Friday, October 13, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Ten

We're past the halfway point with our first Blues Fix Mix CD.  The most important thing to remember about a mix CD is that you have to put as much music as technologically possible on it, meaning you have to get as close to 80 minutes worth of content as you can, especially if you're a bit on the dorky side, like I am.  Therefore, when we're done, we will have a CD full of great blues tunes.

Our tenth track comes from one of the most prominent blues figures of the late 60's/early 70's.....actually the latter part of the 20th Century would fit there.  Taj Mahal (born Harry St. Clair Fredericks) started out playing acoustic blues, later expanding to electric blues, soul and R&B, reggae, Caribbean, folk, gospel, Latin, West African, and even Hawaiian music.  While doing that, he never strayed far from his acoustic blues roots, and has continued to make some excellent music over the past fifty years.

Back in the 70's, when they had this thing called record stores, one could always find a few Taj Mahal recordings on the shelves......he recorded for many years on the Columbia label, which was a major recording label (and still is, though now part of Sony Music) during that time, which guaranteed his recordings would have pretty wide distribution.  If Mahal had only recorded his first three albums, his self-titled debut, The Natch'l Blues, and the double LP Giant Steps would have cemented his place in the blues pantheon.

Mahal was able to help update, therefore revive, the country blues sounds of the 30's and 40's.  While he may not sound like anything special nowadays, just remember that when he first started doing this around 1967/68, there was nobody else in the blues world, or the rock world for that matter, who sounded like him.  It was a refreshing new take on the blues and his influence can be heard in a number of more recent artists, such as Alvin Youngblood Hart, Keb' Mo', Guy Davis, and Corey Harris.

I had to include my favorite Taj Mahal song, "She Caught The Katy and Left Me a Mule To Ride," from The Natch'l Blues.  Mahal wrote this song with Yank Rachell, the master of blues mandolin who began his career in the 30's and was active until his death in 1987, and it has become one of his most famous compositions.  It's been covered many times and many people will recognize it from the Blues Brothers' rendition over the opening credits of their 1980 movie, which made sense because it was one of John Belushi's favorite blues songs.  As you can hear below, Belushi had excellent taste in blues songs.

All of Taj Mahal's music is great, regardless of the genre he was exploring at the time.  Blues fans will enjoy his self-titled debut, The Natch'l Blues, both released in 1968, or more modern fare like Senor Blues (1997) or TajMo, his recent collaboration with Keb' Mo'. 

Friday, October 6, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Nine

One of my favorite albums from my early days as a blues fan was the first volume of the Antone's Tenth Anniversary celebration, a live show which took place at the Austin club back in 1985.  I wrote about this album in great detail here about three and a half years ago.  I have an iPod Shuffle that I use to work of the tiny ones that you can clip to a shirt sleeve or belt loop....that will hold about 400 - 450 songs.  I have five songs from this album on that iPod, and could possibly include a few more.  It was actually one of the first live blues albums that I owned and it was a very energetic set of tunes by some of the genre's legends.

I've mentioned this track several times before, so it shouldn't be a surprise to longtime readers that I would include it.......Otis Rush's inspired reading of "Double Trouble," one of the classic tunes he recorded for Cobra Records during the late 1950's.  Though relatively brief at around 3:45, it's an action-packed 3:45.  Rush's vocal is one of his most intense and his piercing guitar work is awesome.  I've heard a lot of Rush's live recordings (and posted about them here) and to me, this is near the top of the heap for me.

Rush is one of my favorite blues artists, and has been for a long time.  I've always thought that his style would appeal to new blues fans because of his strong, soul-influenced vocals and his versatile guitar style, which mixes his own distinct qualities with influences from others such as B.B. King, Albert King, T-Bone Walker, and jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell.  When you listen to a collection of Otis Rush songs, you will hear hints of those other influences, but for this version of "Double Trouble," Otis is playing nothing but Otis.  Check it out!!!

Your Blues Fix Mix CD (Volume One) to date......

Track 1:  "Cold Women With Warm Hearts," Magic Slim & the Teardrops
Track 2:  "Son of Juke," Billy Branch
Track 3:  "Feel Like Blowing My Horn," Robert Lockwood, Jr.
Track 4:  "Big Boy Now," Big Jack Johnson
Track 5:  "Blues Man," B.B. King
Track 6"  "Four Cars Running," Larry Garner
Track 7:  "Cadillac Blues," Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents
Track 8:  "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues," Skip James
Track 9:  "Double Trouble" (Live), Otis Rush

More to come.........

Friday, September 29, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Eight

For track 8 of our Blues Fix Mix CD, I decided that a change of pace was in order, so we're looking a a pre-war blues artist this week, but with a twist. One of my favorite pre-war blues artists (for those new to the blues, "pre-war" actually indicates the time prior to World War II) is Nehemiah "Skip" James, the enigmatic artist from Bentonia, MS who introduced the Bentonia style of blues to the world.  James recorded for Paramount Records in 1931 and the recordings that survived over the years are considered masterpieces of recorded blues not just for the era, but for all time.

James' style was something that you couldn't immediately get over.  His voice was an haunting falsetto and his guitar worked coupled finger-picking with a hypnotic bass line, which gave it a totally unique sound.  Even in those horribly scratchy recordings for Paramount, which have been cleaned up about as much as they possibly could, you get that James was a unique blues artists.  There were only a few artists who played in the Bentonia style......there are still only a few that do.

I didn't really want to put one of his Paramount sides on a mix CD......remember these were set up for new listeners, who I didn't figure would have the patience to endure the scratchy quality of the recordings (That being said, once you get a taste of Skip James' music, I strongly suggest that you check these recordings out.  They're are on a par with the recordings of Son House, Bukka White, and yes, Robert Johnson).  Fortunately, even though James basically vanished from sight after his Paramount recordings.....they didn't sell very well and he only received $40 and a train ticket for his efforts, so he opted to become an ordained minister, also driving a tractor and working as a supervisor on various plantations......he was rediscovered by blues fans in the early 60's and was able to perform and record again.

