Tag Archives: Slim Harpo

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’ 

 

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San Fransisco’s Blues Rock: The Stone Foxes

San Fransisco’s Blues Rock: The Stone Foxes

If there is a band who understands how the roots of music still influences the future,  how a rock ´n roll band should start playing in the deep underground Chitlin’s and Juke Joints of Mississippi with an urge for the old days The Stone Foxes are. The San Fransisco based band makes blues, folk and rock ‘n roll in a happy-feeling mix of loudness.

Blues inspired musicians

The Stone Foxes are blues fans, you hear it in the covers they play like Slim Harpo’s ‘King Bee’, Muddy Waters ‘Rollin’ and Tumblin’’ and Willie Dixon’s Spoonful and Little Red Rooster. They got away with doing things that hadn’t been done before even if they started playing basic blues. It’s when they started experimenting that they took on their own identities, “They’re trying to do the same thing”. Bass player Aaron Mort: “You have to, and it feels like something that had to happen AND happen very naturally”. (website stone foxes)

Songs of the Stone Foxes are clearly influenced by Blues and Rock ‘n Roll, but overall they are a rock band. In a lot of songs of these guy you hear the blues. Like the Elmore James’ style of slide guitar in the song “Cotto” or the rhythmic, the singing and harmonica in “Stomp” from their 2010 Bulls & Bears album. Especially “Stomp”  is a trademark for the bands music and inspiration.

Music of the Stone Foxes

How The Stone Foxes describe their music, and the thoughts of how that should be played on their own website: “The core of any rock band worth their salt is a deep respect for the fundamentals – a feel that’s redolent of the scare-the-parents, back country, wild juke joint origins – and an abiding drive to carve out one’s own unique territory”. The friction between these impulses is where good things happen, and it’s the place San Francisco’s The Stone Foxes  have resided since their 2008 debut, young men dedicated to keeping rock engaged and succulently alive.

Multi Instrumentalists The Stone Foxes

These guys are all multi instrumentalists Shannon Koehler who plays the Drums, The harmonica and Vocals recalls: “You do what the song needs you to do. That’s how this band does it,”. “Hell, that’s how The Band did it! You can go back to Muddy Waters and further for examples of this. With us, there’s this filter of blues and roots that we’ve created by soaking up that music, and when we write everything gets put through that filter. It comes out as who we are today but everything we do goes through that filter, this cultural fuzzbox.”

Their Latest album Small Fires was released in 2013. They still keep influences from the blues, but most of all you will hear a more rock sound in their  songs, comparable to the Black Keys, Reignwolf or Radio Moscow. Their Song King Bee was part of the Jack Daniels commercial of Honey Bee. Listen to their full Albul Bulls & Bears right here. You will also find some of their Blues covers. We are fans of the Stone Foxes.

The_Stone_Foxes_RBF_photo by Piotr Drabik wiki commons
The_Stone_Foxes_RBF_photo by Piotr Drabik wiki commons

The Stone Foxes Spotifty

Little Red Rooster

I Killed Robert Johnson

Rollin’ and Tumblin

Cotto

Jack Daniels Commercial Honey BEE

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Father of the Swamp Blues: Lightnin’ Slim

Father of the Swamp Blues: Lightnin’ Slim

The father of the Swamp Blues, black music from deep down Louisiana country, around Baton Rouge is without a doubt Lightnin’ Slim. Until he moved to Baton Rouge, Slim was a farm boy in Missouri just outside St. Louis. At age thirteen Slim moved to the Swamps of Louisiana were his brother taught him how to play guitar. At Excello records he would become Jay Millers most faithful blues musician and eventually Father of the Swamp Blues. Continue reading Father of the Swamp Blues: Lightnin’ Slim

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