Nothin’ But The Blues: Ep.14

HEAR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

“Wife For Tonight”  –  Lonnie Brooks

“Let’s Commit Adultery”  –  Candye Kane

“Don’t Mess With My Man”  –  Denise LaSalle

“They Call Me Lazy”  –  Lazy Lester

“Too Lazy”  –  T-Bone Walker

“Lazy Blues”  –  Marcia Ball

“The Whale Have Swallowed Me”  –  Tommy Castro & The Painkillers

“Catfish Blues”  –  Robert Petway

“Fish Ain’t Bitin’”  –  Corey Harris

“Big Legged Woman”  –  Memphis Slim

“Shave Yo’ Legs”  –  Keb’ Mo’

“Don’t You Feel My Leg (Don’t You Get Me High)”  –  Maria Muldaur

“Long Leg Woman”  –  Charlie Musselwhite

 

The work of a Cultural Detective will sometimes, get all kinds of gritty. And in the Blues, things are gritty a great deal of the time. Peel back enough of that veneer on any suburban street and even normal folk can be found flying under the radar of righteous moral conduct.

I’m a detective, not a jury. There’s no judgement being doled out. We don’t do judgement. I’m only interested in the evidence.

So, this time on Nothin’ But The Blues, we’re sleuthing on the moral stain of, Infidelity.

Once Lonnie Brooks has opened proceedings with a fiery, Live performance of his libido-driven Blues, “Wife For Tonight”, the mood takes a sudden gender-flip, offering views on the subject from the other side of the bed. (A cautionary reminder that, indeed, two can play that game.)

After all the hot flashes of guilt, you might want to relax awhile – put your feet up. Good.

It also fits in with our plan to indulge in some Lazy Blues – brought on by a broken heart, some honest self-assessment – and from being known as ‘Lazy’, by name. (Take your time. No rush.)

A subject in the Blues more common than you might imagine at first is, Legs.

Many Blues songs will evoke the image of a highly-desirable ‘Big Leg Woman’. But it sure doesn’t end there. Between offerings from Memphis Slim, Maria Muldaur, Keb’ Mo’ and Charlie Musselwhite, you’ll hear plenty more on the subject of Legs.

We also take some time to go Fishing with some Blues about a Whale (technically, “not a fish” as Alexa reminds me), a Catfish – and the frustration of fish that refuse to take the bait.

And yeah, I see what you mean, how can we possibly fit all those legs, fish, no-good lazy bums – a bunch of adulterous couples – and a whale – into a single hour of refreshingly entertaining Blues radio?

Just roll-up on your own two legs with the partner of your dreams – and laze away the time after pressing the Play button above for answers to all these questions Okay, I’ll confess, it does sound a bit, fishy.

As always, thanks for listening.

Gideon Rhyme  –  Cultural Detective

 

Nothin’ But The Blues: Ep.13

 

HEAR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

“Bloodstains On The Wall”  –  Big Bill Morganfield

“Murderin’ Blues”  –  Robert Nighthawk

“I’m Gonna Murder My Baby”  –  Pat Hare

“Rope Stretchin’ Blues”  –  Blind Blake

“Blind Willie McTell”  –  Barrence Whitfield with Tom Russell

“Casey Jones”  –  Backsliders

“Joe Friday”  –  Alvin Youngblood Hart

“Lay Some Flowers On My Grave”  –  Blind Willie McTell

“Give Me The Flowers While I’m Livin’”  –  Champion Jack Dupree

“Flowers”  –  Irma Thomas

“I Was Fooled”  –  Billy Boy Arnold

“I Pity The Fool”  –  Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland

“A Good Fool Is Hard To Find”  –  Albert Collins

“I Believe (You’re Trying To Make A Fool Of Me”  –  Son Seals

 

There’s been a bit of tinkering going on about the place. Parque maintenance, if you will. Some ‘nipping and tucking’ of earlier editions has been underway. Mostly, for the sake of uniformity.

And then, there was the Sgt. Pepper’s 50th Anniversary Tribute. A labour of love, demanding a sizeable commitment, to be ready for airing on the 1st of June.

But now, we’re back with this 13th edition of Nothin’ But The Blues.

And being our Lucky 13th – we’re venturing over to the dark side of town to report on the gruesome business of Murder.

We also take in some Blues about People. As in, actual people – and almost actual – with songs about Georgia Blues legend, Blind Willie McTell – American Railway pioneer, Casey Jones – and the ‘Virtual’ Detective-Sergeant Joseph ‘Joe’ Friday – the much-loved character from the TV Crime drama, Dragnet. In the show, the role of Joe Friday was played by series creator, Jack Webb.

