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  • A Hard Days Night - the opening chord is.........

    18 May 2010, 23:46 by FoxyFreedom

    We just read in someone's journal entry on this site lastfm that people still haven't worked out the opening chord to The Beatles A Hard Day's Night.

    Here is a clue for you: it is not one chord but TWO CHORDS played together on different instruments. Try it at home.It's not that difficult.

    If you are really desperate to know how it was done, send a message to our inbox on this site and we might tell you....but only if you can keep a secret
  • Musings From a LastFM User

    28 Feb 2009, 23:02 by BluesRok

    Tooling around on lastfm is an amusing exercise. I’ve been asking myself why I spend as much time on this site as I do, and I can only come up with one answer: Lastfm is just like real life.

    Think about it. All of the personalities you encounter in your real life, you’ll find here.

    I’ve got only one relative on lastfm; My twin brother. He is who he is, whether it’s in real life or online. Other than him, I don’t actually know anybody here personally.

    Oh, but there are plenty of characters here that I’d like to meet. I’ve made several “lastfm friends” that, were we to actually meet, I’m pretty sure that we could drop the “virtual” moniker and be real pals. The interesting part of it is that, were we to actually bump into each other at a party, I’m not sure that we’d ever develop a friendship. Last.fm gives us the tools to find common ground and develop relationships, doesn’t it?

    I recall joining lastfm and actually being nervous about how to make friends, (or even wondering if I wanted to make friends). I think it was my second day on when I received my first “friend request” from a user named “purplezorro”. I thought to myself, ‘is a ‘purplezorro’ what I think it is, and why would I make friends with it?’ As it turns out, Achiel, aka “Purp”, is one of my best friends here, (even though I’m still afraid to ask him how he got his ‘name’). Just as amazing to me is the fact that I had made a friend in Belgium!

    Now, I’ve got friends from all over the world. That’s probably the part of this whole network that I enjoy the most. I grew up somewhat disinterested in the rest of the world. It wasn’t until I met my wife, who was born in Britain, that I gave any real consideration to the fact that there was a world out there and that I actually lived in a pretty obscure part of it. We travelled to Britain and I realized yet again that I didn’t know shit about history, culture, politics, religion, geography, art, or people. People think that they know a lot, but in reality, they don’t even know themselves unless they know how they fit into the world.

    No problem, that’s what books are for, right? I’m too lazy to actually read that much. There are other ways to learn about the world. I learned much from hosting an exchange student in our home for a year. That was a great experience for my whole family. I liked it so much that I became a volunteer for the exchange organization, Youth For Understanding. I’ve met and helped students from all over the world. These kids have something at age 16 that I didn’t have; a curiosity about the world and a desire to get out and live in it.

    I digress. Back to my ‘musings’…

    Earlier, I stated that “LastFM is just like real life”. I had been wandering around reading various posts and it occurred to me that people here are much like those I encounter in the flesh & blood world everyday. We all know optimists and pessimists, introverts and extroverts, perverts and prudes, and just about any personality you can think of, you’ve probably come across them in real life. It’s not hard to spot them here too.

    Just this morning, I read a post from a young user that was filled with “I hate this” and “I hate him/her”…and realized that I’d read about four other posts from that same person that were all filled with very strong dislikes and disdain for all manners of things that she didn’t care for. In real life, I know family members and customers who are just like her. In real life, I don’t have any friends like that because they probably hate me! . I’ve said, “try not to hate” to my daughters so many times that it’s become a family joke. They now say, “I strongly dislike ________.”

    I’ve also encountered, on lastfm, several “bullies”. These are the users who belittle and berate anyone who dares to express any opinion that is counter to theirs. I have to make a conscious effort to resist the urge to argue with them. All too often these people have just enough wit to impose their will on a more timid user, but not enough intelligence to value an opinion that differs from their own. One of these users selected an intimidating avatar and started at least one group with the intent of luring those who disagree with his opinion to it so that he could berate them. I think that he must have learned that technique from Rush Limbaugh. Limbaugh, of course, is our real life example of a bully. I also have met several people in real life that use their money, clout, or physical size to intimidate others. I’ll bet you’ve encountered the type as well.

    I really enjoyed one users page. This guy had collected over 100 friends in only a couple of months on lastfm. When I noticed that the few friend avatars on his main page were all very attractive females, I clicked on the “Friends” link and found that ALL of his friends were “attractive” females. I almost sent him a friend request, but I didn’t want to either ruin his run or force him to deny me because of my gender. When I was in college, I had a “friend” just like him, (we were acquaintances really, because of course, his only “real friends” were all females). At the time, I was hoping to pick up a few of his castaways!

    Then there are the dozens of genuinely good and nice people you’ll meet here. They ask you how you are, they pop in and visit your page, and they interact without pretense or posing. I’d mention some of my buddies here, but I’m afraid I’d miss a couple and cause offense. In any case, these are people that I wish I’d meet more of in the non-virtual world.

    You see, I have a theory: Just as the anonymity of the virtual world can bring out some of the worst in some people; bullying, hateful comments, slander & insults, it can also bring out some of the best in others. Over the past couple of years, I’ve made a conscious effort to behave myself online (and in traffic…another place where anonymity can bring out the worst in people). You see, I have played the part of the bully and the hater, but I don’t like it. When I’ve done it, I’ve always regretted it afterward. I really had to resist those urges during the last election! Man, some people were real assholes and I just wanted to punch them! (There it is…do you see what I mean?) It’s just like those old cartoons where there’s the guy that has to make a decision and he’s got an angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, and they’re both trying to convince him to resolve things their way. Which one do you listen to?

    I’m trying to listen to the angel more often. I think it’ll help me whether I’m online, on the road, or face to face.
  • Sonny Landreth Concert Review

    23 Nov 2008, 15:00 by BluesRok

    Louisiana slide guitar artist, Sonny Landreth, gave an audience in “Holland” more than they bargained for tonight. Okay, apologies are in order to WilliamNl, because he’s been aching for Sonny and his band to play in the Netherlands and the “Holland” I speak of is on the opposite side of the Atlantic Ocean.

    The Holland Center is located in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. It’s a state of the art performing arts center that was designed for superior acoustics and Omaha is lucky to have such a venue. I had heard that Sonny would be playing at the Holland as part of the “Playin’ With Fire” series of blues shows that Omaha hosts. It was my intention to obtain a ticket on the day of the show. I assumed that not many Omahans had heard of Sonny Landreth and so I thought I’d waltz right in. I was wrong! First, I learned that Sonny wasn’t playing in the main auditorium, he was playing in an intimate venue tucked away in the corner of the Holland – the 1200 Club, and it only holds about 250 lucky souls. Of course, it was SOLD OUT!

    My lovely wife does like live music, but it generally has to be one of her favorite bands before she really enjoys a concert. When I took her to see Santana she loved it! Last year, we went to a blues festival and she hung in there for Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks on the first night. The second night was Jon Cleary & The Absolute Monster Gentlemen and Robert Cray, but she preferred to stay at the hotel and read while I went to the show solo. I know that she doesn’t have the same appreciation for Sonny that I have, so when I asked her to go, I knew that the answer would be “I’d rather not.” My brother in law is usually up for a show, but it was too short of notice for him, so I ended up going solo to this show too. I think I need to find some LastFM buddies near Omaha!

    So, I’m standing outside the Holland Center, with a couple of other blues fans looking to score a ticket. As it happens, the Omaha Symphony is playing in the large auditorium tonight, so there’s a constant parade of fur coats and bow ties parading past us blue jean wearin’ blues fans. Just for fun, we asked them “do you have any spare tickets for Sonny?”

    Lucky for us, we were approached by a dude that had four spare tickets for Sonny’s show! $20.00 later, we were strolling in to a building past the tuxedo clad door man. The 1200 Club is one friggin-fantastical venue! It’s an intimate club setting with acoustical tiles on the walls. The inside looks like a high-end recording studio. The attendants lead us to a table that was only 30 feet (10 meters), from the stage! There were only two tables in front of us! I had only one thing to say: “Heineken please!”

    The opening act was a local youth-blues threesome. I don’t remember their name, but there was an acoustic guitar, a female singer, and an acoustic bass guitar. They ranged in age from 15 to 18 years! They played only five songs, including a cover of a Joe Bonamassa tune and a Christmas song. Give these kids about five more years and I’m sure they’ll be very good. I suspect that we in the crowd enjoyed them because they reminded us of our own kids. It’s probably the same at most of Sonny’s shows, but the average age of the fan in the crowd was about 45.

