Friday, September 1, 2017

1000 SONGS - DAY 364 SONG # 395

DAY 364: A Woman's Blues

Lizzie Douglas, known as Memphis Minnie, was born in Algiers, Louisiana, as one of 13 kids to her parents. She was aged 76 when she died in 1973. One of the great female Blues-Singers, she is remembered as one exemplary self-confident woman who is said to have chewed tobacco all the time (even when performing). It seems to me, that the Doctor Doctor Blues has something to do with her addiction to tobacco (but, as far as I understand, booze is also rendered here):



Lucinda Williams, one of the greatest female musicians of our time, has somewhat brought Minnie back to limelight in our days, as she has recorded a beautiful version of her wonderful song "Nothing in Rambling". Minnie's version and the one done by Lucinda, here they are:




Sunday, May 14, 2017

1000 SONGS: DAY 363 SONG # 394

DAY 363: The Blues 

"Another Man Done Gone" is a traditional southern blues in call and response style about a man who escaped a "chain gang". It was first recorded by US-American ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax in 1940, in the a cappella version rendered by Vera Hall. Vera Hall came to be known to a wider audience at the end of the 20th century because a man who calls himself "Moby" featured her version of "Trouble so Hard" in one of his recordings (mixed it in, in some way or another). The song in question, about the man done gone has a slight change in the lyrics in the later versions, as Vera sings "he killed another man" and in later versions, this is mostly rendered as "they killed another man". I am not going to indulge in a theory of that circumstance. I just give a few renderings of that often recorded song. Naturally, I start with Vera Hall. Then, there is the only true call and response version done by the master himself, the great Johnny Cash, with Anita Carter in response (allegedly the one person of the Carter family with the most beautiful voice). Then there is the version of the Carolina Chocolate Drops to show that one could do this also with harmony singing. Last, not least, the version of Odetta that initially made this song known to a wider public. I wonder why Nick Cave never did a version of that song (if Johnny could do, ever other baritone in the world should …)








Friday, February 10, 2017

1000 SONGS - DAY 362 SONG # 393

DAY 362:  Preaching the Blues

Gonna be a Baptist Preacher, so I don't have to work

Jeffrey Lee Pierce (1958 - 1996) was one of my musical heroes in the 80ies and 90ies and I still very much appreciate his music, as recorded and performed with the legendary Gun Club in various line-ups. Although I tend to think of Mother Juno as his masterpiece (there has to be an entry on that somewhere on this here blog), there is no one single album (ha!) by The Gun Club I would not like. For example, their first  album, called "The Fire of Love". I own a vinyl copy of it, on whose sleeve it is printed, that copyright is 1981. The line-up is Ward Dotson (who later started the Pontiac Brothers) on guitar and slide guitar, Jeffrey Lee on vocals and slide guitar, Bob Ritter on bass and Terry Graham on drums. There is many a fine song featured on that album ("Sex beat", "She's like heroin to me", "For the Love of Ivy [co-written by Kid Congo Powers]), and then there is "Preaching the Blues", credited to Robert Johnson (arr. by Pierce). Obviously, this song is heavily based upon the famous Robert Johnson song "Preachin' Blues"; nevertheless, in the lyrics, Jeffrey Lee brings in another blues classic of the same title, by Son House, and, he adds some of his own words.

Here is (1) The Gun Club (with lyrics), (2) Robert Johnson and (3) Son House.



[Robert Johnson]
I was up this morning, blues walking like a man
I was up this morning, blues walking like a man
Worried blues, give me your right hand

And the blues fell mama's child, tore me all upside down
Blues fell mama's child, tore me all upside down
Travel on ol' Jeffrey Lee, ya know, can't seem to turn him around

[Jeffrey Lee]
So, preach the blues
Preach the blues now

[Robert Johnson]

Blues, is low down shaking chill
Blues, is low down shaking chill
You ain't never had them, I don't believe you will

Blues is an achin' old heart disease
Blues is an achin' old heart disease
It's like consumption, baby, killing me by degrees

[Jeffrey Lee]

So, preach the blues
Preach the blues now


I had religion, Lord on this very day
I had religion, Lord on this very day
But the womens and the whiskey, they would not let me pray

[Son House]

Gonna get me religion, gonna join the Baptist church
Gonna get me religion, gonna join the Baptist church
Gonna be a Baptist preacher, so I don't have to work





Sunday, January 29, 2017

1000 SONGS - DAY 361 SONG # 392

DAY 361: An Americana Song

Since I came to know Willy Tea Taylor I am a fan of his music, as readers of this here blog might already know. Willy Tea is not only a gifted song writer and a fine musician in his own right, but also a member of an Americana-, Country- or whatever band, called "The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit". Really fine music. There is only one objection to this band: wtf did you make up a band's name that nobody will be able to remember? 
On Willy Tea Taylor's homepage we can read about TGLTSO: "The Good Luck Thrift Store Outfit has been recording and performing original music since 2005. They have two successful record releases under their belts, and their third Album "Old Excuses" just released and getting rave reviews. The contagious enthusiasm of their live show, however, is what keeps their fans coming back to see them over and over again. Playing and selling out venues such as Slim's, Great American Music Hall, and The Independent in SF, as well as playing festivals like, The Strawberry Music Festival, and Kate Wolf Music Festival, and touring through several states consistently over the last few years, their fan-base continues to grow. Their choice instrumentation, original material, and strong cohesion on stage has left many spectators with the lasting impressions of both fine song-craft and a rare live-music experience." 

From their aforementioned 3rd album: One Yard 


Saturday, January 7, 2017

1000 SONGS - DAY 360 SONG # 391

DAY 360: CRY TO ME


"Cry to me" is widely known because of its inclusion in a movie called "Dirty Dancing". I never saw that film. I came to know the song by the version recorded in 1965 by the Rolling Stones with kind support by Jack Nitzsche. It was written by Bert Russell (Bertrand Russell Berns - he also wrote songs like "Under the Boardwalk", "Twist and Shout" and "Hang on Sloopy") and first recorded by Solomon Burke in 1962 (or 1961, sources differ). The Solomon Burke version was arranged by Klaus Ogerman from Germany. Some sources have it, that Ogerman wrote the song, and Berns arranged it. But normally, credits for songwriting are given to Russell on the records featuring the song. There are many versions of it, f.e. by The Pretty Things or Betty Harris (also arranged by Bert Berns).  Here is the "original" recording by Solomon Burke, the ultra-cool rendering by Professor Longhair from New Orleans and a very fine "Bayou-style" version by Marc Broussard featuring his father Ted Broussard on electric guitar. 


Solomon Burke:


Professor Longhair:


Marc Broussard and his Dad:

Monday, January 2, 2017

1000 SONGS - DAY 359 Song # 390

DAY 359: Saving Souls

Soulsavers are no band, but rather a "production team" (at least, this is what the internet says) - as long as this "production team" uses the gifts of musicians like Mark Lanegan, they might be called whatever one likes them to call (with the exception of derogatory terms).
Here are two songs in their interpretation: 1st one (from "Broken") "You Will Miss Me When I Burn", written by Will Oldham (aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), vocals by Mark Lanegan.
A second one, "Some Misunderstanding" (also from "Broken"), written by the great Gene Clark of Byrds fame, vocals  by Mark  again.
The bonus song is a cover of the Jagger/Richards piece "No Expectations", originally featured on the "Beggar's Banquet"-album and as the b-side of the "Street Fighting Man"-single. It is the last track on the Soulsavers album "It's Not How Far You Fall, It's the Way You Land", vocals by Mark Lanegan again.