Posts Tagged ‘Willie Edwards’


A few years ago I gave away about 3,000 LPs to three friends and KXCI after realizing that I slapped an LP on the turntable about once every six months. That left me with (now) about 700 CDs.

Here’s what, over the following years, I find myself listening to. I’m not saying this is the best material in any of these genres — far from it — it’s just stuff I like and listen to repeatedly.

Check it out, you might like some of it:

Rock

  • The Doors, L.A. Woman — probably because I love playing Doors covers in bands.
  • Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks — when this came out in the ’70s it was the world’s greatest head cleaner.
  • Devo, Are We Not Men? — very funny, musically inventive, and contains the world’s best cover ever (“Satisfaction”)
  • Repo Man soundtrack. Absolutely great, the best of punk. My ex-GF/ex-wife saw the movie with me when it came out, and as we were walking out of the theater, after listening to me and the rest of the audience bust a gut over the horrors it contained, she said to me, “You Americans are sick!” (She was a colombiana — and she was right.)
  • Dead Kennedys, Too Drunk to Fuck (EP). Funny, explicit, and surprisingly hard to play up to speed.
  • Treat Her Right, Tied to the Tracks and the eponymous album. These guys later became Morphine, which IMO was a step down.
  • Jonny Chingas, Greatest Hits. A lot of very funny, pretty good stuff musically, including Se me paro (“I have a hard on”), and an indication of how much wonderful material this guy might have come up with if he hadn’t been killed in a drive-by. More enjoyable if you understand Spanish.

Blues

  • Willie Edwards, Everlastin’ Tears. The best blues album you’ve never heard — it sold about a thousand copies.
  • Doug Sahm, The Last Real Texas Blues Band. Yep, the same guy from the Sir Douglas Quintet and Texas Tornados. (And, yep, that’s how they spell it.) Greasy r&b-oriented blues. The final cut, “T-Bone Shuffle,” has probably the world’s greatest walking bass line.
  • Sugar Thieves Live. The material is wonderful and this has two, count ’em two, great vocalists, either of whom could easily front a band. Absolutely killer.
  • Pinche Blues Band, Postal. My old band. I’m partial.
  • Randy Garibay, Barbacoa Blues. A great melding of Mexican/latin music and blues.

Jazz

  • Charlie Mingus, Ah Um. If you don’t like this, you’re dead.
  • Misc. Artists, That’s The Way I feel. An ’80s compilation of Thelonious Monk tunes featuring everybody under the sun. Lots of great stuff, including a wonderful cut by (yes!) Todd Rundgren.
  • Miles Davis, Kind of Blue and On The Corner. Kind of Blue is probably the best LP ever for sitting on the patio and having a beer or a glass of wine at 3:00 a.m. On The Corner is a tremendous, ahead-of-its-time genre bender.
  • Jimmy Smith, The Sermon. One of the finest blues-jazz LPs ever, featuring B3 master Jimmy Smith, an incredible guitar solo by Kenny Burrell, and a couple of great sax solos.

Latin

  • Ray Barretto, La Cuna. Not for purists, but a wonderful Afro-Cuban CD featuring exceptional musicianship.
  • Luiz Bonfa, Jacaranda. Not sambas, but basically latin rock. Lots of great tunes and very good musicianship.

Country

  • Al Perry and the Cattle, Losin’ Hand. Good songwriting, good musicianship, and very funny.
  • Junior Brown, Junior High. This is just a five-song EP, but if you’re going to have one Junior Brown album, this is it. Features his best version of “Highway Patrol.” (I think it’s also on three of his other CDs.)
  • Jerry Reed, Smokey and the Bandit II soundtrack. Jerry Reed was a terrible actor but a funny guy and one of the best guitarists ever.

Soul/R&B

  • James Brown, Live at the Apollo. The seminal funk album. “I’ll go crazy” is worth the price of admission.

World/Misc.

  • Cheb Khaled and Safy Boutella, Kutche. Best rai album ever, with very good musicianship.
  • The Harder They Come soundtrack. Incredibly, this contains almost every reggae track worth listening to. (Yep, there ain’t a lot of ’em.)

Classical

  • Bela Bartok, Fourth String Quartet. Written in 1927, this is still in all likelihood the best string quartet ever written. In parts, it’s rock and roll-like.
  • Olivier Messiaen, Quartet for the End of Time. Written in a POW camp in the early ’40s, this is probably the second best LP ever for sitting on the patio and having a beer at 3:00 a.m.

Zeke Bob says, “check it out.”

