Memphis has long been a landing place for musicians from the surrounding rural areas in Tennessee, Arkansas and Mississippi, and in the 1920s and 1930s, it was a wide open town with plenty of opportunities for musicians to perform their music and make a living. As a result of Memphis’ hub status, it developed a strong blues scene in the 1920s and 1930s, with a host of outstanding singers and players. Many of these musicians had successful careers as recording artists, but a surprisingly large number of similarly gifted musicians went unrecorded or only got the opportunity to record a few titles. This DVD lesson offers instruction in the music of many of the finest guitarists to record out of Memphis in the 1920s and 1930s.
The state of Texas has had a major presence in the Blues, from the earliest days of the recording era right on up to the present day. So many tremendous Blues musicians have hailed from Texas, i.e. Blind Lemon Jefferson, Lightnin’ Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, Freddy King. This DVD focuses on the Country Blues guitarists who first defined the Texas Blues sound and who put Texas on the map as a prime location in Blues Country.
Whether your favourite blues guitarist is Robert Johnson, Muddy Waters, Blind Blake, John Lee Hooker, Big Bill Broonzy, or Mississippi John Hurt, studying the basic techniques presented in this program is the first step toward being able to capture the essence of their traditional styles. In The Basics Woody Mann shows you practical ways to develop fundamental technique and offers you insights into the musical logic of blues guitar.
This is something of a sequel to the 1993 Ace compilation of early King sides titled Blues Guitar Hero: The Influential Early Sessions, though it took Ace nearly a decade to unleash the companion volume. All of the 24 tracks were recorded between 1961 and 1966, though some of the songs weren't released until after 1966, in a few cases not for decades; indeed, four alternate takes make their first appearance here. All of King's chart records occurred in 1961, and all were included on the prior Blues Guitar Hero: The Influential Early Sessions, so this couldn't qualify as the first-choice early King; there's no "Hide Away" or "San-Ho-Zay" here. On a musical level, though, this isn't much different in nature or quality than what you'll find on the earlier anthology. Split between vocals and instrumentals, it's top-notch R&B-blues-rock & roll crossover with stinging guitar and soulful vocals, even if the similarity of some of the songs might turn off non-aficionados.
Of the Three 'Kings' of the blues (BB, Albert and Freddy), Freddy King is perhaps the least well known these days. He enjoyed cross-over success with the white rock audiences of the 70s (hitting with albums for Cotillion, RSO and Shelter and touring extensively - his 'live' LP for German label Crosscut is about the closest thing to heavy metal blues imaginable). Yet his death from hepatitis in 1976 robbed Freddy of the kind of acclaim that the current blues revival has given BB, Albert and John Lee Hooker. There was a time, though, in the mid-'60s when his singles were among the most influential in blues, particularly for British and European audiences. His instrumental singles Hideaway and Drivin' Sideways were issued on Sue and covered by every white blues group that knew what was really happening on the R&B scene. Those two sides plus classics like (The Welfare) Turns It's Back On You, See See Baby, The Stumble and San-Ho-Zay were covered by the likes of Eric Clapton, John Mayall, Peter Green, Albert Collins and Chicken Shack.