Monday, September 27, 2010

Compare and Contrast: The Blues Came Down From Nutley, N.J.

Now it can be told: We -- by which I mean my old pal from my college rock band Tony Forte and moi -- taught legendary bluesman Slim Harpo ("Scratch My Back," "Hip Shake," "I'm a King Bee," etc) everything he knew.

From late 1968, here's our unplugged publishing demo version of Tony's "Big Black Car." I'm on bass; Tony's on everything else.

And from sometime in early 1969, here's the aforementioned legendary bluesman with the version he glommed from ours. This is from a recently transferred acetate (the only known surviving copy); please pardon the scratches and other anomalies but (incredibly enough) this is a genuine piece of history which has never been heard before, even by hardcore blues collectors. Slim's on vocals and harp (obviously); the backup guys are the then pit band for the Broadway production of Hair.

And finally, from 1974, here's "Big Black Car" again in the version The Hounds, my aforementioned college rock band, used to open our sets with for years. For those keeping score, I'm the electric guitar on the left channel; Tony's on the right.

The folk process at work, ladies and gentleman.