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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 Son House. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Son House. Show all posts

Thursday, December 16, 2021

UNHEARD MUSIC BY LEGENDARY “FATHER OF DELTA BLUES” SON HOUSE DISCOVERED, AWAITS MARCH 18, 2022 RELEASE ON EASY EYE SOUND

 

 


 




 

 

UNHEARD MUSIC BY LEGENDARY “FATHER OF DELTA BLUES”

SON HOUSE DISCOVERED,
AWAITS MARCH 18, 2022 RELEASE ON EASY EYE SOUND

 

Forever on My Mind was recorded in the fall of 1964

(ahead of 1965 “rediscovery” album) and never released.

Features first-time-on-record title track “Forever On My Mind,”

plus never-heard recordings of “Death Letter” and “Preachin’ Blues”

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — On the evening of June 23, 1964, a red Volkswagen Beetle bearing three blues enthusiasts arrived in Rochester, N.Y. The young men were following a trail of clues in their search of a legend, and they found him sitting on the steps of an apartment building at 61 Greig Street.

 

 

 

“This is him,” Son House said.

 

Born Eddie James House, Jr. in Lyon, Mississippi in 1902, Son House at that time had not played music for more than two decades. But the re-release of his early work — commercial 78s issued by Paramount Records in 1930 and two field recordings by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941-42 — by Origin Jazz Library and Folkways Records had excited fresh interest in a growing community of blues aficionados.

 

Within months of his rediscovery by Dick Waterman (who became House’s manager and handler), Nick Perls and Phil Spiro, the once-obscure 62-year-old musician was thrust into the public eye by a story in Newsweek magazine and a series of performances at folk music festivals and college campuses around the country.

 

Forever on My Mind, the new album of previously unreleased Son House recordings from Easy Eye Sound, the independent label operated by Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys, is the premiere release from Waterman’s personal cache of ’60s recordings by some of the titans of Delta blues. His collection of quarter-inch tapes — which are being restored to remarkable clarity by Easy Eye Sound — have gone unreleased until now. The collection is due out March 18, 2022.

 

Waterman says, “I always knew that I wanted this body of tape that I had to come out together, as The Avalon Collection or The Waterman Tapes, as sort of my legacy. They were just here at my home, on a shelf. I had made a few entrees to record companies, but nothing had really come through. I thought that Dan Auerbach would treat the material with reverence and respect.”

 

Auerbach says, “Easy Eye Sound makes blues records, and not many people make blues records anymore. This record continues where we started off, with our artists Leo Bud Welch and Jimmy ‘Duck’ Holmes and Robert Finley. It also is part of my history — some of the first blues music I heard was Son House. I was raised on his Columbia LP, Father of Folk Blues. My dad had that album and would play it in the house when I was a kid, so I know all those songs by heart.”

 

Forever on My Mind is the earliest issued full-length House solo performance recorded after his rediscovery, at an appearance captured on November 23, 1964 at Wabash College, a small men’s school in Crawfordsville, Indiana. In terms of power and intensity, it rivals, and in some cases surpasses, the Columbia album, cut five months later in a New York City studio. It also reflects a sharp musical focus that diminished in House’s later concert appearances and recordings.

 

“As he toured in ’65 and ’66 and ’67,” Waterman notes, “he developed stories — they were self-deprecating stories, with humor and things like that. So, he became sort of an entertainer. But these first shows in ’64 were the plain, naked, raw Son House. This was just the man and his performance. He didn’t have any stories or anything to go with it.”

 

In the wake of his rediscovery in Rochester, House — who had labored as a foundry worker, railroad porter and cook, among other jobs, after moving from Mississippi to New York in 1943 — decided to make a return to music at the urging of his enthusiastic young fans. Waterman explains, “He had been living in a [retirement] home with his wife, and they weren’t doing anything but living on Social Security. So, it was the opportunity to make some money that put us out on tour.”

 

House was outfitted with a new steel-bodied National resonator guitar, the instrument he had played on his early recordings, and Al Wilson, later famous as the guitarist and singer of the Los Angeles blues-rock band Canned Heat, gave the sexagenarian musician a refresher course in his own music.

 

“Son and Al would play knee to knee with the guitar,” Waterman says. “Al would say, ‘This is what you called “My Black Mama” in 1930,’ and would play it for him. And then he would say, ‘This is what you called “My Black Woman” for Lomax 12 years later,’ and he would play that, and Son would play along with him until the two of them were really rollicking along. And Son would say, ‘I got my recollection now, I got my recollection now.’”

 

House, who to date had only performed before Black audiences in Southern juke houses, would now be introduced to a young and entirely new group of listeners. Waterman says, “He hadn’t played in front of white people at all.”

