REPOST: HILLGRASS BLUEBILLY ENTERTAINMENT PRESENTS: HIRAM & HUDDIE

I am reposting this because when I originally posted about it back in November the album was next to impossible to acquire. As of today it can easily be purchased from Amazon.

I’ll be honest. I’m not really too into tribute albums. I mean, they usually have their high points but when you take them as a whole they tend to feel mailed in or uninspired.

Such is not the case with this particular tribute album, and while I am sure there have been no shortage of tribute albums to Hank Sr. or Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, I am sure there hasn’t ever been one quite like this. For one, check out the take no prisoner’s, my way or fuck you contributing artists. With acts like Scott H. Biram, Possessed By Paul James, Bob Log III, Jawbone, Wayne “The Train” Hancock and Soda taking part you know these aren’t just gonna be mere remakes of classics. For another thing, take the folks putting it out- Hillgrass Bluebilly Entertainment. In what dealings I have had with these guys two things are for sure. They have as much passion about the whole punkass/deep blues scene as anyone, and if they are gonna do something they are gonna do it 100% all out. Taking all of that into account I had a hard time imagining how this particular tribute album couldn’t be awesome.

I was right.

Hiram and Huddie is a double cd tribute album, one disc being a tribute to Hank Sr. while the other is a tribute to Huddie Ledbetter. Both discs feature the same lineup of artists for the most part with each artist seeming to have been given complete freedom to do whatever they wanted with their tracks, and the bands used that freedom to make the tracks their own. Really, there isn’t a track to be skipped across either disc, but as with any compilation some tracks just stand out from the others.

Soda’s cover of Hank’s “Ramblin’ Man” is one such case. Sounding like it would have come from a drunken 1920’s New Orleans speakeasy, this track just begs for you hit repeat until the ink wears off the button. Scott Biram just seems like he was born to sing Sr.’s songs, and the soul of William Elliot Whitmore’s voice adds a richness to his songs that recording techniques in the original version’s time couldn’t capture. As good as all of these tracks are though, it’s Possessed By Paul James’ contributions that totally steal the show and his version of Lead Belly’s “The Bourgeois Blues” wears the “best song” crown.

“The Bourgeois Blues” was originally recorded by Ledbetter after he went to Washington, D.C. at the request of Alan Lomax to record a number of songs for the Library of Congress. After they had finished, they decided to go out with their wives to celebrate but were thrown out of numerous establishments for being an interracial party. The song rails against racism, classism, and discrimination in general.

It would be a shame for this album to get lost in the cracks only be rediscovered years later as a lost gem. Do yourself, Hillgrass Bluebilly, me and every single artist on this album a favor and buy it. Buy two. It’s that good. It’s easily gonna be the best compilation of the year.

Soda – Ramblin’ Man (Hank Sr.)
Scott H. Biram – Lost Highway (Hank Sr.)

William Elliott Whitmore – The Gallis Pole (Ledbetter)
Possessed By Paul James – Bourgeois Blues (Ledbetter)

ROCK REPORT: SCOTT H. BIRAM @ THE GARAGE, ST. PETERSBURG, FL.

I am later than all hell in typing this out but I have a descent excuse. Scott played St. Pete the same day we picked up our new puppy, Oscar, so my life was basically thrown into turmoil, then came the holidays and all the required year-end posts and what not. Ordinarily I would just move on and not bother mentioning a show nearly a month after it happened, so why am I bringing it up? Cause it was so freaking good, that’s why. Over the course of 2008 I had mentioned that it looked like Scott was drinking too much and his shows were starting to slip, then he mentioned to me that he’d quit drinking whiskey and I feel it is now my obligation to tell you how good his last show here was. Reports from friends of mine in other cities mirror my experience. The Scott H. Biram shows of past aren’t back…no. To say that would be selling the current experience short. Scott’s show here in St. Pete (and all of Florida for that matter) was the best I’ve (or others who’ve seen him) seen. He played damned near all night and was 100% awesome from beginning to end.

So, I gotta say…you gotta be pretty f’ing stupid to miss Scott if he’s coming through your neck of the woods any time soon. Personally, I can’t wait to see him again at Deep Blues Festival ’09.

My buddy, James, of afterthehouse.com took some totally awesome pictures of this show. Go check them out.

Scott H. Biram – Long Fingernail
Scott H. Biram – Plow You Under
Scott H. Biram – Blue In The Bottle
Scott H. Biram – Lost Case Of Being Found

Scott H. Biram’s Official Site, Scott H. Biram on myspace, Buy all of Scott’s music

TAMPA/ST. PETE…TO DO: NEXT THURSDAY (12/11)

Sure, plenty of shows come to town and there are plenty of reasons to be excited about each and every one of them. But, unlike people, all shows are not created equal. Some, such as the Black Diamond Heavies show last month, are just more worthy of your unbridled enthusiasm. Scott H. Biram falls into that category. When Scott comes to your town you need to lock up the womenfolk, drink a few whiskey shots and get your ass to the show. I think my card carrying status in Scott’s Church of the Ultimate Fanaticism Fan Club is well documented here on ninebullets, so I am gonna quote a Biram show review a friend of mine wrote after hearing/seeing Scott for the first time ever a few years ago:

“Finally it was time for Scott Biram. I had heard him earlier when he was doing his sound check and the amount of music he can generate all by himself is really staggering. He was really a great performer and musician. He was able to banter with the audience, tune his guitar, work a bass pedal to keep the beat, blow on the harmonica, and growl into his mic/bullhorn. You don’t really know what to expect when the little guy in the green trucker cap sits down on the stage. Biram looks like a guy you’d pass coming out of the bathroom at a Flying J truckstop on I-10. However he attacks honky tonk and blues with a vicious growl and doesn’t let you go until you are stomping your feet and screaming “Whiskey!”

