The blues had a baby and they called it rock & roll
August 5, 2007 6:19 PM   Subscribe

John Lee Hooker performs Gloria and It Serves Me Right to Suffer with Van Morrison; I'm in the Mood with Bonnie Raitt; The Healer with Santana; Boogie Chilluns with the Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton; and Roadhouse Blues with Jim Morrison & the Doors (audio only). [Also, Muddy Waters, Etta James and more blues legends & rock combos inside]
posted by madamjujujive (25 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
The great Muddy Waters - Baby Please Don't Go - live at the Checkerboard Lounge in 1981. The Rolling Stones enter, and Muddy calls them up out of the crowd in this clip; Mannish Boy from the same show.

Etta James - Hoochie Coochie Gal with Keith Richards, Robert Cray and Chuck Berry looking on; I'd Rather Go Blind with Dr. John; Rock n Roll Music with Chuck Berry.

Buddy Guy Next time You See Me w/ Keith & Ronnie live at the Checkerboard Lounge 1981.

B.B. King - Sweet Little Angel with Buddy Guy, Albert Collins, Jeff Beck and Eric Clapton in 1993; Jamming with Jimi Hendrix and Al Kooper - audio only (parts 2 and 3); Please Send Me Someone to Love with Gladys Knight; Medley with Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, Bo Diddley, Little Richard, James Brown, Ray Charles, and Dave Edmunds in 1988.

Son House, Mike Bloomfield and Paul Butterfield - not playing together, but an interesting clip talking about what the blues is.
posted by madamjujujive at 6:19 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Wheeeee! I LOVE John Lee Hooker, thanks for the post.

Here's one that just tears me up everytime I see/hear it: a rather young John Lee (solo, 1965) performing a VERY haunting and powerful version of Hobo Blues.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 PM on August 5, 2007 [3 favorites]

On the subject of bluesmen and rock musicians, though, I'm always reminded of the famous and rather funny quote attributed to harp legend Sonny Boy Williamson: "Those English kids," Williamson said famously of the Yardbirds and other British blues groups like the Animals and the Stones, "want to play the blues so bad—and they play the blues SO BAD!"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:38 PM on August 5, 2007

Thanks for the Buddy Guy Checkerboard link! It's funny to see all that smoke and sweat back then. Now that the Checkerboard is non-smoking with functional air conditioning, it's just not the same.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 6:55 PM on August 5, 2007

I saw Johnny Lee Hooker do "I'm in the Mood" with Joan Baez at a Bread and Roses benefit. She made him completely speechless when she ad libbed "So what are you gonna do about it, Johnny". He's awesome!
posted by Eekacat at 6:58 PM on August 5, 2007

I always look forward to madamjujujive posts. Best Of The Web as usual, m'lady.
posted by dw at 7:06 PM on August 5, 2007

Can't find it on YouTube, but Big Head Todd and The Monsters' cover of "Boom Boom" (featuring John Lee Hooker) is pretty darn good, too.
posted by grabbingsand at 7:25 PM on August 5, 2007

I saw the dude live at the Chesapeake Blues Festival in '99, and he was pretty gone--two women led him to a chair for a twenty minute set, and most of the vocals were somewhere between a mutter and a mumble. Still, the man's earlier material is incredible.

It's funny--blues is about the only musical genre where you imagine the archtypal performer as being old. An accident of the time lag between when the canonical blues performers were in their prime and when mainstream American listeners got interested. I wonder if in fifty years the kids who are living from meal to meal making great music in Sao Paolo or Monrovia will be playing for middle aged white audiences and dying rich the way men like John Lee Hooker who grew up in the Jim Crow south did.
posted by sy at 9:18 PM on August 5, 2007

Recte "archetypal". Also: great post, taking the headphones to work tomorrow.
posted by sy at 9:21 PM on August 5, 2007

awww, gee - thanks, dw ;-)

flapjax at midnite, thanks for the link - that is indeed a gem. And the quote, I hadn't heard that before. But at least the adoring Brit musicians helped to propagate the blues to a wider audience.

Most unfortunately, Eekacat, I never saw JLH live, but I recently saw his son. Not quite his dad though, but I guess it must be quite a burden to live up to a legend.

grabbingsand, found a small sliver of that Big Head Todd clip - fun! (There's a little longer clip, but the sound sucks)

KevinSkomsvold, have you been to (or played in) the new Checkerboard? I had never been to the old one. From the mid-90s to a few years ago, I went to a trade show in Chicago every November, and I wasn't aware that the old one was still functioning. My favorite blues haunt in Chicago has always been Rosa's, such a friendly place.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:24 PM on August 5, 2007

sy, I have seen enough blues that the younger generation that we once argued about in terms of their authenticity are now the living classics of the genre. Look at how old those British rock kids Sonny Boy Williamson talked about are now. Jeez, Stevie Ray Vaughn would be 53 were he still alive.

