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Blues Blog Robert Crumb

All along the watchtower
Princes kept the view
While all the women came and went
Barefoot servants, too

– All Along The Watchtower –

Last week I saw a band play Bob Dylan songs, most of all his blues songs, at the end for the last song a special guest  bass player entered the stage.  What happenend next was the most Apocalypse Now / freaked version of All Along the Watchtower. I already took a few beers but Bruno, rocked that bass, it was nice. Slapping crazy.

Heroes of the Blues

Later that night Bruno told me about Robert Crumb’s  Blues trading cards. Crumb has created several sets of trading cards. His full-color, pen & ink portraits of 36 early great blues singers and musicians is entitled “Heroes of the Blues Trading Cards”. In the fashion of baseball cards, it is really nice. If you like reading more about the painting process you will find it here.

Robert Crumb Heroes of the Blues
Robert Crumb Heroes of the Blues (photo Rutkowski)Blues Book

Blues by Robert Crumb

I last night I checked things out. Besides Blues musicians, Crumb also painted cards of Jazz- and Country artist. In 2006 Crumb collected the cards in a book entitled, “R. Crumb’s Heroes of Blues, Jazz and Country”, which included a 21-song CD of songs by many of those depicted in the trading cards. The collection includes musicians like:

  1. Frank Stokes
  2. Jaybird Coleman
  3. Blind Willie Johnson
  4. Scrapper Blackwell and Leroy Carr
  5. Blind Lemon Jefferson

Heroes of the Blues Cover

All Along The Watchtower – Jimi Hendrix

60 Minutes of All Along The Watchtower – Various Artist

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Buddy Guy Birthday blues blog

I’ve never missed a gig yet. Music makes people happy, and that’s why I go on doing it – I like to see everybody smile.
– Buddy Guy –

Buddy Guy 77 years

Young dogs grow old! Buddy Guy the famous bluesguitar master has become 77 years today. To honor this legend A Black Bull Blues blues blog for buddy. What I like about the Chicago representative is the youth in his voice and music. In contrast to Muddy Waters or Howlin’Wolf with whom Buddy played together since the fifties is that buddy always kept a kind of youth in his voice. For exemple Slop Around or First time I Met The Blues.

Legendary BluesGuitarist

Buddy Guy (born George Guy, July 30, 1936 in Lettsworth, Louisiana) is an American blues music and rock music guitarist, as well as a singer. Known as an inspiration to Jimi Hendrix and other 1960s blues and rock legends, Guy is considered as an important proponent of chicago blues made famous by Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. He has influenced both widely known and local blues guitarists.

Super Blues Band

Buddy Guy Blues blog Chicago
Buddy Guy in 1998

My father once gave me a blues record super blues band. It contains music of Muddy Waters, Howlin´ Wolf and Bo Diddley. He Told me the guy that plays Bass is also very good. I didn´t knew who Willy dixon was, but it wasn´t Willy it was Buddy Guy. Buddy Guy did not play bass on every track, but i´ve been told that on some songs buddy grabbed that bassguitar.

Buddy Guy Chicago Blues Guitar

Guy grew up in Louisiana where he learned to play guitar. In the early 1950s he began performing with bands in Baton Rouge. Soon after moving to Chicago in 1957, Guy fell under the influence of “Mighty”Muddy Waters. In 1958 he won a record contract with Artistic Records after beating the West Side guitarists Magic Sam and Otis Rush in a “Head Cutting Contest” at the Blue Flame Club. Soon afterwards he recorded for the Cobra label.

Religious experience

Another story ´bout buddy. A friend wen´t to the North Sea Jazz Festival in Rotterdam the Netherlands. Quitte funny thing most times. But that particular year it was buddy who made the show. Buddy Was fantastic, walk through the audience, let ecerybody rock and made impression with his guitar style. How my friend discribed it “ A religious experience”.

Why did they keep changing guitars and amplifiers when they were perfect? They did the same things with cars, if you ask me. They forgot how to make them right, because they focused on style and bells and whistles.
– Buddy Guy –


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Blind Willie McTell blues blog

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing, As they were taking down the tents The stars above the barren trees, Were his only audience. Them charcoal gypsy maidens can strut their feathers  Well. But nobody can sing the blues Like Blind Willie McTell

– Bob Dylan – 

Blind Willie McTell

The famous Blind Willie Mc Tell song  Mamma, Let Me Scoop for You. recorded in 1932. Blues blog Willie, the groovy, delta singer. (born William Samuel McTier May 5, 1898 – August 19, 1959).

Blind Sammie of Hot shot Willie is known for his fingerstyle blues. You can also call it Piedmont blues, a guitar style to play the blues. It is the eastcoast blues. Blind Willie played it, using his thumb to play the bass.


