27 December 2009

Chuck Berry

Muddy Waters used to sing the blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll... ;) Really, rock and roll is just sped up blues and it's hard not to adore its master, Chuck Berry. Most casual fans connect him with his biggest hit, "Johnny B. Goode", but he's got so much more to offer. New Year's Eve's pretty soon so get ready for some party-time music. I took my time and made my own list of ten favorite tunes written and/or recorded by Chuck Berry.

1. Sweet Little Sixteen
2. Rock and Roll Music
3. Blues for Hawaiians
4. Roll Over Beethoven
5. Memphis, Tennessee
6. Too Much Monkey Business
7. Little Queenie
8. No Particular Place to Go
9. Almost Grown
10. Beautiful Delilah

The best compilation album containing above songs and many more is Johnny B. Goode: His Complete '50s Chess Recordings. It costs about 80$ but is reaaaaally worth it. Hard rocking stuff. :)

The Rolling Stones famously played "Little Queenie" and "Carol" on 1969 US Tour (released on Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out album) and "Let It Rock" and "Sweet Little Sixteen" during 1978 US Tour (released in awesome quality on Handsome Girls bootleg), these are my favorite renditions of Chuck's tracks, be sure to check 'em out, they're worth it. Also, Keith Richards of the Stones fame - whose idol was no one else than Chuck Berry - helped accomplished guitarist get his concert movie done. Titled "Hail Hail Rock and Roll", it is an unbelievable documentary of two 1986 shows with Keith Richards, Etta James, Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and Linda Ronstadt. It's also worth buying for some scenes with Ingrid Berry, Chuck's daughter :-)

Chuck is one of my favorite guitarists. John Lennon said... Well, if you consider yourself a music fan, you should've known what! Chuck Berry is rock and roll and rock and roll ain't dead. Chuck either. Go and see him and listen to his works: whiners say they all sound the same, but in fact they all have the same great sound and can't let ya down ^^ Many bands started out covering his compositions, just for the fun of playing them. If "Johnny B. Goode" can't give you a proper kick, I'd be afraid to guess what can! ;-)

22 December 2009

A Jazz & Blues Christmas

I love Christmas but have to agree, it's got a weak side and it's music. I don't dig singing those sad old-fashioned carols, they bore the hell out of me. Even Bob Dylan's Christmas album sucks a little bit and I generally love the man, will write about that thing when the season's over ;) Traditionally, this year I will put on Keith Richards' cover of "Run Rudolph Run", great rock and roll by Chuck Berry. But in the meanwhile... Putamayo World Records - pretty interesting label specializing in so-called world music and releasing compilation albums with psychedelic artwork - released LP called "A Jazz & Blues Christmas". So I got it. And I like it :)

Liner notes author wrote the album is meant to "liven up the holiday season" and it certainly does :) Some lesser-known vocal jazz and cheerful blues tracks are... nice. Not amazing or boring, it just gets ya in a good Christmas groove. Included are B.B. King, Ray Charles and 8 more: "A Jazz & Blues Christmas" is not a long album with its 10 songs, but it's certainly worth to get.

See it on Amazon.com and Putamayo Official Site. Merry Christmas :)

20 December 2009

Kid Bailey

We don't even know if he really existed, we have two of his recordings, though. Two brilliant delta blues compositions written and recorded by mysterious Kid Bailey, "Mississippi Bottom Blues" and "Rowdy Blues", survived. They were recorded in 1929 in Memphis, Tennessee. The songs are very inspiring, Bailey sings in his whiny voice: "I'm going where the water tastes like wine, where I can be drunk and staggering all the time" and "I'm gonna sit right here 'til I tear this barrelhouse down". Both songs lyrics deal with alcoholism, Mississippi delta lifestyle of 20s and 30s and, of course, women: Kid Bailey clearly states: "[he] ain't gonna marry, ain't gonna settle down" ;-)

You can read lyrics over here and download two songs here.

18 December 2009

Keith Richards' birthday!

It's 18th December and Keith Richards, the Rolling Stones' guitarist, is turning 66 today. He's my favorite musician of all time and the true king of the cool. ;-) Happy birthday! Keith is famous for his great riffs ("Satisfaction", "Start Me Up", "Brown Sugar", "Jumpin' Jack Flash") but he can play mean blues too. The Stones played it since the very first day the band existed and in the middle 60s they reminded America of their roots and helped many classic blues artists. See this blues thread on IORR and check out his version of "Still A Fool" played with Hubert Sumlin. :)

Hail hail Keith Richards. (Photos by Ethan Russel). Awesome tracks from YouTube: Cocaine Blues, 32-20 Blues, Satisfaction Blues... ;)

The Rolling Stones' lead guitarist Keith Richards claims to have snorted his father's ashes and has had enough blood transfusions over the years to feed a thousand vampires. At this point, we can't decide whether he's going to die tomorrow or live forever. (RS)

In 1968 Pope declared Keith Richards was God.

