wevwa, aaah ... ACH!

Baby sings the baby blues. In baby. "Flipo" is accompanied by his father, Flavio Rigatozzo, on guitar.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich on Sep 18, 2014 - 11 comments

A look back at the funky, psychedelic, soulful 70s in Nigeria

According to the Daptone Gold compilation liner notes (auto-playing music, click on "Biography"to read the notes), written by Pitchfork contributor Douglas Wolk, "the world capital of soul" has moved from the US ("between Memphis and Detroit, with occasional stopovers in New Orleans, Cincinnati and elsewhere") in the 1960, to Lagos in the 1970s, then it went into hiding, finally reappearing in Brooklyn, with Daptone Records. Let's go back - why Lagos in the 1970s? [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Aug 18, 2014 - 10 comments

For a foot stompin' Tuesday

Lizzie Miles (1895-1963) was a blues singer from New Orleans. (Her music was recently featured during the closing credits of Blue Jasmine.) Less well-known are her two half-siblings, blues singer Edna Hicks (1895-1925), and jazz trumpeter and vocalist Herb Morand (1905-1952). [more inside]
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide on Jul 29, 2014 - 4 comments

"It's the only thing that I've really been good at."

He played with everyone from Muddy Waters to John Lee Hooker, and played a midnight set at Woodstock. American blues guitarist and singer Johnny Winter died Wednesday, he was 70.
posted by BigHeartedGuy on Jul 17, 2014 - 42 comments

"There are specific instructions when Isaac Hayes comes on."

Wattstax [SLYT] is a 1973 documentary film about the 1972 Wattstax music festival, held at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum to commemorate the seventh anniversary of the Watts riots. Featuring performances by Isaac Hayes, Albert King, Rufus and Carla Thomas, The Staple Singers, The Emotions, The Bar-Kays, and other greats of soul, R&B, and gospel, Wattstax also incorporates relatively unknown comic Richard Pryor's musings on life for black Americans in 1972, "man-and-woman-on-the-street" interviews, and audience footage. [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by Room 641-A on Jul 3, 2014 - 23 comments

"Robert was supposed to change the lyrics, and he didn’t always do that"

ZEPPELIN TOOK MY BLUES AWAY Trading Cards – An Illustrated History Of Copyright Indiscretions!
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 25, 2014 - 30 comments

Clap Your Hands

Reverend Peyton's Big Damn Band is a 3-piece country blues band from Brown County, Indiana. They share some metafilter politics, but sing about a few more unique experiences, too. Ben plays drums, Breezy plays washboard, and the Reverend himself plays guitar and the bass line (at the same time), sometimes on a cigar box guitar. If you like what you've heard: hop a train or an old pickup, scream at the night, share some pot roast and kisses, watch out for the devils who look like angels, and don't forget to clap your hands.
posted by ChuraChura on Jun 12, 2014 - 5 comments

‘And This Is Free’ (1964)

A 50 minute documentary about Maxwell Street Market and musicians in Chicago (I interpret the title with an implicit accusatory question mark.) Mike Shea—previously a photographer for Life, Look and Time—directed this exquisitely composed, Frederick Wiseman-esque documentary that lurches between the wiles and complaints of street vendors to some astoundingly well-recorded street side blues performances—recorded by Gordon Quinn. Most notably numerous songs by Robert Nighthawk and one electrifying performance by Carrie Robinson. There's also one seriously awesome-looking house party. [more inside]
posted by zbsachs on May 14, 2014 - 10 comments

If I get killed, please don't bury my soul.

The Ballad of Geeshie and Elvie. No grave site, no photograph. Forget that — no anecdotes. This is what set Geeshie and Elvie apart even from the rest of an innermost group of phantom geniuses of the ’20s and ’30s. Their myth was they didn’t have anything you could so much as hang a myth on.
posted by oinopaponton on Apr 12, 2014 - 42 comments

Wow!

Holy shit! I don't like to editorialize, but someone needs to give this nine year old a recording contract, stat!
posted by dobbs on Mar 30, 2014 - 41 comments

Sing it

Nat King Cole. Eartha Kitt. Mahalia Jackson. Pearl Bailey. Cab Calloway. Ella Fitzgerald. Billy Preston. All assembled for a single musical: the 1958 W.C. Handy biopic St. Louis Blues. [more inside]
posted by Iridic on Feb 26, 2014 - 6 comments

American Deep Blues Touring 1960's Britain

The American Folk Blues Festival 1962 - 1966; Vol 2; Vol 3 - The festival was an annual event with dozens of classic blues greats like Sonny Boy Williamson, Muddy Waters & Howlin' Wolf playing to appreciative UK audiences. "Attendees at Manchester in 1962, the first ever venue for the festival in Britain, included Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones and Jimmy Page. Subsequent attendees at the first London festivals are believed to have also included such influential musicians as Eric Burdon, Eric Clapton, and Steve Winwood. Collectively these were the primary movers in the blues explosion that would lead to the British Invasion." [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 23, 2014 - 19 comments

the generations and the blues

Elijah and Jeremiah
posted by flapjax at midnite on Feb 21, 2014 - 5 comments

Richard Pryor: that clown can really sing the blues

Richard Pryor moved to New York City in 1963, where he performed regularly in clubs alongside performers such as Bob Dylan and Woody Allen. He even opened for singer and pianist Nina Simone, who talked of his early nervousness, when she put her "arms around him there in the dark and rocked him like a baby until he calmed down." You can see something of that young man in this clip of Pryor singing a bit of jazzy blues in 1966. The performance is also available on YouTube with slightly better quality, but faded in from different scene. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Jan 5, 2014 - 14 comments

Peter Scott (1947-2013), developer of HyTelnet

Peter Scott (February 14, 1947 - December 30, 2013) worked in the Systems Department of the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, Canada) Libraries from 1976 to 2005. One of the early library weblog writers, Peter is most well known for HyTelnet, an interface for Telnet services he developed from 1990. In his 1991 video, Peter demonstrates a later version of HyTelnet, while an archive lists the resources available through the service. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Dec 31, 2013 - 20 comments

36 years in the making

Ry Cooder and Corridos Famosos: Live "From this rich catalog, Cooder cherry-picked only a dozen songs to include on Live but they’re fairly representative of his eclectic oeuvre. His picks also feature plenty of his guitar playing, which will please fans who felt (as I sometimes did) that his recent albums were a bit stingy with his greatest asset. " "The shows also were a family affair. The Corridos Famosos include Ry’s son Joachim on drums, Joachim’s wife Juliet Commagere on vocals, and her brother Robert Francis on bass, as well as an old friend and collaborator, Flaco Jimenez, the Tejano accordionist who was at Cooder’s side when he played this venue 34 years earlier. Terry Evans, another veteran of the 1977 shows, handles backup vocals, along with Arnold McCuller, filling in for Cooder’s other longtime singing partner Bobby King." Don't miss the clip at the end of the review. [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Nov 19, 2013 - 17 comments

Vintage Vice

Oldtime Tales of Drugs, Sex, Liquor and Gambling [NSFW] [more inside]
posted by ursus_comiter on Aug 14, 2013 - 11 comments

Roll On

Old records wear out, and sheet can't really describe the swing of jazz, ragtime and blues—but a good player piano roll captures the style and rhythm of a live performance and preserves it for generations to come. [more inside]
posted by overeducated_alligator on Aug 11, 2013 - 20 comments

feel so good this mornin' ... gon' be downloadin' all night long

"Folk Music in America" is a series of 15 LP records published by the Library of Congress between 1976 and 1978 to celebrate the bicentennial of the American Revolution. It was curated by librarian/collector-cum-discographer Richard K. Spottswood, and funded by a grant by the National Endowment for the Arts. It's absolutely fantastic. And here it is.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Aug 10, 2013 - 21 comments

A Few First Ladies of Jazz and Rhythm 'n Blues

Nellie Lutcher - Blue Skies, It Had to Be You & Let's Fall In Love
Martha Davis & Spouse - That's Life
Dinah Washington with Louis Jordan - What A Difference A Day Made & Makin' Whoopee
Ella Fitzgerald -- It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing
Count Basie & Helen Humes - I Cried for You
Sarah Vaughn -- The Nearness of You
Billie Holiday -- Fine and Mellow
posted by y2karl on Jul 30, 2013 - 13 comments

Final Encore Blues For Mister JJ Cale

Sadly true, at 74. (JJ Cale previously, and Wikipedia.) Otherwise best to just let the man and his guitar speak for themselves via classic albums such as Troubadour, Grasshopper, Naturally, Okie and Shades.
posted by Pouteria on Jul 27, 2013 - 56 comments

