Where the Blues rears its beautiful and ugly head.
Friday, June 13, 2008
Even More Slash And Burn
The Greatly Underappreciated Johnny Shines
Johnny Shines is a greatly underappreciated musical artist. His recordings from the '60s and '70s contain a variety of musical styles. Though he seems most comfortable playing acoustic Delta Blues, this disc contains amazing songs with tons of soul, such as "Just A Little Tenderness" and "Just Call Me." "My Love Can't Hide" resembles Otis Rush's "My Love Will Never Die", but Shines manages to put ten times more emotion and stark vocalization into the song (despite Rush's recording being excellent). This disc is a great mix of acoustic Delta Blues, electrified Chicago tunes, and Shines' successful attempt at the then-popular Soul music. Out of Standing At The Crossroads, Too Wet To Plow, Worried Blues Ain't Bad, and this record, his singing is at its earth-shaking best on this record. I look forward to purchasing Traditional Delta Blues and Hey Ba-Ba-Re-Bop. The only drawback to this disc is the unimpressive presentation of the liner notes.
Excellent, Cheap McDowell Album
Unlike his Mississippi Delta colleagues, Fred McDowell played in the Hill Country style. This basically means that his timing was eccentric, from a relative perspective, that his music was more closely related to what Lonnie Pitchford played on his diddley-bow, and that Fred's music was closer to what West African music sounds like. Fred possessed an excellent library of Blues lyrics in his head, he was one of the greatest slide players of all time, and his vocals, while not the most powerful, were always convincing. This is a great album to own.
Can't Go Wrong With McDowell
This is a very good, live, albeit relaxed, McDowell album. I prefer his acoustic recordings to this disc. The song selection on these two discs is a bit more oriented towards newcomers to the Blues than it is to hardcore fans. For instance, we don't get songs like "I Worked Old Lu and I Worked Old Bess" on this disc. There is no bad Fred McDowell album, but I prefer his Arhoolie work to this disc. "Mercy" and "John Henry" are wonderful.
I am a rather eclectic human being. I enjoy classic foreign films and studying East Asian religions.
My life changed after listening to Led Zeppelin's BBC Sessions cd and going out and buying "Sleepy" John Estes and Muddy Waters records.