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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 St. Louis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label St. Louis. Show all posts

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Delta Groove Music artist: John Long - Stand Your Ground - New Release Review

I just received the newest release, Stand Your Ground, by John Long and it has a great authentic feel. Opening with Homesick James' Baby Please Set A Date, Long is stroking the slide, Elmore James style, backed by Fred Kaplan on piano, Bill Stuve on acoustic bass and Washington Rucker on drums. This track could easily have been recorded in the 40's or 50's by Muddy with a rich early feel. In addition to Long's slide work, Kaplan's exceptional piano work is sweet! Great opener. Son House style creeps into Red Hawk and long shows his powerful vocal style as well as his command of House's excellent slide style. Excellent! On country style blues, Things Can't Be Down Always, Long continues to demonstrate his versatility in style and delivery. His vocals are pure and his playing clean. On title track, Stand Your Ground, Long introduces a bit of New Orleans feel with Stuve and Rucker. A cool rhythmic track with a more contemporary feel. Welcome Mat is an excellent Delta blues track with early Muddy /JL Hooker delivery. Because of Long's vocals and guitar phrasing, this may be my favorite track on the release. On No Flowers For Me, Long pulls out his harmonica to assist in his delivery and with his guitar, delivers some of the best vocals on the track. It's really quite hard to imagine that these tracks are contemporary and not 75 years old. Very nice! One Earth, Many Colors has a gospel swing, punctuated by Stuve, Kaplan and Rucker. Kaplan's solo is jangly and stylish and Stuve's bass right in the groove. Healing Touch has a real soulful style and again essential vocals by Long. His harp work is nicely complimentary to his unadorned guitar work. Very nice. Willie Johnson's I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole is a cool track with slide / vocal melody. A cool entry among mostly all original tracks. Mike Cronic's Mop, Bucket and Broom is a cool, 30's style swing track with Long showing yet another style and doing it nicely with fine picking, chords and a light dusting by Rucker. Blind Wilie McTell's Climbing High Mountains has a spiritual swing but updated with a swing rhythm. Morphing his vocals to a more pure smooth singing style, Long shows he can sing it all. Very nice! Rev. Thomas Dorsey's Precious Lord, Take My Hand maintains much of the original gospel feel but with just a light touch of blues. This is an excellent interpretation of this classic gospel number, given it isn't being sung by the likes of Aretha or Mike Farris and more in the style of Ray Charles. Wrapping the release is Suitcase Stomp, a great boogie woogie track with Long chasing himself on guitar and harp. This is an excellent release with a lot of heart and reality. Check it out!


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

I Can't Stand the Rain - Ann Peebles


Ann Peebles (born April 27, 1947) is an African American singer-songwriter who gained celebrity for her Memphis soul albums of the 1970s on the Hi Records label. Two of her most popular songs are "I Can't Stand the Rain" and "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down", which she wrote with her husband, Don Bryant, and radio broadcaster Bernard "Bernie" Miller and were subsequently popularized in cover versions by, among others, Eruption (1978) and Paul Young (1984), respectively.
A native of St. Louis, Missouri, Ann Peebles was given her first opportunity as a professional performer by Hi Records' Gene "Bowlegs" Miller during a 1968 trip to sit in singing with him at a Memphis nightclub. A popular local bandleader, Miller was known for helping other musicians, such as members of the Hi Rhythm Section, get their start in the Memphis music industry. Peebles soon began penning and singing hits for the label, co-writing with label staff songwriter Don Bryant, whom she married in 1974. She released a number of commercially successful and critically well received albums produced by Willie Mitchell on Hi Records throughout the 1970s, until the rise of disco music in the late 1970s took her music out of the limelight. Although Hi Records was sold in 1977, she reunited with Mitchell in 1989 to produce her comeback album, Call Me.

In 2006 she released the album Brand New Classics, which consisted of re-recordings of some of her songs in an acoustic style.