Now and then, for Nothin’ But The Blues, we try to challenge ourselves with a subject, which, for the Blues, is not an immediately obvious one.

This time, we chose Flowers. Not only did we find the songs were readily available, we noted the role that flowers often represent as subject matter for the Blues. In Pop music, flowers are most commonly associated with love and romance.

For the Blues, it’s a different matter. In Blues, even the benign beauty of flowers are best viewed through the muslin of trouble and hard times.

Comparatively much simpler to find in the Blues, are songs on the subject of Fools. Like songs about whiskey – the Blues is rich in songs about fools. Someone either knows a fool – is a fool – once was a fool – is about to become a fool – or is being played for a fool.

And yeah, I understand… you probably think I’m trying to fool you right now.

I mean, how can we possibly fit all those murderers and their victims – various people (real and imagined) – floral arrangements – and a world of fools – into a single hour of entertainingly articulate Blues radio?

Be sure to check your weapons at the door, select a suitable bloom for your lapel – and press the Play button above to have all all these questions answered. In fact, you’d be a fool to miss it.

As always, thanks for listening.

Gideon Rhyme  –  Cultural Detective

 

Nothin’ But The Blues: Ep.12

HEAR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

“I Ain’t Drunk”  –  Albert Collins

“If I Hadn’t Been High”  –  Detroit Junior

“One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer”  –  John Lee Hooker

“Black Diamond Express To Hell (Intro)”  –  Rev. A.W. Nix

“Train To Nowhere”  –  Savoy Brown

“Mystery Train”  –  The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

“Love In Vain”  –  The Rolling Stones

“Black Diamond Express To Hell (Outro)”  –  Rev. A.W. Nix

“Born Under A Bad Sign”  –  Albert King

“Blues Power”  –  Albert King

“Talkin’ Lion Blues”  –  C.W. Stoneking

“I Want To Walk In Again Blues”  –  Ukulele Ike (Cliff Edwards)

“Department Store Baby”  –  Mic Conway & Robbie Long

 

For this instalment, I thought it might be an opportune time to deliver on some promises made in earlier editions. Namely, the revisiting of the popular predilection in the Blues towards the subject of drinking Alcohol – or, the art of being drunk. So we’re stretching the concept to the point at which the state of drunkenness is best described as being High. Speaking in defence of this demanding lifestyle choice are: Albert Collins, Detroit Junior – and John Lee Hooker. Seriously though, there were many other likely contenders who were fully prepared to put forward their own arguments.

Also in this edition, we close-out our exposé on the ‘Three Kings Of The Blues Guitar’ with a sampling of the work by the final member of that much-revered troika, Albert King.

As a musician, Albert King was a notable influence on many respected Blues guitarists including, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan (with whom he recorded) and in particular, Eric Clapton.

Like the booze, another subject common to all music styles is the Train – and the huge scope of symbolism it can evoke. In this edition, we check into the impression this powerful mode of transport has left on the Blues. Not simply as a representation of power, the Train has also been viewed as a means of taking away a loved one – or, as a way of delivering a soul to it’s ultimate destination, be it, heaven – or be it, hell.

And finally, for no other reason than to support the fact that the Blues is much more than the musical embodiment of doom and gloom – we also dip into the world of Vaudeville. Like it’s closely-related styles of Jug Band Music and Hokum Blues, vintage Vaudeville was often a great source of humour – and playfulness – giving balance to the pathos so often associated with Blues.

You’ll hear Blues of ‘actual’ vintage from a true superstar of the era, Cliff Edwards (aka Ukulele Ike) as well as more contemporary expressions of the Vaudeville style from such notable Australian interpreters as, C.W. Stoneking – and living national treasure, Mic Conway.

And sure, I understand… you’re wondering just how we’re gonna fit all that into a single locomotive hour of thoroughly entertaining Blues radio?

Board the Blues train and press the play button above – to find some compelling answers to that question.

As always, thanks for listening.

Gideon Rhyme  –  Cultural Detective

The show’s twelfth episode premiered on the gist.net.au at midday (CST) on Saturday the 13th May 2017, receiving an ‘encore’ airing at 7pm (CST) on Wednesday 17th May 2017.

