I was recently told that I shouldn’t use a space between blog headlines and exclamation points. Such things were taught in 1st grade. I wasn’t aware of how far our first grade education has come since the advent of Web 2.0. This blog style guide has been updated and enrolled in the 1st grade.
I am returning from Paris where I met up with my wife for our first Thanksgiving together. She is wrapping up a study abroad program in Prague, and what could be more romantic than Paris? Nothing it turns out. Lots of thing would be more romantic than waiting in the bar at JFK for a place into RDU after you’ve been on stand by for the last two planes out of the terminal.
I normally store all my music on an external hard drive or on discs they come on, so I don’t have a lot of options or themes for this post away from home. I only have some odds and ends, starts really of larger posts about these songs, accept these for now. They are not from the prewar era, but are two different takes on how to approach preforming these songs today. I feel like Jack Rose is the best at doing these in a way that would please the blog readers. Stephan Mathieu takes a different approach in his drone version of Washington Phillips. The press release describes the instrumentation as “…as been performed on a historic Phonoharp No.2 zither from the 1890s utilizing five E-Bows and entropic and convolution processes.” His blog explains his work better than I ever could, and has some great pictures of his installations. Check it Out here.
Jack Rose – Dark Was The Night (2008)
Jack Rose – Dark Was The Night (2004)
Stephan Mathieu – Key To the Kingdom pt. 1 (2009)
Stephan Mathieu – Key To The Kingdom pt. 2 (2009)
Let’s first start off with life update aka reason blog hasn’t been updated. I’m getting married on Friday (and Saturday) and the wedding planning and whatnot has been taking up a lot of my after work time. I also bought a house and moved to Durham, which took up the rest of my time. I’ll be away on honeymoon to San Diego for the week following. I’m going to give a seal a big hug.
The Puzzling case of the Fiery Furances’ new track I’m Going Away: It is being noted in all the P.R. that the title track lyrics are being credited to Trad. The guitar riff is sounds like its from John Lee Hooker , but those lyrics? At first I assumed it would be a take on Frank Stokes’ side, but there’s very few similarities between those two songs and even less between the track and Elizabeth Cotten or Ralph Willis or any blues song I know – so I’m asking, what is it adapted from?
Fiery Furances – I’m Going Away (2009)
John Lee Hooker – I’m Going Away (1951)
Elizabeth Cotten – I’m Going Away (1965)
Ralph Willis – I’m Going Away (1951)
Frank Stokes – I’m Going Away (1927)
Dark Was The Night is my favorite song of all time, let me first say that.
There is a new charity compilation by Red Hot called Dark Was The Night with a bunch of indie bands doing mostly covers , and like all things like this is pretty hit and miss. Antony (of Antony and the Johnson’s) does a great cover of the Bob Dylan B-Side “I Was Young When I Left Home” and Sharon and the Dap-Tone’s cover of Inspiration Information is equally excellent.
Kronos Quartet takes on Blind Willie Johnson’s Dark Was The Night and it leaves me confused. I’ve listened to it a dozen times or so and i can’t really pick out if i like or hate it – it’s this rambling confusing take on the side and I just can’t wrap my head around if it’s successfully or not – which isn’t a shining recommendation I know, but download and let me know what ya’ll think.
Kronos Quartet – Dark Was The Night (2009)
Daptone Records (home of the wonderful Sharon Jones, among others) head went down to Panola County, Mississippi to record local gospel singers – this record is a sampler of sorts – showcasing what he recorded and introducing some of the acts who will be releasing albums on their own later. The trip is documented here through a series of videos about each artist.
The quality over all is excellent – the arrangements are fresh and exciting and there is just no doubt the sheer power of these voices. These are my two favorites – Como Mamas ft. Mary Moore, a family group that sing with an urgency that’s not often heard in modern gospel music. M other favorite track is from the eldest members, husband and wife duo Brother and Sister Walker, on this disc and they only ones who were present during one of Lomax’s trips through their county, a trip that found Fred McDowell among others.
Como Mamas ft. Mary Moore – Trouble In My Way (2006)
Brother and Sister Walker – Help Me To Carry On (2006)
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Charlie Louvin released a new gospel album, revisited some of his classic gospel songs from his Louvin Brothers days as well as some new takes on classic standards. Overall I find the disc rather middling – it lacks the punch of last years self-titled disc that brought him back into the music. Most of the problems lie in the production that’s overly sweet for Louvin’s voice these days – but I do find his new take on “There is a Higher Power,” the only song on this disc that makes appropriate use of the gospel choir that is featured on all the tracks.
Charlie Louvin – There Is A Higher Power (2008)
Charlie Louvin – Where We’ll Never Grow Old (2008)
Oh Non-Blues Fridays where have you gone?
The Blakes are new fantastic garage rock band hailing from all points of North America – and while they have some of the post-Strokes garage rock world hang-ups they manage to sound fresh and most importantly fun as they plow through their new LP. My favorite track is the lead one which sounds a bit like the Dirtbombs, if the Dirtbomb had covered Sam Cooke. This song is a monster – and guaranteed to get you moving in yr cubicle this Friday morning.
Buy It !
The Blakes – Two Times
I’ve been in and out of town for the last couple of weeks – and the next couple of weeks coming up – but I’m trying to post a bunch during my “home” time to catch up. I got stuck in Dulles for like five hours – into the wee hours of the morning, but luckily Dulles is unlike almost every airport I’ve been trapped in recently and had free wireless – so I spent some quality with eMusic and my MacBook. I found this blues guy, Blind Will Dukes who recorded a few tracks in the late 70s pretty much parroting Robert Johnson. There isn’t much if any information on the internet about Duke which makes me think that his name has been misreported on a few releases. Despite the lack creativity in his sound – his voice sells the song – and got me through the night.
Blind Will Duke – Dead Shrimp Blues
New Stagolee track from the (awesome) soundtrack to Tarantino’s Death Proof, that also features Joe Tex and Eddie Floyd. The track is a pretty close telling of the story by Pacific Gas and Electric. I hadn’t heard of this 70s soul/funk band before Thomas sent me this track – but it is so awesome, I’m ordering their albums today.
Pacific Gas & Electric – Staggolee (1969)
I’m pretty out of touch of what the new blues punk kids are doing, which is a shame because from what do hear it sounds pretty awesome. Atlanta’s Black Lips have been doing this blues punk thing for a few years now, and just released their first live album recorded in a Mexican bar – and it’s fantastic. The bar gives the record a feel that in moments recalls the best of Etta James’ live album from 1953 in front of a rowdy Memphis bar crowd. This track Boone doesn’t capture the feel of the bar as much some of the other ones, but it is such a fantastic in your face blues punk performance it doesn’t really matter.
Black Lips – Boone (2007)
The new movie Black Snake Moan does not come out until March 2nd (Friday!!), but here at Honey H.Q. we’ve gotten our hands on the soundtrack which features Samuel L. Jackson doing a few classic blues numbers. Jackson plays an aging bluesman in the movie – and I’m guessing sings these songs during the course – as there is a lot of ambient nosies and dialog in the background of these tracks, especially before Black Snake Moan where he tells a story about his own personal blues and how his wife the did him wrong. Jackson learned how to play guitar for the role and it comes off well, but the star of course his his voice which is perfectly suited for the blues.
Black Snake Moan is left more or less the same as when Blind Lemon Jefferson first sang it in 1927 but his take on Stagolee is a very loose take on the tale that doesn’t feature a gambling match, Stetson hat or any real reason for the murder. It’s sort of a mix between Snatch and the Poontangs and a R.L. Burnside telling of the song which isn’t my favorite by any stretch of imagination, but Jackson sells it a lot better than Burnside. For those keeping up with our ongoing Stagolee project, this Burnside number is new to the list. I’ve also posted a bunch of other takes on the classic Black Snake Moan, my favorites are either Lemon’s original or Rosa Henderson’s female take on the song.
R.L Burnside – Staggolee (2001)
Samuel L. Jackson – Stackolee (2007)
Samuel L. Jackson – Black Snake Moan (2007)
Blind Lemon Jefferson – That Black Snake Moan (1927)
Blind Lemon Jefferson – Black Snake Moan
Blind Lemon Jefferson – Black Snake Moan No. 2
Brownie McGhee – Black Snake Moan (1951)
Lead Belly – Black Snake Moan (1935)
Rosa Henderson – Black Snake Moan (1927)
Martha Copeland – Black Snake Moan (1927)
Cobb and Underwood – Black Snake Moan (1930)