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Showing posts with label Otis Spann. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Otis Spann. Show all posts

Friday, December 12, 2014

Delmark Records artist: Junior Wells - Southside Blues Jam - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Southside Blues Jam, by Junior Wells and it's great! This is another in a series of reissues from Delmark with in this case 6 additional tracks. This release was recorded in December '69-January '70 at Theresa's Blues Bar and one could only have wished to be at one of these shows! Opening with Sonny Boy Williamson's Stop Breaking Down, Spann hits the first key and Wells unleashes that monster voice. It's really great to hear this band featuring the kings of Chicago blues (Wells, Guy, Myers, Spann, Earnest Johnson and Fred Bellow). Wells has such control and composure with Spann who is one of my personal favorites. Excellent! I Could Have Had Religion is up next and Spann is right there! This track comes and goes so quickly but Spann in crystal clear and Wells has the blues in the palm of his hand. Willie Dixon's Just Make Love To Me (I Just Wanna Make Love To You) is right down in the groove and Spann is stellar. Wells really digs down and Buddy is heard scampering over the vocals with his guitar riffs. Spann steps out with a great intro on one of my favorites, Lend Me Your Love. Wells' vocals are focused and direct and Otis really kicks it on an extended solo. Guy plays some of his notorious riffs, rough and raw. An almost perfect track. On Morganfield's Long Distance Call, Wells pulls out the harp and quietly coaxes riffs from Spann and Guy. Excellent! On Williamson's In My Younger Days, Wells plays a cool intro and Spann keeps a solid piano base under Wells' vocals. Of course a perfect track for Wells to blow it out, that he does and a full out romp starts with Louis Myers adding really nice guitar riffs to the mix. Guy takes the mic on Trouble Don't Last and consequently adds more of his own distinctive guitar riffs in echo to his own vocals. It is a such a great thing to hear Guy and Spann together with Guy singing and Wells on harp. Guy takes a bit more of an extended solo on this track as well. Excellent! The next 7 tracks weren't a part of the original release and are a terrific bonus here. It's Too Late Brother cooks with Wells riding high on vocal and terrific harp work. Myers is just perfect on guitar on this track with an almost jazz attack and Spann plays low on the keyboard creating a super dynamic. At over 6 minutes, this is a cool jam. Warmin' Up is a cool little clip of Spann and Guy jamming. At only about a minute long, a well worthy addition with hot riffs! Love My Baby has a strong Morganfield feel and Guy cuts loose nicely on this track. Spann's signature is ever present and these are not just extras...these tracks are great! An alternate take on I Could Have Had Religion is up next and Wells really sings over the top. At over 7 minutes this turns into a super jam with Wells vocal improv, Spann, Guy, Below and Johnson. Morganfield's Rock Me is up next and Wells sets a really nice groove. Spann's signature is so pure and evident that you wonder how anyone ever listened to Chicago blues without him. Wells rips loose on his harp against a fairly quiet background creating a super dynamic. Got To Play The Blues is a seven plus minute track with a funky blues feel. Myers holds down the guitar spot on this track and Spann and Wells trade riffs. This is an excellent release of materials for both enthusiasts and seasoned listeners. There is also included a 16 page liner notes and super photos from Bob Koester. Also of note is that this is the final studio recording of Spann.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Spann's Blues - Otis Spann

