March 21: The Late Son House was born in 1902

“Of course that was my idol, Son House. I think he did a lot for the Mississippi slide down there.”
~Muddy Waters

“People keep asking me where the blues started and all I can say is that when I was a boy we always was singing in the fields. Not real singing, you know, just hollerin’, but we made up our songs about things that was happening to us at the time, and I think that’s where the blues started.”
~Son House (1965)

Death Letter Blues:

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March 6: Furry Lewis Birthday

Good Morning, Judge.
What will be my fine?
Good Morning, Judge.
What will be my fine?
He said I’m glad I got to see you,
That’ll be a dollar forty-nine.

They arrested me for forgery, I can’t even sign my name
(Judge Harsh Blues)

Furry Lewis was the only blues singer of the 1920s to achieve major media attention in the ’60s and ’70s. One of the most recorded Memphis-based guitarists of the late ’20s, Lewis’ subsequent fame 40 years later was based largely on the strength of those early sides. One of the very best blues storytellers, and an extremely nimble-fingered guitarist into his seventies, he was equally adept at blues and ragtime, and made the most out of an understated, rather than an overtly flamboyant style.
~Bruce Eder (allmusic.com)

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19 Songs released in 1961 you MUST hear

Check out:

My rules:

  • Only one song per artist/group
  • The song must be released that specific year
  • Songs from live albums not allowed (that’s another & more complicated list)

Please feel free to publish your own favorite songs from 1961 in the comments section…

Here we go…

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

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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”

Classic Concert: Muddy Waters at Rockpalast 1978

Muddy Waters Bluesband live at Rockpalast is a great document of a fantastic musician and stage personality. It really shows Muddy’s magnetism and skill in working a crowd. Especially when he abandons his guitar for “Mannish Boy” and at the end prowls the stage, manic preaching-style, as he jumps up and down, bemoaning the fact that “another mule is kicking in your stall”. His falsetto is sweet and true here, and gives us a glimpse of the strong sexual attraction Waters exuded in the fifties. What an artist, what a stage presence!

This is a fabulous blues concert!

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