robert johnson

Content tagged as robert johnson.

Eric Bibb: Diamond Days (Telarc/Elite)

Eric Bibb: Diamond Days (Telarc/Elite)

Bibb is one of that new generation of bluesmen who sounds utterly authentic: this despite Bibb growing up in New York, having John Lewis of the Modern Jazz Quartet as an uncle, and studying psychology at Columbia University. But in his late teens -- he's now 55 -- he took off to Europe with his guitar, studied the blues and hooked up with...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2007: Tinariwen: Aman Iman/Water is Life (Filter)

The previous album Amassakoul by these extraordinary musicians and desert tribesmen from the southern Sahara was one of the Best of Elsewhere 2006 and turned up in quite a few critics picks of last year. If anything, this album -- dense, driving, intense, poetic and shot through with mercurial, stinging guitar work -- is superior to...

Liam Ryan: Mississippi 2 Mauao (Torch)

Liam Ryan: Mississippi 2 Mauao (Torch)

On the release of excellent recent albums by Wellington pianists Kevin Clark and Charmaine Ford, and Auckland saxophonist Brian Smith I have noted what a rare year it is shaping up to be in New Zealand jazz. And here is further evidence -- but something very different to those mentioned. Ryan was once the songwriter/keyboardist in the...

Son of Dave: '02' (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

Son of Dave: '02' (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

In the last couple of years this UK-based Canadian-born singer-songwriter (aka Ben Darvill, formerly of Crash Test Dummies) has conjured up the spirit and sound of old bluesmen punctuated with raw harmonica and to his beatbox vocalising or the thump of his shoes on the floor. He's played a couple of hundred live gigs ("on four...

Peter Case: Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John (YepRoc Records)

Peter Case: Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John (YepRoc Records)

Case used to be the mainman in the Plimsouls, a terrific and slightly ragged power pop band but he has enjoyed a long and diverse alt.country/alt.rock solo career -- as befits a man who was once married to Victoria Williams. On his superb self-titled debut in '86 he had John Hiatt and Roger McGuinn helping out, and down the decades he has...

Eric Andersen: Blue Rain: Live (Appleseed/Elite)

Eric Andersen: Blue Rain: Live (Appleseed/Elite)

After four decades as a troubadour, Andersen has finally got round to recording a live album -- but he has done it with typically wilfulness: he hooked up with a Norwegian blues band and recorded it in a rock club in Oslo. But this is no foot-to-the-floor rock-blues session because everyone holds back and the songs seethe with barely...

BB King, Live (Geffen)

BB King, Live (Geffen)

This may not be the best live album King has made -- there is a case made for another under Essential Elsewhere, see tag -- but from his comments in the tie-in DVD bonus footage it will be his last. In interviews King is breathless and wistful, and he has, at 82, all but retired. He speaks now about when he is gone . . . These concert...

Billy TK Jnr: Presenting Billy TK Jnr (Ode)

Billy TK Jnr: Presenting Billy TK Jnr (Ode)

It's odd that this album should be called "Presenting" given that Auckland-based guitarist Billy TK Jnr has been taking his brand of tough Texas blues around the bars and clubs of New Zealand (and to Texas) for about two decades. Perhaps the reason he isn't a household name is that he has been known to take sabbaticals and go get...

BONNIE RAITT INTERVIEWED 1992: Born to make things better

BONNIE RAITT INTERVIEWED 1992: Born to make things better

At one of those flashbulb and tape-recorder after-match functions following this year’s Grammy awards, three-time recipient Bonnie Raitt was the centre of attention. In a year which gave awards to Natalie Cole and her dead dad singing something written 30 years ago, Bonnie Raitt – just as she was two years back when she picked up...

Neil Worboys and the Real Time Liners: Some Day Soon (Ode)

Neil Worboys and the Real Time Liners: Some Day Soon (Ode)

The blues gets short shrift in the New Zealand critical community (see comments about Billy TK Jnr) and my guess is that most writers think it is somehow easy to play. Or is sort of "imported" (and reggae, indie.rock and alt.country ain't??)Anyway these guys from Wellington play that terminally unhip music -- and play it well.Singer...

Dave Murphy: Yes That's Me (Ode)

Dave Murphy: Yes That's Me (Ode)

Yes, and that's me with the quote on the back cover of this excellent collection by longstanding Wellington bluesman Dave Murphy.Here's what I say: "The blues is a music made by people who have struggled, have hard and true stories to tell and do so in a voice that is compelling. Dave Murphy, 35 years a journeyman on New Zealand's blues...

Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

Hammond Gamble: Ninety Mile Days (Liberation)

Two years ago when this Auckland singer-songwriter and very special guitarist released his Recollection album (acoustic treatments of Street Talk and solo songs) I noted that it served to remind what a great songwriter he was.He'd long been acknowledged as an expressive bluesy singer and guitarist, but it had been too easy to forget just how...

TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES: Robert Johnson, the blues and Clarksdale, Mississippi

TRAVELLING RIVERSIDE BLUES: Robert Johnson, the blues and Clarksdale, Mississippi

The intersection of highways 61 and 49 near Clarksdale in northwest Mississippi doesn't look particularly special: there's a car yard, a service station, a couple of kids listlessly kicking a ball outside Abe's barbecue shop . . . Just the usual stuff. The only thing to distinguish it from hundreds of other such intersections in the state is...

David Gilmour: Live in Gdansk (SonyBMG)

David Gilmour: Live in Gdansk (SonyBMG)

Although perhaps only the most dedicated Pink Floyd fan might want this double disc (or the double CD-double DVD version, or the collectors edition which is a five disc set!) let's get a little focus on this exceptional guitarist and his place in the pantheon. From the moment he joined Pink Floyd and more so immediately the band had cut loose...

THE BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA by MICHAEL GRAY: More song and dance

THE BOB DYLAN ENCYCLOPEDIA by MICHAEL GRAY: More song and dance

Writer Michael Gray is not backward about coming forward: he includes an entry on himself in this massive tome published in 2006 which is alternately illuminating, absurdly amusing, opinionated or a trainspotter’s delight depending on which of the more than 2000 entries you pick. The author of the seminal Song and Dance Man study of...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2008 Mavis Staples: Live. Hope at the Hideout (Anti)

The last album by the great Mavis Staples, We'll Never Turn Back was picked as one of the best albums of 2007 at Elsewhere, and that was no sympathy vote for one of life's survivors who had grown up with the civil rights movement and has now lived long enough to see Obama heading for the White House. So when she sings "keep your...

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

Jeff Beck: Performing this Week . . . Live at Ronnie Scott's (Shock)

In a recent interview in advance of his Auckland concert next February, I put a quote to this guitar legend whose career started back in the mid-Sixties when he took over from Eric Clapton in the Yardbirds: that of all the guitar heroes his career had been the most slippery to follow. He laughed and agreed -- then I told him that quote came...

CAN'T BE SATISFIED, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MUDDY WATERS by ROBERT GORDON

CAN'T BE SATISFIED, THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MUDDY WATERS by ROBERT GORDON

When McKinley Morganfield’s grandmother named him Muddy after the nearby Mississippi and he later took the surname Waters, there seemed something oddly symbolic in it. Here was man who wasn’t born in the year he said he was, claimed a town he wasn’t born in as his birthplace and carried a name he wasn’t born with....

DOWN THE TRACKS; THE MUSIC THAT INFLUENCED LED ZEPPELIN (Shock DVD)

DOWN THE TRACKS; THE MUSIC THAT INFLUENCED LED ZEPPELIN (Shock DVD)

My dad had a witty but true observation of the New Zealand whisky 45 South: "Don't think of it as a whisky and it's a quite acceptable drink." The same might be said of this doco in which neither Led Zeppelin nor their music appears: don't think of it as about Led Zeppelin and its quite an acceptable documentary. One of the...

Chuck E Weiss: Old Souls and Wolf Tickets (Ryko)

Chuck E Weiss: Old Souls and Wolf Tickets (Ryko)

Some people are more rewarded for what they don't achieve rather than what they do. There are politicians whose gift is to keep their heads down, make no mistakes but do nothing of consequence, and wait for a position on a board.  That's in the nature of self-serving politics, perhaps. However it's more unusual for musicians who are...

JIMI HENDRIX: THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE BOX SET (2000): Get experienced, but differently

JIMI HENDRIX: THE JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE BOX SET (2000): Get experienced, but differently

It should be easy to get together a thorough Jimi Hendrix collection. After all, his recording career lasted fewer than four years. Presumably, all you'd need would be his exceptional debut album Are You Experienced, the follow-up Axis: Bold As Love and the expansive, Essential Elsewhere double album Electric Ladyland. The Smash Hits...

John Fogerty and the Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again (Verve)

John Fogerty and the Blue Ridge Rangers: Rides Again (Verve)

The odd thing about hearing the great Creedence Clearwater Revival on the recently released Woodstock set was that they sounded exactly like themselves: that's what happens when you keep your music simple and sharp, and you have a voice as distinctive as John Fogerty's up front. Fogerty is still out there playing Creedence songs and new...

THE ROLLING STONES' GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! (2009): The '69 Garden party

THE ROLLING STONES' GET YER YA-YA'S OUT! (2009): The '69 Garden party

The live album -- or double live as was standard in the days of vinyl -- has had a chequered history in rock: some live albums defined an artists career (Frampton Comes Alive, Thin Lizzy's Live and Dangerous) and others added little to the sum of our knowledge (most of Dylan's). Some artists regularly drop live albums (Paul McCartney, who...

