Saturday, June 18, 2016

It’s Complicated

Although Grimes brought me pretty much up to the present, for the most part I’m dwelling in the past.

There is my foray into the 1970s - the Kinks, Roxy Music , Fairport Convention, etc.

Then there have been my retreats into ambient music where the amount of sensory input is limited, which, believe me, has its uses.

And then there’s the classical music I’ve been delving into, which I’ll get into another time.

And now, it’s 1940s blues. Why? No philosophical reason. It’s just because Barnes and Noble told me so, for $4.99.  Totally worth it, too.

Muddy Waters: The Plantation Recordings (1941)

This one fits most of the above criteria of what I need now.  Out of this current time. Limited sonic input.

On the first count, it brings us back to the 1940s. Yet that makes it way newer than the classical music I’ve also been listening to. And yet, much more “primitive”. (I like primitive, btw.)

Doesn’t that make it inferior to classical music? Yeah, bullsh*t. If anything, it’s a response to it. After all, the people creating and listening to classical music had the money and the education that enabled them to create and consume said music. And they got the money, etc by giving the blues to everybody else.

Whatever. Peace and love, etc. Back to Muddy.

On that latter count (limited sonic input, in case I lost you), it couldn’t be more different from Grimes, say.

At the time of this recording, Muddy was about the same age as Grimes was for Art Angels. But he sounds way older. By about a thousand years.

This record is mostly just him and a guitar, which is more than enough, usually. I will admit I slightly prefer his later electric sound. (Not many electric guitars on the plantation, you know.)

Muddy isn’t quite as exciting as Howlin’ Wolf  vocally, and Elmore James plays a meaner guitar. But he's probably the best overall.

And he’s full of seeming contradictions, at least to a clueless dolt like me. He sings about being poor but looks like a million bucks on the cover. (Where can I get a suit like that?) Then he’s singing about god on one song and then sin on the next. And love, too, and it’s sometimes bitter aftermath.  In other words, in a dozen or so "primitive" songs, you get life in all it’s complexity.

Okay, there are several interview tracks sprinkled throughout, but they’re not as annoying as you’d think.

So, not exactly rousing, but very, very down to earth. Literally.

Because of the low volume on this one, I count it as morning music. But it has to be a pretty bad morning.

But that’s okay, if that happens, you just begin to sing:

Woke up this morning…

And you take it from there.


“You’re Gonna Miss Me When I’m Gone”

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