George Jones’s passing has inspired volumes of words, but none can touch his singing. Torn in pieces, soaked in tears and bad booze, haloed in cigarette smoke and neon, he could gut a honky tonk in a single note, the reverberations of loss and regret echoing like the broken heart he seemed to endure.
Bobby Rush is intent on making it clear that he's the buoyant master of his domain. Not that this is news to anyone who knows him and his music. The Louisiana-born preacher's son generated some heat in the Chicago blues scene of the '60s, but he ultimately chose to head in the exact opposite direction of all those Delta bluesmen who'd migrated to Northern cities to find work; he'd bring his colorful show to the chitlin' circuit's middle-of-nowhere juke joints instead. Even as his visibility has risen, he's remained admirably loyal to working-class African-American audiences, and that's by design.
You can hear music anywhere, but in New Orleans you can feel it and smell it in the thick and salty air. Now and then you can read about it—but rarely in stories as well-told as Unfinished Blues: Memories of a New Orleans Music Man by Harold Battiste Jr. with Karen Celestan (2010), and Ernie K-Doe: The R&B Emperor of New Orleans by Ben Sandmel (2012). These are the first two books in a series published by the Historic New Orleans Collection.
Amanda Petrusich and Nathan Salsburg share ten songs emblematic, in one way or another, of the folk music revival that flourished in New York City in the 1960s. Like all mixes, these songs represent their time and place, our time and place, and a few breathtaking points of intersection.