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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Showing posts with label KEB' MO'. Show all posts
Showing posts with label KEB' MO'. Show all posts

Friday, July 8, 2016

NEWS: Bobby Rush signs to Rounder; new album 'Porcupine Meat' due out Sept. 16.


With special guests Dave Alvin, Joe Bonamassa, Keb’ Mo’, and Vasti Jackson, and backing from the New Orleans “A” team,
album cements Bobby Rush’s legacy
 as blues’ most vital artist of his generation.

JACKSON, Miss. — Naming one’s album after a song titled “Porcupine Meat” may seem a little unusual — unless, of course, you’re Bobby Rush, who earned his first gold record in 1971 with a hit entitled “Chicken Heads.” He elaborates on his recent composition:  “If a lady won’t treat me right, but she doesn’t want anyone else to have me, that is hard to digest.” Hence the lyric, “too fat to eat, too lean to throw away.”

Porcupine Meat
is Rush’s debut release for Rounder Records, and one of the best recordings of his astonishing 60-plus year career. The album is due out September 16, 2016.

Rush estimates that he has cut over 300 songs since he first began making music. He has been honored with three Grammy nominations, as well as ten Blues Music Awards and 41 nominations. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2006.

Make no mistake: Rush is not your typical octogenarian. At age 82, he exudes the energy of a 20-year-old, on the road for more than 200 dates a year. His hectic tour schedule has earned him the affectionate title King of the Chitlin’ Circuit. Rush has traveled the globe including Japan and Beirut. In 2007, he earned the distinction of being the first blues artist to play at the Great Wall of China. His renowned stage act features his famed shake dancers, who personify his funky blues and the ribald humor that he has cultivated during the course of his storied career.

Born Emmet Ellis, Jr. in Homer, Louisiana, he adopted the stage name Bobby Rush out of respect for his father, a pastor. According to Rush, his parents never talked about the blues being the devil’s music. “My daddy never told me to sing the blues, but he also didn’t tell me to not sing the blues. I took that as a green light.”

Rush built his first guitar when he was a youngster. “I didn’t know where to buy one, even if I had the money. I was a country boy,” he says. After seeing a picture of a guitar in a magazine, he decided to make one by attaching the top wire of a broom to a wall and fretting it with a bottle. He also got some harmonica lessons from his father He eventually acquired a real guitar, and started playing in juke joints as a teenager, when his family briefly relocated to Little Rock, Arkansas. The fake moustache Rush wore made club owners believe he was old enough to gain entry into their establishments. While he was living in Little Rock, Rush’s band, which featured Elmore James, had a residency at a nightspot called Jackrabbit.

During the mid-1950s, Rush relocated to Chicago to pursue his musical career and make a better life for himself. It was there that he started to work with Earl Hooker, Luther Allison, and Freddie King, and sat in with many of his musical heroes, such as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, Jimmy Reed, Willie Dixon, and Little Walter. Rush eventually began leading his own band in the 1960s. He also started to craft his own distinct style of funky blues, and recorded a succession of singles for a various small labels. It wasn’t until the early 1970s that Rush finally scored a hit with “Chicken Heads.” More recordings followed, including an album for Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff’s Philadelphia International Label.

Rush relocated one final time, to Jackson, Miss. in the early 1980s. He was tired of the cold up north, and he realized that setting up his base of operations directly in the center of the South would make it easier to perform in nearby cities on weekends. More indie label recordings followed. Songs like “Sue, A Man Can Give (But He Sure Can’t Take It),” “What’s Good For The Goose Is Good For The Gander Too,” and” I Ain’t Studdin’ You” became regional jukebox favorites in juke joints throughout the region, and many of those songs are still fan favorites that are an integral part of his live repertoire.

Since 2003, Rush has self-released the majority of his work (including the critically acclaimed Folk Funk album) on his Deep Rush label, but recently, he came to the realization that having a bigger record company behind him would be beneficial. “I outgrew myself,” he says. “I need someone to help in doing the things I can’t do. When you are wearing all the hats, you can’t be everywhere at once.”

