Today's Blues Playlist

Discussion in 'Music Forums' started by bjarmson, Mar 24, 2006.

  1. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Time to give the Blues its dues. CDs unless noted.

    Muddy Waters: Rollin' Stone—The Golden Anniversary Collection
    Disc 1, recorded 1947-2/50
    Mostly Muddy (vocals and guitar) and bass, few with piano and additional musicians. This is IT! Virtually every cut is a classic. Still mostly in a country blues venue, Muddy excels on both vocals and slide guitar. 26 songs on the side, and you're still disappointed when it ends (luckly there is still Disc 2 to go—tomorrow). Songs include: Gyspy Woman, I Can't Be Satisfied, You're Gonna Miss Me, Screamin' and Cryin', Walkin' Blues, & Rollin' and Tumblin' (Parts 1 & 2). The beginnings of the Chicago urban, electric blues and some of the greatest music ever recorded. Essential for any blues fan. Good sound for its era.

    Mississippi Fred McDowell: First Recordings
    Recorded 9/59
    Alan Lomax's belated discovery of Fred McDowell is breathtaking. How this guy escaped notice for almost 30 years is a wonderment in itself (he's about the same age—born 1904—as many of the great delta bluesmen who were recorded in the 30's). His style is classic delta, slide guitar, heart felt vocals, black dirt intensity. This recording was made on someone's front porch and has the feel of one of the house parties that Fred played for 30+ years (different people playing and singing, shouted encouragments from listeners, etc). Highlights are the three McDowell (guitar and vocal), Fanny Davis (comb), Miles Pratcher (guitar) collaborations (I'm Going Down The River, Shake "Em On Down, and You're Gonna Be Sorry). Two full time farmers/semi professional musicians and a woman playing comb and tissue paper set up a hip-shaking grove that 100,000 blues/boogie bands since can only wish for. The closest one can probably get to a delta house party of the 30's. Excellent sound for its setting. Essential blues.

    bjarmson
     
  2. Drybasement

    Drybasement Hold the ketchup...

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    Cool!

    You sound like a passionate blues lover and there's a few folks around here that share your same sentiment.

    Nice to have you around.

    Cheers
     
  3. Midnight Blues

    Midnight Blues Active Member

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    The Nighthawks "Live in Europe" (LP) Live Jimmy Thackery...need I say more....
    Tab Benoit "Wetlands" (CD) Tabs recordings are amazing, he records everything to tape and then transfers to CD. The results arer very warm and live sounding, one of the best Telecaster players out there today....
     
  4. jonman

    jonman Addicted Member

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    Alligator 20th ann. Boxset
    Canned Heat- Uncanned boxset
     
  5. Yamaha B-2

    Yamaha B-2 registered user

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    Lightnin' Hopkins, "Broken Hearted Blues" on SACD. Terrific sound. What SACD is all about.

    Albert King with Stevie Ray Vaughn, "In Session" on CD. Good sounds, but wish it were remastered to SACD or vinyl.
     
  6. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Givin' the Blues its dues.

    Muddy Waters: Rollin' Stone—The Golden Anniversary Collection
    Disc 2 recorded 2/50-9/52
    So what's Muddy do after recording the gems on Disc 1. Well, adding the world's greatest harmonica player, Little Walter, to his band is a nice twist. After 2 takes of Rollin' Stone (you might remember the band that took its name from this song), Walter is on every cut, except the last (Junior Wells takes over). The recordings made from 12/51 on mostly feature Muddy in the electric Chicago blues format he was to use the rest of his career (harmonica, second guitar, bass, drummer). Highlights include: Rollin' Stone (2 takes), Evan's Shuffle (a Little Walter tour de force), Long Distance Call, Honey Bee, She Moves Me, All Night Long (3 takes), Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man, but every cut is great. Sound is good (in glorius mono). Muddy went on to create even more popular music, it's debatable whether he ever out did the music on this 2 disc set. Absolutely indispensible for any serious blues collection.