MORE MILES THAN MONEY: JOURNEYS THROUGH AMERICAN MUSIC by GARTH CARTWRIGHT

MORE MILES THAN MONEY: JOURNEYS THROUGH AMERICAN MUSIC by GARTH CARTWRIGHT

Writing about music is a sedentary affair today: CDs are reviewed at home, and artists are interviewed by phone, in a comfortable hotel or their record company office. Latterly, to my regret, it has been like that for me -- but not so for Cartwright whose previous book Princes Amongst Men saw him on the road in some bad and strange parts of...

Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers: Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers (1971)

Hound Dog Taylor and the HouseRockers: Hound Dog Taylor and the Houserockers (1971)

Although the blues can be a sophisticated music, there's something more earthy, vibrant and appealing about it when it is played from somewhere further south than the cerebral cortext. Hound Dog Taylor played from a point somewhere between the heart, the gut and the groin -- and made the most thrilling music to come out of the Chicago blues...

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1925-1942 (Rhythmandblues/Southbound 4 CD Set)

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1925-1942 (Rhythmandblues/Southbound 4 CD Set)

From the opening track on this remarkable collection -- a testifying scream of faith recorded in 1934 which calls to mind Little Richard and Hasel Adkins as much as African chants -- you are offered evidence of the old saying/song, "the blues had a baby and they called it rock'n'roll". Just as Blind Willie Johnson (here with...

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-52 (Rhythmandbluesrecords/Southbound 4 CD Set)

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1942-52 (Rhythmandbluesrecords/Southbound 4 CD Set)

If the previous collection in this excellent series -- which went from country blues in the Twenties to swing, boogie and jump jive in the early Forties -- laid out the ground, this equally fine (and fun) set picks up the pace and moves from the clubs of Harlem into proto-rock'n'roll. In the early part of the first disc (entitled Jumpin'...

A RHYTHM AND BLUES TIMELINE 1900 - 1960

A RHYTHM AND BLUES TIMELINE 1900 - 1960

Here follows a broad outline of the growth and development of rhythm and blues, courtesy of Rhythm and Blues Records in the UK, a company which specialises in this music.  PRE 1910 1877 Invention of the Phonograph 1883 Racist coon songs introduced into vaudeville and burlesque 1896 Jim Crow Segregation laws 1897...

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune (Sony)

Jimi Hendrix: Valleys of Neptune (Sony)

The old joke -- usually applied to the death of Elvis -- is “good career move”. Death sells, just ask -- if you could -- Elvis, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Otis Redding, John Lennon and Kurt Cobain who saw their record sales soar after their deaths. Or would have, if they could have. As a magazine cover said of Jim Morrison:...

Sammy Price: Nice'n'nasty

Sammy Price: Nice'n'nasty

Sammy Price, who had been the house pianist on Decca sessions in the Forties (and played with the likes of Sister Rosetta Tharpe) among many other things, told me a very funny story which I remember to this day. He'd been in Chicago and after a recording session the manager of the European record company wouldn't pay him. No money, Sammy,...

JOAN ARMTRADING INTERVIEWED (2008): Into and out of the blues

JOAN ARMTRADING INTERVIEWED (2008): Into and out of the blues

Joan Armatrading makes an embarrassing admission for someone whose most recent album Into the Blues debuted at number one on the Billboard blues charts: she doesn’t listen to the blues and while some interviewers have noted the influence of John Lee Hooker in a couple of tracks she couldn’t identify a Hooker song if she was...

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

Son of Dave: Shake a Bone (Kartel/Rhythmethod)

You can't say you weren't warned. A couple of years back when he released his '02' album Elsewhere said you'd be hearing more of this human beat-box, one-man foot-stompin' blues band which is Ben Darvill. Here recorded by Steve Albini in Chicago he once more abuses that harmonica, makes his own percussion and becomes a wall-shakin'...

JOHN MAYALL INTERVIEWED, AND REVIEWED (2010): On the blues highways

JOHN MAYALL INTERVIEWED, AND REVIEWED (2010): On the blues highways

The English musician John Mayall repeats his familiar refrain: he’s never had “a hit record, never won and Grammy and isn’t in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame“. At 76 and having played professionally for more than 45 years he might have reasonably expected one or more of those. But in 2005 he did get an OBE....

John Mayall: Tough (Eagle)

John Mayall: Tough (Eagle)

Given this seminal blueman's low profile in the marketplace this past decade or two, it can only be his impending New Zealand tour which has seen the Antipodean release of this, his 57th, album. Yes, 57 -- and that doesn't count compilations. You'd expect by now that John Mayall might have run out of things to say, but not at all. Here he...