James' best post-war recordings were for Vanguard Records.  His Today! release was the first time I heard him and it was amazing.  The recording was crystal clear, one of the best recordings of the rediscovered Mississippi country blues artists, and he really seemed to be at the height of his powers, almost like it was just 1932 instead of 1964.  He sounded incredible as he re-created many of his old songs, plus a few new ones. He was in the hospital when he was found, and sadly, he battled illness for most of his "Comeback" years, passing away in 1969.  The song I selected for our Blues Fix Mix CD was the opening track on Today!  "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues" really showcases James' haunting vocals and his delicate guitar picking and, trust me, that's only the tip of the iceberg.

If you'd like to read more about Skip James, check out this FBF post from 2013.

Your Blues Fix Mix CD (Volume One) to date......

Track 1:  "Cold Women With Warm Hearts," Magic Slim & the Teardrops
Track 2:  "Son of Juke," Billy Branch
Track 3:  "Feel Like Blowing My Horn," Robert Lockwood, Jr.
Track 4:  "Big Boy Now," Big Jack Johnson
Track 5:  "Blues Man," B.B. King
Track 6"  "Four Cars Running," Larry Garner
Track 7:  "Cadillac Blues," Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents
Track 8"  "Hard Time Killin' Floor Blues," Skip James

More to come.........

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Seven

In the late 90's, a new record label had surfaced, Cannonball Records.  The first recording I ever saw from the label was a CD by Bernard Allison, the son of the recently departed Luther Allison. When I bought it, the first thing I noticed was the little ball bearing-sized "cannonball" that was placed in the corner of the CD case.  It slid up and down as you moved the cool!!  The CD was also pretty cool and showed that the younger Allison had big things ahead of him, fact, FBF subjected Mr. Allison to Ten Questions a few years ago, and you will hear one of his songs from that particular album later on in this mix CD.

Since I enjoyed that particular CD so much, I decided to go a bit deeper into Cannonball's group of recording artists and I discovered Johnnie Bassett, a Detroit blues man who deftly combined urban blues, jump blues, jazz, and even a bit of the Delta into his brand of blues.  One day while thumbing through the blues section in a Camelot Music store, I found Bassett's Cannonball debut, Cadillac Blues, and purchased it without hearing a single tune.  

I was pleasantly surprised with my purchase.  Bassett played guitar a lot like B.B. King.....just a crisp, clear ringing tone and his husky vocals were a plus as well.  The band featured horns, drums, and bass, the organ took care of the bass parts.  I found out later that Bassett had been around for a long time, backing Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, Nolan Strong, Andre Williams, Smokey Robinson & the Miracles, John Lee Hooker, Eddie Burns, and many many more, even releasing a few previous albums of his own, which I later bought and enjoyed.  The band played slow blues and shuffles and just had a great sound.....a straight-ahead Grade A blues band.

When I was compiling my first blues fix mix tape for a friend way back in the late 90's, I knew that I had to have at least one Johnnie Bassett track on it.  I was really into him at the time, having seen him perform at the 1999 Blues Music Awards (then called the Handy Awards), where he and Cadillac Blues had received five nominations that year.  Bassett even performed at the show, performing "Cadillac Blues" and "Party My Blues Away," the title track from his upcoming album on Cannonball.  

It was so cool to see him perform and afterward, as everyone walked from the Orpheum to Beale Street, we fell in behind him and his wife, walking hand-in-hand, with Bassett carrying his guitar case.  He later released a couple of other discs, which I haven't gotten to hear yet, and was pretty active until he passed away in 2012 after battling cancer.

Track Seven of our blues fix CD is "Cadillac Blues," from Johnnie Bassett & the Blues Insurgents.  If you've listened to a lot of blues, you've probably heard at least one song about an artist hoping for better times when he can just ride around with the lady of his choice in a brand new car, preferably a Cadillac, or maybe one who's living the life and has his own Cadillac.  Well, in this case, Mr. Bassett has one and he's on Cloud Nine.  This is one of my favorite blues songs ever, and I just love Bassett's smooth vocal, his crackling guitar, the band's funky backing, and the overall good vibe.  I hope you dig it too.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Six

One of the things that people like about the blues is that the songs usually are about subjects that everyone can relate to.  Just about everybody has experienced some sort of heartbreak (or caused a little bit), lost a job, lost all their money, or any number of other hard luck stories....and there have been hundreds or thousands of songs written about those subjects over the years.  The trick is to make it interesting when you sing about it, put your own personal twist on it......something that will make it stand out in the blues fan's mind.  These days, with nearly a century of blues songs recorded (and a healthy number of songs written before the recording days), it's really a challenge for new songwriters to come up with a fresh take on these subjects.

In the mid 90's, I found an album by one of the new faces on the blues scene:  Baton Rouge resident Larry Garner.  I had read about him in Living Blues several times, but it was really hard to find any of his music in a record store back in the pre-internet days.  He had only recorded a couple of albums on one label, the British label JSP, and there were hard to find in my neck of the woods.  However, in 1994, Garner released You Need To Live A Little on the Gitanes Jazz subsidiary of Verve Records. During this period of the 90's, Verve released several blues albums from a diverse group of blues artists like Johnny Copeland, Gatemouth Brown, Lucky Peterson, Joe Louis Walker, James Cotton, Buddy Scott, and Larry Garner.

That's a solid group of artists and all of those albums were enjoyable, to be sure.  Garner's was my favorite though.  I liked his guitar playing and the arrangements were creative, but the songs were the thing.  He wrote about everyday life events, things that might seem mundane to some folks, but to folks who were dealing with the type of things he wrote about, it was really cool to hear that somebody else was not only dealing with those things, too, but also writing songs about it.  Even familiar blues subjects were given a unique and fresh spin.

If you happen to follow Garner on Facebook, a lot of his observations sound like future songs.  He has a very common sense approach to addressing things, whether it's traveling to other land and meeting their residents, hanging out with his friends and mentors at home, dealing with family issues, or just making observations about life, food, and even politics.  He's got to be one of the most down to earth guys in the blues world and always has a minute or two for a fan, even this one.  He's actually agreed to do three different interviews for this blog, including the very first one!!

For our Blues Fix Mix CD, I had to include a Larry Garner tune, and I included what is one of my favorite of his tunes from You Need To Live A Little, "Four Cars Running," which finds Garner up to his neck in trying to keep up with his family responsibilities, including maintaining the vehicles of all of his family members.  This was always an amusing song to me, but never more so than in the last few months, when I suddenly found myself trying guessed it......KEEP FOUR CARS RUNNING!!  Dads all over the place (and Moms, too) can definitely relate to this tune.  It's nice to hear that we're not alone.  Here's Track Six of our Blues Fix Mix CD.......Larry Garner's "Four Cars Running."

