Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Song of the Week: Big Bill Broonzy - Looking For My Baby

Listen - Big Bill Broonzy performs Looking For My Baby

Big Bill Broonzy was born in the late 1800s in Mississippi. He started recording in 1928 and didn't stop until his death (which usually stops most recordings by an artist) thirty years later. Big Bill Broonzy recorded such staples as I'm Gonna Move To The Outskirts of Town, CC Rider and, of course, his most famous song, Key To The Highway, but somehow he is not considered a luminary like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf or Robert Johnson. It's not for lack of musicianship as his guitar skills were magnificent.

We listen today to his 1941 recording of his original song,  Looking For My Baby. Cool guitar refrains and menacing lyrics mark this warbly recording for Okeh Records. Enjoy. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Video Diary: Sierra Hull - Chasin' Skies

Signed to a recording deal at 11 and performed at the Ryman at age 12 (or something like that). Now 18, Sierra Hull is a master of the mando. Sadly this video doesn't showcase her excellent voice, but I love her mandolin work on this. We saw her perform at the stalwart Station Inn, a place as diminutive as the headliner at the show.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Video Diary: Jessica Lea Mayfield - Kiss Me Again

More from Nashville's Americana Music Fest. Jessica Lea Mayfield performs Kiss Me Again. We loved the languid music, the sleepy eyed singer and the low-fi guitar that reminded us of the better works of bands like TV Personalities, Syd Barret and some Neko Case work. We were lucky enough to catch Jessica performing at the very excellent Mercy Lounge.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Video Diary: Justin Townes Earle - Harlem River Blues

This Flipster is just back from Nashville, TN where we took in three nights of the Americana Music Fest. Seven clubs in three days. Not bad. We're going to post a few vids from our favorite performers. We'll start today with Justin Townes Earle whom we saw perform at the legendary Ryman AuditoriumThe lanky baritone really caught us off guard. We've heard him, even liked him, but his performance was so confident and so powerful that we sat dumbfounded. His voice never hit an off-note as I couldn't quite believe that such a powerful voice was actually coming from such a skinny guy.

Here is Justin Townes Earle performing his song Americana Music Fest Song of the Year, Harlem River Blues. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Original Song Project: Morgan Young - This Song For Sale

As I mowed the lawn one day while listening to my iPod, I was struck by commonality of lyrical themes in much of the music to which I was listening. Particularly in the older country songs by Mel TillisJohnny Cash and Willie Nelson. That got me thinking about the world of professional song writers (to point, not performers, just the composers) and their inevitable approach to music not as a passion play, perhaps not even as an art, but most definitely as a commodity to be traded.

The spew of that thought is this song, This Song for Sale. It was one of those spontaneous compositions that took me less than 10 minutes to write. I didn't do much with it for over a year and finally rediscovered it myself. Upon rediscovering it in my dusty memory, I decided I actually liked it. A quick recording of the song and here I am sharing it with you.

I hope you like.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Busker Days: Brough Brothers "Michigan Wind"

Just like any other part of my life the music I listen to is always changing. The same is true with my busker experience - no more Jessie 'Cash', haven't seen Gospel Earl in too long and, dang, where's The Human Condition? It could be the result of my new patterns, coming into work later as a result of the new kindergarten schedule, and thus leaving a little later too. I don't know. I have seen a few old faces from time to time, including Eric of my original post that I had to take down due to his personal concerns. Don't get me wrong I do see plenty of new stuff around. Just last week I saw a trio electrified and rockin' it on Market, the highlight being the drummer's bass drum comprising of an old hardshell suitcase with a kick drum attached. I also recorded TT Fingers on Market recently doing Elmore James. He's missing a hand and several fingers on the other hand and playing a homemade lap steel. Stick around for that one later.

For now, it's the Brough Brothers doing a song written by guitarist, harpist and vocalist Brian called Michigan Wind. Yes, this is Flip-Side favorites Zack Brough and Brian Byrnes (minus the other member of the Brough Brothers, Zack's brother Josh) - you can listen to previous busker posts featuring these guys here and here. Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Song of the Week: The Standells - "Medication"

Listen - The Standells perform Medication

We're building off our last post. The same label, the same producer, the same year and probably the same studio (and maybe even musicians) as our Chocolate Watchband post just below.

Most people know The Standells for their out of the garage hit, Dirty Water. That song, written by producer Ed Cobb, has led most people to believe the band is from Boston. Cobb was, but not the Standells. The members of The Standells all hail from LA and even had a long history in the film scene in LA. One of them was even a Mousekateer. Like the San Jose based Chocolate Watchband, The Standells were a real band and had been kicking around the LA scene in one form or another since the late 50's.

When Mouskateer escapee, Dick Dodd, left the surf combo, The Bel-Aires (known for their regional hit, Mr. Moto), the band began to take a more modern shape. Dodd took over singing duties and the band, like all others around them, became hugely influenced by the British Invasion. The band released a few forgettable singles on Liberty Records and VeeJay Records. They even performed a number on the TV show, The Munsters. Here is where Ed Cobb enters the picture. Cobb was looking for a group to market on his Tower Records label and The Standells fit the suit. They immediately hit it big with Cobb's homage to his hometown of Boston, Dirty Water. An inconsistent album of the same name followed. The first song off of that album is our SoTW.

The song is Medication, and, to tie it back into our last post, The Chocolate Watchband also did a version of the song. It's a beautifully produced, well restrained song that keeps our fingers snapping every time.