Tea for the Bloggerman

Top Five Albums of the Week: Week Eight
September 28, 2008, 7:59 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , ,

Week Eight: September 28th

1. To Bring You My Love by PJ Harvey
I like PJ Harvey a lot. I found this baby at the used bookstore I work at. Lots of great songs here, lyrically and musically. PJ’s Tom Waitsian/Beefhearty blues-rocking voice really shines here, in my opinion. Especially in the title track. I wouldn’t be surprised if the following album was played on repeat at Harvey’s house…

2. Bone Machine by Tom Waits
A great Tom Waits album. Hard to get into, but each song is monumental in its own way. From the opening track “The Earth Died Screaming” (a personal favorite), through the pseudo-gospel tracks “Dirt in the Ground” and “Jesus Gonna Be Here,” down past the hard-rocking “Goin’ Out West” and down to “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up,” Tom doesn’ disappoint.

3. The Woodstock Album by Muddy Waters
One of Muddy’s later efforts which are underrated when compared to his classic Chess cuts. While Muddy himself may not be 100% on this record, the person who really shines is Paul Butterfield who contributes his harmonica-heroics to the band. Adam Gussow recommended this album on one of his youtube videos and I bought it up instantly after hearing some samples. Butterfield goes all out on “Goin’ to Main Street” and “Caledonia.” I also believe Pinetop Perkins is on this album too, which is always a bonus. Nothing Pinetop is on can be bad, that is one of Newton’s laws.

4. Hot Rocks 1964-1971 by The Rolling Stones
I have mixed feelings about the Rolling Stones as a whole, but in their early years nothing could match them. As long as Brian Jones was at their sides and undrowned, they were a juggernaut (bitch). “Paint it Black,” “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “Sympathy for the Devil.” Sweet bajeezus, they were good. Wha-happend?

5. Live at Antone’s by The James Cotton Blues Band
James “Superharp” Cotton, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, Pinetop Perkins, live and sizzling baby. These blues powerhouses blaze their ways through seven standards by Muddy Waters, Little Walter, and Sonny Boy Williamson, and end the set with Cotton’s unstoppable “Creeper.” Mind-boggling. Another Adam Gussow recommendation, I believe. I bought this online used for like $10. Now it’s selling for around $40. Check it out. I also left the first review of it on amazon.


John McCain eats newborn babies
September 26, 2008, 8:07 pm
Filed under: Politics | Tags: ,

…it’s a fact, you can look it up.

That’s Alotta Bowie
September 23, 2008, 9:02 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , , ,

After an extremely shitty day today, one of the few things that made me smile was a text message I received from a coworker. It reads thusly:

“The funniest thing just happened…I heard these girls at school talking about the bookstore and how the hot guy that works there played bowie for them”

I don’t know who this mysterious guy must be, but he sure does have good taste.

This brings me to my next point. A few nights ago I was bored so I decided to lay out all of my Bowie-related objects and take a picture of it. What possessed me to do this I have no idea, but the result was fantastic. Here is a nice bird’s eye view of my continually-growing Bowie collection:

LPs: Ziggy Stardust, Pin-Ups, Young Americans, Station to Station, Low, Let’s Dance, Labyrinth, Golden Years compliation, Live Santa Monica ’72

CDs: Fame ’90 single, Ziggy Stardust, Pin-Ups, Sound + Vision I, II, III, and Plus, Black Tie White Noise, 1. Outside, Singles Collection, Low, Heathen, Best of Bowie, Best of David Bowie 1980/1987, Reality

DVDs: Labyrinth, The Prestige

Books: The Complete David Bowie

Not included in the photo: David Bowie Anthology Songbook, Man Who Sold the World t-shirt

Top Five Albums of the Week: Week Seven “Honkin’ on the Bobo” Week
September 22, 2008, 12:04 am
Filed under: music | Tags: , , ,

Most of the albums today involve either harmonica or harmonica-related tracks. All the CDs are spread out on my Hohner harmonica case, with all my harps and humble equipment showing, including my new (and awesome) Bottle o’ Blues harp microphone. It sounds beautifully dirty.

1. Juke by Little Walter
Sets the theme of this week’s layout. I must’ve listened to this CD three times in a row Tuesday afternoon at work. Little Walter is magic. His harmonica playing is without equal, bringing the instrument to a new level of technicality. And his tone! Little Walter is the example all amplified harp players try to emulate. He was the first to cup a microphone in his hand and play through an overdriven amp, perhaps the first person in the history of music to EVER purposely use electronic distortion. It’s the tone my Bottle o’ Blues mic gets close to, but doesn’t quite reach. Also, Little Walter Jacobs wrote excellent songs. The lyrics to “My Babe” are extremely catchy. I often find myself walking through the house snapping my fingers to the beat of it.

2. Tigerman by Kim Wilson
A contemporary disciple of Little Walter. Wilson, formerly of The Fabulous Thunderbirds, is an excellent amplified harp player. One of the best around. This CD has a few clunkers on it, but overall it’s a fine blues album.

3. Buddy Guy and Junior Wells Play the Blues
Buddy-fucking-Guy and Junior-fucking-Wells. The Simon and Garfunkel of Chicago blues. Hated the ever-loving shit out of each other, but somehow were able to get together on many occasions to produce some find material. The highlight of this is the Junior Wells classic “Messin’ With the Kid” which I have been playing along with recently thanks to one of Adam Gussow’s Modern Blues Harmonica song lessons. While the original “Messin’ With the Kid” single is far to fast for me to play with, the one on this album is slower and jazzier, and is completely void of Junior’s harp. Even though Junior was a great harmonica player, his playing being absent makes this version an excellent jam track.

4. The Complete Plantation Recordings of Muddy Waters
No harp on this CD that I can remember, but still top-notch blues. I am a very huge fan of old Delta blues recordings–Charley Patton, Son House, Robert Johnson, etc etc–and this takes a proud position in my collection. Alan Lomax (God bless his soul) did so much good for the world. In the 30s and 40s Lomax traveled all through the South on behalf of the Library of Congress and recorded damn near everything he came across. Delta blues, gospels, prison chain gang work songs, everything. Including a poor young farm worker who went by the nickname of “Muddy Waters.” Lomax recorded Muddy and his friends between ’41 and ’42, went back to Washington and sent Muddy back a copy of the recordings. The first time Muddy had ever heard himself sing and play. The liner notes say that Muddy listened to this record over and over again, knowing deep down that he could make it. Pack up and leave Mississippi. Go to Chicago, where the work is. Move in with some relatives. Take on down the road, just him and his guitar. He could do it, he knew he could do it. And he did. Without Muddy Waters, we would not have rock music period. The end. End of story. A giant of popular music here at the very ground floor of his spectacular career. Amazing album.

5. Bird and Diz by Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie
The only non-blues album on the list, but still quite a goodie. This album, first off, is short. About 22 minutes of actual album. Then there is another 20 minutes or so of outtakes, false starts, breakdowns, studio chatter, etc. But here in all this mess is Bebop at its finest. There is nothing I can say about Charlie Parker that Jack Kerouac hasn’t said already a thousand times better, and the younger Dizzy here could easily be mistaken for Miles Davis. A very pleasant surprise here is the piano player, a then little-known musician called Thelonious Monk. With names like these, who needs description?

Lyrical Musings: High Water Everywhere
September 20, 2008, 11:05 pm
Filed under: Concerts, music | Tags: , , , ,

I just got back from seeing Joe Bonamassa at a free concert at the Clark County government center. Excellent show. Joe had some technical problems in the beginning (who doesn’t?), which caused the band to completely drown him out for a song and a half. His first solo, gone. Only he could hear it. But from then on out it was a rockin’ set.

The highlight of the show was Bonamassa’s searing rendition of “High Water Everywhere,” a song with a long history. The song was written sometime after 1927 by the timeless bluesman Charley Patton, written about the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 which caused great destruction throughout Mississippi and Louisiana. The haunting lyrics and tone reflect the helplessness and the heartache of those affected by the flood, Patton repeating that there is nothing to do but pack up and leave his former home and life behind beneath the flood.

