In November 1968 Howlin’ Wolf recorded for Cadet Concept Records (a subsidiary of Chess Records) the Howlin’ Wolf Album which contains a whole different sound than we are used from Wolf. The album incorporates use of wah-wah pedal and fuzzbox, unconventional rhythms, beats and influences from Psychedelic Rock. Producer Marshall Chess augmented the rhythm of Howlin Wolf’s live band with the use of electric organ and saxophone.
Album cover Howlin’ Wolf Album
In his biography Moanin’ at Midnight: The Life and Times of Howlin’ Wolf,Howlin’ Wolf tells he disliked the sound, which he did not consider to be blues. In his bio guitarist Pete Cosey recalls that during the recording sessions, Howlin’ Wolf “looked at me and he said ‘Why don’t you take them wah-wahs and all that other shit and go throw it off in the lake — on your way to the barber shop?’
“Built For Comfort” Psychedelic Blues version
Nevertheless there are a lot of unique songs on this album. My favorite is “Built For Comfort” which contains a unique groove electrifying guitar solos and some of the finest psychedelic guitar riffs around. Especially on his ‘Chess albums’, Howlin’ Wolf really grooved and used a lot of funk influences. Like on his 1971 album “Message To The Young”.
Built For Comfort was originally written by Willie Dixon, but the Howlin’ Wolf version is more thematic. The version Wolf recorded on the London Session Album is worth listening too. find it here below:
Debut Single “Soda Man” by Australian Blues / House duo HPKNS
The bandname of Blues / House duo HPKNS from Melbourne, Australia pays homage to blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins whose traditional foot stomping blues forms the basis of HPKNS style. This duo is eccentric and unique for the way they approach the blues roots in their music.
Inspiration for “Soda Man”
Inspired by the songs of the Texas blues legend Lightnin’ Hopkins you will find a mixture of danceable beats and electrifying guitar and bass riffs in their music. HPKNS launched their ‘Devilishly Pounding’ Blues // House debut single ‘Soda Man’ this September and are ready to hit the road.
‘Soda Man’ is a grooving song with an attractive guitar riff and feels like a 2016 version of the work bluesmen like Son House once recorded. Listen to “Death Letter Blues”, which he recorded in 1965 and you’ll find a similar groove in HPKNS arrangements.
Blues / House Duo HPKNS
The duo HPKNS consists of James Deville (vocals // guitar) & Dave Lovegrove (vocals // bass // percussion). While HPKNS roots lie in traditional blues with offshoots of glam, psychedelica & garage rock, the significant driving force behind the music is the beat which is a product of their love for House.
These guys love writing & performing and have a solid 1 hour set ready to hit the road with. I’m very curious about what HPKNS will bring next!
Unique video Freddie King: Performance at the Travis Co. Jail
The style of Freddie King speaks for itself and what it says to anyone is grooving blues, tight guitar playing and attitude. In 1976, not long before Freddie’s death, producer, filmmaker and editor Ric Sternberg shot a piece of Freddie King performing for inmates at the Travis Co. Jail. Watch this unique footage of Freddie King and his half-brother Bennie.
Video by Ric Sternberg
Like Johnny Cash and other musicians in those days did, Freddie and his half-brother Bennie were invited to play for the inmates at the Travis Co. Jail. The prisoners loved it. So did the musicians. Ric sternberg shot it with help from William McLellan & Linda Evans. It was shot with a single tube camera.
In this video King performs “Sweet Home Chicago” and “Let The Good Times Roll” on an acousric guitar. You hear Freddy say something like: “I normally play electric, but I’ll work somerhing out”. Unlike other musicians Freddie King performed in front of the cells. Now and then he said something but mostly he walk from cell to cell singing some fine blues tunes.
This video is really a treasure and shows a great Freddie King. I’m happy the maker put this available for all blues fans!
Video Credit: Ric Sternberg Photo By Bert Verhoeff (ANEFO) (GaHetNa (Nationaal Archief NL)) [CC BY 4.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
James Sayer is a pianist, singer / songwriter, session player and recording artist, originally from Birmingham, UK. It were artist like Jerry Lee Lewis and Elton John who inspired him in playing piano Rock n Roll songs. It is a sound James Sayer fits perfectly. He is noteworthy for his tight boogie rhythms and pure voice, you will hear this back perfectly in his cover version of “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin On”.
James moved to London in 2012 where he became a gigging musician, performing almost every night in piano bars, clubs and pubs. In London James met American producer, Alan Glass and they started working together in early 2015. He currently works on the recording of his first full length ablum.
Currently recording an album
James Sayer released his debut single “Takin Back My Love” in the summer of 2016. It is now waiting for the release of his full length album which is planned to be in stores in early 2017. I spoke with James about recording, his inspiration, the future and the Music scene in London.
How did you experience the recordings for this new album?
I love recording in the studio! I record all my music in the old fashioned way. All the instruments are real and I record my piano/vocals live with my bass player and drummer. We then overdub other instruments, such as the horn section, Hammond Organ and Guitar. This way of recording takes time and is costly but I love the results when trying to capture rock n roll music! I also record all my piano played on an upright piano – I love the sound it gives on my records.
New Single – “Taking Back My Love”
How do you like the coorperation with Robert Strauss and other producers so far?
I love working with producers in the studio. Robert Strauss is great and he runs such a brilliant studio. It’s called ‘Wax Recording Studio’ and it’s a dream for any musician. A real piano, fender rhodes and just a great energy about the place. Recording a great track always needs a great producer – Rob always gets the best performance out of me. He makes me think differently about my approach during sessions. I have also worked with a guy called Alan Glass. We co-wrote my debut track ‘Taking Back My Love’. Alan is a brilliant songwriter/producer.
What rock ‘n roll music do you listen most at the moment?
I’m a bit of an Elton John addict – I love the gospel and soul in his music and he’s such a brilliant live performer. One of the other artists I’m really into at the moment is a guy called ‘Jamie Lidell’. He’s such a talent and his album ‘Jim’ has been such an inspiration for me.
I also get great inspiration from Michael McDonald – his voice is the greatest, in my opinion. I love the Rolling Stones and Tina Turner – there’s such an energy to their music.
What are your future plans in music?
I just love playing and recording music. I want to tour, gig and record as much as I can and reach new fans!
How do you experience the old school rock ‘n roll music scene in London or other places?
In London I play in many live music venues and piano bars. One of the great places I play at is called ‘Charing Cross Theatre’. The place has a real white baby grand piano and I play loads of rock n roll music in there! Another great venue is called ‘Ain’t nothing but’ in Soho. It’s a real Blues venue with some great musicians playing there nightly.
I like the piano Rock ‘n Roll sound James delivers. His inspiration from artist like Jerry Lee and Elton John are noticable in his songs. I personaly would like to hear the James Sayer version of Elton John’s “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fightning”, it would kick ass!