Talk to the gals just like any old man

Singing the Lesbian Blues in 1920s Harlem.
In Jazz Age speakeasies, dive bars, and private parties, blue singers had the freedom to explore alternative sexuality, and on a rare occasion, they even expressed it in song.

posted by immlass on Jul 12, 2013 - 11 comments

So long, Bobby 'Blue' Bland

It's time to say farewell to one of the great and legendary voices of American music. Mr Bobby 'Blue' Bland has died. With the perfect combination of muscle and tenderness, grit and sweetness, he gave us so many stellar performances over his long career. Here are but a few: Ain't No Love in the Heart of the City, The Way You Treated Me, Stormy Monday, Further Up the Road, St. James Infirmary, I'll Take Care of You, I Stand Accused, That's the Way Love Is, Ain't Nothing You Can Do... and the list goes on. Thanks for the music, Bobby Bland.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Jun 23, 2013 - 44 comments

Skip James' Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

...James is, of course, overshadowed by the most famous bluesman of them all: Robert Johnson... Few can resist the legend that he sold his soul to the devil, was poisoned by a jealous lover, and died a young genius's death... Skip James' mythos is less compact than Johnson's. James survived his misspent youth, and the story of his later years provides plenty more of the kind of misery that fueled his music. Where Johnson supposedly cut a single, grand deal with the devil—trading his soul for mastery of his form—Skip James seems to have struck deal after deal and never come out ahead. In a way, James' story is the truest story of the blues: He led an open wound of a life, and all he got for it was minor-league, post-mortem stardom.
Skip James' Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

See also Mississippi John Hurt & Skip James on WTBS-FM 1964 [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Jun 15, 2013 - 17 comments

Damn it, Phill, I'm a writer, not a decorator!

Feel adrift in the home renovation store? This screwdriver business leaving you confused? Billy Bragg (and Phill Jupitus, Stewart Lee, and many others) feel your pain. (Vevo version)
posted by maudlin on Jun 4, 2013 - 21 comments

More Belgian/Italian Goodness

Sarah Ferri serves up blues and jazz and other good stuff. A Place on the Moon. The Hungry Villain. Dancing at the Supermarket. And the ear-worm that is On My Own. That is all.
posted by IndigoJones on May 27, 2013 - 2 comments

Let's take it back to the source

You might have heard at one time or another a 60s band called Canned Heat, who made a wee bit of a splash way back when with a little number called Going Up the Country. The song featured a simple but very catchy little flute riff between verses. If you ever wondered where that riff came from (not to mention the melodic contour of the tune itself) you need look no further than a 1928 recording by Henry Thomas, who played the flute melody on his quills, or, panpipes. The song was called Bull Doze Blues. [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 24, 2013 - 37 comments

Before the world knew his name

In 1965 guitar legend Jimi Hendrix was doing the chitlin circuit with R&B acts, where he honed some of the guitar artistry as well as the showman skills that would soon set the world on fire. Here's a taste of that pre-rock star Jimi, as a member of the Buddy and Stacy revue, doing the Junior Walker classic Shotgun. If you want more pre-rock star Jimi, well, there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 6, 2013 - 38 comments

Now the blues pile up on me, I brought it all on myself

Hey y'all! Here's your waaaaay laid back, deeeep Southern blues for the day, and contrary to the title, it's an easy pill to swallow. You dig that? OK, then, there's... [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite on May 5, 2013 - 8 comments

Lookee here woman, what's the matter now?

Let yourself be carried along, floating nice and easy down that slow, lazy river of American collective unconscious, when you hear Jack Owens singing Jack Ain't Had No Water.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 29, 2013 - 10 comments

“Music exists in nature to make you smarter."

Bob Brozman, the undisputed master of the National Resonator Guitar, has passed away at age 59. Ethnomusicologist, virtuoso fingerpicker, musical historian, and anarchist philosopher Bob Brozman fell in love with National’s metal body resonator guitars as a teenager and made them his life’s passion. [more inside]
posted by zaelic on Apr 26, 2013 - 34 comments

Around the Beatles: a one-off TV variety show from 1964

In 1964, The Beatles put together a one-off variety show, with musical numbers specially pre-recorded for the show, presented in the style of theater-in-the-round. Around the Beatles was aired in the UK and later that same year in the US, but never commercially released. The show includes The Beatles performing a scene from A Midsummer's Night Dream, with Paul McCartney as Pyramus, John Lennon as his lover Thisbe, George Harrison as Moonshine, Starr as Lion, and Trevor Peacock (the only actual actor in the lot) in the role of Quince. A color clip of that was posted previously, but you can watch the entire (almost) hour-long show with The Beatles' segments accompanied by seven other musical acts, on Dailymotion or YouTube, though it's in black and white. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Apr 18, 2013 - 14 comments

3 examples of great African-American music, with commentary and analysis

Listening Guide to West End Blues by Louis Armstrong - Listening Guide to Backwater Blues by Bessie Smith - Listening Guide to Salt Peanuts by Dizzy Gillespie and His All Stars
posted by flapjax at midnite on Apr 11, 2013 - 6 comments

Que estando triste, cantava

Fado is a Portuguese musical genre which originated in the 1820’s in Lisbon. It has been enjoying a revival over the last twenty years, one of the most prominent recent voices being that of Mariza. In 2006 Simon Broughton did a documentary exploring the roots of the music. Via youtube, here is Mariza and the Story of Fado. [more inside]
posted by winna on Apr 6, 2013 - 13 comments

This Here is Rich Terfry: Forty One Odd Years (and a few days more)

Happy belated birthday to Jesus Murphy, Haslam, DJ Critical, Uncle Climax (NSFW audio), Stinkin' Rich (NSFW audio), Dirk Thornton, Buck 65, or as his mom called him, Richard Terfry. Born in the year of the rat, and he's a Pisces, which makes him a rat fish, but by trade, he's a turntablist/ MC/ producer/ broadcaster. Generally he makes some form of hip-hop (some NSFW lyrics), though as of late, he's been broadening his style, as heard in his cover of Leonard Cohen's Who By Fire (previously) and Paper Airplane (official "lyric" video). In tribute to his 41st birthday, there's a lot more music inside. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on Mar 8, 2013 - 19 comments

I believe, I believe my time ain’t long...

“Dust My Broom”: The Story of a Song
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 2, 2013 - 13 comments

Fuck You Cholly Mac!

Pig Roast. Fish Fry. Camping with the Bluesmobile. T-Model Ford’s Shade Tree. The undying Southern charm that is, Junior’s Juke Joint.
posted by timsteil on Feb 13, 2013 - 6 comments

From the Mississippi Delta to Dumfries and Galloway, and back again

Third Man Records, the US label owned by Jack White, is collaborating with Document Records to release vinyl-only remastered versions of blues artists. Document Records, run by Gary and Gillian Atkinson in Scotland, holds the largest known pre-1945 blues, jazz and country archive in the world, with 900 titles and around 25,000 tracks. [more inside]
posted by Wordshore on Feb 6, 2013 - 43 comments

J0hnny ''Gitar'' Wats0n - Livek0nzert 1977

On tour at the height of his powers - a Young John Watson indeed: Johnny ''Guitar'' Watson - Livekonzert 1977 [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Jan 24, 2013 - 10 comments

The king of love is dead.

On April 7, 1968 - three days after Martin Luther King's assassination - Nina Simone performed the Martin Luther King Suite for the first time at the Westbury Music Festival in NY: Sunday in Savannah, Why (The King of Love is Dead), Mississippi Goddam.
posted by ChuraChura on Jan 21, 2013 - 13 comments

"He was extremely difficult to try and trade records with."

Yazoo Records was founded by J. Nicholas Perls not as a way to distribute Robert Crumb's music related artwork, but as an extension of a serious record collecting habit shared by himself and a handful of other 78-rpm country-blues afficianados. Following in the footsteps of trailblazer Harry Smith and his famous anthology, over the years Perls and a few employees (notably Stephen Calt who wrote many if not most of the brilliant Yazoo liner notes) released dozens of collections of rare sides—from the raunchy blues of Bo Carter to the Hawaiian guitar of Roy Smeck. [more inside]
posted by Lorin on Jan 18, 2013 - 21 comments

Whips, whiskey, women, work, weapons, cars and cadence. But no hockey.

Jump steady, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Looky yonder Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
Yeah, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam!
She's so rock steady! Bam-A-Lam!
She's always ready! Bam-A-Lam!
Whoa, Black Betty! Bam-A-Lam! [more inside]
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey on Jan 16, 2013 - 52 comments

Revelator is a Revelation!

You may remember this oldie but goodie from 1969: Everybody’s Talkin’ (Harry Nilsson) Now, let’s blues it UP. Zowie! Surely I can't be the last person in the world to hear about the Tedeschi Trucks Band (or can I be?).
posted by spock on Jan 11, 2013 - 22 comments

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