November 30, 2008

Mary Flower - Blues Jubilee

Chances are that you'll find Mary Flower in the folk section of your local record shop. She did found a folk-cum-jazz-based ensemble called Mother Folkers in Denver, which was the mile-high city's leading women's folk collective; and she could look the part of a folkie "Earth mother" type. Flower moved seriously into blues over the last decade, however, and hasn't looked back since.
Born in Delphi, IN, Flower made her way to Denver at the beginning of the '70s, when she was in her twenties, and set up shop in the city's folk community; her gigs made her a name locally, and she established Mother Folkers. She always appreciated the blues, but it was a two-week period of study with Jim Schwall and Steve James at a blues workshop in West Virginia that transformed her.
Flower described herself as "consumed" by the experience, and made the decision to devote herself to the blues. She restarted her career, but initially encountered resistance, partly because she was a white blueswoman who didn't conform to expectations -- ever since Janis Joplin, white female blues performers have been expected to sound like Big Mama Thornton, which Flower didn't, Scrapper Blackwell being more of a role model. Since the early 1990s, however, she has gradually achieved acceptance, and has played places like Buddy Guy's club in Chicago as well as various festivals, where she has been well received, and tours regionally and nationally.
As a folk artist, Flower played alongside Geoff Muldaur, David Bromberg, and Ramblin' Jack Elliot. Her work in blues, however, has been strongly influenced by Scrapper Blackwell, Henry Glover, and Robert Johnson, but especially Blind Lemon Jefferson. She plays with passion, none of it forced or posed, and she has a husky voice to go with the kind of stuff she covers -- she could sing prettier than she does, but what she does seems honest. She also writes originals with a cutting, clever edge. Flower has been around about as long as Bonnie Raitt, only without the major-label record contracts, the arena and movie appearances, or the Grammy, and deserves to be known by at least as many people. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide
Content provided by All Music Guide Copyright © 2008 All Media Guide, LLC

1. Memphis Town - Blackwell, Scrapper
2. Drown in My Own Tears - Glover, Henry
3. Me and My Chauffeur Blues - Memphis Minnie
4. Six White Horses - Jefferson, Blind Lemon
5. Broke Down Automobile - Flower, Mary
6. Carroll County Shuffle - Flower, Mary
7. Walking Blues -Johnson, Robert
8. Long-Legged Daddy - Flower, Mary
9. Wing and a Prayer - Flower, Mary
10. Jane Jane - Mary Flower, Traditional
11. Fool's Parade - Brown, Charles
12. Michigan Water - Morton, Jelly Roll
13. Hymn - Flower, Mary

Artist website:

November 29, 2008

Blind Brand X - Black Dog Blues

This is the latest release from Blind Brand X, a.k.a. Ragtime Ralph. Apparent 'real' id is RC Johnston. Who knows! All I know is he is a very generous guy that does some nice self-released material. No charge. For that reason as well as the fact that it is just plain good, I am posting it here and I hope you enjoy.

Inspired by John Fahey, BBX wants to add to the legacy, "My goal now as then is to add to the musical foundations that Fahey created on his early Fonotone, Takoma, Riverboat and Vanguard releases...". According to some things I've read, a Ragtime Ralph recording for Takoma Records was in the works, but never materialized. RC has compared himself to Mark Fosson, an early Takoma artist that recorded for Fahey, but was never released until this latest Fahey rediscovery. By the way, I recommend the Fosson release, "The Lost Takoma Sessions", good stuff. Perhaps someday the Ragtime Ralph masters will be found/released.

All the tunes on this CD are played on a 1930's Regal wood bodied guitar. And trust me, it sounds great. Just the right amount of rattle and a lot of tone. Along with the strong originals, BBX does an excellent version of Bukka White's "Poor Boy" and a Fahey's "On the Banks of the Owchita".

Click HERE to download


November 15, 2008

Glenn Jones House Concert

The Glenn Jones House Concert was recorded September 2006 in or around Seattle.
I consider Glenn to be one of the torch bearers for the great guitar playing style of John Fahey. Despite what the AllMusic review of his first studio release, I believe he does break new ground. The tunings and capo use is inventive and results in sounds that while true to Fahey, are more modern sounding and mature. American Primitive all grown up? Perhaps.

Probably the other factor is that Jones plays music that is very moody, not like that bad girlfriend you once had, but music that creates an aura. The guitar in Jones' hands is a storyteller. Too many instrumental guitarists fail to move me, not because they lack technique, but because they rely on it. Glenn has both technique and a story telling ability. Fahey was, at times, short on technique, but it didn't matter, he got the message across. Glenn likes to use dissonance to create the story he is telling and I think he has really taken it to another level. Fahey's Dance of Death was amazing, but I don't think he ever topped it or matched it and it was rather early in his long career. Jones is also fond of playing the 12 string. Gotta love the 12 string.
Give it a listen and please drop a comment.

Track listing
1. Intro (Greetings)
2. Freedom Raga
3. Intro (Talking)
4. The Teething Necklace
5. Intro (Talking)
6. Against My Ruin
7. Intro (Talking)
8. The Doll Hospital
9. Intro (Talking)
10.David And The Phoenix
11.Intro (Talking)
12.Sphinx Unto Curious Men

Artist website

Get it HERE