15 August 2020

Podwireless Koernercast Revisited




PLAYLINK: PODWIRELESS KOERNERCAST REVISITED


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KOERNERCAST: 1963 – 1972: Spider John’s Lost Decade

Let me tell you about my old friend and great hero Spider John Koerner, who will be 82 on August 31st. Since the early 1970s he’s been doing a unique, informal bar-room thing to classic American folk songs, but in the previous decade to that, he evolved his personal approach to music on mostly original songs inspired by the old blues guys, with one of the most individual and funky guitar styles you could ever want to hear.
He was one of the best live performers of the 1960s, visiting England regularly where his fans not only included teenage oiks like me who followed him round everywhere, but musicians like the Beatles and David Bowie. In the States, it’s people like Bob Dylan and Bonnie Raitt who give him the credit.
Way back in 1963, John was part of a trio with guitarist Dave Ray and harmonica player Tony Glover whose first album Blues, Rags & Hollers on a small label got picked up by the legendary Elektra Records. Over the next decade there were eventually three Koerner, Ray & Glover albums, a solo Elektra one called Spider Blues, a few live recordings that never saw the light of day until quite recently, a folk rock single that’s as rare as hen’s teeth, a duo album with pianist Willie Murphy, and finally one more handmade solo LP for Dave Ray’s Sweet Jane label before he famously gave up music and moved abroad.
When he returned a year or two later, he’d had a lightbulb moment and changed his repertoire to the American folk song book. From then on he’s tended to disown his earlier recordings as being too immature lyrically and too flashy musically. He’ll probably curse me for exhuming this podcast playlist from his first decade of recording that I originally put together in 2013. But he remains one of American roots music’s national treasures and you need to hear this early stuff!
You can read a big – and I do mean big – feature on him here.

1. Crazy Fool from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album Lots More Blues, Rags & Hollers (Elektra) 1963
2. Hangman from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album Blues, Rags & Hollers (Elektra) 1963
3. Creepy John from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album Blues, Rags & Hollers (Elektra) 1963
4. Low Down Rounder from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album Blues, Rags & Hollers (Elektra) 1963
5. Too Bad Blues from the Spider John Koerner album March 1963 (Nero's Neptune) 1963
6. My Little Woman from the Various Artists compilation album The Blues Project (Elektra) 1963
7. Black Dog from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album Lots More Blues, Rags & Hollers (Elektra) 1963
8. Duncan And Brady from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album Lots More Blues, Rags & Hollers (Elektra) 1963
9. I Want To See My Baby from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover (Elektra) 1965
10. England Blues from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover (Elektra) 1965
11. Goin' To The Country from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover (Elektra) 1965
12. You've Got To Be Careful from the Koerner, Ray & Glover album The Return Of Koerner, Ray & Glover (Elektra) 1965
13. Good Luck Child from the Spider John Koerner album Spider Blues (Elektra) 1965
14. Spider Blues from the Spider John Koerner album Spider Blues (Elektra) 1965
15. Corrina from the Spider John Koerner album Spider Blues (Elektra) 1965
16. Ramblin' & Tumblin' from the Spider John Koerner album Spider Blues (Elektra) 1965
17. Baby, Don't Come Back from the Spider John Koerner album Spider Blues (Elektra) 1965
18. Need A Woman from the Spider John Koerner album Spider Blues (Elektra) 1965
19. Don't Stop from the Spider John Koerner 45 (Elektra UK) 1966
20. Wont You Give Me Some Love from the Spider John Koerner 45 (Elektra UK) 1966
21. Stagger Lee from a Spider John Koerner concert recording Live At The Ash Grove (unreleased) 1967
22. Rock Me from a Spider John Koerner concert recording Live At The Ash Grove (unreleased) 1967
23. I Ain't Blue from the Spider John Koerner & Willie Murphy album Running Jumping Standing Still (Elektra) 1969
24. Running Jumping Standing Still from the Spider John Koerner & Willie Murphy album Running Jumping Standing Still (Elektra) 1969
25. Everybody's Goin' For The Money from the Spider John Koerner album Music Is Just A Bunch Of Notes (Sweet Jane) 1972
26. Taking My Time from the Spider John Koerner album Music Is Just A Bunch Of Notes (Sweet Jane) 1972

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1 comment:

  1. What a treat! I had the first album and was just blown away by it . John's music is so unique, it is a learned experience...sort of like listening to Ewan MacColl singing Scottish street songs, unaccompanied. I met him at the Newport Folk Festival a few years ago, after decades of listening (occasionally) to his music (now on Spotify). I asked him about "She didn't do but One Thing Wrong" his song about Billie Holiday...he just walked away. Nothing...nada...I'm still a fan,though.

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