Fred McDowell Wants To Know: “What’s The Matter Now?”

Mississippi Fred McDowell‘s recording of “What’s The Matter Now?” is truly raw Delta Blues. Another piece of Alan Lomax’s massive contribution to recorded music history, this was recorded in 1959 at a gas station where McDowell worked at the time. No studio, no effects, no edits, no BS. A man, a microphone, and a moment, caught on tape, eventually transferred from vinyl to CD and then mp3. What a journey to our ears! For more on this influential artist, check out Kevin Swan’s tribute at Rubber City Review.

Fred McDowell
“What’s the Matter Now?” (download mp3)
from “I’ll Meet You On That Other Shore: Alan Lomaxs “Southern Journey,” 1959-1960″
“What’s The Matter Now” (play)
(Global Jukebox)
More please!

Harry Fox “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows”

In 1941 “I’m Chasing Rainbows” was launched onto the pop radar when Judy Garland sang her version in the movie, Ziegfeld Girl. Originally published in 1917, “I’m Chasing Rainbows” has had many performances across a variety of medians including a Broadway show titled: Oh Look!. The song has been recorded numerous times, and in 1918 “I’m Chasing Rainbows” was recorded twice. I’m pleased to give you the Harry Fox version, a version that serves as a window into the the mood and tempo of popular music in 1918.

Harry Fox – “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows (play/download mp3)

Tommy Ill’s Guide To Owning A “Robot (featuring a robot)”

If you’ve ever lost sleep wondering what the ups and downs of robot ownership are like, rest easy. New Zealand’s Tommy Ill steps up and breaks down the daily trials and rewards of today’s robot creator/owner. While most prospective robot owners are well-meaning enough, they often focus only on the positives, like when the robot provides free laptop repair. Unfortunately, many are ignorant to the dangers posed by today’s robots, like their tendency to blow stuff up and the temptation of robot drugs. Hopefully this guide will serve to further educate the robot building public and help them to carefully weigh their options when it comes time to construct their first robot.

Tommy Ill
“Robot (featuring a robot)” (download mp3)
from “Tommy Ill”
Robot (featuring a robot) (play)

On A Lazy Rowboat Ride With Talons

This track is really pleasing to listen to. Reminiscent of Sufjan Stevens, with softly plucked guitars and gently murmured vocals, and  endearing and thoughtful lyrics. Delicate, peaceful and enchanting, it’s a perfect soundtrack for this overcast and stormy day. A really great listen with headphones. I can easily float away on this.

“Rowboat” (download mp3)
from “Songs for Boats”
(Own Records)
“Rowboat” (play)
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Understanding La Resistance

Here’s an anthemic three chord power popper from Birmingham, Alabama’s La Resistance. In a sort of homage to all things good and true in the universe, “Understanding” pleads for answers to everything in joyous harmony. Lots of Brit-pop influence here, as well as some great piano and string synth-y goodness, all heaped together to great effect in three minutes of cosmic rock bliss. Viva La Resistance!

La Resistance
“Understanding” (download mp3)
from “Philosophy”
(Superphonic Records)
“Understanding” (play)
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Fred McDowell “Woke Up This Morning” circa 1959

Takin’ it back in tha Wayback Machine with this vintage gem recorded by Alan Lomax. To know recorded American roots music is to know Alan Lomax’s singular legacy, and to not know it is to be missing out on some of life’s gr8 treasures. Here’s Fred McDowell layin’ it down for real. A man, his steel guitar, his voice and inner rhythm. 100% legit.

Fred McDowell
“Woke Up This Morning” (download mp3)
from “I’ll Be So Glad When the Sun Goes Down: Alan Lomax’s “Southern Journey, “1959-1960”
(Global Jukebox)
“Woke Up This Morning” (play)
Need s’more o’ that good stuff!

Cecil Gant “I Wonder”

I Wonder” was pre-war pianist and blues singer Cecil Gant’s first single. Released on Oakland’s Gilt-Edge Records, “I Wonder” is a romantic pop-tinged ballad which topped the R&B charts despite a wartime shellac shortage that hit tiny independent companies like Gilt-Edge particularly hard. Grab a glass of wine, cozy up with your lover, and let the beautiful voice of Cecil Gant remind you of what’s really important in life.

Cecil Gant – “I Wonder (play/download mp3)

Gram Rabbit’s Horse Haz Dirty Mind

Enter the seethingly sexy and calamitously cool dreamworld of Gram Rabbit. They are great in every little way, and she wears bunny ears well. A friend turned me on to this band a coupla years ago, and this just came up in random play on the old iThingy, inspiring this fawning post. Fawn. Post.

Gram Rabbit – “Dirty Horse” mp3 (play/download)

From their “Music To Start a Cult To” album, available from Amazon.

Rhino Bucket’s Bottle Is Talkin’ Rawk

This tune ROCKS!  Rhino Bucket channels the AC/DC playbook and adds their own indie nihilistic twist.  I love it.  The gruff vocals, and that double rock-roll guitar twang!  Hells yeah!  Bring it!  I’m awake now. Fun with guitars, bass, drums, a bottle and a mic.

Rhino Bucket
“Message In My Bottle” (download mp3)
from “Who’s Got Mine”
(Acetate Records)
“Message In My Bottle” (play)
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