Saturday, February 28, 2009

Shemekia Copeland: The Joy Of Singing Blues on NPR

Never Going Back
Never Going Back by Shemekia Copeland
NPR's Liane Hansen interviewed Shemekia Copeland recently Shemekia Copeland: The Joy Of Singing Blues on NPR.

She talks about her new album Never Going Back. Growing up with her famous dad, the legendary blues guitarist Johnny Clyde Copeland. She laughs often during this interview, which makes me think that she is happy. Which beleive it or not, I think helps to make some good blues music.

I also noted that she updated her MySpace photo albums, you can check them out here >> Shemekia Copeland @MySpace.

According to Ms. Hansen's interview;

Singer Shemekia Copeland knows the blues, but maintains that singing it doesn't always have to be sad.

"I think blues gets a bad rap for its name, unfortunately," Copeland says. "Blues is just like country, in that it's just telling stories. Sometimes they're sad and sometimes they're happy. I have a song on a previous record called 'I'm a Wild Woman and You're a Lucky Man.' There's nothing sad about that."
There are also links to a couple of her songs.

Shemekia Copeland


Friday, February 27, 2009

Friday Blues Funny - Guitar Face - Albert Castiglia 2

The Backroom Blues Bar, Delray Beach, Florida

photo by Zack Hughes Photography

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Happy Birthday To Marcia Ball

Peace, Love & BBQ
Peace, Love & BBQ by Marci Ball
March (born on March 20th 1949) is the birth month of Marcia Ball. I have posted here before how much I really like her sound and style. She was born in Texas (I don't hold that against her) but she was raised in Louisiana, and it shows. What with the way she handles a keyboard, is there any question?

Her recent album Peace, Love & BBQ was nominated for a Grammy Award. She wrote or co-wrote eight of the thirteen songs on the CD. It includes deep soul ballads and blusy stump your foot party songs to straight-from-the-heart storytelling. This album is delightful and if you are a long time fan you will love it. And if you are a newcomer this album will make you a believer.

The way Wikipedia describes her music;

Ball is known for her piano style, which shows elements of zydeco, swamp blues, Louisiana blues and boogie woogie. Most of her most well-known recordings were released on Rounder Records in the 1980s and early 1990s. She was inducted into the Austin Music Hall of Fame in 1990.
In the video below, I like the little talk she gives the audience.


Marcia Ball: Play with your Poodle

Marcia Ball @ MySpace

Marcia Ball @ Wikipedia

Marcia Ball's Official Website

Marcia Ball

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The White Stripes on Conan O'Brien's Last Show

I'm always saying, "there is so much music and so little time." Consider the White Stripes for example. I have been planing on writing about them forever. But I could not really put them in the proper context for my humble little blues blog here. Well, some times my lackadaisical attitude gets overtaken by events.

Recently the White Strips played a unique version of We Are Going To Be Friends for Conan O'Brien's last show. Some music bloggers and commenters are slamming the performance, but it fits perfectly with their stripped down, blues folk music style. And I would love it if all their music was more like this.

The White Stripes

Monday, February 23, 2009

Blues Book: Blues for Dummies by Lonnie Brooks

Blues for Dummies
Blues for Dummies by Lonnie Brooks
click for info

I'm a fan of the "For Dummies" books on subjects that I know nothing about. They can bring you up to speed on a subject if you really don't know the ends and outs and want a good overview, so that you can jump right in.

Well that is what this book does. If you are a long time fan of the blues and know the history of the blues all that way back to Charlie Patton, then this might not be for you. But if you are looking for a comprehensive book that is well written by knowledgeable and enthusiastic blues musicians, than this is the book for you.

The book covers early and modern blues artist, where to find blues music, it gives some hints on how to play blues music, and how to throw a blues party. All an all this is a great read for most fans of the blues.

Blues Books @SqueezeMyLemon

Blues Music Books

Sunday, February 22, 2009

I Feel Like Going To Church: Live: Hope At The Hideout

Live: Hope At The Hideout
Live: Hope At The Hideout

Down In Mississippi - Mavis Staples

Track Listing
1. For What It's Worth 2:52
2. Eyes On The Prize 5:27
3. Down In Mississippi 4:32
4. Wade In The Water 6:34
5. Waiting For My Child 4:27
6. This Little Light 4:49
7. Why Am I Treated So Bad 8:18
8. Freedom Highway 4:37
9. We Shall Not Be Moved 7:44
10. Circle Intro (encore) 3:02
11. Will The Circle Be Unbroken (encore) 4:17
12. On My Way (encore) 6:01
13. I'll Take You There (encore)

According to Amazon;
On June 23, 2008 at Chicago's legendary roots club The Hideout, Staples played with a stripped down, raw, and swampy three-piece band and just a handful of backup singers, providing a rare opportunity for fans to get close to a figure who has led a five-decade long musical charge towards equality. This release comes off her critically lauded "We'll Never Turn Back", and is a potent mix of her classic civil rights freedom songs alongside some fiery new compositions co-written with producer Ry Cooder. Staples is a Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame inductee, and has appeared with the likes of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Bill Cosby, Presidents Kennedy, Carter, and Clinton, Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, Santana, Bonnie Raitt, and Tom Petty. She's recorded with Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin, Marty Stuart, Los Lobos, and many more.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

John Boutte - Good Neighbor

Good Neighbor by John Boutte
I first heard blues / R&B / Jazz musician John Boutte, while listening to my local blues cable TV station. They really play some great blues. I don't know if any of you have access to blues music via your cable TV, but you might want to check to see if your cable provider has a blues station.

His MySpace page has a good selection of songs from his recent album Good Neighbor. I really like the funny and infectious little diddy titled "Good Neighbor." It is song number four on his MySpace page. Check it out, I'm sure you will like it.

I really like his voice and the fact that he grew up in Louisiana makes it easy for me to understand where he is coming from. He played trumpet in the marching band and marched in parades during the Mardi Gras. According to the bio on his web site;

After high school, John studied at Xavier University, a black Catholic institution known in New Orleans and indeed the entire Deep South. After graduating John was commissioned as officer in the U. S. Army, and provided with the opportunity to direct and sing in the Army gospel choirs in Virginia, Texas and, eventually, Korea. It was in Korea, ironically, when singing gospel and deep, deep blues after hours in restaurants he'd only accidentally entered, that he began to know himself as an American, an artist and a person. Not long after his return to the States, John was invited to tour almost the entirety of Europe with his sister Lillian. Europe was a set of lessons in languages and cultures and customs, which gave John a chance to meditate on the very idea of a life led as a jazz singer.
In the below video he sings the Annie Lennox classic "Why" with the New Orleans Social Club. It is from the PBS concert series Austin City Limits which was original broadcast back on October 14, 2006.

John Boutte Sings "Why"

Paul Sanchez and John Boutte

Reference pages;
John Boutte @MySpace
John Boutte

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Willie Dixon & Chicago Blues Old Stars - Seventh Son

Unlike Willie Dixon I'm the first son, but I think if you were the Seventh Son you would have a lot of luck, and a lot of big brothers to help teach you how to play those guitar chords. LOL.

Willie Dixon & Chicago Blues Old Stars - Seventh Son

The Chess Box
The Chess Box [BOX SET] by Willie Dixon

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Andre Williams - Agile Mobile Hostile

Image of Andre Williams

As I watched this documentary titled Agile Mobile Hostile about Andre Williams, I wondered where I should post this. I mean Andre Williams is not technically a bluesman, but this guy has lived the blues to the third degree, so much so that I decided that it was best to post it here at SML.

I think the video will only be up for a week, so if you want to see it, you might want to check it out while it is still up.

In his time in the music business Mr. Williams has played many parts, he has been a recording artist, producer, songwriter, and many other things in the music business.

He was born November 1, 1936, in Chicago, IL, and was raised in a housing project by his mother, who died when Williams was six years old (which is he gives a tour of in the documentary links below).

He is best known for co-writing and producing "Twine Time" for Alvin Cash & the Crawlers, "Shake a Tailfeather" by the Five Dutones, and a greasy solo recording, "Bacon Fat," where Williams talked over a funky, crude rhythm.

He is slick, street-smart, and very dapper, like many of the bluesmen. He lived in Detroit for many years where he got his start in the music industry.

He recorded for Fortune Records, while working and playing at the clubs of Detroit, and other locals across the country. This documentary is long and in nine parts but it covers his start at Forutne Records, and you get to hear him and others talk about his music, like his hit song "Bacon Fat." He also discusses his time working for Berry Gordy at Motown from 1961 to 1965. He worked for Gordy as an artist, producer, and writer. He talks about working with Little Stevie Wonder and the run ins that led to him being fired by Gordy.

He goes on in this documentry to talk about his time spen with Ike Turner and his review. He says of that he "respected Gordy, but did not like him very much, while he had no respect for Turner but liked him a lot."

Over the years he worked with Parliament, Jesse James, Funkadelic, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, the Spinners, Trey Lewd (George Clinton's son), and Amos Milburn. He produced tracks for Mary Wells when she left Motown for 20th Century Fox Records.

Andre Williams no lives in Queens, NY, and is active in the music business God bless his soul. He is performing, trying to keep his health up and dazzle audiences with his music. He released many albums in the 190s, including Silky and others. His latest work from Bloodshot Records is titled, "Can You Deal With It?"

In his prime, early rock 'n' roller Andre Williams worked with the likes of Stevie Wonder and Ike Turner. But constant touring, drugs and run ins with the law turned this once vibrant star into a sunken ghost of his former self. This documentary-- filmed between March 2006 and July 2007-- captures the 72-year-old Williams as he deals with the effects of a lifetime of perpetual motion. Flashes of death are coupled with moments of ecstasy.

Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 1
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 2
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 3
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 4
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 5
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 6
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 7
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 8
Agile Mobile Hostile - Part 9

Silky by Andre Williams

Reference sites;

Andre Williams
Andre Williams @Wikipedia
Andre Williams @MySpace
Andre Williams @YouTube

Monday, February 16, 2009

Blues Blogs In The Spotlight: Cahl's Juke Joint

Another one of my favorite music blogs is Cahl's Juke Joint: A rock, blues and jazz blog. Cahl has got to be one of the most consistent music bloggers around. Day in and day out he post some of the coolest music.

I'm forever being turned on to new musicians and updated on ones that I know and love by reading his blog.

What I like best about this blog are the stories of how Cahl discovered, or found, or went to a concert of a certain musician. He writes in a way that lets you know that he is really connected to the music and enjoys it as much as you will.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I Feel Like Going To Church: Santic - Trouble so hard

Vera Hall is sampled here in Santic's version of Troubled so Hard. I think this is another example of the influence of gospel blues music on other forms of music. Many who are not familiar with the orgins of modern forms of music do not understand the debt that is owed to those who came before.

As an example of this, you can find many covers of Troubled so Hard on YouTube, but almost none of them mention MS. Hall or her contribution.

I also wrote a post about Moby's sample of Ms. Hall here >>>I Feel Like Going To Church - Natural Blues

Notes from YouTube;
Vera Hall - Trouble So Hard

Vera Hall (1902-1964) - Born in 1902 in Payneville, Alabama, just outside of Livingston in Sumter County, Vera Hall grew up to establish one of the most stunning bodies of American folk music on record.

Hall married Nash Riddle, a coal miner, in 1917 and gave birth to their daughter, Minnie Ada. Riddle was killed in 1920. Though Hall sang her entire life, learning spirituals such as I Got the Home in the Rock and When Im Standing Wondering, Lord, Show Me the Way from her mother, Agnes, and her father, Efron Zully Hall, it was not until the late 1930s that Halls singing gained national exposure.

John Avery Lomax, ethnomusicologist, met Hall in the 1930s and recorded her for the Library of Congress. Lomax wrote that she had the loveliest voice [he] had ever recorded. The British Broadcasting System played Halls recording of Another Man Done Gone in 1943 as a sampling of American folk music. The Library of Congress played the song the same year in commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. In 1945, Hall recorded with Byron Arnold. In 1984, the recordings were released as a Collection of Folksongs entitled Cornbread Crumbled in Gravy.

