Archive for the 'Non classé' Category

Taj Mahal’s “Light Rain Blues”

Taj Mahal

Taj Mahal

Henry St. Claire Fredericks Jr. (b.1942) is universally known by his stage name of Taj Mahal. He is an American blues musician who plays guitar, piano, banjo, harmonica, and many other instruments, often incorporating elements of world music into his work. Mahal has reshaped the definition and scope of blues music over the course of his more than 50-year career by fusing it with nontraditional forms, including sounds from the Caribbean, Africa, India, Hawaii, and the South Pacific.

Le Hibou 1965

Le Hibou 1965

Mahal’s career started in 1964 with the formation of the group Rising Sons, which featured Ry Cooder, one of the best guitarists of the period. Taj next joined up with Jesse Ed Davis, a Kiowa native from Oklahoma and a tremendous guitarist in his own right. With the addition of Gary Gilmore (bass) and Chuck Blackwell (drums), the group performed under Taj Mahal’s name and was one of the first interracial bands of the period.

This is the group I saw in 1968 at Le Hibou coffee house on Sussex Drive in Ottawa. It was one of the best performances I have seen in my life. They tore the roof off the place. Jesse Ed Davis went on to play with the likes of Eric Clapton, John Lennon, George Harrison and Bob Dylan, to name but a few.

It is difficult to overstate the importance of Taj Mahal’s eponymous first album (1968), which took traditional material by Blind Willie McTell (1898-1959), Sonny Boy Williamson (date of birth unknown – 1965), Robert Johson (1911-1938) and Sleepy John Estes (1899-1977), turning everything on its head with some of the most raucous and satisfying electric blues recordings ever made. In less than 24 months, Taj Mahal issued three more albums – Natch’l Blues (1968), the electric Giant Step and the decidedly rural De Ole Folks at Home (1969)

The genesis of my arrangement for “Light Rain Blues” follows the revival of folk music in the U.S. and of folk and Celtic music in Britain in the mid-20th century. It was at this time that I was teaching myself to play the guitar. The most prominent British guitarists involved in this revival were Davey Graham (1940-2008), Bert Jansch (1943-2011), John Renbourn (1944-2015) and Martin Carthy (b. 1941).

Martin Carthy

Martin Carthy

When American singer Bob Dylan arrived in London for the first time in 1962 he visited Martin Carthy and heard him perform in public. Dylan learned the traditional song “Scarborough Fair” from Carthy, which he later developed into his own song “Girl From the North Country”.

At this time, many British guitarists experimented with different ways of tuning the guitar, creating “alternate tunings” by voluntarily detuning the strings to obtain tones not otherwise available. Martin Carthy, for example, created the alternate tuning EADEAE to better reach the tonalities of bagpipe music. Carthy called it his “pipe tuning”. About 15 years ago, I was trying out Carthy’s tuning and found an interesting melody which I recorded so as not to forget it. While recently rumaging through old recordings to inspire new projects, I came across that old file, entitled “EADEAE”. It consisted of 25 seconds of an interesting guitar melody, circular, repetitive and sedate, like a long rainy day, played in Carthy’s “pipe tuning”. That melody forms the basis of my arrangement of “Light Rain Blues”.

Richard Séguin – voice, acoustic guitar, mandolin, samples

To hear the song, click on the link below.

Light Rain Blues

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

The Scottish ballad “Twa Corbies”

The Twa Corbies, Arthur Rackham circa 1919

The Twa Corbies by Arthur Rackham circa 1919

Sometime between the 16th and 19th century, the English ballad “The Three Ravens” evolved into the Scottish ballad “Twa Corbies” (Two Ravens). “The Three Ravens” was first printed in a song book compiled by Thomas Ravenscroft in 1611 but it is perhaps much older than that. Written in the Scots language, the ballad “Twa Corbies” first appeared in correspondence dated 1802, which indicates that it came from the recitation of an old woman at Alva, a small town in Clackmannanshire in the Central Lowlands of Scotland.

“Twa Corbies” is invariably sung in the Scots parlance of the time. The use of an “a” in many words would later be replaced by an “o” : “twa” became “two”, “alane” became “alone” and so on. The word “corbies” obviously comes from the French “corbeaux” (ravens). Here is a modern English translation of the lyrics to “Twa Corbies” :

As I was walking all alone / I heard two ravens making noise
And one unto the other said / Where shall we go and dine today?
Where shall we go and dine today?

