Category Archives: Rhythm and Blues

Song of the Day: LaVern Baker – Voodoo Voodoo

Song of the Day: LaVern Baker – Voodoo Voodoo


Voodoo Voodoo was the B -side of Lavern Baker’s 1961 release of ‘Hey Memphis’ for Atlantic recods. This song really has the power to let people dance and fifty five years later is still works! The secret of this song is in the tight rhythm and the strong vocals. It is a musical hurricane  that forces everyone to join. In ‘Voodoo Voodoo’ Rhythm ‘nd’ Blues Queen Lavern Baker shows she got what it takes.

Blues singer from the Chicago Southside

Born November 28 in 1929 on the Chicago South Side Lavern Baker earned her education in her Baptist Church Choir. At age 17 she landed a residency at the famous Chicago Blues Club De Lisa under the stagename “Little Miss Sharecropper”.

 

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Song of the Day: Marie Knight – Who Rolled The Stone Away

Who Rolled The Stone Away?

Marie Knight’s ‘WhoRolled The Stone Away’ really digs deep! This song makes you feel good, the arrangement swings, the vocals are smooth.

In the 1940s Marie Knight worked and toured alongside the great Sister Rosetta Tharpe. And like Sister Rosetta this Gospel and Rhythm and Blues singer had a long career in music. The two singers had a lot in common.  Marie Knight’s ‘Who Rolled the Stone Away’, for example has  similar vocals and grooves as good as “Joshua Fit The Battle of Jericho’ from Sister Rosetta.

 

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Song Of The Day: Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup – My Baby Left Me

Song Of The Day: Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crudup – My Baby Left Me

Delta and Rhythm and Blues singer Arthur ‘Big Boy’ Crodup had a clear inluence on the development of Rock ‘n Roll. Three of his songs including “My Baby Left Me” were later covered by Elvis Presley, but not only Presley covered Crodup’s songs also Elton John and Rod Stewart knew how to re-record the work of this bluesman.

“My Bay Left Me” was originally recorded on  November 8, 1950, with Ransom Knowling on bass and Judge Riley on drums.  The rockin’ bassline and the swinging drum at the intro of this song really make this song kick off! I also like it that in  the cover versions this part of the song hasn’t changed.

After visiting Chicago in 1939 he stayed there to live a hard life as a musician. After he met blues producer Lester Melrose and Tampa Red, his career went beter. Crodup got the change to record songs which he did throughout the forties and fifties.

Elvis Presley Version

Elvis Presley admired Arthur “Big Boy” crodup, that may be the reasion the King of Rock ‘n Roll recorded three of his songs. Elvis versions of “My Baby Left Me” Brings a  lot more country and rock ‘n Roll to the song; absolutely worth listening.

Elvis Presley – My Baby Left Me

Arthur Crodup Interview

By Tom Hilton (originally posted to Flickr as img261) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Rhythm and Blues Twister Gary U.S. Bonds

Gary US Bonds

Rhythm and Blues Twister Gary U.S. Bonds

From Steppenwolf to Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, from Joe Turner to John Lee Hooker, ABC Records released albums for a whole lot of musicians. In 1973 a collection of Rock ‘N’ Soul tunes from the pre-Beatles era .was brought into the recordstores. The record with songs from  Bobby Bland to Gene Chandler is a fantastic illustration of the Rock and Soul from the Sixties. Nevertheless one Artist called Gary U.S. Bonds is really my favorite.

19 year old Rhythm and Blues singer from Florida

Gary U.S. Bonds  is an American rhythm and blues and rock and roll singer, known for his classic hits when he was just 19 years old “New Orleans” and “Quarter to Three”. His career spans several decades and he is also a prolific songwriter. You will like the influences Bonds mixes from bliues, soul to reggea and see how he comes to the swingin’ Rock ‘n Roll.

Singer Songwriter in more than 5 decades

This singer, songwriter Rhythm and Bluesman is active in music industry for more than fifty years.  His success as a songwriter  garnered him a nomination for the Country Music Association’s “Songwriter of the Year”. Gary is an honoree of the Rhythm & Blues Foundation, a “favorite son” of the Blues Brothers and a highly respected golfer, often invited to play at celebrity/PGA events.

I have three absolute favorite tracks of Gary U.S. Bonds and THE last few weeks I hear the songs every day. Let me introduce…

Dear Lady Twist – Gary U. S. Bonds 1961

Dear Lady Twist is a groovy song which clearly has a lot of influences from early sixties Reggae Rock artist like Jimmy Cliff, Greyhound and Desmond Dekker. On the other hand Bonds swings, twists and grooves on party rock ‘n roll tunes you’d remember from the fifties with Sax and drums.

Gary U.S. Bonds : Quarter To Three ( 1961 )

This songs is a combination of soul and rock ‘n roll with a blues bent. The vocals are tight and continous on top of the hill. This song has no lows.

Gary US Bonds – School Is Out

In 1960 Gary U.S. Bonds released the album ‘Dance ’til Quarter to Three’. “School is out is the eleventh song of this album, a swinging song in the style of the saxophone Rock ‘n Roll tunes. School is out is the ideal highschool song from the fifties and sixties.


Photo By Lioneldecoster (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)], via Wikimedia Commons

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Up and Down career in Rhythm and Blues: Jessie Hill

JessieHillatJazzFest1996

“there was something about that city, though it didn’t let me feel guilty that I had no feeling for the things so many others needed. it let me alone.”

― Charles Bukowski

Jessie Hill New Orleans Rhythm and Blues

New Orleans Rhythm and Blues legend Jessie Hill had a life full of ups and downs. Hill toured throughout the U.S and recorded and wrote with the best songwriters around. But he also was homeless for a while when his career went rock bottom. You may best remember Jessie Hill for the classic “Ooh Poo Pah Doo,” a favorite at Mardi Gras and “Whip It On Me”.

Musical career alongside the greatest

Born and raised in the Crescent City alongside Eddie Bo, Oliver Morgan, and Prince La La, it was according to allmusic almost inevitable that he would pursue a career in music, and by his teens he was playing drums in bands fronted by Kid Arnestine and Freddie Domino.

When Hill was 19 years old he started his own group the House Rockers. With these guys he performed in local bars all over the northern U.S. This trip lasted about a year and after the House Rockers split up Jessie became part of Professor Longhair’s band as a drummer. Unfortunately there are no recordings of this collaboration found. After drumming in Professor Longhair’s band he took a spot in Huey “Piano” Smith’s band. In 1958 Jessie Hill took the stage again to lead a new version of the House Rockers.

Biggest hit Ooh Poo Pah Doo

The origins of his Biggest hit “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”, released in early 1960, lie with a local pianist known only as Big Four. According to Allmusic A drunk who played the club Shy Guy’s Place for booze and tips, he once performed the song with the House Rockers in attendance, and Hill scribbled the lyrics and melody on a paper sack. “Ooh Poo Pah Doo”  reached the top 5 of the Billboard chart, and as a Mardi Grass traditional it sold over 800,000 copies.

Favorite song Whip It On Me

Also released in 1960 ‘Whip It On Me” is my favorite Jessie Hill song. The boogie woogie piano, the strong voice and the fantastic backing vocals make this song. It is nice to see how ‘easy’ a good song can be made. A catchy lyric, a groovie drum and not to forget a fine swinging saxophone tune. Whip it on me was suceeded by “Scoop Scoobie Doobie,” which was a local hit.

Relocated in California

For a long time Jessie Hill was a succesful singer, songwriter and drummer and in an effort to reignite his career he moved to California. There he befriended fellow bayou expatriates Harold Battiste, Dave Dixon, and Mac Rebennack (the future Dr. John), who convinced him to temporarily sideline his performing career in favor of songwriting. His songs were covered by Ike and Tina Turner and he wrote alongside Willie Nelson.

Career went Down

In the seventies Hill’s career went down he served a while in the Los Angeles County Jail for an accumulation of traffic warrants, his car, which contained all of his songwriting material, was stolen. 1977 he returned to New Orleans and drove his own cab called “the Poo Cab”. For a time Hill was homeless.

Hill passed away due  to heart and kidney failure on September 17, 1996, and his body was laid to rest under a plywood grave marker in New Orleans’ Holt Cemetery.

JESSIE HILL Scoop Scoobie Doobie

 

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INTERVIEW |Classic Rhythm and Blues: Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers-

Classic Rhythm and Blues: Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers

In the rural post WW II era Joe Liggins made a whole lot of fame at the West Coast. He scored hit after hit with his combo Joe Liggins  & The Honeydrippers.  In the video above you see Joe performing in Los Angeles in 1983. aT age of seventeen Liggins moved from Oklahoma to San Diego and studied music theory. Joe spent most part of his life in California writing and playing music.

California Rhythm Masters in the Oaks Ballroom

Bruce Schmiechen  producer and writer for Bluelight Productions filmed a beautiful interview with Joe Liggins in 1987, just before his death. In this interview he talks about the sensational 1945 hit “The Honeydripper,” his early life and musical inspirations. It is very nice to see Liggins talk about the old days. You feel the joy Liggins has and had in making music.

The interview includes a live version of his classic ” Honeydripper with original saxophonist, Little Willie Jackson. For every songwriter this will be junk food. Start playing a simple bass line, ad a groovy melody, freestyle some lyrics and top with a saxophone tune. That’s how Liggins and the Honeydrippers made their music.

Visit the website of Bruce Schmiechen  for more Rhyhtm and Blues

Playing the Piano

At age of five Joe got interested in music, and started performing. With a little luck a concert pianist offered Liggins’ mother to buy Joe a piano, and she did. Joe managed to teach himself “When the saints go Marchin’ in”. From that song, and a whole lot of time performing in church Liggins became a bluesman.

Photo Credit: Screenshot from the interview ‘Joe Liggins: The Honeydripper’,by Bruce Schmiechen

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Georgia Morning Dew by Johnny Adams

Johnny Adams – Georgia Morning Dew

Johnny Adams from New Orleans was already a well known musician when he released the album Heart and Soul in 1969. Born and raised in the Cresent Ciy Adams was part of a group musicians which absorbed the local music heritage. “Georgia Morning Dew”, is a wonderful song which contains Gospel, Soul and Blues influences.

Group of Gospel, Blues and Soul Musicians in New Orleans

During the Sixtees Johnny Adams work alongside Dorothee Labostrie who you might know for co-writing Little Richards ” Tutti Frutti”. Dorothee ask Johnny to Sing some lines on a song he had just written “I Won’t Cry” produced by a 19-year-old Mac Rebennack aka Dr John. I Won’t Cry is featured on the album Heart and Soul. But the song that may touch you the most is “Georgia Morning Dew”1024px-JohnnyAdams1997

Standing On This Mountain
Looking over L.A. at the break of day
Takes My Mind Back To Georgia
Many Years Ago

And No Resemblens Between L.A. and Georgia 
But The Morning Dew
Later On In The Afternoon
We Gone Picking Peaches
And Sing A Song Or Two

I Am Looking Out Of LA
With My Eyes Full Of Georgia Dew

Walk in the park on a rainy day

You feel the Soul and Blues through you bones and in a certain way I notice some similarities to Otis Redding‘s “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay“. Otis and Johnny  share the same relaxed style of singing that can be best described as a walk in the park on a rainy day.

Johnny Adams started singing at a young age, he was a member of several gospel singing group including  The Soul Revelers and Bessie Griffin & The Soul Consolators. In the fiftees however Adams was drawn into secular Rhythm and Blues. It did him good!

Feature Picture: By Masahiro Sumori (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html), CC-BY-SA-3.0  or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

I Won’t Cry – Johnny Adams

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