Peebles has been sampled by many hip hop artists, in particular RZA and the Wu-Tang Clan. Furthermore her track "I Can't Stand The Rain" was first covered by Patrice Banks of Graham Central Station on the 1975 release of Ain't No 'Bout A Doubt It album and has also been utilized as a sample by the hip hop duo Reflection Eternal (a collaborative group comprising conscious hip hop artist Talib Kweli, and producer Hi-Tek) for their song "Memories Live" on their debut album Train Of Thought. "I Can't Stand the Rain" was also recorded by Grammy Award-winning singer Tina Turner for her 1984 Private Dancer album and released as the sixth single from the album in early 1985. In 1997, Missy Elliott recorded "The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)", an interpolation of "I Can't Stand the Rain", as the first single from her debut album, Supa Dupa Fly. In addition, "I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down" was sampled in the track "The Plan" by Wu-Tang Affiliated group Sunz of Man.

Peebles joined Cyndi Lauper on a recording of Rollin' and Tumblin' on Lauper's 11th studio album, Memphis Blues.
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Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Can't Make Another Day - Edith North Johnson

Edith North Johnson (January 2, 1903 – February 28, 1988) was an American classic female blues singer, pianist and songwriter. Her most noted tracks were "Honey Dripper Blues", "Can't Make Another Day" and "Eight Hour Woman". She wrote another of her songs, "Nickel's Worth of Liver Blues".
Born Edith North, in 1928 she married a local record producer, Jesse Johnson. She originally worked at her husband's Deluxe Music Store as a sales person. Although not a professional singer, between 1928 and 1929 Johnson recorded eighteen sides. She started on QRS Records in 1928, later switching to Paramount. Her output tally included those from a recording session in Grafton, Wisconsin, for the Paramount label with Charley Patton. Oddly, it is now reckoned that Patton did not play on any of her recordings.

During World War II, Johnson managed a taxicab operation in St. Louis, as well as later running Johnson's Deluxe CafÄ— after her husband's death in 1946. By 1961, she had returned to recording when Samuel Charters tracked her down. She was accompanied by Henry Brown on Charters' set entitled, The Blues in St. Louis. It was released by Folkways.

Using pseudonyms such as Hattie North (on Vocalion) and Maybelle Allen, Johnson also earlier waxed additional tracks for other small labels. Under the Hattie North name, she recorded "Lovin' That Man Blues" with Count Basie.

Her recording of "Honey Dripper Blues" was the inspiration for the nickname used by Roosevelt Sykes. In her later life, Johnson spent time undertaking social work in her hometown.

Johnson died in St. Louis in February 1988, at the age of 85
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

News from Stephanie Trick

Newsletter header

Dear Friends,

Happy Holidays!

I just returned from a marathon tour in California -- four fantastic weeks of concerts and festivals.  Highlights included the West Coast Ragtime Festival in Sacramento, the San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival, and a fascinating visit to a unique liberal arts college in the high desert of California, just east of the Sierra Nevadas.
West Coast Ragtime Festival
One of the largest festivals of its kind, the West Coast Ragtime Festival always presents some of the best performers of early piano styles, such as Brian Holland, Carl Sonny Leyland, Frederick Hodges, and others.  All of these pianists and I have much respect and admiration for the musical genius of Dick Hyman; here's a composition of his that I performed that weekend.  I also had the opportunity to play a couple of sets with the fantastic drummer Danny Coots, who brought a lot of great swinging fun to the stage.  Here's our version of "Boogie Woogie Stomp," a hot number by Albert Ammons.

On the last day of the festival, I was delighted to again be master of ceremonies for the annual youth concert.  Young performers of stride and ragtime gave formidable interpretations of Fats Waller, James P. Johnson, and Scott Joplin.  It was easy to see how this music will not only be preserved in years to come, but taken to new heights by these inspiring young artists!
College Visit and Concert
Deep Springs College
With members of the Deep Springs community, November 22, 2011.
After the West Coast festival, we headed to Deep Springs College.  This is truly a one-of-a-kind liberal arts college dedicated to instilling a life-long desire in its students to be of service to mankind.  Duties on the campus and ranch, with its awe-inspiring views -- including harvesting crops, herding cattle, and cooking meals (I can attest to how delicious they are!) -- are balanced with a rigorous academic program.  Most continue after their time here at top universities like Princeton, Brown, and Yale.  I was honored to be asked to play for these students who really seemed to enjoy listening to the music of the 1920s and '30s.
San Diego Thanksgiving Dixieland Jazz Festival
Barry Glover
With Barry Glover, the grandson of James P. Johnson.
After Thanksgiving, I spent the weekend in San Diego performing at the big Dixieland jazz festival there.  I love being a part of jazz festivals because I'm able to hear great bands and share sets with other pianists and musicians.  This time I had the pleasure of sharing a duo set each with two stellar pianists, Carl Sonny Leyland and Chris Dawson.  Sonny is one of the leading exponents of boogie woogie.  I love his exciting style, and it's hard not to smile when I play with him.  Doing a duo set with Chris was a treat, because I was already a big fan of his elegant, swinging playing, and we had a ball together.

Another highlight of the festival weekend for me was meeting Barry Glover, grandson of one of my idols, James P. Johnson.  I even got to play a couple of his grandfather's pieces for him!
Nouveau Stride Downloads
Stride sister Lorraine Feather and I got together for a day of rehearsal while I was in southern California.  We've completed some of the tracks for our upcoming album, and the first one will be available for purchase and download on iTunes in the very near future.  Then one more will be released each month until the complete album is finished.  For more information, please see nouveaustride.com.  Stay tuned for more news soon!
Online Radio Interview
Susan Brender recently interviewed Frederick Hodges and me for her weekly show called "V for Vitality" on womensradio.com.  In the episode titled "Masters of Stride Piano," Frederick and I have a conversation about what it is that draws us to early piano jazz.
Tour Finished with House Concerts
For the last week of my California tour, I was able to team up with Paolo Alderighi, the terrific swing and stride pianist from Italy, for a series of duo concerts in the L.A. area.  We had fun putting together several house concert programs that featured our individual styles, as well as a number of four-hand duets.  Get a taste of them here.  I am so grateful to the gracious hosts and sponsors of all the concerts we were able to share during the last week of this amazing California adventure!

I'll be enjoying a little time off for the next couple of weeks, but also learning new material for projects coming up in the next year.  I hope you have a happy holiday season and a new year filled with blessings!

Friday, December 2, 2011

SPACE AGE BLUES - Devon Allman's Honeytribe


Honeytribe is an American blues rock band formed in Saint Louis, Missouri. The founder and bandleader is Devon Allman, son of Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band, who is the lead guitarist, vocalist, and frontman. The other members are George Potsos on bass, and Justin Hanson on drums.
Honeytribe was formed by Devon Allman in 1999. In 2001, the band broke up so Allman could spend time with his newly born son. They reformed in 2005 and started Honeytribe's path as a career: making records and touring. They have toured throughout North America and Europe.
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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

No Money Down - CHUCK BERRY


Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.
Born into a middle class family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he served a prison sentence for armed robbery between 1944 and 1947. On his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of blues player T-Bone Walker, he was performing in the evenings with the Johnnie Johnson Trio. His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May 1955, and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess of Chess Records. With Chess he recorded "Maybellene"—Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red"—which sold over a million copies, reaching #1 on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star with several hit records and film appearances to his name as well as a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis-based nightclub, called Berry's Club Bandstand. But in January 1962, Berry was sentenced to three years in prison for offenses under the Mann Act—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines.

After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including "No Particular Place To Go", "You Never Can Tell", and "Nadine", but these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic live performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. His insistence on being paid cash led to a jail sentence in 1979—four months and community service for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986, with the comment that he "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Berry is included in several Rolling Stone "Greatest of All Time" lists, including being ranked fifth on their 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included three of Chuck Berry's songs: "Johnny B. Goode", "Maybellene", and "Rock and Roll Music". Today – at the age of 85 – Berry continues to play live.

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Monday, July 18, 2011

Mean Old World - Arthur Williams & Marquise Knox




Williams began performing in the mid-1950s and has sat in with blues greats like Muddy Waters and Elmore James. In the mid-1970s, Williams formed the Bluesmasters band, performing throughout the Midwest.

Marquise Knox was born in 1991 in St. Louis while his mother was visiting family. They returned to Granada, Mississippi, but moved to St. Louis for good a couple of years later. Marquise still resides in St. Louis, Missouri, but also spends a lot of time in Grenada, where he loves to fish and visit friends and family.

Marquise hails from a musical family deeply entrenched in the Blues. He learned how to play guitar from his grandmother whose family were sharecroppers and whose great, great grandparents were slaves. He also played with his uncle Clifford, who was a major influence in Marquise's life.

For Marquise, Blues is his heritage and a way of life. He spent his early teenage years in St. Louis mentoring under the late great Blues legend, N.E.A. Heritage Fellowship recipient and Grammy Award winner Henry James Townsend. Marquise's talents have earned him performing rights with some of America’s most notable blues performers such as blues legend and Grammy Award winners B.B. King, Pinetop Perkins and David “Honeyboy” Edwards (the latter two also NEA Heritage Fellows). He has also performed at dozens of festivals, and has toured Germany and played the Baden Blues Festival in Switzerland.

Marquise met Sam Lay during a visit to Clarksdale, Mississippi. Like other statesmen of the Blues, Sam took an immediate liking to Marquise and took it upon himself to help give Marquise's career a boost by insisting that Chad Kassem bring Marquise to the celebrated Blues series "Bluesmasters at the Crossroads", which has showcased a virtual who-who of the Blues at Blue Heaven Studios in Salina, Kansas. Marquise was an immediate crowd favorite, and was adopted by all of the elders of the Blues in attendance that year. His obvious talent along with his deep knowledge of the Blues and vast respect for his elders made it clear Marquise had something special, and Kassem signed him to a three album deal.


Sunday, July 3, 2011

No Money Down - Chuck Berry


Charles Edward Anderson "Chuck" Berry (born October 18, 1926) is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, and one of the pioneers of rock and roll music. With songs such as "Maybellene" (1955), "Roll Over Beethoven" (1956), "Rock and Roll Music" (1957) and "Johnny B. Goode" (1958), Chuck Berry refined and developed rhythm and blues into the major elements that made rock and roll distinctive, with lyrics focusing on teen life and consumerism and utilizing guitar solos and showmanship that would be a major influence on subsequent rock music.

Born into a middle class family in St. Louis, Missouri, Berry had an interest in music from an early age and gave his first public performance at Sumner High School. While still a high school student he served a prison sentence for armed robbery between 1944 and 1947. On his release, Berry settled into married life and worked at an automobile assembly plant. By early 1953, influenced by the guitar riffs and showmanship techniques of blues player T-Bone Walker, he was performing in the evenings with the Johnnie Johnson Trio.[2] His break came when he traveled to Chicago in May, 1955, and met Muddy Waters, who suggested he contact Leonard Chess of Chess Records. With Chess he recorded "Maybellene"—Berry's adaptation of the country song "Ida Red"—which sold over a million copies, reaching #1 on Billboard's Rhythm and Blues chart. By the end of the 1950s, Berry was an established star with several hit records and film appearances to his name as well as a lucrative touring career. He had also established his own St. Louis-based nightclub, called Berry's Club Bandstand. But in January, 1962, Berry was sentenced to three years in prison for offenses under the Mann Act—he had transported a 14-year-old girl across state lines.

After his release in 1963, Berry had several more hits, including "No Particular Place To Go", "You Never Can Tell", and "Nadine", but these did not achieve the same success, or lasting impact, of his 1950s songs, and by the 1970s he was more in demand as a nostalgic live performer, playing his past hits with local backup bands of variable quality. His insistence on being paid cash led to a jail sentence in 1979—four months and community service for tax evasion.

Berry was among the first musicians to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on its opening in 1986, with the comment that he "laid the groundwork for not only a rock and roll sound but a rock and roll stance." Berry is included in several Rolling Stone "Greatest of All Time" lists, including being ranked fifth on their 2004 list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll included three of Chuck Berry's songs: "Johnny B. Goode", "Maybellene", and "Rock and Roll Music". Today – at the age of 84 – Berry continues to play live.
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