Blues guitar instrumentals from the 1950s

These were classified as blues but I think you can call them R&B too. They feature three of the best guitarists of the era playing loud.

“Canton Mississippi Breakdown” (1954) has Elmore James and Ike Turner on guitar.

“Boogie Uproar” (1953) is by Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown. “Space Guitar” (1954) is by Johnny “Guitar” Watson.

The sax solos look back to the 1940s but the guitar solos are headed into the future.

The Flying Burrito Brothers’ ‘The Gilded Palace of Sin’

This is a great album from 1969. If you only want to try one song, listen to “Sin City”. Other similar albums are Sweethearts of the Rodeo by the Byrds and Gram Parsons’ solo albums, GP and Return of the Grievous Angel. They were Parsons’ recordings before and after the Flying Burrito Brothers.

This has the whole album

Rolling Stone on the Band


I am a big admirer of the Band and saw four of their concerts.  They did not indulge in the musical excesses common then – they just stood there and played.  I first saw them in 1970 – the concert was loud like their then new album Stage Fright.  It was great – crisp, rock and roll more than their earlier folkie sound.

This article  isn’t bad and I’m glad to see the Band get the publicity but I have some disagreements.

One factual point – Moondog Matinee was their sixth album, not their fifth.

The Band is by far their best album.

Stage Fright is half great, half bad.  I love “Strawberry Wine”, “Sleeping”, “Time to Kill” and “The Shape I’m In”.  To me, “W.S. Walcott Medicine Show” is a self conscious imitation of the old-fashioned sound and stories that were natural on The Band. “Just Another Whistle Stop” is bland mainstream rock.  Nothing distinguishes it from the other music popular then.  Great Band songs really stand out because they were so unique in how they brought the past into the present.

Cahoots is terrible.  The only good tracks are the first two – “Life Is a Carnival” and “When I Paint My Masterpiece”.

Before the Flood is a very accurate souvenir of what the 1974 tour shows were like.  I saw one in Philadelphia.  It’s shorter than the actual shows.  I saw Dylan do five acoustic songs and there are three here.  The Band did 11 songs and there are eight here.  The Band was excellent but the crowd kept calling out for Dylan when he was offstage.

I have read Dylan did not like the tour so I doubt it will be covered in the Bootleg Series releases.  That’s a shame.  There are more shows that were recorded and some have been bootlegged.  The performances were fine.  Maybe Dylan didn’t like it because it was more a recreation of 1966 than something new.  In 1974, the performances were met with adulation instead of the hostility from 1966.

I am not a big fan of The Last Waltz.  I was tired of seeing the same songs and the performances were not as good as their early ones.

I do like Moondog Matinee which emphasizes some lesser known songs by great artists such as “I’m Ready” (Fats Domino) and “Promised Land” (Chuck Berry).

I’m glad the article mentioned “Going, Going, Gone” which is the best song on the slight Planet Waves.

“Can You Please Crawl Our Your Window” was from an era (1965-67) when everything Dylan did was great.  It’s not up there with the previous singles like “Like a Rolling Stone” or “Positively 4th Street” but there aren’t many songs that are.

This is not the released take and I don’t think the Band was the backup.  Most Dylan stuff is not on YouTube.


Ruby Johnson

Ruby Johnson, a forgotten R&B artist on Stax in the 1960s:

Like the article’s author, I first learned about her from the great Stax Singles box set.

I then bought Johnson’s compilation album.

Here are some examples of her excellent recordings:



Trump investigations playlist

These songs were selected primarily for their titles.  Sometimes the chorus applies too.  The verses rarely do.

“I Fought the Law” – The Bobby Fuller Four or the Clash

“A Legal Matter” – The Who

“In the Jailhouse Now” – Jimmie Rodgers or Steve Earle

“Life in Prison” – Merle Haggard or the Byrds

“Stormy” – Classics IV

Professor Longhair’s 100th Birthday

Professor Longhair is my favorite New Orleans musician.  His piano playing is amazing and the rhythms are always pushed by the percussion.  There are lots of good albums but my favorite is Rock’N’Roll Gumbo which was recorded in 1974 but not released in the US until the mid-1980s.  His albums have huge overlaps on songs but that’s fine because the versions are always unique and worth listening to.