Nov 29, 2013
An LP worth tracking down if you can. It's called Afterglow, released in 1995 and full of old big band standards done in that particular Mac Rebennack style. But it's this song in particular which caught me off guard the other day and I couldn't stop listening to it. They should use this one to close down bars on a Saturday night. It also harkens back to those 70's Tom Waits piano records like Closing Time and Heart Of Saturday Night.
Dr. John - So Long (1995)
Speaking of Waits... reminded me of this one, an old favourite I'd listen to in Montreal and dream of movies.
Tom Waits - Fumblin' With The Blues (1974)
The B-side to "Hound Dog", the famous single that spawned Elvis Presley's version four years later. Strangely, Elvis could have covered the b-side "They Call Me Big Mama" convincingly late in his career. I guess it's bad joke night here on Outlaw Blues.
Whenever I hear Big Mama sing, I have to smile. Just like Big Joe Turner, she shakes you around a little.
Arnold used to play harp with Bo Diddley and when he got a chance to do his own stuff with Vee-Jay Records, he came out with this very Diddley-sounding track that became a classic over the years. It's a menacing little number despite the lyrics being a plaintive call for his woman to come back home to him. There's something a little darker here, almost a threat. It's sharp and propulsive, but Arnold's vocals are kind of languid at the same time, and he even lets this song get so quiet just after the minute mark that it threatens to fade away until it comes staggering to life with Arnold's harmonica. The Yardbirds would later cover this song, and you can hear how Led Zeppelin also copped a groove from this track that would do them well over the years.
Arnold's AllMusic bio
The Yardbirds - I Wish You Would (TV Live 1965)
George seemed to sing a lot of songs about moonshine stills. In "White Lightnin'" he was talking about his daddy running a still in North Carolina "way back in the hill". On "Revenooer Man", George is the man of the law, on orders from "D.C." to find one of these mythic operations, in the same hills of North Carolina. Some of the early Jones stuff would really swing like this track, very similar to The Everly Brothers and Jerry Lee Lewis.
I grew up with George Jones on the tape deck, thanks to my old man, but a lot of the stuff was his later hits. It's been a revelation digging deeper into Jones past and hearing these really fast paced country swing songs that could hold their own with Elvis or any other contemporary in the rock and roll scene. And man, that brush cut on Jones is pretty wild.
Here's another favourite of mine from Jones' early years out of Nashville.
"Here he is, all 5 feet of him...."
George Jones - You Gotta Be My Baby (TV Live 1957)
Nov 22, 2013
I've been listening to the soundtrack to "The Harder They Come" for years now and it never gets old. Yet it's this song that rolls around in my head for days after. On a record with incredible bands and songs, this is still the track that defines this record for me.
Not much is known about the man who called himself "Cedar Creek Sheik", but we do know his real name was Philip McCutchen and he came out of South Carolina to briefly record for the Bluebird label. The strange thing is, nobody can seem to remember if he was black or white. People debate it on obscure blues message boards. Not sure what it all means, but this song will stick with you once you hear it.
Here's the Sons Of The Pioneers, probably best known for their hit song "Cool Water", but this has those high lonesome harmonies that get me every time.
Nov 1, 2013
Bizarre but strangely listenable. Very rare, almost unheard of track that's wildly depressing but borderline comical in it's plain approach. I mean, "Hello Hell" is an incredible title, and the band sounds drunk, almost nodding off, including Dale Spinks, of which almost no information exists out there. The more I listen to this one, the more I love it. There's something really broken about it, and I have no doubt it's sincere. Listen to this one at 3 a.m. when the drinks are almost out and there's a fire down the street. "Table Rock Records".
The shuffle of this beat and the self-pity reminds me a lot of one of my favourite George Jones songs...
George Jones - She Thinks I Still Care (1962)