Tuesday, February 07, 2006

PoohsDay Blues: Raw and Accoustic

Shuffling up and dealing:

  1. "Sweet Black Angel" - Corey Harris. The Martin Scorsese Blues series was a bit uneven, but the episode where Harris traveled to Mali to play with local musicians was a spiritual experience. For Harris's best traditional accoustic work, look for the song "Roots Woman". 7/10

  2. "Eyesight to the Blind" - Aleck "Rice" Miller (AKA Sonny Boy Williamson) - The second (better) SBW, who did the legendary "King Biscuit Time" radio program. This and "9 Below Zero" are his two best songs, IMO. 9/10.

  3. "Freight Train Blues" - Doc and Merle Watson. The line between early country, early blues and bluegrass is very very thin. It almost comes down to inflection. In the case of Doc and Merle, it's on the country side of the line. Still good though. 6/10.

  4. "Packin' Truck" - Leadbelly. 12-string guitars are incredibly cool (and fun to play, though expensive and a bitch to tune.) Leadbelly of course wrote "Alberta", (one of my faves when performed by Clapton unplugged). 5/10.

  5. "Death Letter Blues" - Son House. There are about 18 recorded versions of this, but this is the one the White Stripes based their version on. As a performer, House is better than Robert Johnson, but Johnson is credited with being the first songwriter/composer of the period which is why he gets all the love from Hendrix, Clapton and the Stones. 9/10.

  6. "Little Queen of Spades" - Robert Johnson. The man. The originator of the Crossroads Guitar Myth taken up by Jimi, Stevie Ray, and on down. Probably the inspiration for a lot of the fatalism adopted by many hip hop artists (Tupac in particular). Not his best song though. 6/10.

  7. "Stones in My Passway" - Peter Green. A better Robert Johnson song. Basically the same song as "Terraplane Blues". The original version is better than this or any of Clapton's recordings. 6/10.

  8. "Broke and Hungry Blues" - Blind Lemon Jefferson. The Bluesmen have the best names, don't they? 5/10.

  9. "Little Babe" - R.L. Burnside. Burnside is interesting as he has had two seperate careers. The first was as a traditional accoustic blues artist, then he was "rediscovered" in the 90s and recorded a few mind-blowing albums mixing raw and dirty electric blues with hip-hop style recording techniques. This song is from the first period, you may have heard this song recorded as "My Babe" by Little Milton as well. 7/10.

  10. "Ramblin' On My Mind" - Eric Clapton. Sadly, I've never been able to find a recording of the performance of this song with which Clapton opened the 2000 "Concert of the Century", but the Sessions for Robert J. version does quite nicely, thank you. 9/10.

And that's the blues for this week, kids.

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