Monday, August 8, 2011

Song of the Week: K.C. Douglas - Make Your Coffee

I was driving around in California's central valley some ten years ago listening to a KDVS blues show when a hard chargin' two chord song came on that stopped me in my tracks. I didn't get the name of the artist but I recognized some of the lyrics and was able to track it down. The song was K.C. Douglas's rendition of Tommy Johnson's Catfish Blues. I went out and picked up Arhoolie's 1998 release, K.C. Douglas - Mercury Blues.
It turns out K.C. Douglas, born in rural Mississippi in 1913, had relocated in 1945 to the San Francisco Bay Area to work in the naval shipyards, probably the yards in Richmond where he lived for awhile. Having earned his blues chops in Mississippi, including alongside the likes of Tommy Johnson, he continued playing after settling into his new locality. So it would only make sense that he would come under the radar of Chris Strachwitz, the founder of Arhoolie Records. The album, all of which was recorded by Strachwitz on a portable recorder between 1960 and 1974, is about half electric with backup band, such as on Catfish Blues and his now familiar Mercury Blues, with the rest acoustic, just K.C. and guitar. Not surprisingly (if you know me), I gravitated to the acoustic set, and in particular to the mellow fingerstyle blues of today's song of the week, Make Your Coffee, a previously unreleased track. Hope you enjoy!

1 comment:

  1. That's a real nice song. He reminds me of Joe Calicott, also from Mississippi and also largely unknown, even to blues fans.

    It's a nice little riff and the alternating bass line (which disappears at times) gives it a nice bounce.