Climbing with JJ and the Jackmormons

File this one under Power Trio. Jerry Joseph on guitar. Junior Ruppel on bass. Brad Rosen on Drums. Together they are Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons. Jerry used to front a reggae/rock band called Little Women in Boulder, Colorado through the 80’s and early 90’s. “Joseph continued to record before an oft-publicized drug addiction temporarily sidelined his career. The process of getting clean took Joseph to New York, Montana, Salt Lake City, where the Jackmormons were formed in 1996, and eventually to Portland.” [from JJ official web site]

Joseph penned this tune to describe the hell of drug addicition. It’s a 15 minute journey powered by a driving rhythm section (a great bass line in particular) and Joseph’s wicked guitar. The louder the better folks.

Jerry Joseph and the Jackmormons: Climb to Safety (mp3)

  • Check out Mouthful of Copper, the live double CD, on Amazon. Recorded live over 3 nights in Butte, Montana (from August 2002).

Laswell’s Rhythmic Stew

Tonight it’s all about atmospherics. I only own one Bill Laswell album: ‘Imaginary Cuba’. On top of that, Nick from Jazz and Conversation posted a great sample / podcast of his work a while back. So obviously I need to get on the ball and pick up some more of his stuff. From what I’ve heard, the man knows how to set a mood, and lay down some gorgeous and enchanting rhythms. You can find out all about the man at his All Music bio.

For my little mini podcast / sample, I’ve put together the three “Habana Transmission” tracks that are spread throughout ‘Imaginary Cuba’. Like one review of the album says, what you’re hearing is a “rhythmic stew… complex and often dub-inflected sound collages that sound like no one but Laswell while still maintaining respect for the music’s origins.” So here you are, and – let it be noted – this is most definitely headphone-worthy.

Bill Laswell: Habana Transmission #1 / Avisale a la Vecina Dub | Habana Transmission #2 / Cuban Evolution | Habana Transmission #3 / Shango Sound Scan (mp3)

Devil Boy in Telluride

There’s been a brief hiatus here on IckMusic thanks to a long overdue vacation. The fam and I headed up to Telluride, Colorado to visit the folks and check out the 12th annual Blues & Brews Festival – 3 days of fun in the sun featuring good music and some fine brews. As you can gather from the pics, Telluride is one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

Highlights for me musically: Henry Butler and his Game Band’s great version of Professor Longhair’s “Go to the Mardi Gras”; Chris Thomas King; Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers version of “Jambalaya” / “Iko Iko”; the Black Crowes; the Subdudes; and the biggest surprise for me: Eddie Turner’s set [now available on his web site].

Eddie – aka Devil Boy – is a killer guitarist from Colorado. The man can flat out play. He brings a wild psychedelic funkiness to his guitar playing; definitely someone whose studio work doesn’t do him justice. I was blown away, and headed over to the ol’ merchandise tent to buy his CD, ‘Rise’ [Buy].

So here’s an in-studio version of Johnny “Guitar” Watson’s “Gangster of Love”, live from Denver’s KUVO.

Eddie Turner: Gangster of Love (mp3)

Update: Eddie sent me an email, and lo and behold, his set from the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival has been graciously added to Eddie’s Official web site! As he says on his site: “download these tracks, listen to them, share them, give them away to your friends!”

Self Portrait:

14 minutes with the Dirty Dozen

Listening to American Routes the other night, the PBS radio show whose studios lie smack dab in the middle of the French Quarter, I heard this gem of a song (Nick Spitzer, the host, is temporarily running the show from Lafayette). Entitled “The Lost Souls (of Southern Louisiana)”, it’s basically a 14 minute suite laid out similarly to a traditional New Orleans funeral. Starting out dirge-like, it finishes off with a rhythmic fury of percussion. It has three sub parts: Cortege, Do I Have to Go, and Mourning Ma.

Set aside 14 minutes of your life and take a listen to some New Orleans brass band action courtesy of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
: The Lost Souls (of Southern Louisiana) (mp3)

  • From ‘Open Up: Whatcha Gonna Do for the Rest of Your Life?’ (1991) – check it out on Amazon.
  • Official Site of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band.

Baton Rouge Blues

Next week’s going to be good. I’ll be checking out the Telluride Blues & Brews Festival. The blues, cold beer, and Telluride, Colorado: what a combination! An interesting sub-plot to the weekend will be that at least a half dozen of the performers are from southern Louisiana: Henry Butler, the Subdudes, Sonny Landreth, Eric Lindell, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, and today’s feature, Chris Thomas King. What they all may be going through individually, I would have no idea. If they don’t show, it’s perfectly understandable. But the selfish music freak in me hopes they do show, as I’m sure it will be a very intense and heartfelt experience, and great therapy for all parties involved I would think.

Chris grew up in Baton Rouge. His dad, Rockin’ Tabby Thomas (I want a cool nickname like that), owned a popular blues club called Tabby’s Blues Box. This is where Chris spent a lot of time soaking up the blues directly from the masters. Apart from playing several instruments, Chris is also an actor. His debut was in O Brother Where Art Thou in the role of Tommy Johnson.

This tune showcases Chris’ grasp of the blues in the digital age.