In behind that old sod wall / I know there lies a newly slain knight
And nobody knows that he lies there / But his hawk and his hound and his lady fair
His hawk and his hound and his lady fair

His hawk is gone to join the hunt / His hound to fetch a wildfowl home
His lady has taken another mate / So we may make our dinner sweet
So we may make our dinner sweet

You’ll sit on his white neckbone / And I’ll peck out his pretty blue eyes
With many a lock of his golden hair / We’ll line our nest when it grows bare
We’ll line our nest when it grows bare

Many a one for him do mourn / But none will know where he is gone
Over his white bones when they are bare / The wind shall blow for ever more
The wind shall blow for ever more

Twa Corbies 1901

Twa Corbies, by Penholm G. Howell-Baker, 1901

The ballad is brutally harsh and macabre and reflects its time very well. Violence was considered a necessary part of life in the Middle Ages and people were surrounded by violence in many forms, including wars, bloody tournaments, and deadly rivalries for power and land. Graphic depictions of violent events were also common. Violence played a major role in family disputes, in the justice system, and even in education and entertainment. Nations clashed over land, vassals revolted against lords, and crusaders waged holy wars in the name of religion. Medieval politicians often pointed to warlike behavior in biblical and ancient history to justify their own violent schemes. Men were indeed barbarians, descendant from a long line of barbarians.

The knight in Medieval Times was granted a position of honour, especially in a military capacity. Knights were expert horsemen skilled in battle and enjoyed all the latest technological advantages such as armour, maille, lances and crossbows. And yet, the knight was surpassed in the mid-15th century by advancements in the weapons of war, such as the introduction of the culverin as an anti-personnel, gunpowder-fired cannon. Thus, in “Twa Corbies”, two scavenger ravens searching for their next meal come upon a dead knight fallen behind a wall. The knight has been totally abandoned, his hawk gone to join a hunt, his hound fetching a wildfowl home and his lady already taken with another mate. Seeing no opposition, the ravens descend upon the knight’s carcass, pecking out his eyes and pulling out his hair to thicken their nest. The knight’s sun-bleached bones lie forgotten, the wind blowing over them for ever more.

Richard Séguin – voice, MIDI instruments (dulcimer, fiddle, viola, drums), audio samples

To hear the song, click on the title below

Twa Corbies

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

“Death Don’t Have No Mercy” by the Reverend Gary Davis

Le Révérend Gary Davis

The Reverend Gary Davis

“Death Don’t Have No Mercy” is a song by the American gospel and blues singer-guitarist Reverend Gary Davis (1896-1972). It was first recorded in 1960 during a career rebirth for Davis, thanks to the American folk music revival of that period.

Gary Davis was born in Laurens County in the Piedmont region of South Carolina. Of the eight children his mother bore, he was one of only two who survived to adulthood. He became blind as an infant after improper treatment of an eye condition. He recalled being poorly treated by his mother and that his father placed him in the care of his paternal grandmother. His father left during Gary’s childhood and was gunned down by authorities in Alabama after an alleged murder incident.

Davis had exhibited an interest in music at an early age and built a guitar from a pie pan around the age of seven. He taught himself to play guitar, banjo, and harmonica and began playing local dances for the white folk while still a child.

In 1937 Davis married Annie Bell Wright, a woman as deeply spiritual as himself, and she looked after him devotedly until his death. In 1940, when the blues was losing popularity, they moved to Mamaroneck, New York, where Annie had found work as a housekeeper. Later that same year they moved to Harlem, where they lived for the next 18 years and where Davis became a minister of the Missionary Baptist Connection Church. He continued busking and preaching in New York, often referred to as the “Harlem Street Singer.” For a time he stopped playing blues music altogether in favour of gospel and old time songs. He also taught guitar, charging $5 for lessons that could last all day and into the night. As he became better known among folk aficionados, he made recordings for various companies, consenting little by little to revive some of his secular repertoire for the benefit of his white admirers. Among some of his students were Stefan Grossman (founder of the Guitar Workshop), Steve Katz (of Blood, Sweat and Tears), Bob Weir (of The Grateful Dead) and Dave Van Ronk. In a performance at the Gaslight Cafe in Manhattan, Davis famously referred to his disciples by saying “I have no children, but I have sons.”

