Let’s Explore The Blues – Tampa Red

Salutes the Chicago Blues Tradition
Salutes the Chicago Blues Tradition (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tampa Red was born in 1904, passing in 1981.  His real name was Hudson Woolridge.  Born in Georgia, his parents died when he was young and he moved to Tampa, Florida to live with his grandparents.  He the took their surname and became Hudson Whitaker.

Red moved to Chicago in the 20’s, taking his silky smooth bottleneck guitar style with him.  He went on to influence a generation of Chicago Blues players.  He teamed up with Georgia Tom, creating most of his music with him.  I will be doing a piece on Georgia Tom next week.  Although they were best known as a team. they were the sum of 2 distinct parts.  Each was a giant.   To continue Red’s story, he kicked around the Chicago scene until he started recording in 1928.  His first recording was “It’s Tight Like That”.  In recording this song,, he started (created) a style of blues that became known as “hokum”.

It’s Tight Like That

His partnership with Georgia Tom ended in 1932 and Red went on to become a much in demand session player.  He played on recordings by Memphis Minnie and Sonny Boy Williamson, among others.  By the 1940’s, he had moved on to the electric guitar.  He recorded “Let Me Play with Your Poodle” which hit #4 on Billboard’s Harlem Hit Parade.  A nice little blues tune  which contained many elements of 50’s rock.  The piano is especially early rock like.  The title and lyrics are typical of the era for its bawdiness and innuendo.

“Let Me Play With Your Poodle”

His story, as did many of these early blues-men, ended tragically.  His wife died in 1953 and he turned to alcohol.  He became an alcoholic and died destitute at 77 in 1981.  Let’s do a few cover versions.  This first gem covers th Tampa Red tune, “Don’t Lie To Me'”, with Albert King and Stevie Ray Vaughn.  A terrific video.

This another interesting cover of “Mean Mistreater Blues” by the rather eclectic combo of Johnny Winter and Dr John.  Brilliant!!

Next week, I will take a look at Georgia Tom, Tampa Red’s partner in the early 30’s.

Canada’s Best Music – 5 Songs At A Time – Part 20

With this post, we now have covered 100 songs of the list I am working from.  Only 400 more to go.  This particular set is a really good one.  A bit of hip-hop, mixed in with some exceptional classic tunes.

1. Bryan Adams

“Straight From the Heart”

Bryan Adams
Bryan Adams (Photo credit: crumj)

A further entry from one of Canada’s premier singer-songwriters.  The man has the knack for writing the big hits, and this is one of them.  Great video, the man, a guitar and an adoring audience singing every word


” Crabbuckit”

Crabbuckit (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

K-os came out with this tune several years ago and it became an instant sing-a-long song that is very hard to get out of your head once you have heard it.

3.Neil Young & Crazy Horse

” Cortez the Killer”

Neil Young, 22/06/2008 Firenze, Nelson Mandela...
Neil Young, 22/06/2008 Firenze, Nelson Mandela Forum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After CSN&Y there was Crazy Horse.  Nothing to say, except enjoy the master and his friends in this live version from 2003.  The man can play that guitar.

4. Joni Mitchell

“Help Me”

Joni Mitchell, performing in 2004
Joni Mitchell, performing in 2004 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Born and raised in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Joni is one of the best anywhere.  This song is on of my favorites in her catalog.

5. Rush

“Fly by Night”

Canadian rock band Rush, in concert in Milan, ...
Canadian rock band Rush, in concert in Milan, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rush is another world-wide breakout Canadian artist.  Fly By Night was one of the tunes that broke them.