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BLUES-T IS FOR TEXAS

 

[ “T” ]

Is For Texas. 

Rising High Water Blues
Going back as far as the Civil War, the state of Texas has been home to many of the finest of those who accompany their Blues with a guitar.

1927Blind Lemon Jefferson
((( LISTEN )))

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Blind Lemon Jefferson — Henry Jefferson was one of the most popular blues singers of the 1920s, and is often called the “Father of the Texas Blues.

 

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1969 Johnny Winter Out of all the hopped-up Caucasians who turbocharged the blues in the late Sixties, Texas albino Johnny Winter was both the whitest and the fastest. Songs like his 1969 cover of “Highway 61 Revisited” are astonishing showpieces of his lightningfast thumb-picked electric slide playing. Jimi Hendrix sought him out as a sideman, and Muddy Waters recognized his talent at first glance, becoming a friend and collaborator: “That guy up there onstage – I got to see him up close,” Waters later said. “He plays eight notes to my one!”
“I’m Yours and I’m Hers” / “Fast Life Rider”

 

“Frankenstein”
1972Edgar Winter
They Only Come Out At Night
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— Yz.

1972 The Edgar Winter Group‘s debut, The Only Come Out At Night, was a commercial success, reaching #3 on the US Billboard 200 chart. The record notably includes two of Edgar Winter’s most popular songs, “Frankenstein” and “Free Ride.

 

— Yz.

Recording for the first time as The Edgar Winter Group, Winter assembled an all-star lineup which featured himself, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Dan Hartman, San Francisco guitarist Ronnie Montrose, and producer/guitarist Rick Derringer, with Eagles‘ producer Bill Szymczyk serving as technical director.

Ronnie Montrose had recently left Van Morrison‘s band and didn’t view himself as a rock guitarist when he joined The Edgar Winter Group. “(Winter) so much wanted to do that whole rock thing that he encouraged me,” said the guitarist. “I was in the Edgar Winter Group, and I had better start delivering this heavy guitar music. Now. Because I hadn’t done that before.”

1975 Chess Records is sold to All Platinum Records and becomes a reissue label only. Waters left sometime after this, and did not record any new studio material until he signed with Johnny Winter’s Blue Sky label in October 1976.

Hard Again was recorded in three days. Producing the session was Johnny Winter and engineering the sessions was Dave Still – who previously engineered Johnny’s brother EdgarFoghat, and Alan Merrill. Waters used his touring band of the time, Bob Margolin (guitar), Pinetop Perkins (piano) and Willie “Big Eyes” Smith.(drums) Also, James Cotton (harmonica), and Charles Calmese (bass).

 

Brother Johnny
1974Edgar & Johnny Winter
((( LISTEN )))

— Yz.

2022 — Brother Johnny is Edgar Winter’s tribute to his older brother, Johnny, who died the year before. The album is a powerful sonic journey, traveling the course of Johnny’s musical life, impeccably directed, as only his brother Edgar could. Joining Edgar on the inclusive project is an impressive array of renowned musicians who knew, or were inspired by Johnny, including Joe Bonamassa, Doyle Bramhall II, John McFee, Robben Ford, Billy Gibbons, David Grissom, Taylor Hawkins, Warren Haynes, Steve Lukather, Michael McDonald, Keb Mo, Doug Rappoport, Bobby Rush, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Ringo Starr, Derek Trucks, Waddy Wachtel, Joe Walsh, Phil X, and Gregg Bissonette. The guitar-driven album celebrates the expansive styles Johnny was known for, 17 tracks, carefully curated by Edgar and producer Ross Hogarth to represent Johnny’s evolution as an artist, and honoring his legacy, brother to brother.

Singles: “JOHNNY B. GOODE” / “MEAN TOWN BLUES” / “LONE STAR BLUES”

 

— Vg

Brothers In Arms — Edgar and Johnny Winter are two of the best in a long tradition of musical brothers.
Brother to Brother
Allman Brothers — 1969
Everly Brothers — 1951
Isley Brothers — 1954
Bee Gees — 1958
Creedence Clearwater Revival — 1959
Beach Boys — 1961
The Kinks — 1963
Jackson 5 — 1964
Gino Vannelli — 1969
Doobie Brothers — 1970
Bachman Turner Overdrive — 1973
Van Halen — 1973
The Brothers Johnson — 1975
The BusBoys — 1978
Oasis — 1991

Stevie Ray Vaughan & Jimmie Vaughan — 1965

 

— Vg

1984 Jimmie and Stevie Ray Vaughan at Jimmie’s home in South Austin, Texas. 

 

Blind Lemon Jefferson’s music was popular, but had far less influence on the young blues/rock guitar players, than the more commercially successful Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, and the three “Kings,” Albert, B.B., and Freddie.

The lack of his being imitated, was because most rock players found his guitar playing too complicated to follow, and then there was his distinctive, high-pitched voice … impossible to copy.

 

They Call It Stormy Monday
1948T-Bone Walker 
Single (Black & White Records)
((( LISTEN )))

— Vg

T-Bone Walker
When B.B. King heard T-Bone Walker, he “thought Jesus Himself had returned to Earth playing electric guitar.” Walker invented the guitar solo as we know it, building a new style on fluid phrasing, bluesy bends and vibrato. It was the clear tone and melodic invention of his 1942 single “Mean Old World” that blew everyone’s mind, and Walker refined his approach through hits like “Call It Stormy Monday.” “I came into this world a little too soon,” Walker said. “I’d say that I was about 30 years before my time.”
“Call It Stormy Monday” / “T-Bone Shuffle” / “Mean Old World”

 

Blind Lemon Reminiscence
1959Lightnin’ Hopkins 
(Roots of) Lightnin’ Hopkins
((( LISTEN )))

— Vg

Lightnin’ Hopkins

Samuel John Hopkins — An American country blues singer, songwriter, guitarist and occasional pianist from Centerville, Texas. In 2010 Rolling Stone magazine ranked him No. 71 on its list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.

The musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick opined that Hopkins is “the embodiment of the jazz-and-poetry spirit, representing its ancient form in the single creator whose words and music are one act”. He was a notable influence on Townes Van ZandtHank Williams, Jr., and a generation of blues musicians like Stevie Ray Vaughan, whose Grammy winning song “Rude Mood” was directly inspired by the Texan’s song “Hopkins’ Sky Hop.”

 

“Dollar Got The Blues”
1973Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown 
Gate’s On The Heat
((( LISTEN )))

— Vg

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown

Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown  — An American singer and multi-instrumentalist from Louisiana known for his work as a blues musician. He spent his career fighting purism by synthesizing traditional blues and country, jazz, Cajun music and R&B. His work also encompasses rock and roll, rock, folk and Texas blues. He was famously a resident of Texas.

Brown was acclaimed for his skills on multiple instruments, including the guitar, mandolin, viola, violin, harmonica and drums. He won a Grammy Award for Best Traditional Blues Album in 1983 for his album, Alright Again!. He is regarded as one of the most influential exponents of the blues fiddle and has had enormous influence in American fiddle circles.

Brown’s biggest musical influences were Louis JordanT-Bone Walker, and Count Basie. His highly original electric guitar style influenced many blues and rock guitarists, including Guitar SlimAlbert Collins, and Johnny “Guitar” Watson.

Brown was born in VintonLouisiana, and raised near OrangeTexas. His father was a railroad worker and local musician who taught him several musical instruments, including fiddle by age 5; as well as piano and guitar. He had at least one brother.

@ Tobacco Road  — When someone at the bar yelled out “The Thrill Is Gone” at Gatemouth Brown as he played on the small riser at the end of Tobacco Road’s infamous red room, upstairs, where so much of Blues Royalty had played, Brown stopped abruptly and yelled back loudly, “If I hear another word about B.B. King, I’ll leave right fucking now.”

Musician’s Exchange  — “Orange Blossom Special,” playing a fiddle , Bugs Bunny style, teetering on the edge of a cartoon cliff. Young bass and drum, saying Brown was fun to play with, but he did get ornery at times, since a mediator, between his wife and him, insisted he stop smoking pot in an effort to reconcile their differences.

 

“Rocket 88”
1977 — Muddy Waters / Johnny Winter
Live at The Tower Theater (Philadelphia)
((( LISTEN )))

— Vg

Color Blind Blues — Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter … Much more than meets the eye.

1977Hard Again is a studio album by American blues singer Muddy Waters. Released on January 10, 1977, it was the first of his albums produced by Johnny Winter. Hard Again was Waters’s first album on Blue Sky Records after leaving Chess Records and was well received by critics. 

