Arnett Brewster— Lap Slide Steel Guitar
Woodrow T. Greenwich—Harmonica
ESCAPE FOR AN OUTING OF BLUES
ARNETT BREWSTER & WOODROW T. GREENWICH
ON GREAT HOUDINI (MSK 159)
A lap slide guitar and a harmonica. It’s all you need to make some
soulful music. Music that as journalist Howard Mandel writes in his
liner notes for Great Houdini was born “on back porches, at fish fries
and in barrelhouses across the southern US, and especially in the
Mississippi delta, more than 100 years ago.”
The Blues transformed American music when it collided with European
classical in the homes of Creoles of color and the bordellos of New
Orleans, to create jazz. And it was the driver that turned the switch
on every electric guitar to create Rock and Roll. Even Country Music
has to tip its hat, Bill Monroe style, to the blues.
Bruce Arnold (aka Arnett Brewster) grew up in Sioux Falls, South Dakota
and remembers “when I was growing up in the mid to late ‘60s lots of
people were playing the blues.” It’s not surprising: back in the mid
‘60s every rock ‘n’ roll band featured blues guitar, acknowledged or
not. Arnett’s cousin Dave Wood, and LA session-musician-to-be Mike
Miller turned him on to Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins and the
Allman Brothers Band. In high school Brewster joined locals “Stevie and
the Studebakers,” rockin’ out on blues and pentatonic scales. Even as
he ventured into the deep waters of jazz and contemporary classical
theory, the blues never left him. And when he got his first lap slide
guitar, it just came pouring out. Fortuitous indeed that an ace blues
harp player was in the office next door!
Dave Schroeder (aka Woodrow T. Greenwich) was born and raised in
Carroll Iowa. Listening to his father’s record collection led to a
passion for performing live music, and he caught local acts ranging
from Chicago show bands to dance bands that played throughout the
Midwest during the 60’s and 70’s. Bitten by the jazz bug early on, W.T.
began playing saxophone and clarinet, eventually moving to New York
City by the mid 80’s. While recovering from a stomach operation in the
late ‘90’s, his brother sent him a harmonica to keep him occupied; from
that day forward, he has been wrestling with the blues harp, and
rediscovering often overlooked roots music in the process.
Sometimes you just gotta get back to the root. And the odyssey that
these two musicians have weathered has led them to create this very
(deceptively) simple statement of self-penned down home blues, informed
by a foundation of rock and jazz. Both come from the American Midwest
where they had the blues instilled in their hearts from an early age.
The tracks and their titles are explained by Howard Mandel thusly:
Arnold gave the tracks he composed (so to speak: in the blues,
borrowings and adaptations are expected) titles from Old West slang.
“Widow Maker,” almost painfully slow, is a hard to break horse.
“Windies,” -a beguiling melody- are tall tales. “Wagtail” is fast – the
word in the Rocky Mountains, according to LegendsofAmerica.com, for a
prostitute. “Dakota Train Blues” is self-explanatory (and harmonica
players, particularly those of the Southeastern Piedmont style
Schroeder favors, often imitated trains). “Asher” is the brand of
Arnold’s lap slide guitar.
Schroeder’s tunes have their own slants. Note the unison beginning and
melodic twist of “Six Cents Blues,” the urgency of “Look Out!,” the way
the lead’s tossed back and forth on “Dem Dere Shuffle,” the longer
phrasing of “A Simple Thanks.”
Great Houdini is an instrumental blues duet weaned on ice-fishing, Cold
Springs beer and lutefisk. The blues has always lurked in the hearts of
these Midwestern born natives now residing in NYC. Sit back and hear
how flat plains, corn fields, big skies and the blues combine.
The tracks :
"An offbeat winner throughout."
"Great Houdini is quite a perfect way for music aficianados to
re-explore the primitive, foundational concepts of the art of American
ROBERT SILVERSTEIN MWE3.com
"When you have only two instrumentalists playing, a true connection
between both musicians is vital or it will not work. These two
musicians have terrific chemistry with one another. I
highly endorse Great Houdini."
RICHARD HENRY Worldwide-Jazz-Online.com
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