Stevie Ray Vaughan

I don’t think that anyone will dispute that Stevie Ray Vaughan is one of the best guitarist that ever lived.

It is hard to believe he died 31 years ago. I can still vividly remember that August 27 ,1990. I had just finished an evening shift 15:00 to 23:00 pm, and decided to go for a drink in my favourite and local watering hole.

When I walked in I saw big men, covered in tattoos and piercings, with tears in their eyes. It wasn’t only them though everyone seemed to be sad, At first I thought that one of my drinking buddies had died. I hadn’t heard the news that day, They told me that SRV had died.

On August 27, 1990, at 12:50 a.m. (CDT), Vaughan and members of Eric Clapton’s touring entourage played an all-star encore jam session at Alpine Valley Music Theatre in Alpine Valley Resort in East Troy, Wisconsin. They then left for Midway International Airport in Chicago in a Bell 206B helicopter, the most common way for acts to enter and exit the venue, as there is only one road in and out, heavily used by fans.

The helicopter crashed into a nearby ski hill shortly after takeoff. Vaughan and the four others on board—pilot Jeff Brown, agent Bobby Brooks, bodyguard Nigel Browne, and tour manager Colin Smyth. all died. The helicopter was identified as being owned by Chicago-based company Omniflight Helicopters. Initial reports of the crash claimed that Clapton had also been killed.

On that day the sky really was crying as were many of his fans, me included. We all knew that there would never be anyone like him again.

Secret Language of the Blues: What the Lyrics Really Mean.

Many of my friends know that I have a passion for music. And you can’t have a passion for music if you don’t love the Blues. I interviewed Author and Blues aficionado ,Bob Cremer, about his book “Secret Language of the Blues: What the Lyrics Really Mean.”

Don’t just listen to blues lyrics, understand them!

No standard dictionary can help fans understand the hidden meaning of blues lyrics, but The Secret Language of the Blues lives up to its promise to do just that-to explain what the lyrics really mean. A comprehensive Blues Index of Words & Expressions containing over 1,600 entries provides indispensable help in deciphering this fascinating secret language and unlocking the mystery of allusion lurking behind such apparently innocent words as tea, frying pan and even Santa Claus!

Imagine the immense enjoyment of knowing the answers to such puzzling questions as:

  • Why a woman cooks cornbread for her husband but biscuits for her man?
  • Why a hobo rides the rails but avoids riding the rods at all costs?
  • Why a musician is heart-broken when a skin card falls but is elated when his dice do?
  • Why a man complains about too much eatin’ in the kitchen but a woman doesn’t?
  • Why a musician fears nothing more than receiving a “304” or “11-29”?
  • Why exactly a man wakes up cold in hand?
  • Why musicians want to slip someone in the Dozens?

But the book is much more than just a dictionary. Twelve information-packed chapters will help native- and non-native speakers of English alike to “speak the blues” in record time through extensive explanations of unique grammatical forms and the colloquial speech of the musicians who sing the blues. The Secret Language of the Blues is the perfect companion for blues fans worldwide. Double your listening pleasure by understanding the true meaning of the lyrics-the very soul of the blues! As blues musicians say, “It’s just dry long so”

sources

Happy Birthday John Lee Hooker

I say Happy Birthday John Lee Hooker, but the date is not really certain. There are a few dates between 1912 and 1923. However it appears that August 22 is correct.

Hooker’s date of birth is a subject of debate; the years 1912, 1915, 1917, 1920, and 1923 have all been suggested. Most official sources list 1917, though at times Hooker stated he was born in 1920. Information found in the 1920 and 1930 censuses indicates that he was actually born in 1912.In 2017, a series of events took place to celebrate the purported centenary of his birth. In the 1920 federal census, John Hooker is seven years old and one of nine children living with William and Minnie Hooker in Tutwiler, Mississippi.

Born into a Mississippi sharecropping family, Hooker learned to play the guitar from his stepfather and developed an interest in gospel music as a child. In 1943 he moved to Detroit, Michigan, where he made his mark as a blues musician. On such early records as “Boogie Chillen,” “Crawling King Snake,” and “Weeping Willow (Boogie)” (1948–49), Hooker, accompanied only by an electric guitar, revealed his best qualities: aggressive energy in fast boogies and no less intensity in stark, slow blues. A primitive guitarist, he played simple harmonies, pentatonic scales, and one-chord, modal harmonic structures. Later hits included “Dimples” (1956) and “Boom Boom” (1962). He toured widely from the 1950s and appeared in the motion pictures The Blues Brothers (1980) and The Color Purple (1985). Hooker, whose music influenced such bands as the Rolling Stones and the Animals, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991. Among the more than 100 albums he recorded are The Healer (1989), which features appearances by Bonnie Raitt and Carlos Santana; the Grammy Award-winning Don’t Look Back (1997); and The Best of Friends (1998).

John Lee Hooker, found refuge in music at an early age as he struggled with stuttering from childhood. In the biography Boogie Man: The Adventures of John Lee Hooker in the American Twentieth Century, author Charles Shaar Murray states, “Hooker sounds as if he has $100,000 worth of sophisticated digital goodies built in his chest and his throat. Yet his voice is quiet and muted, its tonal richness offset by a residual stammer and blurred by the deepest alluvial accents of the Mississippi Delta.”

Hooker’s stepfather, William Moore, taught him to play guitar when he was around 12 years old. It was then that Hooker was introduced to what would become his unique style of blues. When he was 14, Hooker ran away from Mississippi to try and make it as a musician. He lived for several years in Memphis, Tennessee, before ending up in Detroit. It was there that he showed up at the office of a record label owner named Bernard Besman and played the owner/producer his demo.

We may not know the exact birth date but we do know he died in his sleep on June 21, 2001, in Los Altos, California in his home. He is interred at the Chapel of the Chimes in Oakland, California. He was survived by eight children, 19 grandchildren, and numerous great-grandchildren.

Hooker was among hundreds of artists whose recordings were reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.

sources

YouTube

https://www.britannica.com/biography/John-Lee-Hooker

https://www.stutteringhelp.org/content/john-lee-hooker

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2001/jun/23/guardianobituaries

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Lee_Hooker

August 16 not a good day in Music history.

According to legend, as a young man living on a plantation in rural Mississippi, Robert Johnson had a tremendous desire to become a great blues musician. One of the legends often told says that Johnson was instructed to take his guitar to a crossroad near Dockery Plantation at midnight. (There are claims for at least a dozen other sites as the location of the crossroads.)There he was met by the Devil, who took the guitar and tuned it. The Devil played a few songs and then returned the guitar to Johnson, giving him mastery of the instrument. This story of a deal with the Devil at the crossroads mirrors the legend of Faust. In exchange for his soul, Johnson was able to create the blues for which he became famous.

The story was initially told of an older bluesman, Tommy Johnson (no relation), but he died in 1956, aged 60. It was more hauntingly apposite for Robert Johnson, who died in 1938, aged only 27, after a troubled life and an itinerant career. His only recordings, made a year before his death, still have a spooky quality even 80 years on.

His death was as mysterious as his life. He died on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27, near Greenwood, Mississippi, of unknown causes. His death was not reported publicly; he merely disappeared from the historical record and it was not until almost 30 years later, when Gayle Dean Wardlow, a Mississippi-based musicologist researching Johnson’s life, found his death certificate, which listed only the date and location, with no official cause of death. No formal autopsy was done; instead, a pro forma examination was done to file the death certificate, and no immediate cause of death was determined. It is likely he had congenital syphilis and it was suspected later by medical professionals that may have been a contributing factor in his death. However, 30 years of local legend and oral tradition had, like the rest of his life story, built a legend which has filled in gaps in the scant historical record.

Elvis Aaron Presley, aka Elvis, aka the “King of Rock and Roll”, he is regarded as one of the most significant cultural icons of the 20th century. His energized interpretations of songs and sexually provocative performance style, combined with a singularly potent mix of influences across color lines during a transformative era in race relations, led him to both great success and initial controversy.

Presley was born in Tupelo, Mississippi on January 8,1935.

On the evening of Tuesday, August 16, 1977, Presley was scheduled to fly out of Memphis to begin another tour. That afternoon, Ginger Alden discovered him in an unresponsive state on a bathroom floor. According to her eyewitness account, “Elvis looked as if his entire body had completely frozen in a seated position while using the toilet and then had fallen forward, in that fixed position, directly in front of it. … It was clear that, from the time whatever hit him to the moment he had landed on the floor, Elvis hadn’t moved.”[295] Attempts to revive him failed, and his death was officially pronounced at 3:30 p.m. at the Baptist Memorial Hospital.

