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Showing posts with label Lead Belly's Gold. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lead Belly's Gold. Show all posts

Monday, December 7, 2015

Stony Plain Records artists: Eric Bibb & JJ Milteau - Lead Belly's Gold - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Lead Belly's Gold, from Eric Bibb & JJ Milteau and it's pure gold! This release, composed mostly of traditional and Lead Belly originals is spiced with a few originals by Bibb and Milteau. Opening with Grey Goose, Bibb handles vocals with only basic percussion by Larry Crockett, his own guitar accompaniment and Milteau on harp. With a light hearted approach the song seems to float. A medley of When That Train Comes Along/ Swing Low Sweet Chariot features some of the best vocal work that I have heard from Bibb. Soft, heartfelt and sensuous, backed by expressive harp work from Milteau. Very nice. On A Monday has a really nice gait. With it's playful nature, Michael Robinson.s backing vocals and Cajun flare it almost seems a celebration of a prison song. The House Of The Rising Sun has an eerie serenity that I have never heard from this track. Bibb's rich vocals and Milteau's melodic harp work seem the perfect match for this beautiful track. Back in a Cajun feel, Midnight Special retains much of the rock beat that it has come to be associated with but keeps a fresh sound. Bring A Little Water, Sylvie has a light Piedmont feel with Bibb's vocals and Milteau's harp just riding lightly on the melody like a cloud. Addition of bass by Gilles Michael and drums by Crockett on Where Did You Sleep Last Night gives it a very clean aesthetic with only Bibb on vocal and Milteau on harp. Very nice. Pick A Bale of Cotton falls very close to the original Lead Belly arrangement with solid vocal and guitar enhanced by harp and drums. Maintaining much of the waltz feel of Goodnight, Irene, Bibb adds a soulful vocal and Milteau nicely compliments his vocals on harp with nicely accented snare work by Crockett. Rock Island Line is a blues rocker with a train feel. Given that little bit of extra spice, this track delivers. Bourgeois Blues is another of my favorite tracks on the release with it's low slung delivery and pure blues feel. Milteau lays in a really sweet harp solo over Bibb's guitar cords. Delivering this hard track with light, effortless confidence has a cool result. Very nice! Bibb original, Chauffeur Blues is written from the perspective of Bibb as Led Belly speaking to former boss John Lomax. Pointed and crisp. Stewball is a clever little story about a race horse and with it's uptempo rock style adds a different dimension. Titanic, with it's distinctive picking features Bibb on vocal and banjo with Milteau on harp. Maintaining it's early blues styling but with Bibb's warm vocal, this track is smooth. Wrapping the release is Bibb original, Swimming In A River Of Songs. A happy go lucky track, this concludes possibly my favorite Bibb release with a bopping beat. Very nice!
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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Eric Bibb & JJ Milteau Hit Paydirt on New "Lead Belly's Gold" CD, Coming November 6 on Stony Plain Records

Eric Bibb & JJ Milteau Hit Paydirt on New Lead Belly’s Gold CD, Coming November 6 on Stony Plain Records

New Album Includes Live Tracks Recorded at Famed Parisian Jazz Club, The Sunset, Plus New Studio Recordings

EDMONTON, AB – Stony Plain Records announces a November 6 release date for Lead Belly’s Gold, the new album tribute to the legendary blues and folk musician from award-winning roots musician Eric Bibb and acclaimed French harmonica player JJ Milteau. Lead Belly’s Gold features 11 live tracks recorded at famed Paris jazz club, The Sunset, as well as five new studio recordings.

“It’s hard to remember when I first heard Lead Belly’s music because, somehow, he’s always been around,” writes Eric Bibb’s in the album’s liner notes. “Most likely, I heard recordings of others (The Weavers and Woody Guthrie) singing songs from his huge repertoire before hearing his actual voice. In any case, I have an early memory from the mid-1950s of listening to a recording of Lead Belly singing a children’s song, ‘Ha Ha This-a-Way’. At that time, my dad, Leon, was beginning to make his name known in New York City folk music circles. He recently told me he remembered hearing Lead Belly perform at The Village Vanguard in the late 1940s.
So, the soundtrack of my childhood included more than a few of the great bard’s songs. The sound of his 12-string guitar is part of my DNA.

“What I hear now, when I listen to Lead Belly’s recordings and YouTube clips, and what I must have sensed when I was a boy, is the man’s personal power and independence. His sound made it clear that he was his own man. The fatalism and resignation that I heard later in the voices of many of my prewar blues heroes was missing in Lead Belly. He was way ahead of his time. The path he cut through a world that conspired to rob him of his humanity, dignity and manhood was a personal triumph that will inspire for generations to come,” adds Bibb.

Indeed, the music of Huddie Ledbetter (aka “Lead Belly”) that he either wrote or popularized from traditional songs, resonated with everyone from folk and blues musicians of the 1940s/1950s, to rock and roll artists starting in the 1960s/1970s and continuing to the present day. Songs like “Midnight Special” became a part of the set lists of such rock acts as Creedence Clearwater Revival and Johnny Rivers, to name a few; while classic tunes “Good Night Irene” and “Rock Island Line” were staples in the repertoire of folkies such as The Weavers and Woodie Guthrie, and blues performers still regularly record and perform songs associated with Lead Belly.

“Endowed with an uncommon talent, he generated around his person a sense of fraternity that awarded him the protective help of the Lomaxes, favored artistic collaborations with Pete Seeger and other liberals in the 1940s, and aroused the empathy of the young audiences he loved to entertain,” states JJ Milteau.

“Yet his main claim to fame is linked to his personal power and conviction as an interpreter. No one is left unscathed by Lead Belly’s voice, by the sound of his guitar, both distant and familiar. Only great artists showcase such timelessness while chronicling their times.

“Working with Eric on this project has been a real treat. Each and every song came to us in a natural and spontaneous way. The majority of titles present on this album were recorded live, with or without an audience, in order to preserve this freshness. I’m looking forward to more stage performances around this project,” Milteau says.

Lead Belly’s Gold features both material from the Lead Belly canon, as well as original songs written by Eric Bibb and JJ Milteau as a salute to their mentor. Additional musicians on the album include Larry Crockett - drums and percussion; Big Daddy Wilson and Michael Robinson - backing vocals; Gilles Michel – bass; Glen Scott - drums, bass and Wurlitzer; and Michael Jerome Browne - 12-string guitar and mandolin.

“Lead Belly was a human jukebox,” summarizes Eric Bibb. “He knew hundreds of songs that he’d either heard somewhere and adapted, or written himself. Authorship of many of the songs he sang has long been a controversial topic of heated debate in folk music circles. What is clear is this: if not for Lead Belly and the collectors who first recorded him, we might never have heard many of these timeless songs.

“Jean-Jacques and I chose songs from Lead Belly’s vast repertoire that we could make our own. We wanted to pay homage to not only a great musician, but to the rich tradition he embodied. Staying pretty close to his renditions, we had a lot of fun collaborating on these new arrangements.

“Lead Belly spread his music by performing live in front of mostly smaller audiences and recordings. We decided that the energy from a small, enthusiastic audience would help us dive deep into the songs. Fortunately, our good friend St├ęphane at The Sunset, a famous Parisian jazz club, was happy to make his venue available. We also took a few songs from those club recordings and augmented them in the studio, as well as including some original, new studio tracks. The result is this album, Lead Belly’s Gold.”

Lead Belly’s Gold Album Track Listing

1.      Grey Goose - 5:30
2.      When That Train Comes Along / Swing Low, Sweet Chariot - 3:59
3.      On A Monday - 2:52
4.      The House Of The Rising Sun - 3:30
5.      Midnight Special - 3:58
6.      Bring A Little Water, Sylvie - 3:18
7.      Where Did You Sleep Last Night - 3:27
8.      When I Get To Dallas - 1:41
9.      Pick A Bale Of Cotton - 2:57
10.  Goodnight, Irene - 3:39
11.  Rock Island Line - 3:53
12.  Bourgeois Blues - 3:21
13.  Chauffeur Blues - 2:52
14.  Stewball - 3:29
15.  Titanic - 3:03
16.  Swimmin' In A River Of Songs - 3:23
1-11 Live Recording / 12-16 Studio Recording