Friday, April 30, 2010
News and Notes
The latest issue of Living Blues features a cover story on a bluesman who varies a bit from the norm. Corey Harris started out playing acoustic country blues in a pre-war vein, but has gradually expanded his sound with each album release, tracking the genre's own journey over time, mixing elements of New Orleans, the Caribbean, and African music. While I prefer his earlier work with acoustic blues to his current reggae leanings (mainly because while there are plenty of people out there playing reggae, there are not so many playing country blues), I respect an artist who refuses to be pigeonholed and takes risks with his music. Besides, he's still one of the most important young voices of the modern blues scene. This beautiful track, "Honeysuckle," is from one of Harris' best CD's, 1999's Greens From The Garden.
There's also a feature on Living Blues during the 1980's, with old pictures and a list of 30 of the best albums of the decade, along with 30 that you might have missed. I had a nice portion of both lists in my collection and found it hard to disagree with their choices. Check out the latest issue and see what you think.
Blues Bytes online. This is one of the biggest issues ever, with reviews of some great new releases, some of which I previewed here a few weeks ago. The new release by the Holmes Brothers is the Pick Hit this month and there are also reviews of new discs from the Mannish Boys, Kirk Fletcher, Coco Montoya, and Guitar Shorty. I did the Flashback review, which covers two discs recorded on the same day in 1979, Buddy Guy's Stone Crazy! and Junior Wells' Pleading the Blues. While most blues fans are familiar with the Buddy Guy release, the Junior Wells effort (which features Guy on guitar) is one that you certainly need to check out if you've previously missed it.
Memphis in May festivities this weekend, beginning April 30 and going through the weekend. There's some major talent there each night, beginning on Friday with Joanne Shaw Taylor, Kenny Brown, Jimmy Thackery, Kenny Neal, Coco Montoya, and Jeff Beck. Saturday, there's Alvin Youngblood Hart, the Burnside Brothers, Blind Mississippi Morris, the North Mississippi Allstars, Walter Trout, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, and Bobby "Blue" Bland. Sunday, you've got Janiva Magness, Booker T. & the M.G.'s, John Hiatt, Hubert Sumlin, and Sonny Landreth. That's just scratching the musical surface in May for Memphis, because next week (May 6) is the annual Blues Music Awards (see list of nominees here). More on that next week. Meanwhile, check out Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi from the last Crossroads Guitar Festival DVD, covering a song by another Derek......."Anyday" from Clapton's "Derek & the Dominos" period.
For nearly twenty years, Fred Sanders has been a staple of the Beale Street scene in Memphis. On nice days, you can often catch him playing in Handy Park. He was house guitarist at Club Paradise for seven years, playing with B. B. King, Bobby "Blue" Bland, and Albert King, and was a member of the Memphis Blues Caravan. About ten years ago, someone got him in the studio and he cut a very good album that is well worth tracking down. Here's Sanders from around this time last year, playing the old B. B. King chestnut, "Why I Sing The Blues," in Handy Park.
Before we sign off, please send get-well wishes to T-Model Ford, who suffered a mild stroke earlier in the week, according to a post on Blues-L. The post states that he's at home and has use of his limbs, but is limited on one side of his body. Ford was a big part of the recent M for Mississippi documentary and is still going strong in his late 80's. Hopefully, he will be back on his feet soon.