Tag Archives: Swamp Blues

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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Swamp Cabbage the swamp Blues revival masters

Swamp Cabbage the swamp Blues revival masters

Blues band Swamp Cabbage makes you willing to travel to the deep Florida Swamps where the sun shines damn near every day, and walk into the First joint to drink some Beers or Whiskey. The rest of the day you listen to Swamp Cabbage just to get the feeling. These swamp bluesing band that was founded in 2001 by Florida native Walter Parks really digs the swamp blues deep.

Swamp Blues revival music

Swamp Cabbage knows very well how to revive the Swamp music artist like Lightnin’ Slim once made. They describe their music like a cook would do. “Here is your recipe for making Swamp Cabbage: Get out a big mixing bowl and put in equal parts of ZZ Top, John Campbell, Tom Waits, Leon Redbone, Canned Heat, Otis Taylor and John Lee Hooker. Then add a little water moccasin venom, the heart of an alligator and some miscellaneous toad fluids. Leave this mixture out in the wild of the north Florida swamps for about 10 years with the lid slightly ajar and, you know… see what happens.”

You will mostly like the raw-edged energy of Swamp Cabbage. The dirty guitar sound mixed with the strong beat and on top of this rock ‘n roll swamp blues a raw voice that keeps you listening to their songs. To get an impression of this all listen to “More Booty with Buddha”.

Forming of southern Blues band Swamp Cabbage

Lead guitarist and vocalist Walter Parks is a veteran in the blues music world. Parks performed many years as a lead guitarist alongside Woodstock legend Richie Havens. In 2001 Parks formed Swamp Cabbage in New York as a means of exploring his southern musical influences. Together with band mates Matt Lindsey (bass) and Jagoda (drums), Parks and Swamp Cabbage have released several CDs.

Swamping blues stories

There is a great story about the ‘birth’ of Swamp Cabbage It goes like this: “There’s some insane witch doctor in Florida who swears he’s conceived the perfect band. He stole a lock of each of the guys in ZZ Top’s beards, a recording of Tom Waits singing acapella, a dash of George Thorogood’s booze, a piece of a New Orleans hooker’s, ahem, appendage, and, for good measure, threw in a can of Louisiana hot sauce. What he’s come up with is an outfit calling themselves Swamp Cabbage”.

Walter Parks Solo album

After years of performing with Swamp Cabbage and Richie Havens Walter Parks was ready to release his firts self-titled album in December 2011. Inspired by the swampy gospel blues that wails from storefront churches and roadhouses in and around the southeast Georgia low country, Parks’ album is full of boot-stomping, guitar-strumming tunes that explore matters of the soul and spirit, built upon a foundation of jazz and folk.

Find out more and follow Swamp Cabbage Here.

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Blues music from Germany: Juke Joint Pimps

Blues music from Germany: Juke Joint Pimps

Photo Marion Post Wolcott (1910–1990 FSA JukeJoint
Photo Marion Post Wolcott (1910–1990 FSA JukeJoint

In some way we all want to go back to the days the juke joints were full of people. blues, rock n roll and soul was the music everybody listened to. The pubs were dark, full of smoke and moonshine whiskey. We dream about the days the blues started in Mississippi a while before Chicago became it’s renewed capital and the blues revival was just a strange term.

Juke Joint Pimps

Today most of the artist everybody admired ain´t here no more. We got a new generation of musician in the United States but also a lot in Europe. A band I recently crossed during a night of blues were the Juke Joint Pimps, a two man band from the Koln area in Germany.

Chicago, Delta, Swamp, Hillbilly Blues

T-Man and Mighty Mike rock since 2003 the through Europe with a mix of Chicago, Delta Swamp and Hillbilly Blues. Songs of the Juke Joint Pimps are, as it should be energetic with groovy guitar, swinging harmonica and steady beats. The Juke Joint Pimps are easy to listen to.

Over the years these guys performed in over a dozen countries. Their latest album “Boogie the Church Down” was released in 2011.

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