In particular, the work of Stephan Grossman must be singled out. He met Gary Davis when he was only 15 years old, his dad driving him to the Bronx to take guitar lessons. Grossman led Davis to coffee shops, bar mitzvahs, dances and churches, where his wide range of styles suited any audience. Grossman often acted as Davis’ aide when deaing with municipal requirements, filling out forms and other paperwork impeded by his blindness.

Stephan Grossman's Guitar Workshop

Stephan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop

As a teenager, learning was for me a process of hearing the song and trying to find the right notes on my guitar. At that time, there were a few recordings of masters like Gary Davis or Mississippi John Hurt but only on vinyl. Tape machines were rare, bulky, awkward and expensive. I remember being frustrated trying to learn to play from vinyl recordings – since my guitar was only tuned “by ear,” I struggled finding the right pitch and the notes played by those great guitarists of the time flew at me from everywhere. Then there were innovative guitarists like Bert Jansch who played the guitar in exotic tunings and I couldn’t find his notes on my guitar! I was saved when I saw an ad at the back of a comic book, telling me to write in to the Stefan Grossman Guitar Workshop in New York City for a free catalog of guitar instruction lessons. For me, New York City might as well have been Mars but I wrote in and it worked! I started collecting Grossman’s instruction books, everything written out in tablature, a pictorial representation of the six guitar strings complete with numbers on the string lines to indicate at which fret to play each string. For a kid like me, who could never afford real music lessons, tablature was a godsend. Stefan Grossman’s Guitar Workshop, and Grossman himself, are responsible for nurturing the aspirations of countless guitarists who wanted to learn the fingerpicking style. The Workshop is still active and now features many priceless video recordings of the great masters from the past.

My rendition of “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” is dedicated to the memory of my sister Marielle, who passed away last year, and of my brother Bob, who left us just this month.

Richard Séguin – voice and acoustic guitar

To hear the song, click on the title below

Death Don’t Have No Mercy

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

Muddy Waters’ “Louisiana Blues”

Muddy Waters 1950

Muddy Waters 1950

When I was a teenager, I read some of the pop music magazines that were available at St-Jacques, the local pool hall and general store in Rockland. Other than the radio, there were no other media to inform you about what was happening in Britain and America, the vanguards of contemporary music at that time. When I started working at the age of 19, all the music from my youth was being replaced by new directions that I had very little faith in. At that time, I could finally afford my first instruments : a used Gibson acoustic guitar, a second-hand Gibson electric guitar and a cheap Fender banjo. Thanks to the influence of artists like Doc Watson and Mississippi John Hurt, I loved acoustic music and the more I delved into its past, the more I understood the migration of music from the rural southern United States to the industrial northern states. The music of the American post-war era became my bible.

Many black people from all walks of life migrated to the north for jobs and many of them settled in Chicago. One of these travellers was McKinley Morganfield (1913-1983), born in a Mississippi county that is not conclusively known. His grandmother, Della Grant, raised him after his mother died shortly after his birth. Grant gave him the nickname “Muddy” at an early age because he loved to play in the muddy water of nearby Deer Creek.

Son Sims & Muddy Waters

Son Sims & Muddy Waters

Muddy Waters grew up on Stovall Plantation near Clarksdale, Mississippi where the remains of the cabin where he lived in his youth are now preserved as the Delta Blues Museum. In August 1941, Alan Lomax, Assistant in Charge of the Archive of Folk Song of the Library of Congress, went to Stovall Plantation to record various country blues musicians including Muddy Waters, who played at that time with a fiddler named Henry “Son” Sims (1890-1958). Lomax came back in July 1942 to record them again. Both sessions were eventually released by Testament Records as an album entitled “Down on Stovall’s Plantation.”

In 1943, Muddy headed to Chicago with the hope of becoming a full-time professional musician. He lived with a relative while driving a truck, working in a factory by day and performing at night. In 1944, he bought his first electric guitar and then formed his first electric combo out of necessity. Electrifying his sound was the only way to be heard above the shouts, arguments, fights and flying beer bottles in the boisterous Chicago clubs of the era. The beer bottles in particular forced many musicians to play behind a protective fence of chicken wire.

In studying the evolution of blues music, you readily see that the modern concept of 12-bar blues was more and more incidental the further back you go. Artists like Mississippi Fred McDowell and John Lee Hooker played their music without being constrained by a rigid tempo. The music simply flowed organically. Being one of Muddy’s earliest recordings on Chess Records, “Louisiana Blues” follows along those lines. Muddy sings and plays guitar with Little Walter Jacobs on harmonica, Ernest “Big” Crawford on upright bass, and drummer Elgin Evans tapping on a piece of wood. It is blues at its very core, primal and unadorned.

