“the guy that I always miss. . . . He had so much soul. And he knew all the styles.
I think he’d still be around, if he stayed with me.”
– Bob Dylan (2009)
In celebration Of Michael Bloomfield’s 67th birthday anniversary, mikebloomfieldamericanmusic.com offered a video biography of the legendary guitarist, detailing his remarkable career with images, interview clips and music. Created by filmmakers Nick Lerman and Alex Wernquest, and by site-manager David Dann, this three-part narrative begins with Bloomfield as a young, up-and-coming guitarist recording for John Hammond Sr., playing with Bob Dylan and joining the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. It then follows Michael as he creates the Electric Flag and performs to standing ovations at Monterey, records “Super Session” with Al Kooper and then pursues a career playing music on his own terms. Included are excerpts from previously unheard Bloomfield recordings as well as rare and seldom-seen photos of the guitarist.
June 30: Lucinda Williams released Car Wheels On A Gravel Road in 1998
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is the fifth studio album by Lucinda Williams, released on June 30, 1998, by Mercury Records. It was recorded and co-produced by Williams in Nashville, Tennessee and Canoga Park, California. The album features guest appearances by Steve Earle and Emmylou Harris.
“Intentionally or not, the album’s common thread seems to be its strongly grounded sense of place — specifically, the Deep South, conveyed through images and numerous references to specific towns. Many songs are set, in some way, in the middle or aftermath of not-quite-resolved love affairs, as Williams meditates on the complexities of human passion. Even her simplest songs have more going on under the surface than their poetic structures might indicate. In the end, Car Wheels on a Gravel Road is Williams’ third straight winner; although she might not be the most prolific songwriter of the ’90s, she’s certainly one of the most brilliant.” – Steve Huey (Allmusic)
Car Wheels on a Gravel Road won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album.
The Title track, Car Wheels On A Gravel Road (Live 2009):
Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin’ Wolf, was an influential American blues singer, guitarist and harmonica player.
With a booming voice and looming physical presence, Burnett is commonly ranked among the leading performers in electric blues; musician and critic Cub Koda declared, “no one could match Howlin’ Wolf for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.” A number of songs written or popularized by Burnett—such as “Smokestack Lightnin'”, “Back Door Man”, “Killing Floor” and “Spoonful”—have become blues and blues rock standards.
“A Robert Johnson may have possessed more lyrical insight, a Muddy Waters more dignity, and a B.B. King certainly more technical expertise, but no one could match him for the singular ability to rock the house down to the foundation while simultaneously scaring its patrons out of its wits.”
Very fine documentary, The Howlin’ Wolf Story – The Secret History Of Rock and Roll (playlist with 8 videos):
“And he used to put on such a show. He would get down on the floor, crawl like a wolf and sing in that voice: “I’m a tail dragger.” He would do this boogie-woogie thing, around and around — like the kids used to do with the hula hoops, where you had to go around and around at your waist, to keep the hoop going. That was the kind of shit he was doing. I’d see that and think, “Man, there goes the Wolf.“”
Hard time’s is here
An ev’rywhere you go
Times are harder
Than th’ever been befo’
~Skip James – Hard Time Killing Floor Blues
Coupling an oddball guitar tuning set against eerie, falsetto vocals, James’ early recordings could make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.
~Cub Koda (allmusic.com)
Nehemiah Curtis James
June 9, 1902
Bentonia, Mississippi, United States
October 3, 1969 (aged 67)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Musician, songwriter, preacher
Vocals, guitar, piano
Paramount, Vanguard,Biograph, Adelphi, Document, Snapper Music Group, Universe, Body & Soul, Yazoo, Genes
Nehemiah Curtis “Skip” James (June 9,1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. Born in Bentonia, Mississippi, he died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
“Just look at the picture of him with the acoustic guitar: His fingers are in the weirdest position. If you’re a guitar player looking at that, you know this is a guy who’s not even thinking; he’s just there. … The soul of his creative originality plays a huge part in music making for everyone who’s ever written a song and really known what they’re doing.”
“You think you’re getting a handle on playing the blues, and then you hear Robert Johnson — some of the rhythms he’s doing and playing and singing at the same time, you think, ‘This guy must have three brains!’ ”
Favorite album? I think the Robert Johnson album. I listen to that quite a bit still. ~Bob Dylan (Rockline interview – June 1985)
Cross Road Blues:
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above “Have mercy, save poor Bob, if you please”
Yeoo, standin’ at the crossroad, I tried to flag a ride
Standin’ at The Crossroads, I tried to flag a ride
Ain’t nobody seem to know me, everybody pass me by