Posted tagged ‘the blues’

Female Singers down at the Crossroads

2012/12/15

young

Last month, Dr. Jim Martens gave a talk at Red Deer College on “What Might Have Been Left Behind: the Female Blues Singer in the Age of Liberal Reform.” A lot of male African-Americans made the jump into the United States mainstream following WWII, but that wasn’t the case for many of the women. And those that did “make it”, lost a lot of their edge. Here’s a playlist from the lecture – with music from women singing about drinking, drugs, VD, poverty, trouble, pleasure, and having the blues:

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Pump up the Volume

2010/11/12

Anybody that ever went to Red Deer College in recent memory probably had Jim for at least one class…Or met him in the Farside for at least one pint.

Jim is, of course, Dr. James Martens, but don’t ever call him that, even if you’re a fresh-faced kid straight out of high school stuttering through a conversation with him about reggae music and finding out that you can write history papers about stuff you’re actually interested in. So much for law school.

Leaving Red Deer for sunny Victoria about a year ago, Jim is teaching classes on the History of the Blues and hosts a radio program on CFUV Friday’s at 10-12:00pm mountain time, and 9-11:00am out on the coast. He’s on right now actually, and it’s great. He’s playin’ the blues and music from across the country. Tune in now and every week at:

http://cfuv.uvic.ca/listen/listen.html

Down at the Crossroads

2010/10/21

Ian Stewart

Growing up in Red Deer Alberta you can be certain of 3 things:

1– Anywhere you stand in town you can see three liquor stores. 

2– Anywhere you stand in town you can see three huge trucks. 

3– Anywhere you stand in town you can see three people Ian Stewart taught how to play guitar.

An immensely important and influential musician and teacher in the Red Deer music milieu, Ian Stewart picked up his guitar and headed down to Michigan – the land of Motown, the MC5 and Iggy Pop and the Stooges. I sat down with Stewart in Internetland to discuss what it was like changing locations after being a regional fixture in Alberta for so long, and of course from there the conversation naturally goes from Eric Clapton to the heart of the economic recession.  

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he’s so cool he was in the 27 club before it was even a club

2010/08/13

Out of all the musicians in the morbid “27 Club,” the figure perhaps the most mythologized is Robert Johnson.  On 16 August 1938 he died under mysterious circumstances – and this murky haze surrounding his death hasn’t become any clearer with time. The legends about his life and his music, however, grew strong and became immersed in the American blues musical consciousness.

Johnson is the man that supposedly sold his soul to the devil down at the crossroads. In return, the devil taught him how to play the guitar. Real bluesy like. The crossroads Johnson apparently made his Faustian bargain at was located in the Mississippi Delta.

(And as every good fiddle player knows, Faustian legends from the American south don’t always stick to the guitar.)

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