Guitar Shorty: Bare Knuckle (Alligator)

Guitar Shorty: Bare Knuckle (Alligator)

They used to say “when the times get tough, the songs get soft” – but hard times is good times for the blues which articulates the concerns of the downtrodden. And the US economic downturn means hard times which this 70-year old, electric and electrifying guitarist/singer from Texas (on a Chicago label) addresses...

NICK CAVE, THE SEEDY MIDDLE YEARS: From Tender Prey to Henry's Dream

NICK CAVE, THE SEEDY MIDDLE YEARS: From Tender Prey to Henry's Dream

In the early Eighties the safe money would have been on Nick Cave -- then battling various demons and his elusive muse -- not making it much further. Yet here is Cave, now in his early 50s, dutifully going to the office every day to write songs, novels, screenplays and soundtracks, and curating arts festivals . . . And seeing his...

Various Artists: We Are Only Riders (Shock)

Various Artists: We Are Only Riders (Shock)

The recent reissue of Gun Club albums (Miami, Fire of Love and Death Party), Jack White's championing of their frontman Jeffrey Lee Pierce (who died in 1996), and the presence of kindred dark soul Nick Cave here should further draw attention to the profile of Pierce, a man possessed of an angry, urgent yet poetic and often melancholy streak....

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

Tamikrest: Adagh (Glitterhouse/Yellow Eye)

As we know, for every breakthrough band there are a dozen or more who can successfully coattail. Tamikrest come from the same area -- geographical and musical -- as the great Tinariwan and Etra Finatawa so create a kind of hypnotic desert blues . But where their two predecessors have established a genre and staked out territory within it, the...

Deadstring Brothers: Sao Paulo (Bloodshot)

Deadstring Brothers: Sao Paulo (Bloodshot)

With the impending 40th anniversary re-issue of the Stones' Exile on Main Street, the time might be right to rediscover rootsy, toxic, blues-driven rock'n'roll which slews sideways out of the speakers fueled by whisky and weed. If that's the case, then this album is neatly timed to anticipate the Stones. On their fourth album...

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St (1972, reissued 2010)

The Rolling Stones: Exile on Main St (1972, reissued 2010)

Few albums in rock have been so surrounded in dark mythology as this sprawling double album which was the last great gasp of the Rolling Stones. Certainly subsequent albums -- Goats Head Soup, It's Only Rock'n'Roll and Black and Blue particularly -- had their great moments but (aside from Jagger's embrace of New York dance and Richards'...

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1952-1957 (2010 collection)

Various Artists: The History of Rhythm and Blues 1952-1957 (2010 collection)

The first two volumes in this 4-CD series which traces the history of old style r'n'b have already been acclaimed at Elsewhere here and here respectively. These multi-genre, colour-blind, cross-label and highly inclusive collections not only cherry pick the most significant artists and songs in the growth of r'n'b but also intelligently...

Jeff Healey: Last Call (Stony Plain/Southbound)

Jeff Healey: Last Call (Stony Plain/Southbound)

When the singer/blues guitarist Jeff Healey first emerged in the late Eighties there were two critical camps set up: those who heard him as a fiery young player in the tradition of a Stevie Ray Vaughan, and those who thought he was getting the sympathy vote because he was blind. Playing guitar on his lap, he could certainly strip the...

JEFF HEALEY INTERVIEWED (1989): Keeping the future open

JEFF HEALEY INTERVIEWED (1989): Keeping the future open

Sitting in his Sydney hotel room, Canadian guitarist Jeff Healey talks lovingly about his collection of 11,000 78rpm records (“I bought another 30 or 40 today in a shop near here.”) And he talks about how he played with Albert Collins onstage in Toronto as that guitarist's guest. It was the turning point in his career. At the...

Lucille Bogan: Shave 'Em Dry II (1935)

Lucille Bogan: Shave 'Em Dry II (1935)

In these days of earnestly crotch-thrusting young women on video clips you long for something which has that long forgotten ingredient: wit. Old time blues is ripe with innuendo, downhome analogies and suggestive lyrics. When Lonnie Johnson sings of being the The Best Jockey in Town he doesn't mean he brings home the winners. Lil Johnson...

TODD RUNDGREN INTERVIEWED (2010): Getting out his Johnson for you

TODD RUNDGREN INTERVIEWED (2010): Getting out his Johnson for you

Todd Rundgren laughs as he predicts the end the current model of on-line music sales which will disappear like the Sony Walkman and vinyl singles: “Because some songs are priceless, some songs are worthless . . . and some songs are worth exactly 99 cents”. He should know. In a 40-plus year career he's made songs, and whole...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Todd Rundgren; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Todd Rundgren; The Original Album Series (Rhino)

With the ever-evolving Rundgren scheduled to play in New Zealand see interview here) here was a five CD collection of some of his albums from 1970-83 which skip over his double album Something/Anything, the glorious A Wizard/A True Star and the double Todd. But here are Runt (Rundgren with the Sales brothers who later worked with Bowie); The...

