Thursday, January 31, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 267 SONG # 298

Day 267: A Working Man's Song

Sixteen Tons is a song written by Merle Travis, but it has been made famous by the version recorded by Tennessee Ernie Ford. It is a classic working man's song and it has been covered by many artists, among them Johnny Cash (the second version featured here). A fine blues take has been done by Big Bill Broonzy. Aesthetically, I find the rendering of American singer Anna Domino to be the most attractive - it was produced by Blaine L. Reininger of Tuxedo Moon fame; unfortunately, there is no online source for that one available at the moment. Frank Tovey, who called himself Fad Gadget in the 80ies and changed to his real name to do more folk-oriented music in the 90ies included a version of Sixteen Tons on his 1989 album Tyranny and the Hired Hand, consisting of working class songs.

Some people say a man is made outta mud
A poor man's made outta muscle and blood
Muscle and blood and skin and bones
A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine
I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine
I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal
And the straw boss said "Well, a-bless my soul"

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain
Fightin' and trouble are my middle name
I was raised in the canebrake by an ol' mama lion
Cain't no-a high-toned woman make me walk the line

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

If you see me comin', better step aside
A lotta men didn't, a lotta men died
One fist of iron, the other of steel
If the right one don't a-get you
Then the left one will

You load sixteen tons, what do you get
Another day older and deeper in debt
Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go
I owe my soul to the company store

Monday, January 21, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 266 SONG # 297

Day 266: Some More Zydeco Songs

We had a Zydeco version of "Knocking on Heavens Door" as the last track on this here blog. This was the milk for the beginners. Now we go on with the real stuff (way down yonder in good ol' Louisiana). Proudly introducing Clifton Chenier, the one and only king of Zydeco, with a fine version of his seminal "I'm coming home", featuring such a lot of rhythmic finesse on the washboard as you had ever wished of a Zydeco combo. And then, we have another one of those ol' boys, the one who wrote the song and, consequently, did the first recording of it, in 1984: Don't Mess with  my Toot Toot, by the one an only Rockin' Sidney. An then, we have Rockin Sidney's "You Ain't Nothing but Fine" in the true version. Have a good time, good ol fellas! Lots of "one and only" & "good ol'" in this post, I apologise.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 265 SONG # 296

Day 265: A Dylan Cover by a Zydeco Artist

For those who do not know, Zydeco is a musical style from Louisiana, where French popular musical traditions mixed with English folk music and Afro-American musical styles. It is the Creole version of the more European style Cajun, adding elements of Rhythm and Blues to it. In both styles, (Cajun and Zydeco) the accordeon plays a central role. Beau Jocque, a Zydeco accordeonist and singer, consequently added the one instrument that lacked Bob Dylan's Knocking on Heaven's Door, and put forth one of the finest cover version of this song by use of a laid-back Reggae rhythm combined with the Zydeco feelin. Sadly enough, he died in 1999, at age 45. RIP, Andrus J. Espre, forget Guns&Roses!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 264 SONG # 295

Day 264: A Song from the Desert

Tamikrest is a band from the northern region of Mali, consisting of people of Tuareg origin. The band was founded in 2006, they mix elements of traditional Tuareg music with elements taken from contemporary Rock & Pop Music. Their sound is stunningly great. Here is Aratan N Tinariwen from their 2nd album,  Toumastin on Glitterhouse Records, released in 2011. Buy it!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 263 SONG # 294

Day 263: A song on constant replay

The Decemberists are what Wikipedia calls an „Indie Folk Rock Band“, from Portland, Oregon. Their name is taken from the Russian Decembrist revolt in 1825, if I have got it right. On their 2011 album „The King is Dead“ we find a song called „Down by the Water“ featuring the great Gillian Welch on backup vocals. In my opinion, it is one of the typical constant replay songs. At least, poor me could listen to it all nite long. For instance, the beat is a simple one, the drummer does it in a straight forward, exact style, never ever overplaying, but he changes between simply keeping the beat, very simple breaks (playing eights with all his limbs) and breaks that include short rolls. He knows exactly, which of the aforementioned techniques he has to use in whatever part of the song. Then we have the accordion, in the background for most of the time, and doing a beautiful call an response with the harmonica when needed. Here we have him, the frontman: the singer and his harmonica. And there is the great Gillian Welch, backing it up. A  dense and compact performance by a perfect band, in this here live rendering:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 262 SONG #293

Day 262: The Meat Puppets

The Meat Puppets are a band from Phoenix, Arizona (107.92 miles away from the place that JoJo left for some California grass). Whatever those guys from Seattle, Washington may pretend, it is the Meat Puppets who have to get all the credit for the invention of Grunge. The band was formed in 1980 and still exists today. In principle, it is the band of Curt Kirkwood (voc., guit., most of the songwriting) and his brother Cris (bass; some of the songwriting) with changing other members. In the 80ies (this decade being not as bad as everybody says, at least outside of mainstream) the Meat Puppets released some albums that I really did like, among them "Up on the Sun" (1985) and "Huevos" (1987). Here are two songs from each of them, "Up on the Sun"  and  "Swimming Ground" from the first one; "Look at the Rain" and "I can't be Counted on" from the second one. Straight forward alternative rock, as we like it, but not without sophistication (as we like it). What all these songs have in common in my opinion, is that they are growers - they all start like "just a song" and from bar to bar they get more intense and take you with them (there is  musical substance in them).

A long time ago
I turned to myself
And said "You are my daughter"
I saw that the image I saw there was well
So you are my daughter
Well, then maybe we've got something to talk about
Who told you so?
That gold burns slow
Like coal camper's candles all lost in the snow
Then you are my daughter
and maybe we've got something to talk about

Lay down - you're on
The warmth that I'm weaving Is for you alone
Lay down - you're on

Up on the sun
Where it never rains or snows
There's an ocean with a wind that never blows
And if you see it closer
Then the finer points will show
Not too much more too much more

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

1000 SONGS - DAY 261 SONG # 292

Day 261: Chase the devil

This post is dedicated to Mr Lee Scratch Perry, (one of) the inventor(s) of Dub, a subgenre of Reggae Music. In principle, Dub is a way of producing new tracks by re-mixing existing ones, with special emphasis on the rhythm section and the use of effects like reverb a.s.o. On many Reggae-albums we find the regular tracks and the dub versions of them. One rock-band that has included Dub-versions on (at least) their first album, are Blind Idiot God. Be that as it may, Lee "Scratch" Perry is the undisputed master of the genre, from times back in the late 60ies with the Upsetters until today. He has done some fine musical work 2gether with Dub Syndicate, the great Reggae-band of On U Sound fame (for them, see: 2011/05/1000-songs-day-43-song-71). Here is an early recording by Max Romeo with Perry's Upsetters (produced by LSP), a 2004 live recording from "Panic in Babylon" and one track from his early 1990's collaboration with Dub Syndicate, Time Boom X the Devil Dead, with an incantation to the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. Jah Rastafari legalize Ganja! (Time to give a course aon Afro-American Religions once more...).