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Joe Goldmark's "Blue Steel" Out Now

Posted by The Bay Area Crew, May 6, 2018 07:24pm | Post a Comment

Amoeba SF's own steel guitar master, Joe Goldmark, has just released his most exciting album to dateJoe Goldmark, Blue Steel with Blue Steel. Mixing Americana, blues, and roots music, Blue Steel showcases a number of original songs, plus a diverse mix of cover tunes ranging from Jimmy McCracklin, Graham Parker, B.B. King, and Jeff Lynne, to Lefty Frizzell, Rufus Thomas, and Dallas Frazier. Best known for his honky-tonk country and Americana sounds, Goldmark has combined an extra component this time with the addition of blues/roots songs like “All Night Worker,” “The Wobble,” and “Beautician Blues.”

“My album cover is loosely based on an old Starday Records album by Arthur ‘Guitar Boogie’ Smith called Blue Guitar,” Goldmark says. “The artwork is blue, but the title Blue Steel actually reflects the R&B feel of the music on the album. Although the pedal steel guitar is considered a ‘country’ instrument by many, I’ve always placed it in other musical genres with excellent results. Blue Steel is colored by a soulful approach to all the tunes, especially on the handful of blues numbers.”

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R.I.P. B.B. King

Posted by Billyjam, May 15, 2015 06:19am | Post a Comment

"King of The Blues" B.B. King, the legendary American guitarist and singer/songwriter, died late last night at his Las Vegas home. He was 89 years of age and had enjoyed a prolific recording and performing career spanning seven decades. According to a report this morning by the Associated Press, who interviewed the blues icon's attorney Brent Bryson, King reportedly died "peacefully in his sleep at 9:40 p.m. PDT" last night (Thursday, May 14) with the local county coroner confirming the death, and that "funeral arrangements were underway" for the 15-time Grammy winner.

The son of sharecroppers, he was born Riley B. King on a Mississippi cotton plantation in 1925 but would go on to enjoy an illustrious lifelong career that  would include him performing at the White House in 2012 where the President of the United States would join him singing "Sweet Home Alabama." In that long legendary career, in which he got dubbed "the king of the blues" even though his music would transcend the blues, B.B. King recorded dozens of albums, won 15 Grammy awards, made his Gibson guitar a household name ("Lucille"), and introduced blues to a whole new audience in the '60s, all the while influencing a generation of guitar players, including a young Eric Clapton. He also earned a rep for working hard. Much like the late James Brown (aka "the hardest working man in showbiz") King had earned a rep for tirelessly gigging, typically between 250 days to 340 days out of the year. Although after turning 80 in 2005 he vowed to cut down to just 100 shows a year! In recent years poor health, mainly diabetes, had begun to take its toll on King who collapsed last October during a show in Chicago. Since then he had been in hospice care at his Nevada home.

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Where to Celebrate Black History Month 2014 in Los Angeles

Posted by Billy Gil, January 31, 2014 07:12pm | Post a Comment

February is Black History Month, and we’re celebrating with events around town. Below is a list of events taking place around Los Angeles this February.

 

Saturday Feb. 1 - Eyes On The Prize: America's Civil Rights Years, 1954-1965 – AC Bilbrew Library (150 E. El Segundo Blvd.) - 1 p.m.

The AC Bilbrew Library  has a number of Black History events this month, starting with this film screening of Eyes on the Prize.

 

Sunday Feb. 2 – Target Sundays at CAAM 600 State Dr. - 1-5 p.m.

If you haven’t yet been to the Contempoary African American Museum, this might be a good reason to go. CAAM, as it is also known, kicks off BHM with a celebration of achievements in history, art and culture with live performances and an art workshop.

 

Monday Feb. 3 – Moses Sumney – Bardot Hollywood – 9 p.m.

Experimental soul-folk artist Moses Sumney takes the stage at Bardot Hollywood.

 

Tuesday Feb. 4 – The Bots – Bootleg Theater – 8 p.m.

This free show features youthful brotherly Afropunk band The Bots.

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Songs & Gift Ideas for Mother's Day: Sunday, May 13th, 2012

Posted by Billyjam, May 4, 2012 09:24am | Post a Comment

2Pac "Dear Mama" (1995) [from Me Against the World]

Mother’s Day 2012
(Sunday, May 13th) may soon be upon us but there's still plenty of time left to get mom the gift of music from Amoeba, whether you order something online from our website shop on Amoeba.com (and have us mail it directly to mom) or if you stop into one of the three Amoeba Music stores. With the endless choices of CDs, DVDs, records, posters, and more, you're bound to find something just right for mom.


Kanye West "Hey Mama" [from album
Late Registration]


Macka B "Respect to Our Mothers" [from the album Roots Ragga]
 
There is some excellent music that would make a great Mother's Day gift, including new/recent/current Esperanza Spalding Radio Music Societyreleases from Norah Jones' Little Broken Hearts or her 2002 album Come Away With Me, Adele's 21, Esperanza Spalding's Radio Music Society, The Civil Wars' eight track Live at Amoeba CD, Nanci Griffith's Intersection, Rumer's Season of My Soul, a new solo release by Sara Watkins (of Nickel Creek) called Sun Midnight SunBruce Springsteen's Wrecking Ball, and Janis Joplin (including reissues). There's oodles of older titles too for sale on Amoeba.com including, for the budget conscious shopper, the Clearance Section offerings.

