Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears

Search for black joe lewis and the honeybearsBlack Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, formed in Austin, Texas in 2007, is a blues band influenced by Howlin' Wolf and James Brown. In March 2009, Esquire Magazine listed Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears as one of the “Ten Bands Set to Break Out at 2009's SXSW Festival. Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears are an eight-piece, garage-soul ensemble featuring groove-laden guitars, penetrating brass and a fiery frontman who exudes power and attitude.
Experiencing the raw energy of Black Joe's performances, accompanied by the Honeybears' masterful backing is the equivalent of a kick to the stomach. Their gut-shot style, draws directly from their classic soul, R&B and blues influences. Inspiration from artists such as Otis Redding and The Bar-Kays, James Brown and Lightning Hopkins are clearly present in their songs and live shows, but Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears inject a full-tilt, unabashedly brash element to this old-school style.
          While working at a pawn shop in Austin, Texas Joe Lewis first picked up the guitar. For the next few years, he performed around Austin at open mic nights and various weekly gigs with his blues trio. The Honeybears formed after Zach Ernst, a member of the University of Texas Music and Entertainment Committee, booked Lewis to open for Little Richard at the University of Texas' annual festival Forty Acres Fest. After gaining local acclaim, the band toured as openers for Spoon and Okkervil River in 2007.The band signed to Lost Highway Records in 2008. Following the signing and performances at 2008's Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits Music Festival, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears released a four song EP on January 27, 2009. Even though they are not technically Blues, They are a great innovative modern blues influenced groove/blues/r&b band that has a great future! Rev KM Williams

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lightnin' Slim

March 13, 1913 - July 27, 1974) was an American blues musician, specialising in Louisiana swamp blues.
Lightnin' Slim was born Otis V. Hicks in St. Louis, Missouri[1] moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana at the age of thirteen. Taught guitar by his older brother Layfield, Young Otis took to the guitar early, first shown the rudiments by his father, then later by his older brother, Layfield. Given his recorded output, it's highly doubtful that either his father or brother knew how to play in any key other than E natural, as Lightnin' used the same patterns over and over on his recordings, only changing keys when he used a capo or had his guitar detuned a full step.
Slim was playing in bars in Baton Rouge by the late 1940s.
He debuted on J. D. "Jay" Miller's Feature Records label in 1954 with "Bad Luck Blues" ("If it wasn't for bad luck, I wouldn't have no luck at all").The acknowledged kingpin of the Louisiana school of blues, Lightnin' Slim built his style on his grainy but expressive vocals and rudimentary guitar work, with usually nothing more than a harmonica and a drummer in support. It was down-home country blues edged two steps further into the mainstream, first by virtue of his electric guitar, and second by the sound of the local Crowley, LA musicians who backed him being bathed in simmering, pulsating tape echo. As the first great star of producer J.D. Miller's blues talent stable, Lightnin' Slim had a successful formula that scored regional hits on the Nashville-based Excello label for over a decade, with one of them, "Rooster Blues," making the national R&B charts in 1959. Combining the country ambience of a Lightnin' Hopkins with the plodding insistence of a Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Slim's music belonged uniquely to him, the perfect blues raconteur, even when he was reshaping others' material to his dark, somber style.
He also possessed one of the truly great blues voices, unadorned and unaffected, making the world-weariness of a Sonny Boy Williamson sound like the second coming of Good Time Charlie by comparison. His exhortation to "blow your harmonica, son" has become one of the great, mournful catch phrases of the blues, and even on his most rockin' numbers, there's a sense that you are listening less to an uptempo offering than a slow blues just being played faster. Lightnin' always sounded like bad luck just moved into his home approximately an hour after his mother-in-law did.
 Slim then recorded for Excello Records for twelve years, starting in the mid 1950s, often collaborating with his brother-in-law, Slim Harpo and with harmonica player Lazy Lester.
Slim took time off from the blues for a period of time and ended up working in a foundry in Pontiac, Michigan,[citation needed] which resulted in him suffering from constantly having his hands exposed to high temperatures. He was re-discovered by Fred Reif, in 1970 living in Pontiac, where he was living in a rented room at Slim Harpo's sister's house. Reif soon got him back performing again and a new recording contract with Excello, this time through Bud Howell, the present President of the company. His first gig was a reunion concert at the 1971 University of Chicago Folk Festival with Lazy Lester, whom Reif had brought from Baton Rouge in January 1971.
In the 1970s, Slim performed on tours in Europe, both in the UK and at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland, where he was often accompanied by Moses "Whispering" Smith on harmonica. He last toured the UK in 1973, with the American Blues Legends package.
In July 1974, Slim died of stomach cancer in Detroit, Michigan aged 61.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Tommy McClennan

Tommy McClennan (April 8, 1908[1] - circa 1962) was a delta blues singer and guitarist. McClennan was born on a farm near Yazoo City, Mississippi and grew up in the town. He played and sang blues in a rough, energetic style.

He made a series of recordings for Bluebird Records from 1939 through 1942 and regularly played with his friend Robert Petway. He can be heard shouting in the background on Petway's 1942 recording "Boogie Woogie Woman".
McClennan made an immediate impact in 1940 with his recordings of "Shake 'Em On Down", "Bottle It Up and Go", "Whiskey Head Woman" and "New Highway No.51".
He left a powerful legacy that included "Bottle It Up and Go," "Cross Cut Saw Blues" (covered by Albert King), "Deep Blue Sea Blues" (aka "Catfish Blues"), and others whose lasting power has been evidenced through the repertoires and re-recordings of other artists."He had a different style of playing a guitar" Big Bill Broonzy remarked drily. "You just make the chords and change when you feel like changing"[
Although nothing is known of what happened to Petway, McClennan was occasionally seen in Chicago with Elmore James and Little Walter, two other artists who came from the Delta. McClennan is reported to have died from alcoholism in poverty in Chicago, Illinois, in 1962.