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"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

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

“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

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

Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks

Ry Cooder and the Moula Banda Rhythm Aces - Let's Have A Ball, a film by Les Blanks
This is the complete show from the Catalyst in Santa Cruz in March 1987.   Via The Iwebender Channel

Love that Maria Elena.... [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Dec 9, 2012 - 10 comments

Kitty Sings the Blues

Kitty Cat Sings the Blues (SLYT) "I woke up this morning...then I went back to sleep. Then I woke up this afternoon...and I went back to sleep..."
posted by jocelmeow on May 8, 2012 - 15 comments

Etta Baker, American musician

Guitarist Etta Baker worked in a textile mill, raised nine children, and didn’t take her music to the stage until she was 60 years old. Fortunately for all of us, she continued to play and record right up until her death in 2006 at the age of 93.
posted by flapjax at midnite on Mar 12, 2012 - 11 comments

William Brown - Mississippi Blues

William Brown was a man who recorded a handful of blues on Sadie Beck's Plantation on July 16, 1942 for Alan Lomax. Once thought to be the same man as the Willie Brown who played with Son House and Charley Patton--and was immortalized in Robert Johnson's Crossroad Blues--the consensus now is that William Brown was a different man, about whom we know next to nothing. Certainly, the handful of recordings we have that feature him supports this. The Willie Brown who recorded Future Blues and M & O Blues was an archetypal Delta bluesman, with both songs being stripped down versions of Charley Patton's Screamin' and Hollerin' the Blues, among others, and Pony Blues, respectively. The William Brown who recorded Mississippi Blues, Ragged and Dirty and Make Me a Pallet on the Floor plays and sings nothing like that Willie Brown. That we know nothing about him and never heard any more of his music is one of the many tragedies of recorded blues. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Aug 30, 2011 - 15 comments

Goin Back Home

The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins A 1967 Les Blank film of Lightnin Hopkins visiting his hometown of Centerville, TX "…a gorgeous 31-minute poem of a movie, a series of snapshots from his life as well as a look at an era fast disappearing…Watching the film is something of a revelation, at least if you ever had a doubt where the blues came from." [more inside]
posted by madamjujujive on Feb 19, 2011 - 16 comments

Ry Cooder – Talking Country Blues and Gospel & The Jas Obrecht Music Archive

Originally published in Guitar Player magazine in 1990, here is Jas Obrect's interview: Ry Cooder – Talking Country Blues and Gospel -- I only wish it was online when I made my Dark was the Night post. Now is it is part of the Jas Obrect Music Archive, where you can also find ''Rollin’ and Tumblin' '': The Story of a Song (See also Hambone Wille Newbern - Roll and Tumble Blues for the first recording of those lyrics) -- not to mention Jerry Garcia: The Complete 1985 Interview and Bob Dylan’s ''Highway 61 Revisited'': Mike Bloomfield v. Johnny Winter and Blues Origins: Spanish Fandango and Sebastopol among many, many others. There is quite the cornucopia of interesting, informative music articles there. Check it out--you will dig it.
posted by y2karl on Dec 24, 2010 - 8 comments

bluestab's blog meets AfricanAfrican aka NegroArtist.com

Chanteur puissant à la voix rocailleuse. And here is bluestab's blog And here, via Babelfish is bluestab's blog in an English of sorts. Then, while, looking for mp3s to match the tabs, I came across the universe of African American history and culture that is AfricanAfrican aka NegroArtist.com, a site so big it has two URLs. [Billy Mays] But, wait--that's not all! [/Billy Mays] [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Oct 23, 2009 - 12 comments

Rory Block

Aurora "Rory" Block has staked her claim to be one of America's top acoustic blues women, an interpreter of the great Delta blues singers, a slide guitarist par excellence, and also a talented songwriter on her own account. - AllMusic
posted by Joe Beese on Oct 2, 2009 - 14 comments

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

"She was a rock star," recalls Ira Tucker Jr., who grew up watching Tharpe with his father's gospel group in the 1940s and '50s. "You know, like Beyonce today and people like that. That's what Rosetta was to us." Sister Rosetta Tharpe wasn't the first one to bring black popular music into the church. (Here's the great Arizona Dranes playing barroom honky-tonk piano on the gospel side I Shall Wear a Crown in 1927.) But her fierce stage presence and her original blend of gospel, boogie-woogie, swing and smoking hot blues guitar was a crucial forgotten influence on what we now recognize as rock and roll. (Many more recordings inside. Enjoy!) [more inside]
posted by nebulawindphone on Jul 21, 2009 - 20 comments

Guitar Wankery or Exquisite Spanish Beauty?

