Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What Did You Miss This Week? (Week 380 #424)

Sweet Home Chicago!!!

Conversation and listening continued this week on our study song, Sweet Home Chicago. Shoji shared these tunes with us:
  • Kokomo Blues, Scrapper Blackwell from the early 30s
  • Baby Don't You Wanna Go, Leroy Carr, 1928 - it is Shoji's opinion that Robert Johnson is working to imitate the left hand work of Leroy Carr shuffling
  • Baby Don't You Want To Go, Tommy McClennan, 1939; note the guitar style that is very different from Johnson's
  • Sweet Home Chicago, Walter Horton 1978
  • Sweet Home Chicago, Luther Tucker with Kim Wilson, 1990 or 91
  • Sweet Home Chicago, Luther Johnson with Muddy's band and probably Jerry Portnoy, 1976
  • Sweet Home Chicago, The Blues Brothers with Duck Dunn, Matt Guitar Murphy and Ron Cropper
Discussion covered guitar styles and which songs influenced (or may have influenced) which. We also talked a little about the confusing lyrics and our own Einstein did a little web searching that turned up this scholarly discussion:

"This essay examines some historical questions and cultural constructions surrounding the song “Sweet Home Chicago” and its composer Robert Johnson. Noting that while the song has enjoyed long life, Johnson's lyric (describing Chicago as a “land of California”) has not, the essay critiques primitivist readings of Johnson while posing an African American cultural myth - Chicago as promised land of the Great Migration -as the subtext of his puzzling line. Finally, it considers whether mundane-sounding revisions of Johnson's lyric indicate a reduction in Chicago's mythic status, from safe haven to “same old place.”"

Class Notes
  • See you in B1!
Jason Ricci in B1!!!

Mark your calendars for January 26! The incredibly talented Jason Ricci will be in Chicagoland recording a new disc with Nick Moss and the two of them are going to come visit B1.

Remember, if you're reading this and are in the area, you are always welcome to join us for special guest nights like this, so come on down!

- Grant Kessler, B1 Blues Crew