Friday, September 8, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Five

To be sure, there are no definite guidelines to compiling a Blues Fix Mix CD, but if there were any, Guideline #1 would be that at least one B.B. King song be included.  I mean, how could you not include one?  The main question would be, of course, which one and there are so many to choose from over King's eight decades as an entertainer.....the so-called Vintage Years of his tenure with RPM and Crown Records from 1949 - 1962, or his long association with ABC-Paramount, later MCA, later Geffin Records from 1962 until his death in 2015.  What a body of work.

I decided to use one of my favorite of his later tunes, from his 1998 album, Blues on the Bayou.  This was the first album that King produced himself and he took his sweet time putting it together.....just he and his band playing a collection of old B.B. King songs and a few new B.B. King songs.  It was all done live in the studio, no overdubs, no bells and whistles.....just the blues played by the King of the Blues and his band.

"Blues Man," to me, is King sitting back and reflecting over his long career.  At the time he recorded this album, King was 73 years old and this song was no doubt a great representation of his thoughts at the time, and probably represented the feelings of many a blues man before and after him.....the long hours of travel and the long nights of work, followed by more long days of travel to the next town, the lonely days on the road, not seeing family for a long time, even not being able to keep family together, not having any money, or not enough to be able to do anything, even get to the next town.......but still hanging in for that big break, because "Good things come to those who wait."

Since King's death in 2015, listening to "Blues Man," makes me sort of sad, but at the same time, it's a perfect retrospective of his career in just over five minutes.  He waited a long time, too, but he did taste a huge amount of success over most of his career and was certainly was one of the most beloved figures in the blues, and will continue to be for a long time.  That  make me feel better.  Right now, sit back and relax and listen to Track Five of our Blues Fix Mix CD, B.B. King's "Blues Man."

So maybe not your first choice for the B.B. King song to include on a blues mix CD, but it's a good one.....understand?

I've traveled for miles around
It seems like everybody wanna put me down
Because I'm a blues man
But I'm a good man, understand

I went down to the bus station
Looked up on the wall
My money was too light, people
Couldn't go nowhere at all
I'm a blues man
But a good man, understand

The burdens that I carry are so heavy, you see
It seems like it ain't nobody in this great big world
That would wanna help old B
But I will be all right, people
Just give me a break
Good things come to those who wait
And I've waited a long time
I'm a blues man but a good man, understand
  • Writer(s): Riley B. King

Friday, September 1, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Four

For this week's selection, we selected a tune from one of my all-time favorite blues albums......the original soundtrack to Deep Blues, Robert Mugge's 1992 incredible documentary that looked at the early 90's blues scene in the Mississippi Delta that introduced a lot of blues fans to R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, Booba Barnes, Jessie Mae Hemphill, Lonnie Pitchford, Frank Frost, and Big Jack Johnson.  Well, it introduced me to several of them anyway.  I wasn't that familiar with Burnside or Kimbrough at the time.  I had heard or seen the other ones.....Frost on the movie Crossroads, Hemphill and Pitchford on a couple of documentaries shown on Mississippi Public Television, and Barnes from my recently-purchased copy of his Rooster Blues release, The Heartbroken Man.

I found out about Big Jack Johnson via his Earwig debut release, The Oil Man in the late 80's.  His guitar playing cut to the bone and just sent shivers down my spine.  I really enjoyed his songwriting, too.  It was so down-to-earth and covered situations that you could relate to.  Backtracking, I found out that he and Frank Frost and Sam Carr were renowned in the Delta as the Jelly Roll Kings, which led me to their self-titled album, also on Earwig and another one of my favorites.

I had heard about Deep Blues via Living Blues, but of course, the actual documentary didn't get within 150 miles of where I lived, so it was much later when I had the opportunity to actually watch it, but I was hoping that I could get my hands on the soundtrack.....which wasn't as easy as you might think.  Though it was on a subsidiary of a major label (Atlantic Records), it took a bit of time to track it down, but I managed to finally grab a cassette copy at a newly-opened record store nearby.  It was a wonderful collection, just bursting at the seams with energy and excitement, with sound that was so clear, you could hear the bottles clanking on the tables near the stage.  It would be impossible to pick a single favorite song, but I loved two of Big Jack Johnson's selections......."Catfish Blues" (coming in a future post) and "Big Boy Now," Track Four of our Blues Fix Mix CD.

Big Jack Johnson in a scene from Deep Blues
"Big Boy Now" is an autobiographical track about Johnson's childhood infatuation with the country singers he heard on the radio.....Johnny Cash, Roy Acuff, Hank Snow, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry.  Johnson used to want to yodel like those country singers, but his mom told him, "You can't do like them white folks on that radio," to which Johnson replied that oh yes, he could, "'cause I'm a big boy now and I can do what I please!" at which point he launches into a blue yodel that would rival his childhood favorites and then launches into a guitar solo that sounds like his instrument is strung with barbed wire.  It's a wild experience to hear on the CD and I can only imagine how it was to hear it in person.

One thing the song does make clear is how closely related blues and country music actually are.  Both originated in the same regions and both are similar in their delivery and subject matter, though the instrumentation and rhythms are different.  That wasn't always the case, though, because in their beginnings, at least their earliest recordings, both employed guitars, fiddles, piano, and harmonica, though they began to go their separate ways after electric instruments became the fashion.  Johnson, like a lot of his contemporaries (and some of his predecessors) grew up listening to what he could hear on the radio and in Mississippi, and most of them played both kinds of and western.  There were a lot of country music stations blaring away at night at maximum wattage, so that's what most people, regardless of race, listened to at night.  

Anyway, hope you enjoyed Track Four of our Ultimate Blues Fix Mix CD, and we hope you come back next week for Track Five.

