London Blues Artist – Poplar Jake’s Top 10 Blues.

I discovered the blues as a teenager. It was enough to inspire me to want to play. Of course, wanting to and being able to are different things, and it was a long time before I could do anything with it. I was in and out of different bands for years, the blues always informed what I did but I was reluctant to put myself forward as a ‘blues singer’, never mind a Bluesman, which I think is something else entirely. It wasn’t until about twenty years later when I finally thought ‘maybe I can do this…” I enjoyed four years as a solo performer and four years with a band, the Electric Delta Review. Ill health means I‘ve had to take a break these last couple of years, but I’ll get back in when the time is right.

1 – Charley Patton – Spoonful Blues

Of all the great Patton songs, I think this one really demonstrates Charley’s fearsome abilities like none other. You’ve got that lovely guitar figure – not an easy thing to play – with all its sweeps and moans and variations, and over the top of that the man is relating a two-way conversation –  “Would you kill a man dead?” “Yes, I would!” – then at the end of a stanza, the guitar itself says “spoonful”! Perhaps the most incredible thing is the performance sounds totally relaxed, completely natural, as though there really were two people talking while somebody picked a guitar.

It’s also a frightening song. Intimidating. Here’s a man whose cocaine habit could drive him to violence towards men and women alike. It doesn’t sound like recreation to me.