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Now, the backwater has been dreadful . . . - Walter Davis, West Coast Blues

Author Topic: the little brothers--walked all the way back home  (Read 2986 times)

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Offline Johnm

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the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« on: March 31, 2010, 03:18:00 PM »
PROGRAM:  Stop And Listen; Curly Headed Woman; Listening All The Day; That Lonesome Train; Highway 61; Things About Coming My Way; Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More; Carbolic Rag; Please Don't Dog Me 'Round; Old Dog Blue; One Dime Blues; Baby, How Can It Be?; Leaving Town Blues; Bamalong Blues
PERSONNEL:  Kim Basile--fiddle, Mike Hoffman--mandolin, mandolin-banjo, Frankie Basile--guitar, banjo and vocals

This CD presents audio versions of the various youtube performances many of you have been enjoying for the past couple of years by Frankie and Kim Basile and Mike Hoffman (aka Sam Jessin), either at the Weenie site or at Frankie and Kim's website, www.donegone.net. The music presented is uniformly strong and excitingly varied; its mixture of blues and old-time is a natural direction to go, for interviews with older musicians who were most often identified with one or the other of those styles quite often reveal that they played and enjoyed the other style as well. There was a tremendous amount of cross-over in terms of techniques and musical materials between blues and old-time, so it's refreshing to see that reflected in the trio's song and tune choices.

It's worth noting that these are not studio recordings, but rather, home recordings, so what you hear is not audiophile-grade sound. Since when has any serious fan of blues been daunted by less than optimum sound on a recording, though?  Each player's tone on his or her instrument is clearly audible, as is Frankie's vocal sound.  You can hear the instruments and lyrics in adequate detail to grasp the musical personalities of the players, so all the essential sonic information is there.

I suppose that expressed as a percentage of the program, the Mississippi Sheiks' influence on the Little Brothers' repertoire would have to be considered predominant, with four songs coming from the Sheiks orbit, but there is so much other music presented here, and the range is so great that no one sound can really be said to be the center of the group's focus. Moreover, the numbers on which the full trio plays are in a small minority in the program, so you get different duo combinations, as well.  Many of the other song choices stray far afield from what we've become accustomed to hearing covered by present-day performers in the style:  Jack Kelly's "Highway 61" and Ishmon Bracey's "Leaving Town Blues" are presented in stellar renditions, and it's exciting to hear material so seldom done, done so well.  "Curly Headed Woman", from Burnett & Rutherford, a version of the non-minor "Hesitation Blues", like Charlie Poole's "If The River Was Whiskey" or Buddy Boy Hawkins' "Voice Throwin' Blues", is done so beautifully, with Frankie handling the banjo and vocals and Kim doing an admirable job of adding her own feel for bowing and note-making to Leonard Rutherford's smooth and slippery fiddle style. Mike's mando/mando-banjo work is featured to great advantage on "That Lonesome Train" and "Carbolic Rag".  Frankie's exceptionally strong work both as an accompanist (a rare skill nowadays) and as a featured instrumentalist is a constant throughout the program, and his singing is strong, moving a lot of air and getting inside the songs.    

I really have enjoyed hearing the fiddle added to songs on which it did not appear in the source recordings, like the trio's riotous performance of Sleepy John Estes' "Ain't Gonna Be Worried No More", and most especially Kim and Frankie's banjo/fiddle duo rendition of "Old Dog Blue", my favorite track on the program.  "Old Dog Blue" has a wonderful stillness, a rapt quality that you can't encounter often enough, from my own point of view. The set closer, Andrew and Jim Baxter's "Bamalong Blues" brings things to an end nicely.  

I don't believe I can direct you to a particular site like cdbaby.com to pick up the CD at this point, but if you are interested in getting it, you may want to send Frankie a personal message from this site. Kim's artwork and photography on the CD is very handsome, by the way, with photography that calls Walker Evans to mind.  And whether you choose to get the CD or decide to make an effort to watch the videos the Little Brothers have posted, you can't lose, but you need to hear this music, one way or another.
All best,
Johnm
  
« Last Edit: April 11, 2010, 07:57:15 PM by Johnm »

Offline dj

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2010, 04:44:41 PM »
I agree that this CD is well worth seeking out.  I've played it fairly constantly for the past few weeks - it's one strong performance after another.  John didn't mention the Little Brothers' version of Blind Joe Taggart's "Been Listening All The Day", but it's a good one and well worth hearing.  I got my copy of the CD by dropping a PM to Frankie.     

Offline CF

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #2 on: March 31, 2010, 05:18:45 PM »
Good to hear Frank & gang have a recording available . . . it's about time!
 
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline frankie

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2010, 08:22:16 PM »
thanks guys - especially you John, for the thoughtful and considered review.  It really means a lot to me that you find so much in the music we play.  And thanks for noticing Kim's photography - I think she likes the camera better than her fiddle!

The initial run of homemades that we put together are all gone now, but I have a short run on order that will be available through cdbaby and digital download...  I'll post details when that's ready - should be in the middle of this month.  That it'd be ready for the house concert is almost too much to hope for, but it could happen!

Offline frankie

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #4 on: April 12, 2010, 07:33:17 PM »
For those interested in the CD:  the CDBaby site for the Little Brothers is live:

http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/littlebrothers



It's currently available via digital download at CDBaby and will eventually be available via iTunes, eMusic, Amazon...


Offline Pan

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2010, 04:33:37 PM »
Got my copy via CD- Baby today.
After the second round of listening I can only agree to what has been said in the previous posts. The playing, singing and overall feeling is great. The song selection is excellent too. I loved everyones contribution to the music, the ensemble playing and the variety of the different solo / duo / trio formations.
Sonically I think the recordings do you much better justice than YouTube, so I too would like to heartily recommend the CD. Good work again guys!

Cheers

pan

Offline CF

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #6 on: May 09, 2010, 10:44:54 AM »
I got this baby from Frank about a week ago & I've been listening to it steadily. Really great collection of music, wonderful song choices & performances. If I had to pick some favourites I'd say 'Stop & Listen' (Frank does a great job summoning Vincson's vocal style here), 'That Lonesome Train' (Mike is great on this)(is this Cow Cow Boogie?), 'Ain't Gonna Be Worried', 'Old Dog Blue', 'Baby, How can it Be?' . . . ah hell, I like them all. Kim plays this stuff so well. Of particular interest to me as a guitarist is Frank's handling of accompaniments in the flat keys (Bb in particular) which I know has been a subject of interest for others here too. I hope you don't mind Frank if I pilfer some ideas! I've always really liked the Shieks old-time guitar sound, those crooked runs . . . good to have a contemporary kind of translate it (on disc & especially on those great videos). I highly recommend 'Walked All the Way Back Home' to you all & congrats guys on a very successful debut.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline CF

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #7 on: August 02, 2010, 12:30:40 PM »
I hope you don't mind me posting this Frankie . . . I'm posting here to remind others of the CD . . .
This is Frankie & Kim doing Memphis Minnie's 'Squat it'. This is just great, can't stop watching it. You guys own this song, damn!


Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #8 on: August 03, 2010, 01:19:41 AM »
Excellent!
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline banjochris

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #9 on: August 03, 2010, 07:53:45 AM »
I second what's been said about the album - extremely enjoyable (I think I'll take it in the car on my way to work today, in fact).
Chris

Offline Slack

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #10 on: August 03, 2010, 09:18:12 AM »
Whooo doggy!... that was really good!  :D

I'll third the CD - on the juke for requests (if you have some patience).


Offline frankie

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #11 on: August 03, 2010, 03:23:31 PM »
thanks, guys!

Offline bloozinay

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #12 on: August 05, 2010, 06:27:14 PM »
I hope you don't mind me posting this Frankie . . . I'm posting here to remind others of the CD . . .
This is Frankie & Kim doing Memphis Minnie's 'Squat it'. This is just great, can't stop watching it. You guys own this song, damn!




Offline bloozinay

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Re: the little brothers--walked all the way back home
« Reply #13 on: August 05, 2010, 06:29:11 PM »
Well...that's how it's done, great stuff!

 


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