Friday, July 27, 2018

Another Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume Two, Track Eight

Apologies to those who stop by regularly for the absence of new posts this month.  Your humble correspondent has been battling computer issues and a multitude of other unplanned events during the past few weeks, but this week, there's been enough time to sneak in a look at the next track on Volume Two of our Blues Fix Mix CD, so here we go......

I've written before about the music of Son Seals.  He's been on FBF's list of favorites for a long time, ever since I first heard him sing about "going home where women got meat on their bones" on Alligator's first Genuine Houserockin' Music anthology back in the mid 80's.  One of the first CD I actually purchased of Seals' was his Live & Burning set from a mid 80's appearance at the Wise Fools Pub, which remains one of my favorite live recordings of any genre, but most especially the blues genre.......just a dynamite set from start to finish.  From there, I collected everything else he released on Alligator, plus a live date on the old B.L.U.E.S R&B label that was cassette only and really needs to be released on CD or even digitally (same label as the amazing Magic Slim Live at B.L.U.E.S. album discussed here many years ago.

The last Son Seals recording I was able to track down was ironically his very first one, The Son Seals Blues Band.  The story goes that Bruce Iglauer got a call from his friend Wesley Race, who was attending a Seals performance at the Flamingo Club on Chicago's South Side.  Race called Iglauer to rave about Seals and held the receiver of the pay phone out in the direction of the bandstand, so Iglauer could hear the band.  The Alligator head man wasted little time getting Seals in the studio and it became the label's third-ever release.  Rough and ragged, befitting the label's future motto ("Genuine Houserockin' Music"), the album was loaded from can to can't with Seals' rugged vocals and his raw guitar work, which you felt down your backbone when he was at his best.

My favorite tune on the track was one of the most unusual, "Your Love Is Like A Cancer."  Obviously not your typical love song, this is Seals at his most intense.  The guitar work and the vocal sound like they're coming from a man who's at the end of his rope, desperate for something to change, but at the same time reluctant to let it go.  Most people have lived long enough to encounter a lover who fits this particular description, so they can definitely relate to Seals' plight here.  I thought it was a perfect fit for a mix CD of this type, to give new listeners a taste of the real, REAL thing and to make longtime listeners smile.  Enjoy!!

Friday, July 6, 2018

Another Blues Fix Mix CD - Volume Two, Track Seven

In 2004, singer Bobby Rush released Folkfunk, one of my favorite blues releases of that year.  I'd heard of Rush for years.  Living in Mississippi in the late 70's/early 80's, you couldn't help but hear of him.  His records were in all of the record stores.  If you listened to R&B radio, you'd hear some of his songs.  Plus, he played countless festivals in countless towns.  At the time, I didn't really get into his music because it was loaded with those synthesized keyboards that everyone just loved back in the day, but now date that era's music distinctly.

Folkfunk was different.....none of the synthesizers were present.  In their place was a small, but potent combo that included Alvin Youngblood Hart on guitar, Steve Johnson (you might know him as current soul blues star Stevie J Blues.....he also played on Rush's Live at Ground Zero CD/DVD set) on bass, and drummer Charlie Jenkins, along with Rush who played a little guitar and a lot of harmonica.  These guys had their act together, no doubt, and this was quite possibly the best album Bobby Rush ever made, at least to these ears it is.

Most of the songs are familiar to blues fans, though Rush does make a few adjustments to some of these classics.  There's actually not a bad track on the disc and I would strongly encourage blues fans to give Folkfunk a can thank me later.  One of my favorite tunes is a modified take on the Sonny Boy Williamson (Version II) classic, "Ninety-Nine."  It's taken at a relatively brisk pace and Rush's underrated harp blowing is front and center.  It's just a really fun track (how often do you hear the lyric, "I was so broke I didn't have eye water to cry"??) and it made it onto Volume 2 of my Blues Fix Mix CD series.  Enjoy!!

Just for kicks, here's the original version from Sonny Boy II.....