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America Gets a Post-Racial: The Legacy of Lee Atwater

Posted by Charles Reece, August 30, 2009 10:03am | Post a Comment
The latest issue of The London Review of Books has an excellent essay, "What Matters," by Walter Benn Michaels (author of The Trouble with Diversity). In analyzing the recent arrest of Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates, Michaels answers my fellow blogger Eric's question of "who's black?" with another, more telling question: "who's poor?." To wit:

Gates, as one of his Harvard colleagues said, is ‘a famous, wealthy and important black man’, a point Gates himself tried to make to the arresting officer – the way he put it was: ‘You don’t know who you’re messing with.’ But, despite the helpful hint, the cop failed to recognise an essential truth about neoliberal America: it’s no longer enough to kowtow to rich white people; now you have to kowtow to rich black people too.

[...]

In the US, one of the great uses of racism was (and is) to induce poor white people to feel a crucial and entirely specious fellowship with rich white people; one of the great uses of anti-racism is to make poor black people feel a crucial and equally specious fellowship with rich black people. Furthermore, in the form of the celebration of ‘identity’ and ‘ethnic diversity’, it seeks to create a bond between poor black people and rich white ones. So the African-American woman who cleans my office is supposed to feel not so bad about the fact that I make almost ten times as much money as she does because she can be confident that I’m not racist or sexist and that I respect her culture. And she’s also supposed to feel pride because the dean of our college, who makes much more than ten times what she does, is African-American, like her. And since the chancellor of our university, who makes more than 15 times what she does, is not only African-American but a woman too (the fruits of both anti-racism and anti-sexism!), she can feel doubly good about her.

In the words of our first "post-racial" president's speechwriters, it's the economy, stupid (or, rather, the racially stupid economy -- even its staunchest proponents this side of Ayn Rand will tell you that capitalism is amoral). As the harbinger of racial peace through commercial success, a prescient Arsenio Hall managed to signify our current climate through one particular performance that bridged the old racial divide in popular culture, that of the poor black's blues and the poor white's country:


Randy Travis is what the corporate media like to call an "independent thinker," that is, neither strictly Republican, nor Democrat. Why, back in 1991, when Linda Accurso complained to the Federal Election Commission that Travis' televised performance of "Point of Light" was an unfair advertisement for George Bush, Sr., the FEC essentially ruled that, nope, the singer was operating on his own. This was despite the song being written at Bush's request, its sharing a poetic phrase with a popular speech of Bush's, and its video being produced by Bush's media consultant, Roger Eugene Ailes (now the American president of Fox News Channel). Surely, the song was just about promoting the everyman (and -woman) in our armed services. "If that ain't country ...."

And just like any good capitalist would recommend, B.B. King has always been more concerned with promoting the blues than any particular ideology. As told in Charles Sawyer's apologia, back in 1968, King responded to the question "What do you think of Ronald Reagan and what do you think of the Black Panthers?" with, "Well, I hear the Panthers feed breakfast to poor children and anyone who does that can't be as bad as they are made out to be [and] I think that Reagan was a pretty good movie actor." It was this sort of ideological independence that would result in King's celebration of his friend, the recently deceased Lee Atwater, aka the Boogie Man, at the Republican convention in 1991 (coincidentally the same year as the Travis fracas).


Atwater was the campaign adviser for Bush's 1988 successful bid for the presidency and he knew something about the kind of abstraction that could make anyone a fan of the blues (or country). Divorce it from its context, thereby making it an appealing product to anyone, regardless of ideology. Consider his take on the Southern Strategy:

You start out in 1954 by saying, “nigger, nigger, nigger.” By 1968 you can't say “nigger” -- that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “nigger, nigger.” -- from here

But never mind that, nor his use of the Willie Horton scandal, nor his help in devising the Revolving Door ad, Atwater was a big fan and promoter of the blues and black music in general and, most importantly, in abstracto (to which the above album with whom could be called "some of his best friends" attested). One might say he was our first post-racial politico, his racist campaign strategies having little effect on his aesthetics or the friends he kept. Is it cynical to suggest King (as well as Aretha Franklin, Isaac Hayes and the others lending their talents and credibility to Atwater's album) had more in common through his wealth and success with Atwater than with the people affected by the man's propaganda? Back in the early part of the 20th century, in the openly racist South, Hank Williams learned guitar from Tee Tot, a poor bluesman who played on the street. Then, at the beginning of our post-racial era, the blues and country came back together to appear on The Arsenio Hall Show, only this time represented by wealthy proponents of both genres. Since Atwater, even the Republicans have become more diverse, but along with Michaels, I ask, what does this progress really m