Saturday, August 22, 2009

Paul 'Wine' Jones

Paul 'Wine' Jones, blues musician, born July 1 1946; died October 9 2005 .Jones of Belzoni, Mississippi, a small town with a rich blues heritage in the heart of the delta, is a professional welder. He lived with his wife Bessie Mae in a house he purchased with the sweat of his brow. Before becoming a welder, Jones worked in a Delta cotton gin; before that, like many of his Delta neighbors, he worked on a farm. And throughout his adult life, Paul Jones has been a bluesman, known and admired by a number of his fellow Delta musicians but seldom venturing far from home. His style is deeply rooted in the rural blues of the delta, but so distinctly original and idiosyncratic that his sound will not easily be mistaken for that of any other artist. Rock-solid bass-string drones, expansively sonic guitar textures, a seasoning of wah-wah riffs, and a voice that can sound vinegary, molasses-like, or simply, urgently passionate, as the song demands - these are some of the qualities that make Paul Jones a unique and formidable talent.
"I'm from Flora, Mississippi," says Paul, "a little town about eighteen miles from Jackson. My daddy was a guitar player years ago, when I was a little boy. When he used to come home from working on the farm, we'd have frolics, and after he played awhile he'd rest his guitar on the floor and I'd get on it. It came natural to me; nobody taught me, I was just born to it. I started in playing, and by the time I was about thirteen, people would come by and want to take me with 'em to play somewhere out in the country. Before my dad died, four of the children had taken up the guitar, including my sister Jo Ann. She stopped, but I didn't ever stop." Among Paul's other siblings was Casey Jones, who now lives in Chicago where he is one of the most in-demand drummers for blues gigs and recording sessions.
Paul is old enough to have heard some of the Delta's most celebrated blues stylists as a youth, young enough to be a post - B. B. King "modernist" if he'd chosen to go that way. Instead he developed a style that is unabashedly "country" and "in the tradition" but with modern shadings - that wah-wah pedal - and a dexterous manner of subsuming rhythm and lead functions in to a guitar style with the momentum and unpredictability of a runaway steamroller. His first album, Mule, revealed Jones as a sturdy practitioner of the droning, timeless blues played by so many Mississippi musicians, from Kimbrough and Burnside to John Lee Hooker. Cheerfully accentuating his guitar lines with a wah-wah pedal, and tightly accompanied by the incomparable drummer Sam Carr and guitarists Big Jack Johnson and Kenny Brown, Jones turned whiskery old numbers like Diggin' my Potatoes into what his producer Robert Palmer called "progressive country blues".
By the time Jones came to make his second album, Pucker Up Buttercup, in 1999, Fat Possum was less disposed to let its plain old bluesmen make plain old blues records. Matthew Johnson, the label's owner, was no doubt encouraged by the response to projects like A Ass Pocket Of Whiskey, Burnside's 1996 collaboration with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion - the more so, probably, in that it was generally hated by hardline blues fans, a constituency Johnson says he has no interest in pleasing.
Such listeners were hardly like to be assuaged by Pucker Up Buttercup, with its distorted guitar playing, and when presented with a closing track titled Guess I Done Fucked It All Up were all too likely to agree. Jones did not record again.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

T-Model Ford "The Taildragger"

James Lewis Carter Ford (born in Forest, Mississippi, 1920) is an American blues musician better known by his stage name, T-Model Ford. Unable to remember his exact date of birth, he began his musical career in his early seventies and has continuously recorded for the Fat Possum Records label.

His musical style melds traditional Chicago blues and juke joint blues styles with the rawness of Delta blues and the rebellious attitude of 1970s-style punk. Alternately known as "The Taildragger", Ford, in reference to his age, has been known to tell studio musicians, "T-Model Ford is going to remember you sorry fuckers how it's done. "James Ford grew up working various blue collar jobs as early as his preteen years, such as plowing fields, working at a sawmill, and later in life becoming a lumber company foreman and then a truck driver. However, when reflecting on this time in his life, Ford recalls, "I could really stomp some ass back then. I was a sure-enough-dangerous man. Currently, Ford resides in Greenville, Mississippi.his birth was somewhere between 1921 and 1925. According to his half-sister (still alive in Tennessee), he was born in 1922.According to Ford, he is not retiring. "No way ... only the good lord knows when I'm gonna stop." To that end, Mr Ford has said he has had a dream that he will live to 110. At that rate, he's got over twenty years left.