JOHN LEE HOOKER INTERVIEWED (1990): What's in his name?

JOHN LEE HOOKER INTERVIEWED (1990): What's in his name?

Talking to 72-year-old blues singer John Lee Hooker - even in a cursory 15 minute interview - you know you are confronting a legendary, influential figure. And The Hook, as he is commonly known, isn’t afraid to tell you so. “I have inspired so many rock 'n' roll singers and blues singers and stars - more than any other blues...

ERIC CLAPTON; THE FIRST 25 YEARS CONSIDERED: The living link between hippie and yuppie

ERIC CLAPTON; THE FIRST 25 YEARS CONSIDERED: The living link between hippie and yuppie

It's hard to pinpoint exactly when Eric Clapton -- once called "God" by his devotees -- ceased to be relevant. Certainly he still plays to huge audiences and his guitar playing remains technically undiminished. But his albums are --with rare exceptions -- anodyne, his playing often bloodless and despite genuine efforts to find...

ELMORE JAMES: Sliding with the king

ELMORE JAMES: Sliding with the king

It has been almost half a century since Elmore James bent over to pull up his socks before going out to play in an Chicago nightclub . . . and went face down on to the floor with his third and final heart attack. Although he was not widely known, the world lost a good one who left an immense legacy. James had an agonised vocal style...

B.B. KING; KING OF BLUES: It's good to be King

B.B. KING; KING OF BLUES: It's good to be King

B.B. King (born Riley King on a plantation in Itta Bena, Mississippi in 1925) has arguably been the blues' greatest populariser, so his track record includes performances with the Duke Ellington Orchestra, Stevie Wonder and the Memphis Horns, Joe Walsh, the Crusaders, Gary Moore and, of course, U2 and Eric Clapton. That kaleidoscope of...

CHESS BLUES: Taking it from the street

CHESS BLUES: Taking it from the street

Record companies are usually at their best when close to the street, turnlng up talent rather than just distributing it. The Chess label was so close to the street it felt the sweat. Polish immigrant brothers Leonard and Phil Chess owned clubs around Chicago and from the late 40s started recording some of the most formative R & B and...

THE BARGAIN BUY: Eric Clapton; Journeyman (Reprise)

THE BARGAIN BUY: Eric Clapton; Journeyman (Reprise)

By the time he got to the end of the Eighties, the title of this album must have been greatly appealing to Eric Clapton: he was in his mid 40s, had been a solo artist for almost two decades and had been playing for a living for 25 years. He'd been putting out a studio record about every 20 months on average, and this was released on the back of...

Grinderman: Grinderman 2 (EMI)

Grinderman: Grinderman 2 (EMI)

The black wings beat at the window and there is a smell of sulphur in this dark southern land where crazed prophets and murderous mountain men walk . . . From a distance, through the leafless trees comes what sounds like the voice of judgement and doom. A man in black is declaiming filthy sex and raw passion, killing and redemption....

Eric Clapton: Clapton (Reprise)

Eric Clapton: Clapton (Reprise)

It's fair to say Eric Clapton at 20, while playing with John Mayall's Blues Breakers, never gave much thought to a “career”. Yet with this new album he can reflect on more than 40 years in the game, of highs and lows, successes and mis-steps (most of the 80s). Inevitably Clapton at 65 doesn't have the fire which propelled...

JIMI HENDRIX, AN ESSAY: In my Life

JIMI HENDRIX, AN ESSAY: In my Life

For a man who changed the landscape of rock -- and not so coincidentally my life -- his last resting place looks extremely modest. It is late 2002 and I am standing at a simple plaque in the grass with only a single glass of fading flowers on it. There are no visitors here other than me and my companion Tommy, a Norwegian music journalist from...

Jimi Hendrix: 1983, A Merman I Shall Turn to Be (1968)

Jimi Hendrix: 1983, A Merman I Shall Turn to Be (1968)

Because of the sheer number of his recordings out there, you'd be forgiven for thinking that when he wasn't playing a gig (and being recorded), having sex or sleeping, the great Jimi Hendrix was in a recording studio jamming, putting down demos or just simply noodling around. Which seems to have been true.  The man only saw the...

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2006): Stone Survivor

KEITH RICHARDS INTERVIEWED (2006): Stone Survivor

Keith Richards of the Rolling Stones, in a hotel in Tokyo, calls an hour after the appointed time but his manager has previously been full of apologies, and fielding three phone calls simultaneously. Richards is polite, friendly and his conversation is peppered with laughter which sounds like marbles rattling around in the bottom of a muddy...

