Tag Archives: USA

Dianne Reeves – Afro Blue

Various Artists - Blue Note: 60 Years of Cool

Various Artists – Blue Note: 60 Years of Cool

Welcome, belatedly to 2013. My one fan and my one daughter (they may be one and the same person!) has been complaining about the lack of posts. So, I’m back with a new post and a new site design. I haven’t given the site a full once over to see if I have broken anything, but on first view it seems all okay. If anything is broken, I will endeavour to fix it. I will also, in due course, probably tweak the theme a little to inject some more colour. Other than that I’ll leave well alone. I like to more open appearance of this new theme – I hop you do too.

So, for my first post of 2013, I have Dianne Reeves singing Afro Blue. This comes from a free with the Observer in 1999 CD Blue Note: 60 Years of Cool. The CD is a short but excellent introduction to the Blue Note label featuring, as well as Dianne Reeves, Herbie Hancock, Art Blakey, Horace Parlan, Donald Byrd & Cassandra Wilson. Not bad, eh?

Dunque, on with the music:
Dianne Reeves – Afro Blue

Colorblind James – Strange Sounds from the Basement

Colorblind James - Strange Sounds from the Basement

Colorblind James – Strange Sounds from the Basement

Thirteen steps from Buddy Guy takes us to Colorblind James.

The Colorblind James Experience experienced little fame in the USA but gained a following in the UK after being taken up and championed by John Peel. Their music did not fit easily into any pigeonhole, which may be why success eluded the band at home but they found an audience with alternative music fans in Europe. Wikipedia has it about right: “Often humorous (“The music stopped. And then it started again.”) and parodic, and just as often laced with a profoundly questioning spirituality; their music blended elements of polka, country, cocktail jazz, blues, rockabilly, Tex-Mex, rock & roll and other genres. The band’s sound was to a large extent inspired by the “old, weird America” famously chased by Bob Dylan and The Band during their Basement Tapes period, but other prominent influences included Ray Charles, Randy Newman, and Van Morrison.”

The band was active from 1978 up to 2001 when Chuck Cuminale, aka Colorblind James, died unexpectedly of an arhythmia.

The track posted today, the title track of the album, is not the strongest on the CD but it seems to be the most appropriate to post in Halloween week.

Colorblind James – Strange Sounds from the Basement

Buddy Guy – I Cry And Sing The Blues

Buddy Guy - I Cry and Sing the Blues

Buddy Guy – I Cry and Sing the Blues

This week Buddy Guy – I Cry and Sing the Blues. This is the track and the album title; the album being one of the keenly priced collections issued by Charly as one of their Blues Masterworks series.

I own a few from this series and, although I’m not a great blues aficionado and so my opinion should be treated with caution, I wouldn’t say that they are necessarily the best recordings from the artists covered. That said, they are a cheap introduction and could provide a jumping off point to discover other albums by these and other blues artists.

The track posted is definitely the stand out track on the record. If it reaches you in anyway there is a wealth of Buddy Guy recordings to explore from his work in the Chess Record’s house band backing Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters et al, through his work with harmonica player Junior Wells to the numerous albums released under his own name. And if you need any more encouragement Buddy Guy was ranked 30th in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

Buddy Guy – I Cry And Sing The Blues

Miles Davis – Flamenco Sketches

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

Miles Davis – Kind of Blue

This week Martin Carthy gets a well earned rest and we’re back to Miles Davis.

I sometimes wonder if, when I grow up and become a “proper” man, I’ll have a complete collect of everything that an artist / group has recorded. If I ever do reach this stage, I will not have assembled the complete works of Miles Davis; Amazon is currently listing 1059 albums. June Tabor (59 albums), Martin Carthy (30 albums) or James Carr (14 albums) are more likely candidates!

Today I’m posting Flamenco Sketches from Kind of Blue. If I had posted this a month or so back I could have dedicated it to the fabulous Spanish football team that lifted the Euro 2012 trophy. As I’m posting it now, a little while after the tournament, I’ll dedicate it instead to all those in Spain who are suffering in the fall out to the financial crisis, especially those who would dearly love a job and cannot find one.

Miles Davis – Flamenco Sketches

Charles Mingus – Girl of my Dreams

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

Charles Mingus – Mingus Ah Um

Happy New Year. Despite being on holiday for 10 days I seem to have no time to post to Furious Music. So, apologies for a late post and very short text.

Thirteen steps from Thomas Mapfumo is Charles Mingus. I only own the one Mingus CD – note to self, should buy more Mingus – and so Mingus Ah Um it is. And from the album we’ve Girl of my Dreams – dedicated to my wife and daughter, the Girls of my Dreams!

No more words; on with the music.

