Sunday, June 29, 2008

Fifty States: Tennessee

Bobby Charles: Tennessee Blues [download]*

Doug Sahm: Tennessee Blues [purchase]*

Here's two different versions of Bobby Charles' homage to Tennessee. The first can be found on his waaaaay under-appreciated 1972 self-titled LP. While there aren't individual song credits ... at least on the vinyl copy ... it's worth noting that Rick Danko, Garth Hudson, Levon Helm, and Richard Manuel of The Band all back up the Louisiana native. In fact, Danko and longtime Band co-conspirator, John Simon, produced the album with Charles. It only takes about 10 seconds to realize that this tune is right in The Band wheelhouse.

A year after Charles released his album, Doug Sahm tackled the tune on his equally under-appreciated Texas Tornado record. What's interesting is that there is a common musical denominator. Dr. John was part of the Bobby Charles Krewe and he served in much the same capacity for Sir Doug, tickling the ivories to add the night trippin' gumbo flavor. Where Charles aims for the back porch, Sahm goes for the nightclub. Of course, given all the talent involved, both versions deliver the goods. A great song from two albums definitely worth owning.

* I swear I'm not intentionally seeking out songs from expensive, hard-to-find albums, but in both cases here the CD versions of the albums are positively usurous. However, the downloadable versions are somewhat reasonable, so I linked to them instead.

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