Ain’t nothing but the blues…

Okay, my posting has been paltry in the past year or so. I have a good excuse as I went through breast cancer and major surgery and reconstruction. I say that not to elicit sympathy – please know I am cancer free and full of gratitude – but just to explain my spotty presence. And you know what? I got the right to sing the blues! Nonetheless, life goes on… I have many blog posts in mind for you roots music loving folks out there, and will be posting soon about a variety of real cool music.

Gonna toot my own horn for a minute here. Back in 2009, I posted on the Texas Blues and mentioned Gary Clark, Jr. as an amazing talent. I actually saw him live at the Continental Club in Austin, back around 2004 or 2005 and literally got the goosebumps. You know you’re hearing something special when you got the goosebumps. Anyhow, now he’s the business – appearing on the PBS White House Blues special (scroll down for his performance) with legends like BB King, Buddy Guy, Mick Jagger, etc. He’s appeared with Alicia Keys and she had some really fond words about him. And his new album, “The Bright Lights EP,” has generated quite a buzz. Remember folks you heard it here first at ROOTNOTEMUSIC!

Speaking of Buddy Guy, “Baby Please Don’t Leave Me”:

And just because, my favorite Bobby Blue Bland tune, “I Pity The Fool”:

This song really was the start of my love affair with the blues. The greatest. Muddy Waters “Still A Fool”…”I’ve been crazy, all of my life….”

And here’s Mr. Clark, Jr. Congrats to him on his success and I hope he continues to rise. Here he is singing “Catfish Blues” at the White House:


  1. Hey Marina!

    Regarding that “Muddy Waters Folk Singer” album, it’s now a CD issued as a double album with “Muddy Waters Sings Big Bill Broonzy.” I first encountered the Broonzy album in the University of Washington Undergraduate Library. I think it was only one or two songs from that album that appeared within a taped lecture on the history of African-Americans. The professor noted how the record and the music both captured the Black migration from the rural South to the urban North. Muddy and his band of all-stars (Otis Spann on piano and James Cotton on harmonica, amongst others!) are playing songs by Big Bill, who was hosting blues musicians at his club in Chicago. When you listen to the tunes, you are hearing this transitional form of blues–somewhere between rural acoustic and urban electric. This is a seminal moment that marks the beginning of electric Chicago Blues and, potentially, the first seed of Rock and Roll.

    I was in my early twenties at the time, and not long into learning the guitar. The Blues was my start. I had also just decided I needed to learn to play the harmonica. I made it a point to find and buy that album, because it had everything I was looking for to learn from. Listening to it, James Cotton became my first mentor for the Blues harp. Years later, I caught Cotton playing a gig in Seattle. I asked him to sign my CD. He barely could remember that session. I know I told him that I learned my first harmonica chops listening to him. I hope I remembered to tell him that they were teaching that album at the local university.

    –Dave Eriksen


    • Thanks for your comments Dave! very cool story about James Cotton! I’m a huge Otis Spann fan.


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