I remember that day as if it was Yesterday. I was 9 at the time. I came home from school and my mother asked me “Guess who died today?” I asked who, she replied Elvis. Trying to be the tough guy I said “What is it to me?” . But when I went to my room, I cried for the rest of the day.

Joseph Ronald Drew, or Ronnie Drew was an Irish singer, folk musician and actor who achieved international fame during a fifty-year career recording with The Dubliners. He is most recognised for his lead vocals on the single “Seven Drunken Nights” and “The Irish Rover” both charting in the UK top 10 and then performed on TOTP. He was recognisable for his long beard and pale blue eyes and his voice.

On 25 October 2007, Drew—now bald and beardless—appeared on Ryan Confidential on RTÉ 1 to give an interview about his role in The Dubliners, his life since leaving the band and being diagnosed with throat cancer. Later in 2007, he appeared on The Late Late Show, where he spoke some more about the death of his wife and his ongoing treatment for cancer.

Drew died in St. Vincent’s Hospital, Dublin on 16 August 2008, following his long illness. He was buried three days later in Redford Cemetery in Greystones.

Aretha Franklin was an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. Referred to as the “Queen of Soul”, she is regarded as the most influential female vocalist of the 1960s. Franklin began her career as a child, singing gospel at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, Michigan, where her father C. L. Franklin was a minister.

On August 13, 2018, Franklin was reported to be gravely ill at her home in Riverfront Towers, Detroit.[She was under hospice care and surrounded by friends and family. Stevie Wonder, Jesse Jackson and former husband Glynn Turman visited her on her deathbed. Aretha Franklin died at her home on August 16, 2018, aged 76, without a will.The cause of death was a malignant pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (pNET),which is distinct from the most common form of pancreatic cancer.[Numerous celebrities in the entertainment industry and politicians paid tribute to Franklin, including former U.S. President Barack Obama who said she “helped define the American experience”.[ Civil rights activist and minister Al Sharpton called her a “civil rights and humanitarian icon”.

Happy Birthday Eric Clapton

There are guitarist: amateur, professional, hobbyists, virtuoso and there is Eric Clapton. To me and many others the undisputed best guitarist ever. I don’t even mention him in my top 10list because he basically is a league on his own.

Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English rock and blues guitarist, singer, and songwriter. He is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist and separately as a member of the Yardbirds and of Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.

Eric Clapton was born on 30 March 1945 in Ripley, Surrey, England, to 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton (7 January 1929 – March 1999) and Edward Walter Fryer (21 March 1920 – 15 May 1985), a 25-year-old soldier from Montreal, Quebec.

After a brief encounter between 16-year-old Patricia Clapton and Edward Walter Fryer ,a 24-year-old Canadian soldier stationed in England during Second World War, Eric Clapton was born and then raised by his grandparents in Ripley, a village outside London.

Edward returned to Canada after the war and never knew of his famous son in his lifetime. Music was very much a part of his whole adult life, playing piano and singing in pubs at the time he met Eric’s mother in England. It was said he had a sound like Nat King Cole. Eric Clapton got an acoustic Hoyer guitar, made in Germany, for his thirteenth birthday, and musical history was made.

Elvis, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Eddie van Halen and Jim Croce all influenced my musical taste in one way or another but it was Eric Clapton who defined it.

Celebrating his birthday with some of his music.

For my mum

On 20 March 1991, Clapton’s four-year-old son, Conor, died after falling from the 53rd-floor window of his mother’s friend’s New York City apartment at 117 East 57th Street. Conor’s funeral took place on 28 March at St Mary Magdalene’s Church in Clapton’s home village in Ripley, Surrey. This tragedy inspired Eric Clapton to write the song Tears in Heaven, which he co wrote with Will Jennings.

He even sounds great on a mash up of Billie Jean.

Rory Gallagher- One of my few regrets

There are very few regrets I have, but I do regret that I did not buy tickets on January5,1995 for Rory Gallagher in my hometown of Geleen, in the Netherlands. The concert was in de Hanenhof which would not be world’s best venue but it could hold a decent amount of music fans.

At the time I thought, I will catch him another time, He did tour the Netherlands a lot. In fact he was popular all over Europe except for Ireland, which ironically is where he was born and grew up.