Carlos Montoya can play the blues/jazz too. youtube X 2. The second link is a still with great audio. Guitarists and music lovers enjoy!
posted by snsranch on May 7, 2009 - 5 comments

Snooks' Soul Train pulls out of Nawlins

Snooks Eaglin has died. One of New Orleans' most authentic and underrated guitar players won't be making his jazz fest gig this year. Next time you have some red beans & rice, take a moment to remember the guy who some called the human jukebox.
posted by msconduct on Feb 18, 2009 - 23 comments

Wrath of the Grapevine: The Roots of John Fahey

So, about 9 months ago I started working on this compilation... Until yesterday, however, I hadn't seen a tracklist from the mysterious 10-cd set called the VrootzBox, so this is not a derivative work, however similar it may be...I should mention that not all of these songs are songs that he covered or copped licks from. Most of the music he has made mention to, though a few of the songs were recorded after his formative years and one or two he never would have heard. But they are presented to give an illustration of the styles he drew from (such as gamelan, which he grew up playing in his neighbor's back yard).
Wrath of the Grapevine: The Roots of John Fahey
via FaheyGuitarPlayers
posted by y2karl on Jun 1, 2008 - 12 comments

The King of Kings

The youngest of the three kings of blues guitar, Freddie King (The Texas Cannonball) is probably best known for his instrumental Hideaway, but what stands out in retrospect is his amazing intensity. Having grown up in Texas and then Chicago, during the 1970s he found a niche playing to mostly white audiences in supper clubs and at festivals -- what he called the Fillmore Circuit -- although he also played other more challenging venues. His music, always funky and sweaty, just got funkier and sweatier. His death in 1976, at the age of 42, took him at his prime.
posted by unSane on Mar 25, 2008 - 9 comments

Robert Petway - Catfish Blues

And here we have a couple of YouTube productions, screensaverish animations of photos and lyrics to the original recordings: Robert Petway - Catfish Blues and Tommy McClennan - It's Hard To Be Lonesome. This is mostly about Petway and Catfish Blues but you can't mention Petway without mentioning McClennan, as they ran together in their time and as both did versions of Catfish, a song canonical in Delta Blues, recorded and performed by nearly everyone--Muddy Waters - Rolling Stone, for example. Petway just happens to be the first person to record Catfish, and quite possibly the person who wrote it and certainly. to my mind, at least, the person who nailed it... in the uptempo version at the very least. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Feb 28, 2008 - 8 comments

Little Hat Jones - Bye Bye Baby Blues

Little Hat Jones - Bye Bye Baby Blues
Bye Bye Baby Blues Tab
Dennis (Little Hat) Jones, a Texas bluesman considered a notable of Naples, Texas. He record ten sides of his own and made nine more accompanying the very idiosyncratic and hard to follow Texas Alexander. Bye Bye Baby Blues is a very sweet song that also appears on the Ghost World soundtrack.
See also Texas Blues Guitar (1929-1935) .
posted by y2karl on Feb 16, 2008 - 7 comments

So much that you tremble in pain

Have you ever loved a woman? Compare and contrast. [more inside]
posted by landis on Nov 28, 2007 - 49 comments

The Fountainhead: Aaron Thibeaux 'T-Bone' Walker

Consider Aaron Thibeaux Walker--if anyone ever deserved the title Godfather, King or Present at the Creation, it would be T-Bone Walker. Without T-Bone, there would be no B.B. King, Albert King, no Clarence Gatemouth Brown, no Pee Wee Crayton, Johnny 'Guitar' Watson ad infinitum to every blues guitarist whoever bent a tube amplified string thereafter. For rock and blues, electric lead guitar begins with him--he invented the language and then wrote the book and style manual, too. And he wrote the performance manual as well--dancing, doing splits, playing guitar behind his back while alternating betwen slow and smoky after hour blues and swinging combo and jazzy big band jumps. For examples of him at the height of his powers, give these Coralized mp3s--Cold Cold Feeling and Strollin' With Bones--a listen. [more inside]
posted by y2karl on Nov 14, 2007 - 8 comments

