Ah, it is again Friday afternoon. Like the tides and tax returns it rolls around. A strange combination of anticipation for what the weekend has in store and the melancholy of another week of life ticked off… death is a creeper. The blues is much like a Friday afternoon.
Whether the week has worked your spirit to its core, or you simply need some tracks to unwind to, our list of Friday arvo blues tunes will do the trick.
On the one hand full of excitement, a release for pent up emotion through three chords and five notes. Music to dance, fight, and fuck to. On the other, the knowledge that this music was born out of oppression and enslavement. Not Cool. But I digress, the tracks, you want the tracks. So in no particular order, here are my ten Blues tunes for a Friday afternoon.
10. Freddie King – Going Down
This guy basically lived on Bloody Mary’s and would frequently miss meals to play shows, relying on the vodka and tomato juice to carry him through. No wonder he shuffled off this mortal coil at the age of 47. The guy was a monster of Blues, both figuratively and literally. Find a video of him and note how small his 335 looks on him, and how he can only wear it over one arm. Freddie is the sound of a Friday to me.
9. Kenny Wayne Shepherd – Slow Ride
I’m not sure if KWS is even cool to have in a list of blues tracks, but I don’t care. He is an awesome player and this track is responsible for turning me on to modern blues when I was a mere teenager. The way he plays is just disgusting on this track. Good disgusting, not bad disgusting. Pfft.
8. Eric Clapton – Highway 49
Alright, So Clapton is a bit of a safe bet for a list of blues dudes, but lets face it, he is now old enough to be considered a true journeyman and once Buddy Guy goes, Clapton will be the elder statesman of the blues. His version of Highway 49 is the best in my opinion, hotter than the original but without all the dumb flash of the Jeff Healey version (sorry Jeff).
7. Jimi Hendrix – Little Wing
OK OK, so Clapton and Hendrix next to each other could be considered cheating, but I don’t care. I wish Jimi was still here. Just imagine what that would be like. No I mean it. Stop right now and imagine Hendrix still being alive. EURGH, I can’t, I just can’t, it makes me feel sick.
We would have watched him go through a weird electro phase in the 80’s then released some ballads in the 90’s and then now we would have him, probably a bit overweight, just wailing, would be awesome. But he’s dead, so that’s that. It is Friday though. (woo!)
6. Samantha Fish – Bitch On The Run
If one person has more live stuff on YouTube than Sam Fish, then please tell me. I have lost literally days watching her and her three piece blow the walls out of many stages and subsequently my mind. This track is probably one of her more “rock” tracks, but has an incredible solo in it. Good Friday evening, quick get me home from work so I can skull a tinny music.
5. BB King – Lucille
He had a guitar named the same. I’m not saying any more. Nothing else needs to be said.
4. Albert King – Crosscut Saw
I literally had no idea which Albert King track to choose they are all so good, so I just hit random on his Spotify page and this track came up. Do you think Albert King would even understand Spotify? Even just the concept Is nuts. It would be like….
Record Exec – “Hey Albert, so we put your music on Spotify and now people can just stream it to their phones as they walk down the street.”
Albert King – “What the hell is stream? and it’s Mr King to you boy.”
3. Joe Bonomassa with Beth Hart – I’ll Take Care of You
2. The Groundhogs – Cherry Red
OK, so lately old Joey might have sort of gone over from traditional blues to sort of flashy blues rock, or maybe I’m just saying that because I’m jealous of how fast his fingers move and how many really, REALLY nice guitars he has. But this track, mainly for Beth’s vocal and Joe’s second solo is brilliant.
Probably a bit too crossover for true blues purists, but poo to them. The blues was never about staying pure, it’s an organism, it grows and mutates and then Beth Hart appears and I go all funny and forget how to hold a plectrum.
2. The Groundhogs – Cherry Red
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Di diddi dow didi did didi dow “Makes me change to cheeeerrryyyy reeeeedddd”
Right, so after that great intro, you need to go and find this track and then listen to it and everything else by this band. I was put on to them by a kid called Stef, who used to play in a band called Strobe 45. He had this Strat that looked like it had been carved by a chainsaw and then attacked by a sander.
He’d taken all the springs bar one off the tremolo and tuned it to open G then the band played this kind of mad post Rage Against The Machine, meets Delta blues, meets some Post Hardcore band from Detroit thing, where he would play all this stuff on this Strat but would use the tremolo to bend the strings upwards, but he didn’t have the whammy bar on, just used his hand to push on the bridge.
It blew my mind as a 21 year old. But yeah The Groundhogs, I had to work really hard to find their other stuff when I first heard their name. Now I bet it’s on Spotify. Oh god it is, I just checked. No excuse. I’m watching you.
1. Muddy Waters – Champagne and Reefer
Look it’s Muddy Waters and he has a song called Champagne and Reefer plus it’s Friday. I don’t think you need to be a rocket scientist, or even just like a sports scientist to get what I’m saying here, right. Have fun, don’t worry about Sunday night, your boss feels the same, and his boss, and one day we will all realise that and we will all just sack Monday off but not tell each other so we’ll all still get paid.