Fife and Drum in Como, MS – Cultural Equity Research Center

Source: Cultural EquityResearch Center

This is some of the funkiest music I’ve heard in a long time, I like that the fife is playing in a major scale while the voice repeats a phrase and the drums lock it down (“Oree”); “Jim and John” is more about the lyrics, but the accent is very heavy, difficult for me to understand; “On That Rock” is church music with a great drum groove; then there is the guitar and fiddle music like “Joe Turner,” sounding like fiddle band pre-blues, the rhythm sounding a lot like the Rolling Stones’s “Country Honk”; then the polyrhythmic bottleneck playing of Fred McDowell, “Write Me a Few of Your Lines,” and “Shake ‘Em On Down,” and the magnificent “Sun Rose This Morning,” with the cheesy kazoo playing not quite distracting from the brilliance of the guitar playing; all of this from Lomax’s 1959 Southern recording trip. read more

R.L. Burnside – Mississippi Hill Country Blues – Full Album – YouTube

I love the Mississippi hill country blues, especially R.L. Burnside and Fred McDowell. Some of the coolest grooves in blues – lots of texture and rhythm for a more individual, vocal-style playing on the guitar. Burnside has some more modal-type grooves and longer-form melodic ideas, where McDowell has these brilliantly contrapuntal lines that mimic the voice of the singer and the voice of a church response. I much prefer McDowell’s version of “Shake em all down,” but grooves like “Poor Black Mattie” are the stuff of music. And his version of “Deep Blue Sea Blues”/”Rolling Stone”/etc. is very deep and modal; “Rolling and Tumbling” is killer good, I love that he is able to pitch his voice in the bottom and mid registers of the key of the moment, and then in the next tune hit the mid and low-upper registers; “I believe, I believe my time ain’t long,” McDowell also did a version of this tune; “Poor boy, a long way from home,” again, both Burnside and McDowell do versions of this tune, but with this tune their versions are very different; “Jumper Hanging on the Line,” he’s got something on his mind… read more

Houndog Taylor – Give me Back My Wig – YouTube

Ferocious slide playing when it’s his time to shine, subtle when playing behind the tune, I swear the amp has already blown, when the solo kicks in the whole thing, guitar and amp, just scream with pain and joy… that was a presumptuous observation…let me say that the part really roars and sings, in my opinion, a little out of tune, but nasty out of tune. I love it.

Give me back my wig, goddamit, can’t you see I’m bald without?

Adrian Belew Electronic Guitar Instructional Video, lesson – YouTube

I have to say that, though I am primarily a blues guitarist, I am a real fan of Adrian Belew’s playing. The guy has a real ear and mind for using technology to bend the guitar to his will. Sometimes I think, though, that the technology leads him rather than the other way around. I would love to be able to make the screeching and ambient sounds he is able to come up with, though I think I would have a tone heart attack if I had that many effects in my signal chain.

Definitely a unique musician. read more

Sonny Landreth – The Ultimate Slide Guitar Lesson – YouTube

What a great guitar player. Landreth really breaks down the nuts and bolts of playing electric slide guitar, bringing out some of the subtleties of vibrato and string dampening. He also has a great way of showing off his behind-the-slide fretting to create different scale and chordal textures. Great stuff.