Enter esteemed producer and two-time Grammy winner Scott Billington, Rounder Records’ longtime VP of A&R. Billington first met Rush at a Recording Academy meeting 25 years ago, and they became fast friends. He has wanted to work with Rush ever since.  “He is the most vital bluesman of his generation,” says Billington. He continues, “There are many people who still don’t know Bobby Rush, even though he is a hero in the parallel universe of the Chitlin’ Circuit — fans stop him on the street in Memphis and Helena and Little Rock.”

Porcupine Meat
will not only please Rush’s older fans, but is likely to win over many new ones. Billington reflects, “We wanted to come up with something fresh, while staying 100% true to Bobby.”

The album was recorded in New Orleans, and Rush was pleased and proud to be given the opportunity to make an album in his home state for the very first time. His impassioned vocals and in-the-pocket harmonica playing are among the best performances of his career. Unlike most of his recent releases, these sessions only feature real instruments and no synthesizers. All of the rhythm tracks were cut live in the studio, often edited down from jams that on several occasions ran close to ten minutes.

For the project, Billington assembled some of the best Louisiana musicians, including Shane Theriot, David Torkanowsky, Jeffrey “Jellybean” Alexander, Kirk Joseph, Cornell Williams, and others. Rush brought along his old friend and longtime collaborator, guitarist Vasti Jackson, who worked with Bobby and Scott on getting the songs ready for the studio. Guitar greats Dave Alvin, Keb’ Mo’, and Joe Bonamassa all make guest appearances on the album.

Rush has always been a prolific and clever songwriter. The songs he penned for Porcupine Meat such as “Dress Too Short,” “I Don’t Want Nobody Hanging Around,” “Me, Myself And I,” “Nighttime Gardener,” “It’s Your Move,” and the title selection, all equal or rival his best material. “Funk O’ De Funk” delivers exactly what the title suggests and what Rush has always done the best, which is putting the funk into the blues. While “Got Me Accused” is inspired by events from Rush’s own life, the lyrics tell an all-too-familiar tale about the rampant racial injustice that afflicts our society. Producer Billington and his wife Johnette Downing (the well known New Orleans songwriter and children’s musician) co-wrote a couple of fine selections, “Catfish Stew” and “Snake In The Grass.”

Bobby Rush is the greatest bluesman currently performing. Porcupine Meat is a testament to his brilliance, which presents him at his very best, and doesn’t try to be anything that he is not. “I just try to record good music and stories,” he humbly states.  With this recording, he has more than accomplished his goal, and has produced one of the finest contemporary blues albums in recent times.

Monday, July 27, 2015

JULY 24 rel-MUDDY WATERS 100 w/Johnny Winter, John Primer, Gary Clark Jr., Keb' Mo', Derek Trucks

 MUDDY WATERS 100 featuring

"Primer is a terrific singer; strong, strutting and just enough like his mentor Muddy to make these songs authentic but not a mirror image. The performances are spirited without a dud in all 15. And, perhaps most impressively, the sumptuous hardcover package with 48 heavy stock pages of rare photos and a beautifully penned essay from veteran music writer Robert Gordon is the definition of classy." (American Songwriter)

"a worthy tribute and a must for anyone who’s ever appreciated Waters’ sweeping influence. Meaning everybody." (Gatehouse Newspapers)

Chicago, IL - Raisin' Music Records proudly announces the release of "MUDDY WATERS 100" on JULY 24, 2015.

This officially authorized centennial tribute to Muddy Waters, "MUDDY WATERS 100" is a once-in-a-lifetime CD that celebrates, commemorates and contributes to the musical legacy of this American icon. Produced by 2X Grammy nominated producer Larry Skoller ("Heritage Blues Orchestra"/ "Chicago Blues: A Living History"), the CD is contained in a collectible CD-sized hard-cover book with 48 pages illustrated with black and white photography by some of the greatest photographers of Muddy's time. Also included is an original essay by Robert Gordon, Grammy-winning author of the definitive Muddy Waters biography "Can't Be Satisfied - The Life and Times of Muddy Waters".

