Seven Nation Noise Revelator

Found this, I think via Twitter. The charmingly named Bastard Brothers have taken this pair’s best known song…

…and this man’s biblical acapella John The Revelator…

… and this band’s Bring The Noise…

… and stuck ’em all together- good fun. Some blues purists seem a little upset about Son House being used in this way but I reckon he wouldn’t have minded. Due to ‘copyright restrictions’ I’m not allowed to embed it. Youtube link here.

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Death Letter, Hot Water

We are into day 5 of enforced Victorian living- come and film us Channel 4. Our boiler stopped working on Sunday- no central heating or hot water all day. It is not easy to fill a bath with the kettle and a few pans. The boilerman came on Monday and said our expander unit had popped causing the system to trip out. He’s ordered a new one but no sign of it yet. We have two portable radiators and an electric fan heater Mrs Swiss had when I first met her (and it wasn’t new then). On Sunday night we bathed at friends. Boilerman did a temporary fix for us, emptying the kitchen radiator to act as an expander unit. This has, since Monday evening, provided intermittent heat and some hot water. Some as in not enough. I got those faulty boiler blues.

Son House’s blues song Death Letter plays in the film of On The Road and hearing it on the big screen last week reminded me of its power and beauty. Two clips for you…

This one, undated, but I’m guessing 1950s (?)

And this one from 1970…

And without wanting to come across as one of those authenticity blues bores, they just go to show that lights, staging, films and projections, heck, even having a guitar that’s in tune, are all a little superfluous at times.

>Son House Music

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This floored me when I first heard it, many years ago now- Son House, Mississippi bluesman, singing John the Revelator, just his hollering voice and handclaps. A track where you can hear the spit against the microphone and he could be in the room with you. Since then I’ve seen Wild Billy Childish perform this song live, his estuary English vowels shifting the song from the Mississipppi Delta to the Thames Delta. I’ve sometimes wondered whether a machine version could work- electronic handclaps and robotic voice- but never tried it. My idea that incidentally, if a version goes top 40 this summer.

Son House began recording in the 1920s and when The Great Depression scuppered his career he drifted into obscurity, only to be rediscovered decades later. In between he spent two years in prison after killing a man who had gone on a shooting spree in a juke joint. Son had been wounded in the leg, and shot the gunman. He was sentenced to fifteen years and served two. In 1941 he was recorded by John and Alan Lomax during their field recordings for the Library of Congress road trip, but he went undiscovered until the mid 60s when he became part of the blues boom sparked off by the British Invasion bands (he was working as a railroad porter in New York State at the time). Married five times, he died in 1988.

14 John the Revelator.wma