“Louisiana Blues” makes mention of a “mojo hand.” In African-American spiritualism, a mojo is a spell that can be carried with or on the host’s body, consisting of a bag containing one or more magical items. Alternative American names for the mojo include gris-gris and mojo hand.

Hammie Nixon, Yank Rachell & Sleepy John Estes

Hammie Nixon, Yank Rachell & Sleepy John Estes

I add a mandolin on my version of “Louisiana Blues.” Although the mandolin has been associated with blues music since the days of W.C. Handy (1873-1958), I first heard it played in blues songs by the great James “Yank” Rachell (1910-1997) on some of the very influential recordings of Sleepy John Estes (1899-1977).

Richard Séguin – voice, slide guitar, Dobro resonator guitar, mandolin, sampled percussion.

Louisiana Blues

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

Gillian Welch’s “Elvis Presley Blues”

Le premier disque

The first album

I was lucky. Thanks to my older brother Gabriel, I got to know Elvis Presley in his prime. My brother, 14 years my senior and a keyboard player in a small local band, had a record collection that featured the best of black (Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Ivory Joe Hunter, LaVern Baker) and white (Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis, Duane Eddy, Eddie Cochran). My brother loved rock ‘n roll music, no matter what the colour of the artists and I grew up in the same way. Racism is a disease reserved for adults.

Such racial equality was a rare thing in the United States at that time. When I was a boy, the United States was a place of segregation in everything – human rights, public institutions, popular music, the record industry. In Canada, it was never an issue. I suspect that my parents were way too busy keeping a household of 9 people clothed and fed to bother with such things. My brother didn’t care and I never even once heard about the existence of different races as I grew up. I loved the music of Chuck Berry and Jerry Lee Lewis equally. I saw a picture of singer LaVern Baker at the age of 8 and she was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. It never occurred to me that she was black.

In the early part of the 20th century, phonographs and phonograph records were most commonly distributed to white clients through furniture stores while blacks who could afford them bought phonograph records from Pullman porters working on the railroads that criss-crossed America. By the mid-1920s, all the major record companies in the U.S. were selling records made exclusively by and for African Americans, “race” records, as they were called.

Things remained the same until 1950, when a former disc jockey named Sam Phillips founded the Memphis Recording Service. Raised along side black people, working with them in the fields, Phillips recorded black amateur musicians and helped launch the careers of artists like B.B. King, Junior Parker, James Cotton, Rufus Thomas, Little Milton, Bobby Blue Bland and Howlin’ Wolf. The Memphis Recording Service also served as the studio for Phillips’s own label, Sun Record Company launched in 1952.

When he first heard Howlin’ Wolf, Phillips famously said “This is where the soul of man never dies.” What Phillips was searching for was a white man who could sing like a black man. As history would have it, that man was Elvis Presley (1935-1977). On July 18, 1953, Presley dropped into Sun studio to record a song for his mother’s birthday. Presley was what Sam Phillips had been searching for all along. Presley’s association with Phillips was a perfect storm. Phillips gave him the leeway and encouragement to go all out. They found the best songs for Presley’s exuberant style, some of them already recorded by then unknown black R&B artists like Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup (1905-1974) (That’s Alright Mama) and Junior Parker (1932-1971) (Mystery Train). Black songwriter Otis Blackwell (1931-2002) was also a major contributor with his compositions “Don’t Be Cruel” and “All Shook Up.”

The Blue Moon Boys (G. à D. Moore, Black, Fontana)

The Blue Moon Boys (L. to R. Moore, Black and Fontana)

To accompany Presley, Phillips used one of the best bands of the rock ‘n roll era, The Blue Moon Boys, with Bill Black (1926-1965) on upright bass, D.J. Fontana (1931-2018) on drums and Scotty Moore (1931-2016), one of the best guitarists in the history of rock ‘n roll. Elvis’ love of black R&B was apparent from the start – his first album in 1956 featured “Money Honey,” a song by Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters, and Ray Charles’ “I Got a Woman.” His electrifying live shows showcased his wild gyrations that no one had ever seen before. In short order, Elvis was featured on television shows hosted by the Dorsey Brothers, Milton Berle, Steve Allen and Ed Sullivan. In particular, 60 million people, or 82.6 percent of the viewing population, tuned in to watch the Steve Allen show..

