Monday, December 31, 2007

Only nine more to go ...

It's New Year's Eve, and I'm sitting here trying to think of nine more good things about the departing year so I can finish my list of ten, when up pops a link to the Buffalo Beast's rundown of the 50 Most Loathsome People of 2007, courtesy of, complete with spot-on ugly caricature of Hillary Clinton.

At this time, the link seems to have disappeared from RawStory. Can't even find it in their Archives. Do you suppose they had a threatening call from Ralph Reed's lawyers, complaining that their client didn't make the cut?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Monklite in Vermouth

Since LivePDX music critic Tom Dantoni named "Monklite in Vermouth" his favorite unreleased track of 2007, I thought I'd put it up for a short while on MySpace, so folks could hear it if they want to.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ten Things 2007: Number One

A series of posts spotlighting some things that made a bad year bearable.

1. "Is It News," Doyle Bramhall's amazing new genre-transcending CD.

Doyle Bramhall -- not to be confused with his guitar-slinging son, Doyle II -- is probably best known for his contribution as a songwriter to some of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan's biggest hits. Not to mention his influence (obvious once you've heard him) on SRV's vocal style, and his status as one of the great drummers in this line of music.

As his label, YepRoc, puts it, Bramhall had a key role in helping to create "the largest audience the blues has ever known." I suspect this new CD will further expand that audience.

Up to now, Bramhall's albums have been distinguished by matchless covers of songs like "I Can See Clearly Now," reborn as a Texas roadhouse rocker, and O. V. Wright's "I'd Rather Be Blind, Crippled and Crazy."

"Is It News" changes all that. This CD is all originals. Some of them are instant classics, like "Lost in the Congo" and "I'll Take You Away," the best new soul song I have heard in way too long a time. If radio stations played this kind of music, people would believe in radio again.

The album is somehow both thoroughly modern-sounding, even edgy, while also being a throwback to the days when bluesmen like Jimmy Reed routinely ignored the genre police and crashed the pop charts.

If you're a fan of rocking Texas R&B music, you probably didn't think they made records like this anymore. If you're among the people who think they're not supposed to like this kind of music, you may be surprised by your own answer to the question posed by the title.

You can hear four songs from the CD on Bramhall's MySpace page:

Monday, December 3, 2007

One of the Great Kill Shots

"I feel like Trotsky being rubbed out of the photograph," says Dave Marsh, whose name will always be synonymous with Creem, no matter who buys the "naming rights."

It's like somebody who toured with them for 15 minutes grabbing the rights to The Byrds name, using it to put some bar band on the Wallapaloozer circuit, and treating Roger McGuinn as a marginal figure. Oh wait, did that already happen?

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Best NW Recording -- Thank You, CBA

Tom Dantoni just called to let me know that the Cascade Blues Association has named "The Last of the Best" as NW Recording of the Year.

The CBA's version of the Oscar is the coveted Muddy Award, named of course for Muddy Waters. Tom emceed the event this year.

Apparently my bandmates Peter Dammann and Dave Kahl also won individual Muddies for their work on electric guitar and bass.

And if I understood Tom correctly, our Paul deLay tribute show at the Waterfront Blues Festival (for which we were joined by many great artists, including Duffy Bishop, Mark Dufresne, George Bisharat, and past members of the deLay band), was voted Performance of the Year.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Flatlining the Second Line

Way down yonder in New Orleans, where "unpermitted assemblies are against the law."

How Indie Music Lost Its Soul

An unmissable New Yorker article, which attempts to explain why rock and roll appears to have resegregated in the 1990s.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"Our tomorrow starts today"

It's 1984 all over again, after Bush's most Orwellian speech to date.

Freedom is on the march! Progress is being made!

If the president wants to get his slogans from Anbar Province, how about this one: "Greet Bush And Die."

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

The Nation's Longest Winning Streak ...

... in college football belongs to the Birmingham-Southern College Panthers. After winning their final two games in the 1939 season, the Panthers took a short break. On Sept. 7, picking up right where they left off, BSC opened the 2007 season with a win at Legion Field in Birmingham.

Some notable scores from Panther football history:
1934 BSC 7, Auburn 0
1930 BSC 7, Auburn 0
1928 BSC 6, Auburn 0

Friday, September 7, 2007

Ninth Ward Rapper

Check out this interview with New Orleans rapper Sess 4-5, who has a lot to say about Katrina and its aftermath. And watch his video for "Black Man" featuring L.O.G.

Great stuff, all courtesy of Hip Hop Daily News.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Press Code

The New York Times crept tortoise-like on its path to death by dullness with "Panel on Virginia Tech Shooting Issues Report," a story that used the word "communication" twice in the first sentence, thus signalling to readers that nothing of worth or interest would follow.
-- Heather Mallick on coverage of the Virgina Tech report.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Just Listen To Yourself

Here's senior Bush counselor and "top-tier lobbyist" Ed Gillespie, discussing fallout from the Larry Craig scandal, on Fox News:
"I think that we will not have candidates who have any kind of ethical considerations that will be a concern to the voters come 2008."

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Beauty Contest

Which was more stupid, the babbling beauty queen from South Carolina, or the networks that devoted air time to covering this important development?

Maybe they just know a natural born news anchor when they see one.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Scrambled Gonzales

What's in a name? Here are ten anagrams for Alberto Gonzales:
Loners Bag Zealot
Zero Ballast Gone
Last Bozo General
Tarzan Lose Globe
Snob Got Real Zeal
Alas Treble Gonzo
Tarzan Be Sell Goo
Earnest Bozo Gall
Large Ozone Blast
Legal Tzar One S.O.B.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Return of Len Wade

Red Kelly over at "The 'B' Side" has a wonderful post on soul singer Len Wade, who has never had the recognition he deserves. Now that Len's music has been used in The Sopranos, maybe that's about to change.

I knew Len back in my Birmingham days. I think it was Bobby Mizzell who introduced me to him. I remember that he recorded a fabulous cover of Fats Domino's "Valley of Tears."

Somebody needs to get this guy back into a studio and get him booked at some blues festivals. At the very least, we need a Best of Len Wade compilation, the sooner the better.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Spamming the Charts

Responding to my thoughts on Elvis, Michael Neumann argues persuasively in an e-mail that the whole subject of Elvis and race is far more complex than either Peter Guralnik's op-ed or my response to it would suggest.

Most interestingly, he observes that Presley's embrace of blues took place at a time when black audiences had already begun turning away from 'old-fashioned' music, toward crooners, jazz, vocal group music and other less 'country' material.

By way of illustration, Michael notes that 'Ricky Nelson had three times as many entries into the R&B charts between 1949 and 1971 as Howlin' Wolf.'

That little bit of jaw-dropping trivia provoked me to take a peek at Amazon's best-selling CDs in the Blues category. As of this morning, here are the artists with the Top Ten 'Blues' CDs:
  1. Amy Winehouse
  2. Joe Bonamassa
  3. Norah Jones
  4. Robben Ford
  5. Norah Jones
  6. Chrisette Michele
  7. O Brother, Where art Thou? (soundtrack)
  8. Mavis Staples
  9. Chris Duarte
  10. Robin Thicke
Coming in at No. 11 is that mighty bluesman, John Legend. Nothing against any of these artists, and I don't want to call the genre police, but some of these names just look ridiculous on a blues chart.

If they removed all the albums that have little or nothing to do with blues from the Top 100, Koko Taylor would probably jump all the way from No. 86 into the top tier, where she belongs.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Elvis and Racism: Round Two

Here's how this sort of thing usually plays out: it starts when some voices in the black community express their opinion that a prominent white figure (in this case, Elvis Presley) may be, or is, or was, a racist.
A prominent white defender (in this case, Peter Guralnik, on the op-ed page of the New York Times) then comes forward to assure us that it isn't so.

This is supposed to end the discussion.

Everyone is then invited to meditate on the good works of the accused, with particular emphasis on how black people are thought to have benefited from them.

I know the rules of the game. I just didn't feel like playing by them, when I wrote my response to Guralnik's op-ed. Consequently, I have been accused of smearing the King's memory and cordially invited by rockabilly enthusiast David "DC" Larson to "shut up."

At least Larson didn't accuse me, as another writer did, of implying that "Guralnick is OK with ax handles if Elvis' historical legacy is at stake."

Let me set a few things straight.

First, I didn't argue that "Elvis was a racist." In fact, all I had to say in my earlier piece -- about whether he was or wasn't -- was "Who cares?"

I stand by that.

Second, I didn't equate Elvis with Lee Atwater, or Peter Guralnik with Lester Maddox.

What I said was that part of Guralnik's logic -- that Presley's obvious love of black music is one indication that he couldn't have been a racist -- was flawed, in that it could apply as readily to someone as transparently bigoted as Lee Atwater.

