Time for A Shot of Blues

“The blues is your buddy in good times and your comforter in bad times. It empowers you to keep going. It is secular spiritual music, the gospel blues. It’s music from the heart instead of the head.” – Charlie Musselwhite

From blues harmonica master Charlie Musselwhite’s website: “Fifty years of nonstop touring, performing and recording have reaped huge rewards. Charlie Musselwhite is living proof that great music only gets better with age.

This man cut his (musical) teeth alongside Muddy Waters, Howling Wolf and everyone on the south side of Chicago in the early 1960’s – thank your lucky stars he is still with us telling the truth with a voice and harp tone like no other.”

Here he is on the perfectly named “The Blues Overtook Me”:

Spotify link

I’m not sure how well-known he was but back in the day, Johnny Copeland was a blues guitar giant. He was a player I learned a few things from, saw once or twice and who was named Blues Entertainer of the Year in 1983.

And I told you that not only to (maybe) introduce you to him but also to tell you that he had a daughter and his daughter’s name is Shemekia (pictured on top of post) and she has been a badass blueswoman for quite some time now. (She sang at the White House back when we had a president with some class and dignity.)

Here’s a live version (she’s touring, I’m debating) of her doing the great “Salt In My Wounds.” It’s an audience member video but, well, I think it gets the point across. “Why would you want to rub salt in my wounds?” I don’t know baby. I guess I just can’t help myself.

Spotify link

I’ve featured the late guitarist Jeff Healey before in this post. Not much to add here other than “I’m Tore Down” is a smoking Freddie King tune that you need to hear. ‘Nuff said:

Spotify link

Let’s take a ride with the man who did as much to take country blues and turn it into electrified Chicago blues as anyone, Mr. McKinley Morganfield (aka Muddy Waters). “Rock Me Baby.” Whoa, yeah.

As one YouTube commenter said, “Muddy, with his classic band line-up of Otis Spann, Little Walter, Jimmy Rogers, then and now, the best band in the land.”

Rock me easy, rock your baby slow
Rock me easy, rock your baby slow
Well you know I want you to rock me so easy, till I don’t want to rock no more

Put your arms around me, like a circle around the sun
Put your arms around me, like a circle around the sun
I want you to call, call me daddy, let me lay down in your arms

Spotify link

Wikipedia: “Indigenous is an American blues-rock group that came to prominence in the late 1990s. The band originally consisted of two brothers, Mato Nanji (Maiari), vocals and guitar; Pte (bass guitar); along with their sister, Wanbdi (drums, vocals), and their cousin, Horse percussion).

The Nakota Nation members grew up on South Dakota’s Yankton Indian Reservation, where their father, Greg Zephier became a spokesperson for Native American rights.”

I was actually in touch with their management as there is a link on their website that says “Bring Indigenous to Your Town.” The woman I communicated with says that if they play in this area she’d get me an interview with Mato, their guitarist, which was totally unsolicited by me but which would be cool. Alas, in their current tour, the closest they’re coming is Joisey. Maybe next time.

This is called “Got To Tell You,” and you will hear SRV and Jimi influences in there big-time. Terrific song with an ending that comes outta nowhere:

Spotify link

25 thoughts on “Time for A Shot of Blues

  1. That’s great to learn about Indigenous. If white boys can also play the blues, why not red boys (and girls)? I do hear some Stevie Ray in the guitar and vocals (not surprising, since he seems to have influenced a whole generation of blues players). They also remind me somewhat of Los Lonely Boys.

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    1. Yea, Los Lonely Boys are hot. Still around, touring. Indigenous got some good airplay on FM in this area before radio started to suck. I would go see them in a heartbeat but alas, they skipped Beantown this time.

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  2. Some good stuff here, Jim. I only know a wee bit of Healey’s stuff and I’m obviously really pretty familiar with Muddy Waters. Indigenous, though… very intriguing.

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  3. Well I guess you don’t have to eat your”own head with a side of poutine”. You introduced me to Indigenous before. I have a album with Johnny Copeland, Albert Collins and Robert Cray ‘Showdown’. I used to listen to it a lot. Time to pull it out again. All good stuff Doc. I was just watching a documentary a while back and Charlie was one of the interviews. Cool guy who still does for me. If you asked me to make 3 choices for a new set, Muddy would be the first to go on.

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    1. I remember somehow over at your crib we got into a discussion about Indigenous and I knew one day I’d feature them. As to Muddy, boy I heard that tune on the blues channel and it was like clear running water. Sounded so good. I have that ‘Showdown’ album too and I was thinking of that when writing this. Might want to double-check your vinyl collection. I seem to remember rummaging through your stuff and saying, “Hmm, this looks good. I’m sure CB wouldn’t mind if I ‘liberated it’ as we used to say in the Sixties.

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        1. I had you confused with somebody else. Funny thing is when I thought of ‘Showdown ‘, I forgot the third guy was Cray. He was pretty new then. Yeah, I dig his stuff. Smoother than some of the other guys. We saw B.B.a short while before he passed. It wasn’t his prime but Cray opened for him and he was solid. This would have been about 2013.

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        2. “Smoother” is the word but still some bite and his own touch. Obviously I thought you would dig him. When you listen to an album like ‘Showdown’ you can really hear the difference in their playing. I like that. Their own guitar voices.

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  4. Damn, Jim, these are kick-ass choices – I instantly liked all of them after listening to the first bars!

    Shamefully, I only know Musselwhite by name. The tune you highlighted really wants me to check him out. Any tips where I should start?

    Jeff Healey impresses me every time when I listen to the guy. Without meaning to romanticize blindness, but there’s just something about blind artists. Just look at Ray Charles or Jose Feliciano. I guess loss of vision for these artists really heightens their other senses!

    I had never heard of Shemekia Copeland and Indigenous. Both sound outstanding. In my humble opinion, I think you should go and see this lady! 🙂

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    1. Charlie’s got a million albums, the first of which goes back to 1967. See if you can find his Deluxe Edition, which is an excellent compilation of some of his Alligator records. That Healey tune blows me away. An extraordinary player. I may well go see Shemekia and bring the wife .She’d dig that for sure .

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