World Boogie is Here – North Mississippi Allstars Unleash

nma-boogie

Swampy, dirty, badass rock n’ blues. I’ve listened to the North Mississippi Allstars here and there over the years, but nothing they’ve done has taken a hold of me like their latest release, World Boogie Is Coming.

NMA are essentially Luther Dickinson (guitar), his brother Cody Dickinson (drums), and their friend Chris Chew on bass. Their dad, the late James Dickinson,  was a sought after producer and session player, involved with artists like the Stones, Ry Cooder, Big Star, the Replacements, Mudhoney, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and on and on…

So growing up in Memphis and yeah, north Mississippi, Jim’s kids were as mainlined into the roots/blues music scene as any kid could possibly be. Luther and Cody were especially enthralled with the juke-joint boogie style of southern Blues artists R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. It was modern artists like NMA that helped spark a career revival for Burnside late in his life (he passed in 2005).

The album mixes familiar Blues tunes like “Rollin and Tumblin” and “Boogie,” covers of R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough (including my favorite of R.L.’s: “Snake Drive“), and originals written by Luther, Cody and friends. Robert Plant even appears on harmonica on the first two tunes, “JR” and “Goat Meat” (speaking of supercharging the Blues).

At its core, World Boogie is down home n’ dirty blues of the Deep South. But there’s also the infusion of youthful, 21st century, soulful rock. Unique flairs, effects and ambiance. It lifts me right up and makes me smile. It gives me that bad-ass, lip-biting, head-nodding buzz you get from the riff in ZZ Top’s “La Grange.” It makes me grab the virtual sticks and air drum along (see “Boogie”).

World Boogie is Coming is no holds barred stomp rock & blues. This album is the sound I’m looking for when I dip into artists like the Black Keys and Jack White. Great stuff, no doubt, but there is always just something missing.

World Boogie is that something.

♥ Buy World Boogie Is Coming on Amazon for $5.00.

When Doves Cry / Beautifully Broken

It’s been a while since I’ve discovered a gem in my own music library – one that I don’t recall ever hearing. I’ve listened to Gov’t Mule’s 2003 live album (Deepest End: Live in Concert) before, but I don’t remember hearing what I heard tonight: a slow and bluesy “When Doves Cry” sung by Warren Haynes. Prince’s classic tune bookends the tune “Beautifully Broken”. Only the chorus is sung, but the way it weaves its way into the full song makes it one of the best interpretations of a Prince tune I’ve heard.

I’m sure there are a few groups in the jam band scene that have tackled Prince’s music. The only cover that comes to mind is Phish’s take on “Purple Rain”, which always seemed like more of an attempt to be humorous than a respectful and heartfelt interpretation of the work (must be the vacuum cleaner solo).

With an artist like Warren Haynes though, you can bet that he’ll put his heart and soul into any song he performs – and it’s evident here with “When Doves Cry” and “Beautifully Broken”. There’s a passion in the vocals and every pluck of his guitar string. And with a heavy duty powerhouse like Gov’t Mule backing it all up – well – I’m damn sure I’ll have this on regular rotation for some time to come.

Gov’t Mule – When Doves Cry / Beautifully Broken (mp3)

From The Deepest End: Live in Concert.

Ick’s Pick (Week II): Derek Trucks Band

Welcome to week II of my Ick’s Pick series – 52 weeks of hot new album action! My pick for the second “release Tuesday” of the year comes from the Derek Trucks Band. Derek Trucks is the nephew of original Allman Brothers Band drummer Butch Trucks, so grew up very musically inclined, to say the least. The “Derek” was in tribute to Derek and the Dominos, the blues-rock group put together by Eric Clapton, and whose album included the slide guitar work of Duane Allman. Derek was drawn to the slide guitar at an early age, and by the age of 11 or 12, was playing gigs in his hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.

