Roots, Ragtime and Blues by Vancouver-based The Burying Ground
They started in early 2014 as a duo and released their first album Big City Blues in June 2015. Now they are a trio and bring songs that carry the soul and vibe of the good days of the 20s in any way instrumentally and ‘Big City Blues’ is a good example. They also covered some classic songs like the ‘St. James Infirmary’, which they transformed into their trademark style of ragtim , blues and roots.
Inspiration from the 1920s and 30’s
The music of The Burying Ground flows out of their love for the early country, blues,ragtime and jazz and inspired them to create original songs that emulate old ones as well as to play renditions of songs from the 1920’s and 30’s.
“If you’ve ever yearned to be transported into times bygone or just needed a balm for your old soul, The Burying Ground will take you straight into the sweetest br
oken-hearted foot-tapping realm of your dreams, an experience considerably cheaper than building a time machine.”
Songs of American Roots band Carolina Chocolate Drops
Like their band name suggests the Carolina Chocolate Drops hail from North Carolina where they bring us roots music. Their songs are like a a cocktail in a mix of Blues, Jug band, String band, bluegrass and country. This Grammy award winning band is worth listening for many reason.
Discography and Hall Of Fame
Since 2005 the Carolina Chocolate Drops released several albums including: Heritage (2005), Dona Got A Ramblin’ Mind (2006), Genuine Negro Jig (2010), Luminescent Orchestrii (2011) and Leaving Eden (2012). This march (2016) the Carolina Chocolate Drops announced they will be inducted into the North Carolina Music Hall Of Fame!
Well what can you expect from such a high rising band. On the band website you’ll read that the Chocolate Dropas are “Armed with banjos, fiddles, guitars, jugs, kazoos, spoons and various other percussive “instruments,”. They also like to cover some classic roots songs, and my favorite is Hank Williams‘ “Please Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”.
If you listen to St. Cider you’ll hear a nice harmony between a whole lot of roots instruments. But above all it is the harmonious voices of ST. Cider that grab your attention. “Double Yellow Blues’ is a perfect example for the bands repertoire, It is a fantastic song, I really dig the great vocals and the instrumental jam that lift this song to a climax.
“Greenbelt Blues” is a humble song more folkloric and, slower then other songs in their repertoire. “You Aint No City Dog” is a catchy that will make you dance. The music reminds me of the New Orleans swing, blues and jazz of the pre-war era. Guys like Professor Longhair who was picked up from the street to make music again, Or Frank Stokes who performed with his duo the Beale street Sheiks outdoors.
Travelers making music
St. Cinder is comprised of six travelers. On their Facebook page they write that “We were all individually moving along the line from town to town busking for our fare and seeing the sights and smelling the smells. Our lines crossed in southern Oregon and we hit the ground running”.
He was very popular in Memphis in the early twentieth century and some see him as the father of the Memphis blues guitar style. He made fame alongside Dan Sane with his band the Beale Street Sheiks, but also as a solo artist. His last recording dated from 1929. In “How Long” Frank Stokes show his enormous guitar talent en soulful vocals.
Memhis Ragtime Guitar Blues Song
Frank Stokes played mostly ragtime guitar blues with his deep forceful voice Frank knew how to reach people. You will recognise that in “How Long”. His perfect guitar melody gives this song a soft touch. On the other hand the lyrics are rhythmic and strong: I never never : baby I can’t see anymore, When you called me baby : how long how long,
In the North East of Texas lays the town of Big Sandy. It is a small town near to the Sabine River, Folk Bluesman Henry Thomas was born here. In 1928 he recorded the catchy folk blues songs ‘Fishin’Blues’ which is inspiring for ragtime guitar enthusiasts.
Texas Ragtime Style
Thomas played a combination of folk and blues which was called Texas Ragtime. But Thomas did a whole lot more: He recorded 24 sides for Vocalion Records between 1927 and 1929, 23 of which were released. They include reels, gospel songs, minstrel songs, ragtime numbers, and blues. He inspired Bob Dylan and was covered by numerous artist including folk group The Lovin’ Spoonful in 1965,
interpretation of Fishin’ Blues
In When We Were Good: The Folk Revival by Robert Cantwell, he described that the song may have been written differently. Because in blues fishin’, like a hound dog refers to a female figure. The songs could have a more sexual context. The recorded version nevertheless is about fishin’ for fish in the river at one o’clock in the afternoon.
Yes, you’ve been fishin’ all the time. I’m a-goin’ a-fishin’ too. I bet your life your lovin’ wife. Catch more fish than you. Any fish bite, got good bait. Here’s a little somethin’ I would like to relate. Any fish bite, you’ve got good bait. I’m a-goin’ a-fishin’, yes, I’m goin’ a-fishin’, I’m a-goin’ a-fishin’ too.
Taj Mahal – Fishin’ Blues
Photo credit By Not specified, owned by John F. Kennedy library [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Blind Willie Mc Tell – The Georgia blues documentary
David Fulmer made for Georgia Public Television a beautiful documentary about the life of bluesman Blind Willie Mc Tell. This documentary shows how blues music grew out of a desire for better jobs and a better life, how the guitar became a popular instrument and found its way into black hands. It shows how Willie Mc Tell heard the blues for the first time when he moved to Statesboro with his mother and how the blues gave him a life and legacy.
Blind Willie Mc Tell Ragtime Blues from Georgia
Fulmer explains that Blind Willie was the son of Eddie Mc Tier a gambler and moonshiner born in Thomson Georgia. Mc Tier wasn’t much of a father or an influence for Willie as a Bluesman. When Willie and his mother moved to Statesboro and heard that blues, he picked up the guitar and played it like a piano using a bass-rhythm and a melody. It is the Boom – Chick, Boom – Chick rhythm of a dance beat and a melody we know from a honky-tonk piano in the bar.
It is the Ragtime Blues Mc Tell learned in Statesboro. He ran off with the medicine show in Georgia to travel around and play the ragtime blues. He was a real talent and no one could reflect Atlanta’s patchwork energy like Willie Mc Tell. Ragtime is a great style of blues and unlike the delta blues a more melodic and harmonious style. You could hear it a lot on the East Coast in states like Georgia and the Carolinas.
Learning the Blues in Atlanta
In the mid twenties, when Blind Willie Mc Tell’s mother died he really went on his own. For a while he put down his guitar to make moonshine. But soon Mc Tell moved to Atlanta, a city where he could play the blues. The Georgia Rag! Atlanta was the biggest metropolis in the region. Atlanta became a place where entertainment centered and was a recording center for blues and country artist like Fred mc Mullin and Hot Shot Willie Mc Tell.
Atlanta is a great city and was the place where Blind Willie Mc Tell his dreams could grow, but it was also a place with a lot of racism during those days. The Klu Klux Klan was feeding on the fear of whites and they entered city hall. Blacks were forced into the ghetto’s of the city. But even in those roaring 20s Blind Willie Mc Tell kept playing blues. And in 1927 Blind Willie Mc Tell released his first recording at victor records. It would be the start of a marathon through different record labels like Okeh.
Blind Willie Mc Tell was influenced by other bluesman like Blind Blake and he also borrowed from Blind Boy Fuller and from Charlie Patton. But Willie never copied. He was a musician you would think he wrote his own music.
“He was the bob Dylan of his day. Mc Tell played very few covers like other blues musicians did.”
This video was created by David Fulmer for Georgia Public Television (year unknown) and is a part of the South Georgia Folklife Collection at Valdosta State University Archives and Special Collections. This video has been uploaded for educational purposes only.
Pure music of Blind Boy Chocolate & The Milk Sheiks
Blind Boy Chocolate & The Milk Sheiks is a band that plays blues, ragtime, jazz or bluegrass in the style of the jug bands of the early twentieth century. These Guys started in the summer of 2009 as a three piece band with Dwight Hawkins, Nicholas Marshall and Antone Costa primarily featuring the wood saw, mandolin and guitar respectively.
The love for old blues, jazz and ragtime brought these guys together, their love for music would soon be turned into performing together. A show of these guys, wherever it is in your local pub or on the streets is full of good energy swinging rhythm and please focus on the wood saw which adds a pervasive melody.
After a half a year of heavy busking, the band gained momentum and began to play inside venues as well as on the sidewalk. Since then, Alex Brady has come into the ranks on the gut bucket bass, though other members have come in and out of the band as time and circumstances permitted.