Blues Ball ends summer music season
As sad as it is to see it come to an end, the Medicine Park Blues Ball gave a great send-off to the summer music season in the Cobblestone Community.
Taking the journey out Friday night, the tail end of Roland Bowling's set proved a great opener. The set by The Cakeaters was pretty salty as the power duo cranked some electricity into the air with music that melded traditional blues with The White Stripes and The Black Keys. CHANT took over to close out the night. A Medicine Park favorite, they proved why with their set.
The next two days were filled with some great local talent Big Pete's Blues Revue, Dirty Red & The Soul Shakers and Blueprint providing some devastatingly great music that holds its own with the likes of Cecil Grey Native Blues, Sweet Brenda & Sour Mash and the event closers Li'l Ed & The Blues Imperials.
The only down point to this year's Blues Ball was the withdrawal of Miss Blues (Dorothy Ellis) from the lineup. Her presence was missed and word of her death Sunday at the age of 82 left a real case of the blues.
The lady queen of the Oklahoma blues, Ellis made life a glorious journey. Orphaned as a child, she began in the Texas cotton fields but emerged to pursue her education and music with equal vigor. She earned a Master's Degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Central Oklahoma. She also sang her soul through the blues while becoming a self-published author of two books, "For Blacks Only" and "Hoe Cakes and Collard Greens." She earned the name "Miss Blues" when "You is One Black Rat" roared from 1940s-era wind-up record players. Ellis performed with legends like Buddy Miles, Little Joe Blue, Bo Diddley, Zora Young, and many more. A member of the Oklahoma Arts Council, Ellis was inducted into the Oklahoma Blues Hall of Fame in 2004 and inducted into the Oklahoma Jazz and Blues Hall of Fame in 2011.
Here's opportunity to hear this treasure in peak form: nDorothy ''Miss Blues'' Ellis ''Blood Running Cold'' & ''Trapped" https://youtu.be/HLpiDjjhxNQ.
Lawton's Eric "Dirty Red" McDaniel was Ellis' harmonica player for years before he founded his band Dirty Red & The Soul Shakers. Her death hit hard, he said.
"We lost an amazing women, friend and legendary blues singer Miss Blues, the most amazing and wonderful times playing for her it was a true privilege," McDaniel said.
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Studio Blanket/Tent Fort was filled with funnies this week for "Today's Best Soundemonium!" with Steve Carr, a.k.a. Steve-O, and the columnist as we put together the first installment of the LLOLAF End-Of-Summer Special Mix Tape. Featuring some funny and fantastic performances by local artists, it also provided the debut of a single from BURRO. If you don't know BURRO, it's okay. It's a two-man music project featuring the columnist and John Bear, a.k.a. Generalismo Inocencio Lipschiz. It's been well over 10 years since we've recorded anything so it took some rust shaking to pull off.
For the LLOLAF project, I asked Bear to create a beat and make it at least 2 minutes long so I could put guitar, bass and vocals over it and channel mid-80s era Butthole Surfers and The Flaming Lips. A master at his game, he created exactly 2 minutes of a gem that my rudimentary abilities couldn't mess up too bad. The resulting single, "12 Years Down, 2 Minutes Up" fits the motif. But getting there took some time.
It's been a while since yours truly has made music. A couple of decades of band experiences included teaching myself to play(ish) guitar and allowed me to get across what I wanted to do, for the most part. But it's been awhile (over a decade) since I've played anything regularly. At first, I was left blank, even after receiving the base music for the composition the well felt dry. But when you have a deadline, in the words of Yoda, "do or do not, there is no try." (Did Yoda actually say that? I can't remember.)
An afternoon spent with a bass and guitar while listening to the beat led to the quick creation of the three chord song. It's rock and roll; you don't need more chords than that! Lyrics arrived in a momentary vision brought on while mowing fit the bill for what was wanted. With an assignment to take Herkafrithom and make it something fitting with the lyrics, well, on the checklist of things to do, you could say "another one bites the dust."
The next day, studio time with Thanh Le (T.L. Productions/1GCrew) was optimized as we laid down the extra appendages to the bare bones beat. You'd think a guy would remember to bring his pick with him to play guitar and record a song, wouldn't you? You'd think wrong if you're thinking of this guy. But improvise, adapt and overcome is a good ethos to have when you're a seat-of-the-pants musician.
That said, the first strum of fingers over metal strings took off a layer of finger flesh that's only since begun to heal. However, the healing power of music the creation and performance triumphs over pain. First laying down the rhythm guitar, then a lead melody and finally the bass line, satisfaction spilled into the psyche halfway there.
Tracking vocals wasn't a bad experience. Half the battle is knowing your limitations and pinpointing exactly what you want to project and how. The other half is execution. I executed the hell out of the obtuse lyrics to complete the half-wit performance I was looking for. Then I left it in the hands of the producer. He didn't let me down. The finished track sent the next day exceeded expectations. When Bear described it as sounding like "Tyler Durden knife fighting Jim Morrison," it felt good.
A week later, Justin "Dustlord" Stevens produced a music video to go with the song. The first idea of a slow skateboarding columnist putting around the local skatepark was quickly shelved when it was realized that balance and coordination are needed for that endeavor. A quick improvisational change was handled in stride and, following some exceedingly hot minutes on my belly on top of a rolling skateboard, a surreal series of shots were filmed and ready for editing.
Here, for all to see and hear is the world premiere of the video: nBURRO "12 Years Down, 2 Minutes Up" https://youtu.be/KOm0q1ULixQ.
I know I'm never going to get into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; I've stopped dreaming of the platinum album and millions of fans. But the bug is back. To get away from making music doesn't mean you ever completely stop. And when the fire is rekindled, it's a good thing to keep stoked. So, BURRO will continue writing, putting together and recording songs for an upcoming album, "Herkafrithom Music and Noise Project." We'll post it online when it's ready and leave it available for free download I couldn't ask anyone to spend money on my music. But it'll be there one day if you want it.
Keep up with the progress by liking and following the Herkafrithom Music and Noise Project Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/burrocollective/?modal=composer¬if_id=153599....
Studio Blanket/Tent Fort was a real chuckle hut with some pretty LLOLAF music: Dannie Carson, "Trucks"; Al Berry, "Meet Me At Gertlestones"; Tito Lindsey, Frank Ryan and Ronnie Harrison, "My Pony/No Diggity"; Ciera MacKenzie, "Ice, Ice Baby"; BURRO, "12 Years Down, 2 Minutes Up"; Bannister Chaava and Steve Carr, "Wonderboy" and Big Pete Piehnik, "Mickey Mouse Club Goodbye Song."
Jokey went down under this week's joke. Here's the punchline:
Turn your radio dial to Magic 95.3 FM Radio around 6:25 p.m. each Thursday (if not much earlier) or stream the half-hour show online: http://s1.phx.icastcenter.com/start/kmgz953/ or www.onlineradiobox.com; or on the Apple or Android apps or on the TuneIn app, or: http://www.kmgz.com/.
And, hey, if you have a song you want us to check out, email us: soundemoniumgmail.com.
#Sundaymonium Remember that every Sunday night you can listen to a rebroadcast of the prior week's show followed by this week's show: 6 p.m., Big Pete Piehnik; 6:30 p.m., LLOLAF End-Of-SummerSpecial Mix Tape.
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