January 20: The great late Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) was born in 1888

lead belly

 

The late Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) was born in 1888

“The blues is like this. You lay down some night and you turn from one side of the bed to the other all night long. It’s not too cold in that bed, and it ain’t too hot. But what’s the matter The blues has got you.”
~Lead Belly

I heard Leadbelly somewhere and that’s what got me into folk music, which was exploding.
~Bob Dylan (Joe Smith interview 1988)

Lead Belly was not an influence, he was the influence. If it wasn’t for him, I may never have been here. I don’t think he’s really dead. A lot of people’s bodies die but I don’t think their spirits die with them.
~Van Morrison

”Sang the blues wonderfully,but he was much bigger than that. He encompassed the whole black era, from square dance calls to the blues of the 30’s and 40’s”
~Alan Lomax

Continue reading “January 20: The great late Huddie William Ledbetter (Lead Belly) was born in 1888”

January 19: Dolly Parton was born in 1946 – Happy Birthday!

“Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
― DollyParton

“Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.”
― Dolly Parton

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets.”
― Dolly Parton

Continue reading “January 19: Dolly Parton was born in 1946 – Happy Birthday!”

Classic concert: Dolly Parton Live and Well 2002 (full concert video)

Live and Well is a live album by Dolly Parton, released on September 14, 2004. It was recorded during her 2002 Halos & Horns Tour, her first in years; the performances on December 12 and 13, 2002 were used. A DVD of the concert was released simultaneously with the album. This was Dolly Parton’s first concert DVD.

“The show, also released as a double album, is far more successful with the visuals, since Parton is noticeably having a great time. Also, the patter that interrupts the flow of the audio-only version works to the advantage of the DVD as watching Dolly naturally interact with the crowd is so integral to her persona. Everything about the singer, from her makeup to her hair and curvy body is exaggerated, but with the songs conversely stripped down to their basics, the effect is impressive. Her voice is clear and strong so she doesn’t need costume changes, fancy light shows or backdrops, which would distract from her talent.”
Hal Horowitz (allmusic)

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January 18: Warren Zevon released Excitable Boy in 1978

“The further these songs get from Ronstadtland, the more I like them. The four that exorcise male psychoses by mock celebration are positively addictive, the two uncomplicated rockers do the job, and two of the purely “serious” songs get by. But no one has yet been able to explain to me what “accidentally like a martyr” might mean–answers dependent on the term “Dylanesque” are not acceptable–and I have no doubt that that’s the image Linda will home in on. After all, is she going to cover the one about the headless gunner? A-”
– Robert Christgau

Excitable Boy is the third album by Warren Zevon, it was released in 1978. It includes the top 40 success “Werewolves of London”. The album brought Warren to commercial attention and remains the best-selling album of his career. A remastered and expanded edition was released during 2007.

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Classic song: Key to the Highway by Chas Segar and Big Bill Broonzy

“When I was about 14, I saw Big Bill Broonzy on TV and that was an incredible thing. Because maybe if I’d just heard it, it might not have had the same effect. But to see footage of Broonzy playing ‘Hey Hey,’ this was a real blues artist and I felt like I was looking into heaven. That was it for me and then, when I went to explore his music, the song that always came back to me was an incredible version of ‘Key To The Highway.’ That was the one that I thought somehow would, like Crossroads, capture the whole journey of being a musician and a traveling journeyman.””
– Eric Clapton (2003)

“Key to the Highway” is a blues standard that has been performed and recorded by several blues and other artists. Blues pianist Charlie Segar first recorded the song in 1940. Jazz Gillum and Big Bill Broonzy followed with recordings during 1940–41, using an arrangement that has become the standard. When Little Walter updated the song in 1958 in an electric Chicago blues style, it became a success on the R&B record chart. Continue reading “Classic song: Key to the Highway by Chas Segar and Big Bill Broonzy”

January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969

One of her most overlooked ’60s albums, on which she presented some of her jazziest material, despite the title. None of these cuts were significant hits, and none were Aretha originals; she displayed her characteristically eclectic taste in the choice of cover material, handling compositions by Percy Mayfield, Sam Cooke, Smokey Robinson, and, at the most pop-oriented end of her spectrum, John Hartford’s “Gentle on My Mind” and Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly.”

Her vocals are consistently passionate and first-rate, though, as is the musicianship; besides contributions from the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section, session players include respected jazzmen Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Grady Tate, David Newman, and Joe Zawinul.
– Richie Unterberger (allmusic) Continue reading “January 17: Aretha Franklin released Soul ’69 in 1969”