Elvis and Scotty Moore

Elvis and Scotty Moore

Certainly, black artists like Chuck Berry had magnificent moves but they were slick while Elvis was raw. His gyrations certainly created a storm of controversy. The Catholic diocese in Wisconsin notified the FBI that Elvis was a threat to national security by arousing the sexual passions of teenaged youth. Many renowned music critics toed the line and one wrote that “popular music has reached its lowest depths in the ‘grunt and groin’ antics of one Elvis Presley – an exhibition that was suggestive and vulgar, tinged with the kind of animalism that should be confined to dives and bordellos.” Ed Sullivan, whose TV show was the nation’s most popular, declared Presley “unfit for family viewing.” To Presley’s displeasure, he soon found himself being referred to as “Elvis the Pelvis”, which he called “childish.” The Steve Allen show, in particular, introduced a “new Elvis” in a white bowtie and black tails. Presley sang “Hound Dog” for less than a minute to a basset hound wearing a top hat and bowtie. Presley would refer back to the Allen show as the most ridiculous performance of his career.

Accompanying Presley’s rise to fame, a cultural shift was taking place that he both helped inspire and came to symbolize. The historian Martin Jezer wrote : “As Presley set the artistic pace, other artists followed. Presley, more than anyone else, gave the young a belief in themselves as a distinct and somehow unified generation—the first in America ever to feel the power of an integrated youth culture.”

After being drafted into the U.S. Army in late 1957, Presley reported to Fort Chaffee in Arkansas on March 24, 1958. They cut off his hair like they did for all recruits. He dressed like everyone else and was trained to obey. He went in the greatest Rock n’ Roll artist of his generation and came out looking like everybody else. Elvis Presley may have died in 1977 but to me and others, he died in 1958 at the hands of conformity. He returned to his career in 1960 but was never close to the artist he was in the 1950s.

Gillian Welch released “Elvis Presley Blues” in 2001 as part of her “Time (The Revelator)” CD. Her decision to insert into her song some of the lyrics from Presley’s 1956 hit “All Shook Up” is a stroke of genius.

Richard Séguin – voice, acoustic guitar, mandolin, sampled percussion

To hear the song, click on the title below.

Elvis Presley Blues

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

Gillian Welch’s “I’m Not Afraid To Die”

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

Gillian Welch & David Rawlings

“I’m Not Afraid To Die” is a song composed by Gillian Welch and included in her 1998 album entitled “Hell Among the Yearlings.” A version of the song was also separately released as a duo with singer-songwriter Willie Nelson, with slightly different lyrics.

Welch’s compositions incorporate elements of various American music styles, including country, folk, bluegrass, R&B and blues, resulting in a distinctive acoustic roots-oriented sound that is apart from the genres upon which they may be drawn.

Welch was born on October 2, 1967, in New York City, and was adopted by Mitzie Welch (née Marilyn Cottle) and Ken Welch, comedy and music entertainers. After graduating from UC Santa Cruz, Welch attended the Berklee College of Musicians in Boston where she majored in songwriting. During her two years at Berklee, Welch met her musical partner David Rawlings at a successful audition for Berklee’s country band. Moving to Nashville, the duo realized that their voices harmonized well and they started to performing locally. They never considered using a working name, so they were simply billed as “Gillian Welch.” A year after moving to Nashville, Welch found a manager, Denise Stiff, who ignored frequent advice that Welch should stop playing with Rawlings and join a band. They eventually signed a recording contract and producer T-Bone Burnett expressed interest in recording them. Burnett did not plan to disturb Welch’s and Rawlings’ preference for minimal instrumentation, and Welch agreed to take him on as a producer. The resulting recordings have met with universal acclaim.

Richard au dobro

Richard at the dobro

Welch emphasizes music from a previous era as her major influence. She said that “by and large I listen to people who are dead. I’m really of the tried-and-true school. I let 50 years go by and see what’s really relevant.” Welch has acknowledged inspiration from several traditional country artists, including the Stanley Brothers, the Carter Family, the Louvin Brothers, and the Blue Sky Boys. She explained her relationship with traditional music by saying, “I’ve never tried to be traditional. It’s been a springboard for me and I love it and revere it and would not be doing what I do without the music of the Monroe Brothers, the Stanley Brothers and the Carter Family. However, it was clear I was never going to be able to do exactly that.”

Many thanks to my old friend Tom Butterworth for the loan of his dobro. A dobro has strings high off the neck and is designed to rest on your lap and be played overhand with a steel bar.

