Archive for the ‘Roger Wood’ Tag

Houston Blues Legends   1 comment

Billy Blues (1 of 1)-2-72Pee Wee Stephens, Pete Mayes, Grady Gaines, Calvin Owens, Joe “Guitar” Hughes,
and I don’t know the gentleman playing bass on the stage at Billy Blues (1999)
— Image by kenne

During our time living in the Houston area, Joy and I were very much into live music, especially the blues. Although there are still plenty of blues venues, many have passed with time. One such place was Billy Blues, on Richmond Avenue on Houston’s trendy westside. Regional and nationally known blues musicians played there for about seven years. Known for its 63-foot-tall saxophone made of Volkswagen Beetle parts and beer kegs, the venue never seemed to capture the same blues feeling of clubs in Houston’s working-class 3rd and 5th Ward communities. “I love the blues. It’s a feeling,” Martha Turner said to Roger Wood in his book Down In Houston: Bayou City Blues. “You got to feel a song, you know. When a person comes into a club to see you, they enjoy your expression, not so much as what you’re singing. They watch your face.”

“You watch this person sing a song,
and it’s almost like you’re doing it yourself.
Know what I’m talking about?
You enjoy that blues.
The Blues is something you can identify with.”

(Martha Turner)

During these trying times, what better way of coming together than with The Blues, and Buddy Guy reminds us,
“. . . you treat everybody just the way you want them to treat you.”

— kenne

 

Lyrics
I've been around a while
I know wrong from right
And since a long time ago
Things been always black and white
Just like you can't judge a book by the cover
We all gotta be careful
How we treat one another
I say

Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath we all look same
Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath, don't we all look the same?

A man in Louisiana
He never called me by my name
He said "boy do this and boy do that"
But I never once complained
I knew he had a good heart
But he just didn't understand
That I needed to be treated
Just like any other man

Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath, don't we all look the same?
Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath we all look the same

I sat my little child down
When he was old enough to know
I said "I fear in this big wide world
You're gonna meet all kinda folks"
I said "Son it all comes down to just one simple rule
That you treat everybody just the way
You want them to treat you"

Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath, don't we all look the same?
Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath we all look the same

Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath, don't we all look the same? Yeah
Skin deep, skin deep
Underneath we just all look the same (the same, yeah)

Skin deep (treat everybody), skin deep
Skin deep, skin deep
All look, all look the same
Skin deep, skin deep
Don't we all look the same?

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

Capturing The Moment — Zydeco Dots   Leave a comment

Zydeco2006-09-24-13 B-W blogThe Zydeco Dots at The Continental Club, Houston, Texas — (09/24/06)

Roger Wood  and James Fraher

Roger Wood and James Fraher

Roger Wood writes in the Introduction to his 2006 book, Texas Zydeco:

“No matter where you may have lived or traveled or what your tastes in music might be, somewhere along the way you have likely encountered the uncanny sound of zydeco. For many people it is but a fleeting moment of exposure, leaving them slightly confused but somehow enthused by their sudden involuntary foot-tapping. For certain others it is an even more visceral awakening, the start of an ongoing relationship with a potent force. For some, there is no memory of their first encounter, for they have known it all their lives — the phrase ‘Texas zydeco’ is not an oxymoron but a cultural fact.”

kenne

Zydeco2006-09-24-29 B-W blogBar at Houston’s Continental Club — Images by kenne

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