(I suppose there is someone, somewhere, who will maintain that Atwater's dirty tricks stemmed not from bigotry in the heart but from heartless pragmatism. Again, who cares?)

I've also been charged with "guilt by association" for my comments about Elvis and the Statesmen Quartet. But it was Guralnik who associated Elvis with the Statesmen in this context, by invoking them as an example of Presley's "egalitarian" tastes.

Look: in 1964 Lester Maddox hit the roof of a black minister's car with a pick-ax handle, outside his restaurant. He later sold thousands of ax handles as "souvenirs" of his resistance to integration and "Godless Communism."

In 1971, the Statesmen were happily singing backup for Lester Maddox, on an LP called "God, Family and Country."

Six years later, according to Guralnik, they were singing at Elvis's funeral, by request.

It isn't about holding Elvis responsible for what some white gospel singers did. The point is that publicly linking themselves with a notorious race hater wasn't enough to get the Statesmen excluded from Presley's circle. What could they have done, do you suppose, that would have amounted to "going too far"?
Had Guralnik simply marked the 30th anniversary of Presley's death with a reflection on his role in opening the door and breaking down barriers, I'd wouldn't have bothered responding. Although frankly I do think the tired old meme was a bit of a stretch to begin with. It's one of those things we've heard so often, we all think it must be true.

Did Elvis really open the door for black artists? Was that ever his express intention or conscious motive? Or did he merely open the door for himself and other white artists to sing black music -- and to "sound black" -- without apology?

True, it all resulted in more opportunity for black artists, so much so that Little Richard could declare that the total effect of Elvis was "a blessing." You can give him credit for that, and for knowing the good stuff when he heard it, without trying to make him into the Frederick Douglass of modern music.

To depict Presley as some kind of great emancipator implies that artists like Chuck Berry and Fats Domino needed some white guy to set them free. One listen to "The Fat Man," and you know that Fats was already more free than Elvis would ever be, in 1949.

But Guralnik wasn't content to praise Elvis for his contributions; he had to set up a Straw Man, by whom Elvis had been "turned into a racist." That's what opened this can of worms.

If Guralnik was unaware of that Statesmen/Maddox album, it's simple: he shouldn't have been. (Did Elvis own a copy?) If he did know about it, why bring up the Statesmen in an article defending Elvis from a charge of racism? I don't know the answer; it's a pure puzzlement.

A commenter on this blog, who claims to have spoken with Guralnik recently, described him as believing that criticism of Presley in the black community is based on the following reasoning: "Elvis benefited from white racism -- that is why he was hailed as 'The King' -- so why would he not be a racist himself?" I doubt that those are Guralnik's words. I prefer to think it does him a disservice to suggest that he would stake his argument on so shallow a construction.

Others, like David "DC" Larson, in the absence of "proof," hotly attribute the charge of racism to urban legend, "slanderous myths" and a willingness to smear "the King."

To assume from the outset that the thinking behind "a view common in the African-American community" couldn't be reality-based -- that strikes me as interesting in itself.

Before leaping into full denial mode, and assuming we know why people think what they think, shouldn't we at least turn to a few representatives of the people who believe Elvis was a racist and (rather than demanding proof) say, "Can you tell us why you feel that way?" And then listen.

That the New York Times op-ed page editor should have done so -- before printing Guralnik's piece -- goes without saying.

A few more thoughts:

To give Elvis all this responsibility for racial progress and crown him "the king of rock and roll" is not unlike branding Bob Dylan "the voice of a generation," an asinine label Dylan has always had the good sense to reject. Bubba Ho-Tep was probably much closer to the truth.

Elvis himself said: "The king of rock and roll is Fats Domino." What part of that was unclear?

If the music of Elvis was really such a "socially unifying" force, I'd expect to look around and see some social unity. At least in places where his presence was felt and much of his music was made. Instead, I look at Nashville and I see one major black artist -- one! -- in a century of white singers, and no sign of another since Charlie Pride left the scene. If anybody that works down there today is embarrassed by that, they're keeping it to themselves.

And finally, if I could sit down with our rockabilly expert and Elvis defender David "DC" Larson, I'd ask him if he knows what attracted him to a genre where virtually all the artists "happen" to be white.

