Tag Archives: Blues

Ard’is Nobody’s Business

Yesterday I was listening to a CD “Love Addict” I picked up in Sweden sometime in the beginning of the 90’s. An album I have revisited quite often when beer bottles or wine are emptied on long summer day and nights like right now.

Never really did check out the artist “Ardis”, doing a pop/rock/reggae kinda thing with a strong accent, I assumed it was an African popstar.

This turns out to be wrong, Ardis originated from Dominica Island in the Caribbeans born in 1971, relocating to Sweden age 13, made two successful albums in Sweeden early 90’s and then disappeared from music.

The album also contains a version of one of the earliest blues standards, originally known as “Tain’t Nobody’s Biz-ness if I Do” first recorded in 1922 by Anna Meyers with the Original Memphis Five. It was soon to be recorded by a number of other artist.

Bessie Smith (1894–1937) known as the “The Empress of the Blues”, was the blues star of the 1920’s and the highest-paid black entertainer of her time, her voice so beautiful and strong that it sounds good today, even from those old recordings. Her version was “cut” in 1923.

In 1949 jump blues singer James Witherspoon revisited the tune and changed its name to “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, he transformed the song into a more modern blues version, the foundation for most later versions like this one by Otis Spann

Now back to Ardis, Except “Ain’t Nobody’s Business” she wrote all the tracks on “Love Addict” and those creative skills are also very evident on her version of “Ain’t Nobody’s Business”, she turns the blues standart upside down to make it completely her own:

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June part I

10 years ago – June 2008

Expo 2008 officially opened with a concert by Bob Dylan, a performance by Philip Glass closed the Expo.

Katy Perry got her breakthrough with “One of the Boys”

Amos Lee released the brilliant “Last Days at the Lodge”

Australia born soul blues and roots rock singer/songwriter Kara Grainger, released her first solo album “Grand and Green River”.

After playing in some local bands, Australian label Craving Records released her solo EP Secret Soul in 2006. In 2008 she relocated to Los Angeles to release “Grand and Green River”.

 

20 years ago – June 1998

Maureen Paula O’Sullivan dies, famous for playing Jane alongside Johnny Weissmuller’s Tarzan.

Lounès Matoub Algerian singer, poet, thinker and mandole player was assassinated, sparkling violent riots by Algerian Berber population in the Kabylie region (Tell Atlas mountains).

Canadian post-rock band Godspeed You! Black Emperor release their debut album F♯ A♯ ∞(pronounced “F-sharp, A-sharp, Infinity”) in an extended compact disk version, the album was previously only released on a much shorter vinyl version (1997)

Danny Boyle, famous director of Shallow Grave, Trainspotting ect., working on his post-apocalyptic film 28 Days Later, stated:

“I always try to have a soundtrack in my mind. Like when we did Trainspotting, it was Underworld. For me, the soundtrack to 28 Days Later was Godspeed. The whole film was cut with Godspeed in my head.”

F♯ A♯ ∞ with the help of Danny Boyle got a lot of new attentions towards “Godspeed You! Black Emperor”

 

30 years ago – June 1988

Founding guitarist of “Red Hot Chili Peppers” Israeli-American Hillel Slovak dies due to a heroin overdose 25 years old.

Jimmy Page (led Zeppelin) released the only solo album in his own name: Outrider.

After being a choreographer for notable act like George Michael, ZZ Top, Duran Duran and Janet Jackson. American singer, songwriter, dancer, choreographer and actress Paula Abdul released her debut album “Forever Your Girl” with tremendous success, at the time most successful debut album ever, scoring four Billboard number-one singles.

Tommy Bolin, another short lived legend

Tommy Bolin is best known, as the replacement of Ritchie Blackmore in Deep Purple. He participated and co-wrote Deep Purple’s last 70’s album “Come Taste the Band”, not a bad album, but less successful at the time, most likely due to the relative shift in genre towards a less heavy and funkier sound and the lack of Blackmore’s characteristic soloing.

Bolin was not the typical hard rock guitarist, he was involved in many types of projects and genres, blues, jazz rock, funk ect. Bolin starts of in blues rock/ hard rock band Zephyr, a band with a sound comparable to that of Janis Joplin. They released their first self-titled album in 1969, Bolin released another album with them, before he left the band.

Bolin participated as the main guitarist on jazz fusion drummer Billy Cobham’s legendary 1973 album Spectrum. He shows us what he can do in a jazz rock / progressive rock setting, and he does it perfectly. Spectrum is a must for everyone interested in fusion, but it is also a testament to the huge talent of Bolin.

Bolin made 2 solo albums, Teaser (1975) and Private Eyes (1976), both exploring a wide range of styles, and with Bolin doing the vocal’s himself. On Teaser a series of prominent names appeared as guests, Jan Hammer, David Sanborn, Phil Collins and others.
From Teaser (Phil Collins on the drums)

Deep Purple disbanded in 1976, and Bolin concentrated on finishing his last solo album. It was during the tour promoting “Private Eyes”, on December 3rd. 1976, Bolin played a set as an opening act for Jeff Beck in Miami, after the set Bolin was partying with friends and later collapsed, Bolin never woke up again, The official cause of death was multiple-drug intoxication. Bolin became 25 years old. Rest in peace.

Gnawa fusion

Majid Bekkas was born in Marocco 1957, He got a classical music training at “Rabat national conservatoire of music and dance” as well as studies in Gnawa culture, the ritual Ganwa music and their traditional instruments. Besides playing traditional instruments Bekkas is also a guitarist and vocalist, during his musical adventures he have played with a string of different musicians from all over the world, and incorporate numerous styles in his music. Bekkas have toured in Europe and played at many international festivals.

Peyroux, Spalding, Hiromi Corea & Clarke

Today I will listen to some present female Jazz singers and preformers.
First Madeleine Peyroux, with her own song “Instead” from her album Bare Bones (2009). The song have a nice retro feeling, according to Peyroux, it is a reminder of how we should enjoy life and the things we have.

Madeleine Peyroux is an American Jazz/blues singer/songwriter, notable for her retro stripped down style. A one of a kind singer/songwriter filling the shoes of Joni Michell, with a very special voice, often compared to Billie Holiday. She moved to Paris at age 13 and began singing in the Latin Quarter, at age 15.
Her albums often contain cover songs mixed with her own compositions.

Now Esperanza Spalding, preforming “Radio Song” from her 2012 album, Radio Music Society

Esperanza Spalding is an American jazz bassist, cellist and singer. Her father is African American and her mother is of Welsh, Native American, and Hispanic descent.Mostly know to play Jazz, but also playing some blues, funk, hip-hop, pop fusion, and Brazilian and Afro-Cuban styles. In 2011, Esperanza received one of the music industry’s most prestigious prizes, the Grammy for Best New Artist.

Hiromi Uehara (上原ひろみ) is a composer and pianist born in Hamamatsu, Japan. Known for her superior keyboard technique, by age 12, she was performing in public, sometimes with very high-profile orchestras. When she was 14, she went to Czechoslovakia and played with the Czech Philharmonic. Age 17 she performed an improvised session with Chick Corea, when asked to join him onstage in Tokyo.

Chick Corea & Hiromi Uehara – Summertime


Regarding her style and what inspires Hiromi, she says : “I don’t want to put a name on my music, It has some elements of classical music, it has some rock, it has some jazz, but I don’t want to give it a name.” and “Some people dig jazz, some people dig classical music, some people dig rock. Everyone is so concerned about who they like. They always say, ‘This guy is the best,’ ‘No, this guy is the best.’ But I think everyone is great”….. “I love Bach, I love Oscar Peterson, , I love Franz Liszt, I love Ahmad Jamal, I also love people like Sly and the Family Stone, Dream Theatre and King Crimson.”
Last but not least, Hiromi with legendary bassist Stanley Clarke.

Winter Journey (part 2)

After my view on Winter as a theme in classical music.
I will move on, and listen to some “Winter Blues“. First this fine example of Chicago urban blues, the style of blues that would later be very influential on the British blues movement (Zeppelin,Clapton,Stones ect.)

Kokomo Arnold : Cold Winter Blues. (1937)

Arnold

Kokomo Arnold (1901-1968), was born in Georgia, started his music career in Buffalo. But due to his main occupation of transporting alcohol under the Prohibition, he mainly recorded in Chicago. Arnold played bottleneck slide guitar. Most of his recorded material is solo work with just vocals and the guitar.

Another early blues legend, playing the winter blues, was Blind Willie McTell (1898-159). William Samuel McTier was a East Coast blues guitarist, playing the Piedmont fingerstyle on twelve-string guitar, with a unique soft vocal.

‘Cold Winter Day’ recorded 1935.

McTell have influenced and been covered by The Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan, Taj Mahal, Jack White and more. Bob Dylan’s “Blind Willie McTell”, paid tribute to McTell.

Last but not least, this wonderful winter blues by Muddy Water (1913 – 1983) The father of modern Chicago blues, hugely influential on modern blues in general, and especially Blues Rock.

Muddy Waters – Cold Weather Blues

Mali Blues

For a while music in northern mali was banned, after extreme Islamic rebels, took control of the region in 2012, but as far as I understand, its “live” again, after the 2013 French military intervention, So let us celebrate with the Mali people, hope its music and culture will survive, and highlight the unique music of Mali, often claimed to be the father of American blues.

The Mali blues was made famous by the collaboration between Ali Farka Touré and Ry Cooder, on the album Talking Timbuktu 1994, Touré also appeared in Martin Scorsese’s 2003 documentary film “Feel Like Going Home”, about the roots of blues, in West Africa.