Posts Tagged ‘blues’

JIMMY JOHNSON

4 March 2009

Life’s weird. I love that life’s weird.

A really nice girl from Edinburgh called Annalisa sent me a CD copy of Jimmy Johnson’s “Living The Life” on the Blue Shadow label. She picked it up in person when she was on a road trip across the USA last year. I think it was in Chicago — in a bar owned by Buddy Guy or called Buddy Guy (or both). She actually met Jimmy Johnson — and pointed out that he shared a name with a legendary wee ginger footballer from Glasgow! Apparently, he just looked at Annalisa as if she were mad!

Anyway, she bought his CD and brought it home to Scotland — and now I have a copy!

Jimmy’s on the cover, complete with afro and moustache, clutching a plectrum and wearing a 335. Maybe in his 60s, but still cool. More a guitar player than singer, but hey, he’s authentic!

Here’s the tracklist:

1. I used to be a millionaire (Jimmy Johnson) F min;
2. You don’t have to go (Jimmy Reed) E maj;
3. Drowning on a Dry Land (M. Gregory, A. Jones) B min;
4. Something you got (Chris Kenner) C maj;
5. Livin’ The Life (Jimmy Johnson) G maj;
6. The Sky is Crying (Elmore James, Bobby Robinson) D min;
7. Bring it on Home to Me (Sam Cooke) C maj;
8. Pretty Baby (Herman Parker) E maj;
9. Born Under a Bad Sign (Booker T. Jones, William Bell) D min;
10. Next Time You See Me (Forest, Harvey) Bb maj.

Oh boy, it takes be back — big time! The big surprise was “Born under a Bad Sign” — so funky, great bass and rhythm riffs and completely different from Muddy and Paul Rodgers!

“Bring it Home To me” is pure Sam Cooke; it delivers in a gospel groove that has more to do with the vocal arrangement than anything else! Still made me want to sing along (mental note: get MP3 for the car)! Nice piano — wonder who it is.

My initial impression was of Eric Gale (who I used to adore when I was at school) rather than say, George Benson. It’s definitely NOT London Blues ala Clapton, Beck and Page, but then again it’s not Blind Lemon Jefferson!

It was great to listen to — a real reconnection. I immediately listened to old Page and Rory Gallagher — even some Eric Bell and Gary Moore (of course).

Funnily enough, on listening again, I was impressed by the similarity to Pink Floyd’s Dave Gilmour — particularly on track 6, the Elmore James one — Bring it on Home.

I finished off my blues revisited night with the wonderful Paul Rodgers and his Muddy Waters Blues Tribute. Ahh! Dem Bloose!

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SUITCASE

18 July 2007

I have been really enjoying Keb’ Mo’s 2006 Album “Suitcase” — what a cracking album it is! He’s managed to pull together a dozen killer tunes.  Extremely listenable from start through to the finish is an accomplishment in this day-and-age.  The album opens with “Your Love”, which has a skippy beat and a cheeky hum intro to catch attention.  You start smiling straight off — and Keb’s bottleneck work is a joy.

I have also got Keb’s 2000 Album “The Door” (on the Sony Jazz label), and of the two, I think “Suitcase” is the better.  He’s definitely growing as an artist, and seems to be moving away from his blues roots into new — perhaps more “mainstream” territory.

This is a just beautifully crafted record in all respects — superbly recorded and mixed, and the songs are allowed to speak for themselves.  It’s full of character and quirkiness.

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