I used to go see local favorite harp-playing James Montgomery in clubs when I was in college and he was in his salad days. Hadn't see him in years and I saw him last night. He put on a kick ass show but I was shocked to see how much older he is. Course I am shocked to see how much older I am, too. (I grow old, I grow old, I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled.)
posted by madamjujujive at 9:34 PM on August 5, 2007

Oh Wow. Freddie King's guitar tone would jump out and split John Mayer in two.

In keeping with the Texas tradition, Gatemouth Brown joins Canned Heat on stage and plays guitar, fiddle and harmonica on the same song.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 10:08 PM on August 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

Fantastic post thanks madamjujujive. [tag: jimmorriSon]
posted by peacay at 10:14 PM on August 5, 2007

KevinSkmosvold, those are two utterly awesome clips. Two masters. I do miss Gatemouth - great to see him at his peak, he owns that stage.

peacay, thanks ;-)
posted by madamjujujive at 10:48 PM on August 5, 2007

Yeah, KevinSkomsvold, the Gatemouth clip was fun! Canned Heat was also, in my opinion, one of the best young, white blues outfits of the 70's.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 11:53 PM on August 5, 2007

That Etta James/Dr John clip gave me genuine, full body goosebumps. There really isn't much that has the capacity to do that to me any more. Thanks, MadameJJJ
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:32 AM on August 6, 2007

Great post! Thanks.
posted by CKZ at 4:17 AM on August 6, 2007

*Blows huge kiss in direction of mjj*
posted by adamvasco at 8:47 AM on August 6, 2007

One of my great regrets is not seeing JLH live during his lifetime, two of the others are missing RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough (while living in NE MS, no less). On the other hand I have a great Buddy Guy story, I saw BB King during his prime, met Pink Anderson's son and had Etta Baker laugh at my fingerpicking. I'm supposed to see Etta James soon at the House of Blues, so she'd better take her vitamins, I don't have room for many more regrets.

This post on the other hand makes me happy to see, but sad to have missed, some great performers.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:40 AM on August 6, 2007

Pure gold. Thank you so much for this post.
posted by blucevalo at 10:21 AM on August 6, 2007

I regret that I missed out on Howlin' Wolf and Professor Longhair, two of may favorites.

For the last decade, I've had a rule to see any blues performer who is over 65 yrs old that I can. That rule has served me pretty well: Gatemouth Brown, Pinetop Perkins, Honeyboy Edwards, Ruth Brown, Charles Brown, BB King, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Taj Mahal, Koko Taylor, Eddie Shaw, Little Milton, Guitar Shorty, T-Model Ford, Big Jack Johnson, Magic Slim - to name a few off the top of my head. I just wished I'd had that rule going on since I was a teen - I'd probably have seen most of the greats.
posted by madamjujujive at 10:23 AM on August 6, 2007

I've always resented The Rolling Stones' cover of Mannish Boy for the replacement of a single lyric, that in my opinion disobeys the spirit of the entire song:

The Stones version reads:

I make love with you baby
In an hour's time

I'm a man
I'm a man

but the original Waters version goes:

I can make love to you woman,
in five minutes time
Ain't that a man

Impotence, on various levels, is at the core of the blues. After all, the song isn't called Manly Man. But I'm glad to see they performed together on the South Side of Chicago. Another excellent post.
posted by phaedon at 1:46 PM on August 6, 2007 [1 favorite]

This is a great post, juju. Thanks!
posted by homunculus at 2:21 PM on August 6, 2007

I regret that I missed out on Howlin' Wolf and Professor Longhair, two of may favorites.

I hear you, mjj. You can do what I did, though: get yourself down to New Orleans and touch the Professor Longhair bust just inside the entrance at Tipitina's. You'll feel like you've communed with the spirit of the grand old man himself!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:25 PM on August 6, 2007

Awesome post mjjj! It's packed full of gem goodness.

Holy shit, had no idea JLH played with so many rock n rollers. Such a surprise. Jim Morrison?!

I got such an endorphin rush listening to the JLH and Jimi Hendrix clips I needed to get munchies. :) (not crazy about the keyboards, not my pleasure but the guitar riffs...ooohh).

First of all two of my all time favorite musicians together, John Lee Hooker and Van the man. *sigh and swoon*.

Incredible to see Mick Jagger, Eric, Ron Wood AND JLH all

Amaaazing to see Bonnie Raitt with JLH, her melodic bounce with his jagged roughness. God I love Bonnie Raitt. Saw her live with Neville Brothers and Little Feat. wow.

My favorite of your links is JLH with Santana. Never saw him dance before, gittin' down with the rhythm like that. Super cool.

flapjax, wow JLH was soo young in that video. Hard to think of him so young, like he was born old with that gravelly voice.

Just a whole lotta wow.
posted by nickyskye at 7:45 PM on August 6, 2007

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