    Blind Willie McTell: Atlantic Twelve String
    Recorded 1949
    Willie McTell is one of the greatest, if little known, bluesmen of all time. These recordings are a bit of a reprise of his great recordings of the 20's and 30's, made by Atlantic Records at the beginning of their existence. Inexplicably, this guy never had a hit, so recorded irregularly over his whole career (mostly spent as a street musician in Georgia). His one recognizable song, Stateboro Blues (popularized by the Allman Brothers version) is not included on the 15 cuts on this album, but Kill It Kid, The Razor Ball, You Got To Die are. Still at the top of his game, he virtuosically fingerpicks 12 string guitar (?!?!) in a style all his own and has one of the best, and easily recognizable, voices in all of Blues. If this guy had been born 20 years later he probably would have been heralded as the genius he was (a la Ray Charles). Not truly essential (his earlier low fi recordings are), but a good place to begin to appreciate his genius because of the sound quality (if you like him, you'll soon be searching out the remainder of his too meager output).

    bjarmson
     
  7. Andyman

    Andyman Scroungus Stereophilus Subscriber

    Going to head out to the garage with a couple of Johnny Winter CDs, "The Winter of '88" and "I'm a Bluesman".
     
  8. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Givin' the Blues its dues.

    Skip James: Blues From The Delta
    Recorded 1966 & 68
    Skip James is one of those legendary delta blues musicians who recorded a handful of classic 78 sides in 1931 then disappeared for 30+ years until rediscovered in 1964 by fanatic blues aficionados. Though not having played blues in a couple of decades, he was encouraged to play at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival, which he did to rave reviews. One of the most idiosyncratic of bluesmen, he sounds like no one else (often listed as "founder" of the "Bentonia school" of delta blues, of which he seems to be the only member). He may be the most gifted of all the delta bluesman, fingerpicking guitar in an unique, airy manner and also a gifted pianist, his songs are some of the most eerie and erudite blues ever recorded. His singing voice, a mournful falsetto, is unearthy in its intensity and effect. These songs, taken from two Vanguard records done after his rediscovery, reprise many of his classic recordings from 1931, but with high fidelity as a plus. And his playing (both guitar and piano) and singing are still of a very high order. Highlights include: I'm So Glad (made famous in a Cream version that doesn't sound much like the original), Devil Got My Woman (one of the eeriest blues ever recorded), Hard Time Killing Floor Blues (said by some to be the "best" song about the Depression ever written), Crow Jane, Cypress Grove, Look Down The Road. An essential blues recording. I recommend you start here before getting his classic 1931 recordings (recorded by the notorious Paramount label, the surviving 78's which provide the only remaining legacy, are at best difficult to listen to, even when given modern software sound enhancements).

    Otis Spann: Down To Earth—The Bluesway Recordings
    Recorded 1966 & 67
    Spann was Muddy Waters' long time piano player whose solo career was cut tragically short by his death at forty. These sides are taken from two albums he cut for Bluesway, backed by Muddy's working band of the time (with Muddy himself working as a sideman and contributing some of his trademark slashing slide guitar). These guys, in a seemingly effortless manner, lay down track after track of great blues. Spann does the vocals and contributes his usual impeccable piano playing, but everybody contributes. Just great blues music, done by consummate working blues band. What could be better!

    bjarmson
     
  9. datsunmike

    datsunmike Active Member

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    I listened to BB King Live at San Quentin.

    What strikes me about almost all BB King recordings is their poor fidelity. I've used 2 different cartridges, 2 CD players and 2 different types of speaker systems and his recordings almost always sound muddy, and that I feel I'm sitting in the back row, not up front.

    If there is a speaker that brings music alive and to the fore front I have them - Klipsch.

    IMHO of course.
     
  10. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Givin' the Blues its dues.

    Mississippi John Hurt: D.C. Blues—The Library of Congress Recordings-Vol. 1
    Recorded July 1963
    Hurt was another of the great rediscovered bluesmen of the early 60's. He recorded 13 sides in 1928 and vanished for 35 years. Indeed, it was one of his 1928 recordings, Avalon Blues (Avalon my hometown always on my mind) that led to his serendipitous reappearance (a tale in itself). If your idea of a delta bluesman is the Robert Johnson stereotype (hellhounds on my trail, itinerant, hard-living juke joint musicians), Hurt will come as a suprise. Until his rediscovery, never more than a semi-professional, who played almost exclusively in the vicinity of Avalon, Miss, he's more like the sweet, old grandfather everyone wishes they had. No slashing slide guitar, no bellowing vocals, Hurt fingerpicks guitar in such a way, you think to yourself, gee I could do that. Then you listen for awhile and you're amazed at the sheer virtuosity on display (a possibly apocryphal story goes that a student of the great classical guitarist Andre Segovia, enamored of Hurt, brought him a recording and Segovia asked who the second guitarist was). The guitar playing, together with his soft, serene singing style is sort of like what might have happened if Buddha had been a bluesman. The Library of Congress recordings were done in an informal setting just a few months after his rediscovery. Two discs cover most of his 1928 cuts and many others. Highlights (well they're all great) include Avalon Blues, Richland Woman Blues, Frankie and Albert, Candy Man, Pay Day, Louis Collins, Stackolee, Slidin' Delta, etc, etc. Good sound, given the conditions. A good place to start a Hurt collection (there's not that much but everything is great and essential). There are other bluesmen with more technical ability, and many who were better singers, but none matched Hurt's ability to connect with your feelings and reach into your soul. More than a bluesman, Hurt is a great national treasure.

    bjarmson
     
  11. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Lightnin' Hopkins: All the Classics—1946-51
    Recorded 1946-51 (5 CDs)
    Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins was the greatest of all Texas bluesmen (and one of the greatest regardless). His recording career didn't start till 1946, by which time Hopkins was in his mid 30s and a master of his craft. Lightnin' never seemed to suffer the saint or sinner syndrome of many country bluesmen, he'd gone over to the devil's side early and had no regrets. Sam's (the Lightnin' was concocted at an initial recording session where he was partnered with 'Thunder' Smith on piano) records sold immediately, and he was to lay down some 150 sides over the next 5 years. Exceptional as both a guitar player and singer, many of his songs were improvised as they were sung, which made it difficult for sidemen to follow him. Not that Lightnin' needs sidemen, he's a full band just on his own. If you think John Lee Hooker could lay down a boogie groove, listen to Hopkins when he gets going. Highlights include (disc 1 only): Katie Mae Blues, Feel So Bad, Short Haired Woman, Let Me Play With Your Poodle, Lightnin's Boogie. This is from a 5 CD set and is probably more Lightnin' than many people want, so try to get a greatest hits package (Rhino Records is the best at this) that includes a chunk of his early material. Then boogie down. Essential blues.

    bjarmson
     
  12. Tubejunke

    Tubejunke Super Member

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    Ten Years After-"Undead" and also "Alvin Lee And Company" (If your not familiar with these guys you need to be!!)

    Johnny Winter-"Progressive Blues Experiment" (hard to find)

    Jimi Hendrix-"Blues"
     
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  13. jonman

    jonman Addicted Member

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    Bessie Smith -Collection
     
  14. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (LPs)
    Recorded 1936-37
    Okay, for many the holy grail of blues recordings. Johnson's legend (pact with the devil, hellhound on my trail, mysterious death at the hands of a jealous husband) often seem more important than his recordings. His legend in some ways is bigger than his actual legacy. There is hardly a modern bluesman who hasn't tipped his hat to or recorded some of his songs, some have recorded whole albums of nothing but Johnson material. Sort of amazing for a guy who only ever recorded 41 sides (including alternate takes), but myth has a way of expanding beyond actual reality. What isn't myth is these 41 blues recordings. Whether they were composed by Johnson or just his versions of older blues tunes, is beside the point (trying to decide who composed what in the blues arena will only give you a headache, and probably won't establish the "true" composer anyway). The recordings are sort of the "Ten Commandments" of the blues. Johnson's versions are always the definitive ones. The plantive voice, the eerie slide guitar, the rock solid rhythm guitar, the feeling that the guy did have a hellhound on his trail is not myth or legend when you're listening to the music. It's part and parcel of his music. Stark, beautiful music, as important as anything ever recorded.
    Okay sound (but varies). Absolutely essential. I'd go for the Complete Recordings (interesting to see the differences on the alternates), but there are a lot of different recordings out there, and most have the majority of his output on them. Listen to the Legend.

