He was a blues singer with more social and political themes in his music than any other blues artist around. a man who’s lyrics were so politically critic that it made him notorious. Like that day in the 1950s when his “Eisenhower Blues” was politically potent enough to warrant investigation by the House of un-American activities.
J.B. Lenoir blues ballad “How Much More”
There is so much to learn from J.B. Lenoir these days in the field of music activism, but first, you’ve got to enjoy his swinging blues songs which are a big part of his repertoire. Cause besides his protest songs, he also recorded blues love ballads like “How Much More”, a song that features the heartache of waiting for love poetically. He sings on a honky tonk and grooving rhythm “If I should die and should die before my time, If I should die, and should die before my time; Don’t you forget, you forever on my mind”.
How long? How much more long, how long? How long? How much more long, how long? How long, ‘fore you bring your love back home?
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.
These guys made the roots of all popular music. It were legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf and many other Chicago Bluesmen. They blew me away with their songs like “The Blues Had a Baby and they named it rock ‘n roll” and “Wang dang Doolde”. The long and fascinating history of Chicago Blues is still an inspiration for many musicians, The greatest artist in the blues came, performed or recorded songs in this city.
The Chicago Blues made the blues grittier and raw like city life ensembles. A new project Alive and Kicking, Chicago Blues a Living History tries to continue this legacy and therefore a campaign on Kickstarter kicked off.
He is one of the great Chicago Blues slide Guitarist and you can easily compare his virtuosity to Elmore James and Hound Dog Taylor. His surname reminds you of that other great bluesman John Lee, but Earl Hooker was an unique figure in the blues. His talent is perfectly recorded in the video Off the Hook from a 1969 performance.
Scrapper Blackwell – Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out
Most people know the classic “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down and Out” from the Eric Clapton cover performed on his Unplugged album. But this blues standard written by Jimmy Cox in 1923 is performed by a whole lot of people including Josh White, Sammy Price, Bessie Smith, Lavern Baker and Louis Jordan. But for the last few day I listened to the Scrapper Blackwell version.
Song about a one-time millionaire
Scrapper Blackwell recorded this song at a session in Chicago on August 15, 1928. According to ‘Blues By Dick Weissman‘ : ” Its lyric, told from the point of view of a one-time millionaire during the Prohibition era, reflects on the fleeting nature of material wealth and the friendships that come and go with it” .
Who is Scrapper Blackwell?
All though nowaday he might be a bit unknown Francis Hillman aka “Scrapper” Blackwell was a well known guitarist back in the day. He made quite fame alongside Blues pianist Leroy Carr and recorded several albums with Carr. Scrapper Blackwell and Leroy Carr met during a house party in Indianapolis in 1927.