Charles Mingus – Girl of my Dreams

Béla Fleck & the Flecktones – Hoe Down

Béla Fleck & the Flecktones - Outbound

Béla Fleck & the Flecktones – Outbound

Now we can see the benefit of the “Lucky 13” selection. Today’s track is from a CD, Béla Fleck & the Flecktones – Outbound, that I bought but don’t play too often. I bought it because:

  1. I have read great reviews of Béla Fleck
  2. it won a Grammy in 2000
  3. well … you can’t have too many banjo albums in your collection, can you?

I like it but it has not really grabbed me, so I enjoy individual tracks if they come up in a shuffle selection, but I almost never just just play the album.

However, being your diligent blogger, I’ve played it a couple of times over the past few days, and I have got into it a lot more. It isn’t the album I thought it would be when I bought it but that’s probably a good thing, isn’t it?

So, once again, “Lucky Thirteen” has helped me rediscover some music in my record collection, a large incentive for me to start this blog c. three years ago.

Béla Fleck & the Flecktones – Hoe Down

Ry Cooder – The Bourgeois Blues

Ry Cooder – Chicken Skin Music

Ry Cooder – Chicken Skin Music

This is where the Lucky Thirteen falls down, when the thirteenth album is one I have posted about before – twice in this instance. But, hey-ho, go with the flow.

The album that I have reached for before and do so again today is Chicken Skin Music by Ry Cooder. Can it really have been release in 1976? Apparently so.

The Bourgeois Blues, as you will know is a Leadbelly song, credited on this album as being written by Huddie Ledbetter (Leadbelly) and Alan Lomax. The playing is by Milt Holland, percussion, and Ry Cooder, bajo sexto, mandola, bottleneck guitar, French accordion and vocals. (I’d be content just to own those instruments, never mind be able to play them. And that goes for the vocal instrument too!).

If you enjoy this track and want to delve deeper into Leadbelly’s music you should visit Document Records website. They have just about everything Leadbelly ever recorded.

And if you want more Ry Cooder, check out his latest album Pull Up Some Dust and Sit Down which has been well received – Robin Denselow in the Guardian called it “Magnificent”.

Ry Cooder – The Bourgeois Blues

Ry Cooder – Stand by Me

Ry Cooder – Chicken Skin Music

Ry Cooder – Chicken Skin Music

Jerry Lieber died a week ago today. Lieber was the lyricist in the Lieber and Stoller songwriting team that penned so many classic pops songs – Hound Dog, Love Potion No 9, Yakety Yak, Stand By Me, Spanish Harlem, Jailhouse Rock and many, many more. (See here for an extensive list of the songs that they wrote together.)

The Guardian obituary of Jerry Lieber describes the songs of Lieber and Stoller as “ingenious miniature soap-operas that conjured, in barely two and a half minutes on one side of a 45rpm single, whole worlds teeming with private eyes, bellydancers, junior hoodlums and put-upon schoolkids”. Indeed they were. This idea, a story told in under 3 minutes, is a peculiarly American phenomenon. I’m sure that those more up to date in pop culture than I could point me to several modern examples – especially though probably not exclusively in Country music, but how many British songwriters can do this? Not many since the Beatles I fancy.

So, to celebrate and commemorate the work of Jerry Lieber, I’m posting Ry Cooder’s version of the classic (sorry, this word is overused today but no other word is appropriate here) song, Stand by Me.

Ry Cooder – Stand by Me

Taj Mahal– Señor Blues


Taj Mahal– Señor Blues

Taj Mahal– Señor Blues

I’ve been puzzling for the past week or so what the music is that is being used as the theme tune to the new BBC tv drama The Hour. I couldn’t get there but my friend the Internet could. I now know that it is Señor Blues by Horace Silver.

I’ve got a great version of the tune performed by Taj Mahal on his 1997 album, also called Señor Blues. The album was given to me (us) by Peter & Madeleine my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. They had just seen Taj Mahal perform in Sydney, where they live, and raved about the show.

(You wonder how many people, when they hear a track used in a tv programme / tv advert and get hooked, rush to their computer, Google it and then promptly proceed to iTunes or Amazon or some such service to buy it. A surprising number I’d guess.)

Taj Mahal– Señor Blues

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – Isa Lei


Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – A Meeting by the River

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – A Meeting by the River

A very short post this week because I’m ill. I should be in bed but the twin attractions of the computer and the garden call.

Last weekend I was away at the wedding of my nephew Chris. His new wife Nin is from a Sikh family and so, to celebrate one marriage between East and West, I’m posting another – Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt with Isa Lei from the A Meeting by the River album.

Ry Cooder & VM Bhatt – Isa Lei