Monthly Archives: November 2011

The Great Doyle Bramhall died in his sleep. November 12, 2011. Life itself is something we should all be thankful for…

The Great Doyle Bramhall

Doyle Bramhall. Song writer, musician.

The Great Doyle Bramhall died in his sleep at his home in Alpine, Texas at the young age of 62.  Age 62 sounds younger to me every year I’m lucky enough to get older.  I wanted to write about him because it is a shame that a lot of people who read this will say “Who was Doyle Bramhall?”  This guy was a great blues musician.  He grew up with Jimmy and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  He was a drummer in several early bands that Jimmy played  in like The Chessmen and The Nightcrawlers.  Both the Vaughn brothers were in the Nightcrawlers.  During this time period Doyle wrote the song “Dirty Pool” that appeared on Stevie Ray Vaughn’s first album “Texas Flood”.  He was one of the movers and shakers behind the early Austin music scene.  He was a musician’s musician.  Other songs he wrote or co-wrote include:  Life by the Drop, I’d Rather be Blind, Crippled and Crazy, Marry You,  I Wanna Be.  There are many more songs you would recognize but didn’t know that Doyle wrote them. Don’t confuse Doyle, Sr. with his son, Doyle Bramhall II, who is also a great musician.  Doyle II plays guitar for The Arc Angels.  He has play guitar on many famous albums for people like Gregg Allman and Eric Clapton.   Here are just a few songs of Doyle Sr.’s  that I enjoy.  I hope you enjoy them too.  It reminds me this Thanksgiving weekend that every day is a gift.  God bless Doyle Bramhall and God bless his family and friends.  And by the way, God bless all of you too.  Happy Thanksgiving.


I’d Rather Be Blind (Crippled and Crazy)

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This song is written and performed by Doyle Bramhall, Sr.

Changes

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This song was written by another famous drummer who also sings: Buddy Miles. For the Jimi Hendrix fans out there this song may sound familar. It appeared on Jimi Hendrix’s live album “Band of Gypsys”.

It Ain’t No Use

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There’s not a blues man alive that wouldn’t have wanted to have written this song!

Dirty Pool

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This is pure Texas blues. This song appeared on Stevie Ray Vaughn’s first album “Texas Flood”. A song like this could only be written by someone who had hung out in every “Kinfe and Gun club” in Texas.

Scratch and Sniff

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An instant Rockabilly Classic. I dare you to sit still while you listen to this… See? I told you so…

The House is Rockin”

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This has always been one of my favorite SRV songs. Once again, any song writter would be proud to have written this little ditty. Am I right? This is one of Doyle’s best known songs. The problem is no one knows he wrote it!
Life by the Drop

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Last but not least the powerful song, “Life by the Drop”. This song is written by Doyle and performed by Stevie. They are both gone now and it makes the lyrics even more poignant. Here are the lyrics in their entirety as Doyle pens a song that seems to be about the two of them and their lives:

“Hello there, my old friend

Not so long ago, It was ’til the end.

We played outside in the pouring rain.

On our way up the road we stated over again.

You’re livin’ a dream as thought you’re on top.

My mind is achin’ and Lord it won’t stop.

That’s how it’s happened livin’ life by the drop.

Up and down that road in our worn out shoes,

Talikin’ bout good thangs and singin’ the blues.

You went your way and I stayed behind.

We both knew it was just a matter of time.

Livin’ a dream as though you’re on top.

My mind is achin’ and Lord it won’t stop.

That’s how it happens livin’ life by the drop.

No waste of time.  We’re alive today.

Turnin’ up the past, there’s no easier way.

Time’s been between us, a means to an end.

God it’s good to be here, Walkin’ together my Friend.

Livin’ our dream, my mind stopped achin’…

That’s how it happened, livin’ life by the drop.

Well, the two old friends are together again.  The music world here on earth just got a little poorer and the band in heaven just picked up a hell of a drummer and song writer…

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Posted in Blues Music, Life Events, Rock Music | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Is it Rock? Country? Blues? Folk? Maybe all of the above…

Album Cover for "The Cream of Country" by Jerry Lee Lewis

Album cover of "The Cream of Country"

Sun Record Label

One of the most famous record labels in History "Sun Records"

This record came to me through one of my friends who asked me to record it for him.  The story of how he came to own this record is worth telling because those times are long, long, gone…

So his story is this:  My friend grew up in Wichita, Kansas in the 1950’s.  Not much went on in Wichita in the ’50s and ’60’s.  Not much goes on there today, come to think about it.  But when my friend was a junior in College, Jerry Lee Lewis was going to come through town and play a concert.  My friend didn’t even really know who Jerry Lee Lewis was.  One afternoon, a flat bed truck came through the campus grounds with a bull horn announcing a rock and roll show and where to get tickets.  As  a crowd began to gather, the promoters just started throwing copies of Jerry Lee Lewis albums out into the crowd.  My friend is a tall gentleman now, and he was tall back then too.  He easily caught one of the records.  So here it is “The Golden Cream of Country” by Jerry Lee Lewis. This record was released in 1969.

