Doctor Harp’s Medicine Band: Doctor write me a prescription for the blues
Juke (Little Walter Jacobs) Kicking off the set in traditional Chicago style with an instrumental – this is our effort at Little Walter’s number one blues hit of 1952. This song brought amplified harmonica to the fore and made it the hallmark instrument of electric Chicago blues.
Good morning blues (Leadbelly) Magic John Wands plays homage to Leadbelly, the Nobel laureate of the blues, with his opening monologue about the blues and depression.
One fine day (Estes-Nixon) Patsy’s version of an old song interpreted by Sleepy John Este s Mississippi Fred MacDowell and Muddy Waters.
It hurts me too (Hudson Whittaker) A song of the injustice of love-unrequited and unconditional devotion beautifully played and sung by John McKinley. Listen and feel the blues.
Every day I have the blues (Memphis Slim) The plaintiff cathartic blues, listen, enjoy and feel the Pleasure.
Baby please don’t go (Big Joe Williams) Another standard from Muddy Waters and Big Joe Williams later made popular by Van Morrison, with an unusual brass section of sax and Mississippi saxophone.
Hootchie kootchie man (Willie Dixon) The classic bluesman’s bragging song begins a sequence of bad behaviour, male fantasy, addiction songs. Watch out for black cat bone and the mojo tooth – hoodoo potions and remedies to confer sexual prowess and power.
(Traditional arranged Wands, Middleton) The blues holds a love hate relationship with cocaine and booze in songs like Gus Cannon’s ‘Cocaine habit’, ‘One scotch, one bourbon, one beer’ and Sticks Macghee’s ‘Wine mop mop’. Cocaine Bill and Cocaine Lil were found dead up on that hill- ‘Say no’!
Smack dab in the middle
(Charles E. Calhoun) A male fantasy wish list of good time self-indulgence- with bicarbonate of soda by the pound!
I have had my fun if I don’t get well no more (Goin’ down slow)
(St Louis Jimmy Oden).
A great old song done by Lightnin’ Hopkins, Dr Ross and many more. The classic illness blues- lying in the hospital -going down slow- from consumption most likely. A cathartic blues seeking reconciliation, redemption, forgiveness for past sins. A particular experience for the blues man but conveying a universal sentiment- when you get to the age of these musicians!
Cornbread, meat and black molasses (Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee) Sonny Terry apparently took this song from a prison farm field holler, which told the story of the Goldberger experiment on prisoners to discover the cause of the disease pellagra.
I don’t need no doctor (I know what’s ailing me)
(Ashford, Simpson, Armstead)
A great song given the full orchestral arrangement by Ray Charles, lifted here by Ronnie Taylor sax. An anthem to self understanding and self medication. Avoid those anti depressants – you know what’s ailing you, heal yourself.
Roll ‘em Matt
(after Big Joe Turner and Pete Johnson).
Just an excuse for a boogie piano song and a great blues shout.
St James Infirmary blues
(Traditional arranged Wands, McKinley, Taylor, Middleton) Another classic which turns up in the blues folklore as the dying crapshooter’s blues and the gambler’s blues. Snooks Eaglin’s version got some general exposure on a Budweiser ad in the 90s. Definitely not a song for the hospital radio.
Down to the doctors (Mickey Jupp) Dr Feelgood’s great anthem –the masterpiece of white British punk blues- the blues as metaphor, the musician as the doctor and good time healer.
Doctor, write me a prescription for the blues (Porter Grainger) A classic blues from the classic blues era- done by Little Brother Montgomery and Clara Smith– another great example of the blues as metaphor for illness.
Easy (Ivory Joe Hunter) Finishing off again with an instrumental – Shakey Walter Horton’s great Chicago blues choon brought up the minute with the help of some great horn playing.