|Rory Block — Keepin’ Outta Trouble: A Tribute to Bukka White (Nov. 18, 2016)|
Rory Block — Keepin’ Outta Trouble: A Tribute to Bukka White ⦿► 34. album Rory Block od roku 1967.
⦿► Everywhere she plays, audiences are touched by the depth of her commitment to the music. Critical plaudits always follow the applause: The New York Times put it plainly enough: “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.” And Guitar Extra added: “Rory Block has become one of the world’s most important preservers of the roots of American music. She has become a national treasure in the form of an uncompromising mature blues artist.”Birth name: Aurora Block
Born: November 6, 1949, Princeton, New Jersey, United States
Location: Nashville, TN
Genre: Blues, Guitar
Album release: November 18, 2016
Record Label: Stony Plain
01. Keepin’ Outta Trouble 4:05
02. Bukka’s Day 4:25
03. Aberdeen Mississippi Blues 4:20
04. Fixin’ to Die Blues 5:20
05. Panama Limited 4:18
06. Parchman Farm Blues 4:10
07. Spooky Rhythm 3:58
08. New Frisco Train 3:53
09. Gonna Be Some Walkin’ Done 3:04
10. Back to Memphis 4:58
► Keepin’ Outta Trouble is Rory Block’s sixth release in her “Mentor Series” that salutes the blues masters who’ve had a profound impact on her music. This time she pays tribute to Bukka White, one of the most influential country blues artists in history. She brings the soul and meaning of Bukka White’s songs to life, as if heard for the first time since they were written and performed by the man, himself. Rory Block is one of the most acclaimed acoustic blues artists. She has won five Blues Awards in the “Traditional Blues Female Artist” and “Acoustic Blues Album of the Year” categories.
John Corcelli, Wednesday, November 16, 2016
► The remarkable guitarist and singer Rory Block has just released her sixth album in her “Mentor Series” for Stony Plain Records. Keepin’ Outta Trouble is a tribute to American country blues great Bukka White a.k.a. Booker T. Washington, who was born 110 years ago on November 12th. Since 2008, Block has released an album for each of her mentors: Mississippi John Hurt, Son House, Rev. Gary Davis, Skip James and Mississippi Fred McDowell. Like the other five albums in the series, Block has written half of the tracks, inspired by White’s deeply moving music, which she says “resonated with my heartbeat.” For Block, who met White in 1965 in Greenwich Village, it was a “transformative” experience for the young singer, who was only 16 years of age when she first saw him in a small club: “His face was like a painting. ► He exuded awesome power and intensity.” It’s that intensity of spirit that charges her new album with passion, resulting in one of the most exhilarating records in the entire series.
► Keepin’ Outta Trouble opens with two Block compositions, the title track and “Bukka’s Day,” featuring Block’s vocals up front with her Martin acoustic. I mention this because Block’s guitar playing is a driving force in all her music. Her particular skill as a guitarist on all her records is often under~recognized in this male-dominated industry. To see and hear her in concert is often mesmerizing. Her skill as a musician is truly something wonderful to behold and unlike the other albums in the series, this one seems the most important. It’s the music that best reflects Block’s intimacy with the blues, and the first two tracks get right to the point, especially “Bukka’s Day” with Block’s multi~tracked voice as the responding choir. We then get the first White cover, “Aberdeen Mississippi Blues,” first recorded by White in 1940. Block follows up with her inspired version of “Fixin’ to Die Blues” ~ White’s most famous song. (It is also generally regarded as one of the most influential songs for Led Zeppelin, particularly the band’s third album featuring unusual tunings and Americana acoustic songs.) ► Block’s performance is superb here as she channels White’s style and phrasing. “Fixin’ to Die Blues” is on Bob Dylan’s 1962 debut record for Columbia. Dylan’s rendition was partially responsible for White’s comeback two decades after his 1940 recording on the Vocalion label didn’t resonate with a mass audience. The next track, Bock’s cover of “Panama Limited,” is a first~rate version of the talkin’ blues, one of the most familiar trademarks of White and the country blues sound that influenced both Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan.
► “Parchman Farm Blues” is a personal favourite of mine, and I would have liked more thesongs like this on Block’s album. White recorded the song in 1940 on the OKeh label, his first recording following his release from the Mississippi State Penitentiary, where he served two and half years for a shooting incident. While in prison he witnessed the murder of a fellow inmate, as he tells in “Fixin’ to Die Blues.” ► The album closes with a Block original inspired by a guitar lick of Bukka White on his tune, “Jitterbug Swing.” Block makes that lick her own on “Back To Memphis,” a killer road song that joins the endless tunes about Tennessee’s (and quite possibly, America’s) most important cross~cultural music cities.
