Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A Few Roots Favorites

Every month I post "A Few Roots Favorites" as a bit of a respite from the research and time involved in doing a more in depth post. It also allows me to talk a bit about musicians I really love who haven't found their way into a more extended post. I will also be thinking of ways to integrate those who appear here into future posts in which their music can be placed in historical context. Once, again, many thanks to the generous vinyl collectors at youtube whose contributions help to make this blog possible.

Jump Blues: Bandleader and Composer Tiny Bradshaw is an often forgotten giant from the jump blues period. Straddling Jazz Big Bands and Rhythm and Blues in the 1930s and 40's, Bradshaw is also a key link to the development of Rock n' Roll. His 1951 Jump Blues piece "The Train Kept a Rollin" was originally covered by the Johhny Burnette Trio in 1956 as rockabilly, then later by the Yardbirds, and more recently by Aerosmith.

Rhythm and Blues: New Orleans' own Larry Williams was revered by many British Invasion groups, his songs were covered by The Beatles, The Stones and The Animals. His 1959 recording "She Said Yeah" is brilliantly conceived, fusing pure Nola R&B with hints of the sounds of soul that were to mature a few years later. Covered later by the Animals and the Stones.

Jazz: Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis has been one of my favorites since I heard him do "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" back in the early 1970s. Marvelous tone and dynamics. Listen to Eddie's chops here as he solos for Count Basie on "Whirly Bird."

Vocalist: I have always been a huge fan of Dinah Washington, considering her vocals on par with Ella Fitzgerald. Listen to her skills on this laid back, loungy tune "Drinking Again." Absolutely anesthatizingly smooth and relaxing.

Rockabilly: Jerry Reed is best known for his unique "country" songs that charted back in the 1970s. While his sound from that period was interesting, his early rockabilly numbers on the Capitol label in the mid 1950's are unbelievably good. Jerry's vocals are unmistakable. Listen to "When I Found You" and "I've Had Enough," both from 1956.

Country Blues: Barbecue Bob, a huge influence on the great Buddy Moss and many other country blues and Piedmont Blues players form the 1930's. Listen to this unnamed blues, perhaps a prototypical version of "Big Dog." Very good recording quality for 1929.

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