 

After some initial appearances that summer at the Unicorn coffeehouse in Cambridge, Massachusetts, then a center of the American folk music renaissance of the ’60s, and an August 1964 set at the Philadelphia Folk Festival, House and Waterman set off on a modest tour of Midwestern campuses in November in the manager’s new Ford Mustang.

 

The manager recalls, “I wrote letters to [university] student activities committees, one after the other after the other. So we went out, and the first date, I remember, was at Antioch in Yellow Springs, Ohio, and then Wabash was one of the first ones after that.”

 

The college engagements included Oberlin College in Ohio, Shimer College in Mt. Carroll, Illinois, and the University of Chicago, where local blues fan Norman Dayron recorded at least part of the November 21, 1964, show; a single track later surfaced on the 1980 Takoma Records LP Rare Blues. But the Wabash College appearance two days later was caught on tape in full.

 

“Wabash did the taping, and then they later gave me the reel-to-reel tape,” Waterman remembers. “The show was held in kind of an assembly hall. There were a few dozen [in the audience] — there may have been up to 50 people, something like that. They were quiet and polite during the performance … There were no barriers, there were no filters between him and the audience. He was just giving them the plain, unvarnished Delta material, as he knew it and as he sang it.”

 

Five of the eight songs heard on Forever on My Mind were later released in studio versions on House’s Columbia LP. Another two songs that he played at Wabash College, renditions of his Delta contemporary Charley Patton’s “Pony Blues” and the gospel blues standard “Motherless Children,” were recorded by the label but went unreleased until 1992.

 

The eighth number heard on the Easy Eye Sound release, the titular “Forever on My Mind,” was never attempted in a recording studio, but it would be essayed from time to time in House’s concert performances; there is film footage of him playing it at the 1966 Newport Folk Festival. On the present album, the song, which contains snatches of his friend Willie Brown’s classic “Future Blues” and his own “Louise McGhee,” serves as a living lesson in the improvisatory Delta blues tradition.

 

“There are certain songs that he would play, go into an open G tuning,” Waterman says, “and just play things in a certain meter. And some of these songs borrowed verses from each other.”

 

House’s 1964-65 live appearances and his Columbia album placed him in the pantheon of such other great, recently rediscovered Delta blues musicians as Skip James, Mississippi John Hurt, Bukka White, and Rev. Robert Wilkins. Forever on My Mind now re-introduces House at the height of his renewed powers in an essential, previously unheard document of unique force and sonic clarity.

 

Says Auerbach, “He sounds like he’s in a trance, and his singing is so nuanced here. He’s very playful with his phrasing, just right on the money with his singing and playing. It sounds so right to me — top form Son House.”

 

“The late-’64 stuff is as good as it’s going to get,” Waterman says. “I have great love and great respect for Mr. House, and I hope that this legacy stands up, for all that he meant to me and all that he meant to the music.”

 

For more information on House and his music, see Preachin’ the Blues: The Life and Times of Son House by Daniel Beaumont (Oxford University Press).

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Third Man Records: Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 - Various Artists - New Release Review

I just had the opportunity to review the most recent 2 cd release, Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1969 from Third Man Records and it's terrific! Opening with Dirty Mother For You, a classic by Roosevelt Sykes, this classic track really gets the ball rolling with his suggestive language and his classic piano style. JB Hutto and his Hawk do a terrific Too Much Alcohol with Hutto's dynamic slide work. An excellent contribution by Jimmy Dawkins, I Wonder Why shows exactly why his nickname was Fast Fingers. Luther Allison and the Blue Nebulae play a super log take on Everybody Must Suffer/Stone Crazy and really gives his guitar a workout... makes you sweat just listening to it. Excellent! Another really fat guitar laden track is Otis Rush and So Many Roads. This is an excellent closer for disc one.

Disc 2 opens with Muddy Waters and Long Distance Call. Muddy's vocals are super and he has that crying slide work, backed by Paul Oscher on harp. Very nice. Charlie Musselwhite really brings the tempo up with Movin and Groovin, a super harp boogie. Of particular interest is Shirley Griffith's delta style rendition of Jelly Jelly Blues accompanying himself on acoustic guitar. Very strong. T-Bone Walker performs his classic, Stormy Monday and a nice long 10 minute plus guitar duet with Luthur Allison. Must be heard. Big Mama Thornton performs her classic, Ball and Chain, supported by T-Bone Walker. I mean, what else could you ask for...really? Sam Lay performs Key To The Highway with Luther Tucker another stellar track with excellent piano by possibly Skip Rose. When you think this is winding down you get the triple whammy. Lightnin' Hopkins on Mojo Hand with Luther Tucker, James Cotton blowing the walls down on Off The Wall with Luther Tucker and Bill Nugent on sax and Lastly... Son House... Son House...  on Death Letter Blues. I was born far too early. This concert is totally off the hook. Thankfully it is released by Third Man. Excellent!