 


(I’ve been spending way too much time on work the last couple of weeks — I work, therefore I am — and so haven’t had time to write for the blog. I’ll be out from under the worst of it in a few days, but in the meantime I’m posting a few short things I think subscribers will enjoy, including this, part of which I posted a few months ago.)Willie Edwards Working Man CDThis new one is from one of Willie Edwards’ self-produced CDs. Willie got thoroughly screwed after signing one of the worst recording contracts ever written — the CD, Everlastin’ Tears, only sold about a thousand copies and Willie surrendered the rights to a dozen mostly great songs — so he’s turned to self-production. The lyrics below are from “Police State on the Rise” on his self-produced Working Man CD. (Sorry, but the song isn’t available online; the closest and only thing available is his “Helpless, Hopeless Feeling” from the Everlastin’ Tears CD, which certainly isn’t the one I’d pick as a sample of his work.) Anyway, here’s the first stanza from the all-too-pertinent “Police state on the rise”:

Police state on the rise
By the same old guys
With the same old lies
Comes as now surprise
Well it’s very plain to see
It’s about your liberty
Police state . . . police state . . .

If you live in Vermont (yes, Vermont), check the local music listings. I believe that Willie still performs occasionally, and I’d highly recommend catching him and his band.


Willie Edwards, "Everlastin' Tears"

Condemnation

To the global plantation

Bring it up

Elimination

On the road

To the company store

Won’t somebody tell me

Where I’m headin’ for

–Willie Edwards, “Company Store,” on the horrors of being enmeshed by the global corporate octopus, from the CD “Everlastin’ Tears” — a CD so rare that none of its cuts are up on youtube


Back in the ’60s, I grew up listening to white musicians covering black music: Stones, Beatles, Animals, etc., etc.

Late in the decade, I started listening to the original black artists. The first thing I ever heard in the genre was Muddy Waters’ “Electric Mud.”  It was a revelation at the time, though in retrospect it was a lousy album — designed to sell to clueless white kids, such as yours truly.

Since then, I’ve been a blues fan, and have been writing and playing the blues (guitar) for decades.  Beyond the standard canon, here are a few obscurities I love from the various decades:

(’70s) Son Seals, “Midnight Son” — a great album; his others are terrible. This one features great song writing, guitar work, and vocals.

(’80s) Treat Her Right, “Tied to the Tracks” — more blues rock than blues, but a great album with wonderful song writing and intelligent lyrics from the (better) forerunner to Morphine

(’90s)  Doug Sahm, “The Last Real Texas Blues Band” — all covers, but absolutely wonderful — this album is a veritable definition of “swing”

(’90s) Willie Edwards, “Everlasting Tears” — wonderful song writing, wonderful guitar playing, wonderful, intelligent vocals.. Willie signed perhaps the worst recording contract in the history of music, and doesn’t even have the copyright to the songs on this CD. I want to cover a couple of them on our next CD, but can’t; I’ll probably end up covering one or two of his more recent songs, very likely the very apropos “Police State on the Rise.”

(’00s) Sugar Thieves, “Live” — an incredibly good CD from the best band from the hellhole 190 km northwest of here. Great dueling male and female vocals

Finally, since you asked (or didn’t) here are a few cuts I wrote or co-wrote and recorded with The Pinche Blues Band:

Cheers.

 


You say reality

Is what you believe

I gotta ask you

Does water freeze at 32 degrees?

–Willie Edwards, “Dollar In,” on the CD “Everlastin’ Tears.”  (This is probably the only blues rock song ever written on the weirdness of interest on loans–“A dollar in, a dollar out, how does interest come about?”)

Willie Edwards, "Everlastin' Tears"

I talked with Willie a couple of years ago, and he told me that “trustafarians” had ruined the scene in Vermont for working blues musicians.  They don’t care about getting paid, so they work for nothing, driving down the wages of actual musicians to near nothing. Willie–one of the best blues guitarists/vocalists and songwriters of our times–hadn’t even made enough in the previous year to pay for an expensive Gibson guitar he’d bought. When I spoke with him, Willie was driving a van for handicapped people to make ends meet. The scene is similar, though not quite as bad, in Tucson. I’ll have an update shortly.

BTW, if you ever get the chance, pick up a copy of “Everlastin’ Tears.” It’s one of the two best blues albums from the 1990s, the other being “The Last Real Texas Blues Band,” by Doug Sahm. (Of course, Willie got screwed on the recording contract–he gave up the rights to all of the [great] songs.) Since he recorded it (and got screwed) in the 1990s, willie has recorded a number of less polished sounding but still great CDs, with such standout cuts as  “Police State on the Rise.” and “Somebody’s Watching You.” If you’re in Vermont, go see Willie–it’ll be money well spent. And if you’re outside of Vermont, please order his CDs directly from him (not available on Amazon).