Blind Willie’s Nicknames

For those interested? Willy had a Whole lot of Nicknames: Barrelhouse Sammy (The Country Boy), Blind Doogie, Blind Sammie, Blind Willie, Georgia Bill, Red Hot Willie (Glaze), Hot Shot Willie, Pig ‘n’ Whistle Red.

Bob Dylan Tribute to Blind Willie Mc Tell

Bob Dylan Made a great song about blind Willy Mc Tell. I think it is a fantastic Tribute. You know what I mean, read the last lines.

Lyrics Blog Blind Willie mc tell

Seen the arrow on the doorpost

Blind_Willie_McTell_US goverment igital ID ppmsc 00400
Blind_Willie_McTell_US goverment igital ID ppmsc 00400

Saying, “This land is condemned
All the way from New Orleans
To Jerusalem”
I traveled through East Texas
Where many martyrs fell
And I know no one can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Well, I heard that hoot owl singing
As they were taking down the tents
The stars above the barren trees
Were his only audience
Them charcoal gypsy maidens
Can strut their feathers well
But nobody can sing the blues
Like Blind Willie McTell

Continue reading Blind Willie McTell blues blog

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Howlin’ Wolf | Big Man Blues

“I couldn’t do no yodelin’, so I turned to howlin’. And it’s done me just fine.”
– Howlin’ Wolf –

Howlin’  Wolf is the biggest bigman of the blues, and that is what you hear in songs like Smokestack Lightning. He is the Shaquille O’neal of the blues, and while listening to the song 300 pound (of a heavily Joy) you understand how Wolf dominated the bluesscene for over fourty years. this is the Howlin’ Wolf Big Man Blues blog.

Howlin’ Wolf in Memphis

Photographer-Doug Fulton Howlin'_Wolf_1972
Photographer-Doug Fulton Howlin’_Wolf_1972

Howlin’ Wolf made fame in Memphis at Sun Records, I always forget the Big Man recorded for Sun, he made some great songs like How Many More Years and Well That’s Allright in that period. a few years later  Wolf went to Chicago  where he released the album Howlin’ Wolf Rockin’ Chair In 1962It is a great album, with an artistic cover. It contains songs like Wang Dang Doodle”, “Goin’ Down Slow”, “Spoonful”, and “Little Red Rooster.

London Sessions

With the London Sessions, a more groovy album Wolf plays his songs with some of the  British bluesmasters like Eric Clapon, Ian Stewart and Bill Wyman. After the release of this album Howlin’ Wolf became widly succesfull in the United Kingdom. Fellow artists like Sonny Boy Williamson and John Lee Hooker had already proved to be succesfull in Europa. Wolf would be Next.

Everybody is familiar with the arguments between muddy and Wolf:

“I don’t have anything to say about the guy [Muddy Waters], you know. Treat me all right. But I can this: they are jealous hearted, you know. Are jealous hearted musicians, you know. See, if you can’t do like your songs, get kinda jealous of you. Like you, like they think you better than them and all that, but I don’t fool with those kind of peoples, you know. I ain’t got the time.” – Howlin’ Wolf

Howlin’ Wolf Big Man Blues

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Maxwell Street early Chicago Blues

Chicago 6.00 A.M, it’s the just before sunrise while a silent Maxwell Street awakes. Early in the morning the first amplifiers and harp-microphones are turned on. People walk by and the music start It’s the way I imagine Maxwell Street around the ’40 / ‘50. Garbage canes, maybe a firepit. It is, you tell me ‘Come early in the mornin’, baby ’bout the break of day’ Now ya oughta see me grab the pillow where my baby used to lay.

Early in the Morning

Bluesmen Sonny Boy Williamson I sings the blues traditional “Early In The Morning” on the corner of Maxwell street. The Chicago-Blues-sound develops, Sonny had to play loud because  other bluesmen played their tunes on ‘his’ corner. A amplifier helps to make yourself intelligibly. Because of that harp, guitar, drums and singers arise above the noise of fellow musicians, that noise of multiple bands on Maxwell Street made the Chicago Blues.

Maxwell Street Bands

Maxwell Street BLues Blog
woodwork: Todros Geller (Died in Chicago 1949-02-23)

There was this bluesmen born in Marksville Louisiana born Marion Jacobs , he played the harmonica on Maxwell street since 1947 too. Accompanied by fellow bluesmen Johnny Young, Othum Brown, and Big Bill Broonzy. Broonzy once said about Walter Jacobs. “He played harmonica ya’ know but he used to follow me to try to play the guitar. Me and him be playing together, we’d go out to make some money and he wouldn’t want to play the harmonica. He’d want to play what I was doing. So he finally learned.” Big Bill Broonzy also played the song “Early in the Morning together with Litthe Walter, and I’m for sure, he played it on Maxwell Street, or around the corners of the Jewish Market on the South side of Chicago where the Chicago Blues was born.

