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Greetings from the Producer

January 20, 2006

Hi FolkAlley People,

Joe Gunderman here, senior producer for FolkAlley.com and WKSU. I produced the Ann Rabson / Guy Davis concert you can now check out on this site. (And, of course, as the producer, I am intimately familiar with every flaw in the recording. Perfectionists never think anything is finished.) What a fun night that was!

I have an interest in a myriad of musical styles,…

…having been a young kid in the 60s, and the Kingston Trio and Peter Paul and Mary being the “acceptable” music in my intolerant-of-rock house (ah, but the parents weren’t always home, now were they?). My mother listened to nothing but classical music. That along with Warner Brothers cartoons cemented an appreciation for orchestral music. I came through late adolescence in the blooming funk scene (there’s a Big Difference between funk and disco), and that whole time the singer/songwriter phenomenon of Cat Stevens, James Taylor, Carly Simon, etc. was going on. One of the groups I discovered on my own was Seals and Crofts. For those who paid attention, not only were C&S interesting songwriters (ever look at their sheet music?), they could play.

The whole time, simmering in the background, was the blues. When it finally emerged into my consciousness, and when a friend described to me that what I’d written was 12-bar-blues, which I had done by pure instinct, I finally identified a style of music that I’ve loved ever since. I’ve been to the Chicago Blues Festival several times, and it never gets old.

So an evening of folk blues with Ann and Guy was not a hard assignment for me. It is easy to play in the blues “form,” but hard play with real soul. Give Mr. Davis’ performance an ear and you’ll hear what I mean. I hope I did it justice.

And irony struck the week of this concert. For a couple decades, I’ve had, in my closet in a crate, the double album “The Real Thing” by Taj Mahal from back in 1971. I still play my vinyl albums. This past week, right after working the concert, I found the CD of “The Real Thing.” I didn’t know it had ever been issued. Turns out it was issued in 2000. It is roots blues as Taj does it, with a branching out by adding horns (4 tubas!) and percussion. When I brought it to work and put on its most famous cut, “Ain’t Gwine To Whistle Dixie (Any Mo’)” a few people ambled over to my office with smiles on their faces, saying, “It’s been a long time…” It has caught Jim Blum’s attention as well. You know what that might mean.

So it’s been a blues couple of weeks. Ain’t it sweet. Enjoy the concert.

And if you never did, check out my interview with Eric Bibb in the Extras section. More blues with real sweet soul.

Posted by Joe Gunderman at January 20, 2006 5:33 PM


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