Blues Is Life

Sidemen Long Road to Glory, see it in a theater near you soon…

 

Advertisements

Gregg Allman – “My Only True Friend”

The music of our heart is still heavy reflecting on Gregg Allman’s passing. I am forever thankful for the blues music he has introduced me to with The Allman Brothers Band and on his poignant solo albums.

I was recently acknowledged by Gregg’s official store with a thank you for pre-purchasing his final album Southern Blood.  

Thank you for placing an early order for Gregg Allman’s SOUTHERN BLOOD vinyl (out 9/8). We know many of you have been waiting awhile for the finished album, and you placed an order without a lot of information. As our way of showing our appreciation, we’re letting you know: 

You will receive the limited edition SOUTHERN BLOOD LP at no extra charge. None of these items will be part of the future regular edition.

Details:
    (a) Heavyweight, hardwood colored vinyl
    (b) Portrait lithograph (12” x 12”)
    (c) Two bonus live tracks (included with a download card).
    (d) Full album download card

That left me reassured as I have come to appreciate how accommodating the Allman community and Music Today have been over the years.

In anticipation of next month’s order, I am sharing this recent video of “My Only True Friend” which reveals the warm spirit found inside Gregg’s recording session.

 

American Epic: Part 1, The Big Bang

I have been waiting for this Only on PBS music series to be viewable for four years. The production has a magic appeal as a combination of music history, Americana, and the significance of the lacquered phonograph record.

It was fortuitous for the series to begin with the hills of Appalachia and the Carter Family. They are the roots of country music. I love the risks they took to seek out a long distance audition being held at the famed Bristol Sessions with Ralph Peer.

Ralph Peer was an electrical engineer, responsible for the invention of the modern recording equipment.  It was said of him, “He must have been a visionary”, due to the profound impact he had on finding talented artists and recording them.

I loved learning more about the original Carter Family which consisted of Alvin Pleasant “A.P.” Delaney Carter (1891–1960), his wife Sara Dougherty Carter (1898–1979), and his sister-in-law Maybelle Addington Carter (1909–1978).

family

I was moved to see a rare collaboration in color video with Sara and Maybelle Carter perform with Johnny Cash on The Johnny Cash Show, Nov. 18, 1970.

American Epic is beautiful in its curation. The videos are painstakingly articulated as are the graphics and the b&w/color stills.

The episode shifts to the home of the blues, Memphis, Tennessee. The focus here is the seminal influence of the Memphis Jug Band. Another recording find of Ralph Peer

We learn about Will Shade a founding member of the Memphis Jug Band. The jug creates an interesting context on the harmony and backdrop of their music.

We get to see and hear the original 78rpm records”Newport News Blues”, “On The Road Again (1928)”, “Stealin, Stealin”, “Cocaine Habit Blues (1930)”

It was smart to see American Epic incorporate two blues historians, Taj Mahal and Charlie Musselwhite. They each provide us with a firm foundation of the blues curated with all the love in their heart. I was fortunate to write a term paper on Taj Mahal as a roots/blues musician when I minored in music in college.

rima0rs-asset-mezzanine-16x9-9olqxwp-focalcrop-767x431-50-10

You will want to see the segment where Charlie Musslewhite in the Memphis Police building plays the guitar and sings the heartfelt song Will Shade taught him, “I’ll Get A Break Someday”.

Threaded throughout the episode is producer/musician/pressing plant owner Jack White our modern day preservationist of rare music and phonograph records. He performs in the studio with Nas and Lillie Mae on violin and other musicians.

splash_2000

Jack White’s record company, Third Man Records, is selling the American Epic artists reissues on their Web site. There are lots of great roots musicians to get to know better and hopefully add to your vinyl music collection.

American Epic: The First Time America Heard Itself

 

81tqusuy6wl

Jack White, T. Bone Burnett, and Robert Redford have teamed up to executive produce American Epic, a historical music project exploring the pivotal recording journeys of the early twentieth century, which for the first time captured the breadth of American music and made it available to the world. It was, in a very real way, the first time America truly heard herself.

The companion book to the groundbreaking PBS and BBC documentary series celebrating the pioneers and artists of American roots music—blues, gospel, folk, Cajun, Appalachian, Hawaiian, Native American—without which there would be no jazz, rock, country R&B, or hip hop today.

 

 

Horn From The Heart: The Paul Butterfield Story

HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story is a feature-length documentary about the life and career of legendary blues musician Paul Butterfield. A white, teenage harmonica player from Chicago’s south side, Paul learned the blues from the original black masters performing nightly in his own back yard. Muddy Waters was Paul’s mentor and lifelong friend, happy to share his wisdom and ability with such a gifted young acolyte.

The interracial Paul Butterfield Blues Band, featuring the twin guitar sound of Michael Bloomfield and Elvin Bishop, the rhythm section of Sam Lay and Jerome Arnold and the keyboards of Mark Naftalin, added a rock edge to the Chicago blues, bringing an authenticity to its sound that struck a chord with the vast white rock audience and rejuvenated worldwide interest in the blues. The band’s first LP, The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released on Elektra Records in 1965, was named “#11 Blues Album of All Time” by Downbeat.

The only artist to perform at The Newport Folk Festival in 1965, The Monterey Pop Festival in 1967 and Woodstock in 1969, Paul would continue to break new ground in the blues and to stand up for racial equality until his death at age 44 in 1987 of a drug overdose. Through his music and words, along with first-hand accounts of his family, his band mates and those closest to him, HORN FROM THE HEART: The Paul Butterfield Story tells the complex story of a man many call the greatest harmonica player of all time.

 

Sidemen: Long Road To Glory – Blues Music Documentary

Let’s help this vital Kickstarter music project make its goal today. The blues are an indigenous art form native to America. Preserving on film these seminal sidemen for future generations is paramount.

Sidemen: Long Road To Glory- Award Winning film about the lives of bluesmen Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.

Gregg Allman – Southern Blood

When I think of the blues I hear the trademark sound of Gregg Allman’s voice swirling with a Hammond B3 Organ and Leslie speakers.

I was curious about the origin of Gregg’s love of the blues. During an interview in Keyboard Magazine in 2011, Gregg spoke about the first exposure he and his brother Duane experienced with blues music.

“We used to listen to this radio station called WLAC, which broadcasted from Gallatin, Tennessee. There was this DJ called “Big John R.” He’d play Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Sonny Boy Williamson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, all of ’em. That was really our first taste of the blues. We listened to that show religiously.”

The blues giants had a powerful imprint on Gregg’s career. I am grateful for The Allman Brothers exposing me to the rich heritage of the Southern blues.

I was curious about what Gregg Allman has been up to since The Allman Brothers retired at the end of 2014.  Happily, there will be a new Gregg Allman studio album, Southern Blood available on March 29th.

Southern Blood produced by Don Was and due to be released on Rounder Records. Join the Gregg Allman mailing list to learn more information. Preorders for CD and vinyl editions are available on the Gregg Allman Store now.