Chris Thomas King: Ghetto Life (mp3)

St. Jude Hymn

Tonight, a great guest post and a very moving hymn :

On the edge of what used to be the notorious Storyville section of New Orleans, a short walk from the famous St. Louis #1 Cemetery, rests a small and beautiful church, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel /International Shrine of Saint Jude.

This church has withstood the test of time and adversity. Surviving through the Civil War, the Reconstruction, coexisting in the heart of Storyville, standing after the horrible aftermath of 1965’s horrible Hurricane Betsy; and, as of August 30, 2005 was still standing amidst the impoverished and crime-ridden projects of New Orleans. Nested in one of the poorest sections of New Orleans, Our Lady of Guadalupe Chapel / International Shrine of St. Jude provides a quiet haven for meditation and a place of solace, a place where one can escape the worries of this world for a while.

Saint Jude is the patron saint of lost causes and desperate situations. This small chapel exemplifies the very qualities of hope for the hopeless, and help for the helpless, the very qualities that Saint Jude so embodies.

In March and May of 1987, two masses were held which attracted New Orleans music legends such as Aaron Neville and Allen Toussaint. The ensuing recording from these masses was released as the album “Midnight at St. Judes.” At the time, proceeds from this album and all artists’ royalties were donated to St. Jude’s Community Center in New Orleans.

Now, in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, amidst so much devastation, hopelessness and feelings of helplessness, the track “St. Jude’s Hymn” as sung by that gentle and kind giant of New Orleans, Aaron Neville, resonates in a way that it never has before. If one ever watches Aaron Neville deliver a live performance, one will notice a large, gold medallion hanging from his left ear. On that medallion is the image St. Jude, an image Aaron carries with him to remind him of the power of faith.

This hymn was composed by a housewife, who is credited only by her more formal married name, Mrs. Herb Quaid. One only need listen to this song for a minute or two to recognize that she creatively used a variation of John Lennon & Paul McCartney’s “Hey Jude” as the cornerstone for her lovely hymn.

One need not be religious to recognize the promise of hope, of help and the promise of a better day when hearing this song sung so beautifully by Aaron Neville.

It is with the spirit of hope and the belief that no situation is ever a lost cause that I hope you will listen to this hymn. As we watch on the news what will, no doubt, be nightmarish images of loss in the coming days, let us all try to keep alive the spirit of hope and the promise of better days. Hear this song and keep alive the faith that New Orleans will rise up to see another era of glory, and will again be the Multi-Cultural Jewel; the most European-like city that exists in the United States. Listen to this song and believe that many will persevere against impossible circumstances. Sing this hymn with the heartfelt belief that there will be hope for the hopeless, and help for the helpless.

May our Maker keep us all safe in the days ahead, in particular those souls, both living and departed, who have suffered from Hurricane Katrina.

~ William Innes, September 5, 2005

Aaron Neville and others: St. Jude Hymn (mp3)

Louisiana 1927

After watching a very small part of the NBC Hurricane fund-raiser on TV earlier tonight, I feel compelled to post yet another tune sung by Aaron Neville. The man’s voice is an instrument, and stops me in my tracks when I hear it.

I saw him perform two songs tonight: a heart-wrenching “Amazing Grace”, and this Randy Newman composition, entitled “Louisiana 1927”. It’s the first track on the same 1991 album as my previously posted A.N. tune “It Feels Like Rain”- the album is ‘Warm Your Heart’.

(CNN) — In 1926 and 1927, the Mississippi River, heavy from months of rain, started bursting its banks. Land along the river flooded from Illinois on south. Memphis was overrun in the fall of 1926; the waters covered western Mississippi and eastern Louisiana in the months following. Seven hundred thousand people were evacuated or left homeless…. – Read the full Sept. 1st CNN article here.

I found some interesting credits on this song. The choir in the background consists of, among others, Rita Coolidge and Linda Ronstadt. The choral arrangement was done by Van Dyke Parks, known for his collaborations with Brian Wilson.

As is the case with most other Americans, I am sick to my stomach over the tragedy down on the Gulf Coast, and the apparent lack of a quick and organized relief effort. Absolutely sickening, but good to see that the tide is starting to turn.

Aaron Neville: Louisiana 1927 (mp3) – – – >>> Buy the album here on Amazon.

The Spirit of the Crescent City

Aaron Neville: Feels Like Rain (mp3) – from Warm Your Heart

It Feels Like Rain
(John Hiatt)

Down here the river meets the sea
In the sticky heat I feel you open up to me
Love comes out of nowhere, baby, oh, just like a hurricane
And it feels like rain
And it feels like rain

Lying underneath the stars right next to you
And I’m wondering who you are, and how do you do, how do you do baby
Oh, the clouds roll in across the moon, and the wind howls out your name
And it feels like rain
And it feels like rain

We never gonna make that bridge tonight, baby
Set across the Pontchartrain
And it feels like rain
And it feels like rain

Batten down the hatches, baby
Leave your heart out on your sleeve
Looks like we’re in for stormy, stormy, stormy weather
That ain’t no cause to leave
Just lie here in my arms
Let it wash away the pain
And it feels like rain
And it feels like rain