Otis Spann (March 21, 1930 – April 24, 1970) was an American blues musician whom many consider to be the leading postwar Chicago blues pianist Born in Jackson, Mississippi, United States, Spann became known for his distinct piano style. Born to Frank Houston Spann and Josephine Erby. One of five children - three boys and two girls. His father played piano, non professionally, while his mother had played guitar with Memphis Minnie. Spann began playing piano by age of eight, influenced by his local ivories stalwart, Friday Ford. At the age of 14, he was playing in bands around Jackson, finding more inspiration in the 78s of Big Maceo Merriweather, who took the young pianist under his wing once Spann migrated to Chicago in 1946. Other sources say that he moved to Chicago when his mother died in 1947 playing the Chicago club circuit and working as a plasterer. Spann gigged on his own, and with guitarist Morris Pejoe, working a regular spot at the Tic Toc Lounge before hooking up with Muddy Waters in 1952. Although he recorded periodically as a solo artist, Spann was a full-time member of the Muddy Waters band from 1952 to 1968. In that period he also did session work with other Chess artists like Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley. Spann's own Chess Records output was limited to a 1954 single, "It Must Have Been the Devil" / "Five Spot", which featured B.B. King and Jody Williams on guitars. He recorded a session with the guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. and vocalist St. Louis Jimmy in New York on August 23, 1960, which was issued on Otis Spann Is The Blues and Walking The Blues. A largely solo outing for Storyville Records in 1963 was recorded in Copenhagen. A set for UK Decca Records the following year found him in the company of Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton, and a 1964 album for Prestige followed where Spann shared vocal duties with bandmate James Cotton. The Blues is Where It's At, Spann's 1966 album for ABC-Bluesway, sounded like a live recording. It was a recording studio date, enlivened by enthusiastic onlookers that applauded every song (Muddy Waters, guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, and George "Harmonica" Smith were among the support crew). A Bluesway encore, The Bottom of the Blues followed in 1967 and featured Spann's wife, Lucille Jenkins Spann (June 23, 1938 – August 2, 1994), helping out on vocals. In the late 1960s, he appeared on albums with Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac. Several films of his playing are available on DVD, including the Newport Folk Festival (1960), while his singing is also featured on the American Folk Blues Festival (1963) and The Blues Masters (1966). Following his death from liver cancer in Chicago in 1970, at the age of 40, he was interred in the Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois. Spann's grave laid unmarked for almost thirty years, until Steve Salter (president of the Killer Blues Headstone Project) wrote a letter to Blues Revue magazine to say "This piano great is lying in an unmarked grave. Let's do something about this deplorable situation". This lit a spark in the blues community on a world wide level. Blues enthusiasts from Alaska to Venezuela, from Surrey to England, and Singapore sent donations to purchase Spann a headstone. On June 6, 1999 the marker was unveiled during a private ceremony. The stone reads "Otis played the deepest blues we ever heard - He'll play forever in our hearts". He was posthumously elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.

If you support live Blues acts, up and coming Blues talents and want to learn more about Blues news and Fathers of the Blues, ”LIKE” ---Bman’s Blues Report--- Facebook Page! I’m looking for great talent and trying to grow the audience for your favorite band!


Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Roll 'em Pete - Otis Spann


Otis Spann (March 21, 1930 – April 24, 1970) was an American blues musician, who many consider the leading postwar Chicago blues pianist.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, United States, Spann became known for his distinct piano style.

Born to Frank Houston Spann and Josephine Erby. One of five children - three boys and two girls. His father played piano, non professionally, while his mother had played guitar with Memphis Minnie. Spann began playing piano by age of eight, influenced by his local ivories stalwart, Friday Ford. At the age of 14, he was playing in bands around Jackson, finding more inspiration in the 78s of Big Maceo Merriweather, who took the young pianist under his wing once Spann migrated to Chicago in 1946. Other sources say that he moved to Chicago when his mother died in 1947 playing the Chicago club circuit and working as a plasterer. Spann gigged on his own, and with guitarist Morris Pejoe, working a regular spot at the Tic Toc Lounge before hooking up with Muddy Waters in 1952.

Although he recorded periodically as a solo artist, Spann was a full-time member of the Muddy Waters band from 1952 to 1968. In that period he also did session work with other Chess artists like Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley.

Spann's own Chess Records output was limited to a 1954 single, "It Must Have Been the Devil" / "Five Spot", which featured B.B. King and Jody Williams on guitars. He recorded a session with the guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. and vocalist St. Louis Jimmy in 1960, which was issued on Otis Spann Is The Blues and Walking The Blues. A largely solo outing for Storyville Records in 1963 was recorded in Copenhagen. A set for UK Decca Records the following year found him in the company of Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton, and a 1964 album for Prestige followed where Spann shared vocal duties with bandmate James Cotton.

The Blues is Where It's At, Spann's 1966 album for ABC-Bluesway, sounded like a live recording. It was a recording studio date, enlivened by enthusiastic onlookers that applauded every song (Muddy Waters, guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, and George "Harmonica" Smith were among the support crew). A Bluesway encore, The Bottom of the Blues followed in 1967 and featured Spann's wife, Lucille Jenkins Spann (June 23, 1938 – August 2, 1994), helping out on vocals.

In the late 1960s, he appeared on albums with Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac.

Several films of his playing are available on DVD, including the Newport Folk Festival (1960), while his singing is also featured on the American Folk Blues Festival (1963) and The Blues Masters (1966).
Following his death from liver cancer in Chicago in 1970, at the age of 40, he was interred in the Burr Oak Cemetery, Alsip, Illinois.

He was posthumously elected to the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980.
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Monday, December 26, 2011

Nobody Knows My Trouble - Otis Spann and Muddy Waters


Otis Spann (March 21, 1930 – April 24, 1970) was an American blues musician, who many consider the leading postwar Chicago blues pianistBorn in Jackson, Mississippi, United States, Spann became known for his distinct piano style.

