John Adam Estes (January 25, 1899 – June 5, 1977), best known as Sleepy John Estes or Sleepy John, was a American blues guitarist, songwriter and vocalist, born in Ripley, Lauderdale County, Tennessee.
Despite the fact that he performed for mixed black and white audiences in string band, jug band, and medicine show formats, his music retains a distinct ethnicity and has a particularly plaintive sound. Astonishingly, he recorded during six decades for Victor, Decca, Bluebird, Ora Nelle, Sun, Delmark, and others. Over the course of his career, his music remained simple yet powerful, and despite his sojourns to Memphis and Chicago he retained a traditional down-home sound. Some of his songs are deeply personal statements about his community and life, such as “Lawyer Clark” and “Floating Bridge.” Other compositions have universal appeal (“Drop Down Mama” and “Someday Baby”) and went on to become mainstays in the repertoires of countless musicians. One of the true masters of his idiom, he lived in poverty, yet was somehow capable of turning his experiences and the conditions of his life into compelling art. — Barry Lee Pearson
Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an African-American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, Mayfield is highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music. He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums. Curtis Mayfield is a winner of both the Grammy Legend Award (in 1994) and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (in 1995), and was a double inductee into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted as a member of The Impressions into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and again in 1999 as a solo artist. He is also a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee.
Awards and legacy
Mayfield has left a remarkable legacy for his introduction of social consciousness into R&B and for pioneering the funk style. Many of his recordings with the Impressions became anthems of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, and his most famous album, Super Fly, is regarded as an all-time great that influenced many and truly invented a new style of modern black music.
Mayfield’s solo Super Fly is ranked #69 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time.
The Impressions’ album/CD The Anthology 1961–1977 is ranked at #179 on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Albums of all time.
Along with his group The Impressions, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
In 1999, he was inducted into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist making him one of the few artists to become double inductees.
Posthumously, in 2000, he was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
He was a winner of the prestigious Grammy Legend Award in 1994.
He received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995.
The Impressions’ 1965 hit song, “People Get Ready”, composed by Mayfield, has been chosen as one of the Top 10 Best Songs Of All Time by a panel of 20 top industry songwriters and producers, including Paul McCartney, Brian Wilson, Hal David, and others, as reported to Britain’s Mojo music magazine.
The Impressions hits, People Get Ready and For Your Precious Love are both ranked on Rolling Stone Magazine’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, as #24 and #327 respectively.
Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (often shortened to Sgt. Pepper) is the eighth studio album by the English rock band The Beatles, released on 1 June 1967 on the Parlophone label and produced by George Martin. The album is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all time, and has since been recognised as one of the most important albums in the history of popular music, including songs such as “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” and “A Day in the Life“. Recorded over a 129-day period beginning in December 1966, Sgt. Pepper saw the band developing the production techniques of their previous album, Revolver. Martin’s innovative and lavish production included the orchestra usage and hired musicians ordered by the band. Genres such as music hall, rock and roll, pop rock, and traditional Indian music are covered. The album cover art, by English pop artist Peter Blake, depicts the band posing in front of a collage of their favourite celebrities, and has been widely acclaimed and imitated.
Sgt. Pepper has been on many lists of the best rock albums, including Rolling Stone, Bill Shapiro, Alternative Melbourne, Rod Underhill and VH1.
In 1987 Rolling Stone named Sgt. Pepper the best album of the last twenty years (1967–1987).
In 1997 Sgt. Pepper was named the number one greatest album of all time in a “Music of the Millennium” poll conducted by HMV, Channel 4, The Guardian and Classic FM.
In 1998 Q magazine readers placed it at number seven
in 2003 the TV network VH1 placed it at number 10.
In 2003, the album was ranked number 1 on Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the 500 greatest albums of all time.
In 2006, the album was chosen by Time magazine as one of the 100 best albums of all time.
In 2002, Q magazine placed it at number 13 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever.
The album was named as one of Classic Rock magazine’s “50 Albums That Built Prog Rock”.
In 2003, it was one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
In this spirit-numbing information age, we gorge on the web and on CNN, we cannot free our hands of our Blackberrys and lap-tops and cellphones, but, in the end, we know less and less … of each other … of our hearts … of our souls.
But Johnny Cash singing “I Walk The Line” or Hank sorrowing through “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” still gives us more insight in three minutes, tells us more about what matters most in our lives, than we get in an entire twenty-four-hour news cycle.
– Dana Jennings, in his magnificent book “Sing Me Back Home: Love, Death, and Country Music“
This is our first article in a series highlighting the best country songs. We start off by nominating songs from the start up till 1955. The next post will focus on songs from 1956-1965.
When we are through nominating songs.. probably around 70-80 songs.. we will pull it all together and put a list of the 20 best Country songs ever.. in JV’s humble opinion.
Our goal is to only nominate one song from each artist.. I’ve managed to do so on this first article (although it was tough only including one Hank Williams song….)
… and btw .. the songs are presented in random order…
Can The Circle Be Unbroken (Bye and Bye), The Carter Family
Produced by Art Satherley
Written by A.P. Carter
Big Joe Turner (born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr., May 18, 1911 – November 24, 1985) was an American blues shouter from Kansas City, Missouri.According to the songwriter Doc Pomus, “Rock and roll would have never happened without him.” Although he came to his greatest fame in the 1950s with his pioneering rock and roll recordings, particularly “Shake, Rattle and Roll“, Turner’s career as a performer stretched from the 1920s into the 1980s.Turner was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
The late The New York Times music critic Robert Palmer, said: “…his voice, pushing like a Count Basie solo, rich and grainy as a section of saxophones, which dominated the room with the sheer sumptuousness of its sound.”
In announcing Turner’s death in their December 1985 edition, the British music magazine, NME, described Turner as “the grandfather of rock and roll.”
Songwriter Dave Alvin wrote a song about an evening that he spent with Turner titled “Boss Of The Blues”. It was on his 2009 release, Dave Alvin & The Guilty Women.