I know the last show Scott played here in town was a drunken mess, but the good news is that Scott has stopped drinking whiskey so the show will be up to the standards he had set the first couple of times he came through town, and we’re all gonna be better for it.

Don’t miss this show, Tampa. Trust me on this.

Scott H. Biram – Been Down Too Long
Scott H. Biram – Spoonful
Scott H. Biram – We Shall Be Free
Scott H. Biram – Long Fingernail
Scott H. Biram – Sweet Thing
Scott H. Biram – Whiskey

NEW SCOTT H. BIRAM!

Scott stopped by Ivy League Sessions recently and recorded a few songs for them. Included in the session was his cover of Eva Cassidy’s “I Wish I Was A Single Girl Again” which originally appeared on Scott’s ridiculously awesome, pre-Bloodshot album, Lo-Fi Mojo (buy it now) but more importantly he played a song that’ll be on the new album, Judgement Day Ramble.

Go Check It Out.

New Biram is around the corner. YAY new Biram! Biram’s coming to St. Pete on Dec. 11. Yay live Biram!

The Rock Report: Scott H. Biram @ The Orpheum, Ybor City

I wasn’t gonna say anything at all about this show. I figured since I already admitted SHB was one of my 3 favorite artists then it would be obvious that I thought the show was awesome. I did. This show was so much better than the last time he came to town. A bigger crowd made him even better and the crowd actually knew the songs. Instead of me going on and on about how good the show was I figured I would let someone else tell you. I have this friend who really digs live music who came out for the show even though he is no real fan of Biram’s recorded material. So, before the show I asked him if he would do a show review afterwards. Well, he agreed and here you go:

Scott H. Biram Show Review by Jason Richardson

You know I am not the biggest Biram fan but I like live music in general regardless of genre. In my opinion that is how music is meant to be enjoyed, technology allows recording only recently and the expense of the equipment it once required is why we are now embroiled in the arguement over copyrights and illegal downloading.  Long after the reason for paying for a record is gone we still do so which I find curious. Anyway, I checked out the opening acts on their respective myspace pages earlier in the day and was excited to see the first group.  A large band from Lakeland called Semisoul was a great surprise. Female lead vocals, a rapper, and a horn section round out the stardard power trio very well. That and I think the female singer was checking me out a little bit.  Well…maybe she was just worried because I almost bumped into her but I will give her the benefit of the doubt.

myspace.com/semisoul

My friend Diana was excited to see the Dead Popes and I realized that I am friends with the drummer only when I saw them setting up.  Fun rockabilly guys with a very tight sound and a fun attitude and I was pretty happy with the show by this point.

myspace.com/thedeadpopes

Finally it was time for Scott Biram.  I had heard him earlier when he was doing his sound check and the amount of music he can generate all by himself is really staggering.  He was really a great performer and musician.  He was able to banter with the audience, tune his guitar, work a bass pedal to keep the beat, blow on the harmonica, and growl into his mic/bullhorn.  You don’t really know what to expect when the little guy in the green trucker cap sits down on the stage. Biram looks like a guy you’d pass coming out of the bathroom at a Flying J truckstop on I-10.  However he attacks honky tonk and blues with a vicious growl and doesn’t let you go until you are stomping you feet and screaming “Whiskey!” along with the 40 or so others that stayed all night on a Sunday evening.
Anyway you wanted to see what I thought about the show and this is it, if you are a lover of music I think you should make time to go see all kinds of music, sometimes you find something live that you would never even consider on your Ipod or cd player.

And there you go. Biram was awesome. Go see him when he comes to your town.

OH YEAH! I also managed to take some pictures this time. If you want, CHECK THEM OUT.

Scott H. Biram – Blood, Sweat and Murder
Scott H. Biram – Been Down too Long
Scott H. Biram – Raisin’ Hell Again
Scott H. Biram – Long Fingernail

Scott H. Biram’s Official Site
, Scott H. Biram on Bloodshot Records, Scott H. Biram’s myspace site

The Church of the Ultimate Fanaticism:

Scott Biram is one of my Top 3 favorites. It goes: Lucero, Drive-By Truckers, Scott Hiram Biram. Scott will be playing The Orpheum Sunday night and you can come drink whiskey with me and see Scott for a mere 8 dollars.

Rock ‘n’ Roll ain’t pretty and neither is Scott H. Biram. The self proclaimed “Dirty Old One Man Band” successfully, and sometimes violently, lashes together blues, hillbilly and country precariously to raucous punk and godless metal.

Biram ain’t no dour ass singer/songwriter either, sweetly strumming songs about girls with big eyes and dusty highways. HELL NO!!! His singing, yodeling, growling, leering and brash preachin’ and hollerin’ is accompanied by sloppy riffs and licks from his 1959 Gibson guitar and pounding backbeat brought forth by his amplified left foot. The remainder of this one-man band consists of an unwieldy combination of beat-up amplifiers and old microphones strung together by a tangled mess of guitar cables.

Now, tell me that shit don’t sound like fun. Hope to see some of y’all out.

Scott H. Biram – Blood, Sweat and Murder
Scott H. Biram – Been Down too Long
Scott H. Biram – Raisin’ Hell Again
Scott H. Biram – Long Fingernail

Scott H. Biram’s Official Site
, Scott H. Biram on Bloodshot Records, Scott H. Biram’s myspace site