Time for a Shot of Blues

This seems like as good a time as any for a blues roundup ....

Albert Collins (pictured above) was one of the best blues singer/guitarists ever. I saw him once at a now-defunct mob-owned cavernous shithole in Boston called the Channel. Albert and his band just tore the fucking place down. Alas, the Ice Man left us in 1993 but his music is still here to make us feel real, real good. Play the blue!

From the album Frostbite, “If You Love Me Like You Say.” (Why you treat me like you do?) The fabulous A.C. Reed on sax:

Spotify link

There are blues legends and then there is John Lee Hooker. One day I will write a post or two about him. Suffice it to say he is up there in the list of greats with B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy and that crew.

Hooker didn’t write “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer,” but he made it his own. (George Thorogood, of course, did his own great version some years later.) Far be it from me to tell you how to deal with the current virus situation. You are you! But for me, this might be a good coping mechanism, at least for one night.

And then I sit there, drinkin’, gettin’ high, mellow, knocked out, feelin’ good
About that time I looked on the wall, at the old clock on the wall
About that time it was ten-thirty then, I looked down the bar at the bartender, he said
‘What do you want, Johnny?’, one bourbon, one scotch, and one beer

Spotify link

I’ve written before about Susan Tedeschi. Proud resident of Massachusetts who could have – if she wanted – wound up being perhaps the manager of the chain of her family’s convenience stores. Instead, she chose the path of the blues and never looked back.

She did the solo thing for a while then managed to meet, fall in love with and marry guitar whiz Derek Trucks making her, I suppose, an extended member of the Allman Brothers family. I’ve written before about Tedeschi/Trucks but here Susan flies solo.

This is she and her band doing “It Hurt So Bad” from the great Austin City Limits. Good blues guitarist, terrific singer:

Spotify link

By now you’re doubtless saying, Ok Mr. Big Shot Blues guy Music Enthusiast, how about some harmonica. Ok, well how about Charlie Musslewhite doing “Good Blues Tonight”?

Charlie has been laying it down ever since 1967. It amuses me no end that it says this about him in Wikipedia: “He has often been identified as a ‘white bluesman.'” You can’t argue with that!

Spotify link

Let’s end this mini blues-fest with a nice shuffle. Albert Cummings is (coincidentally) another Massachusetts born and bred guitarist. Blown away by the virtuosity of Stevie Ray Vaughn, he started playing with a vengeance in the late ’90s. And then, to quote Wikipedia:

“[His playing] opened up an opportunity for him to work with Double Trouble, the late Stevie Ray Vaughan’s rhythm section. So taken with Cummings’s fire and passion were bassist Tommy Shannon and drummer Chris Layton that they volunteered to play on and produce his solo debut recording, 2003โ€™s self-releasedย From the Heart.

Recorded in Austin, Texas, it featured Cummings fronting Double Trouble (including Reese Winans) in their first recording project since Stevie Rayโ€™s passing.”

From that album, this is “I’ve Got Feelings Too.” Yessir!

Spotify link

30 thoughts on “Time for a Shot of Blues

  1. I like the bite in Albert’s guitar. A C Reed is a no brainer. John Lee should be taught in school. Heard the song you posted a million time. Here’s to another mill. I also like Susan. I don’t lean towards the blues shouting women but I do like her. She doesnt go there often but it works when she does.
    Charlie should also be taught in school. I’ve been listening to his collaborations with Ben Harper. Real good stuff. Really like the cut you included. I think I’ve heard the Cummings cut before. Solid stuff.

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    1. I figured CB would dig this set. The blues is helpful in good times and in bad. I was looking for some deep blues. I can always look forward to CB actually saying something rather than just click on ‘like.’ I think other people mistake my blog for Facebook

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      1. You know me. I get on my blues jags all the time. It just sounds good to me. Simple. Just thinking, has anyone ever tried to soften it up and commercialize it? You know like they did with country and jazz. Try to reach the masses. Pretty hard to soften up guys like Albert, John Lee and Charlie. Those guys just had to much life experience in them. I think I might have heard Hooker on the radio once. Maybe the Healer album.

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        1. A light blues, maybe a Carpenters version? That’s a good question. I think of guys like Pat Boone who tried to sing bluesy rock in the ’50s. Probably scares a lot of singers off. If you can’t sound like these guys or B.B. or Gregg Allman, go home.

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        2. Hey now. Don’t shit on the idea before we run it up the flagpole and see who salutes it. Maybe with everybody home and with nothing to do we come up with a Weak, watered-down blues channel, charge admission, see what happens. I mean, let’s face it, CB and the Doc have integrity but you can’t eat that. You can only ride that pony so far. Everybody else is finding a way to cash in on this crisis, why shouldn’t we?

          Liked by 1 person

        3. No worries. You play “artistic integrity cop,” I’l be the cigar-chomping “who gives a shit, it’s money” guy. Don’t all the arts have that?

          Liked by 1 person

        4. Yeah, it was pretty good. Maybe they can’t capture him. Like I said, if you can put aside what you might feel about RR I think you will dig this flick. I found it kinda moving.

          Liked by 1 person

        5. I will for sure be moved by The Band film. I will have no problem with the RR thing. No question about his love for those guys.
          I’ve seen and read so many other pieces on Davis that this felt kinds light weight. I liked the interviews with the musicians. Lots of good stuff there plus the music bits.

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  2. I guess not surprisingly, these tunes are totally up my alley! I love the soul in that Albert Collins tune. And you’re absolutely right, he had an amazing voice. Watching him in a sketchy venue in Boston must have been priceless.

    Hooker’s version of Thorogood’s “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” sounds great.

    I definitely have to pay more attention to Tedeschi Trucks Band. I never fully realized what a great vocalist Susan is. That woman just rocks. This is Bonnie Raitt caliber, and I really dig Bonnie big time, as I think you know!:-)

    While I’m aware of Charlie Musslewhite, he’s another artist I’ve yet to explore more closely – love that tune!

    As for Albert Cummings, you hit the nail right on the head with your observation that tune’s a great shuffle. I clicked on the clip before I had even started to read your commentary, and it was literally my first thought!

    The friggin’ old blues just never gets boring – it’s kind of amazing!

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    1. Yeah, it’s a good set. These are all top-notch artists so it’s easy to find good stuff by them. I did a piece on Tedeschi/Trucks a while back. I have never seen them live but when day when this all over and they swing through here that is my plan. I’ve seen Derek several times, of course, with the ABB.

      Blues is great stuff in good times and in bad. I don’t listen to a steady diet of it by any means but it’s nice to be able listen to it when need be.

      Funny how we both wound up doing a blues set on our sites more or less at the same time. I enjoyed your set as well, finding a few old friends, discovering a few new ones.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. LAY-teh. Whenever I tell my wife something is a lay-teh (blues, NYC, etc.) she just rolls her eyes. If you’re going to use it, be sure to affect the attitude of a cheesy nightclub performer who says he like he really means it!

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