    bjarmson
     
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2006
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  15. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Son House: A Proper Introduction To—Delta Blues
    Recorded 1930, 1941 & 42
    Son House is often considered to be the greatest of all Delta bluesmen (no less a blues authority than Muddy Waters stated he was the greatest blues guitarist ever). Of all the bluesmen rediscovered during the early 60's blues revival, he was mostly a pale memory of what he was in the 30's & 40's (he apparently suffered from palsy, and likely alcohol also played its part). For most of the bluesmen rediscovered in the 60's I've suggested starting with recordings made in the 60's, but with Son House I recommend you pick up the CD "A Proper Introduction To Son House." It has 6 sides from his landmark 1930 recordings (My Black Mama, Preachin' the Blues, & Dry Spell Blues—all with Parts 1 & 2), that are often difficult to listen to through the background noise, but are essential to understand the power this man could project and his incredible slashing slide guitar style. The 40's sides are field recordings made by Alan Lomax, and while anything but hifidelity are still pretty good. The 1941 sides are done in a small combo which includes House and several other legendary Delta bluesmen. The 1942 sides feature just House and his guitar (what more does a Delta legend need). Still in full command of his voice and guitar playing, he can scare the hell out of you with his stark, bold blues singing and masterly slashing slide guitar. For those of you who absolutely refuse to listen to old recordings with all their sonic detritus, I suggest Son House: Father of the Delta Blues; Columbia Records, 1965. He may not have been the father of the Delta Blues, but he was one the great bluesmen of all time.

    bjarmson
     
  16. Yamaha B-2

    Yamaha B-2 registered user

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    Thanks for the tip. :thmbsp: But, a 6-sided CD would be a cube and won't play in my CDP. :D Am sure you meant 6 'cuts'.
     
  17. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Hi B-2,

    No actually I meant sides (though cuts works too), since these were first released on 78s and had one song per side, thus 6 sides. But I try to refrain from getting into silly semantic arguements, so call them cuts if you want to since its more applicable to the CD form. Whatever, just listen to the music, it's great stuff.

    bjarmson
     
  18. Andyman

    Andyman Scroungus Stereophilus Subscriber

    Just ran a copy of Jeff Beck, "Truth" through the home brew RCM and will be spinning it shortly.
     
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  19. bjarmson

    bjarmson Well-Known Member

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    Johnny Shines: Traditional Delta Blues
    Recorded 1972 & 74
    David "Honeyboy" Edwards: I've Been Around
    Recorded 1974, 75, & 77
    These two traditional Delta bluesmen (both born April 1915) were the real deal (both traveled and hung with Robert Johnson and other legendary Delta bluesmen in the 30's). Neither recorded much, except an odd side here and there, till late in their careers. Both left music at various times in their lives. For those of you who find listening to early Delta blues a pain due to the extreme lowfi of many of the seminal recordings (or for those of you who just like Delta blues), pick up either (or, better yet, both) of the CDs. This is not the blues imitated by conservatory trained college boys, it is a time capsule back to the 30's, but with the bonus of hifidelity. Playing and singing in a style ingrained in them by years of one night stands and decades of road time, these two guys are the essence of traditional Delta blues.

    bjarmson
     
  20. VinylHanger

    VinylHanger Navigaret ex ironia

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    Nina Simone sings the Blues spinnin' now. Bit on the jazzy side, which is fine by me. :music:
     

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