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…
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?
This is a heartbreaking blues written for the girls who were killed in the Birmingham, AL church bombing in 1964. I really hate the word plaintive, but I think that best describes Coltrane’s playing and tone on this composition. McCoy Tyner’s playing is also near perfect, hitting the II-V cadences just so, floating just behind the beat. This is definitely high on my list of all time favorites.
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.
This tune really drives along like a freight train. This is a great example of the hill country blues of Northern Mississippi, not that far from where the Southern cross the Dog. R.L. Burnside is one of the great players in that genre of blues.
Wicked cool as they say here in Massachusetts. This dude really does have a Ry-Cooder-rumble kind of feel to his playing, rocking that Fender Mustang. This is one way out of the all-too-usual shuffle blues beat.
This is a great version of my favorite Woody Guthrie tune, played on the guitar like a Sun House slide composition. Guthrie was such a heart-wrenching songwriter, and Cooder is a great interpreter. This is a blues for the dust-bowl common man.
Source: Sun Ra Discography at Discogs
This is a decent discography of Sun Ra’s recorded works, but it still doesn’t approach the detail of Robert Campbell’s The Earthly Recordings of Sun Ra. At several hundred pages, it is an essential resource for any researcher or fan of Sun Ra’s music, full of session info, musicians’ credits, copyright info, etc., all indexed according to compositions, recordings, and musicians. Great stuff to geek out on.
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.
Bass player Tony Levin’s website archives. New site at tonylevin.com.
Source: Tony Levin’s Road Diary
Tony Levin is a greatly creative musician, but also a prolific blogger. His posts are primarily photos with short blurbs, but he’s been doing it since the mid-1990s. Despite all of this, Levin is an incredibly humble player. My all-time favorite electric bassist, for sure (Mingus would be my favorite upright player).