Born to Frank Houston Spann and Josephine Erby. One of five children - three boys and two girls. His father played piano, non professionally, while his mother had played guitar with Memphis Minnie.[citation needed] Spann began playing piano by age of eight, influenced by his local ivories stalwart, Friday Ford. At the age of 14, he was playing in bands around Jackson, finding more inspiration in the 78s of Big Maceo Merriweather, who took the young pianist under his wing once Spann migrated to Chicago in 1946. Other sources say that he moved to Chicago when his mother died in 1947 playing the Chicago club circuit and working as a plasterer. Spann gigged on his own, and with guitarist Morris Pejoe, working a regular spot at the Tic Toc Lounge before hooking up with Muddy Waters in 1952.

Although he recorded periodically as a solo artist, Spann was a full-time member of the Muddy Waters band from 1952 to 1968. In that period he also did session work with other Chess artists like Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley.

Spann's own Chess Records output was limited to a 1954 single, "It Must Have Been the Devil" / "Five Spot", which featured B.B. King and Jody Williams on guitars. He recorded a session with the guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. and vocalist St. Louis Jimmy in 1960, which was issued on Otis Spann Is The Blues and Walking The Blues. A largely solo outing for Storyville Records in 1963 was recorded in Copenhagen. A set for UK Decca Records the following year found him in the company of Muddy Waters and Eric Clapton, and a 1964 album for Prestige followed where Spann shared vocal duties with bandmate James Cotton.

The Blues is Where It's At, Spann's 1966 album for ABC-Bluesway, sounded like a live recording. It was a recording studio date, enlivened by enthusiastic onlookers that applauded every song (Muddy Waters, guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, and George "Harmonica" Smith were among the support crew). A Bluesway encore, The Bottom of the Blues followed in 1967 and featured Spann's wife, Lucille Jenkins Spann (June 23, 1938 – August 2, 1994[5]), helping out on vocals.

In the late 1960s, he appeared on albums with Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac.

Several films of his playing are available on DVD, including the Newport Folk Festival (1960), while his singing is also featured on the American Folk Blues Festival (1963) and The Blues Masters (1966).
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Nobody Knows My Trouble/ Cold Cold Feelin - Otis Spann - Muddy Waters


Otis Spann (March 21, 1930 – April 24, 1970) was an American blues musician. Many aficionados considered him then, and now, as Chicago's leading postwar blues pianist.
Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Otis Spann became known for his distinct piano style.

Born to Frank Houston Spann and Josephine Erby. One of five children - three boys and two girls. His father played piano, non professionally, while his mother had played guitar with Memphis Minnie. Spann began playing piano by age of eight, influenced by his local ivories stalwart, Friday Ford. At the age of 14, he was playing in bands around Jackson, finding more inspiration in the 78s of Big Maceo Merriweather, who took the young pianist under his wing once Spann migrated to Chicago in 1946. Other sources say that he moved to Chicago when his mother died in 1947 playing the Chicago club circuit and working as a plasterer. Spann gigged on his own, and with guitarist Morris Pejoe, working a regular spot at the Tic Toc Lounge before hooking up with Muddy Waters in 1952.

Although he recorded periodically as a solo artist beginning in the mid 1950s, Spann was a full-time member of Waters' band from 1952 to 1968 before leaving to form his own band. In that period he also did session work with other Chess artists like Howlin' Wolf and Bo Diddley.

Spann's own Chess Records output was limited to a 1954 single, "It Must Have Been the Devil", that featured B.B. King on guitar. He recorded a session with the guitarist Robert Lockwood, Jr. and vocalist St. Louis Jimmy in 1960, which was issued on Otis Spann Is The Blues and Walking The Blues. A largely solo outing for Storyville Records in 1963 was recorded in Copenhagen. A set for the UK branch of Decca Records the following year found him in the company of Waters and Eric Clapton, and a 1964 album for Prestige followed, where Spann shared vocal duties with bandmate James Cotton.

The Blues is Where It's At, Spann's 1966 album for ABC-Bluesway, sounded like a live recording. It was a recording studio date, enlivened by enthusiastic onlookers that applauded every song (Waters, guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, and George "Harmonica" Smith were among the support crew). A Bluesway encore, The Bottom of the Blues followed in 1967 and featured Spann's wife, Lucille Jenkins Spann (June 23, 1938 – August 2, 1994), helping out on vocals.

In the late 1960s, he appeared on albums with Buddy Guy, Big Mama Thornton, Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac.

Several films of his playing are available on DVD, including the Newport Folk Festival (1960), while his singing is also featured on the American Folk Blues Festival (1963) and The Blues Masters (1966).
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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Blues Don't Like Nobody


I'm on a roll to listen to my roots. Here's a little Otis Spann. Otis played with all the greats and was and is still one of the best blues players that every touched to piano.
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