    I’m into the seventh paragraph already and I still haven’t gotten to Sonny Landreth. Come on Jay, let’s get it going!

    So out comes Sonny Landreth with his bass player David Ranson and drummer, Michael Burch. Sonny says a few words and launches into The Promised Land. Oh---My---God! I’ve seen Sonny before, (two years ago at an outdoor show), but up close, and in a perfect setting, it becomes blatantly apparent that we’re in the presence of The Sultan of Slide! I looked around halfway though that song and those 45 year olds were bobbin’ their heads and grinnin’ like they were twenty again.

    I don’t keep track of every song at shows, but I know they played True Blue, Yokohama, All About You, Hell At Home, U.S.S. Zydecoldsmobile, Congo Square, Uberesso, Blue Tarp Blues, Storm Of Worry, and several more.

    After the first song couples began to filter on to the dance floor. Before Sonny played “Hell at Home” he encouraged the audience to dance by saying, “Hell, I’m from southern Louisiana, if we feel like movin’ we get up and shake it!” That’s all it took. The dance floor filled instantly. Now I know that my wife wasn’t with me, but I am a guy so I couldn’t help but notice that there were some really fine lookin’ ladies out there. When I say “fine” I don’t mean Madonna or Britney Spears “fine” (‘cause I’m not into that look), I mean Bonnie Raitt and Susan Tedeschi fine! These gals moved with a confidence and ability that the youngsters just can’t match! There’s just somethin’ about a mature woman with a smile and swayin’ hips that makes a guy forget small things (like an economic recession). Never mind that most of the guys on the dance floor looked like this guy. It must be that jumpin’ Lousianna blues sound that makes the ladies want to get up and get moving!

    So Sonny continues to put on his guitar clinic. He played the whole show with the Corecedin bottle on his left pinky, alternating slide conventional notes, sometimes strumming, sometimes pickin’ with a thumb pick, sometimes banging, rubbing, and stroking those strings with various parts of his right hand. The guy is a virtuoso but he doesn’t play in an overbearing way like some other phenoms do. With Sonny, the song always comes first. If you close your eyes, his playing blends perfectly with the band. It’s when you watch him play that you realize that he’s like a mad scientist on guitar. What technique!

    Of course, I didn’t just watch Sonny’s incredible guitar playing and the swaying women’s hips out on the dance floor. I did have some time to observe the bass player and the drummer. I’ve always wanted to play the drums. When I listen to music, I find myself keying into the rhythm, tapping my fingers along with the drums. In all the time I’ve listened to Sonny, I never realized just how talented Sonny’s drummer, Michael Burch, is. This guy is fluid and fast, powerful and precise. He was just a joy to watch. The bassist, David Ranson, is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He just stands there with a mundane facial expression, all the while pounding that bass guitar at a furious pace. These two guys are the perfect accompaniment to Sonny and together they are a formidable three piece army!

    Actually, you could say that Sonny Landreth is a FOUR PIECE band. You see, Sonny keeps a guitar technician close at hand at all times. After almost every song, the guy runs up to Sonny and takes his guitar then hands him a fresh one. It may be that Sonny’s playing heats up the strings so much that he has to let it cool down, but I actually suspect something else. I think Sonny is a bit “obsessive compulsive” about his guitars. The tech cleans, shines, and tunes Sonny’s axe and that, apparently, keeps Sonny happy onstage.

    So, if Sonny Landreth and the boys come anywhere near your city, town, village, or farm, YOU MUST jump in your car, take a bus, train, or ride your mule, whatever it takes…just GET TO THE SHOW! Oh, and bring your special someone.

    Jay / BluesRok
  • BluesRok's Guide to Blues Groups on LastFM

    30 Mar 2008, 20:39 by BluesRok

    I've been cruising around LastFM in search of Blues related groups to join and I though to myself, "why don't I put a summary of Blues groups together?" So I did.

    Below is my list. I haven't included ALL groups. I know that there must be many artist-specific groups that I missed.

    PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD GROUPS!

    I've included some of my thoughts about the groups that I'm familiar with. These are my opinions; not necessarily the facts.

    PLEASE FEEL FREE TO ADD COMMENTS OF YOUR OWN!

    IF YOU'RE A LEADER FOR ONE OF THESE GROUPS, PLEASE CHIME IN!

