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Delta Blues

No.7 TAM’s Top 15 Best Blues Songs of All Time

Alright alright alright!!! Back at it. Here we go again gettin’ on down to the nitty gritty. We gotta keep rolling cause we just can’t stop!

“The wheel is turning and you can’t slow down

You can’t let go and can’t hold on

You can’t go back and you can’t stand still

If the thunder don’t get you then the lightning will”

That’s what I’m talkin’ bout!

So here we are at number seven, ole lucky number seven. Seven Seven Seven Seven Seven and we roll the dice.

This next artist goes way back and I mean way the hell back. He came up, made some recordings and then the great depression hit and no one bought his music so he went into obscurity until his rediscovery by John Fahey and Henry Vestine in the mid-’60s. Though he had not played the blues for more than 20 years, his skills were largely undiminished.

Wiki:

hard_time_killing_floor

Nehemiah Curtis “Skip” James (June 9, 1902 – October 3, 1969) was an American Delta blues singer, guitarist, pianist and songwriter. Born in Bentonia, Mississippi, United States, he died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

He first learned to play guitar from another bluesman from the area, Henry Stuckey. His guitar playing is noted for its dark, minor sound, played in an open D-minor tuning with an intricate fingerpicking technique. James first recorded for Paramount Records in 1931.

His songs have influenced several generations of musicians, being adapted or covered by Kansas Joe McCoy, Robert Johnson, Alan Wilson, Cream, Deep Purple, Chris Thomas King, Alvin Youngblood Hart, The Derek Trucks Band, Beck, Big Sugar, Eric Clapton, John Martyn, Lucinda Williams and Rory Block. He is hailed as “one of the seminal figures of the blues.”

Skip James – Hard Time Killing Floor Blues

This song was re-recorded by Chris Thomas King and used in the movie Oh Brother Where Art Thou, it’s on the movie soundtrack.

No.13 – TAM’s Top 15 Best Blues Songs of All Time

Here we go again and it’s time to do the do!

Today we’re putting down a little number that comes from a band with a very long history. The track itself is from their last studio album made in 2003 so interestingly enough it throws the listener off because it sounds like it was made and written over fifty years ago, but isn’t .
To my knowledge it is the only song performed by the two newest members of the band which makes it the first and only song in the bands 30-40 year history to not have an original band member in it at all.
This song has it all…carrying a lot of heart and soul mixed in with some down and dirty, it snuggles up close to you and soon you too will have a new Old Friend.

No. 13 – Old Friend

~The Alllman Brothers Band

the-allman-brothers-band-by-maria-ives

Wiki:

Hittin’ the Note is the twelfth and final studio album by the American Southern rock group the Allman Brothers Band. Released through Sanctuary Records, it was their first studio album to include lead slide guitar player Derek Trucks and bass player Oteil Burbridge and marked the full-time return of guitar player Warren Haynes to the band. It was also their first (and only) studio album not to include original guitarist Dickey Betts. More here.

You know hard time is just an old friend, just an old friend to me
I say hard time is just an old friend, just an old friend to me
Tell me now, old friend, when you gonna let me be?

Can’t you feel a cold wind howlin’ down, blowin’ my song
Can’t you feel a cold wind howlin’ down, blowin’ my song
Well, I ain’t an old man, but you know my time ain’t long

Gonna be a hard rain – you can hear it in the distance, sounds so near
Gonna be a hard rain – you can hear it in the distance, sounds so near
People, when the rain comes, it’s gonna wash us all away from here

Mean old woman, people won’t you tell me where can she be
Mean old woman, people won’t you tell me where can she be
She’s the only woman that ever meant a damn to me

You know hard time is just an old friend, just an old friend to me
I say hard time is just an old friend, just an old friend to me
Tell me now, old friend, when you gonna let me be?
Tell me now, old friend, when you gonna let me be?
Tell me now, old friend, when you gonna let this poor man be?

Preaching the Blues – Story of Son House

Son House – Father of the Delta Blues. His life reads like #1 best seller. An amazing story of growing up in church and becoming a preacher of the gospel, only to later be pulled into a life of playing his blues in roadhouses across the country. Such contrast and conviction that towers most of our lives by todays standards. He taught Muddy Waters and Robert Johnson how to play, now that’s sayin’ something!

It’s funny the more I listen to his music the more I understand what he’s saying and what it really means. I think I hear the gospel being sung in this man’s blues. First time I’ve ever heard the combination of blues and gospel together as one. I love it.

 

 

You can take an on-line tour of his life and discography at The Delta Blues Museum here, it’s actually an awesome site the way they have it set up, definitely worth your time to check it out and get a cool visual on his travels and more facts on his life.

~ Eddie James “Son” House, Jr. (March 21, 1902[1] – October 19, 1988) was an American blues singer and guitarist, noted for his highly emotional style of singing and slide guitar playing.

After years of hostility to secular music, as a preacher, and for a few years also as a church pastor, he turned to blues performance at the age of 25. He quickly developed a unique style by applying the rhythmic drive, vocal power and emotional intensity of his preaching to the newly learned idiom. In a short career interrupted by a spell in Parchman Farm penitentiary, he developed to the point that Charley Patton, the foremost blues artist of the Mississippi Delta region, invited him to share engagements, and to accompany him to a 1930 recording session for Paramount Records.

Issued at the start of The Great Depression, the records did not sell and did not lead to national recognition. Locally, Son remained popular, and in the 1930s, together with Patton’s associate, Willie Brown, he was the leading musician of Coahoma County. There he was a formative influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters. In 1941 and 1942, House and the members of his band were recorded by Alan Lomax and John W. Work for Library of Congress and Fisk University. The following year, he left the Delta for Rochester, New York, and gave up music.

In 1964, a group of young record collectors discovered House, whom they knew of from his records issued by Paramount and by the Library of Congress. With their encouragement, he relearned his style and repertoire and enjoyed a career as an entertainer to young white audiences in the coffee houses, folk festivals and concert tours of the American folk music revival billed as a “folk blues” singer. He recorded several albums, and some informally taped concerts have also been issued as albums. Son House died in 1988.[3]

In addition to his early influence on Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, he became an inspiration to John Hammond, Alan Wilson (of Canned Heat), Bonnie Raitt, The White Stripes, Dallas Green and John Mooney.

wiki:

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