Archives for category: Blues Music

debbie bond enjoy the rideDebbie Bond going deep into Alabama Soul Blues Heritage on Enjoy The Ride

Debbie Bond shifts into Northern Alabama soul grooves on the semi-autobiographical Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions with increased depth and focus more than ever before with slide guitar, background vocals and deep production reminiscent of what put Muscle Shoals on the map.

`Working with legendary Recording Engineer Billy Lawson [FAME, Muscle Shoals Sound, Wishbone ] as well as Jerry Masters [FAME, Muscle Shoals Sound] and Charles Allen at Big Star Recording Studio, Debbie was able to deliver a timeless slice of Muscle Shoals Soul Blues from the true crossroads of all things true Southern American music.

Debbie Bond’s voice, playing and writing have developed like a fine wine so that with the addition of great horns and background vocals, Debbie continues to cut through everything to keep the focus on her unique style.

Debbie pays homage to Willie King with the best take of “I Am The Blues” that may have ever been recorded while paying tribute to other Alabama Blues mentors Eddie Kirkland and Jody Williams.

The addition of horns and strong background vocals only adds to the dynamics of Debbie Bond’s voice; it’s a revelation of grand proportions.

With guest spots by keyboardist Spooner Oldham, in addition to horn players Brad Guin and Will McFarlane [Bonnie Raitt], Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions proves to be a cohesive career defining work with a sound that pulls Alabama Blues and Alabama Soul into one forged weld molten edge of sound.

To be truthful, soul groove has always been a part of what has made Alabama Blues distinctive; music that warms the soul from the inside out like a good meat and three washed down with some sweet tea.

Debbie pulls together the diversity of sound that has put Alabama on the map and shapes it into a well—defined crown of jewels which justifies her calling card as the Ambassador of Alabama Blues to the world. By adding the Muscle Shoals sound and production, this really creates a new chapter much like when Wilson Pickett and Duane Allman jammed all night on “Hey Jude” and started a whole genre that became Southern Rock.

Enjoy The Ride – The Muscle Shoals Sessions ends with “Train Song” which everybody eventually has to write if they have anything to do with Blues or Rock and Roll. Debbie’s train song means it will be time to hit the road, especially in Europe where things are really taking off.

Enjoy The Ride sets a new bar after the Live album That Thing Called Love which put the spotlight on Debbie Bond on stages around the world. This is her finest work yet and delivers on the Alabama promise of pure bliss.

  • Brad Hardisty [The Nashville Bridge, Performer]

See where the goal is at and support Marion James funeral this Saturday at Marion James Queen of The Blues gofundme site.

New! Official press release update below regarding funeral:

metro 50th marion james 01

Well, there are a whole lot of things about Jimi that were peculiar about him that we laugh about. So really, Jimi he was kind. One of the habits, I guess it’s natural for a person to do it but, I noticed that he never did like to wear no shoes. He would just walk barefooted you know.” – Marion James on Jimi Hendrix, September 2015

The Nashville Bridge: Do you think you will get up and sing with Jack Pearson?

Oh yes, I mean, you know, if it comes to that, I think I can cover it.” – Marion James on upcoming Musician’s Reunion Show, September 2015

Nashville’s Queen of The Blues, Marion James once known as “House Rockin’ James” back in the day when Jefferson Street was jumping with Live Music passed away where she always called home: Nashville, Tennessee on December 31, 2015.

Nashville Jazz and Blues Awards 2013 062 small

Marion James, photo – Brad Hardisty

Marion James kept busy helping others through The Marion James Musicians Aid Society as well as planning events such as the Annual Musicians Reunion which featured legendary Nashville Blues and related genre Artists as well as featuring more recently established artists ranging from Alabama’s Debbie Bond to local guitar and vocal legend Regi Wooten.

The first tribute to Marion James to be released was written by Nate Rau at The Tennessean which covered a great overview of her 60 year career.  There are great quotes by those who worked the closest to her, David Flynn [current President of The Musicians Aid Society] which has helped in times of need, the older musicians that trace their lineage to Jefferson Street for close to twenty years and Lorenzo Washington [Jefferson Street Sound] who released her last official recording, “Back In The Day” whose lyrics were about the biggest passion in her life; to tell the “Historia” [Marion liked to use the Spanish version of the word]as she used to say of Jefferson Street and the importance of the Jefferson Street scene in the history of Nashville’s musical past .

She was the strongest ambassador of the great sounds that came out of North Nashville during the time that she recorded the top ten hit in 1965 “That’s My Man” written by her late husband, James “Buzzard” Stewart. The single was re-released on vinyl as a limited edition recently on Record Store Day in the United Kingdom with the original Excello label.

“Buzz” Stewart was known as a great horn arranger and putting together a great band that backed Marion. The band featured great young players, like Jimi Hendrix who stayed in Nashville after being discharged from Fort Campbell, Kentucky along with a young Billy Cox [Jimi Hendrix].

Upon hearing of Marion’s passing, Billy Cox remembered one time, not too long ago, when he was in Los Angeles and Marion’s name came up.  He said it was surprising how many players were in Marion’s band at one time or another back in the day including Billy Cox saying that Marion also took him under her wing as a young musician.

Billy Cox is featured in the photograph of Marion James’ band that is on the cover of Night Train To Nashville Volume Two 1945 -1970 which was taken in 1971 after Jim Hendrix had passed away.

Marion James was included in The Country Music Hall Of Fame exhibit “Night Train To Nashville” as well.