Friday, August 25, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Three

The third track of our Blues Fix Mix CD was an easy one for me.  I became a fan of Robert Lockwood Jr.'s in the mid 90's, when I picked up several of his CDs.  There was no particular reason why I hadn't collected any of his work before, other than the fact that little of it was available on cassette that I could find, other than his Delmark release, Steady Rollin' Man (an essential release of his, to be sure).  I remembered seeing his name in the credits on several Chess blues releases from the 50's and 60's, many with Sonny Boy Williamson (Version II).

Lockwood was born in 1915 in Turkey Scratch, Arkansas, and learned to play guitar from Robert Johnson, who had an off and on relationship with Lockwood's mother for about ten years.  For many years, Lockwood was known as Robert Jr. Lockwood because of his professional and personal relationship with Johnson, and he played fish fries, street corners, juke joints, and house parties with Johnson, Williamson, and his longtime associate Johnny Shines around most of the Mississippi Delta.

Lockwood recorded a few 78's off and on during his early career, but was really in demand as a studio musician for most of the 50's and 60's, so he really didn't get into recording his own albums until he was in his 50's.  1970's Steady Rollin' Man was his first as a front man, but he really hit his stride in the 70's, recording a couple of albums for Trix and a tribute album to Johnson.  Along the way, he mastered the 12-string guitar and really expanded his style.  His own recordings also occasionally leaned toward jazz and swing and he combined all of his styles on his albums.

One of his later releases was in 1998 for Verve Records, I Got To Find Me A Woman.  It is my favorite of his albums.  B.B. King and Joe Louis Walker play on a couple of tracks and it's just a really cool set of songs, originals and covers of songs by his influences, Robert Johnson, Leroy Carr, and Roosevelt Sykes.

In fact, the Sykes song, "Feel Like Blowing My Horn," is Track 3 on our Blues Fix Mx CD.  Walker accompanies Lockwood on this song.  I included it for a couple of reasons.....first, I just like the gentle, reflective vibe that Lockwood conveys here, in contrast to Sykes' boisterous in.  You can feel the resignation in his voice, and the playing is just marvelous to me.  Second, in my first and, thus far, only trip to the BMA's, Lockwood performed this song on stage and I still get goose bumps thinking about it.  That was a lean year for the BMA's (still called the Handy's at that time) because a big overseas tour coincided with the date of the awards (something that probably wouldn't happen today) and Lockwood was one of the big stars who did show up (Walker actually hosted it that year).

Lockwood died in 2006 at 91, still playing a regular gig in Cleveland, OH at the time he passed away.  He didn't record a lot on his own, but he made the most of his opportunities.  Hopefully, when time allows, I will get to do a full post on Lockwood, one of the true characters of the blues.  In the meantime, here's Track 3 of our CD from Mr. Lockwood.  Enjoy!

Friday, August 18, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track Two

Welcome back.  As mentioned last week, I have compiled a couple of mix CDs for some of my friends who have just started listening to the blues and wanted a few suggestions about who and what to listen to as they start out.

Back in olden times, when FBF was a weekly email to some of my co-workers, a couple of them told me that they had compiled the music files I included in my emails into a mix tape.  I thought that was a good idea, so I started keeping all of my music files in a folder on my desktop.  I am now using the folder's contents to compile my mix CDs.

There's really no rhyme or reason to how I'm compiling them, other than I think they sound good together, sort of like if you were listening to them on the radio.  Most of the songs right now are older ones because I'm guessing that most new blues fans would be more familiar with new artists, having maybe heard them live somewhere, or maybe seen a clip on the internet.  Eventually, I will start including newer songs, too, but in the meantime, here's Track Two of Disc #1:

CD One, Track Two:  "Son of Juke," by Billy Branch (from Satisfy Me)

You can't have a really good blues mix CD without a few instrumentals mixed in, and this is our first.  One of my favorites is this track from Billy Branch's Satisfy Me CD, which was released in the late 90's on the House of Blues record label.  Blues newbies may wonder where the title, "Son of Juke" comes from.  It's an amped-up sequel to "Juke," blues harmonica legend Little Walter's early 50's smash hit on Chess Records.

At one time, Billy Branch was considered a young gun on the Chicago blues scene.  He toured with Willie Dixon's Chicago Blues All-Stars in the mid 70's, replacing the great Carey Bell.  Also in the 70's, Branch formed the Sons of Blues, a band that featured several second generation Chicago blues artists (guitarist Lurrie Bell, son of Carey, and drummer Freddie Dixon, son of Willie).  This group has recorded several albums over the years and also employed a number of other young blues stars like guitarist Carl Weathersby.

Branch has also appeared on well over 100 recordings, plus a dozen of his own, and continues to play festivals and teaches as part of the "Blues in the Schools" program that has brought the history of the music to numerous students in schools all over the world.  Once a promising young star, Branch is now one of the veterans in the Windy City.  Be sure to check out some of his recordings when you get an opportunity.  Meanwhile, here's "Son of Juke."

As a bonus, here's the groundbreaking original source, from Little Walter, circa 1952.  Branch counts Little Walter as one of his biggest influences.  Compare the two tracks and see for yourself.

Friday, August 11, 2017

A Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume One, Track One

Well, Friday Blues Fix is back!!  While it's still sort of hard to put together a lengthy post for now, we're going to try a little different format for now.  We will post on other blues-related items from time to time, too, as time permits, but today's post is similar to the Friday Blues Fix emails that I used to send out at work, which usually consisted of a song and a little bit of info about the song and artist.

Recently, I've met some new blues fans at work and around town.  Being new to the music, they've asked me questions about what and who to listen to.  To help them get a feel for the blues and give them the opportunity to hear a lot of different songs from different artists without them having to break the bank buying or downloading numerous albums or songs, I've compiled a couple of CD-R's to help them get their feet wet, so to speak.  What I thought I would do is use my old email format to present some of my favorite blues artists and songs from those homemade collections, so check back every week and see what we have to offer.

CD One, Track One:  "Cold Women With Warm Hearts," by Magic Slim and the Teardrops (from Gravel Road)

Magic Slim would have been 80 years old on August 7th, and hard as it is to believe, he's been gone for 4 1/2 years.  This was one of his first albums that I owned.  There was actually a time when there were very few Magic Slim albums available in the U.S.  In fact, this was his first release with Blind Pig Records, a label he spent over twenty years with.  The album came out in the early 90's, when John Primer served as his second guitarist.  One of the things I liked about this album was that Primer sang on three tracks.  To me, Primer was one of the most underrated artists in the Chicago Blues world, a potent force himself on vocals and guitar.

The song itself, "Cold Women With Warm House," kicks off Gravel Road and it's a great choice.  Slim recorded several live versions of this and the band always really settles into a groove every time, but this is my favorite version of it.  It was written by Sir Mack Rice, but was one of the highlights of Albert King's Truckload of Lovin' album from the mid 70's.  While I like King's version, Slim's rough and raw version knocks it out of the park to these ears.  Check out King's reading below and you be the judge.

FBF will continue to post a new track each week as time allows.  This will be a good chance for newer blues fans to build on their Blues Vocabulary and for older fans to revisit some old favorites.  Hope you enjoy!!

Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
If you got a woman that's cold
9 times outta 10 she can't be stole
If you got a woman that's hot as fire
You can wave your woman bye-bye
If she's hot she knows she's hot
Then you can't please her with what you got
Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
If you gotta woman that's hard to get
9 times outta 10 the lil' girl'll stick
If you gotta woman that talks to every man that hits
When you get home she might done split
If she listens to them long enough
You can wave bye-bye to your good good stuff
Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
(I say)
Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
If you gotta woman that don't like to laugh and grin
Aw buddy, she'll stay with you until the end
But if you gotta woman that likes to flirt
You can call your family doctor buddy 'cause you bout to get hurt
If you got a woman that can't count her fingers and toes
It's no telling how many men have seen exposed
Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
Cold women with warm hearts is my kind of woman
Written by Mack Rice • Copyright © Universal Music Publishing Group

Friday, February 24, 2017

Signing Off.......For Now

Though it pains me to do so, dear readers, your humble correspondent is going to have to shut things down at Friday Blues Fix for the near future.  Due to a lot going on at work and at home, plus a huge backlog of CDs that I really need to review for Blues Bytes, something has to give, and unfortunately, the blog is what will have to give....hopefully, just for a while.

We just celebrated our seventh year of blogging...having started in February of 2010.  It's been a lot of fun to share some of my favorite blues with you over that time.  It's been great to hear from people who read the blog on a regular basis.  I hope I was able to open your eyes and ears to some brand new blues or even some that you might have missed previously.....or introduced you to some old or new blues artists who are worth hearing.

I hope that one day in the near future, I will get caught up with the things that I have to do and I can rejoin the blogging world.  In the meantime, I invite you to check out some of our previous posts (over 350) and see what you might have missed the first time around.

It's been fun, fellow blues lovers.  Hopefully, we can do it again soon.  Thank you for all of your support and encouragement over the past seven years.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Mardi Gras Mambo - Looking at a Few Prime Mardi Gras Music Collections

This year, Mardi Gras falls on February 28th, which is still a week and a half away.  However, your friends at Friday Blues Fix want to keep our faithful readers ahead of the game, so we are taking this week's edition to recommend several great sets of Fat Tuesday-related tunes to help put a hop in your step over the remaining few days.  Just scroll down and check out these four fantastic collections of tunes.  You can thank us later.

Probably the most popular collection of Mardi Gras tunes is the Mardi Gras in New Orleans album that was released on Mardi Gras Records (what else?) about 40 years ago.  This set collects a dozen of the most popular Mardi Gras singles at the time.  The owner of the label, Warren Hildebrand, had been around New Orleans music his whole life.  His father owned All South, the city's largest wholesale record distributorship, supplying the New Orleans market with R&B 45's.  All South distributed ALL of the local singles, so Hildebrand had the brilliant idea to compile some of the best Mardi Gras singles onto this album.

For a long time, Mardi Gras in New Orleans was the ONLY collection of Carnival music available.  It's still one of the best with songs from many artists that will be familiar with New Orleans music fans......Professor Longhair's standard tunes, "Go To The Mardi Gras" and parts 1 and 2 of "Big Chief" are here, Earl King's funky "Street Parade" is, too, as are several of the funky R&B workouts from the Wild Magnolias, a Mardi Gras Indian group fronted by Bo Dollis, one of the most underrated R&B singers in the city.  There's also the classic "Carnival Time," by Al Johnson, the Hawketts' "Mardi Gras Mambo," and a two-part version of Stop, Inc's "Second Line."

For years, the album sold pretty well during Mardi Gras season, mainly  because it was only distributed locally for the most part.  In the early 80's, however, as more distributors came on board, it began to sell nationally much better.  I'm actually on my second first one was on cassette......and I can tell you that I pull it out every year about this time and play it several times.  It's that good and that much fun to listen to.

In 1991, Mardi Gras Records released the inevitable sequel to their fan favorite, Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Volume II.  This set included eleven tracks, including several from the Meters ("Hey Pocky Away," "Mardi Gras Mambo," and "They All Asked For You").  Meters keyboardist Art Neville was one of the high school students who made up the Hawketts, so he was revisiting "Mardi Gras Mambo."  There were also classic tunes from the Dixie Cups ("Iko Iko") and Sugarboy Crawford ("Jockomo"), a trio of songs from the Olympia Brass Band, and several modern Mardi Gras songs ("If I Ever Cease To Love," by A.J. Loria, and "Dat's Mardi Gras," from Jake the Snake, and "Mardi Gras Medley," from the Mardi Gras Big Shots.

While it is a nice change from Volume I, with the addition of the brass band numbers and the Meters sides, and it is a good, enjoyable album of Carnival songs, it's not as strong a set as the first volume.  There's not a thing wrong with it, but you definitely need Volume I before you get Volume II.  Mardi Gras Records ended up becoming a pretty good label of local talent, with albums from Professor Longhair, Milton Batiste, the Olympia Brass Band, Walter "Wolfman" Washington, Johnny Adams, and later ventured into the soul-blues market with albums from Peggy Scott Adams and Sir Charles Jones.  The label now has over 3,000 recordings of all kinds of Louisiana music.  Check out their site here for more information.

In the late 80's/early 90's, Rhino Records began releasing hit collections from many New Orleans groups.  Their wonderful 2-disc Neville Brothers history, Treacherous (later expanded to a third volume), remained the definitive Neville collection for a couple of decades, and they also released an awesome three-volume set of R&B favorites that spanned the 50's and 60's (now, sadly, out of print).