This record is on Sun Records.  The famous studio of the producer, Sam Phillips.  Sun records is hallowed ground.  It is one of the birthplaces of Rock and Roll.  Take a look at this photo:

 

The Million Dollar Quartet

Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, and Elvis Presley at Sun Records

At sun records in the 1950’s Rock, Country, Blues, and Folk music collided all at the same time. The results changed music forever.  Sam Phillips was the baby Doctor that assisted in it birth.  This record is a great example of what was going on at the time.  The tittle states it’s a “Country” record, but I would guess that when you listen to some of the songs you may think differently.

 

 

Side 1

Invitation To Your Party

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 A country song but with a honky tonk Rockabilly piano sound going on too.  Hmmm….

Jambalaya

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 This is such a famous song and it has been recorded by “everyone and their dog!”  I bet there are a lot of people that would be stunned to know that it was written by Hank Williams.  Here we have a Louisiana man singing about the bayou.  This is a great version and “The Killer” nails it!

Ramblin’ Rose

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When I saw this song title I thought it was going to be the “Ramblin’ Rose” of Nat King Cole.  This is a different song.  By the way, this song doesn’t sound anything like country and western music to me.  This is very Rhythm and Blues with it’s boogie beat and the style of singing it is really a very cool song.  This could have just as easily been Ray Charles.

Cold, Cold, Heart

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Another song by Hank Williams. When you call an album “The Golden Cream of Country” , you have to include some Hank Williams, Right?  There is a great new CD out that is a collection of unfinished songs of Hank Williams.  The CD was put together by Bob Dylan and a who’s who of great singer/song writers.  I haven’t heard it yet, but initial reviews have been very positive.  Jerry Lee definitely gives this song the country effect.  I especially like the gospel roll he uses in this arrangement.  The piano solo in the break is classic Jerry Lee Lewis.

As Long As I Live

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This song is much more Rock n Roll than country. The lead guitar sound is definitely more Rock sounding than country.  Once again The Killer tears up the piano with a great solo.

Seasons Of My Heart

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I don’t know who the woman singer is. She is not credited on the album anywhere. It’s interesting how they purposefully sing slightly out of sync with each other. It gives an edge of emotion to this song it wouldn’t otherwise have.

Side 2
One Minute Past Eternity

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This song is the most country song on the LP. This is in the style of old country like Patsey Cline.

I Can’t Trust You In My Arms Anymore

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This sounds more like Fats Domino than Willy Nelson.

Frankie and Johnny

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This is the only song on the LP that Jerry Lee Lewis wrote. This is straight ahead rock and roll. Not any country going on here. This is a great little rock and roll ditty.

Home

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A twangy guitar and a singing style like Roger Miller. A very country sounding song, with a slight blues edge to it.

How’s My Ex Treating You?

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Once again the walking blues bass appears. I like the fuzzy sound of the bass in this song. It’s a great tittle for a country song. It just sounds like rock and roll more than country. The Hammond Organ is not a typical C & W instrument ether.

And with that, “The Golden Cream of Country” comes to an end.  It’s Not the greatest album I ever heard.  It is interesting that a record like this was released with a tittle like this in 1969.  Consider what other albums were released in 1969.  The Beatles released Abbey Road, the Rolling Stones released Let it Bleed,  Led Zeppelin released Led Zeppelin I and II, The Who released “Tommy”.  There were also classic albums released that year by bands like The Velvet Underground, King Crimson, Captain Beefheart, and Nick Drake.  That is a very diverse group of musicians.  Music was going in a million directions in 1969.  Maybe the competition for Jerry Lee was so intense he felt he had to call it a country album to sell any copies.

So the point to me is that it is dumb to label music.  Country?  Rock?  Jazz?  Classical?  Then you get really silly with labels like:  Fusion, Alternative, Dubb step, Heavy Metal, Punk, Indie, etc…  On and on it goes, till nobody know what it really means anymore.  I don’t know.  I could be wrong.  What do you think?

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Posted in Blues Music, Country Music, Rock Music, Vinyl | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment