Monday, August 29, 2011

Your Next Door Neighbor Who Happens to be a Blues Guitar Phenom

Blacks, Whites & The Blues--Mark T. Small--Want to get a feel for blues history without chasing down records from scores of artists? Getting Blacks, Whites & The Blues by Narrows fave--and guitar wunderkind--Mark T. Small should be on your to-do list. "Blues is a 20th century music with roots in the 1880s and 1890s," he writes in the recording's notes. "My intention is to highlight various pieces and styles that have shaped my guitar playing," pieces and styles that, in fact, include songs not usually associated with the blues e.g. a Scott Joplin composition.

Some of the more familiar influences are "Bang Bang Bang Bang" by John Lee Hooker, Willie Dixon's "Little Red Rooster," and Robert Johnson's "Sweet Home Chicago," all included. For those interested in the tunes' history, Mark has helpfully included write ups about the original version e.g. noting that Roy Hawkins was the first to hit the charts--back in 1951--with "The Thrill is Gone," usually associated with B.B. King. By the way, Mark does an adventurous and surprising interpretation of this classic, which Mr. King had success with about 1970.

Blacks, Whites & The Blues feels like your next-door-neighbor, who happens to be an under-appreciated guitar wizard and blues scholar--stopped by for pickin' and conversation.

If you've never seen Mark, check out this video from a festival out in Arizona:

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