Etta James (born Jamesetta Hawkins; January 25, 1938 – January 20, 2012) was an American singer. Her style spanned a variety of music genres including blues, rhythm and blues, rock and roll, soul, gospel and jazz. Starting her career in the mid-1950s, she gained fame with hits such as “Dance With Me, Henry”, “At Last”, “Tell Mama”, and “I’d Rather Go Blind” for which she wrote the lyrics. She faced a number of personal problems, including drug addiction, before making a musical resurgence in the late 1980s with the album The Seven Year Itch.
James is regarded as having bridged the gap between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, and is the winner of six Grammys and 17 Blues Music Awards. She was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1993, the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001, and the Grammy Hall of Fame in both 1999 and 2008. Rolling Stone ranked James number 22 on their list of the 100 Greatest Singers of All Time and number 62 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.
King is pure class. This guitar work is undeniable and a lot of fun, a perfect blending of instrumental electric blues and rockabilly. Sunglasses must be worn to fully appreciate these tunes; cigarettes aren’t required but may help. This album will turn you into a bona fide Cool Cat before the end of the first track, I guarantee it.
Freddie King was one of three blues giants with the surname King – along with B.B. and Albert – who were all unrelated. Freddie was a forceful presence and formidable figure in two of the most prominent blues scenes. In the state he was born in (and to which he eventually returned), he was known as the “Texas Cannonball.” For much of the Fifties and early Sixties, he was a Chicago blues legend, particularly on the city’s West Side. Revered by his fans and respected by his peers, King was best-known for his searing, assertive solos and dynamic showmanship.
Many of his most-famous songs, especially during his tenure on Syd Nathan’s King and Federal labels, were instrumentals. King’s biggest hit was “Hide Away” a lively instrumental named for Mel’s Hideaway Lounge, one of his favorite Chicago blues clubs. The song was a clever composite of licks and snippets from other songs, including “Taylor’s Boogie” by Hound Dog Taylor and “The Peter Gunn Theme.” It is a staple of the blues repertoire to this day, and it is arguably the ultimate house-rocking blues instrumental. King possessed a strong, soulful voice as well, captured on such classics as “Have You Ever Loved a Woman” and “I’m Tore Down.”
For Glen Hansard, Rhythm and Repose isn’t just an album title: it’s a philosophy. The Academy Award-winning singer-songwriter says that he’s become strictly principled about striking a balance between work and everything else.
“The reason I called the album Rhythm and Repose is because I believe that when you’re working you should work really hard, and really work, and really focus,” Hansard tells Exclaim! “But when you’re not working, you should turn everything off. And you should just sit.
“You look at kids waiting at the bus stop nowadays, and their heads are in their phones. As a young boy, my imagination was the most important thing. I would sit on a bus and drift off into my thinking and write songs and imagine my life. That imagination was so strong that I have literally invented the path to that life, from back when I was a child.”
While I wish there was more rhythm than repose on this album, it still could have succeeded without any of Hansard’s trademark anthems. Frames classics like “Lay Me Down,” “Star Star” and “What Happens When the Heart Just Stops” show how a ballad can pack just as big of a punch. Here’s hoping the tour lifts his spirits and these songs sung live can exorcise the demons that haunt him.
Rhythm and Repose and its ala carte singles are available at Amazon.
01 – You Will Become
02 – Maybe Not Tonight
03 – Talking with the Wolves
04 – High Hope
05 – Bird of Sorrow
06 – The Storm, It’s Coming
07 – Love Don’t Leave Me Waiting
08 – What Are We Gonna Do
09 – Races
10 – Philander
11 – Song of Good Hope
The Crosby, Stills & Nash triumvirate shot to immediate superstardom with the release of its self-titled debut LP, a sparkling set immortalizing the group’s amazingly close, high harmonies. While elements of the record haven’t dated well — Nash‘s Eastern-influenced musings on the hit “Marrakesh Express” now seem more than a little silly, while the antiwar sentiments of “Wooden Ships,” though well-intentioned, are rather hokey — the harmonies are absolutely timeless, and the best material remains rock-solid. Stills‘ gorgeous opener, “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes,” in particular, is an epic love song remarkable in its musical and emotional intricacy, Nash‘s “Pre-Road Downs” is buoyant folk-pop underpinned by light psychedelic textures, and Crosby‘s “Long Time Gone” remains a potent indictment of the assassination of Robert Kennedy. A definitive document of its era.
From the Artist
“People call us a soul band, but we’re more of a rock & roll band,” he points out.
“We feel like what we’re doing is different from the soul bands with horn sections that are out there right now,” Ernst adds. “We always joke that we would do that kind of music, but we’re not good enough: our guitars are too loud, we’re too primitive on our instruments, and Joe is more of a shouter and a talking-blues guy than a smooth soul singer. So we’re carving out our own thing because it’s the only way that we can do it. We can’t play it any cleaner or smoother–and we don’t want to, either.”
“We pride ourselves on keepin’ our own style and staying true to the guys we look up to,” says Lewis. “We play the music that we like listening to. It’s always about the music first.”
On March 15, 2011, Lost Highway Records will release Scandalous, the sophomore album from Austin, TX-based garage soul ensemble Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears. Having spent the last two years building a considerable reputation with their high-voltage brand of blues, dirty soul, and rock ‘n’ roll, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears take it to another level with Scandalous.
Produced by Jim Eno of Spoon and featuring 11 new songs, Scandalous finds the young band returning with their modern and original take on classic American musical styles. There are still plenty of tight horns and hard-driving rhythms on tracks like “Livin’ In The Jungle,” “Booty City,” and “Black Snake,” but the new album is a decidedly more diverse and contemporary offering than its predecessor. Gospel punk burner “You Been Lyin'” fits squarely alongside the country blues of “Messin'” and the Stax-meets-Stones soul of “Since I Met You Baby.” The raw funk creeper “She’s So Scandalous” stands out as an album highlight.
Recorded at Hollywood Sound, Hollywood, and Cornerstone Recorders, Chatsworth, California.David Lowry was formerly the lead singer of Camper Van Beethoven.Apart from David Lowery’s tendency to slip in some smug, self-serving lyrics, Cracker’s debut is a terrific rock & roll record, full of energetic three-chord bashers and surprisingly moving ballads.
1. Teen Angst (What The World Needs Now) 4:14
2. Happy Birthday To Me 3:30
3. This Is Cracker Soul 3:39
4. I See The Light 5:13
5. St. Cajetan 5:25
6. Mr. Wrong 4:36
7. Someday 3:22
8. Can I Take My Gun To Heaven 4:01
9. Satisfy You 3:29
10. Another Song About The Rain 5:50
11. Don’t Fuck Me Up (With Peace And Love) 3:12 12. Dr. Bernice
An integral member of the nonpareil Muddy Waters band of the 1950s and ’60s, pianist Otis Spann took his sweet time in launching a full-fledged solo career. But his own discography is a satisfying one nonetheless, offering ample proof as to why so many aficionados considered him then and now Chicago’s leading post-war blues pianist. Spann played on most of Waters’ classic Chess waxings between 1953 and 1969, his rippling 88s providing the drive on Waters’ seminal 1960 live version of “Got My Mojo Working” (cut at the prestigious Newport Jazz Festival, where Spann dazzled the assembled throng with some sensational storming boogies).
Strangely, Chess somehow failed to recognize Spann’s vocal abilities. His own Chess output was limited to a 1954 single, “It Must Have Been the Devil,” that featured B.B. King on guitar, and sessions in 1956 and 1963 that remained in the can for decades. So Spann looked elsewhere, waxing a stunning album for Candid with guitarist Robert Jr. Lockwood in 1960, a largely solo outing for Storyville in 1963 that was cut in Copenhagen, a set for British Decca the following year that found him in the company of Waters and Eric Clapton, and a 1964 LP for Prestige where Spann shared vocal duties with bandmate James Cotton. Testament and Vanguard both recorded Spann as a leader in 1965.
The Blues Is Where It’s At, Spann’s enduring 1966 album for ABC-Bluesway, sounded like a live recording but was actually a studio date enlivened by a gaggle of enthusiastic onlookers who applauded every song (Waters, guitarist Sammy Lawhorn, and George “Harmonica” Smith were among the support crew on the date). A Bluesway encore, The Bottom of the Blues, followed in 1967 and featured Otis’ wife, Lucille Spann, helping out on vocals.
Spann’s last few years with Muddy Waters were memorable for their collaboration on the Chess set Fathers and Sons, but the pianist was clearly ready to launch a solo career, recording a set for Blue Horizon with British blues-rockers Fleetwood Mac that produced Spann’s laid-back “Hungry Country Girl.” He finally turned the piano chair in the Waters band over to Pinetop Perkins in 1969, but fate didn’t grant Spann long to achieve solo stardom. He was stricken with cancer and died in April of 1970.
“The House of the Rising Sun” is a traditional folk song from the United States. Also called “House of the Rising Sun” or occasionally “Rising Sun Blues“, it tells of a life gone wrong in New Orleans. The most successful commercial version was recorded by the English rock group The Animals in 1964, which was a number one hit in the United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, Finland and Canada. The song is in chromatic-minor
Like many classic folk ballads, the authorship of “The House of the Rising Sun” is uncertain. Musicologists say that it is based on the tradition of broadside ballads such as the Unfortunate Rake of the 18th century and that English emigrants took the song to America where it was adapted to its later New Orleans setting. Alan Price of The Animals has even claimed that the song was originally a sixteenth-century English folk song about a Soho brothel. 
This double A-side release from quivering psyche-rockers The Urges has all the twist and shout of a Hives track, propelled even higher on the indie disco scale by soaring brass breaks and some Doors-style transistor organ. Granted, that’s a lot of pies for the Dublin lads to keep theirfingers in, but miraculously, when it’s all lumped together under the same retro umbrella, it works.
As the house band for the Stax/Volt labels, Booker T. and the MG’s helped define the spare, punchy sound of Memphis soul music. By contrast to Motown’s orchestrated, pop-soul records, the Stax approach was lean, economical and deeply groove-oriented. Between 1963 and 1968, Booker T. and the MGs appeared on more than 600 Stax/Volt recordings, including classics by such artists as Otis Redding, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Carla Thomas, Johnnie Taylor and William Bell. As a result of Stax’s affiliation with Atlantic Records, the group also worked with Wilson Pickett, Sam and Dave, and Albert King. Moreover, Booker T. and the MGs were a successful recording group in their own right, cutting 10 albums and 14 instrumental hits, including “Green Onions,” “Hang ‘Em High,” “Time Is Tight” and “Soul-Limbo.”