Tuesday, April 6, 2010

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 168 #211)

Ends & Odds!!!
Joe spent time reviewing some of the more important points of Jim Liban's talk last week:
  • Melody, melody, melody!!! Learn the melodies and realize that it is all about the song, not about pyrotechnic playing. Does it serve the song? As Jim put it: "It's the song, stupid, it's the song."
  • One big point we all took away from Jim was the idea that altering the melody can happen by removing notes, not just by adding notes.
  • "Blues is a simple form of jazz." - Jim Liban
The logical follow-up to Jim's visit was to study Ends & Odds by Jimmy Reed. This is an instrumental version of his vocal tune, You Don't Have To Go, and a Jim Liban favorite. The first extended instrumental Jim demonstrated last week was an amazing exploration of the melody of this song. (transcription)

Joe points out that the tune has some very difficult bends in it, so woodshed with it before you play it publicly. As he put it: "Bending does not always equal blues." In this case the bends are a crucial part of the melody and need to be played accurately.

Harps for Haiti!!!
- thanks to Pocket Full of Soul producers for spreading the word on this:

Gary Allegretto, the founder of Harmonikids, is planning a trip to Haiti to deliver hope and harmonicas, and he needs your help. In the past, Gary has visited victims of Hurricane Katrina and the tsunami disaster in Indonesia. Harmonikids is the kind of program the kids in Haiti really need to bring them some sort of joy and entertainment during these most difficult times.

Harmonikids is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that provides music therapy to special needs children worldwide. Since 1985, Harmonikids has been actively providing the therapeutic healing power of teaching music to kids with incredible physical and emotional challenges.

For more information, video, testimonials, press, and to donate, please see:

Posthumous Gary Primich CD!!!
- thanks to Bob Corritore for this tip:

This news just in from Harri Haka: "A newly released CD collection of Gary Primich live performances in Finland called Gary Indiana, has been released by the Finnish Blues Society on the Blue Star record label."

Harmonica ace Gary Primich, passed away on Sept 23rd, 2007, at the early age of 49, so this continuance of his legacy is most welcome. For more information on the new release click here.

Class Notes
  • Joe is working on details for the Third Annual Chicago Blues Harp Bash for this September. He's in negotiations with Jerry Portnoy as a possible headliner but would definitely need sponsors to make this happen. If you are in a position to underwrite travel expenses (lodging for two nights, airline ticket), please let Joe know.
  • Special Jim Liban CD: This is an extremely rare opportunity to get your hands on never-before-released tunes by Jim Liban. These are mostly originals, from old cassettes, that showcase Jim's versatility as a harp player. DO NOT COPY THIS CD FOR FRIENDS. If you are out of town and would like a copy of this CD, Jim Liban has agreed to mail you one. Send him $12 and he will be kind enough to get the disc out to you:
Jim Liban
925 E. Wells Street
Apt. 823
Milwaukee, WI 53202
  • Our 14th B1 Blues Harmonica Recital at the Harlem Avenue Lounge is scheduled for May 28, 2010. Mark your calendars and start working on your material - Joe expects to have sign-up sheets available next week.
  • B1 welcomed Grammy award winner Scott Dirks in class last night! News on the blues history front is that there may be new film footage of Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson II). Apparently his family recently donated footage from 1942 and 1952 to the University of Georgia music archive. This is home movie material of Sonny Boy playing in front of grocery stores at promotional events for Interstate Grocers, plugging their cornmeal. We hope it's something we can all see soon! Thanks for stopping in Scott!
New Blues Book - "BluesSpeak" by Lincoln T. Beauchamp!!!
- courtesy of BlackJack at the Windy City Blues Society:

This incomparable anthology collects articles, interviews, fiction, and poetry from the Original Chicago Blues Annual, one of music history's most significant periodical blues publications. Founded and operated from 1989 to 1995 by African American musician and entrepreneur Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr., OCBA gave voice to the blues community and often frankly addressed contentious issues within the blues such as race, identity, prejudice, wealth, gender, and inequity.

"BluesSpeak" includes key selections from OCBA's (Original Chicago Blues Annual) seven issues and features candid interviews with Koko Taylor, Eddie Boyd, Famoudou Don Moye, Big Daddy Kinsey, Lester Bowie, Junior Wells, Billy Boy Arnold, Herb Kent, Barry Dolins, and many more. Also featured are heartfelt memorials to bygone blues artists, insightful observations on the state of the blues in Chicago and beyond, and dozens of photographs of performers, promoters, and other participants in the worldwide blues scene.

"This collection strikes an excellent balance between interview, blues reportage, and literary work and will be of interest to blues fans, scholars of black literature, and anyone interested in community arts." Barry Lee Pearson, coauthor of Robert Johnson: Lost and Found

Lincoln T. Beauchamp Jr. is a Chicago-based musician, writer, publisher, record producer and promoter. Muddy Waters gave him the name "Chicago Beau," and he has recorded and performed with some of the most respected names in music, including Memphis Slim, Archie Shepp, Pinetop Perkins, Fontella Bass, the Art Ensemble of Chicago, the African choir Amakhono We Sinto, and Frank Zappa.

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- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew