Happy Hump Day everyone! We’ve crossed the one year mark recently here at Blues Biscuits and over the year we’ve covered a lot of ground. Our Hump Day feature remains a popular mid week break and our recent PA Blues Fest Spotify Playlist drew some interest, so today we’re trying out a playlist related to Hump Day. It’s a nice sunny day here in the Northeast so it seems like a good time to take the top off and open it up with a smooth stick shift and solid chassis. No, you pervs, we’re talking about automobiles! Well, maybe we are. If you need it, worked on, lubed, loosened, tightened, tagged, tapped, or driven hard we’ve got just what you need.
A few of these songs were featured in one of our earliest Hump Day features – Johnny Winter, Eli Cook, Blind Boy Fuller, and Led Zeppelin. But now we’ve expanded the set to include Rosetta Howard, Amos Milburn, Chuck Berry, Joe Louis Walker, Junior Wells & James Cotton, Lil’ Ed & The Blues Imperials, and Super Chikan. Across the full history of the automobile, Blues singers have turned them into vehicles for sexual innuendo. Big back seats and secluded country roads helped write a lot of Blues tunes from heart break and infidelity to good times and afternoon strolls, it’s all in there. Today we celebrate the automobile and it’s contribution to Blues. Now, fill it up and drive it home!
This week’s Hump Day installment is a throwback to last Wednesday which was April Fools Day. I was sick as a dog last week and in the midst of fighting a fever so I didn’t get to post it.
Anyway, we’re exploring all the fools in the land of Blues. Since it was Muddy Waters’ 102nd birthday recently and his son Mud Morganfield, along with Kim Wilson, made a great tribute record called For Pops, we have their version of “Still A Fool.” There may be two trains runnin’ but this fool doesn’t know which way to go. Is he cheating? Is she steppin’ out? We may never know, but I’m betting on both. Maybe they’re the two trains running in opposite directions from each other.
Next we have Son Seals. Every guy in the bar knows his woman is anything but faithful. Poor Son has been fooled and fooled again.eventually she’ll shoot him in the face. Too soon? Another Chicago blues man is being played the fool in Linsey Alexander’s “Too Old To Be A New Fool.” Chicago must be full of fickle women. All these fools are in Chicago getting the runaround from woman after woman. Even our last entry, from Mr. Buddy Guy, is a Chicago Blues legend but maybe he’s wising up and doing some fooling of his own. Who’s been foolin’ you baby?
So, as April fools us here in the Northeast into thinking it’s still winter, hopefully some April Fools Blues will warm you up, wherever you are. Don’t get fooled while you’re foolin’ around on Hump Day.
Mud Morganfield & Kim Wilson Still A Fool
Son Seals I Think You’re Fooling Me
Hump Day this week is brought to you by Muddy & The Wolf. Inspiration came in the form of Joe Bonamassa’s new live album Muddy Wolf At Red Rocks. Joe Bonamassa seems to inspire extreme feelings on both ends of the spectrum in the world of Blues fans. But love him or hate him, we should be happy he’s introducing his fans to the legends of Blues. If he steers just one kid away from Justin Bieber we can call it a win! It’s always a good thing when people acknowledge their influences and shine a light on their artistry.
This week, like Mr. Bonamassa, we celebrate the artistry, wit, humor, and machismo of the late greats Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. Since we’re shining a light, I tried to steer off the main drag onto the seedy side streets of their catalogs. Of the two, I’d say Muddy was the more prolific womanizer in both song and real life. He loved the ladies and the ladies loved their Hoochie Coochie Man right back, especially when he got his Mojo Workin’. For Hump Day, Muddy is singing a warning to those Big Legged Women out there. Don’t be showing off the goods if you don’t want the attention ladies. It’s a public service announcement. Yeah, that sounds about right. In fact, Muddy cares so much about your well being he has become your doctor. He’s a got a powerful prescription and he’d like you to take it as often as possible. He’ll fill it for you any time you call. That sounds dirty.
Now, Howlin’ Wolf, on the other hand, was not as much of a ladies man as Muddy. He may have been your Back Door Man, but he was on your Evil ways of doggin’ him around. Where Muddy professed his powers of seduction, Howlin’ Wolf was keenly aware of the power of women. He took a skeptical view of their feminine wiles and their manipulations. For Hump Day, Wolf is singing about his Country Sugar Mama. She’s got sweet, sweet sugar and he needs it three times a day, but he wants to know where she got sugar that good. Her sugar is the best in town and everybody knows it, and everybody wants it. Wolf knows it’s too good for her to be true to him or anyone else and he’s got questions. Howlin’ Wolf was a thinker and often this part of his personality came into his songs. He’s definitely been thinking about where you were last night, spread out all over town doing the All Night Boogie. He knows exactly what you’ve been up to. You’ve been celebrating Hump Day all week long!
Today’s selections for Hump Day were inspired by an impromptu trip to the veterinarian this morning with one of our foster dogs. I was listening to the terrific new disc from Smokin’ Joe Kubek & Bnois King, called Fat Man’s Shine Parlor, and Bnois is a witty lyricist so I was thinking about blues lyrics, and howling dogs and it hit me! Dog references!
Men have been referred to as dogs since before the Blues began and it didn’t take long for horny guys to turn up in songs in the form of their other best friend, if you know what I mean. While there were previous examples, Big Mama Thornton‘s “Hound Dog” from 1952 was arguably the first widely popular song to focus on the dog reference. It was right there in front of you too, sniffing your back side and making you nervous in a mid-twentieth century repression kind of way. When Big Mama sang these lines you knew exactly what that dog was hungry for:
“You ain’t nothing but a hound dog Been snoopin’ ’round my door You can wag your tail But I ain’t gonna feed you no more”
Ten years later, Rufus Thomas introduced us to something called “Walkin’ The Dog.” Rufus wasn’t merely talking a stroll with his favorite pooch. No, no, this was some kind of dance that with a sly wink and nod became something dirty. I’m pretty sure Ol’ Rufus would have put Baby in a corner and had the time of his life. If you don’t know how to do it, he will definitely show you how to walk the dog.
Since Smokin’ Joe Kubek and Bnois King were unwittingly involved in deciding today’s Hump Day topic, I had to see what they had in their catalog that fit. It turns out Bnois King may have been walking his dog a little too much. His woman is giving him the boot for snoopin’ around too many of the wrong doors and all over town too. She’s gonna set him free to roam and now he’s got the “K9 Blues.”
Big Bill Morganfield would love you to take his dog for one more walk before you go baby. You know his dog loves you best. His dog is always happy to see you and loves the way you stroke it (I may have added that part). Johnny Winter is no stranger to Hump Day, but this time he says there will be “No More Doggin'” around with you. He’s gonna let you out baby, and don’t come back. Go hump the neighbor’s leg for a while.
Finally, this Hump Day, we have the band who introduced me to “Walkin’ The Dog” – Aerosmith. Yeah, it’s not exactly Blues, but the band, along with a host of others, got me interested in Blues all while singing along in a teenage hormone frenzy and proclaiming that “I’ll show you how to walk the dog!” I didn’t know a damned thing but it sure felt good to sing it. This is a recent version which shows the band still has the swagger and testosterone that fueled the version on their 1973 debut. Rockers doing blues isn’t always a bad thing.
Now, get those leashes and collars on and walk that dog! Happy Hump Day!
February 21, 2015 marked the second anniversary of the passing of Magic Slim. Slim was a true living legend and one of the last purveyors of the raucous variety of Chicago Blues. The first time I saw Magic Slim was on March 13, 1994 at the New Regal Theater in Chicago where he was opening for Pearl Jam. Yes, that Pearl Jam. Before you cry heresy, remember that Pearl Jam were arguably the biggest band in the world at the time and could have picked anyone to open the show. They chose a man who represented the musical history of the city and introduced him to their fans. Magic Slim’s set was filled with powerhouse blues and boogie and he surely rocked the house.
So with all this in mind, I have found my listening choices drifting back to Magic Slim over the last two weeks. Therefore, I am dedicating this week’s Hump Day installment to Magic Slim and his band The Teardrops which always had talented musicians playing the leanest, meanest, groovingest, movingest blues in town. Now, Slim didn’t really get down and outright dirty, but that’s half the fun sometimes right? He sang a few tunes where the metaphors are solid as a rock and ready to get hammered. Slim put his indelible stamp on Muddy Waters’ “Can’t Get No Grindin'” and with lines like “One had a bush and one had a peck” you know they aren’t really talking about a mill.
Now ladies, if your mill is broken down and you can’t get no grindin’, maybe you should meet up with Magic Slim. He may not be the man you want, but he is damned sure “The Man You Need.” When it comes to getting your lovin’ Slim says all you need to do is “Wake Me Up Early.” He’ll have a breakfast sausage all ready for you, if you know what I mean. The last song we have for this week’s Hump Day is Slim’s cover of Bobby Rush’s “Chicken Heads.” What in the name of Sam Hill is a chicken head? Apparently it’s a woman. A woman whose head is bobbing up and down like a chicken head. You can guess what she’s bobbing up and down on. Maybe it’s a creamscicle.
I hope you enjoy our Hump Day tribute to Magic Slim & The Teardrops. If Slim and his band can’t get you grinding and binding you may be in a coma. Tell me if you feel this…
Ah, Hump Day. Hump Day this week falls on Ash Wednesday, the official beginning of Lent for Christians. Of course, that means giving up something near and dear to your heart for 40 days or so. Some things are easier to give up than others. Usually on Hump Day we focus on the sexual nature of the blues but other vices have played a large role in the Blues as well. So this week we are expanding our illicit horizons to a few things you might not want to give up until Good Friday.
Since Fat Tuesday was yesterday and we’re celebrating excess this Ash Wednesday Hump Day, we have six tunes for your enjoyment. Billy Boy Arnold will start us off with a song about a woman hopelessly in love with “Whiskey, Beer And Reefer.” She was probably a fun girl for a while. It sounds like he’s not ready to give her up yet. We know Otis Rush isn’t ready to give up his woman yet. Otis is hooked! He works through his struggle with “I Can’t Quit You, Baby.” Jimmy Rogers has a liquid solution for the broken heart; any heart, really. He’d rather be “Sloppy Drunk” and I don’t see him giving it up for forty minutes let a lone forty days.
George Thorogood relates a tale of woe regarding his woman and a bit of cocaine. If only he’d fasted on the cocaine and stuck to bourbon, scotch, and beer he would have avoided prison and his lady friend might still be alive – especially if she gave up nagging for Lent. Sometimes you just have to step away from the situation and get tall. Moreland & Arbuckle are getting taller by the hour. Cruisin’ the back roads and getting high have a history as old as the automobile itself. Drive carefully boys and girls, Moreland & Arbuckle could be out there driving Tall just when you least expect it.
Last but definitely not least, we have Albert Collins and his crowd pleasing exercise in denial “I Ain’t Drunk.” Since we’re celebrating sins of all kinds this week, I feel I should mention the sin committed in this video: excessive synthesizer. I’m pretty sure I see the keyboard player stroking the wheel (that sounds dirty) to bend the keyboard notes. He’s one drink away from whipping out the keytar and there would be no forgiveness, from God or anyone else, for that indiscretion! And shame on Debbie Davies who appears to be enjoying this extravagant synth shower of notes. I blame the 80’s and the drinkin’.
Alright, Biscuiteers, enjoy Hump Day and leave that cocaine be.
SPECIAL NOTE: If you enjoy Moreland & Arbuckle, please consider supporting their Kickstarter campaign. The band has produced a brand new record and are looking for supporters to help them get it distributed. Please click HERE to support the band.
Happy Hump Day Biscuiteers! Valentine’s Day is coming up so I hope you have plenty of bawdy Blues ready for Hallmark’s annual Hump Day Blow Out (#thatsoundsdirty). One way to warm up for this winter holiday of love is to check out the sultry side of songstress Shemekia Copeland.
Shemekia will be appearing at F.M. Kirby Center in Wilkes-Barre, PA next Friday, February 20, 2015 and it got me thinking about her catalog of songs. She never gets raunchy, but it gets pretty steamy when this “Wild, Wild Woman” starts to “Turn Up The Heat.” Shemekia actually has a song called “Happy Valentine’s Day” but it’s a depressing tale of a cheating man making her cry on Valentine’s Day. Now, that is no way to treat a lady. Certainly not the new Queen of the Blues!
If you want to know how to treat her, go no further than “Your Mama’s Talking.” For some reason, ladies referring to themselves as Mama in bawdy songs doesn’t seem as creepy as the guys calling themselves Daddy, but it’s still disturbing. This mama will take your mind off that conundrum for sure.
We hope you have a happy Hump Day, a Happy V-day (naughty!), and if you’re in the area, please join us at Shemekia’s show at the F.M. Kirby Center next Friday.
Damn it’s cold out there! Especially if you’re anywhere from Sweet Home Chicago eastward. It’s Hump Day and we all need a little warmth in our lives this wintery week to get us through. Thankfully, plenty of blues men and women have some suggestions for us.
Howlin’ Wolf offers his “300 Pounds Of Joy” to keep you warm. I’m guessing he’s not talking about slow cooking a side of beef, but meat is definitely being offered, if you know what I mean…
Alexis P. Suter has a few ideas to warm you up this winter. She explores them in her song “Big Mama.” “Big mama gonna play with you, big mama gonna see you through.” She cares. She wants to warm you up – up being the operative word. Candye Kane has similar thoughts. She knows you need a “Great Big Woman” this Hump Day to show you how to love. Your temperature is rising already isn’t it? At least, I think it’s your temperature.
Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows are looking for some heat, and ladies they want to you to keep your hot box burning. “Don’t Turn Your Heater Down” please, they need your heat all around them. Finally we have Joe Louis Walker agreeing with the ladies of the blues as he looks for a “Big Fine Woman” to warm his heart and other organs. That sounds dirty.
No matter what you’ve got, shake it, roll it, bump it, and hump it. It’s hump day after all!
Howlin’ Wolf Three Hundred Pounds of Joy
Alexis P. Suter Band Big Mama
Candye Kane Great Big Woman
Big Twist & The Mellow Fellows Don’t Turn Your Heater Down
I looked at my watch and it was quarter past two, time for a little hump day fun with you and we’ll reel… Reelin’ and Rockin’ with Chuck Berry. Was Chuck a blues man? His path to fame followed in the footsteps of the great blues men. He came from a southern city, moved north, made his name playing electric guitar and singing energized versions of down home songs, and wound up at the home of Chicago Blues – Chess Records. Modern blues players certainly recognize Chuck’s Blues. Sure his blues was faster and had an undeniable swing but it was blues nonetheless. The father of Rock & Roll was a Blues man. Hey, if Willie Dixon played on your records, you’re a blues man.
I’ve been digging some Chuck Berry grooves lately and I’ve been particularly smitten with an album called The London Chuck Berry Sessions. Chess had several of its big acts record with some of their British fans who just happened to be some of the most popular musicians in the world in the late 60s and early 70s. Eric Clapton, Steve Winwood, Rory Gallagher, Charlie Watts, Bill Wyman, Mitch Mitchell and several others from the British music scene sat in to record with their heroes like Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, and Chuck Berry. The live half of The London Chuck Berry Sessions is my favorite however.
The recording captures Chuck in a playful mood as he rips through “Johnny B. Goode,” guides the audience through the ins and outs of “My-Ding-A-Ling,” and best of all, he offers a down and dirty version of “Reelin’ And Rockin’.” You may recall that Rock & Roll was a southern term used by the blacks to refer to sexual intercourse. Naturally Chuck ran with that euphemism and created a one-eyed monster all his own. In the lyrics of “Reelin’ And Rockin'” he definitely blurred the lines between sock-hop dance moves and the backseat after-party. The original lyrics were innocent enough to get radio play in the ultra-conservative 1950s, but were filled with double-entendres for those in the know. Chuck was the master of the double-entendre. Sometimes it seems like all the double-entendres currently in use are on loan from the collection of Charles Edward Anderson Berry.
So, for Hump Day this week I’m dedicating this feature to “Reelin’ And Rockin'” and it’s many variations. First is the version from The London Chuck Berry Sessions, then there’s a live appearance, also in London recorded around the same time. you’ll notice some of Chuck’s schtick is the same but his facial expressions are priceless. Next up we have a powerful houserockin’ version from one of Chuck’s biggest followers, George Thorogood. George and the band leave the Hampton crowd exhausted. After that we have a slightly laid back version courtesy of the Sam Lay Band. From there we head to the outer perimeter of the Blues World to one of my favorite roots rock bands – Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers. In the synth pop 80’s, Tommy and the band had the audacity to sneak blues tinged tunes like “I’m Not your Man” and “Love’s On Fire” into the top 40. Deeper album cuts like “Workout” and concert staples like Freddie King’s “Hideaway” gave away Tommy’s love of blues. Unfortunately they are a largely over-looked band and we’ll give them a glance right here and now. Also from the Rock and Rockabilly portion of our Venn Diagram of Blues comes a band called The Head Cat. The Head Cat features Slim Jim Phanton from the Stray Cats, Danny B. Harvey from Lonesome Spurs, and Lemmy from Motorhead. Yes, that Lemmy. Seriously, how many Lemmys do you think there are? Give it chance. Maybe you’ll hate it, er, like it. Yeah, maybe you’ll like it. I love it.
If you stick with us, Reelin’ and Rockin’ your way from Chuck Berry to Lemmy, you get a special Hump Day treat at the end. No, not that kind of treat! Play with your own Ding-A-Ling!
Chuck Berry Reelin’ And Rockin’
Chuck Berry Reelin’ And Rockin’ – BBC Theatre, London 1972
George Thorogood Reelin’ And Rockin’
The Sam Lay Blues Band Reelin’ And Rockin’
Tommy Conwell & The Young Rumblers Reelin’ And Rockin’
You know, sometimes Hump Day doesn’t go as planned. Not everyone gets to enjoy the Hump Day activities. Every blues musician knows you don’t always get what you want. Unrequited desire has been the basis of many songs, in all genres, ever since the first note was sung. However, there’s something about the way a blues singer puts it into words that separates them from the rest of the pack. Sometimes those words work out so well, they’ve got extra humps lined up for the following week.
This week we’re dedicating Hump Day to those who want the attention of their lover but they just aren’t getting any. For Harpdog Brown, his woman is too busy with her online friends. He’d love to poke his “Facebook Woman” but he can’t get his login, if you know what I mean…
Poor Lil’ Ed Williams is having similar issues with his “Computer Girl.” Her idea of digital input doesn’t quite match Lil’ Ed’s. No Nybbles and Bytes for Ed tonight, looks like his dongle will be left dangling even though none of the female ports are in use. Maybe he should look into some hot swappable plug and play action.
Finally, we have a more traditional dilemma. Booze and Blues go hand in hand and Moreland & Arbuckle know it well. Dustin Arbuckle is getting wound up by his “Teasin’ Doney” whose favorite licker comes in a bottle. That sounds dirty. It probably is. It’s Hump Day after all!
P.S. Anyone who knows what in the name of Sam Hill a teasin’ “doney” is gets a shiny new dime. We’ll FAX it to you. We’ll FAX you real good.