The Stumble

And the first shall be last… to paraphrase.  This was the 1st tune the guys laid down at the recording session I was filming last spring and it’s the last one I have left to post. They used the old Freddy King tune, “The Stumble” as a kind of warm up. It worked because they were hot by the end, Hadley Hockensmith guitar, Phil Driscoll keys & trumpet, Bill Maxwell drums, Michiko Hill piano, and Pee Wee Hill bass.

Once again, just as on all the other songs from this session, the guys were playing with their ears, not their eyes, since there were no charts to work from.  It was a great day in the studio with some soulful blues tracks laid down.  My only regret is that there weren’t more tunes recorded, meaning there are no songs to post from that day.  However this was so good, I have no choice but to try and convince everyone to get together again soon and make some more music.  Hopefully they all enjoyed playing together as much as we like listening to them.

Case of the Blues

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The band had just finished making up a song out of nothing, out of thin air.  Where there had been total silence suddenly there was music, good music, a tune than engaged you, had you feeling the beat and moving your body.  It sounded like a song that had been crafted and perfected over time, and yet it had been created on the spot in one take, even though when it began no one had any idea where it would go or how it would end.

Bill Maxwell the drummer said to Abraham Laboriel the bass player, who had shown up only minutes earlier in time for this last song of the session, “Let’s do a slow blues number.  Abe you start us off.”  With those words as his only guide Abe began a little improv riff on the base.  A few bars later, Greg Mathieson added some organ, then Bill started laying down the rhythm and Hadley Hockensmith began layering in a very soulful guitar.  Finally, right on cue, Phil Driscoll began to sing, mashing up lyrics from two or three songs and making up a few of his own.  Later in the song Phil would add more texture to the music with his trumpet.

I call this number, “Case of the Blues”, based on some of the lyrics, but as Greg said when they finished, “It’s called the blues, but when you play like this it leaves you smiling and happy and feeling great.  Case of the Blues does all that and more; it also left me feeling amazed at the talent of my friends and what they can instantly create from nothing.

Hurts Me Too: Blues Adventure

If you like the blues, here’s a little Christmas gift for you.  I shot this last spring, but just put it together.  It features some of my friends, Hadley Hockensmith guitar, Bill Maxwell drums, Phil Driscoll vocal and trumpet, Michiko Hill organ, and Pee Wee Hill bass who did me a big favor by recording some music for me at Phil Driscoll’s studio.  These guys are so good this is their only take of, “Hurts Me Too”, and they nailed it.  I’m using the music on my radio show and cutting video of a few of my adventures to some of the songs.  I’ll post more of the music in the coming weeks but for now enjoy this blues classic.

Going to Chicago

I think this is a first, Andrae Crouch playing the blues.  Recently when Andrae and the original Disciples got together for an informal reunion, I was there with cameras to capture this reuniting of one of the most influential groups in contemporary gosel music.   Two of the band members from the heyday of the disciples were also there, Bill Maxwell on drums and Hadley Hockensmith on guitar.  I first heard Bill & Hadley when we were all still teenagers.  I was in college in Oklahoma City, and considered going to hear the guys in “The Third Avenue Blues Band,” an essential component of my course work.

As a favor to me, they agreed to do a couple of impromptu blues numbers after we finished recording the Disciples songs. Great bass player and friend Abraham Laboriel was there to add his magic to the mix.  Bili Thetford did the singing and Andrae, as best as we can remember, played keyboards on a blues jam for the first time ever.  Without a rehearsal here are the guys doing their version of, “Going to Chicago”