    With a little luck this list will help a few users find some nice groups to have some fun at. It's all about spending some down time with "the blues", so dawdle away!

    Here's the list, in no particular order:

    blues rock
    Description: They say that "the blues had a baby and they call it Rock & Roll!" This is the place where the blues and rock merge and form that sound that makes you shake your ass and feel the music!

    BluesRok's opinion: This group has great potential. It's been dormant for a long time, so members just have to be reminded that it's there and that it's awake now. Join it, follow it, and let's see what happens!



    Blues Artist of the Week
    Description: Each week another blues artist. Pick, nominate, discover, vote, discuss or promote your blues artist of the week.

    BluesRok's opinion: Purplezorro runs a great group here. It's fun to stop in weekly and cast your vote, or just pop in to see how it's going. The members have great blues charts, and it's a friendly group. This group is well worth joining!



    Sonny Landreth
    About The Group: The Sonny Landreth group is for all fans who love real music!!!

    BluesRok's opinion: One visit to this page and you'll have to click the "Join this group" button! William has to be the hardest working leader on LastFM. This group is about more than just Sonny Landreth, (but if you've never heard Sonny's slide guitar work, you're in for a real treat). There is a really great "corkboard" that personalizes the group and brings members together. You'll just have to visit the page to see what all the fuss is about!



    Blues Rock & Roots Rock
    Description: Blues-rock is a hybrid musical genre combining elements of the blues with rock and roll, with an emphasis on the electric guitar. It began to develop as a particular style in the mid-1960s in England and the United States through the work of bands such as Cream and The Rolling Stones, who experimented with music from the old bluesmen like Elmore James, Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf and Muddy Waters.

    BluesRok's opinion: This small group features a nice description of what constitutes the genre. I hope this group thrives because it's got some nice character.



    Mofro
    Description: A group in support of blues-rock group Mofro.)

    BluesRok's opinion: Mofro is a blues-rock group that oozes a swampy sound. The group could use some more activity, but it's a great place to discover the band.



    Blues Harp
    Description: It's all about the Blues Harp or Harmonica Blowers here.

    BluesRok's opinion: This is a young group that's dedicated to a specific aspect of the blues, but what a great aspect! Who doesn't hear the blues harp and FEEL the blues?



    BLUES!
    Description: Music played with passion and great Guitar!

    BluesRok's opinion: This is a large group and it's well run. It's a great place to discover all aspects of the blues; new and classic!



    Bonnie Raitt
    Description: Group for those who appreciate the music of Bonnie Raitt.

    BluesRok's opinion: More people need to discover Bonnie Raitt--or maybe not; we'll gladly keep her to ourselves! Probably everyone on this planet has heard her distinctive guitar and vocals, as she has performed with everybody who's anybody. This is a fine place to explore a wonderful artist!



    Robben Ford
    Description: Robben Ford: one of the rarest guitar players in the history of music who can entertain and chill you out in the same time!

    BluesRok's opinion: Robben is a favorite artist of mine. He moves effortlessly between blues, rock, jazz, anything! He's a phenominal guitarist. Check him out here.



    Taj Mahal
    Description: Gonna buy you a cheverolet just to do somethin' for you...

    BluesRok's opinion: Love Taj, and you will too!



    Doug MacLeod
    Description: A group dedicated to Doug MacLeod, one of the last remaining Bluesmen who learned from the old masters.

    BluesRok's opinion: I missed my chance to see Doug here in my hometown. The leader of this group, Achiel, knows Doug personally, so he brings great knowledge and interest to the group.



    Blues-Rock
    Description: A group for fans of blues-rock. Everyone is welcome to join. Everyone is welcome to post.

    BluesRok's opinion: I haven't explored this page much yet, but it's on my "to-do" list. It looks like an active group and they're dedicated to my favorite genre, so it's gotta be good!



    Robert Randolph and the Family Band
    Description: For fans of the new pedal steel man!



    Gov't Mule
    Description: For fans of the band.

    BluesRok's opinion: This is one of my favorite bands, but sadly, this is a piss-poor group! That's not the fault of the members, but of a leader who doesn't seem to care about the group. Journal entries don't get approved, Discusions are not permitted. The leader cares more for ESPN and pop music than this great band. Gov't Mule fans deserve better.



