Friday, May 4, 2018

Another Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume Two, Track Five

Track Five of our second Blues Fix Mix CD comes from one of my favorite blues albums.  In fact, there are several tracks in this series that come from this album, including a pair that showed up on Volume One.....Otis Rush's "Double Trouble" and Pinetop Perkins' "Caldonia."  Volume Two's selection is the opening track from the album, which was a collection of live recordings in the mid-80's from some of the living legends of the blues celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Austin club Antone's.  The opening track teamed harmonica pioneer James "Snooky" Pryor with guitarist Eddie Taylor for a show-stopping version of Pryor's "How'd You Learn To Shake It Like That?"

Born in Lambert, MS in 1921, Pryor claimed to be the first harmonica player to play through a P.A. system.  He claimed to have done it during his tenure in the army and it inspired him to assemble his own set-up after he was discharged and returned to Chicago in the mid 40's.  In the late 40's/early 50's, he recorded some pioneering tracks with the guitarist Moody Jones, including "Boogie" and "Telephone Blues."  He recorded for several labels in the 50's, including Vee-Jay, Parrot, Planet, and J.O.B., but while his recordings were influential to other artists, he never really achieved any sort of success with them, either on the charts or in the pocketbook, so he bowed out of the music scene during the 60's.  He eventually resurfaced about twenty years later in the late 80's, recording for Blind Pig Records, Antone's, and Electro-Fi and playing numerous festivals right up until his death in 2006 at 85.

"How'd You Learn To Shake It Like That?" was the first Snooky Pryor song that I'd ever heard and it was the first track on that Antone's anniversary album.  When I plugged that in, I was immediately hooked.  Backed by the legendary guitarist Eddie Taylor, Pryor has a blast with this song in front of a really enthusiastic audience.  It goes on for over eight minutes.....Pryor does a verse, a powerhouse harmonica solo, another verse, another solo.  It sounds like he's going to blow the back off the thing a few times.  Taylor launches into a brief solo that sounds like he's using barbed wire for strings about midway through, then Pryor takes it home, but it's almost like the song itself doesn't want to end.  This was just a fun experience to hear.....I can't imagine how much fun it was to hear in person.  I think if you weren't a blues fan before you heard "How'd You Learn To Shake It Like That," you probably became one pretty soon afterward.

Friday Blues Fix Mix CD, Volume Two track list to date........

1.  Muddy Waters - "Mannish Boy" (from the album Hard Again)
2.  Zuzu Bollin - "Big Legs" (from Texas Bluesman)
3.  Lee "Shot" Williams - "If It Wasn't For Bad Luck" (from Cold Shot)
4.  Sonny Landreth - "Taylor's Rock" (from Hound Dog Taylor:  A Tribute)
5.  Snooky Pryor - "How'd You Learn To Shake It Like That" (from Antone's Tenth Anniversary Anthology - Volume 1)

1 comment:

J Gentry said...

Loved Snooky’s rendition of “How’d You Learn To Shake It Like That.” Thanks!