Monday, November 19, 2012

Reissued Issues

It took the legal department of eBay to break the elusive and deceitful news to me.  Over eight years I had been waiting and perplexed as to why nielsen soundscan had not reported the sale of one CD.

I had the opportunity to meet George J. Laurer, the inventor of the UPC, universal product code.   He came to my school and explained the purpose of the barcode.  Of course the concept was over my head.  I remember his enthusiasm in explaining how it would revolutionize commerce and that one day every product sold would have a unique number assigned to it  making life easier.

UPC’s are unique; but, somehow the UPC to my first CD was not.  It had been issued to a few other artist.  An honest mistake, not hardly.  There had been a lot of screwy things occurring over the internet.  It was piracy on a whole new level.  It was a high price that I had to pay for naively entering into such an agreement.  Duece Dub Music has found it necessary to reissue  Patty Benson 2,666 Miles distributed by CDBaby and it’s affiliates, in stores now.

Thursday, August 23, 2012


Have you ever heard slow blues and the solo instrument was a trombone instead of the guitar?  The sweetest sound you’d ever want to hear.  The guitar have become so dominant by the preference of today's Rockers and it’s portability.  It’s becoming more rare to see and hear a piano as I comb through the band pages on the Nation, the Space, and the Book.  I came across this priceless gem on the Tube;  Count Bassie and Oscar Peterson together playing some slow blues.    

I am looking for more blues that feature other instrument's for my listening pleasure.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Sitting Down With Latimore

He was like a magnet standing there in a sleeveless black tee, sporting his gray hair and wearing that down home friendly smile with a little bling to it..   Just as fashionably late as he could be.  The Tech Conference was over and  after the barrage of hand shakers  he made his way over to Millie Jackson and greeted her.  I sat there watching them with this goofy grin on my face just drawn into his magnetism.   He came over to me and stood over me bigger than life, just a talking to me as if I had a giraffe’s neck. So I said: hey Latimore, sit yourself down and talk to me and tell me what’s on your mind.  He sort of chuckled as if he did recognize his lyrics or one of the corniest lines he had ever heard.

He had that teddy bear  feel about him that would make anyone comfortable.  He asked me who I was and I had to think about it in comparison.   I told him that I was an emerging artist and lyricist and my song was nominated for the best... It wasn’t about who I was or maybe he thought that I was some sort of industry entity or reporter.  His body language went from being on the fence of careful to relaxed with our conversation.    I valued his professional opinion as I was all hyped up from the contents of the tech conference, and so I started to talk about the useful information that I had just received  and how I had planned to implement it.  He seemed interested as I discussed the highlights. He apologized for being late and went on to  explain why, while holding his mercedes key like a rabbits foot.   I then told him how I  admired his works and he actually blushed.  He told me how he comes up with the ideals for his songs and what brand of keyboard he prefers to use in his studio.  His passion for composing just came pouring out as he was explaining his song writing process.  I sat there praying; Lord please let all of this inspiration spewing out cover me.  

That night when I saw him again what a transformation.  GQ’d in a white tux jacket over his, black shirt.  He performed  and won in his category.  You know that one of the most annoying things is to have someone talk to you while you are trying to listened at a concert.  Seated at the table with me was a gentleman named Strap Iron who used to perform with him started reminiscing  and shared his experience while Latimore was performing.  It was the brother’s credibility that made it alright to talk during  the performance.   I could detect in his voice that he was proud of Latimore.  He said that back in the day Latimore would come out  on the stage without his shirt on, revealing his ripped body and the ladies would pass out. He was not performing that way.  He was classy and real laid back consistent with the man I had met earlier that day.   He had that magnetism, that star power.  He commanded it and knew when  to turn it on and off.   Just as Strap Iron  had told his story  Latimore stretched out his arm’s in the most humbled way as if to take a bow.    It was breath taking to see how the stage lighting in the hues of purple and red against his white jacket sort painted a florescent halo around him.  I tried to capture it on camera, but  latter I got this moment  instead.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Ms. Jody