Marion James even recorded a song by Billy Cox, “Find Out (What You Want)” for Nashville label K&J Records.

30th reunion 29 bw

Marion James at 30th Annual Musicians Reunion and Benefit, photo- Brad Hardisty

Marion James had a story about every great musician that set foot on Jefferson Street. One time she talked about riding with her girlfriend in the back of Arthur Gunter’s [“Baby Let’s Play House”] big car that he kept shined up for many years after receiving the royalties from Elvis Presley’s recording of his song which he had originally released on Nashville’s Excello records. She described how you had to keep your feet up since you could see the road through the rusted-out floor boards.

In recent years, Marion James had released recordings in the United Sates and Italy, most recently Northside Soul [Ellersoul Records] was recognized as one of the greatest blues recordings to come out in 2012.

While continuing her Musicians Awards show as well as the Musician’s Reunion, Marion was currently fundraising to erect a statue of Jim Hendrix outside the current Elks Lodge on Jefferson Street which was once The Baron Club, sight of the infamous guitar dual instigated by Jimi [Jimmy back then] Hendrix versus Johnny Jones who was headlining the club. During that fateful night, by all accounts, Johnny Jones got the best of Jimi but that was way before his days in New York City or London.

metro 50th marion james 02

Marion James, “Nashville’s Queen of the Blues” sings “24 Hours A Day” at Metro 50th Concert, photo – Brad Hardisty

Marion James last large stage performance was to over ten thousand fans as one of the headliners at the Nashville Metro 50th celebration outdoor concert which also included Emmylou Harris, Sam Bush and Del McCoury.

Marion became well known not only as a performer and recording artist but a songwriter and over the last two years she had been working on a gospel song which she hoped to include on a future full length recording.

Marion also hoped to one day return to the road in Italy where she had fond memories of performing in the past.

Marion James funeral will take place where her heart was at Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2708 Jefferson St, Nashville, TN 37208 next to the Elks Lodge where her committee had been working tirelessly with support from the community to enshrine the Jimi Hendrix Nashville legacy this Saturday, January 9th 2016 at 11:00 AM.

A Marion James gofundme page has been established by current President of The Marion James Musicians Aid Society, David Flynn to help with the proceeding while longtime friend and music entrepreneur, Lorenzo Washington [Jefferson Street Sound] is working with Marion’s family members to make sure that all the details are complete that Marion had asked for.

UPDATE Jan. 5. 2015:

Contacts:

David Flynn davidflynn10@yahoo.com

Funeral services for Marion James, Nashville’s “Queen of the Blues,” will be held this Saturday. At 10 a.m. a horse-drawn carriage will convey her casket from Smith Brothers Funeral Directors, 706 Monroe Street, to the Jefferson Street Missionary Baptist Church, 2708 Jefferson Street.  A one hour visitation at the church featuring music will begin at 11 a.m. and the service will start at noon.  Several ministers and a series of speakers will celebrate the life of Ms. James.  She died of a massive stroke on December 31, 2015.

Marion James, 81, was officially declared “Queen of the Blues” by the Nashville mayor’s office last September after a lifetime of blues music and of helping others. She had a national top-ten hit, “That’s My Man”, in 1966, and recorded a number of CD’s over the years including Northside Soul released in 2012.  Jimi Hendrix got his professional start as a member of her band.  Ms. James founded the Marion James Musicians Aid Society, which for decades has helped musicians in need.  Her Musicians Reunion, a fundraising all-day blues festival, celebrated its 32nd year in 2015.

A gofundme account has been set up for those who want to help with her funeral expenses. The link is:  https://www.gofundme.com/marionjames .

  • 30th reunion 13 bw

    Marion James – Nashville’s Queen of the Blues at 30th reunion, photo – Brad Hardisty

    Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

 

 

 

 

Celebrating Nashville Vinyl store finds and stating digital pundits are all wrong!

courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

If you haven’t noticed, collecting vinyl records is becoming a huge thing among all age groups in Nashville. United Record Pressing has become so backlogged that they are expanding into another space. Record Store Day is like a city wide holiday with bands playing all day long at Grimey’s, The Groove and Fond Object.

*many hyperlinks go back to vinyl videos*

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

I caught the bug a few years ago after getting an original copy of Jerry Lee LewisBreathless” on 7 inch Sun Records while going through Bee Branch Arkansas on the way back from Branson, Missouri that I found at a vintage and junk shop.

I didn’t even have anything to play it on, since I have not owned a turntable since 1988. I even sold off my collection which was really large and deep and full of imports in the late eighties for practically nothing. I know I wasn’t the only one to do that.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

It wasn’t until I started buying some vinyl over at Third Man Records that I finally bought a turntable and the venerable receiver and speakers to go with it. It all started on Craigslist where I went through two old well-heeled Marantz and Sony Receivers that burned out after about a year each. The JBL near field monitors and home theater Subwoofers that I located have stood the test of time. I went through one Sony turntable where the line level pre amp fried before going back to Amazon and settling on a reasonably priced yet better sounding Audio Technica turntable. The Sherwood receiver I purchased through Amazon has specs right out of 1990 with 100 watts per side and has a great protection circuit that has stood up for two years.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Ever since that has been resolved, I have been able to concentrate on collecting. Most Collectors are going for the twelve inch 33’s and prices are increasing. I do have a paltry 100 or so “long-play” twelve inch records but I really wanted to hear the sound of the seven inch [45’s] records like I remember.

