Archive for Cream

100 Years Out: Robert Johnson

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , on May 6, 2011 by 30daysout

In the dim early part of the last century, a bluesman named Robert Johnson claimed he sold his soul to the devil, as if to explain his otherworldly skills in writing, singing and playing the blues. If that really happened, right now Robert Johnson is burning in hell while we’re still talking and writing about him, and listening to his music. It means that Robert Johnson beat the devil.

Sunday will mark the 100th birthday of this mysterious figure. In this age of instant tweets and non-stop media, it’s almost impossible to know as little about an entertainer as we do about Robert Johnson. We do know that between 1932 until his death in 1938, Johnson was constantly on the move, playing juke joints and roadhouses across the South. He occasionally played gigs in places like Chicago and St. Louis, and the 42 songs we know him by today were cut during two epic sessions in San Antonio and Dallas.

The two things that have survived over the years are of course the legend of Robert Johnson and the devil, and the music. Robert Johnson’s music is terrifying in its stark realism, and the dark heart of his greatest songs form the foundation of rock and roll. No need to run down the list of artists influenced by Robert Johnson – you can hear it below.

MP3: “Me and the Devil Blues” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Come On In My Kitchen” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped The Devil)” by Robert Johnson

MP3: “Last Fair Gone Down” by Eric Clapton

MP3: “Ramblin’ On My Mind” (live) by Lucinda Williams

MP3: “They’re Red Hot” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers

MP3: “Hellhound On My Trail” by Fleetwood Mac

MP3: “Traveling Riverside Blues” by Led Zeppelin

MP3: “Crossroads” by Cyndi Lauper w/Johnny Lang

MP3: “(I Believe I’ll) Dust My Broom” by Todd Rundgren

MP3: “Love In Vain” by the Rolling Stones

MP3: “Sweet Home Chicago” by the Steve Miller Band

MP3: “Stop Breaking Down” by the White Stripes

MP3: “Crossroads” by Cream

On The Trail of the Hellhound – 30 Days Out post from 2008

Live: Eric Clapton & Steve Winwood, Houston

Posted in Review with tags , , , , on June 25, 2009 by 30daysout

WinwoodWith just a handful of shows left on their current tour, 60s rock gods Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood turned in a sometimes surprising show in Houston’s Toyota Center on June 24.

Perhaps the biggest surprise was that the show seemed to spotlight Winwood a bit more, with Clapton taking a secondary role more often than not.  Now let’s put that into perspective – Clapton didn’t address the audience and he didn’t perform many of the more famous numbers associated with his career, but he let his guitar do the talking.  And it was eloquent indeed.

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With A Little Help For Their Friends

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , on May 26, 2008 by 30daysout

Between 1963 and 1969 the songwriting team of Lennon/McCartney produced 21 songs for other artists, who took some of them to the upper reaches of the British pop charts.  These songs were never officially recorded or released by the Beatles, although some “bootleg” versions have surfaced over the years. 

In the early days most of these artists who recorded Beatles originals were artists signed by Brian Epstein, the Beatles’ manager.  Usually Epstein gave away “leftover” songs to these artists, most of these were written by McCartney alone.  Some of these were big hits and “World Without Love,” by Peter & Gordon, was a No. 1 U.K. and U.S. smash in 1964.

Cilla Black, a British TV star of the time, had a couple of hits with McCartney-penned songs, as did Mary Hopkin, who recorded for the Beatles’ Apple Records in the late 1960s.  Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas had four U.K. hits with McCartney songs.  Lennon, for his part, wrote songs for British group The Fourmost.

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