Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Soul of John Black - The Good Girl Blues

Sometimes I think a lot of alt-country types think they own the "roots music" idea. I know I'm guilty of this a lot, assuming that the natural and appropriate method of engaging with popular and folk music history lies somewhere on the continuum between Uncle Tupelo and BR549. But sometimes I get CDs that show me I'm an idiot.

I got The Good Girl Blues by The Soul of John Black a couple months ago. Most of the CDs I get sent are by people I haven't heard of, and scanning down the list of names on this disc and recognizing none, I assumed it was just another indie outfit looking for a good word. As I listened to the CD and thought about how I would review it, how I could comment on the tight integration of acoustic and electric, city and country blues with elements of soul, funk, and hip hop, I realized that I didn't have the vocabulary to discuss these latter, more recent developments in African American music. Then I read the press packet and found out that front man John Bigham played with Miles Davis (even writing one of the songs on Davis' last album) and was a member of Fishbone for nearly ten years.

I guess my point is that my insular view of "roots" as nearly synonymous with alt-country prevented me from seeing strands of influence that should have been obvious and caused me to overlook playing with Miles Davis and Fishbone as legitimate avenues toward this.

The Soul of John Black - Fire Blues
The Soul of John Black - Deez Blues

From CD Baby

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