Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Cool Drink of Water Blues

Tommy Johnson - born Terry, Mississippi 1896, Died Nov 1st 1956 Crystal Springs, Mississippi. If you want to know about his life and the "deal with the devil" check out
Trail of the Hellhound. Tommy Johnson recorded Cool Drink of Water Blues February 3rd, 1928 in Memphis, Tennessee. Vocal acc by own guitar; Charlie McCoy, second guitar. Unlike the "heavy" voice of Patton or the rasping tones of Willie Brown, Tommy Johnson's voice was pitched much higher which enabled him to introduce calling falsettos of quite remarkable accuracy.

Chester Arthur Burnett (June 10, 1910 – January 10, 1976), known as Howlin' Wolf, recorded I Asked For Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) on July 19, 1956. Chicago.
Personnel: Howlin' Wolf, v, hca; Hosea Lee Kennard, p; Hubert Sumlin or Willie Johnson, Otis "Smokey" Smothers, g; Willie Dixon, b; Earl Phillips, d.

Howlin' Wolf at 101 (via TheHoundBlog)

The Gun Club was one the first bands to combine blues and punk rock. You can find this version on their great voodoo fueled debut album Fire Of Love (1981). Talking about combination; although singer Jeffrey Lee Pierce sings in Tommy Johnson vein the instrumental parts seems to be more inspired by Howlin' Wolf's version.

The Gun Club 1981. By that time Kid Congo Powers was playing with The Cramps

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