Tag Archives: Arhoolie Records

Bay Area ‘Arhoolie’ bluestrio HowellDevine

Bay Area ‘Arhoolie’ blues trio HowellDevine

The legendary Arhoolie Records label was and is the home of some of greatest country blues musicians around. Lightnin’ HopkinsBlack Ace and Mance Limbscomb, for example all recorded for this label. Since 2012 there is a  new member of the Arhoolie records roster,  Blues trio  HowellDevine .

Hill Country blues tradition

HowellDevine is based in the San Fransisco Bay area and is bringing us a mixture of all kinds of blues in the hill country tradition. You have to listen for yourself to experience the real vibe of the sound. But to get a taste of this music you got to know the grooves are sometimes hypnotic and above you will find a tight mixture of some harmonica and guitar virtuosity.

Sounds Like: Country Blues | Sonny Terry & Brownie Mc Ghee | R. L Burnside | Junior Kimbrough | Davis Coen | Arhoolie Records 

Covers of classic blues songs

The band covered some classic songs like Muddy Waters’ “I Can’t Be Satisfied”. Another song “I Won’t be Long Now” will remind you of the work from Reverend Gary Davis’. I directly thought of Davis’  hit “I am the Light”. HowellDevine’s “She Brought Life Back To The Dead”  contains some fine harmonica which grooves like old Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee songs.  “Let You Go” another cool song, contains a chorus you dig, the lyric part “one of these days..” keeps spinning in your head.

Those who love harmonica should definitely listen to “Woogie Man”, a harmonica song built on a jazzy bass line and jazzy rhythms. HowellDevine throws you back to the heydays of Hill country blues and let you enjoy the true meaning of this music!

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Square-necked guitar of Black Ace

Square-necked lap guitar of Black Ace

Black Ace  was the boss card in your hand and one of the only bluesmen to play a square-necked, `Hawaiian` Lap Guitar.  This Texas Blues man  by the name of Babe Karo Turner was an unique guitarist, playing his songs with the guitar flat on his knees. For the Slide effect Black Ace used an old small medicine bottle.

Black Ace for Arhoolie Records

Black Ace recorded in 1937 a few songs, twenty three years later Ace met Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz who was in Dallas with the British researcher Paul Oliver in search of a singer named Little Brother. Instead of Little Brother they found Black Ace. Strachwitz recorded  after meeting Ace in a local bar a magnificent album his house. The album would be Black Ace´s only published record. (Arhoolie 40th anniversary collection booklet)

Black Ace Best blues songs


Songs you Should really listen are `The Black Ace´, a song with great guitar and the theme song of the artist of this article. “Beer Drinking Woman”,  is a true delta blues song sang in the speech style of the delta. “Your Legs Too Little”, is a faster song, and lyrically a precursor of hip hop and rap.  `Santa Claus Blues,’ isn’t a song of begging for better times or more money but, for the return of Black Ace’s baby. (Scott Cooper —Santa Cruz Sentinel)

Review of Black Ace


Living Blues writer Brett Bonner explains the greatness of Balck Ace in his review: “Black Ace is an artist often passed over by blues listeners because he recorded so little and doesn’t fit into any of the most well-known regional stylistic categories. His music is beautiful, though, with a sensitive styling that is totally his own.”

(Brett Bonner — Living Blues)

 

Black Ace on Spotify

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