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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Who's That Comin' - BBC series by Tony Palmer


All You Need Is Love: The Story of Popular Music is the name of a 17-part television documentary series on the history of modern pop music directed by Tony Palmer, originally broadcast worldwide between 1976 and 1980. The series covers the many different genres that have fallen under the "pop" label between the mid-19th century and 1976, including folk, ragtime, Tin Pan Alley, vaudeville and music hall, musical theater, country, swing, jazz, blues, R&B, rock 'n' roll and others. This is part 4 - the blues.
Memphis Slim, Lt. George W. Lee, Johnny and Verlina Woods, Roosevelt Sykes, W. C. Handy, Willie "The Lion" Smith, Blind Arvella Gray, Son House, Ray Charles, Mamie Smith, Victoria Spivey, Bessie Smith, John Hammond, George Melly, Muddy Waters, Lead Belly, John Lomax, Jimmy Dawkins, Mighty Joe Young, Billie Holiday, Barney Josephson, B.B. King, Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Arcola Records releases Son House 1968 Seattle Concert and interview!



The tiny Arcola Records label is known for releasing wonderful glimpses of great traditional blues and jazz artists, mostly recorded in the 1960s and 1970s. The latest offering presents a 2 CD Son House issue featuring Son's 1968 Seattle concert finding the artist in top form. Also included is an interview in which Son House describes his early life and musical influences. Interspersed with Son House's dialog are the vintage recordings of Son and the artists he speaks of in the interview, including Willie Brown, Charlie Patton, Rube Lacy and Robert Johnson. Thanks to Arcola for such a thoughtful presentation of this amazing blues artist.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Downhearted Blues - Son House


Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (March 21, 1902 – October 19, 1988) was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music. House did not learn guitar until he was in his early twenties, as he had been "churchified", and was determined to become a Baptist preacher. He associated himself with Delta blues musicians Charlie Patton and Willie Brown, often acting as a sideman. In 1930, House made his first recordings for Paramount Records during a session for Charlie Patton. However, these did not sell well due to the Great Depression, and he drifted into obscurity. He was recorded by John and Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941 and '42. Afterwards, he moved north to Rochester, New York, where he remained until his rediscovery in 1964, spurred by the American folk blues revival. Over the next few years, House recorded several studio albums and went on various tours until his death in 1988. His influence has extended over a wide area of musicians, including Robert Johnson, John Hammond, Alan Wilson (of Canned Heat), Bonnie Raitt, The White Stripes, and John Mooney.
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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Levee Camp Blues - Son House


Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (March 21, 1902 – October 19, 1988) was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music. House did not learn guitar until he was in his early twenties, as he had been "churchified", and was determined to become a Baptist preacher. He associated himself with Delta blues musicians Charlie Patton and Willie Brown, often acting as a sideman. In 1930, House made his first recordings for Paramount Records during a session for Charlie Patton. However, these did not sell well due to the Great Depression, and he drifted into obscurity. He was recorded by John and Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941 and '42. Afterwards, he moved north to Rochester, New York, where he remained until his rediscovery in 1964, spurred by the American folk blues revival. Over the next few years, House recorded several studio albums and went on various tours until his death in 1988. His influence has extended over a wide area of musicians, including Robert Johnson, John Hammond, Alan Wilson (of Canned Heat), Bonnie Raitt, The White Stripes, and John Mooney.
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Downhearted Blues - Son House

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DELTA BLUES MUSEUM TO HOST RECEPTION FOR DICK WATERMAN, PHOTOGRAPHER

Thursday, June 23, 5 - 7 pm.
Free, open to the public
New museum exhibit to focus on Son House, the renowned bluesman who taught Robert Johnson to play guitar


SH/DW11
On Thursday, June 23, 5 -7 pm, the Delta Blues Museum will host a reception for Dick Waterman, famed music photographer and Oxford, MS resident, to mark the opening of its newest exhibit, which features 13 portraits by Waterman of Son House, the renowned bluesman who taught Robert Johnson to play guitar. Waterman helped rediscover House in the '60s and managed his concerts during that era's blues revival. He will be present to sign books of his photographs and answer questions about his years of managing and photographing House. Music will be provided by Bill Abel.

This event is free and open to the public.

The exhibit is part of ongoing museum celebrations marking the 100th anniversary of Johnson's birth. It is sponsored by The Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, the Mississippi Arts Commission, National Guitar Company, and Friends of the Delta Blues Museum.

For more information contact the Delta Blues Museum 662-627-6820.
The Delta Blues Museum is located at #1 Blues Alley in downtown Clarksdale.

