venerdì 16 aprile 2010

Viper Mad Blues: 25 Songs of Dope and Depravity (1924-1943)


Musica e droga hanno spesso camminato di pari passo.
Sister Morphine, The Pusher, Heroin, Cocaine, Brown Sugar, White Rabbit, per fare qualche esempio, uscirono con l' età adulta del rock, ma il matrimonio tra sostanze narcotiche e pentagramma ha origini molto più lontane, forse addirittura preistoriche. Per quanto riguarda la musica registrata basta volgere l' orecchio agli anni 30 e 40, in America ed ecco spuntare odi spudorate alla Cocaina, alla Marijuana e all' onnipresente Alcool.

Questa 'stupefacente' compilation presenta 25 pezzi che hanno a che fare con l' argomento spazziando tra classic blues, country blues, ragtime, jug, vaudeville, canzoni da ministrel show, jazz e folk del periodo. Nella raccolta, il cui titolo "Viper Mad Blues" allude agli occhi di Vipera del drogato (rossi di sangue) tra i pezzi riguardanti la Polvere bianca si può ascoltare "Take a Whiff on me" di Leadbelly (ripreso poi da W. Guthrie e nei 70 dai Byrds), la stupenda "Dope Head Blues" di Victoria Spivey (accompagnata dal romantico Lonnie Johnson alla chitarra), "Cocaine Habit Blues" della Memphis Jug Band, (pezzo tanto amato da Jerry Garcia); per la Marijuana ci pensa il re dei pianisti dei barrelhouse Champion Jack Dupree con la sua "Junker's Blues" (rifatta anche dal compianto Willy DeVille), o la voce di Ella Fitzgerald con "When I Get Low, I Get High" , ancora nel Jazz con "I' m Feeling High and Happy" la grande batteria di Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa.

Quello che sorprende sono i testi, davvero espliciti, senza veli, con descrizioni precise per l' assunzione (leggetevi i due riportati qui sotto), senza però ostentare o divinizzarne l' uso. Tutta altra storia sono state le finte 'pere' di Lou Reed sul palco, o le odi al 'caramello' di Jagger e Richards, o le esibizioniste perdite di coscenza del re lucertola.

Viper Mad Blues: 25 Songs of Dope and Depravity (1924-1943)

1. Cab Calloway and His Cotton Club Orchestra - Kickin' the Gong Around [1933] (3:24)
2. Victoria Spivey / Lonnie Johnson - Dope Head Blues [1927] (3:13)
3. The Memphis Jug Band - Cocaine Habit Blues [1930] (2:47)
4. Hazel Meyers - Pipe Dream Blues [1924] (3:09)
5. Larry Adler - Smoking Reefers [1938] (3:05)
6. Leadbelly - Take a Whiff on Me [1934] (2:57)
7. The Cats and the Fiddle - Killin' Jive [1939] (2:50)
8. Stuff Smith and His Onyx Club Boys - You'se a Viper [1936] (3:13)
9. Cleo Brown - The Stuff Is Here and It's Mellow [1935] (2:42)
10. Baron Lee and the Blue Rhythm Band - Reefer Man [1932] (2:50)
11. Frankie Newton and His Uptown Serenaders - The Onyx Hop [1937] (2:45)
12. Lil Green - Knockin' Myself Out [1941] (3:00)
13. Champion Jack Dupree - Junker's Blues [1940] (2:40)
14. Curtis Jones - Reefer Hound Blues [1938] (2:43)
15. Fats Waller - The Reefer Song [1943] (2:51)
16. Gene Krupa and His Orchestra - I'm Feelin' High and Happy [1938] (2:41)
17. Ella Fitzgerald / Chick Webb and His Orchestra - When I Get Low, I Get High [1936] (2:29)
18. Cootie Williams and His Rug Cutters - Ol' Man River (Smoke a Little Tea) [1938] (2:47)
19. Richard M. Jones and His Jazz Wizards - Blue Reefer Blues [1935] (2:57)
20. Dick Justice - Cocaine [1929] (3:05)
21. Jazz Gillum and His Jazz Boys - Reefer Head Woman [1938] (3:02)
22. Frankie "Half Pint" Jaxon - Willie the Weeper [1927] (2:21)
23. Luke Jordan - Cocaine Blues [1927] (3:14)
24. Freddy Taylor and His Swing Men from Harlem - Blue Drag [1935] (2:59)
25. Willie Bryant and His Orchestra - A Viper's Moan [1935] (3:22)







COCAINE HABIT BLUES - Memphis Jug Band (1930)
Cocaine habit mighty bad
It's the worst old habit that I ever had
Honey take a whiff on me

I went to Mr Beaman's in a lope
Saw a sign on the window said no more dope
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

If you don't believe cocaine is good
Ask Alma Rose at Minglewood
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

I love my whiskey, and I love my gin
But the way I love my coke is a doggone sin
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

Since cocaine went out of style
You can catch them shooting needles all the while
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me

It takes a little coke to give me ease
Strut my stuff long as you please
Hey, hey, honey take a whiff on me



DOPE HEAD BLUES - Victoria Spivey (1927)

Just give me one more sniffle
Another sniffle of that dope (2x)
I'll catch a cow like a cowboy
And throw a bull without a rope

Doggone, I've got more money
Than Henry Ford or John D. ever had (2x)
I bit a dog last Monday
And forty doggone dogs went mad

Feel like a fightin' rooster
Feel better than I ever felt (2x)
Got double pneumonia
And still I think I got the best health

Say, Sam
Go get my airplane and drive it up to my door
Oh, Sam, go get my airplane
And driii-ve it to my door
I think I'll fly to London
These monkey men makes mama sore

The president sent for me
The Prince of Wales is on my trail (2x)
They worry me so much
I'll take another sniff and put them both in jail