FreeWheelin' Music Safari

Life’s Soundtrack – A Fast Run (for me!!) and great Blues from Chris Thomas King!

Bona FideWith the IQ test over and having done better than my wife anticipated, I now have my eyes set on my first 5K of the year, this Saturday in Delanco. Tonight was my second to the last workout before the race, and it turned out to be my best run of the late summer early fall! I tried to run short pickups throughout the run and a couple of times my pace dropped below 9 minutes per mile and was under 10 minute per mile pace through most of the run. I pushed it through the first 3.1 miles of the run and then backed off.  I was able to pick it back up though for a decent push at the end. Overall the time was 39:32 over 4.03 miles for a final pace of 9:48. which I am happy with! The soundtrack of the run was Bona Fide, the latest release from Chris Thomas King who is somewhere today celebrating his 49th birthday (according to his website and 50th according to All ?Music)! Chris Thomas King2

King was born on October 14, 1964, in Baton Rouge. His father, Tabby Thomas, is a locally prominent bluesman who owned a club called Tabby’s Blues Box, which opened in 1979 and closed in 2004 following Tabby’s retirement. As a result, King, started early toward his musical future; even as a youngster he was well known as Rockin’ Tabby’s son and a child genius. While frequenting his father’s club he performed with the late Silas Hogan, Guitar Kelly and Clarence Edwards, three masters of swamp blues. By sixth grade, King was learning to play the trumpet and later traveling as a rhythm guitar player of famous musicians like Lowell Folsom and Joe Tex. As he matured in the musical setting of New Orleans area blues culture, King was encouraged to experiment and develop his own style. Because each blues musician had a unique playing and singing style, he was discouraged from singing others’ songs or even playing the way they did. He told Lisa Simeone on National Public Radio’s Weekend Edition, “They would never sit me down and say, ‘Well, this is how it goes.’ They … told me don’t sing their songs … ‘Find your own song and sing that.'”  Full Biography

After listening to  Bona Fide, I wondered why I never heard of him (uh, because you never hear of anyone??) Ok here’s one reason. He came on the blues scene according to Wikipedia in the late 80s and early 90s, when I was busy raising four children!! From Wikipedia:

King is known as the pioneer of rap/blues fusion.[1] He conceived the first sample-based blues concept album in the early 1990s by writing and producing the first all-rap/blues album for RCA Records titled 21st Century Blues… From Da Hood.  Read More

From his website, I discovered that he spent many years in the more liberal confines of Europe!!:

Like Miles Davis and Bob Dylan before him, Chris Thomas King was originally celebrated as the young savior of an aging musical culture when he first arrived on the national scene. Branded as a rebel King was banned form blues festivals across the United States. He fled to Denmark to cool his heels in the more liberal environment that flourished in Europe. While in Denmark he recorded and released the critically acclaimed hip-hop blues album “21st Century Blues from da hood.” The French embraced him as a major artist with vision and the rest of Europe followed. He toured with his Danish band extensively across Europe playing major festivals and theaters but longed to return to New Orleans. Upon returning to the United States in 1995, he started his own independent production company and record label, 21st Century Blues. Soon after he found success as a film composer and actor. Winning three Grammy Awards by 2003 and several Country music CMA awards. Full Biography

While I may not have known his name, I did see him and hear him in the movies Ray, where he played band leader and blues guitar player Lowell Fulson! and  in Oh, Brother Where Art Thou, where he “portrayed a skilled blues guitarist who claims he sold his soul to the devil in exchange for his skill on guitar. The character is based on blues musicians Tommy Johnson and Robert Johnson, both of whom have been linked to selling their soul to the devil at a rural Mississippi crossroads!” (From Wikipedia) But now that I know the name and love the album Bona Fide, I will be checking out the rest of his discography – maybe I’ll even check out the music that got him branded a rebel and sent him to Europe to ply his trade!!! Here’s the closing track from Bona Fide, “Goodbye Chicago”  I say, “Hello Chris Thomas King and Happy Birthday!!”