Cool November sounds from the catalog of cool itself. This week’s Deeper Roots looks for some relaxed sounds; reminders of what it’s like to sit in a smokey lounge below street level in the Village and listen to solos, breakouts, and instrumental wizardry. Join us as we dig the swinging backbeat and improvisations that exemplify an urban sound from some of the greats. We’ve got Dave Brubeck, Ornette Coleman, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Illinois Jacquet, and a host of others taking us into the Friday morning club here on Sonoma County Community radio.
This week’s show dedicates two hours to the incredible blues women of the past century. We’ll be going deep, featuring tracks from the great early century trailblazers: Mamie Smith, Trixie Smith, Ma Rainey, Sippie Wallace, and others. Plus, we’ll hear from Ruthie Foster, Big Mama Thornton, Dinah Washington, and Varetta Dillard; all of this being the background to to last Saturday evening’s Blues is a Woman performance at the Raven Theater in downtown Healdsburg. Our special guest on the show will be Pamela Rose, performer, author, and vocalist, who has toured nationally with her critically acclaimed show Wild Women of Song: Great Gal Composers of the Jazz Era. Pamela is part of the San Francisco ensemble Blues is a Woman along with Pat Wilder, Ruth Davies, Kristen Strom, Shani Johnson, Jennifer Jolly, and music director/pianist/vocalist Tammy Hall. Dave Stroud will be talking the ‘pearls’ of the blues with Pamela in a prerecorded interview. Join us.
The home page of the Western Swing Society describes western swing as “a division of the American phenomenon known as jazz [fusing] elements of musical roots…including blues, Dixieland, ragtime, big band, country, pop, and breakdowns.” That kind of explains why we revisit this genre so often here on Deeper Roots. What it has most in common with jazz is the use of improvisation; what it does try to do is to take things one step further: make it dance-able. The foot-tapping rhythm and the encouragement of participation drew audiences far and wide from the north, south, east and west. This week show meanders through some fun sounds including tracks Hank Penny, Milton Brown, Ocie Stockard, and (of course) Bob Wills. We’ll have some tribute songs and old standards for you on Sonoma County community radio.
We’ll be serenading you with some island melodies, country tunes, and rock, all featuring the steel guitar, an instrument whose origins take us back to the late 19th and early 20th century invention by native Joseph Kekuku. The music this Friday features some early Hawaiian popular influences including Sol Ho’opi, Hoot Gibson, and King Nawah’s Hawaiians. The focus moves to mid-to late century greats featuring Pete Drake, Buddy Emmons, Buster Martin and Speedy West. The popularity of the ‘island sound’ in the early century brought us the sound of steel across many genres, including gospel, folk, blues, and country. Spend a couple of hours on an August morning in Sonoma County taking a journey from Hawaii to Forth Worth.
One way to lounge about in the summer heat is to go directly at it with songs that complement the temperature from different angles (and genres). Tune in Saturday afternoon for a fresh look as Dave sits in for Steady Eddie once more with some rockabilly with Jimmy Simmons and Billy Lee Riley, hot country biscuits from Asleep at the Wheel and Al Dexter, hot soul stew from James Brown and Major Lance, and some humid yet playful pieces from Fats Waller and Lee Press-on & The Nails. We’ll also be taking a drone flight above some Mason-Dixon Line tradition from the very distant past with the Old South Quartette (featuring Polk Miller), and Victoria Spivey and Don Flemons. It’s summer and the heat will be with us for some weeks; too hot to handle? Too darn hot? Too hot for (fill in the blank)? Join this hot little collection in a special fill-in on a Saturday afternoon in Sonoma County. At least it’s a dry heat.
Celebrate this week with some rocking boogie woogie, country, and rhythm and blues with a special emphasis on the pounding of the ivories. We’ll put the speakers to the test as the rug gets thrown aside and the neighbors all celebrate and rocking good time with Fats, Ella Mae and Her Boogie Woogie Seven, Dr. John, Ray Charles, Merrill Moore, Moon Mullican and a host of others. Tune in for Beer Bottle Boogie, Cherokee Boogie, and Crazy Rhythm as the piano is given the top billing. A hundred years of American music with the focus on good…no, great…music. Friday morning antics coming your way on Sonoma Community radio.
“The only thing that interests me is history – reviewing the past and making something out of it”. A man after our own heart here at Deeper Roots, shining bright like that old harvest moon. We lost Leon this past week and his family lovingly announced his passing with the following prose deserving of the mysterious Mr. Redbone: “It is with heavy hearts we announce that early this morning, May 30th 2019, Leon Redbone crossed the delta for that beautiful shore at the age of 127. He departed our world with his guitar, his trusty companion Rover, and a simple tip of his hat. He’s interested to see what Blind Blake, Emmett, and Jelly Roll have been up to in his absence.” We’ll take some time to honor the music that so inspired this delightful entertainer who elevated the blues, early century pop, and country into a form that extracted the joy of life and bottled like fine wine over the past 40 years. We’ll even reach into the Redbone bins for a handful of delightful covers. A simple tip of our hat to Leon as he crosses to the other shore…
Well, it might be a bit of a stretch, and it might have been a bit of a fad, but it also flavored the beverage. Mambo. A lively mix born of a Latin dance of Cuban descent in the 30s and introduced by Perez Prado to an American audience in the 40s. It found it’s way into the popular music culture from big band to jazz and R&B. This week’s show samples some of the performances that were totally infected by its rhythm. We’ll hear from Mickey Baker, Wynonie Harris, and Tiny Grimes on the R&B side as well as the bandleaders who brassed it up including Perez Prado, Desi Arnaz, and Xavier Cugat.
Back to the bayou once more. This time we keep our focus with laser precision on the rhythm and the blues swirling around in the stew that is Louisiana and the southern climes. You can look forward to some straight ahead blues from Katie Webster, B. B. King, and Lonesome Sundown as well as rhythm vocals from the likes of Art Neville, The Del-Chords, and Joe Richards. I’m telling you…you won’t be hearing anything like it anywhere on Sonoma County radio. It’s a down and dirty bayou collection including selections from the Ace UK archives, the Chess label, and includes some special treats from Little Richard, The Spiders, and King Karl.
We’ll circle back to the past twelve months on Deeper Roots’ Friday evening with a little bit of reverence and a whole lot of thanks. While this past year struck what could be a mortal blow to democracy as we know it, a number of greats (both high profile and ‘under the radar’) were lost along the way. The names may not be so easy to collate with only two hours to share but we’ll do our best. Remembering Clarence Fountain, Eddy Clearwater, Otis Rush, Eugene Pitt, Marty Balin, Lorrie Collins, Tony Joe White, Roy Clark, and so many others on a Friday evening on Sonoma County community radio. Tune into our last show of the year and help us remember what these performers brought us.