My Favorites (Blues): "Feels So Good" – Junior Kimbrough
Like many who grew up listening to the popular music of the day, and even though I was fortunate enough to get “hip” to jazz at an early age, I wasn't exposed until later in life, to the earlier music that helped to lay the foundation for jazz and all the popular music that is so vastly consumed nowadays.
The blues is without question the foundation of American music. When we listen to anything that has the moniker of being called American, what makes it distinct from any other music in the world is the sound of the blues. Most notably it’s the notes of the blues scale and the quintessential blues riffs that are the giveaway. There are many other characteristics such as raspy singing/playing, shouts, hollers, bending notes, singing/playing out of key, call and response, signifying, and double entendre to name a few, but some of these characteristics can be found in musics from other cultures. What can’t be found elsewhere is the clear melismatic delivery of the blues scale expressed in the riffs and calls of the early blues musicians.
One of the blues musicians that I can’t stop listening to is Junior Kimbrough. His music has a hypnotic effect that like the vamp during a church shout will have your head bobbing and almost catching the spirit. His shouts and lyric delivery are perfectly placed and add a polyrhythmic effect to the repeated bass line riff. This is the music that at his juke joint called “Junior’s Place” in Chulahoma, Mississippi, would make the working class folks, even after a hard day at work, get up and dance.
His music became so renowned during the end of his life that members of U2 and The Rolling Stones came to his club to experience his music live. Robert Palmer filmed part of a performance at his club and I’ve posted the link here for you to get a sense of the experience. You can also listen to one of his tracks that I posted a link to as well.
I have to give a shout out to Mr. "Ike" Carter at 90.3 WHCJ the Savannah State University radio station for introducing me to Junior Kimbrough.