In 1992, Rhino released New Orleans Party Classics, a great 18-song set that includes a few tunes originally on Mardi Gras in New Orleans, plus songs from Dr. John, the Neville Brothers (in their own unit and with Mardi Gras Indian tribe, The Wild Tchoupitoulas), Huey "Piano" Smith, Allen Toussaint (the torrid instrumental "Whirlaway"), Frankie Ford, Fats Domino, and the Dirty Dozen and Rebirth Brass Bands.  This is a fine set to have as well, because it more or less builds on the concepts that the two Mardi Gras Records collections started.  It's really good to have the Neville Brothers play such a prominent role on this one, along with the two brass bands.  This one is fun to listen to all year long.  This one, too, inspired a sequel, which was released in 1999.

Around the same time as Rhino, Rounder Records began issuing new albums from New Orleans singers and bands.  They covered a lot of ground, embracing not only New Orleans R&B (Johnny Adams, Irma Thomas, Chuck Carbo, James Booker), but also blues (Marcia Ball, Walter "Wolfman" Washington), jazz (Alvin "Red" Tyler, Willie Tee, Tuts Washington), brass (Dirty Dozen and Rebirth Brass Bands), Mardi Gras Indians (Monk Boudreaux and the Golden Eagles, Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias), and Cajun/Zydeco (Beausoleil, Zachary Richard, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Buckwheat Zydeco), along with reissues of many classics from the 60's and 70's.

In 1992, the label compiled 18 songs into a collection called Mardi Gras Party.  This set has a little something for every music fan.....R&B, blues, Cajun/Zydeco, and jazz.  This was a really great listen for me because Rounder Records actually was the launching pad for my love of all Louisiana music.  I picked up several of these collections by Rounder in the early 90's and they led me to more music from many of these artists, who I heard for the first time on these collections.

These are only four collections of great music to celebrate the Mardi Gras season......there are many more to choose from.....maybe we'll track a few of those down during a future Mardi Gras celebration.  If I were getting started as a listener, I would pick up Mardi Gras in New Orleans first and work my way down the list, but you really can't go wrong with any of these albums.  Check them out and "Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler!!!!! "

Friday, February 10, 2017

New Blues For You - Literary Edition

This week, your humble correspondent has been away on business, working on professional development for his real job.  Therefore, discussion and thoughts about the blues have been few and far between for a few days.

During the summer, I picked up a few books to read during my idle time, then I realized that I didn't have any idle time.....well, not much anyway.  I managed to finish a couple of interesting blues-related books that would be well worth any other blues fan's idle time.  I picked up about five or six books this summer, thanks to a couple of Amazon birthday gift cards, and picked up another one to review for Blues Bytes in an upcoming issue.  We discussed Sliding Delta a few months back and talked with its author, William Baldwin, but these next couple of books are what I read after I finished that great book.......

A few months ago, FBF contributor Joe suggested that I read Dispatches From Pluto:  Lost and Found in the Mississippi Delta, by journalist Richard Grant.  Having lived in a cave for the past few years, I was unfamiliar with this book, but I found it in a book store during my birthday shopping this summer and picked it up.

A few years ago, Grant visited some friends from Oxford, MS and went with one of them to visit her family farm in Pluto, MS.  He fell in love with his friend's father's old home, a plantation home in a very isolated setting, and ended up buying the house and property, actually doing so before his girlfriend had ever even seen it.

Grant and his girlfriend make the move from NYC to MS, to the consternation of many of their city friend.  Pluto is in Holmes County, which is one of the poorest counties in Mississippi.  Grant takes a look at many aspects of life in Mississippi, particularly the Mississippi Delta.  He looks at poverty, crime, society, weather, hunting, race relations, and, of course, music in Mississippi, particularly the blues (note Po' Monkeys as the cover subject).

Though there is some focus on the blues in various chapters......Grant has a house party and invites a particular blues man to entertain and there is also a bit on a couple of other aging musicians.  The real focus is on Grant and his girlfriend's adjustment to living in Mississippi.  Grant is a great writer and that shows pretty regularly because he's able to tell the story so clearly and descriptively.  The characters at times seem to have sprung fully developed from a Faulkner novel, but I know people just like them and have all my life.  Their hospitality and generosity and remarkable to Grant and his girlfriend, who are used a city environment.

As a lifelong Mississippian, I found myself nodding and laughing at some of his discoveries and realizations, but some others really made me stop and think.....particularly in race relations.  I live about 25 miles or so from where the Civil Rights workers were slain in Philadelphia and I know that things have changed as far as race relations go......a lot, but I also know that, like everything, there's always room for improvement.  It's interesting to see this from the perspective of someone who is not a native.  The good thing is that he is very fair and clear in his assessment of relations.  It serves as a good read for Mississippians and for non-residents because it, hopefully, eliminates some of the stereotypes that have plagued the state for many years.  It's a very interesting book and there's is a focus on the blues and the environment from which it emerged.

I had been looking for a copy of Bobby Womack's autobiography for a couple of years and finally found one this summer.  My Story is exactly that, as written by Womack with Robert Ashton.  Womack tells his story from his early days as a kid in Ohio, one of five sons of a deeply religious mother and father, who steered them into gospel, where the were billed as the Womack Brothers.  The group, accompanied by their mother and father, who played organ and guitar, respectively, soon attracted the attention of Sam Cooke, who signed them to his SAR Records label, where they eventually evolved into the Valentinos and enjoyed some success on the pop and R&B charts, all of which came to a halt after Cooke's untimely death.  Womack recounts his early family life, his close relationship with Cooke (and nearly career-ending marriage to Cooke's widow, scant months after the singer's death).

Womack is fairly forthcoming about his life, his decisions (good and bad and really bad), but not particularly introspective about a lot of it.  There's not much soul-searching behind least not as much as you usually see in these type of books.  There's a lot of discussion about his relationships and family, plus some fascinating tales about his time performing and traveling with Cooke, Ray Charles, Wilson Pickett, Ike Turner, and Sly Stone.  There's also stories about Womack's days working with and hanging out with the Rolling Stones, the Faces, and a surprising story about Womack's encounter with Janis Joplin (on the last day of her life).  Music fans may find the lack of detail a bit frustrating.....he skims over quite a bit of it, but the stories throughout are fascinating.....sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking.  It seems a bit rushed and thrown together at times, and would have benefited from a little more detail and editing, but as a Womack fan (though he is a member of the Rock n' Roll Hall of Fame, I still think he's criminally underrated as a musician, composer, and singer), I enjoyed reading it.  It's probably as close as we'll ever get to knowing him.