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Monday, May 30, 2011

MY BLACK MAMA - Son House - Buddy Guy


Nice to see old films with two of my alltime favorite players together... Buddy as a young punk.
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Enjoy!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Forever on my Mind - Son House (Full Circle)

One of the greatest blues players and singers that ever lived!!! We are fortunate to have as many videos as we do!!


Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (March 21, 1902 (?) – October 19, 1988) was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music. House did not learn guitar until he was in his early twenties, as he had been "churchified", and was determined to become a Baptist preacher. He associated himself with Delta blues musicians Charlie Patton and Willie Brown, often acting as a sideman. In 1930, House made his first recordings for Paramount Records during a session for Charlie Patton. However, these did not sell well due to the Great Depression, and he drifted into obscurity. He was recorded by John and Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941 and '42. Afterwards, he moved north to Rochester, New York, where he remained until his rediscovery in 1964, spurred by the American folk blues revival. Over the next few years, House recorded several studio albums and went on various tours until his death in 1988. His influence has extended over a wide area of musicians, including Robert Johnson, John Hammond, Alan Wilson (of Canned Heat), Bonnie Raitt, The White Stripes, and John Mooney.
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Sunday, May 22, 2011

Son House - Interview / Singing

If you've been following my posts you know that Son house is one of my all time favorite blues singers.

Eddie James "Son" House, Jr. (March 21, 1902 – October 19, 1988) was an American blues singer and guitarist. House pioneered an innovative style featuring strong, repetitive rhythms, often played with the aid of slide guitar, and his singing often incorporated elements of southern gospel and spiritual music. House did not learn guitar until he was in his early twenties, as he had been "churchified", and was determined to become a Baptist preacher. He associated himself with Delta blues musicians Charlie Patton and Willie Brown, often acting as a sideman. In 1930, House made his first recordings for Paramount Records during a session for Charlie Patton. However, these did not sell well due to the Great Depression, and he drifted into obscurity. He was recorded by John and Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941 and '42. Afterwards, he moved north to Rochester, New York, where he remained until his rediscovery in 1964, spurred by the American folk blues revival. Over the next few years, House recorded several studio albums and went on various tours until his death in 1988. His influence has extended over a wide area of musicians, including Robert Johnson, John Hammond, Alan Wilson (of Canned Heat), Bonnie Raitt, The White Stripes, and John Mooney.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Death Letter Blues - Son House


Nothing like the great Son House to close out the evening.

Eddie James "Son" House (1902-1988) may have been the most powerful of the Delta Bluesmen. While not as flashy a guitarist as some of his peers such as Bukka White, or as well known proteges (Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters both were schooled by Son), Son's playing had a fierce edge to it. His voice and lyrics are powerful.
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Enjoy

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Newport Folk Festival


Great old footage of Mr. Son House. I just love to listen to him talk. Son House was as straightforward a blues player as there ever was. He reminds me of a friend that I had as a child. It's nice to see the juxtaposition with he and Mike Bloomfield. It's great always to see him play and of course to see the early Paul Butterfield Band playing with Bloomfield playing a tele rather than his signature Les Paul that he became famous for and Elvin Bishop with his red 345. If you don't know the Butterfield Band stuff..you owe it to yourself. If you do... make sure you check out the Bloomfield/Al Kooper set as well. There is some terrific stuff there!

Enjoy
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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Death Letter


Another generation bringing the blues. Traditional style buy with a new twist.

John Anthony "Jack" White (previously Gillis; born July 9, 1975), often credited as Jack White III,[1] is an American musician, record producer and occasional actor. He is best known as being the guitarist, pianist, and lead vocalist of The White Stripes until they disbanded in February 2011.

He was ranked #17 on Rolling Stone's list of "The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time". White's popular and critical success with The White Stripes enabled him to collaborate as a solo artist with other renowned musicians, such as Beck, The Rolling Stones, Jeff Beck, Alicia Keys, Bob Dylan, Electric Six and Loretta Lynn, whose 2004 album Van Lear Rose he produced and performed on. In 2005, White became a founding member of the rock band The Raconteurs. In 2009, he became a founding member and drummer of his third commercially successful group, The Dead Weather.

Another look at Son House
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Sunday, April 10, 2011

What are the blues? - Son House


The blues is a way of life. The blues is an outlet for emotion. The blues is experiencing someones life ... the turmoil... the strife... actual feelings. But who knows why, it makes you smile. It's happiness, it's sorrow, its a lot of things... it's the expression of emotion in one note of a song or the story that is told that just gets you. It isn't always fast, it isn't always slow it doesn't always swing. I'm just glad that it is. This is a good intro to the blues... can't think of a better place to start.
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