High Water Everywhere by Charley Patton

Backwater at Blytheville, backed up all around
Backwater at Blytheville, done took Joiner town
It was fifty families and children come to sink and drown

The water was risin’ up at my friend’s door
The water was risin’ up at my friend’s door
The man said to his women folk, “Lord, we’d better go”

The water was risin’, got up in my bed
Lord, the water was rollin’, got up to my bed
I thought I would take a trip, Lord,
out on the big ice sled

Oh, I can hear, Lord, Lord, water upon my door,
you know what I mean, look-a here
I hear the ice, Lord, Lord, was sinkin’ down,
I couldn’t get no boats there, Marion City gone down

So high the water was risin’ our men sinkin’ down
Man, the water was risin’ at places all around,
boy, they’s all around
It was fifty men and children come to sink and drown

Oh, Lordy, women and grown men drown
Oh, women and children sinkin’ down Lord, have mercy
I couldn’t see nobody’s home and wasn’t no one to be found

The song went through many covers and variations since the late 20s and I won’t bother talking about it. Skip on down to September 11th, 2001 where, just hours before the World Trade Center attack, Bob Dylan’s “Love and Theft” was released. Among “Love and Theft”s many blues songs is a song titled “High Water (For Charlie Patton).” Easily the best song on the album, Dylan takes Patton’s description of a natural disaster and puts it in a modern social context, speaking of God, love, and evolution as well as nature’s fury. Take a look:

High Water (For Charlie Patton) by Bob Dylan

High water risin’ – risin’ night and day
All the gold and silver are being stolen away
Big Joe Turner lookin’ East and West
From the dark room of his mind
He made it to Kansas City
Twelfth Street and Vine
Nothing standing there
High water everywhere

High water risin’, the shacks are slidin’ down
Folks lose their possessions – folks are leaving town
Bertha Mason shook it – broke it
Then she hung it on a wall
Says, “You’re dancin’ with whom they tell you to
Or you don’t dance at all.”
It’s tough out there
High water everywhere

I got a cravin’ love for blazing speed
Got a hopped up Mustang Ford
Jump into the wagon, love, throw your panties overboard
I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind
I’m no pig without a wig
I hope you treat me kind
Things are breakin’ up out there
High water everywhere

High water risin’, six inches ‘bove my head
Coffins droppin’ in the street
Like balloons made out of lead
Water pourin’ into Vicksburg, don’t know what I’m going to do
“Don’t reach out for me,” she said
“Can’t you see I’m drownin’ too?”
It’s rough out there
High water everywhere

Well, George Lewis told the Englishman, the Italian and the Jew
“You can’t open your mind, boys
To every conceivable point of view.”
They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway Five
Judge says to the High Sheriff,
“I want him dead or alive
Either one, I don’t care.”
High Water everywhere

The Cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies
I’m preachin’ the Word of God
I’m puttin’ out your eyes
I asked Fat Nancy for something to eat, she said, “Take it off the shelf –
As great as you are a man,
You’ll never be greater than yourself.”
I told her I didn’t really care
High water everywhere

I’m getting’ up in the morning – I believe I’ll dust my broom
Keeping away from the women
I’m givin’ ’em lots of room
Thunder rolling over Clarksdale, everything is looking blue
I just can’t be happy, love
Unless you’re happy too
It’s bad out there
High water everywhere

And with the hurricanes that have been devastating Louisiana in recent years, the lyrics of both songs have resonated with an even greater force. People can connect with the despair Charley Patton feels and the cynicism Dylan describes.

Then there’s Bonamassa’s version. High winds bearin’ down on New Orleans, ever’thing lookin’ blue. Hurricanes don’t discriminate. Break it down, Joe:

I <3 Judy Garland
September 16, 2008, 11:45 pm
Filed under: Misc. | Tags: ,

Yes, she was a fantastic singer. But this $3 thrift store find, which I now have on ebay, makes me love her so much more:


Judy, you just bought me a new harmonica amp. Thank you.