► The Mentor Series really serves any aspiring young musician, male or female, with the all~important groundwork necessary to understand not only country blues, but American roots music in general. Rory Block was mentored in her youth by some of the most important and finest blues the United States has ever produced. Now, at the age of 67 and with the release of this sixth installment of the series, she is the de facto mentor of a new generation of blues musicians to which we should all be grateful.
Website: http://www.roryblock.com/ © Photo credit: Sergio Kurhajec
♣ Heralded as “a living landmark” (Berkeley Express), “a national treasure” (Guitar Extra), and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. The New York Times declared: “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.”
♣ Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora “Rory” Block grew up in Manhattan a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. The rich and diverse Village scene was a constant influence on her cultural sensibilities. She was playing guitar by age ten, and by her early teens she was sitting in on the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park.
♣ During these years, her life was touched — and profoundly changed — by personal encounters with some of the earliest and most influential Delta blues masters of the 20th century. She made frequent visits to the Bronx, where she learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnson’s mentor (“He kept asking, “Where did she learn to play like this?”). She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC, to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb first~hand his technique and his creativity.
♣ “This period seemed to last forever,” Block Recalls nearly forty years later. “I now realize how lucky I was to be there, in the right place at the right time. I thought everyone knew these incredible men, these blues geniuses who wrote the book. I later realized how fleeting it was, and how even more precious.”
♣ By the time she was in high school, her family had splintered in different directions. With nothing holding her down, she left home at 15 with her guitar and a few friends — heading for California on a trip marked by numerous detours and stops in small towns. Along he way, she picked her way through a vast catalog of country blues songs and took her first steps in developing a fingerpicking and slide guitar style that would eventually be her trademark.
♣ She recorded an instructional record called How To Play Blues Guitar in the mid~60s (she was billed as Sunshine Kate on the original recording), but then took a decade off from music to start a family. In the mid~ and late ‘70s, she made a few records that ran counter to her inherent blues instincts, and the result was frustration. “Eventually disgusted with trying to accommodate a business which never seemed to accept me or be satisfied with my efforts,” she says, “I gave up totally and went back to the blues.” The result was a record deal with the Boston~based Rounder label, which released her High Heeled Blues in 1981. Rolling Stone referred to the album as “some of the most singular and affecting country blues anyone — man or woman, black or white, old or young — has cut in recent years.”
♣ Back in a groove that felt comfortable and fulfilling, Block threw herself headlong into an ambitious touring schedule that helped hone her technical and vocal skills to a razor’s edge, and at the same time nurture a distinctive voice as a songwriter. She stayed with Rounder for the next two decades, making records that simultaneously indulged her affinity for traditional country blues and served as a platform for her own formidable songwriting talents.
♣ The world finally started taking notice in the early 1990s, and Block scored numerous awards throughout the decade. She brought home W.C. Handy Awards four years in a row — two for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and two for Best Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. Her visibility overseas increased dramatically when Best Blues and Originals, fueled by the single “Love and Whiskey,” went gold in parts of Europe.
♣ Block joined the Telarc label with the 2003 release of Last Fair Deal, a mix of eight original tunes and six compelling covers of early blues and gospel songs — a recording she characterized as “a total celebration of my beloved instrument and best friend, the guitar.” She joined blues soulmates Maria Muldaur and Eric Bibb less than a year later for Sisters & Brothers, a collaborative 2004 recording that captured the rootsy, gospel~flavored synergy of these three veteran performers.
♣ Block second solo effort on Telarc is From the Dust, released in February 2005. Driven by Block’s soulful and fiery guitar/vocal attack and her impeccable rhythmic sense, the new album seamlessly merges distinctive original material from her own pen with timeless classics from some of the great bluesmen of the early and mid~20th century (Charley patton, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Son House). The result is a stripped~down recording — unfettered by extraneous instrumentation or superfluous arrangements — that reaches into the core of the human experience and bears witness to it in the most honest and intimate way possible.
♣ http://www.concordmusicgroup.com/ © Photo credit: Sergio Kurhajec. Arts, Culture and Entertainment
|Rory Block — Keepin’ Outta Trouble: A Tribute to Bukka White (Nov. 18, 2016)|