Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Legendry Dirt Road Blues
With Bowie and Hooky on the trail of a Good English Pint in Ummmmerrica, there was a great chance last night for me to soak up the tasty live sound of Roadhouse southern America , in Oxford , and stand for a couple of hours within touching distance of the fretboard of the modern legend that is Alvin Youngblood Hart.
Grammy award winning Alvin, out of Memphis TN is the cosmic American Love Child Of Howlin Wolf and Link Wray!!! Known as a "musician's musician", his praises have been sung by everyone from Bob Dylan to Brit guitar gods Eric Clapton & Mick Taylor.
Since his 1996 debut recording, the all-acoustic BIG MAMA'S DOOR, he has carried his musical message the world over. A devout follower of the 'no barriers' approach laid by veteran performers like Gatemouth Brown and the late great Doug Sahm, Alvin continues to defy the so- called purists.
To have him appearing in the tiny, ( itself fast becoming legendry ) Blues club, on the fringe strip of the City , is a real coup, but you could just tell by hearing him talk about the rocking blues that he was as happy bringing the walls down to 100 people ( as there was cramming the room...) as he was to 10,000 at a festival.
So we got the lot, from all ten of his different guitars.. the whole gamut of southern State Music as if Hendrix has descended on us himself...
....the whole tale of starting out life on the dirt poor side of the tracks to playing round the globe, just how I want my bluesmen to be. You gotta have felt to know how to feel. His new album "Motivational Speaker" just about says it all and it was a fantastic evening watching at close quarters his big phat phalanges make his guitar wail and sing.
You'll have noticed the words "legendry" and "Bob Dylan" cropping up a few times in this blog which prompted an aftershow beer and chat at the bar about the nature of Legendry-ness and how it is almost over used like "genius"..these day. What does it take to be legendry... Longevity ?...the rise from poverty to being a household name through deeds told by word of mouth?...or that simply that you gained respect...by doing it the hard way, playing every roadhouse and blues club in the world like this one tonight... increasing the legend even more.
Of course when you get to being Dylan, you get to that weird place of being so legendry, you can start to play with it, almost go back to the start, (a bit like Alvin tonight,) and enjoy the weirdness it brings....
......... as it was with great amusement that on the way home I tuned in the 1 am newsround on the car radio to hear that Bob Dylan, the man himself, is "talking to a couple of car companies" about becoming the voice of their GPS Sat Nav system.
So naturally this led me to thinking.. "How many Roads does a man walk down" and whether what ever you typed into the Sat Nav you would end up on "positively 4th Street"
It could have been "Lonely Avenue" but Ray Charles got there first and I even hoped he wrote "Turn Turn Turn" but that was Pete Seeger, so it seems even legends can't have everything.
The Legendry Sir Dayvd ( "Left at the next street. No, right. You know what? Just go straight." ) of Legendry Oxford