Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Big Three Killed My Baby


The Big Three Killed My Baby
Download Track Listing/Jewel Case insert

The first disc of the Blues Of The Month will cover what I consider to be the big three of the blues.
Sort of the Father, Son & Holy Ghost of the Blues.
Or GM, Ford & Chrysler - 'scuse me - Daimler Chrysler.

Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf & John Lee Hooker.
It would be impossible not to include some of the obvious selections ('Mannish Boy', 'Boom Boom', 'Smokestack Lightning') I have tried to mix it up a bit here, including some not so obvious choices from all periods of their lives. Don't worry, though - there will be more of them on future discs I'm sure.

Boogie Chillun
John Lee Hooker
1948
The Hook
I dont know what a Chillun is. I do know it was recorded in 1948 at the United Sound Studios at 5840 Second Avenue in Detroit. He refers to 'Hastings Street' in the song. Hastings Street was THE place to be for blacks in the 40's & 50's in Detroit. You can't go there today, however. Why not? Well, when 'whitey' decided to build I-75 guess where they put it? That's right, right over Hastings Street!

Sad Letter
Muddy Waters
1950
More Real Folk Blues
Muddy's take on Son House's / Leadbelly "Death Letter".

Moanin' At Midnight
Howlin' Wolf
1951
The Sun Records Collection
Of all the artists to come out of Sun Studios in Memphis - Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, etc. - none were more powerful than Howlin' Wolf. More sucessful - sure. More influential, maybe. More powerful - not a chance.

Flood
Muddy Waters
1952
The Chess Box
Nice slow shuffling example of Muddy's power.

Standing Around Crying
Muddy Waters
1952
The Best of Muddy Waters
For me, this is the finest example of heavy metal. Honestly, you can take all the hair bands in history - Zeppelin, GnR, Mettallica, whoever - put them back in 1952 with the 'primitive' recording equipment and instruments - give them a standup bass, harmonica, electric guitar and what was probably at best a snare drum and cymbal (I could be wrong but I believe the band consisted of Willie Dixon on bass, Little Walter on harmonica, Muddy on guitar and vocals and Fred Below on drums) and see if the could get their shit together enough to create a sound this full and, yes, heavy. Trust me, they couldn't.

She's Alright
Muddy Waters
1952
More Real Folk Blues

Mannish Boy
Muddy Waters
1955
The Chess Box
Muddy knicked this from Bo Diddley. I'd like to think Bo didn't mind but I suspect he did. Muddy's take kicks Bo's version's ass, and Bo's version was awesome.

Natchez Burning
Howlin' Wolf
1956
The Real Folk Blues
"Did you ever hear the burning that happened way day in Natchez, Mississippi town ?"

Smokestack Lightnin'
Howlin' Wolf
1956
The Chess Box
Smokestack Lightnin' refers to a locomotive engine and the sparks the steam boiler would give off

Crawlin' Kingsnake
John Lee Hooker
1959

The Hook
Was John Lee a snake lover? No. John Lee was referring to 'himself' as a snake. The blues are famous for there double entendre. The could sing the most erotic lyrics without ever using objectionable language. Much more imagination than today's rappers display.

Howlin' For My Darling
Howlin' Wolf
1959
The Chess Box

Down In The Bottom
Howlin' Wolf
1961

The Chess Box

Boom Boom
John Lee Hooker
1962
The Hook
You can see him playing this song on the street in "The Blues Brothers"

The Waterfront
John Lee Hooker
1966
The Real Folk Blues
My favorite selection from John Lee.

I'm In The Mood
John Lee Hooker
1966
The Real Folk Blues
Who isn't?

I'm The Wolf
Howlin' Wolf
1968

The Chess Box
Wolf Unplugged!

Grinder Man
John Lee Hooker
1969
The Complete Stax-Volt Singles 1968-1971
John Lee again with a double entendre.

She's Nineteen Years Old
Muddy Waters
1971
Live (At Mr. Kelly's)
"I so crazy about those young girls". Muddy was 56 when he recorded this version (Mr. Kelly's is (was?) a bar/nightclub in Chicago). That's right, 56 year old black men are after your girlfriends.

The Red Rooster (False Start and Dialogue)
Howlin' Wolf
1971
The London Howlin' Wolf Sessions
That's Eric Clapton asking Wolf to show HIM how to play the guitar! One might think he was being disingenuous, but I like to think he wasn't. "Always stop at the top . . . "

Champagne & Reefer
Muddy Waters
1981
King Bee
Muddy Waters singing about getting high in 1981. Think Johnny Winters, who produced this album, had any influence on him? And here's a shocker - the song was later covered by the Black Crowes!

Dimples
John Lee Hooker
1997
Don't Look Back
Never crazy about artists remaking their songs. But I did enjoy this remake by John Lee (with Los Lobos) of one of his classic early cuts.


Well, that's the first chapter. Hope you enjoy. Don't worry, I don't think I will always be so wordy. Please feel free to share with your fellow music students there at Albion. If they are not familiar with some of the music hopefully I can get an assist for inspiration.

BTW - Did you find the downloaded hidden track ?

3 comments:

Rob said...

Mr. Mares....

This is extremly cool.

Thank you a ton.

Danny said...

you know with that whole thing about me keeping your library on my external i have most of this stuff. and i have always liked the howlin' wolf. specially the wolf talks tracks. anyway, i am still waiting on the grit noise and revolution book/cd you said you would let me.

Danny said...

ps. hastings is now i375, not 75.