Derek’s all of 29 years old now, and is already releasing his 7th album with the Derek Trucks Band – Already Free (his first DTB album was released in 1997, when he was 18 years old).

I’ve seen the Allman Brothers a handful of times, and only knew of Derek through his association with the band (he has toured and played in the band over the years). But I’d never taken the time to track down his work with his own band. So in listening to Already Free, there’s an instant familiarity, but at the same time, a sense of wonder at how mature and accomplished Derek and the band sound.

The album features some guests, including another guitar whiz, Doyle Bramhall II (he and Derek have been playing a lot with Clapton the last couple years), and Derek’s wife, blues singer/guitarist Susan Tedeschi.

Standout tracks for me include the album opener, a gritty cover of Dylan’s “Down in the Flood”; “Maybe This Time”, which features Bramhall on guitar; “Don’t Miss Me”, one of the many tracks featuring DTB vocalist Mike Mattison, with some great blues riffs and tempo changes;  but my favorite out of the gate is “Sweet Inspiration” – a song written by Memphis/Muscle Shoals songwriters Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham (hear them do it). It’s a raucous and joyful gospel rave up, and it’ll have you dancing around the house. The Hammond B-3 intro sounds straight off the Stax label; and the combination of Mattison and Tedeschi’s harmonies, Derek’s slide guitar, the B3, and the amazing percussion work come together for 4 minutes and 39 seconds of halle-frickin-lujah! Track it down.

Buy: Already Free

Links: DTB Official Site | MySpace | Already Free EPK

DTB on Conan O’Brien last week (Jan 7) performing “Down in the Flood”:

–dead link–

Blues from the Rush Soundtrack

Must be in a Bluuuues kinda mood. I’ve had the soundtrack to the movie Rush since it came out in December 1991 (Jason Patric, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and Gregg Allman as – what else – the drug dealer). Eric Clapton scored the movie, and contributed some extra songs too, most notably “Tears In Heaven“, written for his son Conor, who died tragically in March 1991 from falling out of his mother’s 53rd story apartment window in Manhattan. He was 4 years old.

Eric invited Buddy Guy to help out with this one – Willie Dixon’s “Don’t Know Which Way To Go”, an 11 minute immersion into everything that is great about the blues.

Buy

Clapton Joins the Bluesbreakers, Mind-Blowing Solos Ensue

This is from John Mayall’s 70th birthday gig a few years ago. Buddy Whittington (from the Bluesbreakers) and Eric Clapton do things to their Fender Stratocasters that mere mortals like us can only dream of. Amazing. And a trombone solo to boot!

I just finished Pattie Boyd’s autobiography, and I’m just cracking open Clapton’s. I knew that drugs and drink played a role in Eric’s life, but holy schmoly batman, that is excess!

Northern Exposure: Son of Dave

Have a Break. Have a Son Of Dave.Son of Dave is Benjamin Darvill whom you may or may not recognize as part of Crash Test Dummies. As he so succinctly puts it, he has spent the last few years bringing “the Blues kicking and howling into the 21st Century” and if this recording is any measure I’d say he’s been quite successful. Darvill is a modern day troubadour with an impressive range and razor-sharp wit. While he begs comparison to Tom Waits, his delivery as a one-man band – stomping, looping and fighting his way through the record’s eleven tracks – sets him far apart.

The leadoff track “Old Times Were Good Times” is nothing short of funky and sets the tone for the next nine cuts. Must-listen tracks like “Lover Not a Fighter”, “Hellhound” and a cover of the WAR classic “Low Rider” all make this one record not to miss.

Son of Dave – Old Times Were Good Times (MP3)

Buy 03: Amazon | iTunes

Son of Dave Links: Official Site | on Last.fm | on MySpace

A Good Week for Tunes in Telluride: Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, Junior Brown, and Jonny Lang

my week in telluride

Top Left: Steve Earle works his dobro hard for the Sheridan Opera House crowd.
Top Right: Jonny Lang brings the blues in Mountain Village.
Bottom Left: Junior Brown rocks his guitar / lap-steel hybrid in Mountain Village.
Bottom Right: I ponder life’s great questions with a Franziskaner in hand.