    R. Crumb
    Description: Group from "Heroes of the Blues" cards.



    The Roadhouse Podcast
    Description: A group of dedicated blues fans and listeners of The Roadhouse Podcast - the finest blues you've never heard.

    BluesRok's opinion: The leader of this group runs a great internet radio program; "The Roadhouse Podcast" I listen to it at work sometimes. Expect to learn about the Blues here! Well woth a visit or joining.



    Joe Bonamassa
    Description: A group for everybody is listening and admiring the music of american blues artist Joe Bonamassa.

    BluesRok's opinion: Joe is a great young guitarist. I listen to him all the time. I really should visit this group more!


    Warren Haynes
    Description: For fans of Reverend Haynes - preaching his blues as the hardest working man in showbiz… From Gov't Mule to The ABB - and all points in between.

    BluesRok's opinion: Wow, Warren is such a great artist! He writes songs that move you, he plays in several bands, and he's jamed with so many artists. Come to this group to discover Warren Haynes and you'll be rewarded nicely!



    Ronnie Earl
    Description: Fine like a bite of luxury food, sweet like a taste of home-made wine, the delightful music of Ronnie Earl is here!



    Fat Possum Records
    Description: Fat Possum Records is the home of artists like Asie Payton, Fiery Furnaces, Junior Kimbrough, T-Model Ford, The Black Keys etc.



    Duane Allman
    Description: Fans of one of the greatest guitarists ever, Duane Allman.

    BluesRok's opinion: You may know that Duane Allman was a great slide guitarist for the legendary Allman Brother Band, and that he's dead. You may not realize that he's the genius behind Derek and the Domino's "Layla" and that he played with Arethra Franklin and others. I can't say enough about Duane Allman, so if you want to know more, visit his group page!



    Pre-War Blues
    Description: Dedicated to the old stuff.

    BluesRok's opinion: This looks like a good place to learn about how the blues began.



    Blues Boogie
    Description: Blues for real!



    Old People, New Music
    Description: Are you 30+ but still love new music? Do you find yourself with nothing to say to your generation as they stream out to buy Kenny G and Dire Straits while you're buying Agent Simple, Frog Pocket and Akir? Then this group is for you, you weird old bastard! (For the hard of reading - if you're under thirty, DON'T JOIN!)

    BluesRok's opinion: Okay, so this isn't really a "blues group", but it could be! If enough of us old farts join it, we'll blusify the charts!



    Not The Same Old Blues Crap
    Description: A group for those who like, or are interested in Blues Trash, Trashy Punk and Alternative Blues & Rock 'n' Roll.

    BluesRok's opinion: What's new on the fringe of the blues? Check it out!



    Underappreciated Artists
    Description: This is a group for anyone who feels that their favourite musical artists are underappreciated. It may be that they are not widely known so do not get the attention you feel they deserve, or maybe they are unfairly disregarded by people who don't even bother to give them a chance.

    BluesRok's opinion: Here's another group that needs "blusification". Who needs more love than blues artists? Tell 'em about it here!



    Guitar Blues
    Description: Blues music is arguably the best music in the world but there is a genre that is even better! Yes. It is good old guitar driven blues. Artists such as Walter Trout, Joe Bonamassa, Aynsly Lister, Bernard Allison, Indigenous, Jonny Lang, Kenny Wayne Shepherd and of course, Clapton and SRV. The list goes on and on. Just give them a listen and you will see that Guitar Driven Blues is the best music on the planet!

    BluesRok's opinion: Take the guitar out of the blues and you've ripped out it's heart! This group is about the axe slingers of the blues. It's a really good place to discover artists.



    Blues
    Description: The blues is a vocal and instrumental form of music based on a pentatonic scale and typically on a characteristic twelve-bar chord progression. The form evolved in the United States from the spirituals of African slaves, along with their work songs, praise songs, field hollers, shouts, and chants. The use of blue notes and the prominence of call-and-response patterns in the music and lyrics are indicative of the blues' West African pedigree. The blues has been a major influence on later American and Western popular music, finding expression in ragtime, jazz, big band, rhythm and blues, rock and roll and country music, as well as conventional pop songs and even modern classical music.



