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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 Susan Tedeschi. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Susan Tedeschi. Show all posts

Monday, February 15, 2016

Tom Waits Streams New Track From Blind Willie Johnson Tribute Album



Legendary artist Tom Waits is streaming his new recording of Soul Of A Man from the forthcoming album God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson at his Facebook page. Waits also recorded John The Revelator for the album.

The album -- to be issued on CD on February 26 and soon after on vinyl -- features newly recorded versions of the iconic slide guitarist/vocalist's most seminal material. In addition to Waits, Lucinda Williams, Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi, Cowboy Junkies, Blind Boys Of Alabama (with Jason Isbell on guitar), Sinéad O'Connor, Luther Dickinson featuring The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band, Maria McKee, and Rickie Lee Jones all deliver deeply moving interpretations of Johnson's otherworldly "gospel blues" music.

Produced by Jeffrey Gaskill (producer of the twice Grammy-nominated compilation, Gotta Serve Somebody: The Gospel Songs of Bob Dylan), God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson highlights the music of one of the greatest and most influential slide guitarists and vocalists who ever walked the Earth. Johnson sang his sanctified gospel lyrics with overwhelming intensity, his deep, raspy voice accompanying his haunting, blues-drenched guitar playing. Rock fans will no doubt recognize many of his songs which have been recorded over the years by artists ranging from Led Zeppelin to Eric Clapton to Bob Dylan. Johnson's recording of John The Revelator was included in the Anthology Of American Folk Music, archivist Harry Smith's 6-LP collection released in 1952 that set the folk revival of the 1960s into motion. God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson is, according to Gaskill, "my life's work." The project was years in the making, and Gaskill is thrilled it's ready to be released. "You gotta serve somebody," he says, referencing his earlier compilation, "and I got the songs of Blind Willie Johnson."

Blind Willie Johnson, whose life remains shrouded in mystery, was born in Pendleton, Texas in 1897 and grew up around Marlin, Texas, He recorded a total of 30 songs between 1927 and 1930 for Columbia, leaving behind a priceless legacy of the unforgettable music he created by marrying the raw, gospel fervor of his voice with the steely blues fire of his guitar. His songs were mostly traditional or came from hymnals, but when Johnson performed them, he transformed them with his soul-shaking voice and amazing slide guitar. Johnson was among the best-selling black gospel artists of the era, but the Great Depression ended his recording career. He continued traveling as a street singer, moving between Dallas, Galveston, Houston, Corpus Christi, San Antonio and finally to Beaumont, where he thundered out his street corner evangelism, spreading his sacred message through his transfixing music. He died in 1945 in Beaumont, Texas at the age of 48.

God Don't Never Change: The Songs Of Blind Willie Johnson
1) The Soul Of A Man (Tom Waits)
2) It's Nobody’s Fault But Mine (Lucinda Williams)
3) Keep Your Lamp Trimmed And Burning (Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi)
4) Jesus Is Coming Soon (Cowboy Junkies)
5) Mother’s Children Have A Hard Time (Blind Boys of Alabama)
6) Trouble Will Soon Be Over (Sinéad O'Connor)
7) Bye And Bye I’m Going To See The King (Luther Dickinson featuring The Rising Star Fife & Drum Band)
8) God Don’t Never Change (Lucinda Williams)
9) John The Revelator (Tom Waits)
10) Let Your Light Shine On Me (Maria McKee)
11) Dark Was The Night--Cold Was The Ground (Rickie Lee Jones)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Blind Willie Johnson all-star album in the works...


Salute to legendary gospel singer-guitarist Blind Willie Johnson,
 with new recordings by Tom Waits, Sinead O’Connor,
Lucinda Williams, Luther Dickinson, Cowboys Junkies, Derek Trucks & Susan Tedeschi, Blind Boys of Alabama and Rickie Lee Jones, is a Kickstarter project in the works.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. — Johnson's music was charred with purgatorial fire — more than sixty years later, you can still
smell the smoke on it.—Francis Davis, The History of the Blues 

More than 60 years after his death, Blind Willie Johnson continues to capture listeners in a way that few singers or musicians have equaled. The list of artists he has influenced goes back to Robert Johnson and forward to the White Stripes. The most obviously indebted would include several generations of hard country gospel singers, from the Blind Boys of Alabama to the Staple Singers, and the most soulful and virtuosic slide guitarists, from Mississippi Delta bluesmen to Ry Cooder.

Raising $125,000 in 30 days for an album of new recordings celebrating the music of Blind Willie Johnson is a risk that music producer Jeffrey Gaskill finds completely worthwhile. “I think when Blind Willie Johnson sat down in the recording studio in the late ’20s he understood the importance of posterity, that he was recording something to be heard by future generations. Today, his music is on a spaceship representing mankind in outer space and yet many of his recordings are virtually unknown.” But Gaskill realizes, “It’s a labor of love that will not be supported by a record label; God Don’t Never Change will
only happen if it’s going to be funded by appreciators of good music.”

According to the Encyclopedia of American Gospel Music, “It would be impossible to list every musician influenced by Blind Willie Johnson, because it would require mentioning almost everyone who ever listened to one of his records.” In
his time, Johnson was considered a singing gospel preacher. Today, he is called a “holy bluesman,” reflecting all of the blues and rock fans and musicians who have been inspired by his work. Either way, there is no more compelling voice in early American music. His music lives on, both in the gospel world and in genres he never could have imagined, and it is
a fitting honor that his legacy be saluted and carried forward into the 21st century.