Post Sex Pistols, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Post Sex Pistols, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Post Sex Pistols, Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Post Sex Pistols, Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Just like 16 bit CD’s and 24 bit hi-def, analog has some rules to tone and bigger mid-range. Twelve inch 45’s are a whole other thing entirely that became popular in the eighties but I’m not going there. Let’s just talk about seven inch records. Although 12 inch 45’s are best known as dance remixes from the 80’s, my first experience was a French Sex Pistols release of “Anarchy In The UK” on that format in 1978 at a Punk Rock shop in Santa Cruz, California.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Seven inch records could be made with more bass and increased output without worrying about the needle skipping on the record. The 45 mix often will be a lot different than the album mix. The flip side or “B” side may be a song that is not available on a record. The mix may be different in other countries. I remember owning a French Polydor copy of Jimi HendrixVoodoo Chile” where the mix had been cranked up and the guitar sounded like you were standing with your ear up against the grill cloth. I used to play it for friends back in the eighties and watch their jaw drop.

The Beatles used to release songs either on albums or on seven inch singles. Eventually the singles showed up as a collection like the Hey Jude album or the double gatefold red and blue albums.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

In my own collection, there was a huge difference between the album cut of The Rolling Stones’ “Get Off Of My Cloud” where Brian Jones’ snaking lead notes were pronounced and the single where Keith Richards’ crunchy rhythm guitar is cranked up and really drives the song playing off of Charlie Watts’ snare. It made the difference between good and great.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

The Sweet talked about how when they found out that “Fox On The Run” was being released as a single, the members of the band went in and completely remixed the song with a much harder edge akin to Motley Crue than the album version. Sweet did this behind Management and Producers backs. They knew what it should sound like and took things into their own hands. They got everybody upset and mad even though the record did well. I’m glad that Sweet did that.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Another good thing about singles is that it was formatted for AM radio where three minutes was the goal and there were limitations to time versus physical size. While some edits were a little annoying some were appreciated if you just wanted to groove and not go into a “space-out mode” like the deleted bridge in the single version of “Whole Lotta Love” by Led Zeppelin. Not to mention, if you haven’t heard Led Zeppelin on seven inch like original cuts “Living Loving Maid” or “Black Dog” than you are in for an experience full of Bonham’s snare cracks and home stereo speakers that will turn into a Jimmy Page Marshall half-stack.

As far as actual tone, I read all the garbage between vinyl and analog buffs and digital hi-def die-hards and it really comes down to whether you like a lot of high frequency stuff that only dogs can hear in a world where a computer doesn’t recognize playing on top of the note or stretch tuning and changes the actual information as well as removing all the bits of sound that define a mid frequency instruments’ personality versus a couple of snaps or crackles and something that sounds very dynamic, alive and in your living room.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

You can take the test for yourself. I own a copy of Bob Marley: Legends on CD and a new old stock copy of “Is This Love” by Bob Marley & The Wailers. I did a side-by-side. The most important aspect is Bob Marley’s voice. If you only heard it on CD, you would never recognize the grit and air that make up his actual voice texture. They are gone in the digital realm. While digital is supposed to be more accurate, it actually sounds like a comical cheap imitation.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Another side by side would be Parliament’s “Tear The Roof Off The Sucker (Give Up The Funk) regarding the groove aspect. Not only does the vinyl single sound thicker and richer in the mids but the sharp edged funk of a tight group gets lost in the digital conversion as the numeric digital world has different numeric values for different frequencies and the groove of all the instruments locking together becomes nothing more than a cool drum pattern with a bunch of instruments that seem to clog undeniably slightly loose at every juncture. The true groove is gone in the digital realm.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

One more major complaint is what digital did to Duane Allman. I own digital versions of “Layla” and Duane’s slide sounds sharp and out of tune thanks to digital algorithms. If you listen to the vinyl album or single you’ll notice Duane is playing on top of the note [not out of tune] and it gives a lift to the mood at that point in the song. It is absolutely beautiful. Too bad Duane didn’t know that computers were going to make his slide out of tune and unlistenable.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Okay, enough of my own observations that seem to defy the logic of quantized digital junkies. If it is all about sounding “real”, “in your living space” and with a wide sound field then that needle dragging through a frequency groove like a work of art is the way to go. If you like snappy eighties style keyboard loops and auto tuned vocals then the current state of shared files should work for you just fine.

My Mother's favorite before she passed away in 1966, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

My Mother’s favorite before she passed away in 1966, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

When I started collecting, one of my friends here in town thought I was going to just go back and buy everything I used to own. I did go after some of that but there were a lot of things I missed growing up and there are songs that did well regionally here in Nashville and are readily available as opposed to many songs that I was into growing up in California.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

For the most part, I grew up in Fresno, California from the last half of 2nd grade through my junior year in high school. That time spent in Fresno meant that my tastes are eclectic, all over the place and really just defined by musicianship, groove or originality.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

If I had to define Fresno during the seventies by five groups, it would probably be Tower Of Power, Supertramp, The Tubes, Sly & The Family Stone and Buck Owens. My personal taste goes way beyond that, but those would be five groups that anybody who grew up there would say, “Oh yeah, for sure they were big in Fresno.” I can name a song by every one of those bands that I liked as well as anybody from Hoover High School Class of 78 could as well.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

You could add any horn band like Chicago, Malo or Blood Sweat & Tears. The biggest cover band was called March Hare [scan of Fresno City College school newspaper circa 1978, see page 4 , article on group called Windfall for more on March Hare members]. They had a full horn section and could play just about anything popular at the time and got paid the most money. They had a four piece, guitar, bass, drums and keyboards group called Spare Hare for a fraction of the full band cost.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

My own personal taste ran the gamut of Hard Rock, Heavy Metal, Funk, Jazz, Punk and so on. I even liked some Country although it really was my parents’ music at the time. To give you an idea, I listened to Judas Priest, The Ramones and liked Power Pop like Raspberries and Pezband but my dream gig would have been to play guitar for Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers in 1977.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

If I tried to collect everything from my past, I would be in deep for years and years.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

There are particular records that I look for such as the three dominant records I remember from my earliest days in San Jose before my parents died in San Jose, California. I have purchased the trio. The Rolling Stones “Get Off Of My Cloud” was the first record I purchased at age 6, by myself, after my mother said I could pick something out. It is still one of my favorites. The other two were San Jose regional records that went onto the national charts, The Syndicate Of SoundLittle Girl” and Count FivePsychotic Reaction.” I did get to watch Count Five practice two blocks away from my Orchard View childhood home back when.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Just about any War single reminds me of Fresno, especially “Me And Baby Brother” which is in my 400 plus and building singles collection.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

In the mid-seventies, I was really into what was modern metal or Hard Rock at the time and singles like UFO, “ Too Hot To Handle” found in Louisville, Kentucky as well as Sweet flipside “Burn On The Flame” remind me of my early band years playing guitar.

As far as collecting goes in Nashville, the biggest amount and the most variety of seven inch records would go to The Great Escape on Charlotte Pike. Pricing is really reasonable. There are loads of $1.00 singles as well as collectables that for the most part are not over $10-a-piece. They put out their new inventory every Thursday and it is kept in bins by date if not in any kind of alphabetical order.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Record Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Record Collection

The Great Escape in Madison may not have as big a selection but will usually have different records then the ones found at the West Nashville store. The best thing to do, regarding The Great Escape, is to sign up for their email list and get notification when records will be off 20% or when they have their sidewalk 25 cent sale including the Bowling Green, Kentucky location.

I usually go for the 25 cent sales including Bowling Green, Kentucky and start digging around. It is important to go with no preconceived notions. It also helps to have some in-depth knowledge of decades of music. They used to have 10 cent sales but I don’t think that will be around again.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Examples of things I have found at 25 cent sales include a radio copy of Pat MethenyNew Chautauqua” which I never knew was released as a single until I found a brand new old stock copy at The Great Escape in Madison. I also found a brand new old stock seven inch copy of “Taboo” by Arthur Lyman. I remember “Taboo” from my Dad’s twelve inch long play records. He had installed a built in system in the living room and this was Hi-Fidelity recording. It was meant to show off frequency response and clarity but it would now be categorized as Lounge Music. It would fit in with a Martin Denny collection. I don’t think any of these records sold well in this format but it is so cool to have them on seven inch.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

In Nashville, there are a lot of radio copies around that ended up in retired DJ collections as the format declined and now they are all over town. A rule of thumb on seven inch radio copies is that in the 50’s and 60’s they actually spun the record numerous times and there can be a lot of wear on a very popular record and little wear on a record that did not take off.

In the 70’s and 80’s, AM radio used a tape cartridge similar to 8 track tape and would record the cut to be played multiple times on tape till it wore out and then would re-record on a new “Cart”. It is possible to find near mint radio copies from the 70’s and 80’s. I have found a few. My gem is a radio copy from the late 60’s of Big Brother & The Holding CompanyPiece Of My Heart” where Janis Joplin’s live performance rings clear and gives a front row seat of her performance. It gives me the chills. I paid less than $10 almost two years ago at The Great Escape.

Apple Records from Portugal, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collecton

Apple Records from Portugal, Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collecton

Although it is easy to find several Excello record titles in Nashville, I have yet to find any of the three Marion James “Nashville’s Queen of The Blues” singles that were released here locally after years of searching. I guess I will have to resort to Ebay.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

There is no problem finding all the Country you want, especially mint new old stock copies of deep catalog Artists. I don’t know enough about that to make an educated guess. I do have Patsy ClineI Fall To Pieces”, plenty of Buck Owens and some Kris Kristofferson. Kristofferson singles are plentiful even on the smaller labels as he was really popular in Nashville as a songwriter. A good place for deep catalog new old stock Country would be Lawrence Record Shop down on Lower Broadway although I did find a Wreckless Eric single on Stiff Records as well as the previously mentioned Bob Marley copy of “Is This Love” at Lawrence Record Shop.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Collection

With current interest in Muscle Shoals, Fame Records can be found easily and I definitely look for Candi Staton and other Jimmy Hall produced gems. The Great Escape on Charlotte Pike usually has plenty of Fame Records along with all things Beatles and Elvis.

Since Nashville was a big hub for actual Music “Business”, there was manufacturing, distribution, recording, management and publicity that all had copies of material. There were warehouses and backrooms of vinyl that never got sold that now has found its way into used vinyl stores all over town. It’s not all Country either.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

While Grimey’s would be ranked number one for new vinyl in town, as far as used seven inch records, it’s best to go the to the Grimey’s Too [Preloved Store] and go through the two boxes on the front desk. That would be the most recent purchases. I recently found a radio copy of Blind MelonTones of Home” by doing just that. I was surprised to even see a vinyl radio copy release from 1992. I found a vintage radio copy of Judas Priest’ “Living After Midnight” as well for $1.00.

Grimey’s does stock the largest selection of local label seven inch releases. It is possible to buy a new record from GED Soul along with Infinity Cat and Third Man Records all in the same trip.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

The Groove is great for new vinyl but also has a decent stock of used seven inch vinyl. Because of its East Nashville neighborhood location, they have quite a few used copies of Alternative and Punk bands from the 90’s to the present day. If that is a specific thing, this would be a great place to check out. For me, I’m primarily looking for 60’s and 70’s but there usually is an 80’s record worth getting every time I stop by. This was the only place in town that I saw a single by The Jam. It was an import. I am looking for stateside releases since they are even harder to find.

Fond Object is an interesting place. This started from the owners’ own private collection, I believe, he was based out of Austin so, this store has a lot of late 80’s and 90’s Punk. Fond Object had stuff that probably was never available in Nashville in a retail used vinyl store. They actually had a copy of The Sex PistolsPretty Vacant” American release on Warner Brothers but they wanted $20 for it, so I passed hoping to get at a place where it would mean nothing like Lawrence Record Shop.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Third Man Records has just about every Third Man seven inch release in stock at any given time at their company store. My favorite non-Jack White single, Dan SartainBohemian Grove” was easy to find. Dan Sartain with Matt Patton [Model Citizen, The Dexateens, and The Drive By Truckers] on bass was part of the Birmingham Scene when I lived there. Third Man has been releasing a few Sun Records seven inch re-releases as well. The Raconteurs cut “Old Enough” with Ricky Skaggs still has never been released on vinyl at the home of the world’s fastest record.

Infinity Cat opened up their office to visitors with new vinyl behind United Record Pressing after having numerous fans show up at the door wanting to say “hi” on their visit to Nashville.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

That’s about it for seven inch records, except for, maybe the occasional find in an antique mall. After all, most of these records would be considered antiques.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

It’s always worth checking out the local shop when you’re out on the road. I stopped by Rasputin Records in San Jose when I was out in California recently and found the Record Store Day release of Junior Kimbrough and The Black Keys both doing “Meet Me In The City” [Fat Possum] which was impossible to find here after they were all immediately snatched up. Hill Country Blues is well known in Nashville, but the single had little value in San Jose, California. Apparently, the locals are clueless about Junior and there was a stack of copies available.

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

Courtesy Brad Hardisty Private Collection

It was also easier to get a copy of Simo’s single through Amoeba’s website in California.

  • Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN
Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201501, photo - Brad Hardisty

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201501, photo – Brad Hardisty

Last Thursday night, The Kentucky Headhunters definitely rocked the jukebox and the house at 3rd and Lindsley when they celebrated the release of Meet Me In Bluesland [ Alligator Records] which features recordings made with the late pianist Johnnie Johnson [Chuck Berry]years before his passing.

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201502, photo - Brad Hardisty

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201502, photo – Brad Hardisty

Fred Young, Kentucky Headunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201503, photo - Brad Hardisty

Fred Young, Kentucky Headunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201503, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Kentucky Headhunters had a on and off collaboration with Johnnie which lead to a longtime friendship. The band received a call from Frances Johnson wanting to hear those recording that had been stowed away for all those years. They realized that it was time to go ahead and check out that jam session that took place a few years prior and see what was there. It turned out to be as good they remember it and after some mixing time they secured a deal with Alligator Records for this particular gem.

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 05723201505, photo - Brad Hardisty

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 05723201505, photo – Brad Hardisty

Upon its release last month, Meet Me in Bluesland was Number 2 on the Billboard Blues charts.

Greg Martin, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201506, photo - Brad Hardisty

Greg Martin, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201506, photo – Brad Hardisty

It was time for a proper Nashville celebration at a large local venue.

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 07201508, photo - Brad Hardisty

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 07201508, photo – Brad Hardisty

The day kicked off with a morning interview at WSM 650 when the world got a listen of mid-temp Stones rockin’ “Stumbln’” followed by an interview with Richard Young live on the air.

Richard Young, Kentucky Headhunters 0723201508, photo - Brad Hardisty

Richard Young, Kentucky Headhunters 0723201508, photo – Brad Hardisty

It was on thing to hear “Stumblin’” on WSM and another to hear it live. Kind of like hearing The Stones going through “Wild Horses” on a great sounding vinyl recording and then seeing them play it live at LP Field.

Doug Phelps, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201509, photo - Brad Hardisty

Doug Phelps, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201509, photo – Brad Hardisty

The set was heavy on the new album with live takes of “Little Queenie”, “Superman Blues” and plenty of rock and roll rooted in the blues.

Fred Young, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201510, photo - Brad Hardisty

Fred Young, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201510, photo – Brad Hardisty

It’s interesting to think that The Kentucky Headhunters scored big so fast with their guitar oriented Southern Rock at a time when Country radio was hesitant to really give them their due while now, big guitars abound in Country Radio.

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201511, photo - Brad Hardisty

Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201511, photo – Brad Hardisty

The Kentucky Headhunters have been cutting across genres for decades now after their initial success. A lot of fans have followed them through the years while they have picked up many others from their recent successes as could be seen by the wide ranging crowd at 3rd and Lindsley.

Greg Martin, Fred Young, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201512, photo - Brad Hardisty

Greg Martin, Fred Young, Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201512, photo – Brad Hardisty

It was a great night for lots of slide and boogie woogie piano with a tight band that has not only played together for over three decades but lives near each other off Headhunter Highway where US 68 meets Kentucky 640.

  • Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201513, photo - Brad Hardisty

    Kentucky Headhunters at 3rd and Lindsley 0723201513, photo – Brad Hardisty

    Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

Doug Phelps talks about Chuck Berry, Keith Richards and the late Johnnie Johnson.

The Kentucky Headhunters with Johnnie Johnson: Meet Me In Bluesland

The Kentucky Headhunters with Johnnie Johnson: Meet Me In Bluesland

“We dead stopped right out on there in the middle of recording Soul and basically spent three days writing in the studio as we went. It was all off the cuff, spur of the moment stuff and we came up with Meet Me In Bluesland. It was so organic…”Doug Phelps

Country rebels, The Kentucky Headhunters are set to release Meet Me in Bluesland [Alligator Records] on June 2nd, a recording made with late pianist Johnnie Johnson, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee, known for his work with Chuck Berry, not long before his passing.

The Kentucky Headhunters met Johnnie Johnson at a Grammy after party in 1989 after they had won the Grammy for best Country performance by a group or duo for Pickin’ On Nashville.

Their name would be brought up by Keith Richards when Johnnie was getting ready to record his second solo album. A friendship both personal and professional endured through recordings, jam sessions and live gigs until Johnnie’s passing in 2005.

Brad Hardisty / The Nashville Bridge: How did you work with Johnnie Johnson in the first place?

Doug Phelps / Kentucky Headhunters: Keith, Eric Clapton and NRBQ got on the project with Johnnie for his first solo record. That would have been, I guess that was the early nineties when that came out. They wanted to do another album and Keith recommended The Kentucky Headhunters, because he couldn’t do it at the time.

TNB: So, Keith recommended you guys. I guess that was really an honor. Most people are still not aware how important Johnnie Johnson was to Chuck Berry’s songwriting and recordings as well as some of the other things he did.

DP: Let’s go all the way back to the beginning. Johnnie hired Chuck Berry in 1955 to be his guitar player. He had a sax player that couldn’t make it to a gig and he knew about Chuck. Of course, you know, Chuck ended up taking over. Anyways, Johnnie was the initial person that hired Chuck and that’s how he got that ball rollin’ in the first place. So, Johnnie sang on all the early hits and played with him for years. Chuck at one point in time decided he just wanted to start playing with the local band and he let everybody go. So, Johnnie played with Albert King for a while and recorded with him and toured with others.

TNB: I never heard much about him after that.

DP: Johnnie got off the road and became a bus driver in St. Louis. He was a city bus driver.

TNB: The realization of how important he was to Chuck Berry’s style as well as the way Chuck would do two string leads didn’t really come to my attention until the film Hail Hail Rock and Roll and Johnnie Johnson was up there playing and Chuck’s music sounded like it was supposed to.

Kentucky Headhunters Live

Kentucky Headhunters Live

DP: Yeah, Keith Richards kind of brought that out and got them playing together for the first time in quite a while. When they chose Keith to be the director, he said “I’ll do this on one condition, I’ve got to find Johnnie Johnson and put Johnny and Chuck together. “

TNB: Keith knew how important that original partnership was to the integrity of those songs. Chuck and Johnnie were really partners at one time.

DP: When you think of Johnnie and Chuck back in the day, you think so much of the teams like Robert Plant and Jimmy Page or Keith and Mick. They were the first rock and roll team if you can call it that.

TNB: What period of time was the band in when you got approached to work with Johnnie?

DP: We were approached to do the second Johnnie record.

TNB: Didn’t you meet Johnnie Johnson at the Grammys before that?

DP: I wasn’t there at the Grammys. At that time, they had just brought the Johnnie record over there to the Grammys. The first thing they ran into at this Grammy after party was Johnnie Johnson. He was over there by himself. So, they immediately went over to him and hung out with him all night. And that’s really where they first met him and they became friends with Johnnie. Then they got approached to do the second project with Johnnie which was called That’ll Work and that was in 93. So, that’ll fix you up on how they met.

TNB: So what was that first session like?

DP: Johnnie walked into the practice house and said, “Play a song and if I like it great and if I don’t, I’m out.” They tore into something and Johnnie loved it. Johnnie said, “Alright, I’m in the Headhunters!”

TNB: It sounds kind of like it gelled from the first time the band jammed with Johnnie.

DP: We really just love Johnnie. I came back in the band in 95. So, when I met Jonnie we did some shows together. We` would bring him out and use him on some of his recordings.

TNB: So, how did Meet Me In Bluesland come about?

DP: It came time for us to do our next project for Audium during 2003 and so we were recording Soul and on that particular album we were going to do the Freddie King song, “Have You Ever Loved A Woman” and we wanted Johnnie to play on it so we got in touch with him. The night before he was in Houston and sat in with The [Rolling] Stones. He is a heavy heavyweight in music. He had hung out with The Stones all night., In the meantime, Francis, Johnnie’s wife, called Richard and said “I know you have him coming into record this one song for this project but you are going to have him for two or three days there. He’s not getting any younger.” I think he was seventy eight at the time. She basically said she would love us to record and write with him, do some stuff and record with Johnnie because who knows how much longer he is going be around, so that is basically what we did.

TNB: You’re in the middle of recording Soul and the project stops?

DP: We dead stopped right out on there in the middle of recording Soul and basically spent three days writing in the studio as we went. It was all off the cuff, spur of the moment stuff and we came up with Meet Me In Bluesland. It was so organic and Johnnie made you play like men. He made you grow up in your playing. We got the project finished and just basically put it under the bed. Richard literally put it under his bed at the house. We figured there would be some point when we would take a look at it and see what we could do with it.

TNB: It’s been over a decade since it was recorded. The public never knew about it. Why didn’t this come out earlier?

photo courtesy The Kentucky Headhunters

photo courtesy The Kentucky Headhunters

DP: Now, we have been asked this question already. Johnnie passed away in April 2005 so it wasn’t much beyond this project that he passed. You know, we were asked the question, why didn’t you release it at that point? It just seemed like we didn’t want to misconstrue the fact that we were taking advantage of his death. We had the highest regard for Johnnie as well so we just we said we will just wait until Francis says what about the project or what are you gonna do with it?

TNB: So, ten years passes.

DP: It’s October of last year and we get the call from Francis, “I’m not getting any younger myself. Now, I know you got the project and I’d love to hear it.” And we said okay that’s our sign that it’s time for us to do something. Ironically, we were in the middle of writing for a new Headhunter record. We weren’t in the studio yet but kind of like that same thing like when he came in we just stopped Soul in the middle of recording.

TNB: You dropped everything again.

DP: We stopped our writing and then went full force, full speed on getting this project back out. We knew we’d done it. We were really under the gun and in a hurry. We knew it was good when we did it but it had been a long time since we had heard it so we didn’t know what we were going to get into when we pulled the tracks back up and to our surprise it was all there. I re-sang two songs. Richard re-sang two songs. Greg wanted to re-do one of the guitar parts. It was just little bits here and there and that was it. It was all there.

TNB: It was only a few days but the magic was there. Johnnie had really fit in with the band or vice versa.

DP: It was one of those magical things that just happened in the studio with Johnnie.

TNB: Yeah, then you had to figure out distribution and all that.

DP: The first thing we did was go to Alligator Records and wanted Bruce Iglauer to hear it. We figured that would be a great blues label home for it. He loved it and we started negotiating immediately with Alligator Records. We wanna make sure it gets its due. There is a lot of historical value with this project that we did with Johnnie. Johnnie brings a lot to the table and we just happened to be along for the ride. We want to be good stewards of what we do with the project. We thought that if anybody could pull that off, Alligator Records could.

TNB: It’s good to see that The Kentucky Headhunters are still around. A lot of the big rock sound in Country today can trace back to what you started back then.

DP: We were ahead of our time. Yet, we still somehow or another broke through and you know it was just such a crazy time that we were just fortunate that it turned out like it did. Well we’re all the way back to where we started with just the four of us. That’s how we started.

TNB: What about the new Headhunters album you were working on?

DP: We were about seven songs into our writing process when Francis called. We waited too long. We should have had a Headhunters project out last year or even at the end of the year before last because Dixie came out in 2010. We knew were a little behind and coming out with something new helps our tour dates. It kind of goes hand in hand. When this came up, we knew this was the project that we need to work on right now. Once it gets past the bulk of this, we are going to get back into writing and finishing up the record ahead of us. So there will be another one of them sooner than later.

TNB: This is a cool project.

photo courtesy The Kentucky Headhunters

photo courtesy The Kentucky Headhunters

DP: I still get chills when I talk about it. That’s how special it was for us and how much respect we had for Johnnie and how close we became over the years. We’re very excited about it.

  •  Brad Hardisty, Nashville, TN

debbie bond cotton blossom bandDual Blues Album Release Concert at 5 points with Nashville’s Cotton Blossom Band & Alabama’s Debbie Bond and the Trudats.

Nashville Fringe Festival, Mando Blues Concerts and Yazoo Brewery are pleased to
present two Mando Blues Radio Show veterans to the East Nashville venue at 5 points, PERFORMING ARTIST CO-OP, also known as The Building on Saturday, February 1st at 8pm.

Nashville’s own Cotton Blossom Band (Mike Doster, Tony Gerber,Mason Stevens & Roy “Futureman” Wooten) and Alabama blues with Debbie Bond and the Trudats including her musical partner and husband, Rick Asherson. Both groups have a new recording to release for 2014 and will give the audience a live version of these releases in east Nashville. The new CDs will also be available to purchase at this concert.

Debbie Bond, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond, photo – Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond’s latest album That Thing Called Love was recorded Live during a taping for The Mando Blues Show that originally aired on Radio Free Nashville.

COTTON BLOSSOM BAND

debbie bond cbb_soulshiningcdcov_med_hr-2Cotton Blossom Band is the realization of Nashville’s multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer andcreative director, Tony Gerber, joining forces with his old friend and space music co-pilot, Mason Stevens on Diddly Bo and guitars. In 2010, Gerber and Stevens started creating some new musical material and interpreting some traditional delta blues in their space music flavors to create a kind of delta space blues.

Being very inspired by this unique blues sound, Gerber called on his old friend and BB King’s bass player of 17 years, award winning Michael Doster. After doing a couple shows as a trio, the last version of the CBB included the legendary 5 time grammy winner, Roy “Futureman” Wooten on percussion, cajon and drum. They are pleased to present this new release, “Soulshining” as this musical blues quartet.

DEBBIE BOND and the TRUDATS

debbie bond that thing called loveGuitar player, singer and songwriter Debbie Bond made the blues her calling when she was drawn to Alabama over three decades ago and worked with, most notably, Johnny Shines, Jerry “Boogie” McCain, James Peterson, Eddie Kirkland, Sam Lay, Little Jimmy Reed and Willie King. Debbie continues to be an elder statesman of the Alabama blues scene after co- founding the Alabama Blues Project and releasing two albums, What Goes Around Comes Around and Hearts Are Wild.

Rick Asherson grew up in England as a classically trained musician and stumbled onto Willie King while searching for personal growth and the root of the blues. Rick and Debbie were introduced to each other by Willie King which turned into both a professional and personal relationship for both of them. Rick is a multi-instrumentalist/vocalist that is comfortable juggling two instruments at once.

debbie bond that thing called loveDebbie Bond’s third release, Blues Root Production’s That Thing Called Love, takes a bold step not only stylistically, but, recognizes the hot band, The Tru Dats  led by multi- instrumentalist bandleader and partner in crime and love, Rick Asherson as a full reckoning burning house of sound.

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats into a groove udring taping at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats into a groove udring taping at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Recorded originally as a live recording at Omegalab Studios in the hills outside of Nashville for Radio Free Nashville’s Mando Blues Show after capping off an exhaustive Nashville weekend where Debbie Bond & The Tru Dats were featured at The Nashville Blues and Jazz Awards Show, the recording turned out to be magic with Debbie Bond & The Tru Dats in top form with a pristine live recording vibe that featured a few never recorded songs that were on par with Austin City Limits or England’s BBC In Studio productions.

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues Live, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond at Mando Blues Live, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Under the guiding hand of Rick Asherson with engineering, mix and mastering by Rob McClain this first official release from the Mando Blues Show kicks off with a tribute to The Holmes Brothers on Tracks one, “You’re The Kind Of Trouble” and three “Feed My Soul” which helps to define that there really are no boundaries within the definition of where the Tru Dats and the blues can go with it rootsy funky, swampy, Curtis Mayfield meets Stax Gospel vibe and compelling vocals by Debbie Bond.

 

Dave Crenshaw with Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Dave Crenshaw with Debbie Bond at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Dave Crenshaw has enough space in between each drum hit to keep the groove swinging that wants to make you move, but Dave really shows his full spectrum on “Steady Rolling Man.” This is one of Debbie’s most adventurous tracks yet. Hard to believe that there are only four people playing when this could be a Preservation Hall Jazz track out of New Orlean’s French quarter with enough air to feel humidity drenched Creole food rolling out to the tables.

Debbie Bond transforms into a Ragtime Chanteuse, with interplay between Rick’s speakeasy piano, Dave Crenshaw’s straight up 1920’s style drums and Tom Pallardy’s ability to play sax like a trombonist or Pete Fountain without hesitation makes this unbelievable.

Rick Asherson and Debbie Bond meet up LLoveless Cafe prior to taping, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rick Asherson and Debbie Bond meet up LLoveless Cafe prior to taping, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

I like It Like That” most closely resembles Debbie and Rick’s days with Willie King, ‘The Sweet Potato Man’ who just passed away in 2008 with its call and response lines between Debbie and Rick sounding very much ‘Sweet Potato Man.’ Rick’s piano updates the Alabama soul groove with a sixties Aretha Franklin in Brooklyn strut then at 2:37 right after Debbie says, “maybe we can get the audience to clap their hands” he starts jamming bass and Musselwhite harp at the same time. There ought to be an award for this because when you see this live it is going to blow your mind.

The Alabama Sunday afternoon “Still Missing You” showcases Debbie’s Alabama blues style vocals that bring to mind the Muscle Shoals era and the heart of Alabama soul, Eddie Hinton.  Debbie’s mellow Telecaster lines are some of the best on the album and kind of spread around like butter drizzling over a stack of hotcakes.

Debbie Bond and Tom Pallardy at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and Tom Pallardy at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Tarragona Blues” comes in two versions, one that goes right into a bossa nova blues soul groove with reference to both Spain and Alabama with”a long way to go” and the other with a big afro centric introduction that takes a different route, paying tribute to the fans in Spain who have welcomed Debbie with open arms and a place that she cannot wait to return to.  The Tru Dats changed up on this track with Ray Robinson on drums, Jonathan Blakney on background vocals and side percussion and Dave Crenshaw taking over on Latin percussion.

 

Rick Asherson checking the back line at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Rick Asherson checking the back line at Mando Blues taping, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

Rick pulls off a serious Charlie Mingus bass intro on “Falling” against Debbie’s difficult melody drop-in to set up “Move a little closer baby, I have a message for you” while, “That Thing Called Love” finds Rick doing the impossible by being Mingus yet again with one hand and Isaac Hayes with the other as Tom Pallardy slides in on sax in another corner of the room. Debbie enters in reverb drenched Tele that sets up a smoky groove and a preacher’s daughter throwing down thunder and lightning vocals.

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats, it's a wrap at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and The Tru-Dats, it’s a wrap at Mando Blues, Nashville, TN, photo – Brad Hardisty

That Thing Called Love really has no boundaries within Southern Music whether it be Blues, Soul, Funk, Ragtime or Swamp Pop; Debbie had a good reason to change to Debbie Bond & The Tru Dats because of the serious musicianship that has been gathered for this recording. Every corner of the blues and every musician has a chance to shine on this exquisite live recording that everybody will want to take home to listen after a great show. –

Debbie Bond and Rick Asherson in Nashville, photo - Brad Hardisty

Debbie Bond and Rick Asherson in Nashville, photo – Brad Hardisty

Brad Hardisty, Nashville, Tn     thenashvillebridgeathotmaildotcom