In the later years of his life, Gallagher had developed a phobia of flying(something I can identify with) . To overcome this, he was prescribed various drugs. By the time of his final performance on 10 January 1995 in Nighttown, Rotterdam the Netherlands ,he was visibly ill with severe abdominal pain and the tour had to be cancelled. He was prescribed paracetamol for the pain, a drug that can be extremely harmful to the liver, especially with a heavy drinker such as Gallagher.[

Gallagher was admitted to London’s King’s College Hospital in March 1995, and it was only then that the extent of his ill health became apparent; his liver was failing and the doctors determined that, in spite of his young age, a liver transplant was the only possible course of action.[52] After thirteen weeks in intensive care, while waiting to be transferred to a convalescent home, his health suddenly worsened when he contracted a staphylococcal (MRSA) infection, and he died on 14 June 1995, at the age of 47.

Today marks his birthday, he would have been 73.

source

https://concerts.fandom.com/wiki/January_10,_1995_Nighttown,_Rotterdam,_NED

Elvis Presley and Robert Johnson

 

Why did I use the names of these 2 artists as the title of this blog? Because they had nothing in common.

Well that is not entirely true. Both were born in Mississippi and both died on the 16th of August, Elvis 42 years ago today and Robert Johnson 81 year ago today. Both were pioneers in their music genre.

Also they both shaped my musical taste. It is a simple fact that there will never be any stars of their magnitude again.

Elvis was and is the undisputed King of Rock N Roll.

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Whereas Robert Johnson was and is the undisputed King of the Blues.

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Both men were legends and met untimely deaths and both were victims of circumstance.

I will not go to deep into their lives because there is nothing more that I can add to their stories. Below are 2 blogs though I have done in the past.

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/02/23/elvis-and-the-colonel/

https://dirkdeklein.net/2016/04/27/did-robert-johnson-sell-his-soul-to-the-devil/

Let’s celebrate their lives with some of their music.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

RIP Elvis and Robert. Thank you for the music

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Lonnie Mack- Guitar Hero

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Needless to say that 2016 has been a devastating year for the music industry so many iconic artists have died, but one musician that is so often forgotten in this year’s review shows and lists is Lonnie Mack.

Lonnie Mack, the blues-rock pioneer who influenced an entire generation of guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Duane Allman, Eric Clapton and Keith Richards,died aged 74 on the 21st of April, the same day as Prince.

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In his 1963 hit single instrumentals, “Memphis” and “Wham!”, he “attacked the strings with fast, aggressive single-string phrasing and a seamless rhythm style”, to produce a previously unheard sound that was “savagely wild [but] perfectly controlled.

Below are songs of guitarist who were heavily influenced by Lonnie Mack. Some of them he’ll be gigging with up in heaven.

Stevie Ray Vaughan

 

Jeff Beck

 

Eric Clapton

Duane Allman

Keith Richards

 

One more from the great man himself

Did Robert Johnson sell his Soul to the Devil?

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If there would be a King of Blues it probably would be Robert Johnson. He was also one of the first of the ‘Club of 27’ musicians who all died age 27.

I wonder if anyone born after 1990 knows of this musical legend. The blues is no doubt the foundation of Rock N Roll , RNB and Pop music. Anyone who says they don’t like blues basically say they don’t like popular music.

Robert Johnson was and is the influence of guitarists like Eric Clapton and Keith Richards and numerous other guitar virtuosos.

Robert Leroy Johnson (May 8, 1911 – August 16, 1938) was an American blues singer-songwriter and musician. His landmark recordings in 1936 and 1937 display a combination of singing, guitar skills, and songwriting talent that has influenced later generations of musicians. Johnson’s shadowy and poorly documented life and death at age 27 have given rise to much legend, including the Faustian myth that he sold his soul to the devil at a crossroads to achieve success. As an itinerant performer who played mostly on street corners, in juke joints, and at Saturday night dances, Johnson had little commercial success or public recognition in his lifetime.

Legend or myth has it that Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil when he met him at a crossroads.

People say, that the crossroads where Robert Johnson made the pact with the devil is in Clarksdale where Highway 49 intersects with Highway 61. But, as can be seen from the events described above, that’s not the case. The crossroads, the one and only crossroads, where the Delta Blues emerged as a manifest entity in the person and music of Robert Johnson is at the south end of Rosedale where Highway 8 intersects with Highway 1. This will be disputed, as some people will dispute that Robert Johnson ever even made a deal with the devil.

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This is what the devil supposedly offered him

“You just another guitar player like all the rest, or you want to play that guitar like nobody ever played it before? Make a sound nobody ever heard before? You want to be the King of the Delta Blues and have all the whiskey and women you want?”

