Sunday, December 8, 2013


Every year about this time, I make sure to head to one of the few well stocked newsstands in these parts. I dig periodicals of all sorts, so it's not a trip I make often because it can end up being costly. But I know, around this time, I can pick up the annual "Southern Music Issue" of  Oxford American, and I get giddy when I see it on the stand. Every year they feature a different southern state, and it's always packed with good writing, and the bonus is that it comes with a CD or two. This year it's Tennessee. Oh yeah, you know what that means: Stax, Sun, Nashville, Memphis, Opry... This issue is the best thirteen bucks I've spent in a long time. Two CD's, fifty songs covering artists from Tennessee, and songs by others that were recorded there. It's an all schools jam, the artists represented run the gamut. Jim Dickinson, Charlie Rich, Johnny Cash, Otis Redding and Carla Thomas, Elvis, Billy Lee Riley, Bessoie Smith, Rosco Gordon, Al Green, Big Star, Isaac Hayes, B.B. King, and that's just a handful of the more recognizable names. Even if you consider yourself well schooled, there's at least a couple dozen artists you don't know. Besides the blurbs in the magazine about the individual songs, there's a caca-load of long in-depth articles, including a five page article about the Rosco Gordon/ska connection. Yep. This issue is a keeper. Here's just a handful of songs that appear on the two CDs. (Note: the Isaac Hayes version of Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By" below is the LP version that's twelve minutes long. The one on the CD is the "short" version that's four and a half minutes.)

Big Maybelle - One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show mp3 at Rock 'n' Soul Ichiban
Bessie Smith - Need a Little Sugar in My Bowl mp3 at The Beiderbecke Affair
Rosco Gordon - Shoobie Oobie mp3 at Rocky 52
Billy Lee Riley - Flyin' Saucers Rock 'n' Roll mp3 at Boogie Woogie Flu
The Prisonaires - Just Walkin' In the Rain (streaming) at YouTube
Isaac Hayes - Walk On By mp3 at Louder Softer
Oxford American Southern Music Issue - CD notes
Oxford American - Home page 

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