"MUDDY WATERS 100" includes 15 newly recorded tracks featuring Muddy Waters Band alumni and many of today's most preeminent American blues and roots artists including JOHN PRIMER, GARY CLARK JR., JAMES COTTON, KEB' MO', JOHNNY WINTER, DEREK TRUCKS, BOB MARGOLIN, BILLY BRANCH and SHEMEKIA COPELAND backed by some of the greatest musicians on the Chicago blues scene including The Living History Band featuring Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith (drums -- son of longtime Muddy drummer Willie 'Big Eyes' Smith), Johnny Iguana (keyboards), Felton Crews (bass) and Billy Flynn (guitar).

Vocalist/guitarist JOHN PRIMER, who played with Muddy until his death in 1983, is recognized as one of today's most crucial keepers of the Chicago blues flame. For "MUDDY WATERS 100", Primer gives a deeply personal tribute to the man he knew so very well. Other distinguished Muddy Waters alumni on this recording include harmonica legend JAMES COTTON and guitarist BOB MARGOLIN (who played alongside Muddy for 7 years and was very close to the man and his music. The late great blues guitarist/producer JOHNNY WINTER played on the song "I'm Ready" for this album just a few weeks before he passed away in July 2014. ("I'm Ready" is the title track from Muddy's Grammy-winning album produced by Winter back in 1978 -- one of two albums that Winter produced for Muddy in the late '70s. Cotton & Margolin also played on the Winter-produced "I'm Ready" album). Along with Muddy alumni, this gathering of some of the most preeminent blues and roots artists of today makes this tribute truly a landmark celebration. Billy Branch, Gary Clark, Jr., Shemekia Copeland, Keb Mo' and Derek Trucks embody the spirit of this project: that for a tradition to survive, it must be passed on through generations and must remain in a constant state of evolution by redefining itself in a contemporary context. By pushing the boundaries of this music, as Muddy did in his time, and with their own original voices and stories, these artists are helping to give the blues its future.

It could be argued that Muddy Waters has had more influence on the sound of American popular music than any other single artist of the 20th century. "MUDDY WATERS 100" is a centennial celebration of his musical legacy, his iconic sound and his immeasurable contribution to and influence on American music. Driven by a deep respect for this master of the blues and for the blues traditions that spawned his talent, "MUDDY WATERS 100" tributes the past, embraces the present and recognizes the bright future of the blues for which Muddy paved the way. In the spirit of his legacy, "MUDDY WATERS 100" puts the spotlight on the inextricable mix of old and new school that Muddy left in his wake. The newly recorded songs on this album represent the various periods and styles of Muddy's musical path, from his 1941 recordings on Stovall plantation in Mississippi to his arrival in Chicago and subsequent evolution during the 1940s and 1950s, including his pioneering electric guitar sound at the Chess Records studios. By design, this album has not taken a strictly archival approach in its treatments of Muddy's songs. Some tracks are handled traditionally; there are also contemporary treatments and new arrangements that focus on today's sounds. Whether it be rock, pop, rap, hip-hop, the tube electronics of the earliest five-watt amplifiers or digital samples, drum loops and electronica -- in one way or another these sounds all lead back to Muddy Waters.

"Muddy Waters would be a hundred years old today…The whole story of the blues can be heard, felt, and learned in the life of Muddy Waters…Born April 4, 1915…in the soggy part of Rolling Fork, Mississippi, this mannish boy would soon move north in the delta with his grandmother to Stovall Farms, near where the train lines crossed in Clarksdale, and from there to Chicago. He absorbed the rhythm and feel of the south until it was part of his bones, electrifying that sound in the industrial north. His 1958 trip to England planted ideas there that would awaken America to its indigenous sounds. Muddy's music ignited a cultural revolution...from the brutal and fertile fields of Mississippi, he changed the world. The tiller of the soil became the definer of a nation, the symbol of freedom. Muddy's achievement is emblematic of American democracy, the ultimate triumph of the dirt farmer, bringing respect to the disrespected. He did it with his guitar and with his voice, touching emotions that touched traditions. A century has passed, but we are still building on the foundation that Muddy Waters established, his sound and style still going strong. His influence is everywhere around us." (from Robert Gordon's liner notes essay)