“You know where you are, Robert Johnson? You are standing in the middle of the crossroads. At midnight, that full moon is right over your head. You take one more step, you’ll be in Rosedale.

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You take this road to the east, you’ll get back over to Highway 61 in Cleveland, or you can turn around and go back down to Beulah or just go to the west and sit up on the levee and look at the River. But if you take one more step in the direction you’re headed, you going to be in Rosedale at midnight under this full October moon, and you are going to have the Blues like never known to this world. My left hand will be forever wrapped around your soul, and your music will possess all who hear it. That’s what’s going to happen. That’s what you better be prepared for. Your soul will belong to me. This is not just any crossroads. I put this “X” here for a reason, and I been waiting on you.” Robert Johnson rolls his head around, his eyes upwards in their sockets to stare at the blinding light of the moon which has now completely filled tie pitch-black Delta night, piercing his right eye like a bolt of lightning as the midnight hour hits. He looks the big man squarely in the eyes and says, “Step back, Devil-Man, I’m going to Rosedale. I am the Blues.” The man moves to one side and says, “Go on, Robert Johnson. You the King of the Delta Blues. Go on home to Rosedale. And when you get on up in town, you get you a plate of hot tamales because you going to be needing something on your stomach where you’re headed”

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Obviously we will never know if he did indeed sell his soul to the devil but the fact that within 6 months after this meeting he had gone from a mediocre musician to a virtuoso guitarist does fuel the speculation that his soul did belong to Beelzebub himself.

Of course then we have the elusive 30th song. Robert Johnson only recorded 29 songs but legend has it, he had written a 30th song and never released it. This song was part of the deal with the Devil, he was supposed to have written this for ‘the man at the Crossroads’

This song is also the subject of the 1986 Walter Hill movie called “Crossroads”. In my opinion the movie wasn’t great but it has one of the best soundtracks ever.

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Johnson died on August 16, 1938, at the age of 27, near Greenwood, Mississippi of unknown causes. Several differing accounts have described the events preceding his death. Johnson had been playing for a few weeks at a country dance in a town about 15 miles (24 km) from Greenwood. According to one theory, Johnson was murdered by the jealous husband of a woman with whom he had flirted. In an account by fellow blues legend Sonny Boy Williamson, Johnson had been flirting with a married woman at a dance, where she gave him a bottle of whiskey poisoned by her husband. When Johnson took the bottle, Williamson knocked it out of his hand, admonishing him to never drink from a bottle that he had not personally seen opened. Johnson replied, “Don’t ever knock a bottle out of my hand.” Soon after, he was offered another (poisoned) bottle and accepted it. Johnson is reported to have begun feeling ill the evening after and had to be helped back to his room in the early morning hours. Over the next three days his condition steadily worsened and witnesses reported that he died in a convulsive state of severe pain. Musicologist Robert “Mack” McCormick claimed to have tracked down the man who murdered Johnson and to have obtained a confession from him in a personal interview, but he has declined to reveal the man’s name.

While strychnine has been suggested as the poison that killed Johnson, at least one scholar has disputed the notion. Tom Graves, in his book Crossroads: The Life and Afterlife of Blues Legend Robert Johnson, relies on expert testimony from toxicologists to argue that strychnine has such a distinctive odor and taste that it cannot be disguised, even in strong liquor. Graves also claims that a significant amount of strychnine would have to be consumed in one sitting to be fatal, and that death from the poison would occur within hours, not days. Johnson’s contemporary David “Honeyboy” Edwards similarly noted that the poison could not have been strychnine, since Johnson would have died much more rapidly, instead of suffering for three days.

LeFlore County registrar Cornelia Jordan, after conducting an investigation into Johnson’s death for the state director of Vital Statistics, R.N. Whitfield, wrote on Johnson’s death certificate:

“I talked with the white man on whose place this negro died and I also talked with a negro woman on the place. The plantation owner said the negro man, seemingly about 26 years old, came from Tunica two or three weeks before he died to play banjo at a negro dance given there on the plantation. He stayed in the house with some of the negroes saying he wanted to pick cotton. The white man did not have a doctor for this negro as he had not worked for him. He was buried in a homemade coffin furnished by the county. The plantation owner said it was his opinion that the man died of syphilis”

Robert Johnson may have died a long time ago but his music still lives on.

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All that rests for me to do is to end this blog with one of his legendary songs.