Memphis Minnie

I recently read this excellent book written by Garth Cartwright that I thoroughly recommend, you can read an extract here, in short a musical road trip through the US in which the author meets some lesser known musical heroes and heroines, well lesser known to me that is and that’s really what prompted this post. As much as I liked to think I have a decent grounding in popular music history in truth my knowledge only scratches the surface, so reading the book I came across a few names that were new to me or as in this case I’d heard the name but couldn’t recall a single tune, I’d already learnt from the book a few basics, including what appears to be the most cited fact that When the Levee Breaks a 1929 Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy song was covered by Led Zeppelin and used by Bob Dylan for his The Levee’s Gonna Break track from the Modern Times album, in fact the list of covers is quite extensive.

Kansas Joe & Memphis Minnie – When the Levee Breaks

I guess I could cut / paste and edit to my hearts content with her story, but given I’ve done my research with a mouse, keyboard and Google I’ll let you do the same and merely thank the other folks for the enlightening articles and point you to a selection that I came across that paint a picture of this remarkable woman.

Memphis Minnie – Guitar Queen

Memphis Minnie brings it to Beale Street

Memphis Minnie Delta Boogie

The mother of electric blues guitarists

Recommend listening, including some 78 rips from Memphis Minnie @

eMusic has a host of albums to check out, I’ve downloaded some selected tracks from the Complete Recorded Works Series and plan another raid on subscription renewal.

Memphis Minnie on Hypem

Amazon has a few expensive looking books, I’ll be doing some more research before parting with any cash and a double CD which I’ve added to my Wish List.

The title of the book, well that comes from a familiar source to me, the title of a Alejandro Escovedo album, the words taken from the opening track Last to Know.

Alejandro Escovedo – Last To Know

Buy Alejandro Escovedo at Amazon

Download Alejandro Escovedo at iTunes

Jon Langford & Skull Orchard “Old Devils” (Bloodshot 2010)

If the No Depression community had it’s own Hall of Fame I’d be shouting from the rooftops for one particular nominee from these shores to be in the inaugural honours list that would be Jon Langford ,there’s no doubt in my mind that the former drummer and guitarist with punk band The Mekons is more than deserving of greater recognition.

With The Mekons Langford released an distinctly British indie cow-punk album Fear & Whiskey (Pitchfork , Popmatters, eMusic ) that is still as vital as it was on release back in ’85, after upping sticks and leaving the UK  to relocate in Chicago in ’92 Langford became a founder member of The Waco Brothers and mainstay of The Pine Valley Cosmonauts with numerous other collaborations and album guest appearances with fellow musicians including The Sadies, John Hiatt and Alejandro Escovedo, his wonderful art, a radio show and visual arts performances you’d be forgiven for thinking there was more than one Jon Langford.

His latest musical project is released on Bloodshot later this month, teaming up with fellow Waco Brothers stalwarts Alan Doughty (bass) and Joe Camarillo (drums) along with Jim Elkington (guitar) – collectively Skull Orchard (the name borrowed from Langford’s début solo album from 1998) the album Old Devils features 12 original tunes that leave no doubt that Langford’s a master at the mix and match of punk ethos, indie sensibilities and roots thematics, a really engaging album that refuses to be categorised and stands as another original piece of art from the prolific Mr Langford.

For those of us with functioning turntables the added the good news is in addition to the CD release the album gets a limited edition vinyl issue, this will include two extra tracks, bonus artwork (you know it’s going to be good) and a download of the album too of course.

UK Pre-order at Roughtrade

Jon Langford Bloodshot Store

Jon Langford & Skull Orchard – Getting Used to Uselessness

(Courtesy of Bloodshoot Records)

Alejandro Escovedo “Street Songs of Love”

Taking advantage of the unseasonally fine weather of late I’ve been keeping fellow motorists amused with my impromptu performances – window down, arm hanging out the car keeping time on the door, singing (I use that term – loosely) at the top of my voice, maybe it’s all the sunshine but I’ve being playing a lot of turn it up loud rock ‘n’ roll stuff over the last few weeks, got a kick-ass mix tape based around some recent albums I’ve acquired on shuffle and repeat to beat the boredom out of the rush hour, in the mix are tracks from Drive-by Truckers, Paul Weller, Gaslight Anthem, The Whybirds, American Aquarium, Scott H. Biram, Lucero, The Famous, Peter Case and Alejandro Escovedo who’s latest album is a real cracker in my opinion and making a strong case for my end of year top ten, the album includes guest appearances from The Boss on the track Faith and Ian Hunter on Down in the Bowery, factor in Chuck Prophet’s contribution and production by Tony Visconti you know you’re on to a good thing – highly recommended solid start to finish, read the song-by-song liner notes here

NPR World Cafe session

Listen to more samples and get the download @ eMusic
Related Posts with Thumbnails