Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Fogelberg and Mississippi

From the Clarion Ledger:

Singer/songwriter Dan Fogelberg was struggling to be noticed in the early 1970s. He had grown accustomed to playing before audiences of fewer than 100 people. That changed one night in 1972 at a concert in Jackson. "He calls me up right before he's about to go on stage and says, 'You're not going to believe this, but I'm in Mississippi and there are 2,000 people here to see me play,' " recalls Norbert Putnam, a former Grenada resident and Fogelberg's first producer. "Apparently some disc jockey at an FM station in Jackson liked Dan and started playing his records during the late-night hours, and he cultivated a following down there. "It didn't take long for word to get back to New York, and Columbia Records started really spending money promoting Dan."

In a 2002 interview with The Clarion-Ledger, Fogelberg thanked his Mississippi fans: "Jackson was the first place my debut album, Home Free, broke out 30 years ago. My favorite memory was walking out on stage there. I've never headlined a large place before because I was always an opening act. So when I came out and everybody stood and started giving me a standing ovation, I turned to my road manager and said 'They must think I'm somebody else.' "

(Read the Full Story)

Monday, December 17, 2007

Monday Roundup

Douglas Heselgrave provides this review of the installment of Vanguard Visionaries to Avalon native, Mississippi John Hurt’s career. "The tracks contained on the effort are transcendent and lovely; they also are powerful and purifying. Although it is both simple and technically unpolished by today’s standards, Hurt’s guitar style epitomizes everything that is appealing about the country-blues sub-genre." (Read the full story here.)

The Clarksdale Press Register reports on the newest Blues Trail marker for Robert "Nighthawk" McCollum.

Grammy-winner Tricia Walker spent nearly 30 years in the Nashville music industry and now has returned to her home state of Mississippi as director of the Delta Music Institute at Delta State University. (Read the Full Story Here)

Thursday, December 13, 2007

John Work: A folklorist's window into 1940s black music

From the International Herald Tribune:

Two years ago, the book "Lost Delta Found" criticized the American folklorist Alan Lomax for giving short shrift to the work of three black researchers with whom he made some of his landmark field recordings in the 1940s. Maybe more important, the book argued that our appreciation of the black roots music of the era would have been greatly enriched had the writings of the researchers reached a wider audience. With the release of "Recording Black Culture," an album consisting largely of newly unearthed acetates made by one of the collectors, John Work III, we now have the music itself to buttress this claim.

Work, the most eminent of the black folklorists, was not merely an acolyte of Lomax but clearly had ideas of his own. Where Lomax tended to treat black vernacular music as an artifact in need of preservation, Work sought to document it as it was unfolding. Thus on "Recording Black Culture," instead of spirituals harking back to the 19th century, we hear febrile gospel shouting set to the cadences of what soon would become rhythm and blues and rock 'n' roll.

Robert Gordon, who edited "Lost Delta Found" with Bruce Nemerov, cites the hot, driving piano on Work's recording of a group of Primitive Baptist women singing a song called "I Am His, He Is Mine" as an example.

"There's nascent boogie-woogie in that music," said Gordon, who has also written a biography of the blues singer Muddy Waters, whom Work and Lomax recorded on their trip to Coahoma County, Mississippi, in 1941. "That piano would have made many loyal churchgoers angry: a harbinger of the response to R&B and rock 'n' roll."

The pressing harmonic and rhythmic interplay of the Heavenly Gate Quartet singing "If I Had My Way" offers further evidence of this evolution. The heavy syncopation heard there and in Work's recording of the Fairfield Four's "Walk Around in Dry Bones" presage doo-wop a good decade before vocal groups like the Clovers and the Coasters would establish it as the soundtrack for young black America in the 1950s.

[Read The Entire Article Here]

Honeyboy on Blues and Rap

Honeyboy Edwards and Bobby Rush are playing in Ontario on Sunday. The Star has a short interview with Honeyboy: "The blues will always be with us, Mississippi Delta blues legend David 'Honeyboy' Edwards admits over the phone from his home in Chicago, but he's worried about how to win over a new generation of African Americans who seem to have turned their backs on their own musical legacy. 'More white people care about the blues these days,' said the 92-year-old guitarist and singer. 'The black kids are doing rap, and there's no feeling in rap. It's just rhymes and a beat. You need music to give a song its feeling. And that means you've got to learn to play an instrument. You need an instrument for the blues to survive. And the rap kids aren't interested.'" (Read More Here)

John Lee Hooker and the Butterfield Blues Band

Crawdaddy! has this interview with John Lee Hooker recorded June 30, 1966, at the Club 47 in Cambridge, Mass. A couple of youtube links provided get the boom boom boom going: Blues ’66, Part Two: John Lee Hooker and the Butterfield Blues Band

2008 Blues Awards

From the Commercial Appeal: "Nominees for the 2008 Blues Awards, formerly known as the W.C. Handy Awards, were announced Wednesday by the Memphis-based Blues Foundation. This year's awards will be presented at the Grand Casino and Resort in Tunica on May 8. The roll call of nominees is once again headed by relative blues newcomers Watermelon Slim & the Workers, who matched last year's haul with six nominations for their album, The Wheel Man.

It was a good year for veterans as well, with 74-year-old Mississippi-based Bobby Rush garnering four nods for his return-to-roots acoustic record Raw. Also up for a quartet of trophies is the "Queen of the Blues," Koko Taylor, who came back from health problems to win over critics and fans with her latest, Old School.

A number of other notable artists, including Bettye LaVette, Nick Moss & The Flip Tops and James Blood Ulmer, earned three nominations a piece. Award voting begins online today for members of the Foundation." (Read the full story and view a partial list of nominees)

News Roundup

~Blue Shoe Project's 'Last of the Great Mississippi Bluesmen' nominated for a Grammy

~Sun Herald: "Blue Blazes keep local scene smokin'": "The band has performed in various forms for many years, and their distinctive "blues-based Southern rock odd jazz weird stuff" sound still has local fans' feet-a-tappin' to the music this region is famous for. The members of the Blue Blazes (Tim Gross-vox/guitars, Danny Thurston-bass, Ray Hanser-drums, Charlie McGinn-guitar, Mike Brewer-keys/guitar) are not short on experience or talent. I sat down with McGill, Gross and Hanser last week and discovered that between the five band members lies a combined total of 256 years of musical know-how. Though the current line-up of the band has been more or less constant for most of the 21st century, they feed off whatever the other is playing as if they've been performing together their whole lives...The Blue Blazes are perhaps best known for their decade-long run at the EO Club in Gulfport...The band is surviving these days, as most post-Katrina local acts are, and can occasionally be found at the Island View Casino in Gulfport and Dec. 15 at the Blues Tavern in Mobile. McGinn will join the Pat Ramsey Band Thursday for an opening gig with Johnny Winter at The Gutter in Pensacola. Also, McGinn, Gross, Hanser and Thurston will perform under the moniker of Three Strikes Dec. 14 around 6 p.m. at Darwell's in Long Beach. Two CDs of original material are also in the works, but for now the band is enjoying doing what they do best." (read the full story)

~WTOK: Bobby Rush Honored by Home State (with video)

~Ray J got sidelined as Brandy marshaled the Jackson Christmas

~Clarion Ledger: The Mississippi Jazz Foundation, a local group dedicated to jazz appreciation, has grown exponentially during its four-year existence. (Read the Full Story)

~Bobby Rush Revue & James 'Super Chikan" Johnson Announced for Post-Race Concert

RIP Ike Turner

Clarksdale native and Rock and Roll Hall of Fame member Ike Turner passed away yesterday at the age of 76. Many consider Turner the "father" of Rock and Roll for his work in 1951 cutting the song "Rocket 88" in Memphis at Sun Studios with his band. This song is recognized as the first rock n roll song.

Izear Luster "Ike" Turner
1931 - 2007

BBC: The musical legacy of Ike Turner

Rhonda Swan: Ike Turner, Legendary Songwriter, Dead

SkyNews: Rock Pioneer Ike Turner Dies

Reuters at New York Post: IKE 'BEATS' TINA TO DEATH

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Homemade Jamz Blues Band

This week, CBS Sunday Morning did a piece on the Homemade Jamz Blues Band from Tupelo. With a combined age of 37, the three piece band took second place at the International Blues Challenge 2007. In related news, they just finished a show in the Virgin Islands.

Chet Lott donates $125,000 from Erased It sales

"Following Katrina, Chet Lott was impressed with the way Red Cross volunteers worked to rebuild hope in Pascagoula and along the Gulf Coast. Monday, Lott, the son of Sen. Trent Lott, gave the Southeast Chapter of the American Red Cross $125,000. The money was raised from sales for his 'Erased It' compact disc....In the days that followed Hurricane Katrina on Aug. 29, 2005, Lott said he came to the Coast and saw the damage done to his father's house on Beach Boulevard. The experience, he said, resulted in his writing two songs, 'Erased It' and 'Where I am From.' Those two songs, he said, became the foundation of the 14-track 'Erased It' album. The album sold more than 8,000 copies, with all profits going to the Red Cross." (Read the full story here)