Albert Ammons/Masters of the Boogie Piano
Them Three Kings
Albert Ammons: Boogie Woogie Stomp (Delmark '98)
The canonical recording is The First Day, Ammons's first studio session with Meade Lux Lewis, which launched Alfred Lion's even more canonical Blue Note label in 1938. But its status partly reflects the room it makes for Lewis's blues feeling, which in truth is nothing special‑-there are hundreds of better blues players across the spectrum, from Speckled Red to Otis Spann to Thelonious Monk. For the left-hand speed rolls and right-hand sparklers that are why the world cares about Ammons and Lewis, this knowledgeably annotated excavation tops the Blue Note easily. I'd prefer more duets, but although there may be something better out there, I doubt the improvement would justify the search. Most of it was recorded live at a radio broadcast from a Chicago hotel in 1939, which given how uncomplicated it is to mike a piano is of no sonic consequence; the last four songs are from a stray studio session. Eighteen tracks in all, most under three minutes and three under two, with Lewis taking half a dozen and Pete Johnson a pair. You want blues feeling, try Lewis's "Chapel Blues." You want Ammons to shout for joy, wait till he gets away from those radio guys and lets loose in the studio. A MINUS
Masters of the Boogie Piano (Delmark '03)
Or you could settle for the two tracks commandeered from the Ammons album‑-one Ammons, one Lewis, both mastered eight seconds faster‑-on this go-for-the-hips budget comp released to celebrate the Chicago label's golden anniversary. Jumping, as one reviewer wrote, from "fist-fingered old pros" to "lightning revivalists," its most breathless moment comes when Roosevelt Sykes's two-lane "North Gulfport Boogie" is passed on the left by Pete Johnson's four-lanes-and-counting "66 Stomp." And it's topped off by that special thing, an Ammons-Lewis-Johnson trio. A MINUS
Tonight's Ar an Imeall is now on mixcloud at: http://i.mixcloud.com/CBO2fh
First show for music from 20 years ago, 1992: Freedy Johnston, PJ Harvey, Van Morrison, Van with John Lee Hooker, Mzwakhe Mbuli, the Popinjays, Thelonious Monster.
I know the Van is a 1993 release but it was recorded in 1992 and I was finding it hard to get Irish stuff I liked for my quota.
Anyone else have a problem with the volume level on P J Harvey's Dry? Every copy I've ever heard is pretty faint.
I think there's a volume problem on the CD versions of Candy Apple Grey and Warehouse too.
"I love GIANT EAGLE ... OH YEAH, GIANT EAGLE!!!!" (talk about irony)
My boys and I do get a kick out of his kids show Destroy Build Destroy too. Yes, He wears all white on the TV show too.
Cam- Great story it ranks up there with Nick's hazing post as one of the two best of the week and for the year too , imo. Maybe the gorilla suit threw off Greg?
New Rolling Stone arrived today and guess what? The Black Keys are there again. This has become a running joke and a commentary on the state of that magazine for me because they get mentioned, blurbed, profiled or reviewed almost every issue. The real question is why do I expect different results from them, because I'm insane and naive. so it goes. Let's round up EW's finest and stage a coup d'etat of Jann's office. On second thought, Nah...I'm too tired...So it goes.
Edit: Ryan has a new post up at his 5 records Tumblr blog thingy about Nicki Minaj, and it's excellent and worthy of yer time. Check it out , cheers!
I’m in Savannah GA for a medical conference this weekend. Savannah always feels a little like home away from home to me—the deep port cities around the southern US have something in common that transcends the states they belong to: New Orleans, Mobile, Charleston, and Savannah belong to their own little world of Spanish moss and blurred cultural boundaries. And also, let’s be real, these cities have a tie to slavery that is morally disfiguring but also culturally decisive. In Georgia, there are coastal communities of African-Americans that to this day have remained almost cloistered, spitting off shards of their culture at odd times.
This is all an intro to my Friday evening. I spent the day at Memorial Hospital, which like most hospitals nowadays is fighting for paying patients but is historically the caregiver to indigent folks coastward of Atlanta. I talked about the Affordable Care Act and quality metrics for health care, and somewhere along the way got an invitation. I ended up at the Everlasting Life Christian Church rather than the Savannah Music Festival (bless it’s heart).
Let’s do demographics of the church service first and get this over with. There was a family right in front of me (me sitting in the last row), father holding a young kid and mother singing along in solidarity, exuberant, ecstatic, unitary. But mostly the congregation of 300 or so was adult females and children. And a white guy, me. I was welcomed by many members of the congregation, but let’s face it that this wasn’t my gig.
This is all a sideshow to the experience. The black church services of my experience have gravitated away from the MLK-era testosterone-driven spectacles and are now uber-matriarchal. Joan Hendricks supervised this service, mostly providing gravitas and glue but also shaking her head and clapping when things got good. She presided over a half dozen singing groups drawn from as far away as Ferndina Beach, Florida (the Annointed Praise Dancers, young boys who mimed to gospel songs). The high points for me were the Liberty Tabernacle of Prayer Praise Team of Hinesville GA, a multigenerational male group who sang “Heaven Is a Beautiful Place” like it was “Many Rivers to Cross” and did a glorious call-and-response with “I Believe (There’s a Blessing)”. The Robinson Family Singers were a dozen females led by a woman who sang “How Precious Is His Name” like Aretha with somewhat less melisma. And my favorite was Sister Ruth Rose, who sand “When Trouble Burdens Me Down” (the backbone to “Temptation Took Control of Me”) and a barn-burning “We Don’t Care About the Holy Spirit Like We Used To”.
Throughout the service the singers were backed up by an evolving group of musicians who seemed to come and go at random moments. The best was a B.B. King-styled guitarist playing with a second-line drummer behind “Jesus Is the World to Me”. There was also a fantastic incantation before the collection by a woman who ended every phrase on a minor seventh note below the tonic that was harrowingly beautiful. I got more hugs last night than I did at my wedding. Best musical experience of the year, maybe the decade.
Checking my Mega Millions' numbers. Let's see.
Looks good. OMG-I think I won. OMG-$560 million.
Take a deep breath , Greg. OMG. Now what? DEcisions.
Who do I give to and how much? EWs deserve something.
Right? OK , let's see. I know -if you thumbed down me in the past-you're out.
Wait-that probably eliminates everybody-darn it. Whatever.
How about telling your fans what are the essential Who and Zeppelin albums and I'm not talking about their original albums but NEW greatest hits cds
Seth- I'd go with the originals. The Who and Zep at their peak were album artists and thus not well served by these many comps. The originals are still out there and probably out there in cheap used copies. Many of these albums contain hidden gems not likely to be on a comp. Think of the fun you'll have discovering them.
Edit- Looks like Greg and I said almost exactly the same thing, right down to the word "gems". How funny.
To Seth T. Hi. I'm not Robert Christgau- but if I may-
listening to "greatest hits" albums-that's fine-but by doing that
you miss the gems that don't make the "cut". The Who-for instance- are worth listening too-
album by album-song by song. Ditto other classic bands. Hope you have the
time to indulge.
PS Go to robertchristgau.com -click on Consumer Guide-go to the alphabet chart-and click on the band.
His reviews follow.
I like you Ryan. And besides I think you have the
coolest name of all the EWs.
PS Never thumbed downed you or anyone-I swear.
Thumbed up myself a few times-how's that for honesty.
I'm gonna be in the front - I'm gonna see his high leg kicks, I'm gonna see him see him shake his head....
We're gonna slam dance and crowd surf - We're gonna sweat until we stink - WE WILL ALWAYS PARTY HARD!!!
about the blogger
Starting in 1967, Robert Christgau has covered popular music for The Village Voice, Esquire, Blender, Playboy, Rolling Stone, and many other publications. He teaches in New York University's Clive Davis Department of Recorded Music, maintains a comprehensive website at robertchristgau.com, and has published five books based on his journalism. He has written for MSN Music since 2006.