Buddy Guy: Living Proof (Silvertone)

Buddy Guy: Living Proof (Silvertone)

The great Guy has been one of blues' most enduring and endearing characters: he upstaged the Stones in his cameo slot on their Shine A Light doco, and way back influenced Hendrix. He's been picking up awards for the past couple of decades, but unlike some others who have become part of the institution (and tailor albums for awards, as...

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

LIFE by KEITH RICHARDS with JAMES FOX: Through the past cheerfully

Most reviews of this frequently funny, sometimes insightful and too often rambling autobiography -- Keith + tape recorder + ghost writer Fox -- have concentrated on the obvious: the sniping at Mick Jagger which occurs a little in the first three-quarters but reaches a peak in the final throes where the autobiography/chronological account runs...

Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight: Hush Now (1965)

Jimi Hendrix and Curtis Knight: Hush Now (1965)

It's well known that Jimi Hendrix didn't have much business sense, but he sure knew how to play guitar. This track -- one of about 60 recorded with the little known singer/guitarist Curtis Knight at a small studio in New York -- is a measure of both. Hendrix -- at that time Jimmy James -- had recently been fired from Little Richard's touring...

Jimi Hendrix: West Coast Seattle Boy; The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Sony)

Jimi Hendrix: West Coast Seattle Boy; The Jimi Hendrix Anthology (Sony)

In 1964 the Isley Brothers – a doo-wop/r'n'b outfit from Cincinnati who had scored a hit with Twist and Shout – were playing a show in a baseball stadium in Bermuda. They had their own in-built support act, they simply sent their band out to warm up the crowd. But on this night there was whooping from the audience and a guy came...

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES, a doco by ROLLIN BINZER (Shock DVD)

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE ROLLING STONES, a doco by ROLLIN BINZER (Shock DVD)

Aside from the obvious reason (40th anniversaries), there is another explanation for some much Stones stuff from the late Sixties/early Seventies: that was when they became the bad boy phenomenon which most people associate with them. There is also a lot of footage and music, and by the late Seventies and early Eighties things were less...

The Allman Brothers Band: At Fillmore East (1971)

The Allman Brothers Band: At Fillmore East (1971)

When the mobile recording studio was parked outside the Fillmore on New York's 2nd Avenue in March 1971 to record this double vinyl Allman Brothers Band album it was both a beginning and an ending: it was last concert at Bill Graham's Fillmore East (also on the bill were Albert King and the J Geils Band) but also the start of the Allman's ascent...

GREGG ALLMAN INTERVIEWED (2010): The Road Goes On Forever

GREGG ALLMAN INTERVIEWED (2010): The Road Goes On Forever

Scroll down the Wikipedia entry for Gregg Allman and two things will surprise: first how brief it is for a musician who has lived such a full, creative and often dangerously self-abusive life. And second the interestingly inexact sentence which reads, “Allman has been married at least six times . . .” By the time he was...

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

RONNIE, an autobiography by RONNIE WOOD

This too slight, slightly self-justifying, frequently honest and altogether typically disappointing rock autobiography has taken on much more meaning since its 2008 publication, especially with Ronnie's new solo album in late 2010. In the closing chapters here especially he spends a lot of time proffesing his love for his wife Jo, how she...

JOHN LEE HOOKER REMEMBERED: Face to face with the blues

JOHN LEE HOOKER REMEMBERED: Face to face with the blues

John Lennon once said the blues was a chair. Not a fancy chair, just the first chair. No, it doesn't make much sense - but you know what he means. And by making this analogy he placed himself alongside a swag of blues artists who have their own pithy statement: the blues is a feeling, the blues is healing music, and so on. John Lee...

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobie Brothers: World Gone Crazy (Shock)

The Doobies' great Listen to the Music, Long Train Running and China Grove in the late 60s/early 70s were driven by urgent guitars and hammering keyboards delivering a forward momentum (which denied the stoner reference of their chosen name). But surely no old fans could fall for the limp, lame and geriatric opener here A Brighter Day...

T-Model Ford and GravelRoad: Taledragger (Alive/Southbound)

T-Model Ford and GravelRoad: Taledragger (Alive/Southbound)

At 90, the great and late-discovered bluesman T-Model Ford still sounds like he is one man who isn't going to let the road of life weary him. Here with his touring band GravelRoad, he delivers a short sharp shock: eight songs, two hitting past the seven minute mark, closing with a nasty-edged Little Red Rooster. This is roadhouse blues which...

