FreeWheelin' Music Safari


Monday Folk – Joe Crookston

So I have heard his name on Gene Shay’s radio show and heard him in passing but never really listened to Joe Crookston until today and in the words of Christine Lavin “What Was I Thinking!”  This guy is great and his album Able, Baker Charlie and Dog is wonderful and I am not alone in my opinion. The album was   “Album of the Year” by the International Folk Alliance. and  Joe was a 2008 Falcon Ridge Folk Fest Most Wanted Artist and a Rockefeller Foundation Songwriting grant recipient. Joe is originally from Ohio and attended Kent State. He lived in Seattle for several years and now calls  Ithaca, New York home. The Rockefeller Grant was part of the “Fingers Lake Project” and Joe wandered the Finger Lakes area and collected stories and four of those story songs appear on this album. I love story songs and Joe’s story songs are fantastic.  The songs that appear on this album from stories Joe collected  are some of the best tracks on the album and include: “John Jones”  The story of a slave who escaped to Elmira, NY and became part of the underground railroad. “Red Rooster in the Mash Pile” tells the story of a family  making  liquor during prohibition and the roosters who imbided along with the distillers. “Blue Tattoo” tells the story of an Aushwitz survivor explaining to her daughter her blue tatoo and finally “Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog” tells Joe’s grandfather’s story about building the airstrip on Tinian Island that would be used to launch the nuclear attacks on Japan. These songs aren’t the only great songs on this album, heck, I already said the whole album is fantastic! So I am glad that I picked Joe Crookston and if you like good music and like me enjoy good story songs check out Able, Baker, Charlie and Dog. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!

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New Friends – Hot Buttered Rum

So a couple of months ago I was scrolling through stations on XM Radio and stopped at Jam On. Now I was never a big Grateful Dead or Phish fan, but I did find myself enjoying many of the bands. Unlike my wife I like instrumentals and long jams of good music are fine with me. One of my favorite albums is John Mayall’s Turning Point album, with long solos by Jon Mark and Johnny Almond on” California” and “Thoughts About Roxanne”! Seemed like many times when I heard a band I liked and looked to see who it was, and it was Hot Buttered Rum. So the other day, I loaded the mp3 player with their second and third studio  albums Well -Oiled Machine and Live in the Northeast and yesterday I added their most recent release Limbs Akimbo and I have some new friends!

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Blues Wednesday – Mike Zito

So I was thinking about what to listen to yesterday on blues Wednesday a little Tab Benoit, Dave Hole, Buddy Guy – well maybe I’ll check out the Blues Radio Chart and see what looks good number 23 looks interesting Mike Zito so I went to Rhapsody and downloaded his 2009 release Pearl River and was not disappointed!  Pearl River is Zito’s second major record release following on the heels of his first Eclecto Grove Records release Today. The St. Louis native Zito has had several independent releases and toured and shared the stage with some of my favorites  Tab Benoit, Walter Trout, Bernard Allison, Coco Montoya, and Joe Bonamassa along with many others!.

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Old Friends Found – Goose Creek Symphony

The other day I was thinking about lost and forgotten music, well, maybe just not listened to in a while and I thought about Goose Creek Symphony. I first heard Goose Creek in the early 70’s and I think,  I was introduced to them by my wife! Anyway, in my vinyl collection I have their first three albums., Est. in 1970, Words of Earnest and Do Your Thing but Don’t Touch Mine. They are a good time country rock band that travels just a little beyond the norm. From their website:

Goose Creek Symphony is considered by many to be one of the most original bands of their time. Major record labels (Capitol & Columbia) of the 60s/early 70s didn’t know what to do with a band that played a mixture of rock and roll, folk, jazz and country with an undeniable hillbilly influence, a hippie attitude and a reckless sense of instrumental daring. They used horns and fiddles as well as effects and blended it with psychedelic rock and roll. The true definition of “Cosmic American Music”.

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