 

Miami Strut
1983Stevie Ray Vaughan w/A.C. Reed 
Solos, Sessions, & Encores
((( LISTEN )))

— Vg

 

Stevie Ray Vaughan
In the early eighties, MTV was on the rise, and blues guitar was miles away from music’s mainstream. But Texas’ Stevie Ray Vaughan demanded your attention. He had absorbed the styles of just about every great blues guitarist – plus Jimi Hendrix and a lot of jazz and rockabilly – and his monster tone, casual virtuosity and impeccable sense of swing could make a blues shuffle like “Pride and Joy” hit as hard as metal. Vaughan was recognized as a peer by the likes of B.B. King and Eric Clapton, and despite his 1990 death in a helicopter crash, he’s still inspiring multiple generations of guitarists, from Pearl Jam‘s Mike McCready to John Mayer and rising young star Gary Clark Jr. “Stevie was one of the reasons I wanted a Stratocaster – his tone, which I’ve never been able to get down, was just so big and bold and bright at the same time,” says Clark. “If you listen to his records and watch his videos, you can tell he’s just giving you everything he had. His passion is overwhelming.”
“Love Struck Baby” / “Cold Shot” / “Look at Little Sister”

2007 — The blues-rock guitar hero’s studio vaults were nearly empty when he died in an August 27, 1990, helicopter crash. This set unearths a 1978 Austin session track of “You Can Have My Husband” with Vaughan as second fiddle to his then girlfriend, singer Lou Ann Barton, but it’s undistinguished compared to the previously unreleased live performances that compose this disc’s heart.

Bonnie Raitt’s distinctively keening slide adds elegance to a “Texas Flood” from Bumbershoot 1985 in Seattle, and when Stevie’s older sibling Jimmie Vaughan stops by Saturday Night Live to play rhythm on a 1985 “Change It,” li’l bro’ squeezes out screaming fireworks. Vaughan contributes teeth-baring pentatonic solos to Lonnie Mack’s “Oreo Cookie Blues” at Atlanta’s Fox Theatre in 1986 and brings his bullish tone to the late blues piano stomper Katie Webster’s “On the Run” at the 1988 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. But the best cut’s a breathtaking ’88 Jazz Fest slugfest with Texas Telecaster blaster Albert Collins that’s jammed with howling, shaken notes and machine-gun riffing. Both are in top form. The rest is culled from Vaughan’s guest appearances on others’ releases or previous retrospectives and include matches with blues godfathers B.B. King and Albert King, as well as Johnny Copeland and A.C. Reed, Jeff Beck, Austin barrelhouser Marcia Ball, surf guitar king Dick Dale, and David Bowie, whose “Let’s Dance” introduced Vaughan to the mainstream in 1983.  — Ted Drozdowski

 

Johnny Copeland
Johnny Winter
Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top)
Eric Johnson
Ty Tabor
Darrell “Dimebag” Lance Abbott (Pantera)
John Hiatt

 

“Alberts Shuffle”
1984Albert Collins / Stevie Ray Vaughan 
Solos, Sessions & Encores
SRV And Friends
((( LISTEN )))

— Vg

Albert Collins
1968 “There’s one cat I’m still trying to get across to people. He is really good, one of the best guitarists in the world.”

Jimi Hendrix

Jimi Hendrix talking about his love for Albert Collins, the blues guitarist who was barely known outside the Houston area of Texas.

Albert Collins played with his thumb and forefinger instead of a pick to put a muscular snap into his piercing, trebly solos. His fluid, inventive playing influenced Hendrix, sometimes overtly: Jimi liked Collins’ sustain in the song “Collins Shuffle” so much that he used it on “Voodoo Chile.”
“Frosty” / “Sno-Cone (Part 1)”

1987 Albert Collins 
Adventures in Baby Sitting ((( WATCH )))

 

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1855 Allan Harris is Blue

In the years preceding the Civl War (before Juneteenth), there was a community of black (mostly) men who were already living free. Called “Black Cowboys,” they had earned pay and privileges, equal to any of the white men they worked alongside, driving cattle from Texas, into Kansas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma.

Blue Was Angry
2016Cross That River  (Miami)
((( WATCH )))


dave.

2003Allan Harris Cross That River  
Since releasing Cross That River, Allan Harris has never stopped telling the often overlooked, African American story of slavery, war, peace, repression, and freedom, WEST OF THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER.  

Running Free — Allan Harris is best known as a Nat King Cole-style crooner, one of New York City’s best, and a favorite of Tony Bennett. He still is, but Allan is quick to say that as a kid growing up in Bed-Sty quickly say that he started as a Jimi Hendrix inspired guitar player, who is comfortable in any genre of music. In 2003, he wrote, played, and released Cross That River, a story about a cotton-picking slave named Blue who lived  in 1851 Louisiana. The record could be described as a Country/Roots record about the group of runaway/escaped slaves known as “Black Cowboys.” Their’s is an often overlooked group, in the telling of the African-American story.

Black Cowboys
1865 Juneteenth (Galveston, Texas)

After the Civil War was “won,” Freedom finally (actually) came June 19, 1865, when 2,000 Union troops arrived in Galveston Bay, Texas.

The army announced that the more than 250,000 enslaved black people in Texas were free by executing decree. The day came to be known as “Juneteenth” by the newly freed people in Texas.