Country Blues Guitar Filter: Keys to the Highway: Some Country Blues Resources

CountryBluesGuitarFilter: Keys to the Highway: Some Country Blues Resources --although Weenie Juke Radio is now dead and gone, Weenie Campbell lives on, with forums, guitar lessons and linkage galore. Keys To The Highway lists lyrics and guitar keys and tunings for some notable artists. And the one for the Mississippi Sheiks is a link to the fine country blues music blog Done Gone, which has on its front page list of links just about every prewar, country blues and related site worth linking. As does Weenie Campbell. And at WeenieCampbell there are also some audio lessons in mp3 from the great guitarist and guitar teacher John Miller, these days a resident of my fair city.
posted by y2karl on Oct 20, 2007 - 5 comments

John Fahey - Fare Forward Voyagers

John Fahey - Fare Forward Voyagers
John Fahey - Dance Of The Inhabitants Of The Palace Of King Phillip XIV
Clips from a 2 hour performance at the Euphoria Tavern in Portland, Oregon from 1976. Among the cognoscenti at FaheyGuitarPlayers, the consensus is that these clips display Fahey in rare form on a very good night.
Apart from Fahey, Bohemia Visual Music aka Mike Nastra, the contributor of these clips, provides an interesting assortment of way too hip YouTubery offerings including, among others, Spike Jones, Dimandas Galas, Gene Krupa, Tuxedo Moon, Sun Ra, Pere Ubu and the Holy Modal Rounders.
posted by y2karl on Oct 16, 2007 - 9 comments

"Put your boob in my scotch. Come on, put your tit in my drink."

Bob Log III plays distorted trash grimey blues slide guitar with his hands, he drawls through a telephone attached to the bubble face of the motorcycle helmet he wears, and he drums with his feet. He is known to ask women to stir his scotch on stage with their breasts, which is sadly Not currently Safe for Work. Sometimes he asks them to sit on his knee, bouncing up and down on the blue glittery jump suit he wears whenever he plays. [more inside]
posted by 6am on Oct 11, 2007 - 47 comments

Guitar playing motivation

This might lead you to learn to play guitar, to write poems, to sing, or just to watch and listen more intently. Kelly joe Phelps, from washington state, is one of the most beautiful musicians I've ever seen. He's got a great way to play traditionals and his originals are mesmerizing.
posted by nicolin on Sep 11, 2007 - 11 comments

another beautiful guitarist from louisiana

another beautiful guitarist from louisiana Such a wise cat he even could replace t-bone walker in a minute. Well, so he said with his enthralling voice. He was such a beautiful singer. Unique violin player. He disappeared in the aftermath of hurricane katrina. Peace.
posted by nicolin on Sep 1, 2007 - 15 comments

Bad little scooter man

Jammin' with Buddy Guy You are a good guitar player, you are a really good guitar player, but you are eight years old, but whoa, here you are on the stage with one of the greatest bluesmen ever, Buddy Guy, and he is digging your sh**.
posted by caddis on Aug 25, 2007 - 68 comments

Bukka White

Poor Boy Long Way From Home. Momma Don't Allow. Aberdeen, Mississippi (look at him beat that National). Special Streamline (one of my favorite songs set to a compilation of old films). Plus some John Fahey, who decided to write Booker "Bukka" White a letter once, bringing him to prominence in the 60s blues/folk world. It's a YT Bukka White fest! There's some previous going on here as well.
posted by sleepy pete on Aug 10, 2007 - 8 comments

How To Pick a Fight With y2karl

While some people like their Kottkes all modern & full of links, I'll take mine old skool. Ladies & gentlemen, the greatest 12 string slide guitarist that ever lived.
posted by jonson on Jun 28, 2007 - 47 comments

I Remember Blind Joe Death

John Fahey - 1969, Part 1
John Fahey - 1969, Part 2
John Fahey - 1969, Part 3
John Fahey - 1969, Part 4
See also The Thong Club
And Previously
Via FaheyGuitarPlayers
posted by y2karl on Jun 21, 2007 - 35 comments

Let me stand next to your fire.

Let me stand next to your fire. Forty years ago today, Jimi Hendrix set fire to his guitar live on stage for the first time when he was appearing at The Astoria London. It was the first night of a 24-date tour with The Walker Brothers, Cat Stevens and Engelbert Humperdinck.
posted by psmealey on Mar 31, 2007 - 33 comments

If you lived the blues, you'd be dead.

Robert Lockwood, Jr. R.I.P.
posted by EarBucket on Nov 28, 2006 - 32 comments

John Fahey at Rockpalast - Hamburg Uni, Hamburg, West Germany - 1978-03-17and otherwise on YouTube

John Fahey in concert: Beverly (aka Indian Pacific Railroad Blues) Poor Boy (Which is a variation on Booker White's Poor Boy Long Way from Home)
posted by y2karl on Oct 22, 2006 - 19 comments

John Smith Hurt: An Interview and the Mississippi John Hurt Blues Foundation

Here is the Mississippi John Hurt Blues Foundation, the website, which is the creation of one Frank Delaney of Spokane. There's a great deal of guitar related material and a page of mp3's by fans, which includes several interesting originals by one Fred Bolden, a grand nephew. I always knew he had a son who played guitar and wondered why no one had ever tried to record him. Now there is a grand nephew playing, if nowhere near as sublimely as his great uncle, in roughly the same style.

Here is an interview of John Hurt from 1963, courtesy of Stefan Grossman's guitar video empire. It is a real delight.

Consider this a follow up to this post. Not all of the links there are good. The Mississippi John Hurt Guitar Tab Book, for instance, is now available only in PDF format but well worth the download. And here is an illustrated discography of John Hurt by another Stefan, Stefan Wirz, a subject of yet another post back in the day.
posted by y2karl on Oct 4, 2006 - 19 comments

Stevie Ray Vaughan playing "Texas Flood"

Texas Flood - Previously. (YouTube)
posted by persona non grata on Sep 29, 2006 - 21 comments

Etta Baker 1913-2006

Etta Baker 1913-2006
posted by y2karl on Sep 25, 2006 - 19 comments

Bennie Smith, Blues Legend, Dies

Bennie Smith the St. Louis electric blues legend has died at age 72.
posted by muddylemon on Sep 12, 2006 - 5 comments

y2karl's 78 RPM jukebox-o-rama

For murder ballads, here's your Mississippi John Hurt's Louis Collins and your Grayson & Whitter's Ommie Wise. Then, for some early white blues bottleneck guitar, here's your Frank Hutchison's K. C. Blues. Not to mention Charley Patton's Screamin' And Hollerin' The Blues. All courtesy the Internet Archives 78 RPM tag. where there is way more--like Bix Beiderbecke's first record, Davenport Blues, Louis Armstrong's Ain't Misbehavin' and Geeshie Wiley's Last Kind Words, among many others. Then, for more, Nugrape Records has an mp3 page. The standout there, at least for me, is Gus Cannon's Poor Boy Long Ways From Home. As for their namesake, the Nugrape Twins, well, the Archive has the mp3 of I've Got Your Ice Cold Nugrape. And don't let me omit mentioning PublicDomain4U. They have Mississippi John Hurt's Frankie, for one. Tyrone's Record and Phonograph Links will lead you to more 78 RPM goodness. And don't forget the inestimable and erudite vacapinta first directed us to Dismuke's Virtual Talking Machine.
posted by y2karl on Aug 25, 2006 - 48 comments

Standin' at the crossroads

After nearly 70 years, blues legend Robert Johnson's guitar has recently surfaced. It's up for sale, but you may need to sell your soul to afford it. Maybe Legba will lend you the purchse price. [more]
posted by madamjujujive on Jul 26, 2006 - 119 comments

Turtle sex, chiropractic death, and peyote under the pillow: a year-by-year account of American primitive guitar

