Magic Slim, RIP
When Magic Slim thundered at the microphone — his voice rough and ragged, his guitar riffs tough and punchy — listeners heard classic Chicago blues as it was conceived in the 1950s.

Not nostalgic or dated but simply unconcerned with latter-day musical fashion or commercial considerations.

That approach, which Mr. Slim clung to throughout his career, made him a symbol of Chicago blues around the world and an upholder of its noblest traditions.

Mr. Slim — who was born Morris Holt in Torrance, Miss., on Aug. 7, 1937 — died Thursday, Feb. 21, in a hospital in Philadelphia at age 75. (chicagotribune.com)

Magic Slim, RIP

When Magic Slim thundered at the microphone — his voice rough and ragged, his guitar riffs tough and punchy — listeners heard classic Chicago blues as it was conceived in the 1950s.

Not nostalgic or dated but simply unconcerned with latter-day musical fashion or commercial considerations.

That approach, which Mr. Slim clung to throughout his career, made him a symbol of Chicago blues around the world and an upholder of its noblest traditions.

Mr. Slim — who was born Morris Holt in Torrance, Miss., on Aug. 7, 1937 — died Thursday, Feb. 21, in a hospital in Philadelphia at age 75. (chicagotribune.com)

Even More Treasures From Alan Lomax
The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause. Long before the Internet existed, he envisioned a “global jukebox” to disseminate and analyze the material he had gathered during decades of fieldwork.
A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads. (NYT)
Photo: Mississippi Fred McDowell, Alan Lomax/Association for Cultural Equity

Even More Treasures From Alan Lomax

The folklorist and ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax was a prodigious collector of traditional music from all over the world and a tireless missionary for that cause. Long before the Internet existed, he envisioned a “global jukebox” to disseminate and analyze the material he had gathered during decades of fieldwork.

A decade after his death technology has finally caught up to Lomax’s imagination. Just as he dreamed, his vast archive — some 5,000 hours of sound recordings, 400,000 feet of film, 3,000 videotapes, 5,000 photographs and piles of manuscripts, much of it tucked away in forgotten or inaccessible corners — is being digitized so that the collection can be accessed online. About 17,000 music tracks will be available for free streaming by the end of February, and later some of that music may be for sale as CDs or digital downloads. (NYT)

Photo: Mississippi Fred McDowell, Alan Lomax/Association for Cultural Equity

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RIP: David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards - 1915-2011

David “Honeyboy” Edwards, the son of a sharecropper, the grandson of a slave and — for an extraordinary 80-plus years — the voice of the Delta blues, died Monday at his home in Chicago, said his longtime manager, Michael Frank. He was 96 and had been in declining health with heart problems.

Edwards picked cotton and pulled corn on Mississippi Delta plantations from age 9, living the hard life that the blues were created to address. As a young man, he hoboed across the South with a guitar on his shoulder, rode the rails, got thrown in prison for vagrancy and on various trumped-up charges and, along the way, made music with the founders of the art form: Robert Johnson, Charlie Patton, Son House, Tommy McLennan, Sonny Boy Williamson and Big Joe Williams.

"Honeyboy — that’s the end of the line," said veteran Chicago blues musician Billy Branch, who recorded and performed with Edwards. "He’s the last of the bluesmen from his generation. He was that direct connection with the fabled Robert Johnson, and with [Edwards’ death] it is the end of that particular style."

"You could play the blues like it was a lonesome thing — it was a feeling," he said in a 1997 interview with the Chicago Tribune. “The blues is nothing but a story…. The verses which are sung in the blues is a true story, what people are doing … what they all went through. It’s not just a song, see?” (LAT)

contemplateandconsider:

David ‘Honeyboy’ Edwards - Just Like Jesse James

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Good night, you know who

thetakeaway:

We said “good morning” to Hurricane Irene today as it headed toward the East Coast. Hear how people from North Carolina to New Jersey are preparing for the impending storm this morning.

Also, tell us how you’re getting ready. Whether you are boarding up windows or stocking up on Cheetos, go here to upload photos and show us how you’re preparing for the weekend.

Desperate Music From American Icons
Hear songs from artists covered in Devil Sent the Rain. Tom Piazza’s collection of essays features pieces on several musicians whose songs and personae conjure, as he puts it, “the bottom of the American ladder.” (NPR)
ARTISTS IN THE MIX:
Alison Krauss
Allman Brothers
Bessie Smith
Big Bill Broonzy
Big Maceo Merriweather
Big Mama Thornton
Blind Lemon Jefferson
Blind Willie McTell
Bob Dylan
Bonnie Raitt
Carl Perkins
Cassandra Wilson
Charley Patton
Furry Lewis
Gillian Welch
Grateful Dead
Howlin’ Wolf
Jelly Roll Morton
Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers
Jimmie Rodgers
Jimmy Martin
Joe Liggins
John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson
Leroy Carr
Lucinda Williams
Ma Rainey
Memphis Minnie
Merle Haggard and the Strangers
Muddy Waters
Peetie Wheatstraw
Robert Johnson
Son House
Steve Earle
Tampa Red
The Rolling Stones
Willie Nelson
Photo: Muddy Waters in 1979. (Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Desperate Music From American Icons

Hear songs from artists covered in Devil Sent the RainTom Piazza’s collection of essays features pieces on several musicians whose songs and personae conjure, as he puts it, “the bottom of the American ladder.” (NPR)

ARTISTS IN THE MIX:

Alison Krauss

Allman Brothers

Bessie Smith

Big Bill Broonzy

Big Maceo Merriweather

Big Mama Thornton

Blind Lemon Jefferson

Blind Willie McTell

Bob Dylan

Bonnie Raitt

Carl Perkins

Cassandra Wilson

Charley Patton

Furry Lewis

Gillian Welch

Grateful Dead

Howlin’ Wolf

Jelly Roll Morton

Jelly Roll Morton & His Red Hot Peppers

Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmy Martin

Joe Liggins

John Lee “Sonny Boy” Williamson

Leroy Carr

Lucinda Williams

Ma Rainey

Memphis Minnie

Merle Haggard and the Strangers

Muddy Waters

Peetie Wheatstraw

Robert Johnson

Son House

Steve Earle

Tampa Red

The Rolling Stones

Willie Nelson

Photo: Muddy Waters in 1979. (Paul Natkin/WireImage)

Even as I recognized his strong presence in the style of some of my favorite musicians — and even as I was drawn to his cutting, mournful wails while my toes tapped along to his tales — it was harder to put my finger on exactly what Johnson had to say to me all these years after he first sat down to put these songs on record in the 1930s….
But then his voice would reach out from under lost cultural touchstones and crackling records and grab hold of me. 
You’ve Never Heard Robert Johnson’s ‘Complete Recordings’?!

Even as I recognized his strong presence in the style of some of my favorite musicians — and even as I was drawn to his cutting, mournful wails while my toes tapped along to his tales — it was harder to put my finger on exactly what Johnson had to say to me all these years after he first sat down to put these songs on record in the 1930s….

But then his voice would reach out from under lost cultural touchstones and crackling records and grab hold of me. 

You’ve Never Heard Robert Johnson’s ‘Complete Recordings’?!