    Concert Stories
    Description: Plato once said, “Music and rhythm find their way into the secret places of the soul.” If that’s true, then live music is to the soul what a bath is to the body; an opportunity to immerse one’s self into music and let it wash away all of the bullshit that occurs in life. That might explain why you feel so damn good at a concert. Think about it. The music is loud; the crowd is swaying, no phones, no conversation, just total immersion in music. This group is dedicated to that feeling you get at a concert.
    It’s also a place to tell others about what happened at the show! Tell us about that time when you took your girl to see her favorite band and she disappeared—only to show up later wearing the bass player’s shirt! If you’re that girl, tell us about the time that you went to see your favorite band and you got backstage and stole the bass player’s shirt. Tell us about the drum solo or the light show. List the shows you’ve seen. This is the group that’s all about CONCERTS! All genres are welcome here.


    BluesRok's opinion: I'm partial to this group because I started it! Go there. Join it. If you like the look, give some kudos to WilliamNI, (he pimped it up for me). This isn't a blues only group, but I'd love to see more blues-folks there!



    Robert Cray
    Description: If you like Robert Cray's music, have seen him in concert, or just like his soulful bluesy style, join this group.

    BluesRok's opinion: Here's another group that I started, so excuse me while I promote it! Robert Cray introduced me to the blues. When I discovered Cray, my family said that I "changed as a person". While I still don't know what that means, I still do love Cray's style! Join us!



    Keb' Mo'
    Description: Keb' Mo' draws heavily on the old-fashioned country blues style of Robert Johnson, but keeps his sound contemporary with touches of soul and folksy storytelling. He writes much of his own material and has applied his acoustic, electric, and slide guitar skills to jazz and rock-oriented bands in the past as well.

    BluesRok's opinion: One listen to the talented and expressive Keb' Mo' and you'll have to join his group.



    The Blues People
    Description: This is for the proper blues fans and enthusiasts, but id also like the group to be open for young members like myself to find out about and learn about blues like i did. its great stuff. we take all blues people right from the blind lemon jefferson and early blues fans up to the modern black keys blues revolution.



    Stevie Ray Vaughan
    Description: It's a Cold Shot, Baby!

    BluesRok's opinion: I wish he was still with us.



    BB King
    Description: Fans of The Blues Master and Lucille!



    Harmonica Players
    Description: Welcome to the society of harmonica players! If you are a REAL harmonica player then join this society to talk about the truely wonderful instrument called harmonica, make music and have fun!



    Real Deal Blues
    Description: All the blues groups on these sites have a lot of crap on the charts that isn't blues. This is the Real Deal Blues Group. If your sick of seeing The Beatles topping charts in blues groups this group is for you.

    BluesRok's opinion: There's nothing wrong with the goal of having "all blues charts", or screening applicants to obtain that goal. Having said that, beware; this is an exclusive, elitist group, where a 17 year old who has scobbled only a few songs passes judgement on you. If he doesn't like your charts, you don't get in. He hasn't bothered to post an avatar for the group. Applicants should be prepared to wait for weeks to be denied, or he'll just ignore your application indefinately.


    Just The Blues
    Description: If your charts are not mostly blues artists, you ain't gettin' in this one…But here, the goal is a pure blues group chart built in honor of the greats.

    BluesRok's opinion: Here's another group where a kid acts as gatekeeper to all who dare to apply. He's scrobbled under 300 songs in the last year but he's a 'blues expert'. I think he wants to be just like "Real Deal Blues"...such low aspirations!



    Robert Johnson
    Description: I believe I'll dust my broom.



    Blind Willie Johnson
    Description: Name: Willie Johnson



    Blues Brasil
    Description: Grupo em português pra falar sobre blues em qualquer idioma. Uma alternativa para os bluesmen do Brasil trocarem informações e etc.

    BluesRok's opinion: I don't understand a single word, but if they love the blues, I love them. I'd like to visit Brazil someday…the women there look like they could give a man a real case of the blues!




    Blues - Italia
    Description: Per i fan italiani del Blues, o anche per i fan del Blues italiano.

    BluesRok's opinion: Like the Brasil group, I don't understand a word, ahh, but those Italian women!



    Delta Blues
    Description: if you like old classical delta blues,join this group! ;)



    Canadian Blues
    Description: A group for lovers of Canada's great blues scene!

    BluesRok's opinion: I'll have to visit this group, eh?



    UK Blues
    Description: For fans of British r&b/blues/rock/pop music! Thanks for bringing America's greatest cultural contribution to the rest of ze world back to our collective attention.



    Guitar Gods
    Description: For fans of those who can JAM on the guitar!