"Shut up," he'd probably explain.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Predictable Pairings on CNN and PBS

I turned on CNN last Friday -- expecting to find some news or something, don't ask me why -- just in time to hear Glenn Beck ask Deepak Chopra, "What is the meaning of life?"

What's next? The Dalai Lama on Rush Limbaugh? John Bradshaw and Marianne Williamson having tea with Ann Coulter?

The mere vision of Chopra and Beck sitting at a table together was all it took to explain why they appeared side-by-side at No. 25 and 24 on the Beast's list of the 50 Most Loathsome People in America. (Go ahead, click the link, scroll down, and read their hysterically funny citations. I'll wait right here.)

Alas, the Franklin Graham of Mystical Medicine wasn't asked about his plan to build a Middle Eastern Disney World, and to create peace by beaming MTV, CNN and Nickelodeon into Iraq.

Nor did he challenge his repulsive host's well-documented bigotry, although the media-savvy Chopra is surely aware of Beck's reputation. He'd have to be the most uninformed man in America not to be.

Beck recently welcomed a John Birch society spokesman to his program as an "expert source," so inviting Chopra to spew his newage at the camera wasn't all that groundbreaking.

Maybe seeing them together -- assuming anyone actually watched the show -- will cause a few people to reflect on the basic right winged-ness of much of what passes for "spirituality" and "enlightened" discourse these days. Or have we grown so accustomed to seeing wingnut crap coming from Christian fundamentalists that we don't recognize it when it appears in "non-sectarian" guise?

Giving up on the "most trusted" news source, I began flipping channels, looking for coverage of President Bush's mid-vacation trip to Quebec to attend a "Security and Prosperity Partnership summit" with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. I finally found it Monday night on PBS.

To provide "perspective" on an event considered too "boring" for most U.S. media outlets to cover, the News Hour trotted out a former Canadian prime minister, Kim Campbell, and Mexico's former top foreign relations official, Jorge Castaneda.

What sort of "balance" did these two provide? It wasn't much different from watching Beck and Chopra cover the metaphysical beat.

Campbell, during her 15 minutes in office, was a sort of Canadian Maggie Thatcher, more conservative than the Conservatives but with a better smile. While serving as Justice Minister, she repeatedly refused to hear the appeal of a man later released from prison, after serving 23 years for a crime he was shown not to have committed. So unpopular was she as prime minister, that her re-election campaign resulted in a Liberal landslide of such massive proportions that she lost her own seat in parliament.

The "other" side was presented by Castaneda, of whom it has been written, "where would Bush find a more willing and able Mexican butt-kisser?"

When he isn't helping Bush sell the "war on terror," Castaneda turns up now and then in the Washington Post, with op-eds denouncing Hugo Chavez and arguing a distinction between the "bad" left and the "good" left in Latin America.

So much for the Canadian and Mexican "perspectives" on the Bush-Harper-Calderon summit.

As for the American perspective, the News Hour didn't even bother to invite anyone to represent it.

There were, however, people representing authentic Canadian, American and Mexican perspectives at the Montebello summit.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called them "sad."

Security forces fired tear gas and rubber bullets at them.

It was no worse than PBS firing its "experts" at the rest of us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Elvis, Lester Maddox, and Peter Guralnick

In a recent New York Times op-ed, Peter Guralnick marvels at how Elvis Presley "got turned into a racist" by today's African-Americans, who (he seems to believe) fail to understand that Elvis cannot have been a racist because he liked black music.

If such logic were valid, Lee Atwater would be Rosa Parks.

As a matter of fact, the same dirty trickster who used racist code language on behalf of Ronald Reagan in 1981, and whose posse gave us the notorious Willie Horton ad in 1988, once worked in Percy Sledge's band. He even recorded an album with B.B. King. But you don't hear anybody wondering how Atwater got "turned into" a racist.

It's not even the question of Elvis and racism that interests me. Who cares, really? It's just a feeling that
what Guralnick himself calls "a view common in the African-American community" surely must count for something. To dismiss it out of hand, even to set about disputing it without seriously inquiring why people might feel that way, comes a little too close to asking, "what would these African-Americans know about racism, anyway?"

As it so happens, I know a little something about one of the acts cited as evidence of Presley's "egalitarian" tastes: the Statesmen Quartet, a Southern gospel group, whose "incomparable" lead singer, Jake Hess, Guralnick describes as a "lifelong" influence on Elvis.

Unfortunately, Guralnick could hardly have picked a better illustration of why listening to black music -- and recording covers of it -- doesn't absolve anyone of racism.

