• Some catchy, modern blues from Charles Ponder: “She’s Got the Best in Town”

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    How modern? He’s not singing about good soul food. He’s singing about tacos!

    The Caribbean sound reminds me of some work by the great Ry Cooder.

    High praise, indeed.

    Besides his solo work, Ponder is a member of the Memphis band, The Lizzard Kings.

    He handles the vocals on this song, which is genuinely funny and is more country than blues.

    In the early days of rock-and-roll, at places like Sun Studios in Memphis, there was really no boundary between rock, blues/rock, and country. Just think of the members of the Million Dollar Quartet.


  • A great Skynyrd song to honor those Georgia Dawgs, who dominated today; plus TWO bonus songs about the Peach State

    Georgia, Auburn, ‘Bama. Whose best? Rock, paper, scissors.

    Or, as we academics say, the rankings aren’t transitive.

    The featured song is Lynyrd Skynyrd’s original personnel doing Georgia Peaches (1977, and still sounding great).

    Bonus #1 is the great Levon Helms doing Sweet Peach Georgia Wine, introduced on SCTV!

    Bonus #2 is pure redneck rock: Billy Joe Shaver’s I Been to Georgia on a Fast Train. Think Jerry Lee Lewis.

    As for Georgia Peaches, it’s pure Southern rock, plus a little honky-tonk and a lot of funkadelic!


    Ronnie Van Zant – lead vocals
    Steve Gaines – guitar, backing vocals
    Allen Collins – guitar
    Gary Rossington – guitar
    Billy Powell – keyboards
    Leon Wilkeson – bass, backing vocals
    Artimus Pyle – drums

    The album was released just days before the airplane crash killed Ronnie and Steve and several members of the entourage, along with the plane’s crew.

    And here’s Levon’s ode to Georgia:

    And, as a finale, Billy Joe Shaver’s “I Been To Georgia on a Fast Train”

  • New Feature: ZipDialog Presents TWO VERSIONS. Elmore James, then Buddy Guy playing “Look Over Yonder Wall”

    A great song, done in two very different ways. This will become an occasional feature at ZipDialog.

    Suggestions of “two versions” are most welcome


    The version made famous by the great Elmore James: “Look over yonder wall, hand me down my walkin’ cane”


    Then, a hard-rockin’ version by a modern master, Buddy Guy.

  • R. L. Burnside playing “Poor Black Mattie” and Explaining How He Got His Start

    After R.L. explain how he got his start and plays a bit, I have another wonderful version by Samantha Fish. Later, I have Burnside’s full version.


    Although R.L. Burnside is closely connected to traditional Delta blues, he’s actually from a little outside the Delta, in the nearby hills. Some call his style, “Hill Country Blues.”

    Here he explains the first time he played in public, a party where his friend, Mississippi Fred McDowell, asked him to play. For those of us who love the blues, the rest is history.

    Here is one version of the lyrics (like all folk tunes, they change a bit with each rendition):

    Poor Black Mattie, yeah (Poor Black Mattie)
    Ain’t got a change in clothes (change in clothes)
    Girl got drunk, oh (girl got drunk)
    Close that door (close that door)
    Poor Black Mattie (Poor Black Mattie)
    Ain’t got change o’ clothes
    Girl got drunk, throwed her trunk outdoor

    Goin’ to Memphis to see that (goin’ to Memphis)
    Worldly fair (the worldly fair)
    Reason I’m goin’ (the reason I’m goin’)
    Baby, there (is my baby’s there)
    Goin’ to Memphis (goin’ to Memphis)
    See that worldly fair
    Reason I’m goin’, ’cause my baby there

    Need no heater fireplace (need no heater)
    By my bed (said, by my bed)
    Woman I got (that woman I got)
    Cherry red (cherry red)
    Need no heater (need no heater)
    Fireplace by my bed
    Woman I got, keep me cherry red

    –Poor Black Mattie


    Now, here’s a wonderful version by someone keeping the blues alive, Samantha Fish, together with Lightnin’ Malcolm. They are OUTSTANDING!!

    It was produced at the legendary Zebra Ranch Studios in Coldwater, Mississippi by Luther Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars. (I can’t hear his name without thinking about another famed producer named Dickinson–Bruce Dickinson of “More Cowbells.”)


    Here’s R.L. playing a full version:


  • More N’Awlins Piano: Fats’ predecessor, the great Professor Longhair playing Tipitina

    Listen to blend of jazz, Cajun, rock, R&B, and Caribbean in the Professor’s classic, Tipitina.

    After that you’ll find Dr. John’s homage to it, done with Johnny Winter.

    Who was Tipitina? Professor Longhair’s girlfriend.

    There are now a couple of clubs in NOLA named after her, complete with a bust of the Professor.

    Longhair (1918-1980, given name of Roy Bird) comes before Fats and sets the stage for Dr. John.

    That, my friends, is exactly how a great tradition is passed on and creatively renewed.


  • Who’s on First? Rock-and-Roll Edition (A wonderful cartoon drawing that mimics the Abbott and Costello routine)

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    This is fun.

    It captures the goofy logic of Abbott and Costello’s “Who’s on First?” without straining.

    (Actually, Abbott and Costello didn’t invent the routine, which goes back to early vaudeville, but they deserve all the credit for perfecting it with their perfect timing.)



  • Blues-Rock selection: “Never Make Your Move Too Soon”

    The song was made famous by B.B. King.

    Bonnie Raitt has done a fine version on the slide guitar (link here)

    If you like blues-rock, you’ll love this version by the great Joe Bonamassa. Great sound quality; live recording with a strong horn section and redoubtable backup singers. Of course, Bonamassa himself is one of the best guitarists around.

    He came by his BB King connections the right way. When Joe was 12, he opened for BB.

    If you want to compare it to BB’s version, done live, enjoy this one. More rhythm-and-blues than Bonamassa’s rock. Great, as BB always is.