    BluesRok's opinion: The leader of this group wants more blues reflected in the charts and discussions...let's oblige!



    Eric Clapton
    Description: Clapton is God.

    BluesRok's opinion: We have it in writing, Clapton must really be God.



    Jimi Hendrix
    Description: Have you ever been experienced?

    BluesRok's opinion: Okay, we've established that Clapton is God. It's my opinion that God listens to Hendrix!




    Quality Blues
    Description: jump blues, country blues, city blues, piano blues, harmonica blues, guitar blues, it don't really matter



    Legendary Rhythm and Blues Cruise
    Description: A group for people who have been on, are going on, will be going on or just want to go on a Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise.
  • Where to Start with Gov't Mule?

    5 Feb 2008, 04:15 by BluesRok

    Gov't Mule has been one of my favorite bands over the last eight years or so. They formed as a band in 1994, and recorded several albums before I took notice in 2000. I don't know how I missed them, as they sprung from one of my all time favorite bands, The Allman Brothers Band, but I'm sure glad that I found them! My first Mule experience was their fourth album, Life Before Insanity, but soon, I had to collect them all!

    Here's a discography:
    Gov't Mule, 1995
    Live from Roseland Ballroom, 1996
    Dose, 1998
    Live... With a Little Help from Our Friends, 1998
    Life Before Insanity, 2000
    The Deep End, Volume 1, 2001
    The Deep End, Volume 2, 2002
    The Deepest End, Live in Concert, 2003
    Deja Voodoo, 2004
    Mo' Voodoo (EP), 2005
    High & Mighty, 2006
    Mighty High, 2007

    So where do you want to start if you're new to Gov't Mule? There's no right answer. I've always found that it's good to start at the beginning, and to follow a band through it's different phases. Most people will prefer one phase over the others. With the Mule, it's important to know that this is a band that has undergone many changes, none of which were induced by any desire to be trendy or make a "hit song". This is a jam band, and in the great tradition of American Southern Rock artists, tragedy played a big role in the evolution of this band.

    Gov't Mule was, from 1994 until 2000, a power trio. Singer/guitarist Warren Haynes is a prolific songwriter and loves to cover other artists. Drummer Matt Abts is extremely talented, as evidenced by his solo work on the song Thorazine Shuffle, and original bassist Allen Woody was a monster on four strings. Haynes and Woody played together in the Allman Brothers Band. Haynes also enjoys a solo career and has worked with a vast collection of great artists (look him up on Wikipedia).

    In 2000, bassist Allen Woody died. Haynes and Abts began to record a tribute CD using some of Woody's favorite bass players. These sessions resulted in two CDs The Deep End, Volume 1 (2001) and The Deep End, Volume 2 (2002). The first CD with Louis and Hess, Deja Voodoo, was released in September 2004, and additional material from those sessions was released in 2005 as Mo' Voodoo. The new lineup's second full release, High and Mighty, was released on August 22, 2006, and it was followed in 2007 by a dub/reggae album called Mighty High - including versions of classic Mule covers and originals with special guest appearances.

    Personally, my favorite material is from the three piece days, including all of the "Deep End" projects. The Mule's earliest work has a really raw, improvisational jam band feel. It oozes power. The Deep End era is marked by great songwriting, fantastic guest artists on bass and other instruments, and each album is a listen to the whole thing affair. The DVD of the live performances that is sold with "The Deepest End" release is especially enjoyable to watch and it contains songs that aren't on the CD's.

    For me, the 2004 to present line up, which includes bassist Andy Hess and Danny Louis on keyboards, is likable, but they don't have the same appeal as the former line-up. The songs include too much keyboard work for my liking. They're obviously cutting into new territory, no less bold and fearlessly as before, but it just doesn't keep my attention like it used to. Group leader Warren Haynes is as prolific as ever though, so I'm sure that one of their future releases will pull me back. I'm certain to keep buying all of their releases as each one has something that'll blow my mind.

    Still not sure where to start? Do some more research! Check them out on the web:

    Gov't Mule on Wikipedia
    Warren Haynes on Wikipedia
    Gov't Mule's Official Website
    Gov't Mule on LastFM
    Gov't Mule Group Page on LastFM

    Thanks for letting me ramble!
    Jay "BluesRok"
    (Some of the text is copied from Wikipedia)