People around the globe are waiting with baited breath for details on the new Dark Knight movie. The Dirty Bourbon River Show is here to reveal the truth about the Caped Crusader’s new direction… and I think we will all be pleased.
T-Bone walker is the reason the Blues is what it is today. Legend has it he was the first ever blues performer to use an electric guitar. He roamed the streets of dallas at age 15 opening for national acts and String bands. By the time he was in his twenties he was in Los Angeles headlinging on Central Avenue.
I know you’ve heard this one
Inspiring a generation of Bluesmen
Walker was the childhood hero of many many musicians. B.B. King bought his first electric after he heard “Stormy Monday”, and where do you think Jimi Hendrix learned to play with his teeth? Chuck Berry always listed T-Bone and bandleader Louis Jordan as his first influences.
Albert Collins and Jimmy Vaughn (Stevie’s older brother) talk about T-Bone’s effect on the Texas Blues
Louisiana’s own Bobby Rush is the son of a guitar playing preacher, and a born Showman. His live show is a captivating mix of storytelling, comedy, and funky soul music. With the help of his beautifully voluptuous dancers Bobby Rush has been thrilling crowds for over 50 years now.
Bobby gives a lesson in the Old School
While it may be all about the live show for most, the few recordings Bobby Rush did put out were perfect representations of his style and soul. No one mixes Blues, Soul, Funk, and R&B like Bobby Rush
Albert Collins showed the world just how powerful the Blues could be. His guitar sound was humble and brash, and completely unique. Collins played with no pick using his own “Attack” style of fingerpicking. He mostly played Telecasters in open minor tunings to create his incredible sustain and control.
Take a listen for yourself
(it gets crazy at 7:00 in if your low on free time)
Albert Collins was at the forefront of a Blues revolution in the 70’s and 80’s. playing alongside such greats as Robert Cray, John Lee Hooker, and BB King, together they brought Blues into the spotlight once again. Johnny Copeland, Robert Cray, and Mr. Collins even won a Grammy in 1983 for their collaborative album entitled “Showdown”(Highly recommended listening). Collins’ playing was so inspiring that composer John Zorn created a 13 minute Blues Suite to feature him.
The Blues has taken on many forms throughout history, in the case of young Willie Johnson the blues came through the word of the good Lord. From age four Willie told his family he would be a preacher. Johnson and his dad built a guitar out of a cigar box and Willie learned how to play using a pocket knife as a slide.
Blind Willie Johnson played and sang his unique versions of favorite hymns and spirituals for the remainder of his life. Until his death in 1945, Willie traveled the south from street corner to backyard spreading his Gospel.
Willie frequented New Orleans, playing and preaching on the corners of the French Quarter. legend has it he was arrested once for “starting a riot” outside the courthouse with a powerful rendition of the song ‘If i Had My Way I’d Tear This Building Down’.
If you’ve already heard of Blind Willie Johnson, that’s probably due to the fact that two of the greatest recording artists of all time covered a song first recorded by Willie. Dylan and Led Zeppelin both recorded powerful versions of the the song ‘In My Time of Dying’ which is a slightly altered version of Blind Willie’s ‘Jesus Make Up My Dying Bed‘
Obviously, Being Blind wasn’t the only Obstacle Sleepy John had to endure. His nickname spurs from his tendency to fall asleep while sitting on a stool or even standing up. These unintentional naps were later diagnosed as Narcolepsy, which is caused by blood pressure irregularity.
While there are no actual accounts (that I could find) of Sleepy falling asleep on-stage, I’d have to imagine when he was touring around the South playing every night, it happened at some point. Wouldn’t that be a site?
Estes was mentioned in the memoirs of Big Bill Broonzy as having judged a guitar contest in Chicago. Memphis Minnie had just recently moved to town, and found herself in a guitar duel with Big Bill. In a glorious upset Minnie beat Bill Broonzy and became wildly popular in the city’s blues circuit, all thanks to her fellow Tennessean, Sleepy . Whenever Sleepy John and his band were in Chicago they were regularly hired by Al Capone (who was crazy about the blues) and his people to play private parties and events. Now that sounds like a right proper good time to me.
Skip James was a true Blues-man, born and trained in Bentonia, Mississippi. Bentonia is quiet little town outside of the Mississippi Delta with a rich history of producing some of the best Blues guitar players/singers.
While each one was as unique as the next, the Blues-men from this town all seemed to play music with an eerie, depressing feel to it, and always in minor keys. Pair that with the Skip James signature three-finger picking guitar style and an array of unique tunings (mostly in open E minor and even down to D minor) and you’ve got the Bentonia “school” of the Blues.
Here’s an example of some Bentonia Blues: Skip James singing and playing “Devil Got My Woman”
To learn a lot more about Skip James and the Blues in general click on that there guitar below