Archive for the ‘Down In Houston’ Tag

Texas Johnny Brown at The Shakespeare Pub   2 comments

Texas Johnny Brown_edit blogTexas Johnny Brown at The Shakespeare Pub In Houston (11/15/09) Photo-Artistry by kenne

“We used to have guitars sessions,
guitar battles on Sunday out there at Club Matinee.
And there’d be about four or five of us there,
and man, guitars would be ringing like everything!

It was wild!”

— Texas Johnny Brown (Down in Houston: Bayou City Blues)

 

Down In Houston Blues   Leave a comment

DownInHouston-art-72Down In Houston Blues — Photo-Artistry by kenne

“For the latter half of the twentieth century, Houston has been home to what the
sociologist Robert D. Bullard has identified as perhaps, ‘the largest block community
in the South.’ More to the point, as David Nelson says in an editorial in Living Blues magazine,
the city is also the birthplace for ‘some of the most significant developments in modern blues.'” 

— from Down In Houston-Bayou City Blues by Roger Woods

Little Joe Washington, RIP   Leave a comment

little-joe-washington-3-8-0300108-5-blog-iiHouston Blues Legend, Little Joe Washington, — 2003 Image by kenne

From the Houston Blues Society’s Newsletter:

On Wednesday afternoon, bluesman Little Joe Washington passed on, leaving a hole in the blues community’s heart that belies his diminutive 5′ 5″ frame. One of Third Ward’s legendary blues guitarists, comprising Albert Collins, Johnny Clyde Copeland, Johnny “Guitar” Watson and Joe “Guitar” Hughes, Little Joe displayed a raw and sparkling talent that earned great respect from his peers.

It’s true to say that he knew more than a few dark days in his 75 years, but with surprising tenacity he’d always bounce back to delight audiences with his virtuoso guitar skills, often finishing his set by running around the room and using his hat for a tip jar before disappearing into the night on a rickety bicycle.

******

Roger Wood wrote of the Third Ward eccentric guitarist in his 2003 book on Houston blues, Down In Houston: Bayou City Blues:

“I first picked up a guitar when I was playing drums with Albert Collins. I taught myself after that,” Washington explains. “I figure it out on my own.” Once he began to experiment with the guitar, however, the diminutive and now perpetually scruffy-looking fellow developed a unique style that is best described as raw and unpredictable — some would say wild. “I play with my teeth, my tongue, my head. I used to hang on the rafters when I was in Old Mexico,” he said.

“. . . Little Joe Washington has evolved into a Houston folk hero of sorts.”

Houston Blues Legends: Mayes, Gaines, Owens and Hughes   Leave a comment

Billy Blues (1 of 1) x framedPete Mayes, Grady Gaines, Calvin Owens and Joe ‘Guitar’ Hughes at Billy Blues, June, 2000 — Image by kenne

For years, Sunday morning has been about the Blues, listening to Mr. & Mrs. V on KPFT, Houston. Thanks to Internet streaming, the Sunday morning tradition continues.

While listening this morning, I was going through some of my digital image files when I ran across these old black & white images I had scanned in 2010, which led me to start flipping through one of the best references on Houston blues, “Down in Houston – Bayou City Blues by Roger Wood. Of the four blues musicians in these images, Grady Gaines is the only one still with us. However, thanks to technology and radio personalities like Mr. & Mrs. V in Houston and Marty Kool (KXCI) in Tucson, their music is still with us — some of the best blues anywhere! Take the time to enjoy and share so this great music genre will always be alive and in the hearts of music lovers everywhere.

kenne

Billy Blues (1 of 1)-2 framed

Houston Blues World, February 22, 2003   3 comments

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATexas Johnny Brown

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I. J. Gosey

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Images by kenne

February 22, 2003, Blues lovers and legends in Houston gathered at Houston’s Mr. Gino’s Lounge in the memory of blues/jazz great, Kinney Abair. Now that it’s almost the 10th anniversary of Kinney’s death, I’m sharing my images of the Mr. Gino’s event. Some of the musicians in the photos are Joe ‘Guitar’ Hughes, I.J. Gosey, Ashton Savoy, Mike Stone, Pee Wee Stevens, Sonny Boy Terry and Texas Johnny Brown. Many other legends were in attendance, but not necessarily in my photos.

That evening we were also remembering AJ Murphy, who had a heart attach and passed away after giving a eulogy for his close friend, Kinney.

AJ Murphy

AJ Murphy

kenne

(To review other Blues posting on the blog, use the search function for “blues” on the home page, left column.

The Weary Blues

BY LANGSTON HUGHES

Droning a drowsy syncopated tune,

Rocking back and forth to a mellow croon,

I heard a Negro play.

Down on Lenox Avenue the other night

By the pale dull pallor of an old gas light

He did a lazy sway. . . .

He did a lazy sway. . . .

To the tune o’ those Weary Blues.

With his ebony hands on each ivory key

He made that poor piano moan with melody.

O Blues!

Swaying to and fro on his rickety stool

He played that sad raggy tune like a musical fool.

Sweet Blues!

Coming from a black man’s soul.

O Blues!

In a deep song voice with a melancholy tone

I heard that Negro sing, that old piano moan—

“Ain’t got nobody in all this world,

Ain’t got nobody but ma self.

I’s gwine to quit ma frownin’

And put ma troubles on the shelf.”

 

Thump, thump, thump, went his foot on the floor.

He played a few chords then he sang some more—

“I got the Weary Blues

And I can’t be satisfied.

Got the Weary Blues

And can’t be satisfied—

I ain’t happy no mo’

And I wish that I had died.”

And far into the night he crooned that tune.

The stars went out and so did the moon.

The singer stopped playing and went to bed

While the Weary Blues echoed through his head.

He slept like a rock or a man that’s dead.

Houston’s Blues Scene Busier Than Ever   6 comments

Down In Houston Blues — Image by kenne

Any talk of The Blues being dead needs to check out the scene down in Houston. Live Blues music in Houston has been the star of Texas for some time and now with the help of the Houston Blues Society and the continued support of KPFT Blues programmers, healthier than ever.  . . . more at Houston Press.

The Houston Press article doesn’t mentioned it, but I would suggest the that growth of social media is playing a big role in the live music market in Houston. One of my most viewed videos is that of Sonny Boy Terry IBC @ Dan Electro’s, October, 2009. (1,200 views)

kenne

 

Capture the Moment — Little Joe Washington   Leave a comment

Image by kenne

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