I wanted to meet Ms Jody particularly because she is the heart throb of a seasoned gentleman that I gig with on occasions’.  Through him I became somewhat familiar with her works.  At the end of each rehearsal he would throw these hints like: you know Ms Jody got this song out now; you know you ought to do this song by Ms Jody; the people just go crazy over a Ms Jody song.   Just the thought of Ms Jody would make this man’s eyes twinkle and put a, wish I could kind of  a smile on his face.  Oh how he would just sing her name.  I had saw this reaction before a while back when I first started to sing Blues at the Alan Shautto in Los Angeles.  Barbara Mason was the headliner.  I got there early and all the men was just infatuatedly intoxicated by Barbara.  Ms Mason did not have to sing all she had to do was show her presence.  While she was performing watching these sensible men loose it over her was a flip of the script to me.  All had there own private fantasy going on and she was singing exclusively to each one.   Ms Jody had that same kind of spell on this man.

How lucky could I’ve been the night of the Jus Blues Music Awards that she was seated at the table right in front of me.  In fact all I had to do was just lean over and tap her on her shoulder.  I didn’t though.  I just observed her from behind.  She was a show stopper alright.  I’d notice that she took the seat at the aisle.  Every man that walked in and by had to stop and give her props as they sort of leaned in for the hug and whatever they whispered in her ear.  They all left just a smiling.  She had it going on
x 2  because women where stopping to great her as well.  Not so touchy though and no ear whispering, but in a idolizing way.  She was extremely cordial and real supportive of the performances.  She was really enjoying being entertained by her peers.  I liked that about her.  It was evident that she was a favorite.

The band director, the keyboard player of the house band came up to her.  I said oh my God Mrs Jody he’s a little young there.  Naturally I was nosey and wanted to hear what they where discussing as he leaned to her and started talking in her ear.  I wanted to hear her “come on line”.  Something that I could barrow to maybe get me some action.  The house noise turned down a little and I could hear what they where talking about.  He was asking her what key did she want the song in.  Another  treat to see her perform tonight.

Shortly after the MC Tyrone Da Don Davis introduced her  something like this: spunky, sassy,  and sometimes tell it like it is nasty as the winner in her category.  The house started playing her song.  Ms Jody went up there and bam! There it was the most wittiest thing.  She danced her way up sort of sassy to the mic and grabbed it while the house was playing her song.  We thought that it was the usual acceptance speech about to come out of her.  Instead she started to sing along  to the track of her nominated song Ms Jody’s Bop.  So spontaneous.  The crowd loved it.  Ms Jody stole the moment.  She interacted while all of us reacted to the situation.  Spunky, she was all of that.  Yet she was also a classy sassy,  and smart too.  I was up on my feet to applaud her.   The house band went on to do  a medley of two songs with her.  Another great unrehearsed moment.  She truly proved just how talented of a performer she is.  Ms Jody at that moment relied on the gift of instinct to guide her and at that moment it was apparent that she was at one with her soul  and confident in defining who she was, a crafty artisan that went beyond the titles giving her. Yes  this instinctual ability is what made Michael Jackson a  great performer.
In conclusion Ms. Jody was nominated in three categories and won two. Simply outstanding!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A Lesson From Trudy Lynn

Trudy Lynn, was awarded with the prestigious Koko Taylor Award  at the Jus blues Music Awards 2011.  She performed a medley of Down Home Blues and Wang Dang Doodle.   I’ve seen and heard a many perform the two songs before.   She had taken it to another level, the Trudy Lynn’s level.  As I sat in my chair in awe, in a room full of Stars, I was trying to figure out what was going on up on that stage.  Was it the sparkling red dress and red and black hair style to match.  At that moment I knew why she wore that dress.  I watched her work the stage and the audience.  Every move that she made was deliberate to accentuate the design of her gown in sync with the stage lights that played off of the sequence in her gown. Just elegant and classy.  A scene out of a classic movie, I thought. 
The clarity, quality and conviction of her voice as she sang, knowing just how to work the acoustics of the auditorium. Wow! What power! What soul! What a diva!  A true entertainer at  best.  Just doing what came to her so naturally.   She had it all, voice, talent and the look and that special something that her audience felt, saw, heard and believed.   A gripping power she had over the audience when she hit the stage until the MC had to cut it off after she had long gone.  What a spectacular performance.  No pyrotechnics, fog machines or any other special effects.  Just real pure Trudy, the essence in what makes her a Star.  Loved it, loved it. loved it. A diva in effect.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A Walk With Milton Hopkins

