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Archive for the ‘Blues’ Category

RIP, Lonnie Brooks (April 1, 2017) Chicago Blues Legend

Posted by themusicsover on April 1, 2017

Lonnie Brooks (Born Lee Baker)
December 18, 1933 – April 1, 2017

According to a press release from Alligator Records, Lonnie Brooks passed away on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at the age of 83. Cause of death was not immediately released. Over the course of his 60-year career, Brooks recorded 11 full albums and dozens of 45s for a number of labels. His career began in Port Arthur, Texas in the mid-1950s. Recording under the name Guitar Junior, he scored a string of regional hits, including “Family Rules” and “The Crawl” for the Goldband label. The success of his singles led to numerous southern tours and a busy performance schedule that included dancehalls, juke joints and roadhouses across Texas and Louisiana. In 1959, Brooks befriended the great Sam Cooke, who suggested his move to Chicago. Once settled, he changed his name to Lonnie Brooks (Chicago already had a Guitar Junior) and became infatuated with the sound of deep Chicago blues. He soon landed a job as a sideman with blues hitmaker Jimmy Reed, with whom he toured and recorded. Brooks cut a handful of singles throughout the 1960s, while appearing on a number of Chicago blues and R&B recording sessions. He played nightly in the bars on the South and West sides of Chicago and in Gary and East Chicago, Indiana. In 1969, Capitol Records released Brooks’ first album, Broke an’ Hungry, under his old stage name, Guitar Junior.  In 1978, Brooks recorded four songs for Alligator Records’ Grammy-nominated Living Chicago Blues anthology. This led to a full contract with the label. His Alligator debut, Bayou Lightning, was released in 1979. The album, along with Brooks’ roof-raising live performances, brought him to the attention of Rolling Stone, which ran a six-page feature on the legendary musician. The album won the prestigious Grand Prix du Disque Award from the 1980 Montreux Jazz Festival. Constant touring in the U.S. and abroad kept Brooks in the public eye. His scorching 1980 live performance of “Sweet Home Chicago” on the Blues Deluxe album (resulting in Brooks’ second Grammy nomination) is now considered the quintessential version of the song.  His final two releases, 1996’s Roadhouse Rules and 1999’s Lone Star Shootout, showed Brooks at his very best – an electrifying guitarist with full-throated vocals, clever original songs, and a dedication to having fun.   Lonnie’s last recording appearance was as a guest on his son Ronnie Baker Brooks‘ latest album, Times Have Change.

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RIP, James Cotton (March 16, 2017) Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on March 16, 2017

James Cotton
July 1, 1935 – March 16, 2017

Photo: Brian McMillen / brianmcmillenphotography.com

According to a press release from Alligator Records, world-renowned blues harmonica master James Cotton, whom Rolling Stone called, “One of the greats of all time, burning with brilliant virtuosity,” died on March 16, 2017 of pneumonia at St. David’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. He was 81. His overwhelmingly powerful harmonica playing was one of the iconic sounds of the blues. He toured worldwide for over 60 years.

Born on a cotton plantation in Tunica, Mississippi on July 1, 1935, Cotton was a working musician by age nine. He learned harmonica directly from Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller), toured with Williamson and Howlin’ Wolf, and recorded for Sun Records in 1953 before spending 12 years touring and recording with Muddy Waters (starting at age 20). Cotton was featured on Muddy’s famous 1960 At Newport LP on Chess Records, including the iconic version of Got My Mojo Working, one of the classic recordings of Chicago Blues.

After his 1953 Sun sessions, Cotton didn’t record under his own name again until the mid-1960s, with tracks included in the groundbreaking Chicago/The Blues/Today! series of LPs on Vanguard. Along with Otis Spann, he cut The Blues Never Die! for Prestige.

In 1966 he formed The James Cotton Band, quickly earning a reputation as one of the most commanding and potent live blues performers in the world—a man who could literally suck the reeds out of his harmonica from the pure force of his playing. He made his initial solo albums, three for Verve and one for Vanguard, in the late 1960s.

Cotton’s blistering talent and full-throttle energy kept him in demand at concert halls all over the country. He played the Fillmore East in New York, the Fillmore West in San Francisco and every major rock and blues venue in between. During the 1970s, he cut three albums for Buddah and one for Capitol.

Cotton signed with Alligator Records in 1984, releasing two solo albums and the famed Harp Attack! with Junior Wells, Carey Bell and Billy Branch. He won a Grammy Award in 1996 for his Verve album, Deep In The Blues and recorded four albums for Telarc Records before returning to Alligator in 2010. His most recent recording was 2013’s Grammy-nominated Cotton Mouth Man.

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The Music’s Over’s Favorite Albums of 2016

Posted by themusicsover on December 30, 2016

We lost an unprecedented number of musical greats in 2016. Nonetheless, there was still plenty of amazing music to celebrate this year.

