Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Shades of Blues

-Trouble in Mind - Aretha Franklin
-Gimme A Pigfoot - Laverne Baker
-Real Gone - Sam Taylor & His All Star Jazz Band
-I Ain't Got Nuthin But the Blues - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
-You Shook Me - Etta James
-(Got Me Runnin') Where you Want Me to Go - Brother Yusef
-Come On In My Kitchen - Chris Thomas King
-Follow the Drinking Gourd - Linda Tillery & Cultural Heritage Choir, Eric Bibb
-Burn Down the Cornfield - Charlie Musselwhite
-Every Planet We Reach is Dead - Gorillaz
-Idlewild Blues - Outkast
-When the Lights Go Out - Black Keys
-Blues is My Wailin' Wall - Mighty Mo Rodgers
-Muddy Water Blues - Paul Rodgers
-Elijah Rock - Ollabelle
-Can't Stop Thinking About You - Martin Sexton
-Rosewood - Cassandra Wilson
-Tell Me More and More and Then Some - Nina Simone

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Blues Union
I had very little prep time since I also taught the lesson that day, so I was kind of on autopilot. Maybe that explains all the repeats from my last set. I definitely tend to have default songs ...

-You Shook Me - Etta James
-Backlash Blues - Nina Simone
-All Over You - Jim Byrnes
-Love Me Like A Man - Bonnie Raitt
-Don't Ever Let Nobody Drag Your Spirit Down - Eric Bibb, Rory Block, Maria Muldaur
-I Ain't Got Nuthin But the Blues - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
-Kansas City Wrinkles - Count Basie
-Stormy Blues - Billie Holiday
-Lonely Avenue - Ray Charles
-Red Mud - Chris Thomas King
-Another Man Done Gone - Irma Thomas
-Dr Blues - Saffire - the Uppity Blues Women
-Gimme A Pigfoot - Laverne Baker
-How Come My Dog Don't Bark - Dr John
-Please Mr Jailer - Wynona Carr
-Harlem Nocturne - Sam Taylor & his All-Star Jazz Band


Mike and Reuel Workshop

The workshop went off pretty much without a hitch. We had two days of fantastic classes, and a dance which featured everything from up-and-coming DJs, old talents such as guest DJs Jenny Sowden and Dan Repsch, renditions of winning performances from recent blues events and a student performance. Oh, and lots of good dancing. All in all, a good weekend. Here is my set from that night:

-Gimme a Pigfoot - Laverne Baker
-Driving Wheel - Etta James
-Backlash Blues - Nina Simone
-Kansas City Wrinkles - Count Basie
-Sugar Blues - Preservation Hall Jazz Band
-I Ain't Got Nuthin But the Blues - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns
-Saga of Bill Bailey - Nancy Wilson

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Artist of the Week #4: Nina Simone

Nina Simone is hands down one of my favorite female blues artists, though her music covers much more than just blues. Her real name is actually Eunice Kathleen Waymon, and Nina Simone was a stage name she took on, I think partially to separate her actual identity from the secular music she was singing in clubs and thus to avoid disapproval. One of the reasons I love listening to Nina sing is because she is in my eyes one of the most emotive vocalists out there.  She spans the range from sultry to demure, defiant to submissive, angry to joyful ... and everything in between.  Nina has a tendency to sing very fluidly, not keeping strict time, which can sometimes make her music difficult to dance to. Personally, I find it inspiring as opposed to challenging. I've been listening to her much more recently, mainly because of the amount of routines that have been performed to her songs in the last year. And the variety in these performances is another reflection of Nina's range of emotion. Here are just the ones I know about:

In the Dark: by the students at NSS (and Shawn Hershey and Julie Brown performing it at Emerald City Blues Festival)
Do I Move You: Chris Mayer and Campbell Miller
I Put a Spell On You: Amanda Gruhl and Paul Mandel

However, I want to draw your attention to one particular song I just discovered. It's gritty, bluesy, honest and moving in all the best ways. Thoughts?

Backlash Blues - Nina Simone

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Artist of the Week #3: Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns

It's been a while, but I've been frolicking in New Orleans for the last week, so I was understandably distracted. The music in NOLA is incredible - live music pretty much every day, and the musicians are fantastic. I went to Preservation Hall, checked out Bourbon St and Frenchman, and strolled around the French quarter to the sounds of jazz. Needless to say, I was in heaven. The coolest thing was that there was a much stronger connection between the dancers and the musicians than in most other scene's I'd been to. Part of that was due to the fact that most of the musicians were from a similar generation. One of my favorite bands to listen to was Meschiya Lake's (she rotated through musicians though some were pretty consistent). I love the vintage brass sound, and her voice suits the music perfectly. Check out "I Ain't Got Nuthin But the Blues" from her album Lucky Devil (for those interested, I think Peter Loggins plays the washboard on some of the tracks).

I Ain't Got Nuthin But the Blues - Meschiya Lake and the Little Big Horns (Lucky Devil)