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That gin's mighty fine, but them biscuits is a little too thin - Blind Lemon Jefferson, Rabbit Foot Blues

Author Topic: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart  (Read 7250 times)

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Offline uncle bud

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Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« on: February 03, 2004, 08:01:53 AM »
Only recently picked up Alvin's latest record, Down in the Alley. FrontPage recommended this way back when. This is back to the country blues Alvin, not an electric geetar to be heard, and it's great. It's pretty clear to me that he is one of the top performers of this material around today when he's playing it. Three songs into the disc and I was floored.

Track list:

1. Judge Bouche         
2. How Long Before I Change My Clothes         
3. Deep Blue Sea
4. Jinx Blues         
5. Bootlegger's Blues 
6. Alberta         
7. Broke And Hungry
8. Devil Got My Woman         
9. Chilly Winds
10. Tom Rushen Blues         
11. Please Baby         
12. Motherless Child

Alvin does great interpretations of Charlie Patton on Jinx Blues (which is really just him doing another version of Screamin and Hollerin) and Tom Rushen, a personal favorite. He also got me listening to the Mississippi Sheiks again with Bootlegger's Blues and Please Baby.  Forgot how much I love those guys. They have a tremendous variety of strong material - songs, blues, dances, hokum. Walter Vinson seems to me an unsung great. 

Couple of the tunes here on Alvin's record are done on banjo (Deep Blue Sea, Chilly Winds), couple have overdubbed mando (Broke and Hungry, Bootlegger's Blues).

Anyway, buy this record! :D

uncle bud

Offline waxwing

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2004, 10:57:41 AM »
Looking forward to seeing Alvin at the Freight and Salvage February 27th. Miller, or any other Bay Area Weenies thinking they might make it?
Alvin sometimes posts on the IGS forum about his Todd Cambio replica of his Oscar Schmidt 12, so we've had a little interplay.
All for now.
john c.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline uncle bud

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2004, 06:43:34 PM »
Hey John. Am very jealous. As they say in the Beverly Hillbillies song, "Californy is the place you oughta be." Especially with the weather we've been having in Montreal, where nary a country bluesman has passed through in a long time. Is Alvin playing solo or with a band? Enjoy the show...

It'd be nice to get him back to Port Townsend. I wasn't around the year he partook.

uncle bud

Offline Reso1

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2004, 07:42:01 PM »
Yes, great CD! I've had it for awhile. I especially like "How long before I change my clothes." What a voice and groove!!! Alvin is IMHO one of the best acoustic bluesmen out there today.

My first time @ PTCBW, Mr. Hart taught. I sat in on a couple of his classes, and it was pretty "free form."  Focused directed instruction was not the "top priority" of the day. (8^)

Love to see him again in concert. Great footage of him in the DVD "Last of the Mississippi Jukes!"

Lee
I must say that I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the  library and read a book.

-Groucho Marx

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2004, 08:56:52 PM »

My first time @ PTCBW, Mr. Hart taught. I sat in on a couple of his classes, and it was pretty "free form."? Focused directed instruction was not the "top priority" of the day. (8^)

Love to see him again in concert. Great footage of him in the DVD "Last of the Mississippi Jukes!"

Lee

Hi Lee,

Haven't seen the Jukes DVD yet. Aside from the Alvin footage is it any good?

I heard his classes at PT were a little "free-form" but would still enjoy getting him there again.

cheers,
uncle bud

Offline Rivers

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2004, 01:19:51 PM »
'Free-form' is right. But I learned a load of stuff in his classes largely by osmosis rather than formal pedagogy. Not only licks, AYH turned me on to a lot of players I'd not really focused on esp. Henry Townsend and Robert Pete Williams.

Offline FrontPage

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2004, 11:02:53 PM »
Uncle Bud - All I have to say is "I told You so!"

Alvin is nominated in 2 or 3 Handy categories, and deserves the recognition a win would bring. Also nominated is Otis Taylor - his most recent release is a good'un too.
Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2004, 12:53:38 PM »
Uncle Bud - All I have to say is "I told You so!"

FrontPage, I don't believe the phrase "all I have to say" is in your prodigious vocabulary, but nonetheless, as usual, you were right.

I know squat about banjo (despite the avatar), but Lordy I do like that Deep Blue Sea song he does.

ub

Offline Slack

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #8 on: February 15, 2004, 01:35:34 PM »
Quote
FrontPage, I don't believe the phrase "all I have to say" is in your prodigious vocabulary,

LOL!

Offline FrontPage

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2004, 10:05:57 PM »
Jeez -don't be shy. What do youse guys really think?
Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #10 on: February 16, 2004, 06:46:45 AM »
Jeez -don't be shy. What do youse guys really think?

 :D

Bill, one of the many highlights of going to PT each year is I get to hear you tell more stories or explain how something works.  That's what I really think...

Offline Slack

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #11 on: February 16, 2004, 07:00:23 AM »
Quote
Bill, one of the many highlights of going to PT each year is I get to hear you tell more stories or explain how something works.  That's what I really think...