Yes, folks, life was sweet last week. My wife and I plopped the kids into the truck and drove the 9 hours from the Phoenix area to the beautiful San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado. We met up with my parents, my two brothers and their families for some 4th of July fun in Telluride, Colorado.

As you can see, the music gods were smiling on me during my vacation. Among the hiking, dining, and fly fishing (3 times, 1 brown trout, and a ton of fun) were these three great events that kept the Ickmusic vibe alive….

Continue reading “A Good Week for Tunes in Telluride: Steve Earle, Allison Moorer, Junior Brown, and Jonny Lang”

Review: Friday at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival

When you show up to at a music festival to pick up your press credentials, and you’re handed a VIP pass with 12 free drinks ready to be punched, at a Sierra Nevada-sponsored festival, well – you just know it’s gonna be a great day. Nine hours later – after seeing and hearing the likes of Gov’t Mule, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, the subdudes, Steve Reynolds Band, and Mikel Lander, Meridith Moore & Friends – I was right, it was great.

This was my second straight year at the Friday offering of Scottsdale’s McDowell Mountain Music Festival. It’s a young festival (this was it’s 5th annual), and with the impressive lineups, the great organization, and so much room at the Westworld venue to expand, it’s going to pick up steam and continue to grow each year. So on this Friday, my partner in crime was my friend Greg. Let me take you through our day…

Continue reading “Review: Friday at the McDowell Mountain Music Festival”

Canned Heat Live

canned heat

I’ll admit to being an ignoramus about the band Canned Heat up until a few months ago. I was only familiar with two of their “hit” songs: “On the Road Again” and “Goin’ Up the Country”. Well, in my quest to expand my musical mind and historical perspective, I got a hold of this soundboard recording of a1970 concert.

Canned Heat formed in Los Angeles in 1965. Their main passion and drive came from the blues, and they were responsible for helping to revive the careers of Son House and Albert Collins. Their name comes from a 1928 Tommy Johnson song called “Canned Heat Blues”. Canned heat, AKA Sterno, is a cooking fuel basically, made up primarily of ethanol and methanol. Back in the prohibition days, people would water it down and drink it (or dip some bread into it – yum!). So there’s your canned heat lesson.

The 1970 incarnation of the band was made up of Al “Blind Owl” Wilson (guitar, harmonica, vocals – the voice behind the two songs mentioned above), Bob “The Bear” Hite (vocals, harmonica), Harvey “The Snake” Mandel (guitar), Larry “The Mole Taylor (bass), and Adolfo “Fito” de la Parra (drums).

Wilson would sadly pass away later that year in September of what an autopsy determined to be a bartituate overdose – what they ruled a sucide. He died at the age of 27. Who else died at 27? Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, D. Boon of the Minutemen, and Pigpen of the Grateful Dead. Something about 27?

Enough of the morbidity. Check out some down home 1970 blues here from Canned Heat. If you’re anal about sound quality, this may bug you. It improves as the show goes on. But damn, it’s 36 years old (like me). We may be getting older, but we’re something to behold!

It’s worth it just to hear “Blind Owl” Wilson tear it up in his guitar solos. Enjoy!

Canned Heat
June 29, 1970
Boston, MA
“Boston Tea Party”

1. I Found Love
2. Catfish Blues
3. Bullfrog Blues
4. Gonna Find a New Woman
5. Killing Floor (w/ members of Kaleidoscope)
6. Bring It On Home
7. Kaleideheat Boogie Jam w/ Kaleidoscope *

* Kaleidoscope was a California psychedelic-folk band from the 60’s, built around the nucleus of David Lindley and Chris Darrow. They join Canned Heat for the last tune. Forty minutes of blues boogie jammin’.