Sonny Boy Williamson’s career had a wide range. He played with Robert Johnson in the 1930’s and with Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page in the 1960’s. His ability to span eras is a testament to the timelessness of his voice and harmonica. Sonny Boy Williamson recorded “Help Me” in 1963, and it bears a striking […]
This song emphasizes the “rhythm” in “rhythm & blues.” “Mercy, Mercy” or “Have Mercy” was recorded by Don Covay in 1964. It features 22-year-old Jimi Hendrix on guitar. He’s still a few years away from his own solo career, but his guitar playing is recognizable. After his stint in the Army, Hendrix did gigs and […]
Graham Dechter: Youth steeped in tradition. December 10, 2012.
It’s a modern blues standard with roots in the 1920’s, one of Willie Dixon’s many great compositions, and it can trace its origin in part to a Charlie Patton song from 1929: “A Spoonful Blues.” In 1960 Howlin’ Wolf recorded “Spoonful,” a track many consider one of the defining songs of modern blues. By the […]
by Kevin Kniestedt “Dave set an example that any musician would be wise to follow – to be loving and treat everyone around you with respect, and create new music every minute we have on this earth.” – Pianist Taylor Eigsti Jazz pianist Dave Brubeck, responsible for the recording of the seminal album Time […]Dave Brubeck
Chances are you’ve heard Peggy Lee’s iconic version of “Fever”– it’s one of the steamiest love songs ever written. But the original recording was released two years earlier by Little Willie John in 1956. Little Willie John had a hit with “Fever,” but after Peggy Lee recorded it in 1958, it became her signature song. […]
“Sweet Home Chicago” is one of the best known blues songs ever written. But historians seem to agree that when Robert Johnson recorded the song in 1936, he borrowed heavily to make his masterpiece. “Kokomo Blues” is clearly one of the building blocks of that better known blues song. Scrapper Blackwell came out with it […]
Here’s a perfect example of a song that changed with the times, and was at the cutting edge of those changes. Drummer and singer Rabon Tarrant recorded “Blues With a Feeling” in 1947, a time when big band swing music was in transition to rock and roll. This version straddles both genres with the beat […]