Monthly Archives: January 2017

Charley Hicks… Reviving the Delta Blues

Today, I was inspired by the sound of a steel guitar.  I was first exposed to this sound listening to Doyle Bramhall II play with Eric Clapton on Sessions for Robert J, a DVD that was put out in 2004.  Since then, I’ve heard that same sound listening to “Henry” by Keb’ Mo and “Diving Duck Blues” by Taj Mahal.

Sometimes you’re in the right place at the right time and this weekend, something led me to find this video by Charley Hicks, a London based blues musician, influenced by Charley Patton and my favorite, Robert Johnson.  He sings and plays a song written by Charley Patton in 1929, Tom Rushen Blues.  Take a moment to watch the video, I think Charley had a unique voice and a fantastic sound.  Below is a video from Mule Resonator Guitars (the guitar that Charley Hicks plays in the video above).  They’re handmade by Matt Eich out of Saginaw, Michigan (the town where my mother’s family is from).

Charley’s debut album is available on iTunes.  If you liked the video, check it out on iTunes, you won’t be disappointed!

Tom Rushen Blues

Charley Patton, Recorded in Richmond, Indiana, June 14, 1929

Laid down last night, hopin’ I would have my peace, eee
I laid down last night, hopin’ I would have my peace, eee
But when I woke up, Tom Rushen1 was shakin’ me

When you get in trouble, it’s no use to screamin’ and cryin’, hmm
When you get in trouble, it’s no use to screamin’ and cryin’, hmm
Tom Rushen will take you, back to the prison house flyin’

It were late one night, Halloway was gone to bed, hmm
It were late one night, Halloway was gone to bed, hmm
Mister Day2 brought whiskey taken from under Halloway’s head

An’ it’s boozy booze, now, Lord, to cure these blues
It takes boozy boo’, Lord, to cure these blues
But each day seems like years in the jailhouse where there is no boo’

I got up this mornin’, Tom Day was standin’ around
I got up this mornin’, Tom Day was standin’ around
If he lose his office now, he’s runnin’ from town to town

Let me tell you folksies just how he treated me
Let me tell you folksies just how he treated me
Aw, he caught me yellin’, I was drunk as I could be

__________

Matt Becker

Live from Matt’s House

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So you say you’re Vegan….

A new friend of mine is vegan, so naturally, I needed to check this out.  I love to cook, and I’ve cooked a ton of vegetarian dishes in my time, a fresh Caprese Salad drizzled in balsamic glaze on a hot sumer day or a Portobello Mushroom pasta with Sherry Cream Sauce on a cold winter’s night…  Trouble is, those aren’t vegan!  For those who don’t know, a vegan diet is (true) vegetarian, but also excludes butter or cream, eggs, cheese (from cows or goats), gelatin and honey.  This means not having any animal products or by-products in your diet.

I’ve learned a few things already about vegan cooking that are worth sharing.  To replace cream or milk in a recipe, try coconut milk.  For cheese, try Daiya Foods.  I tried Daiya cheese this weekend when I made Chloe a dairy free pizza.  She loved it!  Thai food is one of my favorites and as as it turns out, there are a ton of vegan and gluten free Thai recipes!  Here’s one that I’ve cooked for ages, but didn’t even realize it’s vegan, Thai Coconut Red Curry with Vegetables.

There are a lot of reasons to think about a vegan diet.  For me, well, this new friend of mine…  For the rest of you, it’s extremely healthy!  Here’s a list of Vegan friendly restaurants in Portsmouth, in case you want to give it a try.  I’ve been to The Green Elephant, and it was fantastic.

The Green Elephant Vegetarian Bistro and Bar

5 Thai Bistro

Black Trumpet Bistro (by the way, the Black Trumpet just came out with a fantastic new cook book)

Shio Japanese Restaurant

Flatbreat Pizza Company

Matt Becker

Live from Matt’s House

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1952 Martin O-18 for $96…

 

Bill3

The 1952 Martin O-18 Acoustic Guitar.

It might as well be the 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Not because of the way it looks, but because of the way it plays…

My friend, Bill Benoit bought it in 1977 when he was 19 years old at Grandpa’s Lumber, outside of East St. Louis.  That’s right, a hardware store….  for $96.  Grandpa’s was a general store, with a rack of guitars out back and on that day in 1977 was this Martin, hanging there, all beat up.  It was patched up with bondo (for auto body repair).  The pegs were actually glued in with epoxy, and there is also some fire damage on the body (see below).

In 2006, Bill took the guitar to E.U. Wurlitzer in Boston, in the original location, downstairs on the corner of Mass Ave and Newbury Street.  They reset the neck and frets, put in a KLK pickup and changed the bridge and tuners to period correct replacements.

All I can say is it plays and sounds as good as any guitar I’ve ever picked up.

Not bad, Grandpa…

Bill2

Matt Becker

Live from Matt’s House

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