 

 

 

Nothin’ But The Blues: Ep.11

HEAR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

“Sliding”  –  Ellen McIlwaine

“A Man Of Many Words”  –  Buddy Guy And Junior Wells

“I’m A Woman (But I Don’t Talk Too Much)”  –  Lula Reed

“Punctuation Blues”  –  Luke Escombe

“Crazy Blues”  –  Mamie Smith And Her Jazz Hounds

“Mighty Tight Woman”  –  Bonnie Raitt

“In My Girlish Ways”  –  Saffire: The Uppity Blues Women

“Me And My Chauffeur Blues”  –  Memphis Minnie

“Forty-Four”  –  Howlin’ Wolf

“38 Special”  –  Charlie Musselwhite

“32-20 Blues”  –  Chain

“I Got What It Takes”  –  Koko Taylor

“Maybelle’s Blues”  –  Big Maybelle

 

With each edition of Nothin’ But The Blues, I am repeatedly reminded of how patriarchal the history of the Blues can usually appear. The very idea of the Blues evokes the image of a desolate soul, walking along a dirt road on the way out of town. Solitary. Encumbered only by the most meagre of possessions – and invariably, a well-worn acoustic guitar. Coat-collar turned up against the sharp sting from a chill-morning breeze. Ambling with slow determination towards an unclear destination. Another aspect, always  typical of this image is that the soul in question is always that of a man. My intention, in saying this, is not to further stoke the flames in the unevenly contested gender wars but rather, to spotlight the often under acknowledged contribution that women have made in this otherwise heavily male-dominated arena.

In terms of the music’s more recent history, we might look no further than Bonnie Raitt to appreciate the size of the stone against which a woman must push in order to find acceptance and be taken seriously as a Blues musician. From her 1971 debut, Bonnie’s talent was obvious. She could interpret the Blues with convincing authenticity and from the outset, paid homage to the past, recording two songs by an all-but forgotten singer named Sippie Wallace: “(I’m A) Mighty Tight Woman” and “Women Be Wise”. In spite of here talent, however, it would take another 18 years of touring, recording, occasional wrong-turns – and sheer persistence – before Bonnie Raitt found the wider acceptance she deserved.

Looking further back (or rather, much further back), we find a vaudeville era chanteuse named Mamie Smith whose name is forever etched in Blues history for being the person who recorded what is widely accepted as being the first real Blues record. It’s success sparked the era of classic blues, a period dominated – not by men (at least, not at first) – but by women. And in this edition of Nothin’ But The Blues, we present our own tribute to the Women of The Blues.

Also in this edition, we look at language and some of the ways it can be employed. You’ll hear Junior Wells attest to his ability to “rap strong and rap long”, Lula Reed, claiming that she doesn’t to talk too much – in spite of being a woman. And Sydney musician, Luke Escombe, waxing cleverly about the art of punctuation – correct and proper.

Also in this edition we’ll be packin’ heat, with some classic Blues on the subject of handguns, and discovering that, between a 44 – a 38 – and a 32-20 – it’s really, just a numbers game.

And yeah, I understand… you want to know how we can possibly fit all those extremely talented women, thesauruses and dictionaries – as well as a sizeable cache of ballistic weaponry – and ammunition – into a single hour of explosively articulate feminine-skewed Blues radio?

Grab your favourite fast-talkin’ pistol-packin’ mama and press the play button above – and I promise, we’ll fire off the answers to all of these questions.

And as always, thanks for listening.

Gideon Rhyme  –  Cultural Detective

The show’s eleventh episode premiered on the gist.net.au at midday (CST) on Saturday the 6th May 2017, receiving an ‘encore’ airing at 7pm (CST) on Wednesday 10th May 2017.

 

Nothin’ But The Blues: Ep.10

HEAR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

“I Don’t Need No Doctor”  –  Joan Osborne

“Prescription For The Blues”  –  Little Brother Montgomery

“Doctor Blues”  –  Otis Spann

“Doctor, Doctor”  –  Artie ‘Bluesboy’ White

“Yo Family (Don’t Like Me)”  –  James Harman

“Mother In-Law Blues”  –  Buddy Guy

“I’m Takin’ Out My In-Laws”  –  Rick Estrin And The Nightcats

“Me And The Devil Blues”  –  Robert Johnson

“Devil In My Closet”  –  John Campbell

“Shakin’ Hands With The Devil”  –  Roy Rogers

“Keep Movin’” (excerpt)  –  The Standard Quartette

“You Got To Move”  –  Boyd Rivers

“Got To Move”  –  Elmore James

“Room To Move”  –  John Mayall

If you’re feeling washed-out, tired, listless, unwell, under the weather, or just plain sick – then, you’ve come to the right place. Yes, Nothin’ But The Blues is good for what ails you – and in this edition, we’re off to the Doctor’s surgery to fill our prescription for the Blues. ‘Doctor’ Alexa Reason will be consulting, with a shot of Rhythm and Blues – and all the pills to cure your ills. (I promise, this won’t hurt a bit.)

