WUMB September Program Guide

From the Studio

The Elusive Jackson C. Frank

You probably don’t know the name Jackson C. Frank, and there’s really no reason you should, but please read on anyway.

He recorded one obscure album in 1965 and, even though he was an American, it was recorded in England. If you know any of his songs it is because, like me, you are an Anglophile. Everyone on the British folk scene knows a couple of his songs, but they are usually reserved for late night parties after the gig. Perhaps you remember his best known song “Blues Run the Game” because it was recorded by Simon & Garfunkel. Really it was. Maybe you heard Laura Marling’s recording of it, but didn’t associate it with Jackson. Just recently, Colin Meloy of The Decemberists sang it at the concert called “Another Day, Another Time, Celebrating the Music of Inside Llewyn Davis”.  Yes, it is on the soundtrack album you may have received as a thank you gift during our Spring Member Drive.  Read More…

WUMB Sunday Morning with Perry Persoff

May is a big birthday month for me:
May 1st is my “birthday”/anniversary in Boston (“what brought you to Boston,” people ask me; “my Honda” is my usual response).
May is my “birthday”/anniversary month at WUMB–can you believe it, four years.
And there is one more birthday in May for me…oh right, the biological birthday.

Not that it was designed this way, but the timing almost seems to point to something new.  And Sunday May 3rd from 6-8am, I will be hosting a new show on WUMB. Read More…

Les Blank: Blues Documentarian

I came late to the world of streaming video. I don’t watch TV much these days, and I’ve never really been much of a movie goer. I suddenly became interested when someone mentioned to me that they had watched “The Blues According to Lightnin’ Hopkins” on Hulu.

This is the first of the fabulous documentaries of filmmaker Les Blank. Whether you are a blues fan or not, this one is truly worth your time. Hopkins, perhaps the definitive Texas blues-man, is an intriguing character, but you also get a look and how Blank works his way into the life of Lightnin’, who agreed to the project without much enthusiasm. Hopkins’ only stipulation at the beginning was that Les not get in the way. Read More…

On the Town with Perry Persoff

This past month I was fortunate enough to enjoy a lot of live music.  Joan Osborne, the Boston Mardi Gras, our March WUMB member concert with Sarah Blacker–nice to see she made herself some new fans.  And that was just one weekend.  Treating yourself to a mid-week jam by local pickers at your nearby social establishment can buoy your spirits.  (Yes, even if that means being up a little late on a school night once in a while [guilty…]).  And when that in-person music hits you boy does it feel OK, thank you Bob Marley [see “Trenchtown Rock”].  Read More…

Celebrating Richard Thompson

Fairport Convention was first band signed to management and a record deal on the strength of Richard Thompson’s guitar playing. When the band turned to Electric Folk/Rock it was his guitar that drove the bus. Increasingly interested in songwriting, Richard left Fairport for a solo career and spent several years recording and touring with then wife Linda. As the marriage dissolved Richard again struck out on his own. Early band tours included musician from Fairport and backing vocals from people like Christine Collister and Shawn Colvin. Some tours were electric, some acoustic. Some were with a band and some were without where he demonstrated his developing style on the acoustic guitar, which was just as masterful and powerful as his electric playing. An equally masterful songwriter, his songs like “1952 Vincent Black Lighting” and “Beeswing” are practically ­­­­­­­­­ubiquitous. They have had hundreds of recordings and are performed by thousands more.

On April 3, we’ll celebrate his 65th birthday the best way we know how. By sharing his music with you, all day, on WUMB

Western Swing and Bob Wills

Western Swing fans, like me, are truly fanatic. This is that musical hybrid of country and big band jazz that grew up in the Golden Triangle and kept people dancing in the West Coast Ballroom through the darkest days of WWII. The mere mention of names like Adolph Hofner, Bill Boyd & the Cowboy Ramblers, Spade Cooley or the Light Crust Dough Boys sets our collective hearts aflutter. And, of course, as Waylon Jennings used to sing “Bob Wills is still the king.”

 

In 1970 Merle Haggard, a long time Western Swing aficionado, recorded a tribute album to Wills called “The Best Damn Fiddle Player in the World”.  While I might argue with that sentiment, I wouldn’t argue very hard. For this album Haggard augmented his own band with surviving members of Wills’ Texas Playboy, including Johnny Gimble, who I always considered to be a better bow hand than Wills himself. The album is worth tracking down, but remains available only as an import. Read More…

Bonnie Raitt – Smooth As Silk

Listening to Bonnie Raitt it’s easy to get lost in her voice.  From her earliest albums like Give It Up, right through to her later years albums like, Slipstream, one of the traits that she carries through each album is her great bluesy sounding voice.   Whether covering songs or doing her own originals, Raitts’ songwriting ability and her voice has always been there for her.  However, one feature that I feel has gotten lost through the years is just how great of a guitar player she is.  Read More…

Mark Knopfler – Underrated Virtuoso

Eric Clapton was considered a guitar God…at least according to a famous bit of graffiti painted on a London wall in 1966.  So where does that put a virtuoso player like Mark Knopfler? Is it blasphemous to hold Knopfler on equal footing with Clapton? This is one of those arguments that can go on indefinitely among guitar-player aficionados. Can you really choose between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul? Read More…

The WUMB Music Meeting

There’s not a week that goes by that I don’t get numerous questions from WUMB Members sent my way.  It usually ends up being the proverbial Whitman’s Sampler of questions like “What year did that song come out?”, “Who was the singer in the background?”, or “I’ve never heard that song…where do I find it?”  All of course are excellent questions and I never mind answering them…but one of the most popular questions I get is “How do you select your music?”.  So with that, I figured maybe pulling back the curtain and explaining how we select our music might be an interesting topic. Read More…

19 Songs with Perry Persoff

Happy New Year!  And looking back, Happy New Music on WUMB.

My “Top 10” new songs of the year typically expands to 38-40 tracks, basically a double album’s worth.  But for whatever reason, I got lazy in the middle of 2014 and did not write down songs as they hit me.  You know, the “I don’t have to write it down I’ll remember it” syndrome.

I’ll wait while you say, “famous last words.”  I deserved that.

Just the same, I still got a good list of only 19 songs that would make a fine traveling companion whether on a long drive or listening on the sofa through headphones.

Read More…