As you can tell from the title, I really didn’t feel like writing much this week. So I decided to take the easy way out by featuring some video clips that people have been kind enough to send me over the last few months.
Since I play harmonica, I get a few from folks who apparently are trying to shame me into never playing again. This first clip, from Brother James, features the wonderful Toots Thielemans and an ultra-cool Peggy Lee makin’ a little whoopee together on TV. Even with Toots stepping all over her, Peggy still comes across as the very definition of class:
Extended family member Bill Smith from Tampa sent me this clip of the amazing Buddy Greene, mainly because he thinks I look a lot like Buddy. This was filmed at a Gaither Gospel Show at Carnegie Hall – definitely not something I’d put on my “must see” list. But it really is stunning what guys like Buddy and Howard Levy (founding member of Bela Fleck and the Flecktones) can do with your standard diatonic harmonica. I had the great pleasure of seeing Buddy play in a small club in Macon, GA, back in the mid-’70s. Made me want to hand out all my Hohners at the senior center:
Nephew Dan sent in this rare clip of Roy Buchanan playing with the legendary Johnny Otis, with Johnny’s son Shuggie on rhythm guitar. It would’ve been nice to hear more of Shuggie, but it’s still a fine slice of blues goodness from the early ’70s. By the by, Johnny played drums on the original version of Driftin’ Blues by the late, great Charles Brown:
Next up: Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown and Roy Clark, together in 1981 on Austin City Limits. Roy is in full “Hee Haw” mode on this one… and if you want to see even more country corn, check out his version of The Pretender from the same show.
I saw Gatemouth perform several times, mostly in small blues clubs, and he always delivered. At one show in Columbus, a guy sitting in front of me kept pelting this woman at another table with ice cubes. Gate was blasting through one of his red-hot instrumentals but noticed what was going on. He stopped right in the middle of a solo, calmly rested his guitar against his amp, walked over to the guy, grabbed him by the scruff of the neck, dragged him through the club and threw him out the front door onto High Street. Then he calmly walked back up on stage, picked up his guitar and jumped right back in where he left off. I was floored… The crowd wend wild. R.I.P., Gate:
Joscha from Germany keeps asking, when are you guys going to do a post on Link Wray? Since I haven’t decided yet how to tackle that one, I’ll give myself a little breathing room with these next two videos.
The first is a 1978 performance on Musikladen, a West German music TV show that ran from ’72 to ’84. Link is in great form and seems completely unconcerned with the fact that his guitar is out of tune. I enjoy some of Link’s recordings with rockabilly singer Robert Gordon, but when you hear him belt out this song, it makes you wonder why he didn’t do this more often. The second clip starts with a live version of Rumble, then segues into a rare interview on a UK TV show. The length of time you stick with the interview is probably in direct proportion to how you feel about Link Wray (even though the audio is slightly out of synch and the interviewer’s a little annoying, I was fascinated by the clip and hung with it ’til the bitter end… “The Rumble Man” seemed to be in a very playful and expansive mood). At least stick around until the 3:35 point where he shows us how to do the “Jack the Ripper” dance:
In our previous post, I went on at some length about Cleveland’s favorite late-night TV host, Ghoulardi. This next clip shows the original B-movie beatnik going through his mail during a 1963 broadcast. “Next time you write me a note, try to be less obtrusive”:
I was going to stop right there, but then it seemed like I had to find a way to pay tribute to soul man Solomon Burke, who passed away on Sunday. How about this clip from ’87 with Burke tearing into the country standard I Can’t Stop Loving You in front of a TV audience in Baden Baden, Germany? R.I.P., Solomon:
Couldn’t resist – one of my favorite Solomon Burke songs, recorded in NYC in August ’63: Won’t You Give Him (One More Chance)
nice, loved the ghoulardi mention. you gotta do a post on screamin’ jay hawkins sometime. i’ve been listening to some of his stuff recently, and he is one strange motherfucker!
Sounds promising… Let me check with my editorial staff and research team.