In December of 1927,“Blind” Willie Johnson made his first recordings for Columbia Records. Johnson never intended to become a blues musician, but instead a preacher. On the street corners of Texas is where he performed his “sermons”, songs that fused gospel and blues to create his unique sound, accompanied by his gravely, tortured voice and skilled bottleneck guitar playing (he played using a pocketknife). The session would produce six recordings, including some of Johnson’s greatest works, such as “If I Had My Way I’d Tear the Building Down”, “Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed”,“It’s Nobody’s Fault But Mine”, and his most acclaimed song, “Dark Was the Night, Cold Was the Ground”. A hummed and moaned spiritual about the crucifixion, “Dark Was the Night” was selected to be included on the Voyager Golden Records and was launched into space as an…
The nominees for the2014 Grammy Award for Best Blues Albumhave recently been released and the roster is loaded with harpists! That’s right blues fans, the majority of the albums up for this honor are those of some of the leading harmonica players out there living the blues today. The live album Remembering Little Walter can barely contain itself as five great bluesmen, Billy Boy Arnold, Charlie Musselwhite, Mark Hummel, Sugar Ray Norcia & James Harman, pay tribute to the late and great Marion “Little Walter” Jacobs. The man known as “Superharp”, none other than James Cotton himself, packs in the blues of Chicago with his rollicking record Cotton Mouth Man. Charlie Musselwhite earns himself another nomination for his collaboration with the ever eclectic…
B.B. King, Eric Clapton, and Elvin Bishop on stage at the Cafe Au Go Go in New York’s Greenwich Village in 1967. Photo by Michael Ochs.
With his skills on the acoustic guitar on full display, revered country bluesmanLighnin’ Hopkinsperforms his own“Hurricane Beulah”followed by Slim Harpo’s “Baby, Scratch My Back”, circa 1960.
Texas shredderJohnny Winter rolls into the Montreux Jazz Festival and gives the crowd a taste of his newest album Guitar Slinger with this rockin’ performance of “Don’t Take Advantage of Me” on July 5, 1984.
Every week we pay TRIBUT to the legends in music and pop culture. See what interesting things happened during the week of December 11th – December 17th. Click to viewTribut’s This Week in Pop Culture