17 December 2009

Broader introduction

I wrote recently about two songs that are a great introduction to the blues, and now let's make it 116 more. The greatest blues compilation ever, spanning almost a hundred years of blues development, was strangely released under the name of respected American film director, Martin Scorsese. In fact, it's a soundtrack to his collection of seven full-length films about the blues ;) "A Musical Journey" is the essential, 5CD long box set of the blues... You gotta have it or all of original recordings. Discs #2 and #3 are my favorite. And here's what critics say:

Intelligently gathered and arranged, it treats the blues both from a historical perspective and from a working assumption that the form is still alive and well, continually morphing and transforming itself. There simply isn't a better or deeper survey of the blues on the market. (Steve Leggett)
Notwithstanding a few flaws, however, this CD box set is an excellent representation of recorded blues history, covering the entire history of the blues and including most of the important artists and styles of this wonderful musical genre. I highly recommend it to anyone who is either desiring to learn about the blues or who is already a blues fan and is simply looking for a good thorough collection of great blues music. (Kenneth Falkenstein)

Go and get it. Another pretty interesting blues compilations: Chess Blues (a 2nd favorite), Alligator Records 35x35 and Mississippi Blues: Rare Cuts. And remember, this whole series sucks, no matter if it's blues or jazz.

13 December 2009

Introduction to the blues

While the essence of the blues has to be Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters and all those mostly forgotten acoustic blues wailers, they are not the best way to start your blues collection, are they? I would go with British blues rockers from the 60s. I'm gonna write more about this wonderful boom of British guitarists playing old music of black American people in the nearest future, but meanwhile... My two favorite classic blues compositions and two most wonderful renditions I know of ;)

"Key to the Highway" was written by a prolific blues singer and guitarist, Big Bill Broonzy, sometime around 1940. Exactly 30 years later Eric Clapton played it with probably greatest white slide guitar player, Duane Allman, and released it on Derek and the Dominos album called "Layla & Other Assorted Love Songs". This wonderful rendition clocks at more than 9 minutes, it's a really great jam. Listen to it on YouTube while it's still available ;) Eric Clapton played the song many times during his career since then, check out another version of "Key to the Highway" jammed with Buddy Guy in the late 80s.

Another great song that started out as acoustic delta blues but then got picked up by British blues fanatics is Robert Johnson's probably most haunting ballad, "Love In Vain". The song from 1937 was covered famously by the Rolling Stones on one of their best albums, "Let It Bleed", in acoustic country blues vein. The band played it live on the tour amplified, though, and for me it's just the essence of the blues. One of the most magnificent moments in its late history. God bless Keith Richards, Mick Taylor and Mick Jagger. And the rest of the Stones. Hear it here during 1969 US tour and get it on "Get Yer Ya-Ya's Out!" live album. It was also played in somehow extended way (with famous solo by Mick Taylor) during 1972 tour and it can be seen on "Ladies and Gentlemen" film of the tour and many YouTube videos.

Still not getting the blues, huh? Ya can't go wrong with this.

11 December 2009

Collecting Robert Johnson

After years of being out of stock, all Robert Johnson songs are easily available nowadays on many albums. The best of them is "The Complete Recordings" box. The name is just a little bit misleading, though - it contains all Robert Johnson recordings but one, an alternate take of brilliant "Traveling Riverside Blues". Allmusic.com critic Thomas Ward wrote: "the song is one of the undoubted masterpieces of Robert Johnson’s recorded legacy and one of the most poetic ones". It was re-recorded by many artists, for example Eric Clapton, Peter Green and Led Zeppelin.

"Traveling Riverside Blues" alternate take clocks at 2:39. It was recorded in 1937 and first officialy released in 1998.

You can get the missing track o'er here. :)

Hello world!

Hi there, this is my new blog about music I love: the blues. I'm gonna write as often as I can about everything related to the blues, from Bukka White to the Black Keys, jazz and rock and roll. Oh, and my favorite blues artist has to be Muddy Waters. ;)

Pretty weird name of the blog (I've seen many better ones over here, though!) comes from the Rolling Stones' song called "Let It Bleed", look it up, it's great. ;-)

I'm going to post some reviews of movies, books and LPs connected with the blues, news on new releases and things worth checking out. I think we are terribly lucky to have many legendary bluesmen still alive, like Buddy Guy for example, and it's a crime not to go and see them. Just... don't do that, well... what the fuck. Tickets are getting more and more expensive but music is to be played loud and live. Them records are amazing and all but they are a bit... dead IMHO. ;)

"Why waste money on psychoterapy when you can listen to Keith Richards playing the blues?"