Ch. #34 – “Oh, I’m still a fool for the Blues”

 

I know, I know. There has been a lot of Blues related songs and topics on the blog in the last few weeks, but you have to humor me for another week. I haven’t been able to shake these Blues from me yet, but for good reasons.

As I alluded to in last week’s entry I had the good fortune to spend the better part of a week in Chicago this past week. Given my musical leanings one location I made sure to visit during my stay in town was 2120 South Michigan Avenue; the address of the legendary music studio and label Chess Records.

The music label is unfortunately not active anymore, but we remember and hold this label and studio at that Chicago address so dearly because of it’s importance in Blues and popular music history. During the 1950s and -60s this label and studio was the home of so many of the most revered Blues and early Rock & Roll musicians of the time period. To name drop a few; Howlin’ Wolf, Wille Dixon, Bo Diddley, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter, Buddy Guy, and Chuck Berry. Therefore the label and the people behind it, the Chess brothers, are rightfully to be credited for spreading these musicians and their music around all corners of the world and in the process turning the cogs and wheels in the machinery that gave us the boom in Rock music in the 1960s and continuous to this day shape popular music as we know it.

A keen reader and/or Blues fans may have noticed that I left out a certain name in that name drop. Rest assured it’s was completely intentional because he’s our the star of the hour. Whenever I think about the Blues one of the names I find the hardest to not think about is the eminent and venerable Muddy Waters.

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Ch. #33 – “When the Blues hit home”

 

As I’m writing this installment of my weekly series on this here blog I’m sitting on a plane bound to the Windy City, Chicago, for a last hurrah of my summer of 2019. And bound towards Chicago, the home and stomping grounds of the many, many artist that turned Blues electric, put it on vinyl and spread it across the world in the 1950s and early 1960s, how could I write about something else then the Blues?

For those of you that have followed the blog for a while or are a recent reader that have caught up with the backlog of “Rambling in B-Flat” shouldn’t be surprised to read that Blues and related music and genres are very dear to me. While I consume and am interested in music from a pretty broad spectrum of genres, I would have to put Blues up their as one of my absolute favorites if pushed into a corner.

So this is going to be my little story, or anecdote if you will, how I found the Blues and how it hasn’t released me since.

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Ch. #31 – “Woodstock and Hendrix”

 

As I have already mentioned and what has become a theme of several installments on this here blog already, this year spells the 50 year’s anniversary of a lot of significant things. Because looking back it turns out that a lot of, to quote the US National Recording Preservation Act of 2000 here, events that were “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” happened in 1969.

As for events directly related to music goes the event most people would associate with 1969 is Woodstock; the mythical music festival that took place in upstate New York that has been enshrined in our collective conscious for it’s pivotal role in the progression of popular music and for it’s cultural impact of both those who attended and those who did not alike.

If you are a regular follower of music journalistic outlets like Rolling Stone, NME, Pitchfork and so on you likely have been exposed to a number of articles the last few months talking about Woodstock. Several about the development and the ultimately unfortunate cancellation of the festival’s 50th anniversary edition, but of course also about the original festival itself.

It has been pretty inspiring lately to read all these articles with tidbits about legendary festival for some one who neither weren’t there or even was conceived at the time. Although there were many a great performer and narratives from Woodstock we could talk about, for me if I had to pick a single thing that I most associate with Woodstock it has to guitar maestro and virtuoso Jimi Hendrix.

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Ch. #22 – “How I rediscovered live music”

 

It’s funny for me to think about it today that there was a time when I generally frowned upon the concept of live music given how amped I’m about the thought about seeing a band I like in the flesh today. And remarkably that wasn’t all that long ago.

I should clarify that with “frowned” I didn’t necessarily mean that I thought live music was just bad, but I thought for the longest time that live performances were inferior to polished studio cuts. As far as I was concerned music were for the most time just better on record.

It was a belief I held for many years; from my early teenage years until almost my mid-20s. Then around that time in my life I got hung up on The White Stripes and began sifting deeper into their discography and footage of them performing. One faithful evening I decided to watch their live video album “Under Blackpool Lights“… and after that viewing I was a different man.

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Ch. #15 – “We’re Alive”

 

This week’s installment on the blog was just supposed to be another “new music alert” piece but the burning of the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris last Monday changed that. With the pictures after pictures of evocative imagery of the old church and grand artifact of European history burning down flashing before me in the week that has passed the song and the album I had in my mind to share had suddenly been filled with new meaning and association; “We’re Alive” by British Blues and Indie rockers Band of Skulls, of their newly released album “Love Is All You Love”.

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Ch. #10 – “Why am I rambling in B-flat?”

 

I’m going to go full meta today as I’m going to elaborate on the very title of this blog by trying to answer on the humble question; Why I’m rambling in B-flat?

That’s a two part question where the first part, the “rambling” part, I have already answered in the “About” page of this blog. Therefore I’m not going to go any deeper into that. Rather what I want to delve into is the second part of the question, the “B-flat” part.

So what’s the deal with B-flat? Well, first and foremost it’s a cute little riff on my first name, Bernhard. Secondly, and much more interestingly, it’s a historical reference to the early days of Rock and Roll and Pop music. To get us to that time and place in musical history we’ll be looking at Chuck Berry‘s Rock and Roll classic and firestarter “Johnny B. Goode”.

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Ch. #9 – “The return of The Black Keys”

 

This week I have no cute story or interesting factoid to convey. No fuzz or feathers, just highlighting a sweet new song from an awesome band.

That band in question would be The Black Keys, as last week Blues and Rock aficionados were blessed as the Blue Rock stalwarts released their first new music in almost 5 years in form of the dropped single “Lo/Hi”.

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