Tag Archives: Lazy Lester

Louisiana Blues harmonica monument Schoolboy Cleve

Louisiana Blues harmonica monument Schoolboy Cleve

‘She’s Gone’ is one of the finest rocking blues song around and was recorded for Feature Records in 1954 by Schoolboy Cleve. As you can hear Cleve was an excellent harmonica player and one of the founders of the New Orleans, Louisiana Blues sound. He managed to preserve this Blues legacy for over fifty years.

Louisiana blues harmonica players

Back in the day Schoolboy Cleve was part of a group harmonica players in New Orleans that made a whole lot of fame. Buddy Guy was one of the musicians that was impressed by the work of these guys that included people like Cleve, Lightnin’ Slim and Lazy Lester. In his biography “When I Left Home: My Story”,  Buddy Guy tells “I was into the Baton Rouge harmonica players: They were the original harmonica players, and Cleve and Slim were first around. Those guys were always talking about New Orleans music”. All these guys found a place in the Blues history books, but I like Schoolboy Cleve the most because of Rhythm ‘nd Blues approach.

South To West: Iron & Gold

His monumental work has been brought to getter in what CD Baby calls ‘A historical musical treasure’. It is the album South to West: Iron & Gold, with Schoolboy Cleve’s original recordings and unreleased material from the period 1954 to 1998. “Schoolboy Cleve felt living in the South was hard like iron. After moving to the West it felt like he struck gold. The title, South to West – Iron and Gold, represents his journey”.

During production of this CD, Hurricane Katrina and Rita hit New Orleans, Louisiana and other parts of the South.

Video Credit: Posted on Youtube by Sanma Bluesanddroll : I do not own the copyright to this recording so if it needs to be removed.

She’s Gone and Strange Letter Blues

In She’s Gone you hear a fast rhythm a groovy harmonica and swinging vocals. It is the easy listening blues sound that especially with a nice beer or whisky makes a man wanna dance. Alongside his regional college’s he recorded several songs. Saidlt enough his solo work wasn’t released that much. You can hear him on Lightnin’ Slim’s recording ‘Sugar Plum’ and a whole lot of other songs on Slim’s album “”It’s Mighty Crazy!”. Schoolboy Cleve is known worldwide and is considered one of the greatest harmonica players that ever lived. He played with other legendary artist like Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Grammy nominee Ron Thompson and many others.

photo credit: Blues Harp via photopin (license)

She’s Gone : Schoolboy Cleve

SCHOOLBOY CLEVE- STRANGE LETTER BLUES

Schoolboy Cleve Beautiful Beautiful Love (1957)

Schoolboy Cleve – My Heart is Crying

Schoolboy Cleve – I’m Him

School Boy Cleve – Here I Go Again

Please follow and like us:

Blues and Country from Swamp master Lazy Lester

Blues and Country from Swamp master Lazy Lester

He is a ‘National Treasure’ and the ‘High Sheriff of Louisiana’, he is ‘The Nut’, but above all Lazy Lester is a defining musician in the Louisiana Swamp and Country Blues scene. Since he started recording in the mid-fifties at the Nashville based label Excello alongside Lightnin’ Slim he has seen more Juke Joints in the United States than a man could remember.

Key creator of the Louisiana Swamp Blues

Lazy Lester (aka Leslie Johnson) Is one of the key creators of the South Louisiana swamp blues sound in the 1950s, Lester has been often imitated but never duplicated. His ride in the world of blues started when he was a boy working as a woodcutter and at a grocery store. In that store he bought the #1 hit record ‘Juke’ of Little Walter and a new harmonica. That buy was a life changer and a future living. He is highly influenced by Little Walter and Jimmy Reed, especially Reed’s vocal style is hearable in a lot of Lester songs. He has a lot of love for country and got hooked by Jimmy Rogers.

Meeting Lightnin’ Slim in the Bus

The most interesting story about Lazy Lester is the one about the Rayne, Louisiana bus ride. Lightnin’ Slim -who was already an established recording artist- was also on the bus Lester took. Slim was on his way to Crowley, where he would record at Jay Miller’s Studio for Excello Records. Crowley was seven miles further than Rayne and because Lester had a serious itch to be around big time music making he stayed on the bus and accompanied Slim to the studio. Slim’s harmonica player wasn’t in the studio. The probably nervous Lazy Lester was asked to do the harmonica part for Slim’s recording, and did not disappoint.

Jay Miller, the producer was impressed by Lester’s work and in 1957 he debuted at Excello as a solo artist with the record “ I’m Gonna Leave You Baby” and ‘Lester’s Stomp’. It was the producer Miller who gave Lester his nickname “Lazy”, “because of Lester’s slow and lazy style of talking. This nickname already stands more than fifty years now!

They call me Lazy album from 1976

Lazy_Lester_in_2004A Lazy Lester album you should listen to is definitely They Call Me Lazy released in 1976. This album contains classic songs like ‘Lester’s Stomp’, I’m So Tired’, ‘Strange Things Happen’ and Tell Me Pretty Baby’. The cool thing about Lazy Lester’s material is the diversity. Song change from Rock ‘n Roll to Country, to Blues and to Swamp pop. This cocktail of musical roots makes his songs never boring and always interesting to Listen to.

Lazy Lester Rides Again

Lightnin’ Slim and Slim Harpo moved from Louisiana to Michigan and Lazy Lester would follow them. He lived in obscurity, till he recorded a new album Lazy Lester Rides Again. In 1988 he would release the follow up Harp and Soul which was recorded for Alligator Records. The album featured Lester’s harp-fueled swamp blues and brought him to the largest audience of his career.

Louisiana Swamp Heratige

Today Lazy Lester is one of the few original Bluesmen who is still around today. It is nice to imagine the man performing on a stage of an old school Juke Joint with a Harmonica in his hands blowin’ the Harp on a Swampy Blues beat. The heritage of Louisiana Blues and Country is in his hands, soul and bones.

Photo Credit: By Tom Beetz [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Pondarosa Stomp – Lazy Lester 

Rockin’ Blues * I’M A LOVER, NOT A FIGHTER – Lazy Lester 

My Home Is a Prison – Slim Harpo & Lazy Lester 

Lazy Lester – They Call Me Lazy (Full Album)

Lazy Lester They call me Lazy (Released 1976)

01 – Lester’s Stomp
02 – Strange Things Happen
03 – I’m So Tired
04 – Lover Not A Fighter
05 – Late Late In The Evening
06 – Whoa Now
07 – They Call Me Lazy
08 – Bloodstains
09 – Come On Home
10 – Quit Foolin’ Me
11 – Tell Me Pretty Baby
12 – I’m Leavin

Lazy Lester – I Hear You Knockin’ 

 

Please follow and like us: