Friday, September 16, 2016

Blue Friday

Thank Mesektet It's Friday!

"Fetch me a Dr Pepper and some red Twizzlers, mortal! Easy on the ice, too, or you die!"

Crash, Boom

We had yet another late-summer thunderstorm here in Council Bluffs yesterday evening. The rain and lightning were bad enough to force cancellation of a local football game, but unlike the previous storm this one didn't completely ruin my night's sleep.

"Let me tell you, dealing with flooded ant colonies is no fun, either."

Cry me a river...

Feast Day

Statue at St. Cyprian's Church, Clarence Gate, London

Today we celebrate the feast day
of St. Cyprian of Carthage, an important figure in the early history of the Church.

Unlike some early church leaders who were primarily intellectuals, Cyprian led a much more active pastoral life. His skills both as a public speaker and as a writer were noteworthy, the latter so much so that he is held to be the most important Latin writer prior to
St. Jerome and St. Augustine more than a century later.

Although they are not "officially" part of his patronage, I have always personally considered Cyprian a patron of public speakers and writers of rhetoric. Officially he is the patron of North Africa.


I have an extensive collection of coffee mugs from Starbucks, but it has been awhile since they've come out with anything especially appealing. A lot of their recent releases have been 16 oz. mugs that aren't very useful to me now that I rarely brew regular coffee.

The new Anniversary Collection has a couple of mugs I like, however. The Starbucks in my local Hy-Vee had the new "Blue Siren" mug, so I picked one up yesterday. Good size for double lattes...

"You like pretending the pretty woman is winking at you, don't you?"

How is that any of your business?

Quality Assurance

From the indispensable comic strip Dilbert, by Scott Adams, which you should read every day, as I do.

Until Next Time...

On September 16, 1925 Riley B. King was born in Berclair, Mississippi. He took up guitar at age 12 due to influence of the guitar-playing minister at his local church. When he was 16 he heard Mississippi delta blues music on the radio for the first time, and by his early 20s he was performing regularly both as a singer and as a disc jockey for a radio station in West Memphis, Arkansas. He also played frequently at a West Memphis bar that featured live music.

During his time on that local radio show he came to be called the "Beale Street Blues Boy," which was eventually shortened to just "Blues Boy," and by 1949 B.B. King would begin a career as a performer and recording artist that would make him a legend.

One of the most revered and influential guitarists of all time, B.B. received 15 Grammy Awards in his career, and in 1987 was honored with the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award as well. He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980 and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. He was awarded a National Medal of Arts in 1990, the Kennedy Center Honors in 1995, and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2006.

He also served as an inspiration and mentor to my guitar hero Joe Bonamassa. Joe's first big break came in 1989 when he opened for B.B. at a number of shows when he was just 12 years old. B.B. is one of the legendary artists whose music Joe paid tribute to on his "Three Kings" tour in 2015.

Today is one of those days when a single send-off tune just doesn't seem like enough, so herewith a musical triple-header... 

Because of B.B.'s stature in the world of blues music, other artists were always happy to collaborate with him, and some of his best music was made working with well-known blues musicians both young and old.

In 1993 B.B. released Blues Summit, a collection of duets with several of the biggest names in blues. It won the Best Traditional Blues Album Grammy Award in 1994, and is one of the most-played albums in my collection.

Today's first send-off is from that album, B.B.'s duet with another of my blues guitar heroes, Albert Collins, on the classic T-Bone Walker song "Call It Stormy Monday."
The contrast between Albert's stinging Telecaster and B.B.'s mellow Gibson is pure blues guitar magic. Enjoy...

The final studio album recorded
by the legendary Ray Charles was Genius Loves Company, a 2004 collection of duets with blues, folk, jazz, pop, and rock artists whose work Ray had long admired.

The recording became Ray's first Billboard No. 1 album since 1962, and it won eight Grammy Awards in 2005, including Album of the Year and Record of the Year.

By far my favorite track on the album is his duet with B.B. on the Lowell Fulson classic "Sinner's Prayer." The interplay between Ray's piano and B.B.'s guitar is marvelous, and their singing styles complement each other nicely.

Today's second send-off is that album track. The two legends sound like they've been playing together all of their lives. Enjoy...

Blues music didn't get a lot of radio airplay when I was coming of age. In those days, you were lucky to find an FM station that would feature blues recordings for a couple of hours now and then, usually late at night or on Sundays.

Like many of the blues guitar fans
I grew up with, I first heard about B.B. King when reading interviews with popular blues-rock guitarists like Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck.

The first B.B. King album I ever purchased was the one all of his fellow guitarists raved about, 1965's Live At the Regal. It is included on Rolling Stone magazine's 500 Greatest Albums of All Time list, and in 2005 it was selected for the National Recording Registry curated by the Library of Congress.

Today's final send-off is my favorite track from the album, the wryly humorous
"How Blue Can You Get?" This recording of the song was a hit for B.B. in 1964 and was a staple of his live shows from then on. Enjoy...

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