One of my closest musical confidants was surprised to be asked if he had the Booker T. & Priscilla record from the early seventies. He didn’t anticipate the appeal the record might hold for me. I told him ‘it’s in the genre of down home rhythm and blues I can’t get enough of for 30+ years.’
“You know, like Bobby Charles.”
A brief discussion ensued through which my friend once again was reminded that I want to hear every last note of some artists, Charles being one of many, and this may end up–to my friend–inexplicable in specific cases.
Back in the period between 1969-1974, after the big and medium size labels had snapped up every rock band and singer-songwriter they deemed worthy, the attention of some of labels turned to side-persons and to a handful of musical communities, such as those in L.A. and New York and Woodstock, NY. Soon enough those players began recording, and so for a very brief spell of time, records came out that were as much about the music making process as they were about self-contained bands.
The prototypical examples were the spin-offs from Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs and Englishmen. Soon enough, there came Leon Russell. From different directions, there came Delaney & Bonnie; Geoff & Maria Muldaur.
My friend doesn’t understand it at all, but among my favorite records in this genre of down home white soul gettin’ down ’cause we love to play music were the first two records of Taj Mahal’s lead guitarist, Jesse Ed Davis. Search ’em out.
It’s easy for me to clump this activity into a genre of music: the music tends to be communal, joyous and soulful, unpretentious, and rootsy. In a word: modest. In my terms, this genre reached its highest height with The Band. Yet, The Band couldn’t actualize the kinds of bonds and generosity that sustain the wandering music-makers exemplified today by Mahal, Russell, Charles, and Maria Muldaur, David Lindley, many more, and, heck, The Fleet Foxes, as much as one era and genre they throwback to is the very one I’m considering!
For pure feel, I’d point you, dear listener, to Motel Shot by Delaney & Bonnie, and, yup, the dazzling eponymous Bearsville one-and-only from gulf coast singer -songwriter Bobby Charles. I could go on and on. I just like hearing that feel, every last note!
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ON THE BACK PORCH VOLUME 1 – LOOKOUT CLEVELAND
1 JACKIE DESHANNONI Won’t Try to Put Chains on Your Soul 3:04
2 LEVON HELM Don’t Ya Tell Henry 4:02
3 LONNIE MACK Plain Jane (In A Mustang) 3:49
4 DAVID LINDLEY & HANI NASR Her Mind Is Gone 4:02
5 DANNY GATTON Sun Medley: Mystery Train/
My Baby Left Me/That’s All Right 5:05
6 BOBBY WHITLOCK Rocky Mountain Blues 2:52
7 ANDERS OSBORNE Oh Katrina 4:27
8 JACKIE GREEN Look Out Cleveland 3:12
9 AMOS GARRETT & GEOFF MULDAUR Small Town Talk 6:31
10 MARCY LEVY Lay Down Sally 3:41
11 BOOKER T. & PRISCILLA She 4:02
12 DAN PENN & SPOONER OLDHAM Do Right Woman, Do Right Man 4:48
13 ALEJANDRO ESCOVEDO People (We’re Only Gonna Live So Long) 3:23
14 GENE PARSONS & MERIDIAN GREEN I Must Be A Tree 3:22
15 BEN HARPER & THE 5 BLIND BOYS OF ALABAMA Well, Well, Well 3:15
16 J.J. CALE & LEON RUSSELL Lies 3:21
17 BONNIE BRAMLETT Can’t Find My Way Home 3:47
18 LOU ANN BARTON Brand New Lover 2:27
19 JESSE ED DAVIS Washita Love Child 3:47
20 DELANEY & BONNIE Comin’ Home 3:14