Me too... we love you FP!  :D

Offline FrontPage

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #12 on: February 16, 2004, 09:43:46 PM »
Uncle Bud sez: "... explain how something works. "

OK - so long as you understand that most of my "explanations" are total BS that is created on the spot in real time. One of my partners once told me that I remind him of a Kevin Welch lyric that goes something like this: "He knows a little bit about about everything and can pretty well guess the rest." It can be a blessing, but is definitely a curse if you ever start believing your own "explanations!"  >:D
Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline waxwing

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2004, 11:19:27 PM »
Being the artistic black sheep (not really, I was encouraged) in a science family (yes, I was a chem/math major before I switched to theatre), I know that what you're refering to, FP, are theories, spoken with conviction, yet nonetheless, created to inspire new theories which discount them. An explanation of the facts at hand, waiting for more data. BS to some, thought flow to others. It has come to mind recently as I have been struggling with Calt/Wardlow's King of the Delta Blues, after just starting Elijah Wald's Escape from the Delta (went to his signing at City Lights, nice guy) and before that, really enjoying David Evans' Big Road Blues. I find the popular(?) writers have a far greater Oedipal urge, i.e. they seem to have a fixation on destroyng the ideas that came before them and it gives an emotional coloring to their choice of adjectives that is, to me, distasteful. The academician has more of a lust for detail, and while that data may cause him to disprove previous thinking, he doesn't seem to have a need to dwell upon it, nor use it as the basis of an advertizing campaign. "Everything you know about the blues is wrong!" starts a recent interview. Whoops, I'm getting carried away. Just my opinion disclaimer and all that. Anyway, I'm lookin forward to Bastin's Red River Blues.
Actually, what I started out to say was that I really appreciate that this board has allowed me to get to know some of you folks, whom I barely met at PT (or some, not at all), and I am looking forward to sharing music and merriment with you. Yup, I've got PT fever bad.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

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Offline Rivers

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2004, 10:44:59 PM »
BTW anyone interested in the roots of Alvin might want to, as Lovesick pointed out on the old list, check out John Lee Granderson's album on Testament 'Hard Luck John', track 1, Minglewood Blues.

The weird open G riff on Alvin's song Big Mama's Door comes from there, marinated in Sleepy John Estes and Henry Townsend.

John Lee Granderson also appears on the Chicago String Band Testament CD Frankie mentioned on the string bands thread but he's less audible on that one.

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2004, 06:46:15 AM »
Thanks Rivers. I've added this to my list. Seen it in stores before and never knew what it was.

I've always felt Leadbelly was another player Alvin nods to.  Seems to go out of his way to do LB tunes, which -- I could be wrong, just talkin' off the top of my head here -- is a bit uncommon among contemporary country blues folks. Just as a completely random afterthought.

Offline lindy

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2004, 07:31:21 AM »
Thanks Rivers. I've added this to my list. Seen it in stores before and never knew what it was.

I've always felt Leadbelly was another player Alvin nods to.  Seems to go out of his way to do LB tunes, which -- I could be wrong, just talkin' off the top of my head here -- is a bit uncommon among contemporary country blues folks. Just as a completely random afterthought.

The couple of times I was around Alvin he gave me the impression that he knew some history--about the civil rights movement, etc.--on top of knowing about older players and older tunes. Leadbelly was a major hero in the black community in his heyday because he was the only one addressing civil rights issues in his songs. "Yellow Gal" is the first one that comes to mind, but there are plenty of others. Leadbelly was as over-the-top about it as the people in control would allow at that time; he made a lot of strong comments to mostly white audiences while touring and playing with Woody Guthrie.  That may be part of Alvin's nod to Leadbelly, but that's speculation on my part, too.

Lindy

Offline FrontPage

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2004, 10:22:52 AM »
Re: civil rights themes, IMO Leadbelly's most 'in-your-face' song on this issue was 'Bourgouis Blues'. Then there's Big Bill's 'Black, Brown, and White' (I believe release held back for years after it was recorded - presumably, this song was part of his performanc repertoire if the venue was 'friendly'). And then we come to Josh White, who was perhaps the most outspoke of all.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2004, 10:25:37 AM by FrontPage »
Cheers,
FrontPage

Offline lindy

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2004, 10:39:39 AM »
Re: civil rights themes, IMO Leadbelly's most 'in-your-face' song on this issue was 'Bourgouis Blues'. Then there's Big Bill's 'Black, Brown, and White' (I believe release held back for years after it was recorded - presumably, this song was part of his performanc repertoire if the venue was 'friendly'). And then we come to Josh White, who was perhaps the most outspoke of all.

FP,

Yeah, after I re-read my post I thought "Uh-oh, someone's gonna pounce on that 'the only' comment." 

On top of the more direct songs that you mentioned, there's also a bunch of songs that had hidden meanings and subtle lyrics that black listeners understood right away. 

I guess a more accurate comment would've been that Leadbelly was one of the very first to write and sing lyrics that were overtly about civil rights, in a way that everyone could understand.

Backtracking,
Lindy

Offline waxwing

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Re: Down in the Alley - Alvin Youngblood Hart
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2004, 11:38:13 AM »
One reason why Alvin my have a good awareness of civil rights history is that he grew up in Oakland and no doubt was influenced by the Black Panther party, which was seen much more as a community service organization here, as opposed to the polarized national view. Not that they didn't deserve some of that reputation, but there were two sides to that coin. I was going to mention Josh White also. A childhood friend of Gre's (my Partner), from NJ, now also living here in SF, recently called me up and asked if I was interested in a bunch of 78s from her mom's attic. Turns out her dad was a folk guitar player at the outbreak of the Folk Scare (note to JohnM - while at Cornell - another Karass member?) and had a whole slew of Josh White and Woodie Guthrie 78s. I ve got an old player so I'm hopin' to eventually be able to transfer to digital. Some are in books of several discs with quite a bit of text. Very interesting. I'll ask Alvin about it at the Freight. BTW, I and others have communicated with Alvin over at the IGS forum. I could email him and invite him to post over here if you all think that would be cool. He's very outgoing about his music and his equipment (as Reso1 knows). Good guy.
All for now.
John C.
"People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it."
George Bernard Shaw

http://www.youtube.com/user/WaxwingJohn
https://www.facebook.com/WaxwingJohn

Willie Brown's Liquor at CD Baby

 


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