Dark Streets

Set in 1930s noir-like Gotham City (I guess of Batman fame?), Dark Streets follows the life of Chaz Davenport (Mann) a big town playboy with the city’s hottest blues, jazz, swing nightclub. Davenport’s father, a wealthy power company owner, mysteriously commits suicide and leaves Chaz disillusioned, broke, and in financial trouble as he gets written out of his father’s will. About that time a mysterious chanteuse named Madelaine (Miko) and a creepy lieutenant (Koteas) offer their services to help save Davenport and his club. Chaz’s worldly subsequently continues to deteriorate, as his relationship with his old friend Crystal (Phillips) diffuses and he continues to question the circumstances surrounding his father’s death. As Chaz becomes more and more aware, the appearance of the characters reveal themselves. Underneath all of this dissolution, dissolve, and noir-drama is the blues.

Read the whole review at Juke Joint Soul

SqueezeMyLemon: Old Stack-O-lee Blues

Great video overview of the folk standard known as “stack-o-lee” or “stagger lee”, which has been performed in many, many versions over the years. It’s a great example of songs which were passed along in the oral tradition, in an era when mass communication was rare, and folk stories often were the primary source of history:

SqueezeMyLemon: Old Stack-O-lee Blues.

Incursions Ostentatoires – FAB – Fabsound

FAB - Incursions Ostentatoires

FAB - Incursions Ostentatoires

If the guys from Portishead were smokin’ weed in the alley with Captain Beefheart and “wordjazz” master Ken Nordine outside of a Jimmy Smith show, and then decided to corral Smith for a jam at Nordine’s home studio, this is what I imagine the resulting recording would sound like.

Belgian-born Fabien Van der Steppen has been brewng an unusual blend of trippy, blues-influenced music for a number of years, experimenting by weaving familiar blues elements like slide guitar and harmonica into mixes that use classic hip-hop and trance as a base. The results here are a bit uneven, but never boring, and the recording has the spontaneous, improvised feel of a jam session, with all the good and band elements that entails. Some of the lyrical ideas could benefit from further fleshing out, as some of the vocal mantras border on Nordine’s “word jazz” abstractions both in content and in treatment. A few more Beefheart-like howls, wails, and growls would spice things up.

Incursions Ostentatoires is worth repeated spins, so spark one up, kick back and chill out with FAB. There is a planned Belgian tour, and have been a number of live performances as well in the Chicago area, so keep an eye out.
BUY the CD or download songs: CDBaby.com
website: http://www.fabblues.com/

14 years of radio “rhythm, jump and soul”: Hambone’s Blues Party

Longtime blues radio personality Scott “Hambone” Hammer has hosted “Hambone’s Blues Party” for 14 years on WDCB, Chicago’s west-suburban NPR outlet, including having bands play live in the studio almost every show. He’s featured in an interview in the northwest-suburban Daily Herald:


Scott Hammer in the WDCB studio

Scott Hammer in the WDCB studio