Grant Alden’s Field Notes: The Roots of Rock in one hour
Greetings, from the snowy woods of Eastern Kentucky. Now well into middle age, I find myself living in my in-laws’ basement with most of my belongings in storage. One thing or another, it may be some months before we are able to move into our new home. Or some weeks. This makes regular correspondence here difficult, particularly since all my music and reference books has been buried in the back of some locked space.
The next edition of “Grant Alden’s Field Notes” airs this Friday at 7 p.m. EST on Morehead State Public Radio.
I recorded this some months back, and so there’s always the possibility that the play list I have here on iTunes isn’t what I ended up extemporizing my way through in the studio. The point of this show is to highlight the original versions of songs which entered the rock lexicon from the post-war African-American blues/R&B/jazz world. The selections, as always, are idiosyncratic, reflecting what I found on my shelves and songs (along with traditions) to which I am presently drawn. Or was at the time of recording this. Tomorrow I’d do it differently, had I access to my CDs. (I realize, too, that what follows are not necessarily the original versions of these songs. I’m not a blues scholar, just a guy with a lot of discs and tolerable instincts. And years of listening.)
The songs, then, are these:
Georgia Turner (from the Alan Lomax recordings), “The House of the Rising Sun”
Lead Belly, “In The Pines”
James “Iron Head” Baker, “Black Betty.” The lyrics in this original are particularly telling.
John Brim, “Ice Cream Man”
John Lee Hooker, “Dimples”
Billy Boy Arnold, “I Wish You Would”
Rosco Gordon, “Just A Little Bit”
Howlin’ Wolf, “Back Door Man”
Bo Diddley, “Who Do You Love?”
Willie Mabon, “Seventh Son”
Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, “I Put A Spell On You”
Muddy Waters, “The Same Thing”
Little Walter, “Rollin’ And Tumblin'”
Jimmy Reed, “Big Boss Man”
Lightnin’ Hopkins, “Little School Girl”
Betty Everett, “You’re No Good”
Arthur Alexander, “You Better Move On”
Chuck Berry, “Maybelline”