I found myself in that most sublime of all moments when I was considering what Klawitter would likely have done approaching another tilt against a city whose musical breadth is staggering to say the least. I remembered moments when on a lake in Quetico or a stream in Minnesota where the close and condensed reality you are experiencing suddenly opens into a grand vista of complex and expansive opportunities, you are almost overwhelmed with all the options for exploration in front of you, it literally takes your breath away!
What occurred to me was to take a small detour up the river, away from the hubub and hustle of Nah Leans to a state that truly is the birthplace and true home of the Blues: Arkansas. The vista that presented itself at the moment of that decision was as enormous as any view across the expanse of Lake Sagnaga, Lake of the Woods, or even the Mighty Mississippi.
Let's start with this appetizer of a song from a native of Cotton Plant Ark, William Peetie Wheatsaw" Bunch doing
Peetie Wheatstraw - You Can't Stop Me From Drinking (via maashal)
A native of Elmar AK, Roosevelt Sykes is declaring that "
The Night Time Is the Right Time - Roosevelt Sykes (via YEFJJ)
I'll be honest, I'm still trying to decide whether to inundate you with all 20 some cuts in one fell swoop or if it makes more sense to do a dozen and revisit the rest in another post. As I'm weighing the options, let's continue with Langdale native, "Big" Bill Broonzy and this tune with some great guitar work,
Big Bill Broonzy - See See Rider (via DAVO1984FI)
Pine Bluff Ark is home to Casey Bill Weldon here performing
Casey Bill Weldon W P A Blues (via AUBification)
Casey Bill was involved in the Memphis Jug Band, the Hokum Kings, and the Washboard Rhythm Kings.
In 1941 in Helena Arkansas the King Biscuit Time started a five days a week blues broadcast. This station provided for the first time a regular forum for such blues luminaries as Elmore James, Johnny Shines, Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Robert Johnson and countless others. There exists a soundless video from that time of the station and artists. It is literally amazing the things that are on Youtube!
King Biscuit Time (1942, 1952) (via BrownMediaArchiveUGA)
I've decided that in the interest of not veering into wretched excess, I'll post 5 more links and call it a night. Perhaps many of you will fill in the gaps(and believe me there are enough gaps to burst a levee!).
James Cotton was often featured on King Biscuit Time, here he is joined by Hubert Sumlin and Todd Park Mohr to do
"Killing Floor" - Hubert Sumlin, James Cotton, Todd Park Mohr & more (via Z Katona)
The man can still play the harp!
Another fine harp player who often was featured on KBT was this gentleman, Alek Rice Miller aka Sonny Boy Williamson II. He is seen here with Little Walter and Elmore James doing
Sonny Boy Williamson II - I'm Gettin' Tired (live) (via robofrecer)
An interesting drummer who also appeared often in Helena was Fred Below, here he is with the Aces doing that great road song:
Route66 - Fred Below (via kazu H)
I'll stop with this Helena native here working with Hubert Sumlin at the 2007 King Biscuit Festival, now known as the Arkansas Blues and Heritage Festival:
Willie Big Eyes Smith Plays Helena (via bluesnyc)
Two great blues drummers, some superb harp players, a dandy guitarist and a fine piano player later and maybe when we play Memphis next another boatload of fine Arkansas blues to share. That is reason enough for me to call it a night and drag my tired arse through one more workday before tomorrow nights game at NOLA. Thanks for letting me share the music I love with you!