Richard Séguin – voice, acoustic guitars, mandolin, dobro.

To hear the song, click on the title below.

I’m Not Afraid To Die

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

Bob Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue”

Bringing It All Back Home

Bringing It All Back Home

“It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” is a song written by Bob Dylan and featured on his “Bringing It All Back Home” album released on March 22, 1965. The song closes out the album, which marked the start of things to come for Dylan and for popular music in general. “Bringing It All Back Home” is generally regarded as one of the greatest and most important albums in the history of popular music. It was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2006.

On the first half of the album, Dylan is backed by an electric band – a move that alienated him from some of his peers in the folk music community, as well as many fans. The second half of the album contains songs played with his more familiar folk instrumentation. Lyrically, the album is a sharp deviation from his early days and brings to the forefront Dylan’s exploding consciousness at that time, often associated to the use of hallucinogenic drugs.

Alrick Huebener

Much speculation has surrounded who or what is the “Baby Blue” that the song bids farewell to. Coming as it does on the very last track of the album, Dylan’s farewell is so unapologetic and brutally final that it felt, at that time, like he was bidding farewell to an era. And perhaps he was.

In a mesmerizing sequence of how the creative process sometimes works, Willie Dixon (1915-1992), who acted as producer, talent scout, session musician and staff songwriter for Chess Records, started things off with his magnificent composition “Hoochie Coochie Man”, first recorded by Muddy Waters (1913-1983) in 1954. This recording in turn inspired Bo Diddley (1928-2008) to write and record his blues standard “I’m A Man” in 1955. The same year, Muddy answered Bo with his recording of “Mannish Boy.” All three of these very similar blues songs and their magnificent beat inspired rock ‘n roller Gene Vincent (1935-1971) to write and record his song “Baby Blue” in 1958, which in turn inspired Dylan as he was writing “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue” in 1964. What a journey!

Roch Tassé

Dylan later described the writing of his song by saying “I had carried that song around in my head for a long time and I remember that when I was writing it, I’d remembered a Gene Vincent song. It had always been one of my favorites, Baby Blue… ‘When first I met my baby/She said how do you do/She looked into my eyes and said/My name is Baby Blue.’ It was one of the songs I used to sing back in high school. Of course, I was singing about a different Baby Blue.”

Here is a priceless live clip of Gene Vincent and his band The Blue Caps playing “Baby Blue” in 1958. The Blue Caps featured guitarist Cliff Gallup, one of the more influential instrumentalists of the 1950s.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOJrvMN0VK0

After the release of “Bringing It All Back Home”, many artists followed Dylan’s path by fusing folk music with rock instrumentation, most notably The Byrds, Simon and Garfunkel and Gordon Lightfoot. In the process, they created a genre that would later be labeled as “folk-rock” music.

I’m lucky to be able to rely on the talent and professionalism of Roch Tassé and Alrick Huebener when recording several of my projects. I’ve known Roch since we were teenagers and he even played on my first recordings in the 1970s. Alrick has contributed his wonderful upright bass on several of my recordings for over six years.

Richard Séguin – voice, MIDI programming (electric piano)
Alrick Huebener – upright bass
Roch Tassé – drums

To hear the song, click on the title below.

It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

Bob Dylan’s “Chimes of Freedom”

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan

Bob Dylan wrote “Chimes of Freedom” in 1963 and the song was released as part of the 1964 album “Another Side of Bob Dylan.” The album deviates from the more socially conscious songs that created Dylan’s original impact of the folk music scene in 1962, substituting the more lyrically abstract and introspective character of his new compositions. It is certainly Dylan at his most compassionate. The change prompted criticism from some influential figures in the folk community, even though Dylan still recorded and performed the song as he always had others, singing while playing an acoustic guitar and harmonica. The furor over Dylan’s move to electric instruments waited in the wings.

The song marks a transition between Dylan’s earlier “protest song” style (a litany of the down-trodden and oppressed, as in the second half of each verse) and his later more free-flowing poetic style (the fusion of images of lightning, storm and bells, as in the first half).

The song has been covered many times by different artists, including The Byrds, Jefferson Starship, Youssou N’Dour, Bruce Springsteen and U2. I have always found the song to be profoundly solemn and chose a more sober arrangement.

Richard Séguin – voice, MIDI programming (organ), audio sampling (percussion), electric 12-string guitar

To hear the song, click on the title below.