...Record collectors are typically thought of as irascible loners, but in the Washington of the ’50s and early ’60s, there existed a group of scruffy young blues and folk fans who could’ve given the Illuminati a run for their all-seeing eyes. They thought of themselves as the guardians of a tradition the rest of the world had either forgotten or misinterpreted. They adopted fake names. They invented strange mythologies. They hatched plans to bring their favorite historical figures back from the dead--or at least back from the commercial oblivion to which the music biz had consigned them. But most of all, they inspired admiration and awe. Though they never used the term themselves, this bunch of vintage-78 obsessives was known by others as the East Coast Blues Mafia.
The Thong Club
via FaheyGuitarPlayers

posted by y2karl on Jul 13, 2006 - 20 comments

It was raining the day mama picked me up from prison

So You Think You Hate Country Music? Then listen to this. The roots of American country music may surprise you. In this series of NPR programs, trace the gradual development of real country music through the first half of the 20th century. Learn how a woman's instrument of the late 1800s, the parlor guitar, became the the central symbol of country and rock; see how African-American musical forms like gospel and blues meshed with the development of country and early rock and influenced the traditional forms in turn; listen to German-Mexican hybrids of accordian style; find out why women had so many honky-tonk torch songs to sing in the late 40s. The series contains hours of content (narrative, interviews, music tracks), and a multitude of excellent links for deeper digging.
posted by Miko on Feb 2, 2006 - 111 comments

Chris Whitley, Outrider on the Edge

"I know these desires could kill me dead, but how you gonna act instead?" So sings eros-haunted Delta-blues-steeped songwriter Chris Whitley on his superbly dark new album, Soft Dangerous Shores, and he's not kidding -- Whitley is currently "very very ill" and receiving hospice care. After Whitley's 1991 debut, Living with the Law, the slim (drug-addicted?) songwriter was acclaimed by his peers as "the real deal." When he was dropped by Sony in 1998, he released an album of stark poetic beauty recorded in a barn, Dirt Floor. Soft Dangerous Shores updates Whitley's coiled-viper resophonic guitars with dreamlike electronic atmospheres (one reviewer describes it as "a hypnotic wrestling match between juke joint blues and Kraftwerkian beats"). Instead of posting an elegy for another underappreciated self-destructive genius a la Nick Drake after his death, check out Whitley's music (via free downloads) while he's still with us on Earth.
posted by digaman on Nov 14, 2005 - 46 comments

Mississippi John Hurt

John Hurt: Although it was not John (wrong sex anyway) who through a gentle voice and pleasant demeanor (yet he had this about him too) served as my primary impetus to play the guitar, it was nevertheless he, and others who played like him - but mainly he who provided me with my first technical model (emotional model to some extent also) for playing the guitar. He was the first I heard who played in the three-finger, non-choking, "picking" style, and he was one of the best. He was in his quiet way, a very great man, and I deeply mourn our loss of him.          John Fahey

                                Mississippi John Hurt

"I just make it sound like I think it ought to"                              (more)
posted by y2karl on Feb 8, 2003 - 41 comments

Welcome to Planet Dobro

Welcome to Planet Dobro! – The origins of bottleneck blues, bluegrass dobro and the pedal steel guitar all begin in Hawaiian steel guitar, popularized by the Panama-Pacific Exposition of 1915, the 78 rpm record and the introduction of the National, and later Dobro guitars, invented by two wild and crazy Czechoslovakian brothers. But wait—the mystery deepens! Is there a Hindustani connection involving a Portuguese-Indian sailor? The arcane story of the first World music and how it changed American vernacular musics. Details within, along with tunings, tabs and the universe of resophonic, lap and pedal steel guitars…
posted by y2karl on Mar 26, 2002 - 10 comments

John Fahey - American Primitive Guitar

John Fahey - American Primitive Guitar. I got an e-mail from a listener about a John Fahey song I played on my show today and it prompted me to revisit his website. I've been listening to him ever since '67 or so. He died last year due to complications during a coronary bypass operation--I realized again today how I miss him. (more inside)
posted by y2karl on Mar 22, 2002 - 14 comments

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