Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Homesick JAMES - Blues On The South Side 1964
"Homesick" James Williamson's 1998 album was called "Last Of TheBroomdusters", and he is indeed.
Originally a rhythm guitarist in hiscousin Elmore James' band The Broomdusters, Homesick James playssmouldering slow blues, tough mid-tempo grinds, and up-tempo boogiesbacked by a superb little combo which includes Jimmy Reed's lead guitaristEddie Taylor on bass, Bo Diddley's legendary drummer Clifton James, andHowlin' Wolf's sometime pianist Lafayette Leake, one of the best in thebusiness.
Probably the best album he ever laid down, "Blues On The South Side" isthe reason why Billy Boy Arnold's 1963 album is titled "More Blues On TheSouth Side".
It is not the most original blues record ever released, and Williamson'sstylistic similarities to Elmore James are obvious - as is his apparentfondness for John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson's "Good Morning Little SchoolGirl", which is recycled as "The Woman I'm Lovin'" and the instrumental"Homesick's Blues".
But Homesick's playing is tough as nails, and hisvocals make up in intensity for what they lack in pure power (just listento his rendition of Robert Johnson's "Stones In My Passway").
The sound is excellent, digitally remastered as early as 1990, and everysong is worth a listen...no need to keep the remote nearby. Not everythingis as immediately memorable as Elmore James' best sides, sure, but thereis more than enough good stuff here to keep any fan of classic electricblues with plenty of grit interested for the entire 37 minutes.
By Docendo Discimus.
There is a nature of playing blues guitar that has gone out of fashion, so out of fashion that for some artists, the sound has been rediscovered ... that sound is know as as “Bottle Neck” and it comes right from using the neck of a broken bottle to make the strings talk. Many traditional Blues Men had a series of bottle necks, and due to the nature of the glass, each created its own unique sound. Soon, manufacturing, and standardization replaced the need for using actual bottles, and just as soon, all of the notes, and all of the musicians began to sound the same ... in order to develop a signature sound, the style of playing changed, and with that change much was lost. See, blues wasn’t just about the notes, or the attitude, or the lyrics ... when someone talks about Delta Blues, they’re not just talking about a style or where the artist was from ... they are talking about the actual sound, and that sound was and eerie one, full of heat, passion, the crying and chirping of the Delta and mountain insects at night ... bottle necking created the feel of the Delta area, like the sweat that rolls down the back of your neck ... though this traditional style ran as far north as Tennessee.
As with Jazz, and Jazz has its roots in the deepest south, this technique bypassed the frets, allowing for quarter and semi tones to create an emotional tension ... once you hear this style for real, you will understand the true nature of the blues.
One of the best and most recognizable of the traditional artists was Homesick James [James Williamson] the cousin of Elmore James, who may have been one of the first to use a metal tube, replacing the glass, and gaining a much sharper tone [that complimented his vocals perfectly], yet he was still able to maintain the same quality of tonality. But his differences did not stop there ... for one he was completely self taught and tuned his guitar to and open B, very unorthodox, thus lowering both the treble and bass, creating an instantly recognizable sound.
But this is all technical, and the real point is that this is traditional blues, by a man who had an early, and life long passion for the music. The songs are bright and spirited, and raucous ... sounding like a religious revival. This sound and style may seem odd at first, but you will quickly be drawn to the simple passion and grace for the source material. There is nothing done for show here, this is all about the music, this is the source material. You may, for the first time in you life, hear the actual essence of what contemporary blues artists have been trying so hard to distill ... and failing at so helplessly.
This is a sweet taste of your grandma’s original apple pie, cooling in the mountain breeze, on an open window sill ... not that store bought stuff.
Eddie Taylor and Clifton James
01. The Woman I´m Lovin´ 2:08
02. She may Be Your Woman 2:45
03. Goin´ Down Swingin´ 3:50
04. Homesick´s Shuffle 4:18
05. Johnny Mae 3:37
06. Gotta Move 2:37
07. Lonesome Road 3:28
08. Working With Homesick 3:.25
09. The Cloud Is Crying 3:32
10. Homesick´s Blues 3:12
11. Crawlin´ 2:10
12. Stones in My Passway 3:21