In 1948, with the help of Alan Lomax, Hall traveled to New York and performed on May 15 at the American Music Festival at Columbia University. During the course of this trip, Lomax interviewed Hall on several occasions. In 1959, these interviews would be transformed into Rainbow Sign, a thinly- guised biography of Hall. In this book, Lomax stated, her singing is like a deep-voiced shepherds flute, mellow and pure in tone, yet always with hints of the lips and the pleasure-loving flesh... The sound comes from deep within her when she sings, from a source of gold and light, otherwise hidden, and falls directly upon your ear like sunlight. It is a liquid, full contralto, rich in low overtones; but it can leap directly into falsetto and play there as effortlessly as a bird in the wind.

Today, her work still garners attention. In 1999, techno-artist, Moby (Richard Melville Hall), included her voice and song Troubled So Hard in his multi-platinum album Play, thus introducing Halls voice to a whole new generation of listeners. Prized by scholars and folksong enthusiasts, Halls recordings include examples of early blues and folk songs that are found nowhere else. Her masterful renditions of traditional songs and stories are a defining part of Southern Black culture and the Black Belt region.
The below video is nice because it offers some pictures of Ms. Hall and allows you to put a face with the beautiful voice. I also like the raw nature of the sound, it reminds me of the hyms that my grandmother and great Aunts would hum and sing as they went about their business of life.

Vera Hall - trouble so hard

Spirituals by Dock Reed & Vera Hall Ward
please click image

The above album is Alabama farm worker Dock Reed and his cousin Vera Hall Ward. Both were both recorded by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress. Dock, by all accounts, was a deeply religious man who never sang secular music, while Vera was known to perform a few of these "sinful" songs. Please click on the image and listen to the samples mp3s of this wonderful gospel blues album.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Etta James - I'd Rather Go Blind

I have been meaning to write something about Etta James for a very long time. I am a big fan of her music. I don't know what to make of the hub bub going on between her and Beyoncé Knowles.

I do hope they get it all worked out. But just so people understand what a talent that Ms. James is, consider just a few of her awards;

James is the winner of four Grammys and seventeen Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame both in 1999 and 2008.
Etta James - I'd Rather Go Blind

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Blues Music Grammy Awards

I did not watch the Grammy Awards television show, but I did go online to to see who actually won the in the blues catagory. I'm presenting the various albums and the two winners. I thought it would be good to see who was nominated also.

I'm glad that I pretty much covered all these albums, so you can click on the artist labels below to see my original write ups. And if you would like to listen to mp3 samples of each album you can click on the image of each album.

Best Traditional Blues Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

One Kind Favor by B.B. King
Grammy Winner - One Kind Favor by B.B. KingOne Kind Favor
B.B. King
[Geffen Records]


The Blues Rolls On by Elvin Bishop
The Blues Rolls On
Elvin Bishop
[Delta Groove Music, Inc.]

Skin Deep by Buddy Guy
Skin Deep
Buddy Guy
[Silvertone Records]

All Odds Against Me by John Lee Hooker Jr.
All Odds Against Me
John Lee Hooker Jr.
[Steppin' Stone Records/CC Entertainment]

Pinetop Perkins and Friends
Pinetop Perkins & Friends
Pinetop Perkins & Friends
[Stoneagle Music/Telarc]

Best Contemporary Blues Album
(Vocal or Instrumental.)

City That Care Forgot by Dr. JohnGrammy Winner - City That Care Forgot by Dr. JohnCity That Care Forgot
Dr. John And The Lower 911
[429 Records]


Peace, Love & BBQ by Marcia Ball
Peace, Love & BBQ
Marcia Ball
[Alligator Records]

Like A Fire by Solomon Burke
Like A Fire
Solomon Burke
[Shout! Factory]

Maestro by Taj Mahal
Taj Mahal
[Heads Up International]

Simply Grand by Irma Thomas
Simply Grand
Irma Thomas
[Rounder Records]