Don't act like y'all don't know where we be neither.

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Showing posts with label Hill Country Blues. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hill Country Blues. Show all posts

Monday, May 21, 2012

"Why Don't Y'all Deal With It?"

Y'all can thank the good a round about sorta way...for this interlude.

Robert Lee Burnside...the Greatest of All Time Ever!

Listen to what he heard...then pick your mouth up off the floor.

He took that one to his grave.

There's no point in trying to resist the jagged beat here...just know that at about 1:25 you're heading on a one way trip to Jupiter.

An irreplaceable Southroner.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Be Jealous - Cheese Straws and Black Coffee

I'm having cheese straws and black coffee for breakfast...and not doing much else.


A coworker made 'em. He got his Grandma's recipes when she passed. There's some pecan fudge in there and something that taste like a homemade Rollo...but it's the Cheese Straws.

These are sharp ones with heat you can taste. The coffee's bitter and cuts the tang. Like a piece of candy made with cheese grits and heavy cream. I've had bites of filet that weren't this satisfying.

A frigid Cokecola would be even better...but what can't be improved on is the music.

The fella that wrote the bio can be forgiven for referring to R.L. Burnside as an American musician...the writer doesn't seem to be from the U.S...when he is quite obviously a Southern musician. Show me connecticut's or minnesota's answer to Burnside and I'll eat my words like a cheese straw.

What can't be forgiven is the insistence that he is a Delta Bluesman...or has any special connection to The Delta whatsoever. He didn't...full stop. He was from the Hill Country and he played Hill Country Blues.

Aside from the usual brilliance (check that blossoming ring toward the end...the trance he's inducing is only a set up, preparing your mind for a look behind the curtains, for a whiff of transcendence)...this is a bit of a put on too. Before Robert Palmer and Fat Possum...the few folks that came down to record RL Burnside and some of the others wanted the acoustic guitar. Matthew Johnson was very clear when they got Fat Possum together about presenting these players as they were on Sunday nights in Mississippi...plugged in and lewd.

"The Blues ain't nothin' but dance music," R. L. Burnside.

The ethnologists often have a very specific, preconceived idea about the Blues and the people that play it...a very Delta idea (*&^% Delta). This is the same bunch that had a litter of kittens when Mississippi Fred McDowell picked up and electric guitar and...THE VAPORS!!!...brought on a white bass player. The American Studies Department at Yale had to shut down for a week.

Look at the pictures and the difference between the staged photos and how he presented himself on stage. It's the same issue I have with the concept of "folk art"...the suggestion that these people don't have a sophisticated aesthetic understanding of what they are doing...that it really boils down to dumb expression brought on by material pressures.

And cheese straws are just a poor man's attempt at cheezits.

Kiss My Grits!!!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Go State! Go State! Part II

It gets dark in Mississippi. Pitch black dark.

The State's nearly the size of England with a population of less than 3 Million... most being congregated in three spots. Jackson in the middle, Southaven/Olive Branch (this is the Mississippi part of Memphis) in the north and The Coast.

If you got yer map out, and shame on you if you don't, you'll notice that Louisville (sanely Anglosized as Lewisville in this state) and Carthage are not among these population centers...and between those two there is nothing more powerful than a reflector on a mail box to illuminate the night...and those need headlights to work.

There are the headlights...and the black top, yellow and white strips racing at the car out of the dark. With nothing on the periphery but's hard to tell whether it's the car or the road that's moving at an 80 mile an hour clip.

Saturday night, just as I turned south on 25, passing Louisville, turning into the dark...the Highway 61 Project at Ole Miss unleashed Junior Kimbrough on the night.

That's Junior at his friend and acolyte Charlie Feathers' house...both from the Holy Springs area, Feathers said music began and ended with Junior Kimbrough. Who'd argue with that in the middle of the night?

Gives me goose bumps every time I hear it...

That's Mississippi.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Blue Father's Day

This mornin' The Boy brought me a present wrapped in the funny papers.


The book was put together by Roger Stolle owner of Cat Head Records in Clarkesdale. Cat Head and Fat Possum records have done a great job helping to ensure that Blues..real vibrant hard-country Blues...has it's own space to operate in.

Hava little taste of Como Mississippi...and Mr. R.L. Boyce.

The Boy doesn't yet know how lucky he was to have been born where he is...but he will. I'll make sure of that...just like my Daddy is the reason somebody would automatically think to give me a gift like's all cause of his Blues and Soul records (or tapes).

He was here last week and and actually took a better picture of The Blue Front Cafe than one on the cover. His has patrons.

I hope The Boy feels lucky to have me as a Daddy one day...the same way I feel about his Grandaddy.

We'll leave it with Duwayne Burnside singin' his Late Great Daddy's song...

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Last Month's Travels - The Delta

The Delta


Greenwood, Mississippi home of Bobby Gentry...

(Hey Martha...sounds like she's eatin' dinner at could that be?)

among the fella playin' guitar on this..

Hubert Sumlin playin one of the greatest lines of g'itar in the history of electricity.* It's also the home of Guitar Slim, and if you've never heard The Things That I Used To can find it on this blog. Flimsy Cups has ranked it at #9 on the all time list of Blues Songs.

You reckon anybody still plays the g'itar in Greenwood?
Of course, when people think of the Delta...Clarkesdale is probably the first place that comes to mind. It's the home of the Delta Blues...the Blues that most people are familiar with. Robert Johnson and all that...the Crossroads are at Clarkesdale.

More importantly, to me, it's the home of Cat Head Records...maybe the best record store in the state.


There was nothing 12 bar about the rythmic clang he was beating out of that old guitar. Cat Head has much more of Hill Country feel to it than Delta...afterall Hill Country blues is still alive and kicking. Besides Clarkesdale has always been more than Delta Blues...Sam Cooke's from there, Ike Turner, and John Lee Hooker. He learned to play from his uncle that had a one chord style very similar to what you find in the Hills.

Can't forget Tunica.**


And we can't leave the Delta without some of this...


These are the same fields that fed Liverpool when textiles were employing around 4 million Britons. If Eric Hobsbawm is to be believed (always a cautious proposition...even when he's not going out on a limb) this was the fuel for the engine that ran the British Empire in it's first phases.

Or this...


* Howlin' Wolfe is actually from around West Point in the Columbus area...south of Tupelo and not far from where Tennessee Williams was born.

**The pictures of Cat Head and Tunica were taken last year, but better than anything I got on my last trip.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last Weeks Travels - North/Hill Country

On Monday I headed north to Southaven.

Goin north from Jackson you don't really get out on the road 'til you clear Canton which is about 20 miles from the city limits. Then it's another 20-30 miles to the Lexington/Pickens exit where I take my first smoke break at an old truck-stop...



It's a cryin' shame of the few honest truck-stops left on the road. The kinda place that sells bumper stickers and t-shirts, that say "I spent most of my money on women and booze..the rest I just wasted" or "It's not a Belly it's a Gas-Tank for a Love Machine"...little cedar boxes with a picture of Robert E. Lee on the lid...ashtrays and shot glasses decorated with Battle Flags, cut-glass figurines and dream catchers...rubber-band guns with clothes-pins for a firing mechanisms..

The bathrooms were down a long wood paneled the corner was one of those old cylindrical ashtrays, gun metal grey with a chrome top, under a pay phone...not much call for either of those these days. The bathrooms had cinder block walls and cement automated anything and it wasn't uncommon to find a bottle of dish-washing soap on the sink when the hand soap had run out.

Now it's gone. I'm sure to be replaced with another Love's or Flying J...fresh deli sandwiches, a mocachino machine, a Red Box and clean bathrooms. Yawn.

Como Mississippi is a tidy little town just South of Senatobia and not too far from Southaven.


It was the home of Mississippi Fred McDowell and Othar Turner...both legends of Hill Country Blues...a more rythmic, driving, get-down form than the kind that comes out of the Delta. McDowell is the undisputed king of the slide (Womm?) while Turner led the Drum and Fife tradition.


That's from the Square at Holly Springs...another Hill Country Blues town. It's the home of Fat Possum Records, Junior Kimbrough and the irreplaceable, gigantic R.L. Burnside.

A man that looms larger in my own mind than William Faulkner and Elvis...both from the area.

Those with a map may have noticed that we've skipped over Southaven and are half way to Tupelo.

Southaven is the Mississippi part of Memphis...there's lots of manufacturing and shipping because taxes are much lower in Mississippi. It's a pleasant livable place...there just isn't much to tell. There was work to be done and once I finished it I headed out...stopped in Holly Springs. Then on through New Albany to Tupelo.


Tupelo, Mississippi the birthplace of Elvis Presely.


That's the house where it all started...and they've turned it and a couple of acres around into a park. There's a gift shop and a museum, a chapel. Recently they brought over the Pentecostal Church he attended as a child. It's a lovely quiet spot in the same working class neighborhood where he was born.


Tupelo is also the home of...


There was trouble at the mall IMGP4187

And trouble with the internet connection in my room... 5252893117_bedf90836c_m
That's my perplexed to the point of irritation face...with shrapnel.

Y'all already know what happened the next day on the way back.

Flippin' Cops.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Road Trip - North Mississippi

This is all y'all really need to know...

I'll mess it all up with some pictures and commentary when I get back from The Delta today.