Friday, March 30, 2012

Closed: But only Temporarily

Due to a death in the family the Washerman's Dog will be closing the music factory for some time.

Thanks for your understanding. Hope to be back pretty soon.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roll up Roll up!: Byron Bay Blues Fest 2012

Roll up roll up! A week from tomorrow the 23rd edition of the annual Byron Bay Blues Fest, the best music festival in the southern hemisphere, gets under way.  It’s another bumper crop of international and local talent this year with headliner John Fogerty, the once-upon-a-time chief of Creedence Clearwater Revival, taking top billing.  So be sure to have your flannel shirt pressed and ready for his show!

Other guests include Buddy Guy, John Hiatt, Angelique Kidjo, Keb’ Mo’, and the phenomenal Bettye LaVette. Father, Steve and son, Justin Townes will represent the Earle family. Several beloved dinosaurs will also put in an appearance, namely Crosby Stills and Nash, and The Pogues. Ms Candi Staton, will be basking in late career rediscovery. Ziggy Marley and Dweezil Zappa, meantime, will be reminding everyone of their brilliant dads’ music.

So hurry on down (or up depending on your location) set up your tent and get ready to enjoy the music, dolphins and blue ocean for 5 days in April.

To get you motivated here is a sample of just SOME of the artists who will be playing next week! 

            Track Listing:
            01 Keep On Chooglin' (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
02 September (Earth Wind and Fire)
03 Life Ain't What it Seems (John Butler Trio)
04 Knot Comes Loose (My Morning Jacket)
05 Are You Losing Your Mind (Buddy Guy)
06 Bus to Baton Rouge (Lucinda Williams)
07 Georgia Rae (John Hiatt)
08 Afia (Angelique Kidjo)
09 Get Ready (Sublime)
10 Good Morning Little School Girl (Jonny Lang)
11 Fallen Off a Rock (Sea Sick Steve)
12 Whole 'Nutha Thang (Keb' Mo')
13 Six Days And A Night (Candy Staton)
14 Lately I've Let Things Slide (Nick Lowe)
15 John Walker's Blues (Steve Earle)
16 I'm Nothin' Without You (Steve Earle)
17 Far Away In Another Town (Justin Townes Earle)
18 Feels like Rain (John Hiatt)
19 Beg Your Pardon (Josh Pyke)
20 Joy (Bettye LaVette)
21 Tuff Enuff (The Fabulous Thunderbirds)
22 Tswang Tswang Tswang (Vusi Mahlasela and Proud People's Band)
23 Long Ride (The Audreys)
24 Can't Be Satisfied (Harry Manx)
25 The Good Life (Ray Beadle and the Vipers)
26 On Your Way Down (Trombone Shorty feat. Allen Toussaint)
27 Sci-Fi Kid 2007 (Blitzen Trapper)
28 The Sheik Yerbouti (Frank Zappa)
29 The Last Time (Bettye LaVette)
30 Don't Look Now (Creedence Clearwater Revival)

Listen here.

Monday, March 26, 2012

True Soul Music: The Jackson Southernaires

The Jackson Southernaires

This morning I was awake early.  Strangely, an urge came over me to hear some sweet gospel music and I opened up YouTube to a stunning version of the Jackson Southernaires singing Walk Around Heaven All Day. 

It made me happy all day.

Throughout the United States, The Jackson Southernaires have become one of America's most outstanding gospel sensations. Frank Crisler formed the group in Jackson, Mississippi in 1940. Early on, the group followed in the footsteps of the famous Mississippi Blind Boys, but before long, they began to walk in their own distinct style, which is still evident today. They were the first gospel group in the state to use the guitar, bass, drum, and keyboard in their stage performance. 

In 1963, the group signed their first recording contract with Duke/Peacock Records. Their first release Too Late became one of the company's biggest albums. From 1972-75 the group was signed to the ABC/Dunhill label. In 1975, Malaco Records, an independent blues and R & B company, decided to build a gospel label. The rock that they decided to build upon was the Jackson Southernaires. This decision would prove to be pivotal for both parties. Since signing with Malaco, The Jackson Southernaires have gone on to record twenty top ten albums, of which four have become number one. 

The Southernaires are not only performers, but producers as well. They have produced albums by the Sensational Nightingales, J. J. Farley, and the Original Soul Stirrers, The Williams Family, The Truthettes, The D. R. Curry Memorial Choir, The Eveready's, The Angelic Gospel Singers, and The Fantastic Violinaires.

In 1979, the Southernaires received a Grammy nomination for Teddy Bear. In 1985 and 1986, they received a nomination from the Stellar Awards and The Gospel Music Workshop of America as the Traditional Male Group of the Year. In 1987, they received a nomination from the NAACP Image Award as the Traditional Male Group of the Year. For the years 1987, 1988, & 1989, they won awards from the GMWA for the Traditional Male Group of the Year. In 1989, they were nominated for and won a Stellar Award for the Traditional Male Group. 

The Jackson Southernaires sing true soul music.  There is no slack track on this album and Walk Around Heaven All Day is simply one of the sweets love songs ever composed. 

            Track Listing:
            01 Don't Let Him Catch you (With Your Work Undone)
02 Keep On Praying
03 Lord You've Been Good To Me
04 Save My Child
05 The Lord Will Make A Way Somehow
06 Walk Around Heaven All Day
07 Lord, I'm So Thankful
08 I'd Like To Recommend you To The Lord
09 Waiting On Jesus
10 Wonderful To Be Alive

Listen here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Striking the Perfect Tone: John Coltrane

John Coltrane

I was chatting to someone the other day who I discovered was a sax player. I mentioned that I’d been listening to Lush Life by John Coltrane a bit recently.  “Wow,” he said. “For us sax players his first note on Lush Life is the epitome of tone. The Holy Grail that we all strive to blow.”

I didn’t know that. You can learn something new everyday.

Anyway, though Lush Life is ‘early’ Coltrane and the massive summit of Love Supreme is many years off, it is an infectious record. They say, no one can sing the blues like Blind Willie McTell. Well, in my book, no one can blow the horn like John Coltrane.  And even at this early point in his career that tone and singularity of purpose comes shining through.

Have a pleasant Saturday night wherever you may be! And may your life be lush indeed!

            Track Listing:
            01 Like Someone In Love
02 I Love You
03 Trane's Slo Blues
04 Lush Life
05 I Hear A Rhapsody

Listen here.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Jazz as Compassion: John Handy and Ali Akbar Khan

John Handy is a saxophonist who teaches jazz and other good things in American universities, particularly around the San Francisco Bay area.  He started his jazz career in the late 1940s and spent considerable time playing and recording with Charlie Mingus in the late 1950s and early 60s. 

John Handy

In 1975, before such things were all the vogue, he made a record with Indian sarod player, Ustad Ali Akbar Khan. Titled Karuna Supreme, it is perhaps a complement to Coltrane’s Love Supreme. Karuna is a Buddhist concept/word signifying compassion. 

Ali Akbar Khan

It is a great record and I’ll let others tell you about it.  Enjoy!

Karuna Supreme, recorded in 1975, is one of the earliest true fusions of Indian music and jazz, and remains one of the most successful. John Handy's incredible mid-'60s quintet ably demonstrated his aptitude for modal playing, and Ali Akbar Khan had long been one of Indian music's greatest ambassadors. Like Khan, Zakir Hussain was also the son of one of India's finest musicians, and had been exposed to jazz as well from an early age (his father, Allah Rakha, recorded with Buddy Rich in addition to his long association with Ravi Shankar). The way these players find the common musical ground from their respective backgrounds is breathtaking. The album starts with the lively "Ganesha's Jubilee Dance," which has a simple but unforgettable melody that Handy and Khan use as a springboard for some amazing soloing. Handy's improvisations are melodic and effortless, and some of the rhythmic flourishes supplied by Ali Akbar Khan are incredible. Zakir Hussain is equally stunning, reacting instantly to whatever the soloist is doing, offering both support and drive to the piece. The title cut is slower and more contemplative, but no less beautiful, and a nice complement to the animated "Ganesha's Jubilee Dance." "The Soul and the Atma" is a bit more reminiscent of Indian classical music, with its alap-like introduction, but once the tabla kicks in, the structure opens up for more amazing improvising. It starts kind of slowly, but gradually builds intensity over the course of its 20-plus minutes. The level of communication among the players throughout this session would be difficult to surpass. This is one of those rare East-meets-West recordings that absolutely succeeds at every level. Highly recommended. (AMG)

            Track Listing:
01.   Ganesha’s Jubilee Dance
02.   Karuna Supreme
03.   The Soul and The Atma

Listen here.