No two ways about it, the most influential slide guitarist of the postwar period was Elmore James, hands down. Although his early demise from heart failure kept him from enjoying the fruits of the ’60s blues revival as his contemporaries Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf did, James left a wide influential trail behind him. And that influence continues to the present time — in approach, attitude and tone — in just about every guitar player who puts a slide on his finger and wails the blues.
~Cub Koda (allmusic.com)
….. Either way, its daring sonic adventures and consistently stunning songcraft set the standard for what pop/rock could achieve. Even after Sgt. Pepper, Revolver stands as the ultimate modern pop album and it’s still as emulated as it was upon its original release.
~Stephen Thomas Erlewine (allmusic.com)
Sammi Smith (August 5, 1943 – February 12, 2005) was an American country music singer and songwriter. Born Jewel Faye Smith, she is best known for her 1971 country/pop crossover hit, “Help Me Make It Through the Night”, which was written by Kris Kristofferson. She became one of the few women in the outlaw country movement during the 1970s.
Luther Monroe Perkins (January 8, 1928 – August 5, 1968) was an American country music guitarist and a member of the Tennessee Three, the backup band for singer Johnny Cash. Perkins was an iconic figure in what would become known as rockabilly music. His creatively simple, sparsely-embellished, rhythmic use of Fender Esquire, Jazzmaster and Jaguar guitars is credited for creating Cash’s signature “boom-chicka-boom” style.
The Stooges is the self-titled debut studio album by American rock band The Stooges, released 5 August 1969 on Elektra Records. Two songs, “I Wanna Be Your Dog” and “1969”, were released as singles and the album peaked at #106 on the Billboard album charts. It is widely considered one of the best proto-punk albums. With Ron Asheton’s walls of distortion, and distorted wah wah solos, textures and power chord riffs, it is also considered to have had an impact on hard rock.
On August 5, 1951, after a Sonny Boy Williamson II recording session, Elmore James recorded “Dust My Broom” at Ivan Scott’s Radio Service Studio in Jackson, Mississippi. James, who provided the vocals and amplified slide guitar, is accompanied by Williamson on harmonica, Leonard Ware on bass, and Frock O’Dell on drums. The recording studio had not made the transition to tape technology, so the group was recorded direct-to-disc using one microphone. It was the only song recorded by James; Trumpet’s McMurray felt that his other songs were not suitable for recording
Bob Dylan (born Robert Allen Zimmerman; May 24, 1941) has been an influential figure in popular music and culture for more than five decades. Much of his most celebrated work dates from the 1960s when he was an informal chronicler and a seemingly reluctant figurehead of social unrest. A number of Dylan’s early songs, such as “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Times They Are a-Changin’”, became anthems for the US civil rights and anti-war movements. Leaving his first base in the culture of folk music behind, Dylan’s six-minute single “Like a Rolling Stone” radically altered the parameters of popular music in 1965. His recordings employing electric instruments attracted denunciation and criticism from others in the folk movement.
Rosanne Cash (born May 24, 1955) is an American singer-songwriter and author. She is the eldest daughter of country music icon Johnny Cash and his first wife, Vivian Liberto Cash Distin.
Gene Clark, born Harold Eugene Clark (November 17, 1944 – May 24, 1991) was an American singer-songwriter, and one of the founding members of the folk-rock group The Byrds.
Elmore James (January 27, 1918 – May 24, 1963) was an American blues guitarist, singer, songwriter and band leader. He was known as “the King of the Slide Guitar” and had a unique guitar style, noted for his use of loud amplification and his stirring voice.
Edward Kennedy “Duke” Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and big-band leader. Ellington wrote over 1,000 compositions. In the opinion of Bob Blumenthal of The Boston Globe “In the century since his birth, there has been no greater composer, American or otherwise, than Edward Kennedy Ellington.” A major figure in the history of jazz, Ellington’s music stretched into various other genres, including blues, gospel, film scores, popular, and classical. His career spanned more than 50 years and included leading his orchestra, composing an inexhaustible songbook, scoring for movies, composing stage musicals, and world tours.
Today it’s the date that the greatest slide guitarist of all time, Elmore James, was born in 1918. Like so many others I got to know his music through other artists interpretations of his songs. Since then I’ve learned to love the original versions by Mr. James himself.
The Sky is Crying:
A lot of the songs have become part of the rock’n roll canon, but my list is put together by some well known treasures as well as some gems that are not known to everyone.
Robert Calvin “Bobby” Bland (born January 27, 1930), is also known as Bobby “Blue” Bland. He is an original member of the Beale Streeters, and is sometimes referred to as the “Lion of the Blues”. Along with such artists as Sam Cooke, Ray Charles, and Junior Parker, Bland developed a sound that mixed gospel with the bluesand R&B.
It’s my own fault, B.B. King and Bobby Bland live on Soul Train:
Bobby Bland was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. He was also inducted into The Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
Happy birthday Bobby Bland!
This great picture was taken when Elvis returned to the WDIA Goodwill Revue on December 6, 1957, it’s a stylish shot of him ‘talking shop’ withLittle Junior Parker and Bobby ‘Blue‘ Bland and appeared in Memphis’s mainstream afternoon paper, ‘The Press-Scimitar’, accompanied by a short feature that made Elvis’ feelings abundantly clear. ‘It was the real thing’, he said, summing up both performance and audience response. ‘Right from the heart’ (Elvis Australia)
Allmusic.com (Bill Dahl):
Bobby Bland earned his enduring blues superstar status the hard way: without a guitar, harmonica, or any other instrument to fall back upon. All Bland had to offer was his magnificent voice, a tremendously powerful instrument in his early heyday, injected with charisma and melisma to spare. Just ask his legion of female fans, who deemed him a sex symbol late into his career. (Read More)
My Favourite Bobby Bland track is his version of St. James Infirmary, and thankfully it is part of today’s Spotify album, but here is a very nice live version:
Bland was born in the small town of Rosemark, Tennessee. Later moving to Memphis with his mother, Bland started singing with local gospel groups there, including amongst others The Miniatures. Eager to expand his interests, he began frequenting the city’s famous Beale Street where he became associated with an ad hoc circle of aspiring musicians named, not unnaturally, the Beale Streeters.
Bland’s recordings from the early 1950s show him striving for individuality, but any progress was halted by a spell in the U.S. Army. When the singer returned to Memphis in 1954 he found several of his former associates, including Johnny Ace, enjoying considerable success, while Bland’s recording label, Duke, had been sold to Houston entrepreneur Don Robey.
In 1956 Bland began touring with Junior Parker. Initially he doubled as valet and driver, a role he reportedly fulfilled for B. B. Kingand Rosco Gordon. Simultaneously, Bland began asserting his characteristic vocal style. Melodic big-band blues singles, including “Farther Up the Road” (1957) and “Little Boy Blue” (1958) reached the US R&B Top 10, but Bobby’s craft was most clearly heard on a series of early 1960s releases including “Cry Cry Cry”, “I Pity The Fool” and the sparkling “Turn On Your Love Light”, which became a much-covered standard.
Todays chosen album is the classic, Two Steps From The Blues: