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Monday, November 13, 2017

Obscure Blues: '13 Highway'



Since my recent purchase of my own bluesmobile, a Lincoln Town Car, I decided to discuss a particular and relatively unknown blues song from 1938 called '13 Highway', where it discusses driving a V8 Ford (which is basically what I have) along a lonesome highway. US Route 13 is a real highway in America, that spans five states (North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, & Pennsylvania). 

It was originally recorded in 1938 by Walter Davis, which I unfortunately could not find on Youtube (it is available on iTunes though; click on the song for a preview).

It's not a blues standard by any means, since only a handful of bluesmen covered it, the most high profile being Muddy Waters (he recorded it in 1963 but wasn't released until a compilation of unreleased tracks in 1994) and played it live at The Fillmore. 

The song's lyrics go like this:

I went down 13 Highway, drivin' a brand new V8 Ford
I went down 13 Highway, drivin' a brand new V8 Ford
Oh you know I was drivin' so fast, baby I couldn't hardly see the road

Oh I was drivin' 60 miles an hour, all up and down the hill
Oh you know I was drivin' 60 miles an hour, all up and down the hill
Oh you know I was speedin' so fast, I couldn't hardly control my wheel

Don't the highway look lonesome, after the sun done gone down
Oh don't the highway look lonesome, after the sun done gone down
Oh you know you're all alone by yourself, there ain't nobody else around

Here are the only versions available online; an Eddie Boyd version exists too but again, it's not available on Youtube:


MUDDY WATERS - LIVE 1966



LEROY SIMPSON - Late 1940's



JOHN LEE HOOKER - 1991


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Just Acquired a Bluesmobile!

In the blues world, the ideal blues car is either a Cadillac, a V8 Ford, an Oldsmobile Rocket 88, or a Greyhound bus (see my post about blues transportation [here]). Basically, a huge American made land yacht; none of these puny European and Japanese 4 cylinder toys.

So in the spirit of the blues, I just acquired my own bluesmobile: A 1999 Lincoln Town Car, Signature Edition, in fantastic condition!





With a 4.6 liter V8 engine, boat measurements, and pillow-like leather seats, this is a premier vehicle to blast the blues in, and to make entrance to any gig a statement. Plus, it was for only $1,000!!

They certainly don't make cars like this anymore!

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Muddy Waters' Debut Album to be Reissued on Vinyl



[SOURCE]

Back in 2012, I discussed Muddy Waters' first actual album, which was a compilation of all his successful singles. The album was released in 1958 under the legendary label, Chess Records. This album contains his major hits from 1948 to 1954.

Now, 30 years after it's last reissue, the album is set to be re-released on vinyl and digital platforms. If you want to add a great album to your blues collection, this is it! It will be released on November 10, 2017.

Track listing:
Side A
1. I Just Want To Make Love To You
2. Long Distance Call
3. Louisiana Blues
4. Honey Bee
5. Rollin’ Stone
6. I’m Ready
Side B
1. Hoochie Coochie
2. She Moves Me
3. I Want You To Love Me
4. Standing Around Crying
5. Still A Fool
6. I Can’t Be Satisfied

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Walter Davis' Deep Blues Legacy



Walter Davis was a bluesman born in Mississippi, and made his way to St. Louis in the 1930's, and recorded many songs (about 150) for the Victor and Bluebird labels, and was a gifted pianist and singer.

His style was very mellow and somber, and while he died in 1963 (and effectively out of the music scene since 1952 because of a stroke) his legacy remains strong. Several songs became standards, and other bluesmen like Muddy Waters and Eddie Boyd covered his songs such as 13 Highway and Come Back Baby.

He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2005.

Here are a few of the tracks I was able to find on Youtube; hope you enjoy these down-home blues:


M&O Blues



Blue Ghost Blues



Ashes in My Whiskey



Tears Came Rolling Down



Come Back Baby





Thursday, September 28, 2017

The War Blues Playlist





Back in the early days, besides singing about hard times and love, bluesmen also sang about the tragedy of war. Indeed, the big boom was the 'post-war blues' of Chicago, but besides WW2 there was the Vietnam War as well.

I compiled 7 songs about war for you, please enjoy! (the blues, not war)



1- Lightnin' Hopkins - War News Blues



2- J.B. Lenior - Vietnam




3- John Lee Hooker - War is Over 



4- Junior Wells - Vietcong Blues




5- Muddy Waters - Herbert Harper's Free Press News




6- Big Joe Williams - Army Man in Vietnam




7- Big Amos Patton - Going to Vietnam Blues

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Obscure Blues: Homer Harris

no image found for Homer Harris

In my usual quest for digging up some old school blues I recently discovered a bluesman who at first I thought was actually Muddy Waters, but turned out to be really Homer Harris.

There's not much information on Homer Harris, except he was born in Drew, Mississippi in 1916, and eventually moved to Chicago.

In 1946 he recorded three tracks for Columbia, and featured Muddy Waters on guitar. My initial confusion was from "I'm Gonna Cut Your Head" as the vocals are too similar to Muddy.

It came back to me that in September 27, 1946 Muddy Waters recorded several tracks for Columbia before moving to Aristocrat (later renamed Chess) and releasing his major hit "I Can't Be Satisfied" in 1947.

Muddy was the guitarist for the 3 tracks Homer Harris would record. Separately Muddy released 'Mean Red Spider' for Columbia under the pseudonym James "Sweet Lucy" Carter. 

Homer Harris would not record anything else afterwards, working odd jobs and opening small businesses in Chicago until his death in 2000. 

These songs embody the early Chicago blues sound at I enjoy the most, and I hope you enjoy them too.






Sunday, August 27, 2017

'Xanax Blues' - Jam by Ali Sleeq & Turk




Recently I had an awesome jam with my buddy Tarek 'Turk' Kabbani of Jaybird Studios (@turkhimself on Instagram) and we recorded a song of mine called 'Xanax Blues'.

As per the usual procedure, this track was all done in one take. I played the guitars and Turk did the drums and production. Hope you all enjoy this raw blues.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Obscure Blues: 'You Told Me' - Gus Jinkins




Gus Jinkins was a blues pianist from Alabama who got some recognition in the early 50's with his intrumental track 'Tricky' got to no. 2 on the R&B charts, but he never got to huge acclaim as an artist.

He recorded songs in the 50's in Chicago under Chess and others, and I found the below song called 'You Told Me' which the type of raw blues I love, released on the Flash label in 1956:


Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Rocksmith Adds Four Tracks by Muddy Waters



Rocksmith is a music video game played with a guitar peripheral, and this week it will add four tracks by Muddy Waters, to be purchased as additional content.

The four songs will be:
  • Honey Bee 
  • I Can’t Be Satisfied 
  • Mannish Boy 
  • Still A Fool
This isn't the first time they added blues to the game; in 2014 they released a blues pack as well. Nice to see games try and spread the music of the blues, given it's influence on rock!

If you want to watch a video of someone playing it, check it here:


Sunday, August 13, 2017

Speakin' The Blues Makes it to Top 30 Blues Music Blogs/Websites


I started this blog back in 2008, but started seriously blogging in 2011, with the sole message of spreading the blues to the region, and not only trying to share news but also coming up with my own type of content to separate myself from others.

It looks like it has paid off.

I have made it to Feedspot's Top 30 Blues Music Blogs & Websites at number 18, putting me in the same list of excellent and influential blues websites like American Blues Scene, The Blues Foundation (of which I am a member of), and many others.



As much as I know my uphill battle is with such a niche genre, and my obsession with it to the point people think I'm crazy is, my sole intention is to share the love that is the blues. And like I said in my upcoming song 'Gonna Die With The Blues':

I don't care what you think babe
Cuz I done paid my dues
and whenever I die
I'm gonna die with the blues

Thank you to all my readers and I hope I will increase my output for the remainder of this year. And remember, keep listenin' to the blues.