Chimes of Freedom

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

Jimmy Buffett’s “Biloxi”

Jimmy Buffett

Jimmy Buffett

I had been thinking of recording Jimmy Buffett’s song “Biloxi” for quite a few years when he forced my hand by dying on September 1 of this year. Buffett lived for sun, sand and surf and, perhaps not surprisingly, died of complications from skin cancer which had been diagnosed four years earlier. Buffett was 76 years old.

Jimmy Buffett did more for the tourism industry than any other man alive. His entire repertoire, over 30 albums, was populated by anthems to leisure, the beach, the ocean and the occasional beverage. Consequently he was a very popular and endearing entertainer, thanks to his 1977 mega-hit “Margaritaville.” At the time, it seemed that it played continuously on every single radio in North America.

Buffet was a shrewd investor in his own brand and launched several business ventures to sell his lifestyle to his fans, including restaurants, record labels, beer, casinos, retirement communities and cannabis. Buffett’s net worth was estimated at $1 billion at the time of his death. Buffett was also active in environmental conservation, disaster relief and played many charity performances for diverse causes.

Richard

Richard

The song “Biloxi”, written by Jesse Winchester, was released in 1977 as part of Buffett’s landmark album entitled “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes”, a perfect summation of his credo. The town of Biloxi is in Mississippi and its beachfront lies directly on the Mississippi Sound, with barrier islands scattered off the coast and into the Gulf of Mexico. Its humid subtropical climate draws many holidayers to the area.

Richard Séguin – voice, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, DX synthesizer (MIDI), electric bass guitar, audio samples (tambourine, floor tom), mandolin.

To hear the song, click on the title below.

Biloxi

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments

“Aux Natchitoches”, a song from the 18th century

Richard and Roch

In 1714, Fort St-Jean-Baptiste de Natchitoches was established by French Canadian explorer Louis Juchereau de St. Denis (1676-1744). Natchitoches was part of Louisiana, a large tract of land in southern North America named in honour of King Louis XIV of France. The outpost was near a village of the Natchitoches indiginous people, after whom the fort and later the city were named. Early settlers were French Catholic immigrants and creoles (ethnic French people born in the colony). Natchitoches was founded on the Red River for trade with Spanish-controlled Mexico. These political divisions predated the formation of the United States – the original 13 colonies were only incorporated into the United States after the Revolutionary War (1775-1783). The various ethnic participants in Louisiana led to many wonderful tangents in cuisine and music

Alrick Huebener

France had controlled the Louisiana territory from 1682 unti it was ceded to Spain in 1762. In 1800, Napoleon, the First Consul of the French Republic, regained ownership of Louisiana in exchange for Tuscany as part of a broader effort to re-establish a French colonial empire in North America. However, France’s failure to suppress a revolt in Saint-Domingue, coupled with the prospect of renewed warfare with the United Kingdom, prompted Napoleon to consider selling Louisiana to the United States. The acquisition of Louisiana was a long-term goal of President Thomas Jefferson, who was especially eager to gain control of the crucial port of New Orleans. U.S. representatives quickly agreed to purchase the entire territory of Louisiana and Jefferson persuaded Congress to ratify and fund the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

Downtown Natchitoches today showing the brick streets

The City of Natchitoches was incorporated on February 5, 1819, after Louisiana had become a state in 1812. It is the oldest permanent settlement in the land acquired by the Louisiana Purchase. Today, Natchitoches is a beautifully maintained historic site for tourism in the entire area.

Ed et Bee Deshotels

Ed and Bee Deshotels

The song “Aux Natchitoches” dates back to the early 18th century. It speaks of two languishing lovers, separated according to Catholic dogma where the man never works on Sundays but works the other six days of the week. The song was recorded by a number of Cajun artists but I heard it on a recording by Elby “Bee” Deshotels (1920-1988), who sang it a cappella (without accompaniment). Bee Deshotels often performed in the Ville Platte and Mamou area of Louisiana with his identical twin brother Ed (1920-2003), a fiddler.

As always, I must mention the extraordinary devotion that Roch and Alrick bring to the projects on this site.

Richard Séguin – voice, mandolin
Alrick Huebener – upright bass
Roch Tassé – percussion

To hear the song, click on the title below.

Aux Natchitoches

Copyright Disclaimer under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976 : allowance is made for « fair use » for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, education and research.

posted by R.A.Seguin in Non classé and have No Comments