and he falls into sleep
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


Day ten at the 2003 Ottawa Bluesfest.

I realized I messed up the "day x at Bluesfest" stuff, starting last Wednesday. Oops.

The Trachtenburg Family Slide-show Players: Cancelled. The cancellation is unexplained and maddening. It was to be the highlight of the day, and things looked pretty bleak without them.

Chris Brown and Kate Fenner: Suitably laid-back light pop. I had a very pleasant nap in the La-Z-Boy Lounge.

Dinner: At Carmellos on Cooper. Very good - linguini in olive-oil and garlic, with tomato concasse, sundried tomatoes, artichoke and grilled chicken.

Blue Rodeo: Like a middle-aged and blues-inflected Jim Bryson and the Occasionals, with a two-week dose of boring pills.

The Dirtbombs: rhythm-and-blues vocals atop heaving garage guitars. I wanted to like them but didn't have enough in me to withstand the rock'n'roll assault. Stayed for a few songs, then shakily made my way to the bus. (I made sure, of course, to give my pass to one of the sad souls clinging to the fence while the Dirtbombs made their noise.)

The big surprise of the day was Peter Green. I'm not exactly up on my blues lore, but I knew of Green's eminent history. ("Green is God" was spraypainted on walls in England, until Clapton came along and usurped the blues-guitar throne.) I, however, hate the blues, remember - and the last thing I expected to enjoy was the work of this famed electric guitar-player. It was strange, then, to find myself enraptured by the man's performance. His instrument sang things I didn't expect, soaring in precise, acheing ways. It was far from the loose-and-lazy guitar solos I'm used to hearing from blues-rockers. The band - "Peter Green's Splinter Group" - was a worthy accompaniment, spreading a patterned background of sounds, and demonstrating genuine originality in the swell and fade of the tunes. Green's voice is a flat, accented murmur - but it's fascinating, and a dignified alternative to the overly melismatic bluesmen I heard earlier in the week. Things only collapsed on the closing number, a "classic blues tune," and when the typical 12-bar form was resurrected, so was my boredom.

The question, now, is which blues do I like, and why?

Posted by Sean at July 14, 2003 12:16 AM

listen to Leadbelly and Mississippi John Hurt - they will change every bad cliche and stereotype you might have about the blues.

eric clapton isn't blues - he's a fucking wanker.

Posted by kevin at July 14, 2003 5:26 PM

I thought Blue Rodeo put on quite a good show. They managed to make their songs sound fresh and different from the radio/CD versions, while not falling into the trap of people who do things in concert just to be different, and ruin them ("I'm going to sing the harmony instead, that'll be KEWL!!"). And that was one of the wackiest fiddle solos I've ever heard. Maybe not really the best quality, but definitely wacky.
And wacky is good.

Oh yeah and that rocked-up Johnny Cash tune was also cool.

Posted by Martin at July 14, 2003 8:22 PM

Aaaand you missed (or omitted) Luc Doucet, who was a lot of fun.

Posted by Martin at July 14, 2003 11:46 PM

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about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
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blue skies turn black
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