We have watched other award shows on TV and was made to dream and envy the glitz and the glamour.   It was something special about this event that had a different affect on me.  There was no competition going on, just a showcase of Artistry. They were the innovators and all the rest that are put in our face are the cubic zirconia and rhinestones  that we are made to fall for.  But tonight on display for me was the real deal.  What a gala.    Even though they don’t share the portion size of the spot light, their brilliance was unmistakably like rare diamonds and more appreciated by me.   To this date, I still find myself thinking of each performance and that special something that shined so bright in defining that star quality.  They had all my respect and deserving my undivided attention.  I was all eyes and ears and full of anticipation.

I could not help notice the stark contrast between old school and modern day.   The house band had a very good modern day guitarist.  I listened to his solo’s and watched him step up to his floor pedals for effects of a screech to a rumble mixed with the other instruments.  Now, when Milt got up there, so meek in his demeanor, the rest of the band turned on the dynamics and kept it sweet and low and in the pocket as any professional band would.  Milt started playing and every note that he picked and  every chord that he strummed was unadulterated, undistorted,  and simply melodic the way a harp would soothingly incline your ears to hear; because, you just don’t hear it that often.  All the table conversations stopped and you could hear a pin drop.  There it was, that moment of greatness.   The experience in having played so many venues with less electronic’s and just knowing how to play a room like the Daisy theater all came into play.  But it was more than that.  It was how he was playing.  He was at one with his instrument and then the instrument became an extension of him.  He was different from all the other modern day blues guitarist in that he was playing from his soul.  It was what you heard that commanded what you felt.  It was a spiritual connection that he had with the audience as  we unanimously  reacted to each phrase.and gave testimony by eruptions of applauses and yeah’s!  He never uttered a word.  He didn’t have to.  His fingers interpreted what his soul was feeling at that moment, then out through his heart came pouring out his blues at a decibel that all could  pleasingly hear and understand.  He did what he did best and that’s play his guitar.  What a moment to have witnessed.  For blues is not connected to a pedal effects box in order to evoke a feeling as so many may think.  It is a direct inbox connected to the soul  that  is linked to the heart and amplified out to the  fingers to express what is deep within (the circuitry of blues according to Patty).  Milton Hopkins was the recipient of the Prestigious Albert King Award on the night of the Living Legends at the Jus Blues Music Awards and deservingly so.

The next night after the Jus Blues Awards, Milt was walking out of the Historical Daisy Theater with his guitar case in his  right hand walking down Beale Street, impeccably dressed.  I caught up with him and just started talking.  He slowed down a bit.  I told him how much I enjoyed his playing and the affect it had on me.  As a preservationist I told him how his style of playing could be considered a lost art.  He slowed his pace down even more and looked at me over his glasses as his eyes invited me to expound on the topic and his ear turned to me confirming that I certainly had his attention.  He paused and  his smile left as he thought about what I was saying.  His expression changed from jovial to serious as he begin to speak on the subject.  We reached the corner where all the cabs were lined up and waiting.  I new that our conversation would end abruptly.  He  kept talking waiting for the light to change still holding his guitar in his right hand.  My feet were killing me and it was hot; but, I kept up with him as he kept talking and walking.  He expressed his opinion about the state of the Blues to the condition of the youth today.   He expressed his political views. I never felt so privileged before in my life and I will not divulge every detail  of our conversation.  We reached Union Ave and came to a stop.  So engrossed in conversation, I would have walked straight down to the mississippi river at this moment, but another stop light caught us at Union Ave. We  made a right and crossed Beale at Union and he said: “Well goodnight young lady. I wish you well and it was a pleasure talking to you”.  He ducked into the Blue Cafe or was he trying to ditch me.  I wanted to follow him thinking that he may play.  I looked through the window as I kept walking pass to see if there was a set up for a jam session.  Wow, what an opportunity to jam with him I thought.  Finally he rest his guitar case  against the counter and took a seat. I kept going as hungry as I was.  Something said turn back go get you something to eat.  Something said stop pestering the man, he gave you a gift of music the night before and  pearls of wisdom tonight.  What more can you ask for.   An extraordinary gentleman indeed.  How cool!