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Friday, August 18, 2006

Jammin' with the General in the Holy Land


Spiritual Blues singer and guitarist Gypsy "The General" Carns flew in and out of Israel for 3 days.
I organized a show at the new Lavontine 7 music club in downtown Tel Aviv on Tuesday night, and his buddy Richard in Jerusalem organized a gig at the Maabada Bar in the Holy City.
Gypsy arrived with his blue Dobro guitar, his "stomp box" and a few other accessories.
I had been listening to some of Gypsy's CDs for the past 6 months or so, and I could tell that the man has deep roots in the traditional slide guitar and delta Blues and Gospel, but experiencing "the General" live on stage is a whole different ballgame.
You must see the man live on stage to feel the enormous power and energy that he puts into his show. His slide guitar playing is impeccable, and his vocals are very strong too.
All this is combined with a black ski hat and reflector sunglasses, leather boots with spurs, and 2 sets of little bells tied to each leg for percussion as he plays "bass drum" by stomping on his wooden "stomp box".
I had the pleasure of doing a guest spot with my National steel body guitar - we sang 2 Blind Willie Johnson classics, "God Don't Never Change" and "Nobody's Fault But Mine".
The following night, we repeated the show at the Maabada Bar club in Jerusalem, extending the show to 2 hours or more, and Gypsy called me up for 2 different guest spots.
Quite an honor and a special experience to be on stage and jam with the General.
You can get information on Gypsy and even download a number of his recordings at
www.GypsyCarns.com

Playin' the Blues for the Troops

Got a call Friday, asking if I was willing to play some music for our soldiers on the night before the ceasefire agreement took effect.
I said sure, and so, on Sunday night, August 13, I drove up the coast about 20km with 3 other local Blues guys: singer and harmonica wiz Dov Hammer, acoustic Blues/Folk artist Yaron Ben Ami, and my good buddy Johnny Mayer, the guy who created Blues For Peace.
We got up to the base, and were told to follow the car that was waiting for us at the gate. We set ourselves up in the middle of a tent area that held reserve unit soldiers,
and a few of the younger soldiers (including some young ladies) also came to hear the show.
I started off with the National steel guitar, pulling out the old Walking Blues with Johnny backing me his custom hand-made Blues For Peace electric guitar.
Then Dov came up and we did some of the duets we've been doing together for years - Key To the Highway, Midnight Rider (Allman Brothers), and then went on to some chicago style standards.
Yaron joined in, and contributed his nice fingerpicking version of Statesboro Blues.
I was actually surprised how well the crowd received all this Blues material, as this isn't the kind of music the general population in Israel listens to ost of the time...
Well, we managed to do a 2 1/2 hour set between all of us, and the guys were pretty appreciative.
It made me feel good that at least before the ceasefire came, I did my part to help support our soldiers...

Blood from a stone

Like getting blood from a stone
that's what it's like
trying to get some loving outta you
Now that you brushed me off
and you're already snoring
you've left me with another hard night
to try and get through...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

"Justice" by Canadian singer Bruce Cockburn

What's been done in the name of Jesus?
What's been done in the name of Buddha?
What's been done in the name of Islam?
What's been done in the name of man?
What's been done in the name of liberation?
And in the name of civilization?
And in the name of race?
And in the name of peace?

Everybody
Loves to see
Justice done
On somebody else

Can you tell me how much bleeding
It takes to fill a word with meaning?
And how much, how much death
It takes to give a slogan breath?
And how much, how much, how much flame
Gives light to a name
For the hollow darkness
In which nations dress?

Everybody
Loves to see
Justice done
On somebody else

Everybody's seen the things they've seen
We all have to live with what we've been
When they say charity begins at home
They're not just talking about a toilet and a telephone
Got to search the silence of the soul's wild places
For a voice that can cross the spaces
These definitions that we love create --
These names for heaven, hero, tribe and state

Everybody
Loves to see
Justice done
On somebody else

Copyright 1981 High Romance Music

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

This is my pain

I ain't looking to get even baby
Revenge isn't really my game
Just looking for some loving,
But of course, this is my burden,
This is my pain

This is my burden, this is my pain
Outside I have sunshine, inside I feel rain
Bruised on the inside, but no one can see
The way that my woman is really treating me

You've got emotional amnesia darlin'
You got Aldsheimer of the soul
You seem to forget I'm right here beside you
And the love I have for you is whole

I'm right beside you here darlin'
But I feel so all alone
C'mon mama, gimme some lovin'
Throw this old dog a bone

Here comes thunder
Here comes rain
Here come the blues all over again,
This is my burden, this is my pain

Copyright 2006 Bluesman Productions

Blues this morning

I got the blues this morning people
My woman don't pay me no mind -
I ain't sayin' she's mean,
It's just that she ain't too kind

************

It's a quarter past five in the AM,
everything is quiet and calm

As the early dawn light silhouettes your body
I just want to hold you in my arms

Just to touch and feel your soft skin
As it softens my pain,

To feel a little sensuality, affection
and then fall asleep again...

*****************
Copyright 2006 Bluesman Productions

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Sam Myers is playing Blues Harp up on high...

Singer and Blues harmonica great "Sweet Sammy" Sam Meyers passed away on Monday, July 17, 2006.
He was laid to rest on July 22 in Paulding, Mississippi
next to his mother and father.

Sam Myers was born in Laurel, Mississippi on February 19, 1936. Visually impaired by cataracts from a young age, Sam was educated at the Piney Woods School near Jackson. While there, Sam developed an interest in music as a career. He became skilled enough at playing the trumpet and drums that he received a non-degree scholarship from the American Conservatory School of Music in Chicago. Sam spent his days in the classroom learning the academic side of music and his nights honing his blues chops in the rough nightclubs and streets of Chicago’s South Side.

Sam met and sat in with such blues luminaries as Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Little Walter, Hound Dog Taylor, Robert Lockwood, Jr. and the great Elmore James, with whom Sam formed his first long-lasting musical relationship. Sam played drums with Elmore on a fairly steady basis from 1952 until his death in 1963. In 1956, Sam wrote and recorded what was to be his most famous single, “Sleeping In The Ground,” which has been covered by Eric Clapton, Robert Cray and many other blues artists.

From the early 1960’s until 1986, Sam worked the clubs in and around Jackson, Mississippi as well as across the South in the Chittlin’ Circuit. He even found himself touring the world with Sylvia Embrey and the Mississippi All-Stars Blues Band. Then in 1986, Sam met Anson Funderburgh and joined his band, The Rockets. Since that time, Sam and Anson have traveled all over the U.S. and the world, winning acclaim as one of the best live blues bands playing today.

Sam passed away while at home on July 17, 2006, following his release from the hospital after throat cancer surgery. He was making good progress with his recovery, and his death was totally unexpected. He was laid to rest next to his parents, Ollie and Celeste Myers, near Meridian, Mississippi.

Sam’s autobiography, “Sam Myers: The Blues Is My Story,” will be published by the University Press of Mississippi in October, 2006.