I just started reading this several days ago, so this is more of a preview than a review, but trust me, FBF will be revisiting this book in the near future.  Marie Trout is the wife and manager of blues guitarist Walter Trout, and while she doesn't sing or play the blues, she probably understands the blues as well as anyone.  From what I've read so far, The Blues - Why It Still Hurts So Good is a study that seeks to explain what makes a person love the blues.  From what I've read so far, which isn't very far into it, there are different things that draw different fans to the blues.  So far, it has been pretty entertaining.  I understand that this was part of Dr. Trout's fulfillment of requirements to get her PhD, but it doesn't read like a dry research paper or study.  I'm really excited about getting deeper into it, and I plan to discuss it here at a later date.

Friday, February 3, 2017

New Blues For You - Winter, 2017 Edition (Part 2)

This week, we'll look at a few more new blues releases that are sure to please our faithful readers who are hankering for new listening.  Most of these albums came out in the latter part of the year and we didn't get around to reviewing them, but if the new blues albums of 2017 are half as entertaining as 2016's, this should be an interesting year.  As always, expanded reviews of these releases can be found in current and upcoming issues of Blues BytesTHE monthly online magazine of blues CD reviews.

Lady A - Loved, Blessed, & Blues (self-released):  A 20-year vet of the Pacific Northwest blues scene, Lady A has toured with and opened for a pretty impressive list of blues stars.  Two of her previous albums have garnered BMA nominations and this one should do the same.  Though she's based on the opposite side of the country, Lady A is all about southern much so that she traveled to Jackson, MS to record this first-rate set, enlisting Dexter Allen and producer (and guitarist).

Lady A has a smoky, sultry vocal style and it's perfectly suited for this material.  She wrote four of the ten tracks, with Allen adding a pair of his own, and her longtime collaborator John Oliver III penning three.  Lady A focuses mostly on soul-blues, but she also mixes blues and gospel effectively on several tracks.  This disc would be a nice fit in Malaco Records' catalog with its sharp production, songwriting, musicianship, and of course, Lady A's powerhouse vocals.  Soul-blues fans will want to give it a spin for sure.

The Jimmys - Live From Transylvania (Brown Cow Productions):  The city of Sighisoara in the historic Transylvania region of Romania has hosted their own blues festival since 2005.  2015's edition included performances from the Bruce Katz Band, Joe Louis Walker, Candye Kane, and this excellent Wisconsin-based blues band, who captured their set for posterity on this fine release.  The band was inspired by the late Ms. Kane who turned in a powerful performance ahead of their set, despite being in a serious struggle battling the cancer that took her life the next much so that they dedicated this album to her.

The band was recognized as a Top Ten Festival Act in 2015, and that becomes obvious from the energy and enthusiasm on display for each song on this set, which includes several songs from their most recent studio albums, along with covers of songs associated with Albert King, Freddie King, and The Band.  The seven-piece band has a full, rich sound with three horns allowing them to move easily from swing to R&B to blues to rock.  This is a versatile and entertaining set and a good place to start checking out the Jimmys for newcomers.

Starlite Campbell Band - Blueberry Pie (Supertone Records):  It might be hard for listeners to believe, but this is a debut release for this fine British band.  Bassist/vocalist Suzy Starlite and guitarist/vocalist Simon Campbell both have extensive backgrounds in the British blues and folk scenes and decided to put their talents into a collaborative effort.  The duo combines these two genres with bits from other genres......jazz, soul, rock, and R&B.

All eleven tunes were written by the pair and they will bring to mind the blues sounds of those numerous British blues rockers who dominated the music scene in the late 60's/early 70's and who mixed influences in a like manner.  Campbell takes most of the vocals, but Starlite acquits herself pretty well when given the chance.  The stellar rhythm section (Starlite is a monster bassist) certainly do their part as well, and Campbell is a standout guitarist as well.  This is as solid and confident a debut release as I've heard in quite awhile, and I think many listeners will agree.

Jeff Chaz - This Silence Is Killing Me (JCP Records):  This is the second album released by The Bourbon Street Bluesman in 2016, and to these ears, it's the better of the two, though by a thin margin.  Both this release and Sounds Like The Blues To Me are packed wall to wall with Chaz's top notch songwriting, which features clever and unique takes on traditional blues topics, his strong and soulful vocals, and, of course, his outstanding guitar work......this one features some of the best and most inventive that I've heard from him.

A lot of Chaz's songs hit home so hard that they have to be based on personal experience.  Most people deal with the same issues on a regular basis, losing love, looking for love, finding love where you least expect it, etc......We all are obsessed with different things, whether it's a certain girl or guy, or a hobby, or a career.  Chaz touches on all of these topics in ways that will either make you smile or nod your head in agreement......or possibly both.  Combine that with his guitar work.......he's one of the best currently practicing, and you've got a winner.  Heck, I encourage you to check out BOTH of his new releases.  You can thank me later.

Raphael Wressnig & Igor Prado - The Soul Connection (ZYX Music):  For his follow-up to 2014's magnificent Soul Gumbo, on which he collaborated with some of New Orleans' finest musicians, Austrian keyboard wizard Wressnig journeyed to Brazil to work with the fine Brazilian guitarist Prado, his band, who certainly how to give us the funk, a terrific horn section led by Sax Beadle, and three legendary soul vocalist who work through a set of familiar soul and blues classics.

Wee Willie Walker handles most of the vocals, which include several tunes associated with Little Willie John, but singers David Hudson and Leon Beal also get a chance behind the mic as well.  These performances are good, but the real treat is the instrumental prowess and interplay of Wressnig and Prado.  It's almost like they've played together for years........they complement each other so well, and the backing band is superlative.  I could listen to this disc all day, and have already done so a couple of times.

Mike Zito - Make Blues Not War (Ruf Records):  For Zito's latest release, the focus is not so much on the singer/songwriter aspect of Zito's resume' (though it's still firmly in place), but more so on his stellar guitar playing.  This is a blues-rock album of the highest order and Zito hands most of the controls over to a producer who certainly knows his way around a blues-rock album, Grammy winner Tom Hambridge, who also plays drums and co-wrote most of the tunes with Zito and/or his longtime collaborator Richard Fleming.  Guitarist Walter Trout and harmonica ace Jason Ricci also stop by to lend a hand.

As might be expected, there's plenty of ferocious rocking blues on the album and Zito sounds fantastic, both on guitar and vocals.  He also mixes in some delta-styled electric blues, a couple of Texas shuffles, and plenty of tasty slide guitar, along with a couple of cover tunes from Luther Allison and Clarence Garlow.  Best of all is a track which teams Zito with his son, who more than holds his own playing guitar with his dad.  Mike Zito is one of the most compelling performers in the blues world these days, based on his tenure with Royal Southern Brotherhood and his own remarkable solo career.  You will feel the joy and exuberance that went into making this disc when you plug it in.

Sharon Lewis and Texas Fire - Grown Ass Woman (Delmark):  Five years after her well-received debut release (The Real Deal), Texas-born/Chicago-based singer Lewis returns with a set that's so good, we're willing to forgive the long span between releases.  The fiery vocalist is joined by her longtime musical partner, guitarist/songwriter Steve Bramer, a rock-solid backing band, and guests Joanna Connor, Sugar Blue, and Steve Bell.

Lewis is a fine songwriter, as is Bramer, and the focus seems to be on strong, independent women.  Lewis delivers these songs with plenty of swagger and confidence.  There's also a pair of covers from B.B. King and the Allman Brothers, that Lewis shines on, particularly the Allmans cover.  We really enjoyed Lewis' debut recording, but this one is even better and hopefully, it will get her more attention and appreciation as one of the best singers in the Windy City.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Instrumentally Speaking (Part 3)

Well, it's time once again, dear readers, for another all-instrumental day at FBF.  I've been listening to music for a long time now, and dating back to the mid to late 80's, one of my favorite things to do was make a mix tape of my favorite instrumentals collected off of my album collection, using an actual tape to do so.  I would throw in rock, R&B, jazz, and blues instrumentals and plug them into my Walkman (Google "Walkman" or ask your parents), so this is always kind of fun to do.  Here are four more instrumental tracks that are guaranteed to put a hop in your step and a smile on your face.  Happy listening

For this edition of Instrumentally Speaking, we're going to go with a "Stomp" theme.  In the first edition of Instrumentally Speaking, we included Otis Spann's "Spann's Stomp," so we will revisit that theme this time around.

First up is the tune that was the inspiration for this week's topic, Robert "Wolfman" Belfour's "Hill Stomp."  Belfour was born in Red Banks, MS, a small community in north Mississippi between Holly Springs and Olive Branch, in 1940.  He learned to play guitar from his father and learned to play the blues from local musicians like Otha Turner, R.L. Burnside, and Junior Kimbrough.  He combined the north Mississippi sounds with others like John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Fred McDowell, and his idol, Howlin' Wolf.  He relocated to Memphis in the 60's and started playing on Beale Street in the early 80's, encouraged by his wife.  He was recorded by musicologist David Evans for one of his anthology collections in the 1990's, which was released on a German label, Hot Fox.  From there, Belfour signed with Fat Possum Records and released two most excellent albums of his own, What's Wrong With You in 2000 and Pushin' My Luck in 2003.  "Hill Stomp" was the first track on his second disc and it was a perfect opening track to one of the best Mississippi blues albums of the decade......seriously, if you don't have this album, you should really make an effort to get it, and play it loud one hot summer night in Mississippi while driving down a dark, dirt road at midnight.  You'll get it then, for sure.  Belfour passed away in 2015, but these two albums are a great testament to his talent.

Let's take it down south for a couple of tunes.......down Louisiana way.  Check out the King of Zydeco, Mr. Clifton Chenier, who cut "Zodico Stomp," for Specialty Records in 1955 ("Zodico" being a variation of the actual word "Zydeco"), as part of the first tunes that really brought him to the public eye.  The 12 sides he cut for Specialty producer Bumps Blackwell were later compiled into an album called Bayou Blues.  Chenier enjoyed a long and productive career, bringing his great mix of blues, Cajun, and zydeco to an ever-growing fan base, recording into the early 80's and performing regularly up until a week before his death in December, 1987.  After his death, his son C.J. Chenier began leading his band, the Red Hot Louisiana Band, and continues to do so. 

Staying in the Pelican State, here's one of my favorite blues artists, Lazy Lester.  Lester enjoyed a successful tenure as a front man and side man for Excello Records, cutting a truckload of blues standards that are still played regularly by current blues, rock, and country bands ("Sugar Coated Love," "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter," "I Hear You Knockin'" for starters).  His numerous sides for Excello included a formidable set of  instrumentals, the most famous being the rousing "Ponderosa Stomp," which actually inspired the name of the current New Orleans music festival that brings together blues, zydeco, and roots artists together every few years.  Lazy Lester himself is still active after making a bit of a comeback in the 1980's.  He's recorded fairly regularly since then and is still a force to be reckoned with at 83.

What the heck.......let's just stay in Louisiana with another native, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown.  The Vinton native bristled when he was called a blues man, preferring to say that he played "American Music."  That music encompassed blues, country, jazz, Cajun, rock n' roll, and rhythm & blues.  He played guitar, fiddle, mandolin, drums, and harmonica.  Inspired on guitar by T-Bone Walker, Brown first gained attention recording for Don Robey's Peacock Records, beginning in 1949.  Although he enjoyed several hits during his ten years with the label, but probably his biggest song during that time, his most influential anyway, was the instrumental "Okie Dokie Stomp," recorded in 1954.  Over his career, Brown moved to Nashville, recorded a few country singles, a great album with Roy Clark (even appearing on Clark's show, Hee Haw, a couple of times), recorded with Professor Longhair on his Rock N' Roll Gumbo album, toured the Soviet Union, and enjoyed a long recording career with a number of labels, recording just exactly what he wanted, paying no mind to musical genres or critics.  He passed away in 2005, shortly after Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home in Slidell, Louisiana, but he made quite a mark during his 81 years on the planet.

Friday Blues Fix hopes everyone enjoyed this "Stompin'" set of instrumentals!!!