|Your humble correspondent, staying at home|
The other day, when I was driving with my youngest daughter, we were listening to some new blues and she asked me if I was still blogging. I told her that I was not, and she asked me why. To my surprise, I really couldn't tell her why. Several of the issues that were previously factors are no longer factors at this moment, and I figured why not start it back up, maybe just at a more relaxed, less involved pace.....fewer longer posts, slipping in a few little capsule reviews of blues albums new and old, and the occasional random thought......sort of like I had intended to do in the beginning.
So, the plan right now is to plug a couple of new releases each week.....maybe reminding you of some that might have slipped through the cracks previously while we're at it......just something to maybe provide you with a few minutes' pleasant diversion from the current madness that we're going through right now. Hopefully, it will help pass the time for you blues fans, and maybe you can get hooked up with some sounds you might have missed otherwise. Here goes......
I've also had the opportunity to catch up on my reading the past few months. A couple of years ago, my oldest daughter (what can I say.......my kids are hip!!) found me a copy of Grady Gaines' autobiography, I've Been Out There: On the Road with Legends of Rock 'n' Roll (Texas A&M University Press), and I finally got the chance to read it. When I started listening to the blues, one of my favorite record labels was New Orleans' Black Top Records ("Paving The Way To Your Soul"). Their recordings introduced, or re-introduced, many blues fans to some of the great blues and R&B artists who hit their peak in the 50's and 60's, some of which enjoyed a resurgence in their fortunes, thanks to Black Top's efforts. Grady Gaines was one of those artists......he cut three dynamite albums for the label that not only showcased his thunderous tenor sax, but also other great artists who had faded into obscurity. Gaines enjoyed a marvelous career, playing with Little Richard and Sam Cooke, among others, and leading his own band for many years, still going strong today. This book is only about 190 pages, but it's packed with great stories. Gaines is not the only one sharing stories either.....there's also input from his guitarist brother Roy, guitarist Milton Hopkins, members of Gaines' bands past and present, and other family members and friends. Gaines tells a good story (with help from collaborator Rod Evans, who does a fine job) and is not afraid to shoulder the blame for issues when necessary, but this is an upbeat, entertaining story from a relatively unheralded music maker who's been making audiences smile for years. Check the book out and track down some of Grady Gaines' music when you're done. You'll be glad you did!!