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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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”

Georgia Blues: Blind Willie McTell , Blind Willie’s Blues (Documentary) 1997

Blind Willie’s Blues

A 54-minute documentary film about the life, times, and music of blues legend Blind Willie McTell.
With music masters Taj Mahal Stefan Grossman,historian Daphne Duval Harrison,and Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun.
Written and produced by David Fulmer

“Nothing less than the economic, social, and
historical evolution of America’s indigenous music.”
— Video Librarian

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January 11: Howlin Wolf released Howlin Wolf (album) in 1962

Howlin’ Wolf is the third studio album from Chicago blues singer/guitarist/harmonicist Howlin’ Wolf. It is a collection of six singles previously released by the Chess label from 1960 through 1962. This was a common practise at the time.

Because of the illustration on its sleeve, shot by Don Bronstein, staff photgrapher at Playboy magazine and house photographer at Chess Records, the album is often called The Rockin’ Chair Album, a nickname even added to the cover on some reissue pressings of the LP.

Howlin’ Wolf’s second album brings together some of the blues great’s best singles from the late ’50s and early ’60s. Also available as a fine two-fer with his debut, Moanin’ in the Moonlight, the so-called Rockin’ Chair Album represents the cream of Wolf’s Chicago blues work. Those tracks afforded classic status are many, including “Spoonful,” “The Red Rooster,” “Wang Dang Doodle,” “Back Door Man,” “Shake for Me,” and “Who’s Been Talking?” Also featuring the fine work of Chess house producer and bassist Willie Dixon and guitarist Hubert Sumlin, Rockin’ Chair qualifies as one of pinnacles of early electric blues, and is an essential album for any quality blues collection.
– Stephen Cook (Allmusic)*

*= note that he concider it the second, not third, Howlin Wolf album. This is debateable since all the first three Wolf albums were released in 1962 (according to allmusic, but Wikipedia says that the debut was released in 1959), and it’s often hard to find the exact date of release of these recordings.
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Jan 7: Muddy Waters recorded “(I’m Your) Hoochie Coochie Man” in 1954

MW - Hoochie

This 1954 recording (the second, after 1952’s original) of blues standard “Hoochie Coochie Man” by Muddy Waters is one of the all-time classic blues records; a vital piece of Chicago-style electric blues that links the Delta to rock & roll..
~Bill Janovitz (allmusic.com)

Hoochie Coochie Man ( Chess 1954):

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Blues Classics: Skip James – “Devil Got My Woman”

I’d rather be the devil, to be that woman man
I’d rather be the devil, to be that woman man
Aw, nothin’ but the devil, changed my baby’s mind
Was nothin’ but the devil, changed my baby’s mind
~Skip James (Devil Got My Woman)

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)

Skip James (June 9, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American Delta blues singer. He is regarded by most blues writers as a very important artist.

He is one of 3 blues artists to featured in Wim Wenders great documentary film The Soul of a Man (2003). 

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