Top Five Albums of the Week: Week Six + E-Mail Subscriptions
September 14, 2008, 9:37 pm
Filed under: music | Tags: , ,

**You can now subscribe to e-mail updates for this blog! Be the first to know when I post a new entry! So exciting! There is a link directly to the left that will send you to the right spot.**

Week Six: September 14th

1. Superscape by Antipode
Quite possibly the most ground-breaking electronic album since prehistoric man invented the glowstick. If you have not heard the latest work by the mysterious Antipode, you must. Especially since the album is being given away as a free download on his website. The perfect combination of soft, jazzy instrumentals and hard and fast industrial chaos (plus excellent album artwork), Superscape is definitely worth the price of purchase.

2. Ten New Songs by Leonard Cohen
Such a humble title for such an astonding piece of musical artistry. Leonard’s 2002 effort, this album combines Cohen’s immaculate lyricism with co-writer Sharon Robinson’s smooth and jazzy arrangements. If you have not heard “In My Secret Life” or “A Thousand Kisses Deep” you have not really lived.

3. The Best of Johnny Winter
Johnny Winter is the guitarist’s guitar god. Hendrix packed with pure blue dynamite, exploding on the stage in a fury of flatted thirds and fifths minor dominant 7ths whirlwind crazyfuck down into the Mississippi delta of our American souls with a little bit of Chuck Berry in the mix. When he plays “Rollin’ and Tumblin” or “Johnny B. Goode,” the guitar becomes his bitch.

4. Riding With the King by B.B. King and Eric Clapton
Another excellent blues album by the two leading bluesmen in popular music today. B.B. and Eric play off each other very well; it is very obvious that not only are they respectful of each other’s massive guitar skills but are also great friends. A real treasure. “Key to the Highway,” mm mm.

5. 6- and 12-String Guitar by Leo Kottke
Another guitarist’s guitarist, so much can be said about Leo Kottke but I am too lazy to. I’ll just let the titles of the album’s songs do the talking:
1. “The Driving of the Year Nail” – 1:54 (“From an old Etruscan drawing of a sperm cell”)
2. “The Last of the Arkansas Greyhounds” – 3:18 (“A terror-filled escape on a bus from a man fired from Beaumont ranch”)
3. “Ojo” – 2:14 (“Ojo Caliente where Zuni hid from Esteban, the Moor, and the Spaniards”)
4. “Crow River Waltz” – 3:20 (“A prayer for the demise of the canoe and the radar trap without which Federal prisons will have to be rebuilt to accommodate prepubescence”)
5. “The Sailor’s Grave on the Prairie” – 2:34 (“Originally written to commemorate Nedicks and a Minneapolis musician’s contempt for the three a.m. cheeseburger with a nickel slice of raw”)
6. “Vaseline Machine Gun” – 3:11 (“1) for waking up nude in a sleeping bag on the shore of the Atlantic surrounded by a volleyball game at high noon, and 2) for the end of the volleyball game”)
7. “Jack Fig” – 2:14 (“A reluctant lament”)
8. “Watermelon” – 3:12 (“While at Watermelon Park Music Festival I had the opportunity to play banjo in the middle of the night for a wandering drunk. When I finished he vomited — an astute comment on my playing. Made me feel very distinguished”)
9. “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring” (J.S. Bach) – 2:24 (“The engineer called this the ancient joy of man’s desire. (Bach had twenty children because his organ didn’t have any stops)”)
10. “The Fisherman” – 2:32 (“This is about the mad fishermen of the North whose ice fishing spots resemble national shrines”)
11. “The Tennessee Toad” – 2:40 (“Who made an epic journey from Ohio to Tennessee”)
12. “Busted Bicycle” – 2:48 (“Reluctance”)
13. “The Brain of the Purple Mountain” – 2:11 (“From A.L. Tennyson”)
14. “Coolidge Rising” – 2:50 (“While rising from the sink, cupboard doors opened and engulfed his head; while turning to the right to avoid the whole incident he walked into a refrigerator — which afforded a good chin rest for staring at some bananas in a basket”)