THE GORDON MEIER BLUES EXPERIENCE – MAGIC KINGDOM

 

 “ If there's a moment while listening to this album that you find yourself tapping your feet or playing air guitar or drums, I've succeeded in bringing you Magic. Whether it was Magic Slim or Freddie King that lead to that moment, it's clear to me that they are both responsible for the way I interpret my music and so I have named this album ‘Magic Kingdom’...  “

Singer-songwriter / gitarist Gordon Meier is lid van The Midnight Street Shakers en al jaren actief in de Western New Jersey blues scene. Hij zegt beïnvloed te zijn door Muddy Waters, Lightnin’ Hopkins, B.B. King en in het bijzonder door Freddie King en Magic Slim. In The Gordon Meier Blues Experience wordt Meier (zang, gitaar) gebackt door Mark Freidman (bas) en Lester Veith (drums). Voor ‘Magic Kingdom’ (een album met twee originals en tien covers) waren zijn gasten Joe Taino (slide gitaar), Dean Shot (ritme gitaar), Dennis Gruenling (harmonica) en Tom Hammer (keys).

The GMBE opent met een Chester Arthur Burnett (aka Howlin’ Wolf) / Willie Dixon cover “Howlin’ For My Darlin’”. Het nummer werd in 1960 door Howlin’ Wolf (1910-1976) bij Chess Records als single uitgebracht met als “B” kant “Spoonful”. Hubert Sumlin (1931-2011) was toen Wolf’s gitarist. Dean Shot, die vijf jaar als gitarist met Sumlin samenwerkte, speelt Sumlin’s partij in dit nummer. “Stop Draggin’ That Chain Around” is een nummer van John Primer, dat hij zelf opnam op zijn ‘The Real Deal’ [1995] album. Primer was Muddy Waters’ (1913-1983) laatste gitarist en speelde ook samen met Magic Slim & The Teardrops. Let in dit nummer op Meier’s gitaar solo, de slide gitaar van gast Joe Taino en de harmonica van Dennis Gruenling. “Just Keep Ridin’” is één van de twee originals. Op de tweede original “Someday Baby” horen we opnieuw Gruenling op harmonica. “Red Headed Woman” is van The “Hollywood Fats” Band. Het nummer werd opgenomen in 1978 opgenomen en tien jaar later door Canned Heat heruitgebracht. The Hollywood Fats Band werd later na wijzingen The Hollywood Blue Flames. In Jimmy Rodgers’ slow blues “Gold Tail Bird” is Meier’s zang uitstekend. “Signifyin’ Monkey” komt uit het oeuvre van Johnny Otis, “She Belongs To Me” is een nummer van Sam Maghett aka Magic Sam en “Gypsy Woman” van McKinley Morganfield aka Muddy Waters. De twee instrumentals “In The Open” en de afsluiter “The Stumble” zijn van Freddie King. In de afsluiter horen we Tom Hammer op orgel.

Gordon Meier was jaren lang bevriend met Magic Slim. Hij en Freddie King waren zijn grote voorbeelden. Dat dit voor een gitarist in een blues album zou resulteren was bijna “vanzelfsprekend”. ‘Magic Kingdom’ van The Gordon Meier Blues Experience werkt inspirerend en biedt ons de kans om de liefde voor de blues muziek te “delen”. Dit is nodig om deze muziek in leven te houden!

Eric Schuurmans

Album track list:
01.”Howlin’ For My Darlin’” [Chester Burnett/Willie Dixon] – 02.”Stop Draggin’ That Chain Around” [John Primer] – 03.”Buddy Buddy Friends” [Corthon] – 04.”Just Keep Ridin’” – 05.”In the Open” [Freddie King] – 06.”Red Headed Woman” [Kaplan/Taylor/Mann/Innes] – 07.”Gold Tail Bird” [Jimmy Rogers] – 08.”Signifyin’ Monkey” [Johnny Otis/Delmar Evans] – 09.”She Belongs To Me” [A. Benson/Sam Maghett] – 10.”Someday Baby” – 11.”Gypsy Woman” [McKinley Morganfield] – 12.”The Stumble” [Freddie King] – Music/Lyrics by Gordon Meier, and/or as [noted] ℗ 2017 – Produced by: Gordon Meier

Every musician is a product of their influences… It would be dishonest for me to deny the influence of B.B. King, Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins and others however the two profound "game changers" were Freddie King and Magic Slim. A quote from B.B. or Muddy may come at any time in my performance, but the giants who take me to the gig and stand with me are Slim and Freddie. Freddie was an obsession of mine throughout the '70s. I played all of his instrumentals as have many famous guitarists. In the late '70s, I discovered another giant. While searching the record bins at a record store known for obscure recordings, I discovered Magic Slim and The Teardrops. This lead to a pilgrimage to Chicago in the hopes of finding Slim. The liner notes on the Austrian record label said that he was in Chicago and was relatively undiscovered. At the time, there was at least 50 blues clubs in Chicago cooking every night of the week. I only knew of two; B.L.U.E.S. on N. Halstead and The Checkerboard Lounge (owned at the time by Buddy Guy and Jr. Wells) in the South Side. There was no internet. If you wanted to find something, you had to search and ask....a lot. So my quest began to find Magic Slim. I drove to Chicago and went to B.L.U.E.S. on N. Halstead to ask about Slim's whereabouts. When I got there, Magic Slim and The Teardrops were playing! It was packed so I couldn't talk to Slim. The following night, I went to the only other club I knew of, The Checkerboard Lounge. I walked in and saw Slim sitting at the bar. I introduced myself and explained my shock and disbelief that I found him two nights in a row with no prior knowledge of his whereabouts. He looked at me and said "Well...that's why they call me Magic Slim". That began a friendship that lasted over 30 years until his passing in Feb. 2013. I became very close to Slim and his band and played with them many times through the years. John Primer was the last guitar player in Muddy's band and when Muddy passed, John went with Slim. In the 13 years that John spent with Slim, we also became good friends. One of my favorite tunes by John is covered on this album, "Stop Draggin' That Chain Around". Slim encouraged and inspired me to find my own voice in performing the blues. If there's a moment while listening to this album that you find yourself tapping your feet or playing air guitar or drums, I've succeeded in bringing you Magic. Whether it was Magic Slim or Freddie King that lead to that moment, it's clear to me that they are both responsible for the way I interpret my music and so I have named this album ‘Magic Kingdom’. Hopefully, you will find this album inspirational in some way and together we can share these moments that help to keep the Blues Alive! (Gordon Meier)

Album Line-up:
Gordon Meier: guitar, guitar/Leslie (6,10), rhythm guitar (3), vocals (1-4, 7-11), b-vocs (2,6)
Lester Veith: drums, vocals (6)
Mark Freidman: bass, b-vocs (2,6)
Joe Taino: slide guitar (2,4)
Dean Shot: rhythm guitar (7,11)
Dennis Gruenling: harmonica (2,4,7,10,11)
Tom Hammer: organ & Wurlitzer electric piano (5), organ (8,12)

Discography The Golden Meier Blues Experience:
Magic Kingdom [2017]

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Label: Reverberocket Records
Info: Blind Raccoon