American Festival Folk Blues (ALB 125)

SAM_0333LOCAL MAN ATTRIBUTES MYSTERIOUS MALADY TO “BLUES”                                                                                                Claims It’s The “Mos’ Powerful Bad Feeling I Done Ever Had”

(Columbus, Ohio) — His voice quavery and raw, local man Lightfoot McGee blamed his world of hurt on the nebulous psychological condition known as the Blues, which he claims were “fallin’ down like hail”. The itinerate musician says he noticed the symptoms when he woke up this mornin’ at which point, having rolled and tumbled the whole night long, he began a-weepin’ an’ a-moaning but still couldn’t get no relief.

The Blues, which area psychologist Becky Crane likened to “having a Hellhound on your tail”, presented itself with several physical manifestations, including McGee’s biscuit roller being gone, compulsive broom dusting and stones in his passway. Having tried hot foot powder all around his door and squeezing his lemon till the juice ran down his leg, McGee claims he still has “mean things all on my mind.”

Crane says she believes that McGee is going to have to beat his woman till he gets satisfied.

SAM_0334Editor’s Notes: This French 2 x Lp anthology more than lives up to its subtitle “A collection of authentic Blues By America’s Greatest Blues Artists”. Actually, one could argue that “authentic” is a somewhat problematic word in this context. While there’s no doubting the skill and sincerity of these performances, most are on electric instruments; not sure whether Messers Patton and Johnson would recognise them as “authentic”. I won’t split hairs though, this is stirring stuff.

Despite being an ex-library copy American Festival Folk Blues is in great shape–contrary to whatever you teenage boys might say, “FML” stands for “Fulham Metropolitan Library.” The chap who bought this record paid 40p less for it than I did some three decades later when I picked up last week.


Published in: on April 13, 2014 at 9:01 am  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. this reminds me of something a friend of mine told me a while back: he was having a discussion with some guy who was a massive blues fan, and told him he liked george thorogood. the guy replied in the best way he could find to criticise without offending: “yes well, that’s the commercial end of the market”…

    • Your friend’s friend sounds remarkably diplomatic under the circumstances. I’m conflicted about Thorogood, Bonamassa, et. al; however well-intentioned and talented they are, I can’t help feeling that it’s been done. So the only time i listen to Stevie Ray Vaughn, it’s when he’s playing with David Bowie.

  2. about 18 months ago i went to a mini school reunion, and a guy i would have put money on to be there couldn’t make it. apparently he had already got tickets for some blues rock guitarist at the bournemouth international centre. as the venue is hardly the local boozer, out of curiosity i looked up what “legend” might be on that night that was keeping him away – eric clapton? bb king? jimmy page? jeff beck? maybe even someone like robert cray? anyway, it turned out to be none of those, but some guy called joe bonamassa… who i’d never heard of before!

    • Guitar guys really, really rate Bonamassa. He’s the current god among that kind of crowd. One of my friends is likewise enthralled.

      I remember being somewhere a couple years ago where they were playing one of his records and I simply couldn’t decide when it was from. The moves were all so classic rock dated, and there was an 80s vibes as well. I enjoyed it as a novelty and was intrigued enough to ask behind the counter who it was.

      Bonamassa also featured in a documentary about Tom Dowd I saw a few months ago.

  3. as a favour to above-mentioned thorogood fan (and to be his chauffeur so he could get pissed) i once accompanied him to one of the man’s gigs. if i said i enjoyed it i would of course be a liar: every song sounded exactly the same, the venue was a dive that made the average launderette look welcoming, and the audience almost entirely consisted of scruffy middle-aged geezers that had at least one of the following: expanding forehead/pony tail/beer belly.
    at one point a motley support group that could have been made up of said punters came on and churned out some very thorogood-sounding fare for half an hour to indifference. the one moment of jocular relief for me was when george himself took the stage… and i realised his backing band were the same bunch that had been “entertaining” us earlier!

    • Apart from that, Mrs Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?

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