The 25 Best Jason Isbell Songs – Part 1

…I didn’t grow up wanting to be a country singer, and I still don’t really see myself as one,… I mean, I don’t feel like I have much in common with those folks. Their job is to sell out arenas. Mine is to make art. Big difference.
-Jason Isbell (Men’s Journal interview)

I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think that’s laziness.
-Jason Isbell (musicradar.com, 2016)

This is the first of five posts on Jason Isbell’s 25 best songs (in BTL’s humble opinion). We do (how can one not?) include his work together with the brilliant Drive-by Truckers.

Here are the first 5 songs (25-21 on our list).

25. Palmetto Rose

From the album “Something More Than Free” (2015).

Palmetto rose in the AC vent
Cross-stitched pillow where the head rest went
He said his cab was his orneriest friend
Left him jumping like trees in the wind

Live at House of Blues Boston, MA. – February 27, 2016

..a swampy, swinging rocker that takes an anthemic turn during every chorus. A tribute to Charleston, South Carolina — where, coincidentally, 400 Unit guitarist Sadler Vaden lived before relocating to Nashville in 2011 — the song has since become a staple of Isbell’s shows, even serving as the opening number during a recent show at the House of Blues in Boston. Slightly slower in tempo, “Palmetto Rose” takes on new life during the Boston performance, with Isbell and his five-piece band moving between the loose blues-rock of the song’s verses to a taut refrain.
rollingstone.com

This war that I wage to get up every day
It’s a fiberglass boat, it’s azaleas in May
It’s the women I love and the law that I hate
Lord, let me die in the Iodine State
Lord, let me die in the Iodine State

Live at Peacemaker Music Fest 2015

Continue reading “The 25 Best Jason Isbell Songs – Part 1”

April 4: The late great Muddy Waters was born in 1913

“Man, you don’t know how I felt that afternoon when I heard that voice and it was my own voice.” 

– Muddy Waters

“I rambled all the time. I was just like that, like a rollin’ stone.”

– Muddy Waters

Waters_Muddy_003

Wikipedia (Read more):

McKinley Morganfield (April 4, 1913 – April 30, 1983), known as Muddy Waters is generally considered the “father of modern Chicago blues”. He was a major inspiration for the British blues explosion in the 1960s, and was ranked #17 in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time.

In his later years Muddy usually said that he was born in Rolling Fork, Mississippi, in 1915, he was actually born at Jug’s Corner in neighboring Issaquena County, Mississippi, in 1913.

One of the greatest and most influential blues artists of all times.

Got my Mojo workin, 1976:

His grandmother Della Grant raised him after his mother died shortly after his birth. His fondness for playing in mud earned him the nickname “Muddy” at an early age. He then changed it to “Muddy Water” and finally “Muddy Waters”.

muddy waters Michael choIllustration by Michael Cho

The actual shack where Muddy Waters lived in his youth on Stovall Plantation is now at the Delta Blues Museum at 1 Blues Alley in Clarksdale, Mississippi. He started out on harmonica but by age seventeen he was playing the guitar at parties emulating two blues artists who were extremely popular in the south, Son House and Robert Johnson.

You Can’t Lose What You Ain’t Never Had:

“His thick heavy voice, the dark coloration of his tone and his firm, almost solid, personality were all clearly derived from House,” wrote music critic Peter Guralnick in Feel Like Going Home, “but the embellishments which he added, the imaginative slide technique and more agile rhythms, were closer to Johnson.”

Album of the day, The Folk Singer by Muddy Waters:
muddy waters folk singer

Muddy Waters started out playing acoustic blues in the Delta, and it shows on this return to his roots, it is probably designed to appeal to the mid-1960s surge of interest in blues music, especially in the UK. It is a great acoustic blues album. You’ve got Muddy Waters and you’ve got legendary songwriter/bassist Willie Dixon, and a young Buddy Guy on lead guitar! Waters sings very strong and the sound is surprisingly clean , enjoy!

Other April 4th:

Gary Moore was born in 1952 in Belfast Ireland.

In a career dating back to the 1960s, Moore played with artists including Phil Lynott and Brian Downey during his teens, leading him to memberships with the Irish bands Skid Row and Thin Lizzy on three separate occasions. Moore shared the stage with such blues and rock luminaries as B.B. King, Albert King, Colosseum II, George Harrison and Greg Lake, as well as having a successful solo career.

Moore died in his sleep of a heart attack in his hotel room while on holiday in Estepona, Spain, in February 2011

Elvis Presley:

A taped Elvis Presley concert entitled Elvis: Aloha From Hawaii was telecast on NBC in the USA and proved to be a huge success. The total worldwide audience for the show, the first commercial worldwide satellite broadcast, amounts to over a billion people.

-Hallgeir

Sources: Wikipedia, Allmusic, Peter Guralnick – Feel Like Going Home and Robert Gordon’s wonderful book:

Muddy Waters bio

April 4: Van Morrison in Grugahalle, Essen 1982

Televised as a Rockpalast Special; The correct date for the Van Morrison show is Sunday April 4. The Rockpalast Night where this show was taken from started on April 3 around 11:00 pm with Rick James. Van played the second set and this was around 1:00 am on April 4. Therefore date of the actual show started on April 3 (in the late evening) and ended on April 4 (in the early morning). The broadcast date was the following evening April 4. Most of the Rockpalast shows are broadcast the date following the actual show. Hence the show was played over the 3rd and 4th of April 1982. It was broadcast live across Europe on April 4, 1982 that evening. This is why this show sometimes circulates as April 3 , 1982 (panicstream.net)

 

TV Show
Grugahalle, Essen
4 April 1982

Lenght: 1h18m10s

Musicians:

  • Van Morrison
  • John Allair – keyboards
  • Tom Donlinger – drums
  • Pee Wee Ellis – saxophone
  • David Hayes – bass
  • Mark Isham – trumpet
  • Pauline Lozano – backing vocal
  • Chris Michine – guitar
  • Annie Stocking – backing vocal
  • Bianca Thornton – backing vocal
  • Peter Van Hooke – drums

Continue reading “April 4: Van Morrison in Grugahalle, Essen 1982”

April 3: Richard Thompson was born in 1949 – Happy Birthday!

“The finest rock songwriter after Dylan and the best electric guitarist since Hendrix.”
– Los Angeles Times

April 03: Richard Thompson was born in 1949 – Happy Birthday!

Richard John Thompson OBE was born 3 April 1949, he is a British songwriter, guitarist and recording and performing musician.

Thompson was awarded the Orville H. Gibson award for best acoustic guitar player in 1991. Artists who have recorded Thompson’s compositions include such diverse talents as Del McCoury, R.E.M., Bonnie Raitt, Christy Moore, David Gilmour, Mary Black, Elvis Costello, Marshall Crenshaw, The Corrs, Sandy Denny, June Tabor, Joel Fafard, Maria McKee, Shawn Colvin, Norma Waterson, Martin Carthy, Nanci Griffith, Graham Parker, The Pointer Sisters, Maura O’Connell, Los Lobos, John Doe, Greg Brown, Bob Mould, Barbara Manning, Loudon Wainwright III, The Futureheads, Jeff Lang, Dinosaur Jr., David Byrne, and The Blind Boys of Alabama.

Check out our post about one of the saddest songs ever written, Walking on a Wire.

Richard Thompson BBC 4 Session 2013 (full set):

Continue reading “April 3: Richard Thompson was born in 1949 – Happy Birthday!”

April 1: The White Stripes released “Elephant” in 2003

“..a work of pulverizing perfection,.. It will be one of the best things you hear all year”
-David Fricke (rollingstone.com)

“Crucially, the White Stripes know the difference between fame and success; while they may not be entirely comfortable with their fame, they’ve succeeded at mixing blues, punk, and garage rock in an electrifying and unique way ever since they were strictly a Detroit phenomenon. On these terms, Elephant is a phenomenal success.”
-Heather Phares (allmusic.com)

Released April 1, 2003
Recorded November 2001 and April 2002 at Toe Rag Studios and BBC Maida Vale Studios, London, England
Genre

Alternative rock, garage rock, blues rock & punk blues

Length 49:56
Label V2, XL
Producer Jack White

Continue reading “April 1: The White Stripes released “Elephant” in 2003″

April 1: The legend Ronnie Lane was born in 1946

As the former bassist for the Small Faces, and later the Faces, Ronnie Lane left both bands when he felt the spirit of the group had died, gaining him the reputation of an uncompromising artist, and allowing him the opportunity to release some fine solo material in the ’70s.
~Steve Kurutz (allmusic.com)

Ronnie Wood and Kenney Jones Talk The Faces on Hall of Fame Induction:

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