The San Fransisco Bay Area is home to some great blues and folk musicians. Like Jesse Fuller who wrote his hit song “San Fransisco Bay Blues” and K.C. Douglas wit his hit ” Mercury Blues”. In line with the heritage of Fuller and Douglas as Bay Area citizen you will also like Soul and Blues inspired band Monophonics who deliver some of the finest modern soul and blues around the world.
Since the Monophonics started in 2005 they have released several albums. Two of those albums are avialable on bandcamp Into The Infrasounds, released in September 2010 and Sound of Sinning in April 2015. Listen to it here..
If you listen to this San Francisco based band you’ll hear multiple genres, styles and grooves. You could see them as a big cocktail with liquor from great soul acts like Al Green and Little Johnny Taylor. On the other hand the psychedelic sound of the 60’s and 70’s. Bands such as The Zombies, The Beatles, Beach Boys and Pink Floyd.
“Can’t leave it Alone” is a song that fits perfect in the repertoire of Dr. John, this groovy New Orleans like blues song swings as hell and kicks of with some great harmonica. On the other hand you will find songs like ” Sound of Sinning” in the Monophonics repertoire, which contain soulfull vocals and deep melodies.
Ohio and West Coast one man band blues of Blind Joe Hill
Blind Joe Hill was a bluesman in the tradition of musicians like Joe Hill Louis and Jesse Fuller, the tradition of excellent one man band performers. Blind Joe Hailed from Akron Ohio for the bigger part of his life until he moved to the West Coast. During his Ohio days Joe Hill recorded for the Barrelhouse Record Label a rare album called Boogie In The Dark at the Glass Finger Studios.
Blind Joe Hill Fannie Mae
I listenend to his song Fannie Mae one of Blind Joe Hill’s better known recordings today. Like other one man band performers you really feel the song building up. Starting with the catchy guitar and harmonica, which slowly gets accompanied by the drums where the hi-hat starts ticking, the bass drum sets the beat and the guitar guides the song into a full grown composition. Then.. Blind Joe Hill starts singing.
Buster Brown 1# hit recording
‘Fannie Mae’ was already a hit before Blind Joe Started playing the song. In 1959 Rhythm ‘n blues singer Buster Brown wrote and recorded this song, which became famous through the tricky harmonica riff. Buster scored a #1 hit with ‘Fannie Mae’ in 1960. Nevertheless Blind Joe Hill did a good job transforming this song into a folk blues masterpiece.
K.C. Douglas was a fine blues musician from the Bay Area. Originally born Mississippi K.C. Douglas learned the Delta Blues from veteran Tommy Johnson. Alongside Johnson, K.C. would perform throughout Mississippi in several Juke Joints until 1945, when he moved to the West Coast. In de Bay Ares Folk Blues scene Douglas would performed several songs of Johnson. ( Blues Encyclopedia by Edward Komara,Peter Lee, p 280) .
K.C. Douglas from Mississippi to California
After K.C. Douglas moved to California he quickly formed a band. In 1948 his first recording “Mercury Boogie” was pressed. Mercury Boogie is a happy feeling blues song and in some ways it just sounds as a jam between the folks in the local bar. That sounds is what hear in a lot througout K.C.’s repertoire. I Imagine K.C. Douglas as a man who allways played and allways was around. A habitue of the local juke joint and a local hero.
Arhoolie founder Chris Strachwitz and K.C. met in the late fifties, and Stachwitz must have seen the heroism of Douglas like we do now. They recorded “Mercury Boogie” in 1960 later Douglas would record maybe his best song “Mercury Blues” for Arhoolie. (Arhoolie 40th anniversary collection set).
K.C. Douglas didn’t get the fame like fellow west coast blues musicians like Jesse Fuller or Lowell Folsom got. Het was a local hero where he played in the pubs and coffeehouses of Oakland and the Bay Area. K.C. Was always around playing blues. That lifestyle made him the hero of the Bay Blues.