Stretching the envelope

Ian Angus ianangus@ISTAR.CA
Wed Jul 23 12:17:34 EDT 1997

I recently purchased two CDs which really
stretch the envelope of blues -- I'm sure many
will say they aren't blues at all. I'll be playing a track
from each on tonight's show.

If you hear them tonight, or if you are already familiar
with them, please let me know what you think. I'm ambivalent
myself, but I think they are both worthy musical
experiments, of interest to anyone who is interested in music which
combines blues with other musical forms, or about where
the future of blues may lie.

CHOCOLATE SUPA HIGHWAY, by Spearhead, is a hip-hop
album. The lyrics have a strong African nationalist
tone, with Rastafarian elements. I bought it for
one song, which I heard playing in a Towers store.
"Wayfarin' Stranger" combines the traditional
Appalachiam song of that name, sung in crystal-clear
style by Joan Osborne, with hip-hop verses about being
black (and thus a stranger) in America. Very strong stuff.

SACRED SPIRIT 2: CULTURE CLASH, is an attempt to combine
blues, classical music, and contemporary African-American
rhythms. It was created by someone called "The Brave," who
I'm not otherwise familiar with. It includes lyrics written
and sung by John Lee Hooker, Lighnin Hopkins and Henry Barbee,
as well as poetry and spoken word segments, mixed with
improvised classical music (heavy on the cello), electric
guitar, and hip-hop (and other) rhythms. It is VERY dark
and moody music, with lyrics which often focus on what
slavery meant and means. This is the most successful merger
of blues and classical music I've heard (Corky's Chamber
Blues was just plain awful) but it won't be to everyone's

To balance these, I'll also be playing tracks from the MCA
Chess 50th Anniversary series of CDs ... something for
everyone on Let the Good Times Roll!

Ian Angus
"Let the Good Times Roll"
CKLN 88.1-FM Toronto -- Wednesdays, 8pm-10pm

More information about the Blues-l mailing list