Sunday, December 16, 2007

Episode Six: Songs of Blind Willie McTell

Here's Episode Six of the podcast, featurng a few songs by Blind Willie McTell, who was one of Chuck's favorite songwriters. Truth be told, I wish I had more material for this one. There's a few songs we did, such as "Little Delia" and "River of Jordan" that I never got recordings of, but they would have certainly been included on the Blind Willie McTell album that we talked about making at some point. Sadly, no record company we dealt with gave the idea a moment's consideration. A couple years after I left the band, Bob Dylan released his excellent 'World Gone Wrong' album, which featured a number of McTell's songs and did pretty well. Apparently, Dylan had more clout in the music business than we did. Here's the list:

Statesboro Blues (Live WITR broadcast, 1991)
Your Time to Worry (Live at Jazzberry's, 1990)
Blues Around Midnight (Live WITR broadcast, 1991)
Your Time to Worry (Live WITR broadcast, 1991)
Sendin' Up My Timber (Live at Jazzberry's, 1990)

"Statesboro Blues" is one we did frequently, and is represented here in a sizzling performance, if I say so myself. In Phil's second guitar solo, he drops his pick—see if you can figure out where. I only wish Joe "the Bone" had been able to make the gig. The horn parts were much fuller with the two of us. I'm used to this clarinet-only version now, but it was a lot better when Joe was present.

You get to hear two versions of "Your Time To Worry" on this podcast. On the first, I play alto sax, and honestly, I had completely forgotten that I did. I think Joe and I sound pretty good here. I often referred to us as "the finest two-man horn section in upstate New York." Heaven knows what other folks called us... On the second version, Joe is absent and I play clarinet.

Chuck's vocal on "Blues Around Midnight" is one of his best ever, in my opinion. It haunts me to this day.

For anyone who's interested in hearing more of McTell's music, I urge you to check out his 'Atlanta Twelve String' album on Atlantic. There are other collections on the Yazoo label as well.

Download the podcast here:

Next up: CbJE does Dylan. Their way.