In order to raise enough money to fund the project, a group of rare and collectible items are available for sale. The
fundraiser’s crown jewels include The Blind Pilgrim Collection, a set of five, unique handcrafted cigar-box
guitars made from the wood of Johnson’s 1930s Marlin, Texas home. For sale individually, the guitars are a limited, numbered set exclusively for this effort.

The Kickstarter fund raising effort begins on October 16 and ends on November 16, 2013.

The project features several rewards for investors at several levels. One-of-a-kind collectibles, content exclusives, and premiums for backers of the album include:

· Backer-only “making-of-the-album” video updates
· Exclusive CD version of the album
· Limited-edition Blind Willie Johnson T-shirts
· Set of two 180-gram LPs in a gatefold package (includes re-mastered, original Blind Willie Johnson recordings)
· Limited, signed and numbered art prints
· Box set in a hardbound case that includes 10” vinyl 33 RPM singles for each track, with a
new recording on one side and the original Johnson recording on the flipside
· Advance digital download of the new album two weeks before release
· Hand-crafted cigar-box guitars made from the wood of Johnson’s Texas home Kickstarter campaigns operate under an “all-or-nothing” funding model so if the Blind Willie Johnson project doesn’t reach its goal at the end of the 30 days the
recording won’ happen.

The project can be followed on

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Tedeschi Trucks Band - Revelator - Release review

Another in a series of releases that I believe are noteworthy which weren't sent to me for review, Revelator by the Tedeschi Trucks Band is as fine a contemporary R&B/ blues release as you're likely to hear. When slide guitarist extrordinaire, Derek Trucks determined to pair up with his wife, blues guitarist and vocalist Susan Tedeschi it was a marriage literally made in heaven. Tedeschi has a sassy vocal that lends itself really nicely to R&B and blues/pop music and Trucks, like many of the great players of our times needs a musical vehicle to express his art. Opening with Come See About Me, a funky pop track with really strong vocals, key work, great rhythm and hot hot slide work! Don't Let Me Slide has a bit of formatting like some of the earlier Allmans work but again with Tedeschi's silky vocals and super harmonies. It is nearly impossible for Trucks to play on any recording without being noticed as his sound is so his signature...and that is great. Midnight In Harlem is a soul style ballad really well suited for Tedeschi's vocal style and Trucks plays beautifully in concert playing solo's so characteristically like Duane Allman capping an ending over 40 years ago. Bound For Glory, another pop/R&B style track showing again how nicely Trucks and Tedeschi have teamed up to make a great good than both separately. Trucks has the talent to be on of the greatest guitar players of his times. Like so many before him, it's the stimulus that takes him higher. Whether it's the hard driving blues of Elmore James when playing with the Allmans or as the sharp foil of the Tedeschi Trucks Band, he has definitely come into his own! Ball and Chain is a solid bluesy ballad with smooth vocal harmonies and an interesting organ effect sounding like a calliope against the earthy slide work of Trucks. Learn How To Love hits like a hammer (think ... When The Levy Breaks). This is a hot track with Tedeschi at her sassiest and Trucks off the leash. Splaying open his notes like a fisherman with his fresh catch, Trucks cuts and dices on this track with fat girth and slashing leads... terrific! Wanna get your groove on? Shrimp and Grits is a smooth jazz groove bound to get your head boppin and your butt squirmin. Love Has Something Else To Say is a hot jazz influenced R&B style track with cool Billy Preston like keyboard riffs. Wah wah guitar riffs keep the track flowing and very uncharacteristic jazz guitar riffs float to the surface. Vocal duets with Tedeschi gives her a chance to show her versatility and funky guitar riffs are traded with sax runs making this a very interesting change in pace. The release is completed by Shelter,  a very sultry vocal ballad which could be the most likely broad airplay track on the release. Vocal harmonies, strong writing, musical hook and of course hair raising slide work from Trucks makes this my recommendation for the large audience appeal. This is a very strong release exhibiting broad appeal without sacrificing art, interest and quality. Super job!

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Key To the Highway - Tedeschi Trucks Band

I'm sure that everyone knows now that Derek and Susan got married a while back. It could turn into a decent thing for the music industry. I personally prefer Derek's work away from his personal band and particularly like his work with the Allmans as well as with Buddy Guy (with Tedeschi). Here's Derek's band with Susan sitting in.

"Key to the Highway" is usually credited to Charles "Chas" Segar and William "Big Bill" Broonzy. As Broonzy explains: "Some of the verses he [Charlie Segar] was singing it in the South the same time as I sung it in the South. And practically all of blues is just a little change from the way that they was sung when I was a kid ... You take one song and make fifty out of it ... just change it a little bit."

Charlie Segar's original "Key to the Highway" was done in the form of a mid-tempo twelve-bar blues. When Jazz Gillum recorded it later that year (featuring Big Bill Broonzy on guitar), he changed the melody and the arrangement to an eight-bar blues, as it is now usually known (May 9, 1940 Bluebird B 8529). A year later, Broonzy recorded "Key to the Highway" utilizing Gillum's arrangement and melody, creating the best known of the early versions of the song (May 2, 1941 OKeh 6242). In 2010, Broonzy's version of "Key to the Highway" was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame "Classics of Blues Recordings" category.

My personal introduction was through Derek and the Dominos and I doubt anyone will ever top it with Duane on slide...but Derek is a fine fine player!
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