Blues In The Night

 

Having just celebrated my third year of blogging I spent some time recently going back through my older posts. I wanted to see the evolution and see what I am doing right and wrong. I also evaluated the types of music I have written about since the start. Unsurprisingly there has been a lot of folk, rock, country, soul and world music, with occasional nods to jazz and classical music. I realized that other than one or two brief mentions of the blues, I have not really delved into it much. Which is a surprise, because there is nothing quite so enjoyable as some down and dirty blues music, oozing out from a well worn guitar, and a singer pouring out pain with every word.

I’m not exactly sure how or what the first blues I heard was, but I am pretty sure it came by way of guys like Eric Clapton, Keith Richards, Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page talking about their own exposure to the music.  I find the best way to find new music is to listen to what the people making music say, and what has influenced them. The answer that those four guys would have all said early in their careers was the blues. Now the blues has always had lots of different styles and types-from its roots in the Mississippi Delta, to the southeastern Piedmont style, up to the electric sounds from Chicago and beyond. What they all share is a gritty, no-holds barred attitude to subject matter. There is nothing tender or genteel in the blues. Instead it is about the pain of being wronged, the frustration of love,  feeling low and broken down with not a dime to spare or a roof over your head. It all gets laid out on the line in a blues song. Continue reading “Blues In The Night”

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Photo Shuffle-The Crossroads

I pressed play on my Ipod and this is what I heard…Standing At The Crossroads By Dave Edmunds

Standing At The Crossroads

I’m trying to make an effort to get back to these shorter Photo Shuffle posts after a bit of a gap, as I mentioned in my last post. The song and artist that came up today is a great pick by my Ipod if I do say so myself! In this post from earlier this year I wrote about Nick Lowe. That included the long time musical partnership he and Dave Edmunds had in Rockpile. When I was younger I came across Dave Edmunds’ music before Nick Lowe’s, though not by much if I recall correctly. There was probably something in Edmunds love of 1950’s and early 60’s Rock & Roll that made me pay attention initially compared with Nick Lowe’s more contemporary sounds. There are many things to admire about Dave Edmunds. Musically he can do a great cover of a Chuck Berry song one moment, then put a little country twang on the next song, and then follow that with a hard edged guitar stomper.  In addition he is a great guitarist and though his standout performance will probably always be considered a rocking version of the classical piece ‘Sabre Dance’  I can make the case for many more. He is also a top notch producer. When The Stray Cats ‘Rocked This Town’, it was in large part because Dave Edmunds had produced the album. Not to mention being asked to produce albums by some of his own musical heroes like Dion, and The Everly Brothers. 

Just a short list of classic Edmunds songs includes I Hear You Knocking, Trouble Boys, Girls Talk, Crawling From The Wreckage, Queen Of Hearts (his version predated the hit by Juice Newton), The Race Is On, A1 On The Jukebox, If Sugar Was As Sweet As You, Slipping Away, and dozens more. He’s just one of those musicians that really understands that the simple approach is often the best approach. No screeching guitars or complicated rhythms. Just Rock & Roll pure and simple.

Though he has dabbled with writing songs over the years, he has been more adept at choosing good songs to interpret. Such is the case with Standing At The Crossroads, by the equally great British rocker Mickey Jupp. It is a song replete with typical blues subject matter-love gone bad- “I’m not the man she was looking for, but just the man she found,” anger, and confusion. But its the chorus that really takes it to classic blues territory-standing at the crossroads with Robert Johnson who of course famously sold his soul to the devil in exchange for mastery of the blues. At least that’s how the legend goes! Also there is Elmore James, who later revived Johnson’s own songs. Like a true rock and roller though, Dave Edmunds doesn’t sing the song as a blues, but rather as a jaunty little rock number. The photo I chose above represented the best photo I could find that I have taken of something akin to a crossroads. Should you go forward? Back? Left or Right?  Whenever I come to a rural crossroads like this, I often think not only of Robert Johnson’s ‘crossroads’, but also to one of my favorite all around musicians-Dave Edmunds. If you are unfamiliar with him, I urge you to go check his music out.

 

Standing At The Crossroads-Written By Mickey Jupp

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All Photographs By Robert P. Doyle

*Photo Shuffle is a new, very short slice of my regular blogs based on setting my Ipod on shuffle and matching up one of my photographs to whatever comes up.

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