The Statesmen -- like Elvis -- performed exclusively for segregated audiences in the pre-Civil Rights era. Their signature song was a hammed-up copy of Dorothy Love Coates' version of "Get Away Jordan," played for comic effect, inevitably to thunderous applause. I don't know how many times Guralnick ever saw the Statesmen (he and I were born about a month apart), but I saw them many times as a boy in the Fifties. Like most people in the audience, I had no idea they were imitating anybody, having not yet discovered the originals.

The group featured an "Irish tenor," a baritone singer invariably introduced as a "full-blooded Indian," a bass singer called "Big Chief," and piano player Hovie Lister, who kicked piano benches and shook hair in his own face long before Jerry Lee Lewis. It was Lister who would leap from the bench to mug his way through Dorothy Love Coates' magnificent improvised coda, but whereas her performance is a stream of revelatory feeling, his was a study in mock pentecostal panic:
When my feet get cold, eyes are shut
Body been chilled by the hand of death
Tongue glued to the roof of my mouth
Hands lay folded across my breast --
You don't have to worry 'bout the way I fare
Godamighty done told me he'd be right there
Lift me on his mighty wings of love
Carry my soul to the heavens up above
They tell me Jordan is deep and wide
But I promised mother I'd see her on the other side
To hear her sing these lines -- after seeing Lister shout them -- was, at least for me, an experience of indescribable power.

As for Hess, he really did have a great voice, along with some irritating mannerisms that every second-rate gospel singer since his day seems to have adopted. But his real specialty was parodic imitation of black singers. It's probably where Presley learned to do it, just as he learned by watching Bill Shaw of the Blackwood Brothers how to elicit screams and swoons from women.

That the Statesmen could really sing (no modern white gospel group comes anywhere near their close harmony) does not negate the fact that a kind of clownish minstrelsy was a big part of their act.

One could perhaps argue that no one -- including Elvis -- should be blamed for whatever they did to entertain segregated audiences, when segregation was the law; and that it's what happened after integration that counts.

But what happened was that groups like the Statesmen sent every imaginable signal, coded and otherwise, to white audiences that as far as they were concerned, nothing had changed. They stopped parodying black material, true -- because in effect they stopped singing it altogether. Gospel music, among white artists, slowly morphed into a new genre, "Contemporary Christian," now whiter than ever.

In the mid-1960s Hess, like nearly all white Southern gospel artists of his era, became a "
country gospel" singer. As for the other Statesmen, they went on to record an album with former Georgia Gov. Lester Maddox. Was that some kind of clue, do you suppose?

About the time Elvis was begging Nixon to make him a "Federal Agent-at-Large" in the Bureau of Narcotics and Drugs, they produced this little thing of beauty as well:

It's unimaginable that Guralnick, Presley's most celebrated biographer, wouldn't have known all this before citing the Statesmen and quoting Hess in his op-ed piece.

As for the King of Rock and Roll, what happened to him
is well known: just when groups like the Statesmen and Blackwood Brothers stopped singing black gospel music, he more or less stopped rocking. Eventually he wound up with nothing left to parody but himself.

Not everything Elvis did was parody. He made a few records that stand on their own against anybody's. And it's true that his success broke down barriers. But once the door was open, and the real thing was free to come through, there was no need to be standing in the way. Even he seemed to know that much.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Memories of T99

... by his manager, Nuri Nuri:
Most people remember Jimmy through his music and recordings, but I also remember him through the things I saw and learned from him in the years I was his close friend and manager.

Jimmy was a generous man, a proud man, and a peaceful man who did not like confrontations, and in the years that I have known him, he never got angry or raised his voice at anyone. He had a positive outlook on life and never hesitated to support anyone who needed his help. When Austin guitarist Alan Haynes was mugged and broke his arm, Jimmy sent him money, and when Sonny Rhodes needed help, Jimmy sent him money as well. Even the last time I saw Jimmy, the Sunday of the benefit for drummer Uncle John Turner, he wanted to send him money.

Jimmy loved to work in his garden and shared many gardening tips with me and others. He loved his roses and tomato plants and when he was not doing that, he was writing music. He wrote music day and night, on holidays and weekends. I used to tell him to take a break and let me take him out to dinner, but he insisted on staying home to write.

