Nothing but ......

Monday, July 31, 2006

The agency

Although there are three fine other musicians in this band (Graham Bell: rhythm guitar and harmonica, Jeff Allen: drums and Kuma Harada: Bass) the Snowy White's Blues Agency is of course named after the lead guitarist Snowy White. The strange thing is that Snowy White is generally best known for his hit Bird of Paradise, his close association with Pink Floyd of his time with Thin Lizzy, but he originates from the Blues. So after quite a few years in pop Snowy founded, together with his mate Kuma, this Blues band.
If you look into Snowy's biography it's not surprising. Ever since 1974 Snowy has been playing with Peter Green, with as highlight in 1979 the album In the Skies.

In order to write these blogs I mostly read up on these guys. To my amazement I read that Snowy actually did some studio work for the Pink Floyd album Animals. But what......? I listened (again) to this album a few times, but couldn't figure it out. Until.... I found the answer on the internet. Apparently Snowy's solo was only published on the US version of the 8-track release!
Anyway.....Snowy is a gifted Blues player who regards the Blues as the bases for all his work. As far as I know the Snowy White's Blues Agency has made two albums, of which this is the first! Listen and regret with me that it were only two albums!

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Friday, July 28, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XXIV

Time to post disc 24 from this fabulous collection. Time to turn to Sleepy John Estes. Sleepy John was born as John Adam Estes somewhere in Tennessee at the end of the 19th century. Although John's father was a guitarist story goes that John taught the guitar himself on an instrument made out of a cigar box.
John lost the 'the light in his left eye' after an accident at the age of six. Some odd forty years later he became completely blind.
Although John played all over the world until his death in 1977, he 'disappeared' several times for a couple of years. The longest period he vanished was between 1951 and 1962. At that time he got international recognition after playing in two documentaries on the Blues in 1962 and 1963.
John got his nickname from the fact that he took little naps in between recording sessions.
The tracks 1,2,3,4,5 and 6 are all recorded on August 2 and 3 1937 in New York . Tracks 7,8,9,10,11,12,13 and 14 are also from New York but in April a year later. The other tracks are all recorded in Chicago. Tracks 15,16,17,18,19,20 in June 1940. Tracks 21,22,23,24,25 and 26 in September 1941, shortly before John would disappear for a period of almost 9 years.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XXIII

Although I posted a wonderful Blind Willie McTell compilation earlier, called The Definitive Blind Willie McTell, I'll post this 23rd disc from this great collection as well. If not only to keep this series complete. For a long time there hasn't been much information about Eddie McTier's musical career. Eddie use of a wide variety of stage-names was partly to blame for this.
It was David Evans who published a lot new facts about Eddie after an interview with Eddie's first wife in 1977. According to this interview Eddie's first recordings date from 1927 for the RCA label Victor in Atlanta.
Some of the names Eddie used during his first recording years are: Blind Sammie for Columbia, Georgia Bill for OKeh records, Red Hot Willie Glaze for the Blackbird label and Blind Willie for Vocalion. If I have the dating correct this means that tracks 1, 3, 6 (October 31 1931, Atlanta) 2, 4, 5 (October 23 1931, Atlanta) are recorded as Georgia Bill. Tracks 7, 8, 9, 10 are probably recorded as Red Hot Willie Glaze. Tracks 11, 12, 15 (September 1933 14, New York) tracks 13, 14, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20 (September 18 1931, New York) and tracks 21, 22. 23 and 24 (New York, September 19 1931) are all recorded as Blind Willie.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Friday, July 21, 2006

Two guys, two days

In April I had the honor to introduce you to Grams & Krieger by offering their second Album That's The Way We work. So perhaps it's time to post some more work of this friendly duo.
This is their first album, from 2000, which was recorded in a friends living room. Although this has some consequences for the quality of the recordings (the singing could have more dynamics in the recording) it creates a warm and intimate atmosphere. Listening to this album is like being at one of their performances yourself. This effect is enhanced by the fact that there are no overdubs at all! The CD contains a wonderful blend of Urban Blues, Country Blues and 'Roots Rock' and demonstrates not only their musical skills but perhaps even more the fun they have working together.
The songs on this CD are covers, Danny Krieger originals, Steve Grams originals or composition that reflect the unique chemistry between the two!
Please do not hesitate to let me know what you think of it.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Three tries......

There is a Dutch saying: 'Drie maal is scheepsrecht'. This, freely translated would mean something like: 'You will get it right the third time'. This will definitely go for me and Bo Diddley. Bo Diddley has been the one that I missed by a day twice. In 1995 I was in Tampa, Florida and got to a club where Bo Diddley played.....the night before. In 2001 I arrived at the Blues festival in Chicago.....two hours after Bo's opening act. But last Tuesday I was having a drink when somebody told me he was going to see Bo Diddley the next evening in the Melkweg in Amsterdam. So I gave it my third try and went the next evening. And it worked. There were a few tickets left and I got two!
Now, I don't suppose I need to tell you about Bo Diddley, the man often referred to as 'the Originator of Rock 'n' Roll'.
So to celebrate my finally seeing Bo Diddley last night I offer today an album from the great Chess 50th anniversary series, containing Bo's best known songs. It's amazing to see how this man created such powerful songs, often with just one chord and a driving rhythm.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XXII

