Elvin Bishop’s Big Fun Trio

Elvin Bishop’s music has been making people smile for over 50 years. A founding member of the groundbreaking Paul Butterfield Blues Band, he has performed and recorded with music legends such as B.B.King, John Lee Hooker, and the Allman Brothers. From deep down gutbucket Blues played in smoky South Side Chicago taverns, to raucous roadhouse R&B, he’s instilled all of his music with passion, creativity and a healthy helping of wisdom, wit and good humor!

Elvin Bishop

Purchase CD or online download here!

Elvin and his Big Fun Trio-mates (Willy Jordan on cajon and vocals, Bob Welsh on guitar and piano) serve up a fresh new helping of their good ‘n’ greasy blues and R&B, highlighted by the title track, a comic State of the Union address as only the blues and Southern Rock legend can deliver.  The album includes four additional new originals, Big Fun Trio takes on Elvin’s Right Now Is The Hour, Jackie Wilson’s (Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher & Higher, Ann Peebles’ I Can’t Stand The Rain and more.  “Deceptively loose but always tight…the raspy chuckle in Bishop’s singing and the sharp sting of his guitar are forceful and fresh, enduring and fun.” Fresh Air, NPR 

Advertisements

Harlem Street Singer – Rev. Gary Davis

I watched the documentary film Harlem Street Singer about the life of Reverend Gary Davis.

His songs have interested me for years thanks to Jorma Kaukonen faithful renditions. But I didn’t know anything about the person behind those songs.

I learned that Rev. Gary Davis rose from abject poverty in North Carolina and that he was nearly blind from birth. He taught himself how to play the guitar and to improvise songs. He got married and eventually moved to New York.  He was a hardy soul who survived on the streets of Harlem as a musician. He taught guitar in order to make a living. He provided lessons right up until his death at age 76 in 1972.  Amongst his star pupils were Dave Van Ronk, David Bromberg, Bob Weir, Roy Book Binder, and Stefan Grossman. Woody Mann who was his student for four years serves as co-producer and responsible for the music for Harlem Street Singer.

Blind Gary Davis was a purveyor of the Piedmont Blues which refers to a guitar style known as the Piedmont fingerstyle.  It is characterized by a fingerpicking approach in which a regular, alternating thumb bass string rhythmic pattern supports a syncopated melody using the treble strings generally picked with the fore-finger, occasionally others.[2]

His versatility as a musician allowed him to create the intersection of blues, folk, and gospel. His mastery of each idiom truly stood him apart.

The folk revival of the 1960s jettisoned Davis’s career. He performed at the Newport Folk Festival. Peter, Paul and Mary recorded his version of “Samson and Delilah“, also known as “If I Had My Way”.

Reverend Gary Davis who never had any children of his own, proudly claimed these guitar students as his sons. Thankfully for you and I they honor his tutelage by paying it forward.

 

Thank God for Eddie Kramer

I arose early to experience in full,  Both Sides of the Sky, the third album in a posthumous trilogy featuring the best of Jimi Hendrix’s unreleased studio recordings. The Authorized Hendrix Family Edition includes a 24-page booklet filled with rare photos and detailed liner notes.  I sip my morning coffee and delve into the writings of co-producer John McDermott to increase my perspective about the significance of these 13 recordings.

Both

I’ve always admired producer and engineer Eddie Kramer. He is more than just the Jimi Hendrix archivist. NPR Music wrote a piece about him yesterday, Eddie Kramer Completes Posthumous Jimi Hendrix Trilogy With ‘Both Sides Of The Sky’

Eddie Kramer is our conduit to the artistic magic of Jimi Hendrix.

Kramer says he still hears Hendrix’s voice in his head directing him in the studio.

“He did have a tendency to describe sounds in colors,” Kramer says. “If he said, ‘Hey, man, give me some of that green,’ I knew exactly what he meant; it was reverb. Or if he said, ‘Hey, man, more red,’ I knew it was distortion. And then if it went purple, it was really stupid distortion.”

Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock & Soul in Music’s Hometown

One of my favorite music authors is Robert Gordon. He just released his latest book , Memphis Rent Party: The Blues, Rock & Soul in Music’s Hometown with Bloomsbury Publishing.

Memphis Rent Party

“Robert’s feel for his subject is very similar to the subjects’ feel for their music. Blues, being the wellspring of all American music for over a century, is always worth studying. Robert does it right.” –  Keith Richards

Give it a glance. Robert Gordon, a Memphis native citizen has been writing about Memphis music and history for thirty years.

If you plan to be in LA on April 26th, this related event may be of interest to you.
https://www.grammymuseum.org/events/detail/memphis-rent-party/

Two Trains Runnin’ – Grammy 2018 Nominated

The Grammy 2018 Nominations were announced today for the 60th Grammy Awards to take place at Madison Square Garden. They will air January 28th at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.

This category caught my eye.

Best Music Film:

One More Time With Feeling — Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
Long Strange Trip — (The Grateful Dead)
The Defiant Ones — (Various Artists)
Soundbreaking— (Various Artists)
Two Trains Runnin’ — (Various Artists)

I have seen three of the five films (marked in bold) this year.  I have yet to process Nick Cave after trying several times to listen to him and his band on Spotify and Apple Music. Perhaps when I see the One More Time With Feeling documentary I will get the video/audio syntax I need to appreciate him better. Adds this film to my to-do list.

Being an active blues historian I was surprised to have not read about Two Trains Runnin’ until today. I am eager to see this documentary as soon as its distribution widens.

I