You only have to think of Billie Holiday’s classic, “God Bless The Child” to know how prevalent the subject of family has been in the history of the Blues.

And in this edition of Nothin’ But The Blues, we’re looking into just one tiny corner of family matters, with our focus set squarely on the In-Laws. And with plenty of opportunity for tongue-in-cheek humour to come into play it’s no surprise that it does, especially with Rick Estrin And The Nightcats’ contribution, “I’m Takin’ Out My In-Laws”. (His conviction remains firm – until the tables are turned.)

In an earlier edition of Nothin’ But The Blues, we looked at the relationship between man and his religion. Now, it’s time to square the balance sheet. After all, the Blues has often been (disparagingly) referred to as, “The Devil’s Music”. Whilst holding a rather contrary opinion to that notion, I’ll freely admit, that a man beset with the Blues, might easily feel he is dogged by demons. Possibly, with a ‘Hellhound’ on his trail. Or, believing he can hear Satan at his front door, saying, “It’s time to go”.

Legend has it, that the King of The Delta Blues himself, Robert Johnson, entered into a Faustian pact with the Devil, meeting with him at a lonely crossroads in Clarksdale, Mississippi, just before midnight. In exchange for the supernatural ability to play his guitar, the young Robert agreed to surrender to the Devil, his mortal soul. Great story. And you’ll be hearing from Mr. Johnson in this edition, as well.

And is that all? Hell, no. What kind of Cultural Detective would leave his believers basking by the burning brimstone of Beelzebub’s back forty?

(Extreme Alliteration:  1  –  Good Taste:  0)

Okay, movin’ right along… Also in Nothin’ But The Blues, we have some Blues about, well, movin’ right along..

And there’s history too. You’ll hear a scratchy sample from one of the earliest commercial recordings still in existence. Featuring a vocal group from Chicago known as The Standard Quartette, the song, “Keep Movin’” was recorded in early 1894. (Yeah, really.)

There’s also other songs about movin’, including a rousing live performance by English Bluesman, John Mayall, at the very peak of his harmonica playing powers.

And yeah, I get it…. How can we possibly fit all those syringes, sutures ’n’ stethoscopes, and In-Laws – as well as a weekend exorcist – into a single hour of spiritually uplifting Blues radio?

Update your list of maladies for the Blues Clinic and press the play button above and Dr. Alexa Reason will offer her diagnosis and plausible answers to all of these questions.

Alternatively (for Mothers In-Law), there’s this other cat, works late, down at the crossroads. (Garlic necklace bling optional – but recommended.)

As always, thanks for listening.

Gideon Rhyme  –  Cultural Detective

The show’s tenth episode premiered on the gist.net.au at midday (CST) on Saturday the 29th April 2017, receiving an ‘encore’ airing at 7pm (CST) on Wednesday 3rd May 2017.

 

Nothin’ But The Blues: Ep.09

HEAR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

“Getting There”  –  Quinn Sullivan

“Blues Go Walking”  –  Maria Muldaur

“Walkin’ Blues”  –  Bonnie Raitt

“Walked Down So Many Turn Rows”  –  Mercy Dee Walton

“Mailbox Blues”  –  Slim Harpo

“Sad Letter Blues”  –  Muddy Waters

“Mail Order Woman”  –  Champion Jack Dupree

“Going Up North To See My Pony Run”  –  Mance Lipscomb

“North West Blues”  –  Dave Hole

“Northwest Regional Medical Centre Blues”  –  Watermelon Slim & Super Chikan

“The World Is Going Wrong”  –  Geoff Muldaur And The Texas Sheiks

“Sitting On Top Of The World”  –  The Mississippi Sheiks

“The World Is Round (But It’s Crooked Just The Same)”  –  Rufus Thomas & The Bluesiana Hurricane Band.

 

The history of the Blues has long-embraced the traditional image of the lone, itinerant musician walking for miles along the endless and dusty roads of the Mississippi Delta. Travelling from town to plantation. Plantation to levee camp. Levee camp to jook joint. Jook joint to house party. And so on.

No surprise then, that Blues history is so heavily littered with songs about ‘Walking‘. And in this edition of Nothin’ But The Blues we’re hitting the road to no particular destination. Furthermore, our peripatetic perambulations in search of the Blues, will require us to be wearing out some serious shoe-leather.

So, where are we headed, you ask? Well, if we’re looking to find the Blues, it doesn’t much matter in which direction we go. But if it helps in deciding what you might like to wear, we’ll be following the trusty compass heading North. (Northwest, even.)