Here are The Music’s Over’s Top 50 Albums of 2016.

1. David Bowie – Blackstar

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2. Gojira – Magma

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3. Against Me! – Shape Shift With Me

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4. Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker

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5. Metallica – Hardwired…To Self-Destruct

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6. Red Fang – Only  Ghosts

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7. Iggy Pop – Post Pop Depression

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8. Sturgill Simpson – A Sailor’s Guide To Earth

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9 (A). S U R V I V E – Rr7349

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9 (B). Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein (of S U R V I V E) – Stranger Things: A Netflix Original Series Soundtrack

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10. Brian Fallon – Painkillers

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11. Crippled Black Phoenix – Bronze

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12. Anthrax – For All Kings

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13. Charles Bradley – Changes

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14. El Caco – 7

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15. Megadeth – Dystopia

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16. Metal Church – XI

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17. James Hunter Six – Hold On!

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18. Tower Tower

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19. Anciients – Voice Of The Void

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20. Jeremy & The Harlequins – Into The Night

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21. Testament – Brotherhood Of The Snake

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22. The Last Shadow Puppets – Everything You’ve Come To Expect

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23. The Rolling Stones Blue & Lonesome

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24. Crowbar – The Serpent Only Lies

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25. The Monkees Good Times!

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26. Heliotropes – Over There That Way

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27. John Doe The Westerner

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28. Loretta Lynn Full Circle

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29. Alice Bag – Alice Bag

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30. Bobby Rush Porcupine Meat

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31. White Lung Paradise

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32. Kyng Breathe In The Water

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33. Aaron Lee Tasjan Silver Tears

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34. Fates Warning – Theories Of Flight

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35. Savages – Adore Life

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36. Mudcrutch – 2

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37. Luke Bell Luke Bell

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38. Summer Cannibals Full Of It

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39. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds Skeleton Tree

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40. The Shrine – Rare Breed

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41. Alejandro Escovedo Burn Something Beautiful

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42. Fea – Fea

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43. Spiritual Beggars – Sunrise To Sundown

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44. Fleshtones The Band Drinks For Free

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45. William Bell This Is Where I Live

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46. Paul Cauthen – My Gospel

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47. I Don’t Cares Wild Stab

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48. Shovels & Rope – Little Seeds

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49. Night Beats – Who Sold My Generation

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49. Night Beats – Who Sold My Generation

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50. Parquet Courts Human Performance

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RIP, Mose Allison (November 15, 2016) Jazz And Blues Legend

Posted by themusicsover on November 15, 2016

Mose Allison
November 11, 1927 – November 15, 2016

mose-allisonMose Allison was a revered jazz and blues pianist and singer whose influence reached beyond his idioms and into rock and blues.  Over the past four decades his songs have been recorded by the likes of the Clash, the Bangles, Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Raitt, the Yardbirds, and most famously, the Who, whose version of “Young Mans Blues” reached the masses via their classic Live At Leeds album, and remained a concert staple ever since.  Born and raised on his grandfather’s Mississippi farm, Allison spent his formative years picking cotton while learning to play the piano and trumpet.  He was just 13 when he wrote his first song.  After spending a couple of years in the Army, Russell completed college and then moved to New York City to launch his music career.  While performing with such jazz luminaries as Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz, he recorded his debut album, Black Country Suite, which was released by Prestige in March of 1957. Difficult to classify, one label tried marketing him as a pop artist, while another tried blues, and yet another, jazz.  Regardless of any difficulties they might have had, his fanbase grew with each album. Throughout his career, Allison received countless honors including the prestigious Jazz Master award by the National Endowment For The Arts in 2013.  Mose Allison was 89 when he died of natural causes on November 15, 2016.

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Died On This Date (June 19, 2015) Wendell Holmes / The Holmes Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on June 19, 2015

Wendell Holmes
December 19, 1943 – June 19, 2015

wendell-holmesWendell Holmes was the guitarist, pianist and vocalist for the legendary gospel, R&B, and blues band, the Holmes Brothers. Formed in 1978, the trio built a legion of loyal followers thanks to their heavenly harmonies and overall sound that was once described by the New York Times as “deeply soulful, uplifting and timeless.”   Formed in Christchurch, Virginia, the Holmes Brothers moved to Harlem during the ’80s to try their luck in the city’s blues clubs.  They signed their first record deal in 1989 and went on to release 12 albums, including three that landed in the top five of the Billboard Blues Album charts.   The list of artists they recorded with includes Joan Osborne, Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, and Van Morrison.  In 2014, they received an National Endowment For The Arts National Heritage Fellowship.  Wendell Holmes died from complications due to pulmonary hypertension.  He was 71.

What You Should Own

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