If you ever met Jimmy and sat to talk to him, you would know that he loved to tell stories. He told me stories about Ike Turner, Memphis Slim, Louis Armstrong, B.B. King, Percy Mayfield, Joe Turner, John Lee Hooker, Jimmy Witherspoon, Ivory Joe Hunter, and many more. He would give you a history lesson and take you on a musical journey that can only be shared by a person who lived it ... and after years of telling me stories, Jimmy finally admitted that he kissed Billie Holiday ... ON THE LIPS!

Jimmy loved his fans and insisted on personally staying in touch with them. He signed every photograph, book, or record, talked to every fan and made sure no one was left out. He once recorded over 30 holiday greetings that we mailed out to radio DJ's to play for their listeners. Even in his weakest state a couple of months ago, he managed to sign autographs for fans despite how exhausted it made him feel afterwards.

Jimmy never said goodbye, he said "so long" and I always liked that. He wanted people to visit him anytime and his home was open to anyone. A friend and radio DJ was happily surprised upon leaving Jimmy's house when Jimmy handed him a couple of personal items as a memento of their visit.

One of the things I remember about Jimmy is when I left his house he would walk outside the door to wave goodbye at me, much in the same way my own father and mother waved goodbye when I left their home [in Ramallah] to come back to mine here in the U.S. But the thing I remember and will miss the most about Jimmy is his amazing sweet laugh and his tender and gentle heart.

I will miss you Jimmy and will cherish every moment we spent together and every memory you left. God Bless You and may you Rest in Peace.

Nuri Nuri was Jimmy T-99 Nelson's long-time manager, and is a blues DJ on Houston's KPFT.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

In Memoriam: T99 Sings the Blues

As a way of commemorating the passing of Texas blues legend Jimmy T99 Nelson, I have posted an unreleased track from a mid-90s session I did with him. You can listen to it here.

It will only be there for a few days.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Farewell, Old Friend: Jimmy T99 Nelson Is Dead

Jimmy T99 Nelson died yesterday evening in Houston. He had been suffering from lung cancer. Roger Wood, a lover of the music and a dear friend to T99, gave me the sad news. Roger's book, Down in Houston, is the definitive word on the Houston blues scene.

Jimmy was the last of the great blues shouters, a house wrecker from the days gone by. There will be no more like him. Here's the proof.

He was also a friend like no other. When I called him from the West Coast in 1999, to tell him I had made the journey from Texas safely, despite being robbed along the way, the first thing he said was, "Do you need any money?"

I can see him now, sitting at the dining room table in his home on Calumet Street, good music on the stereo, a yellow legal pad in front of him, still writing great songs in his 80s.

Now he passes into memory, myth and legend.

To have called Jimmy Nelson my friend -- what can a life in music give, that's any better than that?


By way of commemoration, I have posted an unreleased track from a mid-90s session I did with Jimmy. You can listen to it here.

It will only be online for a few days.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Seventh Heaven

After hitting No. 1 several times on Amazon's Top 100 Lives Blues CDs, our new release, The Last of the Best, has entered the Billboard blues chart at No. 7.

Can't link to the chart because it's a subscribers-only service, but take my word, it's a thing of beauty!

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Oh My Lord, What A Time!

Home from Portland's Waterfront Blues Festival, where in addition to playing some music with my friends, I got to meet some cool people and even listen to some of my favorites. As always, the Blind Boys of Alabama delivered the healing. The Neville Brothers and Mavis Staples both just blew me away, and Charmaine Neville was a picture of genius in motion.

Thanks to all the blues fans for making our new CD -- "The Last of the Best: Live Recordings by the Paul deLay Band" -- the best-selling CD at the festival. Makes us all feel good.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Down by the Riverside

I'm off to play and visit old friends at the Waterfront Blues Festival in Portland. Keep track of what's happening with Tom D'Antoni, who's live blogging the festival this year.

Friday, June 29, 2007

The Oregonian Reviews "Last of the Best"

"No fancy studio tricks, overdubs or excessive signal processing here," says the Oregonian. "This is naked blues, stripped of everything but player finesse and passion."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Monday, June 18, 2007

Somebody Had To Do It

I played my first blues gig 50 years ago. Here's 15 seconds of how old that makes me.

DV on TV

Here's a 10 minute clip from Oregon Public Broadcasting's "Art Beat" series. Produced by Tom D'Antoni. Includes footage of both the Willing Victims and the Paul deLay Band playing live.

Kaliyuga Highway

I'm ridin' down that Kaliyuga Highway ...