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Spread the Love (Stony Plain)

Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters: Spread the Love (Stony Plain)

Blues guitarist Earl opens this typically free-wheeling, jazz-inflected instrumental album with a swinging treatment of Albert Collins' burning Backstroke -- then gets into a low mood on Blues For Dr Donna before the Hammond organ of Dave Limina kicks in for the sultry, midnight groove of Chitlins Con Carne . . . and we away go on another...

Son House: Levee Camp Moan (1970)

Son House: Levee Camp Moan (1970)

By 1964 when the British blues explosion was starting to take off, the great and tetchy Son House was living in retirement and spent most of days drinking. He hadn't played much since his friend Willie Brown had died more than a decade previous. He'd preached some but mostly got drunk, he hadn't played guitar in five years. But when his...

JOHN FOGERTY INTERVIEWED (2005): The Long Road Home

JOHN FOGERTY INTERVIEWED (2005): The Long Road Home

In an airless room backstage at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre after the concert, Australian promoter and entrepreneur Michael Gudinski is buzzing. "Wasn't that bloody fantastic?" he says to no one in particular. "I want that set list," and he reaches for his phone. Minutes later a guy appears at the door with it. Gudinski...

THE ROLLING STONES, AN ESSAY: Living in Memory Motel

THE ROLLING STONES, AN ESSAY: Living in Memory Motel

If memory serves me still, it was schoolmate Chris Gilbert and I who went to see the Stones together at Auckland's Civic Theatre on March 1, 1966. I know I wore a black polo-necked sweater (of the kind that Stones Brian Jones and Keith Richard favoured), and that the show, while not actually changing my life, had a profound --and not...

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Darren Watson

THE FAMOUS ELSEWHERE QUESTIONNAIRE: Darren Watson

Darren Watson of Wellington, the capital of New Zealand, has long been a multiple-threat; powerful and souldful singer; excellent blues guitarist; great songwriter. He first came to attention in Chicago Smokeshop (an appropriate name for a blues band from another city full of politicians) which later became Smokeshop, and released a series...

Geeshie Wylie: Skinny Leg Blues (1930)

Geeshie Wylie: Skinny Leg Blues (1930)

Blues singer Geeshie Wylie -- probably not her real name, more likely a nickname because she was of the Gullah people of South Carolina and Georgia -- recorded even fewer songs than Robert Johnson. Just six known recordings and no photograph of her exists either. She may have been with a traveling medicine show in the Twenties but, other...

JIMI HENDRIX; SOUTH SATURN DELTA (2011): The sun rises again

JIMI HENDRIX; SOUTH SATURN DELTA (2011): The sun rises again

As with Bob Marley's "catalogue", it seems only right that Jimi Hendrix's messy existence -- he seemed to a sign a contract at the drop of an offer, and would record with whomever when the mood took him -- should be reined in and given some coherence. So when the Hendrix family finally wrestled a measure of control after years of...

NICK CAVE, FROM OUTSIDER TO AUTEUR IN THE NINETIES: Let Love In to No More Shall We Part

NICK CAVE, FROM OUTSIDER TO AUTEUR IN THE NINETIES: Let Love In to No More Shall We Part

From the early Nineties, Nick Cave -- ever so slowly -- ceased to be a preoccupation of those who immersed themselves in the gloom of his raw and dirty blues-based music and became a respected, almost mainstream figure. You could mention him in most conversations and people would know who you meant. Songs like Straight To You,...

Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor, Dani Wilde: Girls with Guitars (Ruf)

Samantha Fish, Cassie Taylor, Dani Wilde: Girls with Guitars (Ruf)

Nothing like naming your album with a product description, right? This lead/bass/rhythm trio (with drummer Jamie Little) bridge sultry blues, a soul-kiss and rock'n'roll blues (bassist Cassie the daughter of the great Otis). Wilde's Stax/Aretha/sexy vocals impress and she's a double threat, pulling out mercurial and razor sharp lead...

Rory Block: Shake 'Em on Down (Stony Plain)

Rory Block: Shake 'Em on Down (Stony Plain)

Singer-guitarist Rory Block learned directly from Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Bukka White and others and here – through originals and retooled covers – acknowledges the great innovator Mississippi Fred McDowell who (despite singing I Do Not Play No Rock'n'Roll) influenced blues-rock musicians like the young Stones, and...

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

The Rolling Stones: Empty Heart (1964)

In June 1964, when Mick Jagger and Keith Richards were still only 20, the Rolling Stones took time out from their short American tour to head into the famous Chess studios at 2120 South Michigan Avenue in Chicago. With famed engineer Ron Malo, who had worked with many of the blues giants who had walked through Chess, they recorded five songs...

JOHN MAYALL IN THE SIXTIES: And Another Man Done Gone . . .

JOHN MAYALL IN THE SIXTIES: And Another Man Done Gone . . .

When veteran British bluesman John Mayall played the Civic in Auckland in 2010, the concert was both disappointing and crowd-pleasing. Disappointing because, although professionally executed, it failed to really take flight. Crowd-pleasing because he played his hits. The joke, of course, is Mayall has never had hits and at 77 it seems...

JIMI HENDRIX IN 2011: Return to Winterland 1968

JIMI HENDRIX IN 2011: Return to Winterland 1968

From the moment Jimi Hendrix arrived in London in the early hours of September 24 1966 to his death in the same city just a few days short of four years later, he seemed to be constantly moving, playing and recording. He played his first jam in London the night he arrived, and a fortnight later -- after jamming with the Brian Auger Trinity,...

BUDDY GUY INTERVIEWED (2001): One of the last men standing

BUDDY GUY INTERVIEWED (2001): One of the last men standing

Oddly enough, this is not the best time to talk to 64-year-old bluesman Buddy Guy - despite him having released Sweet Tea, one of the finest albums in his long career.It is days after the death of his contemporary John Lee Hooker and Guy is understandably philosophical rather than keen to talk up his new album which was, uncharacteristically for...

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The Rolling Stones, The Unstoppable Stones (1965)

The early albums by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones appeared in different versions in Britain and the States. New Zealand being a colony thankfully got the UK versions for the most part, just as the gods intended. But in some instances we got something different from both -- and in this case, better. The album The Unstoppable Stones...

Various Artists; Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol 1 (1966)

Various Artists; Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol 1 (1966)

With an American history over a century long, the blues isn't easy an easy journey to begin on: do you go at it chronologically from slave chants and field hollers, or work back from white popularisers like George Thorogood, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Led Zeppelin? Given that most people live in what we might call the post-rock era it might be...

B.B. King, Live at the Regal (1965)

B.B. King, Live at the Regal (1965)

With his royal surname, a 60-year career which has earned him Godfather status, a sophisticated demeanour and dapper suits, and his own chain of nightclubs it is hard to see BB King as an earthy and edgy blueman: the guy who used to play 300 nights a year, who has fathered at least a dozen children to as many different women, the...

Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (2011 reissue)

Robert Johnson: The Complete Recordings (2011 reissue)

Those who were there say everything changed when he walked in the room and started to play. He’d been away a long time -- learning guitar was what they said -- but the last time anyone had seen him he was an uppity kid and not that good. You can imagine how it must have been that Saturday night in a small run-down club in Banks,...

Tags related to robert johnson



african blues alan douglas alejandro escovedo alt.country america, driving across the country appleseed bayou country bb king bessie smith best of elsewhere 2006 best of elsewhere 2007 best of elsewhere 2008 big daddy wilson bill wyman billy tk jnr black keys blondie blues blues in elsewhere bo diddley bob dylan bonnie raitt brian smith bruce springsteen buddy guy cameron, louisiana carlos santana cat power ceasefire charlie parker chess records chicago blues chuck e weiss clarksdale, mississippi creedence clearwater revival dave alvin dave murphy david gilmour deadstring brothers derek trucks dirty red dixieland dr feelgood dr john dwight twilley eddie turner el tanbura elmore james elvis presley eric andersen eric bibb eric burdon eric clapton essay on old time music essential elsewhere etran finatawa etta james from the vaults garth cartwright george martin gram parsons gregg allman grinderman guitar shorty hammond gamble hound dog taylor i want to take you higher james brown james mcmurtry jay mcshann jazz in elsewhere jeff beck jeff healey jefferson airplane jeffrey lee pierce jesus and mary chain jim white jimi hendrix jimmy page joan armatrading john fogerty john hiatt john lee hooker john mayall josh rouse karen dalton keith richards kevin clark larry jon wilson lawrence ferlinghetti led zeppelin leonard cohen liam ryan lipbone redding lou reed love is the song we sing lynyrd skynyrd malouma mark lanegan martin scorsese mavis staples mick jagger midge marsden miles davis mississippi moby grape more miles than money motown muddy waters musiques metisses neil worboys new zealand music nick cave nina simone old time music oli brown otis taylor patti smith peter case pink floyd postcards from elsewhere princes amongst men psychedelia rhythm and blues rick bryant riverside hotel robert randolph rod stewart roger waters ronnie earl ronnie wood rory block roy buchanan ry cooder sammy price scratching the surface seattle shine a light solomon burke son of dave sonny landreth soulsavers t-model ford tab benoit tamikrest the allman brothers the allman brothers band the beatles the doobie brothers the gutter twins the history of rhythm and blues the kinks the rolling stones the rolling stones, an essay the unstoppable stones the velvet underground the yardbirds thelonious monk tinariwen titi robin todd rundgren tom waits townes van zandt traveling riverside blues travelling riverside blues vietnam war warratahs wayne mason willy de ville windy city strugglers zbigniew preisner