Friday, July 01, 2011

Willie Dixon - Chicago Blues Master

William James "Willie" Dixon was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 1, 1915. He was an American blues musician, vocalist, songwriter, arranger and record producer. A Grammy Award winner who was proficient on both the Upright bass and the guitar, as well as his own singing voice, Dixon is arguably best known as one of the most prolific songwriters of his time.

Willie Dixon performing one of my favorites - It Don't Make Sense If You Can't Make Peace:

Dixon is recognized as one of the founders of the Chicago blues sound. His songs have been recorded not only by himself, or that of the trio and other ensembles in which he participated, but an uncounted number of musicians representing many genres between them. A short list of his most famous compositions include "Little Red Rooster", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Evil", "Back Door Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "I Ain't Superstitious", "My Babe", "Wang Dang Doodle", "Bring It On Home", and "Spoonful".

Next to Muddy Waters, he was the most influential person in shaping the post World War II sound of the Chicago blues. He also was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late 1950s. His songs were covered by some of the biggest artists of more recent times, including Styx, Bob Dylan, Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Foghat, The Yardbirds, The Rolling Stones, Queen, Megadeth, The Doors, The Allman Brothers Band, Grateful Dead, and a posthumous duet with Colin James.

Here's Muddy Waters with the Rolling Stones:

And Led Zeppelin performing Dixon's Bring It On Home:

Dixon signed with Chess Records as a recording artist, but began performing less and became more involved with the record label. By 1951, he was a full time employee at Chess where he acted as producer, talent scout, session musician and staff songwriter. He was also a producer for Chess subsidiary Checker Records. His relationship with the Chess label was sometimes strained, although his tenure there covered the years from 1948 to the early 1960s. During this time his output and influence were prodigious. From late 1956 to early 1959, he worked in a similar capacity for Cobra Records, where he produced early singles for Otis Rush, Magic Sam, and Buddy Guy. He later recorded on Bluesville Records. From the late 1960s until the middle 1970s, Dixon ran his own record label, Yambo Records, along with two subsidiary labels, Supreme and Spoonful. He released his 1971 album Peace? on Yambo, as well as singles by McKinley Mitchell, Lucky Peterson and others.

He was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the "early influences" (pre-rock) category in 1994. Source: Wikipedia

Willie Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) : He is The Blues, and A Bit Of Groovy!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Dancing In The Street

On June 29th, 1985, David Bowie and Mick Jagger recorded a version of the Martha Reeves and the Vandellas 1964 hit "Dancing In The Street" for the forthcoming "Live Aid" fundraising event. The single went on to become a No.1 UK hit.
Source: This Day In Music

The original plan was to perform a track together, live, with Bowie performing at Wembley Stadium and Jagger at John F. Kennedy Stadium, until it was realized that the satellite link-up would cause a half-second delay that would make this impossible unless either Bowie or Jagger mimed their contribution, something neither artist was willing to do.

In June 1985, Bowie was recording his contributions to the Absolute Beginners soundtrack at Abbey Road Studios, and so Jagger arranged to fly in to record the track there. A rough mix of the track was completed in just four hours, at which point the pair went straight out to London Docklands to film a video with director David Mallet. Thirteen hours after the start of recording, this also was completed. Jagger arranged for some minor musical overdubs in New York.

The video was shown twice at the Live Aid event. Soon afterward the track was issued as a single, with all profits going to the charity. "Dancing in the Street" topped the UK charts for four weeks, and reached number seven in the United States.

Bowie and Jagger would perform the song once more, at the Prince's Trust Concert on June 20, 1986.

The song has been featured since on several Bowie compilations. It was also shown in movie theaters before showings of "Ruthless People", for which Jagger had recorded the theme song. It was the first instance in which a promotional clip was used outside of MTV or broadcast television. Source: Wikipedia

Oh, you know that's A Bit Of Groovy!