Sonny Boy Williamson was killed on the Chicago South side after a performance. Little Walter got stuck in a fight in a Chicago Bluesbar. It was not only fun on Maxwell street, but they made some incredible tunes there.

Junior Wells Maxwell Street

The heritage of Little Walter was difiicult but they found his successor on Maxwell Street.  Ten Years later Maxwell street is still the Same. Blues dogs like Muddy Waters passed by, are already part of the Chess Family and I can’t Be satisfied reached the #1 position on the charts. The world changed Maxwell Street did not. Junior Wells recorded the song Early in the Morning. He also moved from the south, Memphis to Chicago. After Little Walter quitted Muddy Waters band It was junior who took his place. Maxwell Street a community of Blues Musicians.

Continue reading Maxwell Street early Chicago Blues

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The Blues Tradition of Johnny Shines

“Everybody is going to have the Blues. If they haven’t already had ‘em, they ‘re gonna have ‘em.” – Johnny Shines

John Ned “Johnny” Shines (April 26, 1915 – April 20, 1992) was born in Frayser outside Memphis. Johnny Shines is member of a small group Blues musicians who played the Delta Blues and the electric Chicago Blues.

Shines started playing the Delta Blues at the end of the twenties and in the thirties alongside Robert Johnson. He moved during the 40s to Chicago to play a perfect Chicago Blues style. He built his remarkable repertoire in a period of 60 years.

Johnny Shines Little Wolf

Shines grew up in Memphis. He was widly inspired by Howlin’ Wolf at the start of his career, he absorbed the Southern Blues style from Wolf till the point he was called Little Wolf for a while. He once said about Howlin’ Wolf:  “I was afraid of the Wolf, like you would be of some wild animal….It was the SOUND he was giving off!”

Ramblin´ Blues

I think Johnny plays both styles very well. While listening to his record Ramblin’ Blues recorded in New York during the period 1972 and 1974 you get the perfect mix between Chicago and the Delta. If you compare his music to  Mance Limpscomb, the delta sound is clear comparable, but Johnny Shines work is modern and more extensive. It is obvious that Johnny Shines plays the roots, an example is the Ramblin´ Blues.

Johnny Shines Blues tradition

Johnny Shines was companion of Robert ‘soul to the devil’ Johnson. They met in Memphis in 1934, and traveled through the south along and Canada with David “Honeyboy” Edwards,  until close before Johnson died. Shines kept on playing the music of Johnson throughout his death. Eventually Robert Johnson became Shines main influence after Howlin’ Wolf. Maybe that explains the two sided Blues style of Shines.

Johnny Shines and Robert Johnson footage

Johnny Shines was part of a forensic research starting in 2007, when a picture of Shines an Johnson was leased. Before that picture was released there were only two pictures of the most important blues musicians verified, Shines was part of the third picture. The picture of Shines and Johnson was used on the cover of The Complete Recordings: Robert Johnson released in 1990.

British newspaper the Guardian wrote a very nice article about the picture of Robert Johnson and Johnny Shines. For those who are interested: Click here.


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Messin’ with the kid

Tonight I listened to a show Messin’ With The Blues, it’s a performance of Junior Wells, Buddy Guy and the great Muddy Waters, live at the Montrieux festival in Switzerland. Every last one of the songs has great lyrics in that show.

Messin’ With The Kid

This song ‘Messin’ With The Kid’ is one of my favorite. The art of repeating, and changing the sequince of words, I love that. Even without the music, just the lyrics by themselves contain that blues feeling., the rhythm and the groove. The groove and the rhythm, like that.

Chicago blues legend buddy guy

Black Bull Blues Lyrics

You know the kid’s no child, and I don’t play
I says what I mean and I mean what I say
Oh yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah,
oh look at what you did
You can call it what you want to,
I call it messin’ with the kid

Here is the show I’m talking about, watch it if you like. Later on Muddy an Buddy perform. And at one point Buddy tells the people they “get a better thrill out of playing here than at home.” At that point I feel like this:

Just ten years ago People what I would do
No one would ever know
Just ten years ago
People how I would live my life
No one would ever know
The things that I think I would do
Ooo, no one will never know.

Later on it ends with: Yeah, play the blues

Muddy’s Band

It was a world class line up: Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Junior Wells, Bill Wyman, Pinetop Perkins, Terry Taylor, Dallas Taylor

Picture: Sardognunu

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