Recollections of the hunter and his prey
About this blog
On the hunt for:
- Articles of Faith-Give Thanks LP
- Bhopal Stiffs 10 song demo tape
- Black Cat Bones-Barbed Wire Sandwich LP
- Blues Creation - Live LP
- Freddie Hubbard-Black Angel LP
- Henry Franklin - The Skipper LP
- Herbie Hancock-Flood LP
- Mount Everest Trio - LP
- Neu!-75 LP
- Revenant - Prophecies of a Dying World LP
- Sam Cooke-Ain't That Good News LP
- Sam Cooke-Night Beat LP
- Strike Under-Immediate Action 12" EP
- The Effigies-Haunted Town 12" EP
- The Virgil Lights - (anything else out there besides the 45?)
- Watchtower-Energetic Disassembly LP
- Witchcraft-s/t LP
Thursday, October 30, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
"Leadbelly is generally thought of as a folk singer. But one look at the man and you can tell that he lived the blues. He had a scar on his neck, ear to ear, from a knife fight. The fight ended because he was left for dead. In 1917 Leadbelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for killing a man in Texas. He literally sang his way to freedom eight years later by writing a song for the governor and obtaining a pardon. Instant Replay. In 1930 Leadbelly was sentenced to ten years in a Louisiana prison for assault with intent to kill. He composed a song for the governor, and by 1935 he was out of prison, making his first commercial recordings. They were blues (What else?)"
"Robert Johnson sang primitive blues about women. His references were earthy and only thinly disguised. He lived the life he sang about and which ultimately killed him."
"Country blues artists are usually distinguished from city blues artists by almost exclusive use of guitar accompaniment or other semi-legitimate instruments like kazoos, harmonicas, jugs, slide whistles, washboards and washtub basses. City blues artists are generally accompanied by piano, and guitar, bass, drums and occasionally one or more brass and reed instruments. The style of a country blues artist is generally more primitive and direct than that of a city blues performer."
Several months back I read Marybeth Hamilton's In Search of the Blues. Here is a brief synopsis (courtesy of Amazon):
Leadbelly, Robert Johnson, Charley Patton-we are all familiar with the story of the Delta blues. Fierce, raw voices; tormented drifters; deals with the devil at the crossroads at midnight.
In this extraordinary reconstruction of the origins of the Delta blues, historian Marybeth Hamilton demonstrates that the story as we know it is largely a myth. The idea of something called Delta blues only emerged in the mid-twentieth century, the culmination of a longstanding white fascination with the exotic mysteries of black music.
Hamilton shows that the Delta blues was effectively invented by white pilgrims, seekers, and propagandists [i.e. record collectors] who headed deep into America’s south in search of an authentic black voice of rage and redemption. In their quest, and in the immense popularity of the music they championed, we confront America’s ongoing love affair with racial difference.
I found this book fascinating unlike most music-related books out there, primarily because its theme of the search for authenticity is relevant beyond an understanding of the blues or the manias of record collectors. In this book, white record collectors and other researchers had preconceived notions of what black music was supposed to represent. To them, the blues represented the uncorrupted black experience, and they had little tolerance for the nuances, subtleties, contradictions, and emotions that are not only part of life, but that did not fit into a rigidly constructed idea of authentic black music that is only about oppression, sorrow, and misery.
According to the reviews on Amazon, it seems some people are pretty upset about Hamilton's claims and attack her for supposedly lacking real knowledge of the blues. But, this book isn't really about the blues per se, but about those who recorded, collected, listened, promoted, and marketed the blues.
Looking at some the blues records I own, I am now struck by how much Hamilton’s story rings true. Much of the liner notes that accompany the records tend to stress the authenticity of the artist as a selling point, rather the music on its own merits.
"John Lee Hooker is one of the few authentic blues artists left in this country today.... While Jazz is still a struggling infant and spirituals are on the uprise in America, authentic blues is being sung less and less throughout the county."There is no deliberate snubbing of this art form; on the contrary, it is most welcomed. The truth of the matter is that the authentic blues of the John Lee Hooker type was spawned and nurtured in the misery, ignorance, and destitution of the Negro in a particular American society. "
"In contrast to the ballad, which tends to present an over-idealization of life, blues presents a factual accounting which more often than not is sad rather than happy. The blues tells of trouble, of faithless men and women, of disaster. But with a true human touch, it also tells of hope....""Many of the aforementioned aspects of folk music and blues will be readily discernible in these sides by Howlin' Wolf. His primitive quality, it may be stated, goes hand-in-hand with the authenticity of his material. Like all folk artists, Howlin' Wolf is a songwriter too, and the songs in this album are all his own. In the true folk tradition, the story each song tells is straight from the heart of Howlin' Wolf."
Friday, October 17, 2008
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Here are two records from Crown Records: The Winners-Checkered Flag, and The Hot Rodders-Big Hot Rod. Both of these records were picked out by my wife at the most recent Albuquerque Record Show held on September 28th.
Crown Records was a budget label for the Bahari Brothers, who ran Modern and RPM labels. It started in 1957 and continued for about a dozen years, earning itself the reputation of the king of the junk record labels. Aside from endlessly reissuing the legitimate hits that were on Modern and RPM, and the B.B. King material, what Crown had to offer was musical junk food on plastic plates. The covers and the vinyl were cheaply made, fell apart almost instantly, and the records sounded worn out right out of the package.
- ▼ 2008 (20)