This is an mp3 blog attempting to document the gross amount of music I listen to. About once a day, I'll post something I like. If you're a copyright holder on anything I host, get in touch, and we'll settle things in a steel cage instead of a courtroom.

Monday, August 20, 2007

You mean there's a NEW Mexico?

I hope the title will make sense later. Maybe not. I'm drinking and writing, and we all know good things happen when I combine two of my favorite pursuits.

Legend has it that reggae was invented in one particularly brutal summer in Jamaica. Word was that the local groups couldn't play rocksteady and ska because it was too hot to do music even that jumpy (and rocksteady was still pretty languid), so they played a molasses-slow take on their repertoires and lo and behold, a new genre was born.

Music is hard work. Ask one of the coolest and hardest-working bands in the city, JP McDemott and Western Bop, what it's like to play three one-hour sets in the summer in the Quarry House when the air conditioning is (of course) out. Patting Bob Newscaster on the back is like slapping a waterfall.

The thing I'm getting at (fuckin' finally, right?) is that sometimes it's too hot to go off, especially in the day and age of holes in the ozone layer. So don't let my current punk kick be mistaken for something that has been going on for the whole summer. There was a stretch here this summer that was too damn fry-a-riffic for uptempo music. When it's 100 degrees outside and the humidity is enough to rehydrate jerky, it's time to break out the blues records. A favorite over this last heat wave was Sonny Boy Williamson II (get the title line now?).

Sonny Boy, aka Rice Miller, specialized in a style of blues in which even then shitkicking numbers sounded like a slow burn, like being apathetic about having a hot iron fall on your arm, but exactly 6.75 times more tuneful. (I think the Cap City Amber Ale, courtesy of my awesome roommate Chris, is kicking in, buoys and gulls. Rock!) It's the perfect music for when it's too hot too move or drink too much, and you lay around sweating lightly and using every bit of available brainpower wishing it weren't so damn hot. It seems almost ironic to me that a musician of such passion and skill is the perfect soundtrack for days of motionless, lazy sprawling about.

There ain't much to say that hasn't been said already, although I would like to point out again that he taught Howlin' Wolf how to play harmonica, which is more than enough for veneration. He also wrote one of the single most badass songs ever written, "Your Funeral and My Trial." I listened to this song pretty much constantly in college, and my roommate Jon and I had dubbed it the "bitch I WILL kill you" song. It's great for sitting on an elevated porch, drinking Stroh's, and breathing that Southern air. God those were the days.

This has turned out to be more about me than the musician in question. I would apologize, but music is all about the personal.

Your Funeral and My Trial:

Fattening Frogs for Snakes:

Keep Your Hands Out Of My Pocket:

Sad to Be Alone:


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