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Some unconventional takes on a well-worn format

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Showing 1-19 of 19 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Jan 2009 16:14:25 GMT
The blues has been done nearly to death with every variation on those three chords having been hammered out a hundred times or more.
any favourite experimental or unorthodox takes on the format?
like man in a shed by nick drake or that portishead song whose name escapes me...

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jan 2009 19:44:37 GMT
Martin says:
Steely Dan's 'Peg' was once described by its writers as a "13 bar blues with a chorus".

I also saw Robert Plant on his 1983 'Principle of Moments' tour where he applied the term "new age blues" to much of what he was doing at that time.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jan 2009 19:54:17 GMT
Nobody did to the Blues what Captain Beefheart managed (especially on 'Troutmask Replica') Deconstructed it, lost all the cord structures and time signatures and turned it into madness! Brilliant.

In reply to an earlier post on 21 Jan 2009 21:24:47 GMT
Adam Jackson says:
Try Danzig's Lucifuge album...

Posted on 8 Feb 2009 18:26:00 GMT
Variations on the Blues is a huge topic ; I would urge the interested to consider - Dark was the Night as performed by Kronos Quartet (on a charity compo of same name out now) , R.L Burnside made an album with dubby production styles (Shuck Dub is always being used on the telly and in movies) , worth finding obscure 70s album by 'Enemy Within' which is odd and blue. Chris Thomas King mixes rap, samples and dub in with more traditional styles of blues, Ben Harper is worth hearing - esp 'welcome to the cruel world', theres that gentleman on RealWorld who made a album called The Jack that House Built...Little Ax, er theres a double cd compilation called Beyond Mississippi which if one likes blues a bit twisted is full of goodies...

Is the Portishead song you mention the one John Martyn covered on chrurch with one bell....give me a reason to love you...I think its called. Both versions are great. but John Martyns is really something.

Posted on 8 Feb 2009 18:31:39 GMT
Last edited by the author on 8 Feb 2009 18:32:02 GMT
BOF © says:
Glory Box is the Portishead song

Posted on 9 Feb 2009 12:21:28 GMT
Robert Johnsons 50/60s recordings were fairly unorthodox.
John Spenser Blues Explosion has a bit of a different take and Jawbone is slightly unusual. And KOs suggestion of Little Axe should be taken up by everyone, blues fan or no.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2009 16:21:55 GMT
MC Zaptone says:
To expand on the subject others here have touched on: 'Little Axe' is the name famous blues guitarist Skip McDonald took when in the early '90's he teamed up with Adrian Sherwood's On-U Sound studio. Bristol based Sherwood was the forerunner to trip-hop and applied his downtempo dubby production style to other musicians to form an unique take on their original sound. In my opinion Little Axe's first 2 albums 'The Wolf That Jack Built' and 'Slow Fuse' are probably the best examples of an unconventional take on the blues format and are already fast becoming collectors items.

Well worth a listen.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Feb 2009 18:22:34 GMT
Thats it the Wolf that Jack built - thanks for that - only heard a couple of tracks from the first one and agree fully - would love to get the cd.

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Feb 2009 20:47:36 GMT
KO the House that Wolf Built is available ON new and used here on Amazon. Seems to be a differnet cover from the one I have, but (from memory)track listing looks the same

Posted on 9 Jun 2011 17:35:46 BDT
ICG says:
Inner City Grit Presents:

A Punky Reggae Tribute To
...Ari UP of The Slits (1962-2010)

The Thunderbolt, Bath Road, Bristol
30th July 2011

Featuring friends and special guests playing out some of Ari's favourite music including DJ sets from;

The Slits (Reggae/Dub/Dancehall) -Tessa Pollitt + Hollie Cook
Adrian Sherwood (ONU Sound)
Mark Stewart (Maffia, The Pop Group)
Viso<>Nero (Inner City Grit Records, Special old school Dub set)

Also some exclusive tribute specials including;

Viv Albertine (The Slits, Solo) special guest appearance
+ more acts and special guests to be confirmed
Exclusive play back of The Slits last L.P Trapped Animal
Screening of the Slits Last Video "Lazy Slam" + other great Slits footage
Special video presentation 'A Tribute To Ari' (featuring rare and unseen stills and video)
Exclusive Slits T-shirts with proceeds going to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation

Doors: 7:30pm

Tickets £12.00 (+ applicable booking fee) available from Bristol Ticket Shop (, Idle Hands Records and Rise Records.
Limited early bird tickets available from Bristol Ticket Shop for £8
£15.00 on the door.

Press release:
Inner City Grit Presents: A Punky Reggae Tribute To Ari Up of The Slits (1962-2010)

This is a very special event for both fans and friends, join us in celebrating the life and times of vocalist Ari Up (Ariane Forster, step-daughter of John Lydon) of the legendary 70's Punk band, The Slits, and Jamaican Dance-Hall reggae fame as Madussa.

The Slits came to prominence in the first wave of the UK Punk movement through their unusual feminine approach to punk rock. Their début L.P. 'Cut' was produced by Dennis Bovell, (Janet Kay/The Pop Group/Madness) and released on Island records (1979). It is hailed as a unique, timeless relic, fusing Reggae, Punk, and World Music into a sound truly of their own making. Winning new fans over every year, it still sounds as innovative today as when first recorded, and inspired generations of women to pick up instruments and do it for themselves!

The Slits shared stages and tours with bands as diverse as The Clash, The Sex Pistols, Creation Rebel, Steel Pulse and jazz legend Don Cherry (to name a few). A biography - Typical Girls? The Story Of The Slits by Zoe Street Howe was published in the UK by Omnibus Press in July 2009, further stamping the band into the history of Punk. Remaining members Tessa Pollitt and Hollie Cook (daughter of Paul Cook, Sex Pistols) will be playing a special tribute dub reggae roots and dance-hall set. Hollie's new singles as a solo artist ('That Very Night' / 'Milk & Honey' and 'Walking in The Sand') are available now (see her website below) and was produced by Prince Fatty. Her self titled début album is released June 6th.

Adrian Sherwood
The Slits last album Trapped Animal (2009) was produced by ONU Sounds Dub Guru, Adrian Sherwood. With a career spanning over 30years, Sherwood has worked with everyone from Lee Scratch Perry, Sly and Robbie, to Asian Dub foundation, Nine Inch Nails and many more. Adrian will also be there on the night playing a special set to honour the memory of The Slits fantastic front woman, along with other friends and fans of this phenomenal female role-model - Ari UP.

Mark Stewart
Mark Stewart started out in Bristol in 1978 as vocalist with the infamous militant gang of leftist musicians The Pop Group, whose dissonant sound spanned punk, free jazz, funk and dub reggae. The Pop Group played shows with The Slits sharing a drummer (Bruce Smith) and releasing a joint single, "In The Beginning There was Rhythm" / "Where There's A Will" (Y Records). Ari Up and Mark went on to be part of the New Age Steppers with Adrian Sherwood. Since The Pop Group Stewart has since made many genre breaking albums continually pushing music both solo and with The Maffia, Tackhead and New Age Steppers, as well as collaborating with artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Tricky, Chicks On Speed and many more. Mark will be selecting rewinding and DJ'ing a very special set of sounds in tribute to Ari.

Viv Albertine
The Slits Guitarist Viv Albertine began her career playing with the Flowers of Romance; which also featured Sid Vicious, (Sex Pistols ) and Keith Levene (Public Image) and future fellow Slit Palmolive. She then joined the Slits, bringing with her the trade mark angular guitar sound and feisty female attitude that was already awarding her a hefty reputation. So much so, Adrian Sherwood's dub-influenced collective, New Age Steppers snapped Viv up too. More recently Albertine released a four-song début solo E.P. titled Flesh on Thurston Moore's (Sonic Youth) Ecstatic Peace! Label. And has been playing her new solo material live. Viv will be giving us a very special guest musical appearance and saying some special words about Ari.

To open the evening is Bristol's own live electronics duo. V<>N have just released the Interstellar E.P (DubStep/Breaks/Beats) on ICG and toured the Netherlands with fellow Bristolian Zoon Van Snook to promote it, gaining radio play and coverage from BBC Bristol, Amsterdam FM & MerweRTV. They will be selecting a fine DJ set of old school Dub, Roots as well as rare Slits dub mixes, paying homage and fullest respect to Ari Up.

V<<>N along with Inner City Grit and Ari Up's close friends have helped to put together and curate the only tribute to Ari Up in the UK: A Punky Reggae Tribute to Ari Up

Tessa and Hollie will also be doing a DJ set and In-store appearance at Rise in Bristol, 4 - 6pm. The exclusive in-store appearance gives fans the chance to meet the two Slits, who will not only be DJ'ing but will be joined by Viv Albertine to offer you the chance to have your Slits related C.D's books and records signed. There will also be an alcohol license on the day giving the event a party vibe! This is the perfect warm up to the evenings main event.

At both events exclusive Slits t-shirts will be available, with all of the proceeds going towards The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

Join our facebook event:

For more info on the artists involved please visit the following sites:

Posted on 10 Jun 2011 13:32:49 BDT
Carradale says:
On the other hand, why tamper?

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2011 15:47:55 BDT
T. Franklin says:
>Robert Johnsons 50/60s recordings were fairly unorthodox.<

They certainly would have been seeing as he died about 1937 or 38! ;-)

In reply to an earlier post on 10 Jun 2011 18:21:52 BDT
Know that TF it was a smart arse answer to the OP - I think it was - which has since been changed

Posted on 10 Jun 2011 20:08:48 BDT
Last edited by the author on 10 Jun 2011 20:10:05 BDT
I've got The House that Wolf Built by Little Axe as previously mentioned - a good album but my only reservation is that the production seems just a little too glossy in places.

Another band who skewer the blues up to a point is The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.

The earliest examples I can recall (apart from Beefheart) are the two controversial albums that Muddy Waters made in the late 60s (Electric Mud and After The Rain) in which MW sang mainly his own classics while a studio band laid down a sort of funky psychedelic backing behind him which was then laced with typical late 60s studio effects. The results weren't all that bad in places but the general premise did smack of exploitation, however Muddy was apparently quite happy for it to happen at the time. Something similar was done with Howlin' Wolf who unceremoniously described the results as 'dogsh*t'. The front cover of the resulting album featured the following declaration in bold letters: 'This is Howlin' Wolf's new album. He doesn't like it. He didn't like his electric guitar at first, either.' Presumably Chess thought that such negative utterances might actually stimulate sales out of perverse curiosity. The ploy backfired.

Posted on 10 Jun 2011 22:03:23 BDT
discostu says:
Isn't all music a variation on the 3 chord structure?
So many people have changed, adapted and screwed it up and down and melded some form of great listenable music from such a simple idea.
But then again, the Moody Blues are still worth a listen , and if they haven't forund the lost chord.......

Posted on 11 Jun 2011 15:40:29 BDT
Last edited by the author on 11 Jun 2011 15:40:44 BDT
Johnny Bee says:
R. L. Burnside's:

Come On In
A Ass Pocket Full of Whiskey
Mr Wizzard

Definitely still the blues, but with a modern twist - brought the guy some real recognition before he died too.

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Jun 2011 15:49:18 BDT
Carradale says:

Bluesadelic by George Benson.

Just given a wee bit funk really

Posted on 12 Jun 2011 18:27:30 BDT
Try this duo for size:

Bring Yo' Ass to the Table - Left Lane Cruiser
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Discussion in:  rock discussion forum
Participants:  15
Total posts:  19
Initial post:  21 Jan 2009
Latest post:  12 Jun 2011

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