Archive for the ‘The Allman Brothers Band’ Category

Willie Cobb

Monday, March 19th, 2012

Listen: You’re So Hard To Please / Willie Cobb

Often referred to as Willie Cobbs, his Vee Jay singles all dropped the ‘s’, whereby Willie Cobb had his biggest selling, and most influential release from ’61. To be exact, it was Vee Jay VS 411. That record’s B side, ‘You Don’t Love Me’, unexpectedly became a most covered track half a decade later. Amongst others, The Allman Brothers Band and Quicksilver Messenger Service both lined up to incorporate it as a signature part of their respective sets.

Not being a guitarist myself, I would still venture to say, ‘You Don’t Love Me’ had both a universal message and musical simplicity that attracted many white players from the era. In fact, it was the version by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers that not only drew my attention to the name in the writer’s bracket beneath the song, but also the similarity in guitar tones to that band’s releases around ’65-’66, when Eric Clapton was a member.

The single’s A side, ‘You’re So Hard To Please’, even better exposed the above. Way before exploring details about Willie Cobb was only a few clicks away, my luck meant stumbling on this very single amongst a one-stop salesman’s cast-off pile, often sitting untouched at my uncle’s vending business office on a Saturday morning when my Dad could, I’m sure, take me pestering for a visit no longer. I never did understand what the big deal was. They’d all stand around for a good hour and talk sports and stuff, and I’d clean out the office shelves of those nasty promos no one wanted.

My guess is Vee Jay re-serviced ‘You’re So Hard To Please’ around the time of the B sides’ discovery, thereby hoping to skim off some profits from the British blues frenzy afire amongst US college kids, all blindly insatiable for any electric blues track being hammered by their local underground stations, hence landing the pressing above.

One listen and you’ll agree, if anything was a sonic model for the Eric Clapton era John Mayall’s Bluebreakers, ‘You’re So Hard To Please’ was it.

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Straight Ahead / Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

Listen: Straight Ahead / Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express
Straight Ahead / Brian Auger's Oblivion Express

Always the ultimate player, Brian Auger seems like he was a pro in the cradle. Go back to his earliest recordings, prior to the big success he had with ‘This Wheel’s On Fire’, billed as Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger & The Trinity. You’ll see his virtuosity was fully formed.

In the early 70′s, after Julie Driscoll went her solo route, he toured the world, initially as Brian Auger & The Trinity, quickly morphing into Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express, gaining US momentum the whole while. Sharing bills with every type of band (Bruce Springsteen, The Allman Brothers Band., Roland Kirk, Santana, Chick Corea, Led Zeppelin, Earth Wind & Fire, Kiss, Herbie Hancock), they provided just the right amount of high brow musicianship to ecstatically turn both jazz and rock audiences on.

Surprisingly, or unsurprisingly, their many records fell pretty short on US airplay, but sold well nonetheless.

Fast forward to the present, Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express is still playing, dare I say better than ever. I sat smack dab in front of him a few years back, when he shared a bill with an equally stunning Savoy Brown at B.B. King’s in New York, and you could hardly see anything but a blur from those hands.

They just don’t make ‘em like Brian Auger anymore. Sorry.

Bobby Bland / Little Joe Cook / Chris Farlowe & The Thunderbirds

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

Listen: Stormy Monday Blues / Bobby Bland BobbyBlandStormyMondayBlues.mp3

Turns out Bobby Bland was the initial culprit, or at least the most well known one. His version of ‘Stormy Monday Blues’ is actually another song, simply titled ‘Stormy Monday’ or ‘Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday Is Just As Bad)’ written by T-Bone Walker. The real ‘Stormy Monday Blues’ was an Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine composition. Yet every time an artist covered the former and mislabeled it as ‘Stormy Monday Blues’, the wrong songwriters would get the royalties. What a mess.

Poor T-Bone Walker, he was apparently forever trying to get paid. The Allman Brothers Band, who without doubt earned him the most, correctly registered their release to ensure all would fall into place properly. Problem being the song itself was so good, it became a signature staple. The mislabeling, a domino after-effect.

Bobby Bland had the first hit at RnB and Pop in ’62. I was too young to hear this one on the wireless when current, but it must have sounded pretty sweet, especially at night. It’s a real night time record. I bet it was played a lot in the South.

Listen: Stormy Monday Blues (Part 1) / Little Joe Cook LittleJoeStormy1.mp3

Listen: Stormy Monday Blues (Part 2) / Little Joe Cook LittleJoeStormy2.mp3

Apparently, more than mislabeling happened with Little Joe Cook’s version, released by Guy Stevens on Sue Records in the UK. First of all, he and Chris Blackwell started this Island UK imprint to release American Sue releases in Britain. Somewhere along the line, they just began putting out any blues or RnB master they acquired from the States under the Sue moniker, unbeknownst to Juggy Murray, owner of Sue in New York. That fueled the first set of fireworks.

Fireworks display number two came when EMI’s Chis Farlowe & The Thunderbirds, now suddenly known as Little Joe Cook, found their studio rehearsal of ‘Stormy Monday’ had been taped, and subsequently released, without their knowledge or permission, on the Sue label by Guy Stevens. Story goes he and Chris Farlowe were quite close, and according to Albert Lee (guitartist in The Thunderbirds), it was meant to hide from EMI that their band was moonlighting on another label.

On top of all that, this release credited Earl Hines and Billy Eckstine correctly – if you go by the song title on the label. Problem was the music on the vinyl was again the T-Bone Walker composition of ‘Stormy Monday’, not ‘Stormy Monday Blues’. More headaches for T-Bone.

Some say Little Joe Cook’s version is the greatest UK blues record ever recorded. I’ve read this on a bunch of occasions. Who can say. Tell you one thing, it’s a shimmering take on an already late night, after hours classic. It may be one of my all time favorite blues numbers. It and ‘St. James Infirmary’.

Kitty Wells

Saturday, October 23rd, 2010

Listen: I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now) / Kitty Wells KittyWellsLovingTooLong

Now here’s some amazing information. Kitty Wells is 91, and has been married to husband Johnny for 73 years.

She’s released 35 albums and 90 singles. Check out some of her awards and achievements, they’re remarkable.

One of the most under appreciated of Kitty Wells’ releases came long after her star had settled to legend, in ’74. Phil Waldin, owner of Capricorn Records and at the time, extremely successful with his southern rock roster (The Allman Brothers Band, Wet Willie, The Marshall Tucker Band) decided to use his fortunate moment and pay tribute to her greatness with a recording deal.

With various members from the Capricorn roster, she recorded FOREVER YOUNG, from which ‘I’ve Been Loving You Too Long (To Stop Now)’ was released as the third single. Sadly out of step with both country and pop, the release underperformed and seems to get overlooked consistently.

A song often covered, this take on it is pretty unique. Who can possibly pass up Kitty Wells giving it a go.