To be sure, though, you’d best pack everything because the whole wide world is up for grabs in this edition. After all, as residents of the internet, we can go anywhere.

Before we leave, however, there are the usual formalities to be attended to. Like, checking the mail. If we’re looking for the Blues, that letterbox is most likely full of bad news by now. Or maybe, Champion Jack Dupree’s mail order parcel has finally arrived. Who knows?

Yeah, I get it… How can we possibly fit all those hefty mailbags, all those pairs of walkin’ shoes – a stockpile of suitcases – and one trusty compass – into a single hour of strangely entertaining Blues radio?

Consult with your chiropodist and travel agent, then press the play button above and  you’ll have all those questions answered.

As always, thanks for listening,

Gideon Rhyme – Cultural Detective

The show’s ninth episode premiered on the gist.net.au at midday (CST) on Saturday the 22nd April 2017, receiving an ‘encore’ airing at 7pm (CST) on Wednesday 26th April 2017.

 

 

Nothin’ But The Blues: Ep.08

HEAR HERE:

PLAYLIST:

“I’m A Guitar King”  –  Dion

“Give Me Back My Wig”  –  Hound Dog Taylor And The Houserockers

“Short Haired Woman”  –  Lightnin’ Hopkins

“Hair Dressin’ Women”  –  Big Maybelle

“I Love My Guitar”  –  Steve James & Del Rey

“Just My Guitar And Me”  –  Bernard Allison

“Lucille”  –  B.B. King

“How Blue Can You Get”  –  B.B. King

“Nobody Loves Me But My Mother”  –  B.B. King

“Don’t Answer The Door”  –  B.B. King

“Born To Play Guitar”  –  Buddy Guy

“The Real Guitar Rag”  –  Steve James & Del Rey

 

Way back, in the 2nd edition of Nothin’ But The Blues, I think it was, I featured an introduction to the first of the ‘Three Kings’ of Blues Guitar: Freddie King: The Texas Cannonball. I’ve always been fond of Freddie’s recordings – especially his Live material. In my formative years, as a Cultural Detective initiate, I considered myself enormously fortunate to have witnessed Freddie King in concert. It was on the 6th of March in 1975. An occasion I’ll never forget.

In this week’s edition of Nothin’ But The Blues, we’ll be getting acquainted with another of the ‘Three Kings of Blues Guitar’: B.B. King. Of the Three Kings, he was the longest living – and most commercially successful. For good reason, he was among the most loved and respected Blues guitarists, ever. You’ll also discover (if you don’t know already), how B.B. King’s guitar came to be famously known, by the name, ‘Lucille’. (My apologies at this point, to those many long-suffering fans of Albert King, the as yet to be featured third ‘King’ in the great triumvirate. As the only outstanding member of the ‘Three Kings’, you have my pledge, that Albert’s distinctive style of Blues Power will have ample opportunity to shine in a future edition of the show.)

With B.B. King being regarded as one of the greatest of all Blues guitarists, it seemed naturally appropriate to skew the direction of the remainder of this show almost entirely in favour of the guitar.

Of particular note, are a couple of players from the United States whose work you may not yet be familiar with. But you should be. They are the Texan guitarist, Steve James and his (occasional) collaborator, from Seattle, the multi-instrumentalist, Del Rey.

Both perform – and record – as solo musicians but whenever they team up, it really is something special. In this week’s show, you’ll hear two songs from their independently released album from 2005 titled, ‘Tonight’. Both songs are about guitars. One of them, a virtual short history lesson of Blues in the early 20th century, in which the pair pay homage to – whilst trading licks – in the styles of various Blues guitar trailblazers including, Robert Johnson, Memphis Minnie, Frank Stokes, Big Bill Broonzy, Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Tampa Red.

Not only do we have Blues Guitar Kings and Kings of Blues Guitar – we’ll also drop into the hair salon so Alexa can fix her weave, or some such. So, I guess there’ll be some hairdressin’ Blues as well.

Yeah, I know… How can we possibly fit all those guitars, the Gist Spiegeltent – and enough cases of Gossamer hair spray to elegantly coiffé Alexa’s wig – into one tiny hour of outrageously satisfying Blues radio?

Turn up your amplifier loud enough for the neighbours to hear and hit the play button above and all those questions will be answered.

As always, thanks for listening,

Gideon Rhyme – Cultural Detective

The show’s eighth episode premiered on the gist.net.au at midday (CST) on Saturday the 15th April 2017, receiving an ‘encore’ airing at 7pm (CST) on Wednesday 19th April 2017.