Disc 22 is completely dedicated to the infamous Booker T. Washington White, better known as Bukka White. The life story of Bukka is one more of those unbelievable stories! Bukka was born in late 1906 in the Mississippi delta, as so many of his contemporaries. Booker learned to play the guitar at the age of 9 from his father, who was part-time railroader, part-time musician. Only two years later Booker was a proficient guitar and piano player.
At the age of 15 Booker left home to roam the delta. In 1930 he had his first recording session. But the music wasn't enough to live from, so Booker earned his money as a professional baseball player, or even as a boxer. The real discovery of Booker came in 1937 when he met Lester Melrose, a well known scout, in Chicago. But again his career went 'on ice' as Booker was sentenced and sent to prison for shooting a man. Now, the story goes that he made his first recordings for Melrose while he escaped after his arrest. Although he was recaptured shortly afterwards he recorded Shake' em On Down, which was an instant hit. In prison Booker recorded with Alan Lomax. But after his release he recorded 24 songs in just two days for Melrose.
When the Blues-scene more or less came to a stop during the mid 40's, Booker stopped as well. Only to resurface during the revival of the early 60's, to continue capturing his audience until he died in 1977.
On this disc the tracks 2 and 9 are from the 1937 Chicago session while he was running from the law. On these tracks there is a second guitar of which we do not know who is playing it. The other tracks date from 1940 (also Chicago) and are from the two days in the studios. On all these tracks Bukka is accompanied by Washboard Sam. Make sure you listen to Fixin' To Die Blues which was later re-arranged into Fixin' To Die for the 1962 debut album of Bob Dylan, called Bob Dylan.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XXI

Mississippi John Hurt was born as John Smith Hurt in 1893 somewhere in the Mississippi delta, where he spent the major part of his life in a town called Avalon. Hence the name Mississippi John Hurt.
He left school at the age of 9 and earned his living as a cotton-picker. John's musical example was the country star Jimmie Rodgers. But as John taught himself to play the guitar he developed his own technique. This three-finger-picking technique later influenced a complete generation of musicians. John was discovered in Avalon and sent to Memphis in February 1928 where he recorded 8 songs, of which only 2 songs were ever released. These two songs where such a success that John recorded some more in December 1928 in New York. From this point on John's life story sounds a lot like the story of Skip James.
After this recording session nobody ever heard anything of John until a great Blues fan traced him during the early 60's. John was found thanks to a song he recorded in December 1928: Avalon Blues. He brought John to the 1964 Newport Festival where, together with Skip James, he was the sensation of the festival. (I have some video coverage of John and Skip backstage at this festival playing together!) At this same festival Bob Dylan was so impressed with John's guitar technique that he changed his way of playing.
John was an instant hit and performed on big stages for a mainly white audience until he died in November 1966 in his beloved state Mississippi.

This disc contains the two released songs from February 1928: Frankie (track 10) and Nobody's dirty business (track 3). The other tracks all date from the December 1928, New York recording session.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Major influence

A while back (April 20) I already mentioned that Robert Cray was one of the great reformers of the US Blues scene during the '80. So perhaps it's time to post some more of his recordings. So today I offer Bad Influence.
Although this is his second album, it is the first album for Mercury Records, with which he signed in 1982. This album itself dates from 1983. This leaves us with the fact that Wikipedia is dead wrong dating this album 1982! The original record, the CD I ripped this off and the official Robert Cray website all have 1983 for this album. However, the CD I'm holding has 1985 as year as well. The answer is simple. The CD is the 1985 CD re-issue of the original record from 1983, with 2 bonus tracks: I got loaded and Share what you've got, keep what you need. This last song is a beautiful Booker T Jones ans Steve Cropper composition. (I told you I'm a great Steve Cropper fan).
Interesting is to read how Robert Cray is 'sold' to the people. Remember that in 1983 he was unknown to the great public. The text with this album is 'stuffed' with names in order to place Robert Cray. Fun is to read that John Belushi, the man said to have spotted Robert Cray, partly based the Blues Brothers act on Robert Cray's Blues and Soul style.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Nothing But The Blues XX

So, there it finally is, disc # 20, the second on Walter Brown McGhee. I already explained you the 'Blind Boy Fuller trick' used to start Brownie's career. And it worked. But must people will know Brownie McGhee from his cooperation with Sonny Terry. They where 'put together' by the same producer who used the 'Blind Boy Fuller trick': James Baxter Long. The two of them were such an instant hit that they probably were the must successful folk/blues duo of the 40's and 50's. The two moved to New York where they worked with people like Leadbelly, Gary Davis and Woody Guthrie. Walter also looked after young talent and later opened his 'Home Of The Blues Music School' in Harlem. One of the more famous proteges of Brownie was Alexander Seward, better known as Magic Slim.
Although Brownie continued a solo career after Sonny stopped, Brownie quit when Sonny died in 1986. Walter Brown McGhee died in 1996 in California.
This second disc still is about the 'pre-Sonny' era. Although all the songs are Walter Brownie McGhee originals tracks 1,2,3,4,5,9,10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23 and 24 are all recorded as Blind Boy Fuller (2). As a matter of fact the only 3 recordings on this disc not by Blind Boy Fuller (2) are recorded by Brother George and his Sanctified Fingers (tracks 6,7, and 8). This was a 'band' with Brownie McGhee, Jordan Webb and Robert Young, who was better known as Washboard Slim.

All these recordings date from 1941 and were either made in Chicago or New York.

The password = "scrooge".
Please delete these files within 24 hours. If you like this music buy the album and support the industry

Back again!

After an extremely busy period I hope we just entered a period of relative rest. That means I should be able to pick up where I so abruptly left of just over a month ago. So....Be prepared. I still have to finish the 40 disc Nothing But The Blues collection. And there is so much more beautiful, interesting music to share........