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Now you can't get that stuff no more. No matter how you try, you can't buy - You can't get that stuff no more - Tampa Red, You Can't Get That Stuff No More

Author Topic: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE  (Read 3751 times)

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Offline Stuart

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ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« on: August 11, 2005, 10:25:13 AM »
I received Ari's latest CD in the mail today. I recommend that you put it on your short list.

Stu

Offline uncle bud

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #1 on: August 23, 2005, 04:36:08 PM »
ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE - Guitar Blues and Ragtime from the 1920s and 1930s, Second Mind L-1002

For the uninitiated, hearing Ari Eisinger the first time can be a shock. The authenticity with which he recreates some of the best and instrumentally complex country blues is downright spooky. It can be fun to watch professionals? reaction as well. A little jaded by years of experience and road-weariness, they might smirk when this small, thin man who looks more like an accountant than a blues musician walks out on stage with his Gibson guitar. Those faces change quickly when he starts to play. It?s a look that says, ?I?ve never heard anyone do that.? And it?s true. There is no one I?ve encountered who plays Blind Blake with such authority and who remains so faithful to the spirit and style of the original music. Hearing the Philadelphia-based guitarist is a rare event though -- he performs infrequently and records even less often, with this, his second CD, coming far too many years after his first release, You Don?t Understand.

As with his first record, there are a number of Blake tunes on this collection, and this time round Eisinger adds the blues of another one of his heroes to the mix, with three tracks from Texas legend Blind Lemon Jefferson. ?One Dime Blues? opens the record, and while it?s not an exact recreation of Lemon?s recording -- Ari weaves his own touches throughout -- it?s as close as you are likely to hear and sets the tone for the rest of the CD: astonishing guitar blues played with all the prewar style intact. Little if anything is modernized for the contemporary palate. Eisinger?s stance is that the music of the 1920s and ?30s blues men and women succeeds gloriously on its own merits and doesn?t need smoothing out or updating.

Mississippi John Hurt?s ?Frankie? follows, based on Hurt?s 1928 version for OKeh, although, again, this performance is not a slavish cover. The guitar breaks interspersed between verses of the classic murder ballad alternate between Hurt?s original instrumental part and new breaks that are deep in the groove, with fluid treble slides and variations on the song?s melodic guitar form. The whole thing is so beautifully performed that if you?re a player you?ll be sorely tempted to hand your guitar over to the pawn shop man (these days, that pawn shop would be eBay, I guess).

Two perfect examples of the detailed attention Eisinger has paid to music of past blues artists are his original instrumentals, ?To Do This It Would Help to Know How? and ?Guitar Crimes.? The first is inspired by Lonnie Johnson?s ?To Do This You Got to Know How,? the latter by Blind Blake?s ?Guitar Chimes.? Listening to these new pieces, you run smack into the time-travel effect of hearing Ari Eisinger play guitar: you?d swear you were listening to Lonnie Johnson, to Blind Blake -- the touch, the phrasing, the melodic elements and riffs are all there -- but the characteristic hiss and pop of the original 78s is gone, and these aren?t songs Johnson or Blake released. This is no exaggeration, and for those of us on the receiving end, it provides a rare and special thrill. The skill and musicality involved in this feat goes far beyond mimicry or anachronism -- it?s more like he?s channeling the best blues guitarists of the era and creating an exquisite, self-contained musical environment.

The oddly titled ?Oozin? You Off My Mind? was originally a Blind Boy Fuller duet with Floyd Council recorded in 1937. Eisinger?s is a driving adaptation of Fuller?s familiar ragtime blues style in C, with some fast-fingered soloing played on a resonator guitar. He takes another duet and turns it into a solo guitar piece in Spanish (open G) tuning with Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe?s ?When the Levee Breaks.? On ?Church Bells,? he revives an obscure gospel number by Kid Prince Moore, actually using the original as a stepping stone to creating a much richer arrangement than Moore himself pulled off in the mid-1930s. The treble lines, full of expressive bends, play effectively off the repeating bass runs -- it?s a beautiful guitar part played under a charming vocal melody and simple, moving lyrics. A great song to revive and make known again, if it was ever known to start. (Weenie Campbell Forum veterans will recognize the tune as well from Frankie?s very fine version on the Back Porch.)

The Blind Blake songs, to no surprise, are played to perfection. ?Chump Man Blues? (out of dropped D tuning) with its half-time groove and the slow ?Rope Stretchin? Blues - Part I? with its melodramatic minor chords both feature inventive guitar solos, rhythmically and melodically elegant and taking full advantage of the space freed up by slower tempos. It?s also entertaining to hear the mild-mannered and dry-witted Eisinger singing the boastful ?Hard Pushing Papa? -- ?I take my liquor standin? up and my women sittin? down? -- a bouncy Blake tune out of G. ?That Will Never Happen No More? was the first song I ever saw Ari play in person, and I remember thinking, ?so that?s what Blake was doing.? All performances have been measured against his since then and none have really come close. Ari?s singing throughout is well-suited to this material, with a strong echo of Blake?s nasal and sly delivery.

The two remaining Lemon Jefferson cuts covered on the record are ?Piney Woods Money Mama? and ?Match Box Blues.? ?Piney Woods? is one of Lemon?s great slow tunes in E, with an accompaniment he used in songs like ??Lectric Chair Blues,? ?Yo Yo Blues? and ?Oil Well Blues.? For aficionados who are paying attention, there?s a moment here where Eisinger seems to make a fleeting reference to ?DB Blues? as well, with a low, rumbling E-string tremolo that Lemon used to imitate a car engine (?Oh, here comes Lemon in that new Ford sedan! Oh, listen to the motor roll...?). ?Match Box? is a recreation of one of the quirkiest guitar parts around and for which Ari has done a detailed breakdown on his Blind Lemon Jefferson instructional video. I think I?ve heard him do it live with more energy in the vocal delivery but even this studio version will leave you shaking your head.

The record closes with Josh White?s ?Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed,? played out of a C Vestapol tuning, and it?s a show-stopper with ghostly double-string bends, funky bass runs and a growling response from the low-tuned guitar. It was recorded in 2003 as were a couple other tracks, but the bulk of the material on the collection was actually recorded in 1996-97, quite some time ago.

Eisinger has only gotten better since then. One of the more impressive things about him, aside from sheer virtuosity, is he doesn?t just master individual songs but takes on the entire stylistic vocabulary as well, allowing him to interject his own musical ideas into a tune without breaking the spell of painstaking authenticity and a real ?20s vibe. His additions to Lemon Jefferson sound right at home, his liberties with Blake are things Blake himself would likely have played. Some contemporary players of country blues dismiss such an approach as too curatorial and insist the music needs a modern or personal imprint to stay vibrant and keep moving forward. But That Will Never Happen No More proves Eisinger?s method is completely viable as well: the music is very much alive in his hands, bringing new insight into the guitar styles of the ?20s and ?30s and the original masters of the music in a way that is just as exciting, if not moreso, for the listener. What he calls ?the golden age of the blues? comes streaming back for the all-too-brief 45 minutes you?ll spend with this CD in the player. Hopefully we?ll have have a far shorter wait for the next record.

Tracklist:

1. One Dime Blues (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
2. Frankie (Mississippi John Hurt)
3. Piney Woods Money Mama (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
4. Hard Pushing Papa (Blind Blake)
5. Chump Man Blues (Blind Blake)
6. Oozin' You Off My Mind (Blind Boy Fuller)
7. When The Levee Breaks (Memphis Minnie & Kansas Joe McCoy)
8. To Do This It Would Help To Know How (Eisinger)
9. Church Bells (Kid Prince Moore)
10. Rope Stretchin' Blues - Part I (Blind Blake)
11. That Will Never Happen No More (Blind Blake)
12. Match Box Blues (Blind Lemon Jefferson)
13. Guitar Crimes (Eisinger)
14. Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed (Josh White)

Offline FrontPage

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #2 on: August 23, 2005, 06:20:34 PM »
Excellent review Uncle Bud - have you ever thought about writing for a living?   8)
I ordered a copy last week, and will look forward to receiving same in a mailbox near me soon. It certainly sounds like another winner. For Ari's sake, I hope he gets some decent distribution.
Cheers,
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Offline Stuart

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2005, 07:03:47 PM »
Uncle Bud:

Great review--I guess that you took my advice and put Ari's cd on your "short list"  ;) (just kidding--although I think that it should be on everyone's "must have" list). Your review is detailed, insightful, and comprehensive. However, you failed to mention Ari's thoughtful (but IMHO too short) liner notes that contain his own insightful comments. And if any of you want to know how Ari does it--buy his videos, as they are worth every penny.

Over and out,

Uncle Stuie

Offline uncle bud

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2005, 07:35:37 PM »
Thanks fellars. I should have added that you can order the CD through Ari's website (via Paypal or check by mail) at http://www.secondmind.com. Important omission!

Stuart, I agree that it's a must have.
« Last Edit: August 23, 2005, 09:21:02 PM by uncle bud »

Offline Slack

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #5 on: August 23, 2005, 08:10:22 PM »
I'll quadruple the recomendatioin -- have had it in my truck for 4 or 5 days -- a must have.

Offline GhostRider

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #6 on: August 24, 2005, 10:31:02 AM »
Hey Unkie Bud:

I hope you know what your doin'. Based on your rec. I just ordered the new, and the old ,Ari CD's plus his BBF video.

Actually a well written review. Suggest sending it to Mike Powers as an example.

Jez, I hate being nice,
Alex

Offline Johnm

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #7 on: August 24, 2005, 10:31:43 AM »
Thanks for the great review, Andrew. I think you perfectly captured what is so striking about Ari and what he does. ?It was great to see him at the EBA Blues Week last week, to visit and see him play in person again. ?An additional point I would make is that apart from his skills as a country blues guitarist, he is simply a wonderful guitarist in whatever way you care to measure such things. ?Tonal variety, beautiful time, flawless execution, and great concepts abound in his playing, and it is all done with a beautiful economy that might make a non-player think he is not doing anything special. ?Obviously, nothing could be further from the truth. ?He is a great musician, and he sings really well, too.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Bob B

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2005, 12:35:44 PM »
Hi all

I received my copy of Ari's new CD on Monday.  It is just a jaw-dropping knockout collection of music. 

Sure, the Lemon and Blake tunes are right on the money, but I was amazed at some of the more obscure (at least to me) gems that are included.  Josh White's "Jesus Gonna Make Up My Dying Bed" is so good it begs to be replayed over and over.  This extremely eerie piece can send shivers up your spine and rivals Robert Johnson's "Hellhound on my Trail" for chills.  In "When the Leevee Breaks" Ari masterfully weaves Minnie and Joe's complex guitar arrangements into his own special brand of magic.  Just great.

Ari's CD is the work of an inspired genius of the genre.  Although it's true that there doesn't seem to be enough of his work available, to hear him be able to perform the impossible more often might not make it quite as special.  Just a thought.

Best regards

Bob B

Offline FrontPage

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2005, 06:26:51 PM »
There in yesterday's mail was a CD, hand addressed by Ari. After just two listenings, I know this one is going to be in my frequent rotation list for quite a while. I'm sure glad Stuart mentioned the liner notes - Ari has included a very well written and thoughtful mini-essay on what makes this music special. In a nutshell - incredibly talented and creative musicians who made great recordings. It is truly a beautiful thing.   8)

My favorite tracks are ?Church Bells,? ?Rope Stretchin? Blues? and ?Jesus Going to Make Up My Dying Bed? ?  and contrary to the title, this one will be played time and time again.
Cheers,
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Offline frankie

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2005, 04:33:20 AM »
Excellent review, Andrew - right on the money.

to hear him be able to perform the impossible more often might not make it quite as special.

Speaking as someone who has the opportunity to hear him play relatively frequently, I have to say that the above is decidedly untrue.  Even after more than 10 years (jeez!), my jaw still drops and he still deserves a punch in the stomach.

And applause, adoring fans and the fame and riches associated with the best country blues musicians, of course.

Offline onewent

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2005, 11:28:06 AM »
...I agree w/ frankie ... having known Ari for about ten years w/ two years or so of taking lessons from him, I'm still amazed at his ability to conjure the essence of the old players ... his playing is ever articulate and tasteful, I wish he'd play out more (funny, in the past few months Ari's played more in England than he has within 50 mi of his home in the past year!)  ...I'd love to see him perform more often  ... I know he's not real interested in playing bars and such, and it's tough making a living from a few festivals a year and the sale of a few hundred CD's  :-[  Maybe he'll schedule a few shows in support of his new album.

Let's see, I was 40 when his first album came out, and if there's 15 years between albums, that means I'll be 70 when his third album hits the racks, or whatever they'll hit in2020  :o

Great review, uncle bud ... don't have the album yet but have been requesting it on the Juke ... nice to see Ari's getting some recognition  .... tom

Offline onewent

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Re: ARI EISINGER - THAT WILL NEVER HAPPEN NO MORE
« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2005, 04:31:06 PM »
...just wanted to give you all a heads up on post by Ari's sound engineer, Rich Parker, outlining exactly how he engineered the sound on this release ... he talks about the equipment selection process and even where he had Ari sit for the best 'period' sound he was after...interesting reading ... regards, Tom
secondmind.com  then click message board

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