Friday, October 1, 2010

Day 35: Jimmy "T99" Nelson "Rockin' and Shoutin' the Blues" and Zydeco Madness Gaga for Yaya

I certainly have a more extensive blues collection than I had imagined. This is the most persistent lesson so far from the project. I thought maybe I had hit a vein of blues and that things would start to balance out, but I think that it's time to face it, the Albatross is made up of a whole lot of blues CDs.

It's a party in my ears today, you're all invited...

Jimmy "T99" Nelson
Rockin & Shoutin the Blues
Right off the bat, this is the jazziest blues album so far. This is closer to Joe Williams than it is Robert Johnson. This is not guitar heavy at all. It took me a moment to even identify if there was a guitar in there at all. There is a trio of saxophones and a trombone and a rather pervasive piano.

Of course as I write that, a lengthy guitar solo starts up. But not a grindy, gruff guitar solo, but rather an articulate, almost jazzy guitar solo with clean single lines.

The liner notes call it jump blues...I guess I could refer back to yesterday's liner notes for clarification, but I already don't know where they are.

As if to drive home the whole Joe Williams comparison, he's singing a song I associate with Williams, Don't Let the Sun Catch You Crying.  I really love this song.

I haven't managed to find anywhere in the liner notes yet that explain why he's nicknamed "T99." Seems a little old to make a convoluted Terminator reference.

I'm finding that when I like a CD I sometimes have less to say. I feel goofy just going on and on about how 'this is cool.' I don't really have anything insightful to say about the blues, especially at this point since it's I think the seventh or eighth blues CD to have gone in.

Sweet Mr. Cleanhead might top the list of potential super hero names should I suddenly be granted super powers.

Various Artists
Gaga For Yaya: Zydeco Madness
Winter & Winter became one of my favorite labels while working at the store. I never really knew who distributed them, or maybe I did and I don't remember now, but that German label was pretty consistently awesome. I just started to assume that cardboard and cloth case meant, "I was going to like whatever was inside."

Usually this meant some rather strange hybrids of free jazz and modern composition with the likes of Uri Caine (who Winter & Winter introduced me to), but this time it's in the form of a zydeco collection. German label, zydeco music...sort of hard not to start thinking about Schultz Gets the Blues. I don't really have anywhere to go with that, though. Except to imagine that a quiet, large, good natured German dude is playing all the accordion parts.

There was a brief flair up of zydeco love at the store when the main buyer opened a Beau Jocque CD that contained the lyric, "Get 'em Beau Jocque." It was hard not to get infected with that, really. Zydeco would be a hard music to listen to all the time...that's a lot of pressure to be this enthusiastic all the time. Even the moderately tempo'd Ya-Ya (sittin' here lala waitin' on my ya-ya...) or this rather ballad like Turn the Page (that borders on being a regular R&B song with accordion in it...) it's a pretty high energy music.

Okay, this is kind of awesome. Ah, I spoke a little too soon. I thought it was about to be a zydeco cover of Abraham, Martin and John. That would be fantastic. It's sort of making me unfairly disappointed in this soulful Motowny song with accordion.

Now we're back up to speed with Let's Say Goodnight. Feet Don't Fail Me Now is a tune I know from the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, now I get an even faster version of it with...say it with me...accordion.

There was an accordion in my house growing up. No zydeco music, though, so I never knew its potential outside of being an instrument to accompany bubble making.

Iko Iko, awesome. Terrance Sieman is taking the song easy, I'm used to more cookin' with people doing this song. But the energy that sits under the surface of all zydeco music makes this laid back take work rather well.

I may have a second form of music that makes the best covers. Right now I'm listening to a zydeco Tequila and I'm completely sold. Get 'em Beau Jocque! (who happens to be doing this cover...)


  1. Always had a soft spot for the 'makin bubbles' accordion stuff on Welk - the town where I was born boasted featuring the first known performance of Welk, I imagined it in a dusty upstairs dance hall, as part of a nazi gala. Completely untrue, but it's how I imagined it.

  2. I've decided to believe it is in fact true now.

    That's actually a kind of cool and weird distinction for a town to have.

    And the 'makin' bubbles' accordion has its charms...