Rob’s Apothecary – 11

As we are in the depths of winter, today’s post is most opportune


Charm: Squeeze a frog to death in the hand

Charm: Go toward the bed as if to get into it, but get under instead

Medicine: Tea of L’Herb Cabri (coatgrass)


Medicine (Cajun): Red wine in which a melted tallow candle has been mixed

Medicine: *Mamou tea made with the beans or the roots. Also, crapeau (toadgrass) tea

Treatment for pleural complications: Mare’s milk rubbed on the back of the neck will cure pleurisy

Medicine for croup: Powdered birdeye vine added to milk

Charm to prevent: Wear a dime and some salt in the heel of your shoe

* The Mamou plant whose seeds or roots are used to make the flu remedy is the native Erythrina herbacea, called Indian Bean, Cherokee Bean or Coral Bean. It is an 8- to 10-foot shrubby perennial plant that is sometimes killed back in winter, but returns from the roots in spring. It is propagated by its bright red seeds or by division of the clumps. Standing high above the foliage, 8- to 15-inch red tubular spiky flowers bloom off and on during the summer months.

Today’s Music (notes from All Music Guide)

Living Room Suite – Harry Chapin – 1978 – Listening to Living Room Suite today, you’d never know that it marked the commercial nadir of Harry Chapin‘s career — the songs have such touching and startling intimacy, and are so beautifully produced that it’s just a damn imposing record, just in the listening. Coming at the tail-end of the second disco boom, the cresting of punk, and the full flourishing of power pop, however, it got buried. When he opened up his heart on “Jenny,” it was a phenomenally personal moment, but that wasn’t the kind of love song that was selling in 1978; “Poor Damn Fool” was a wonderful song as well, with a glorious sound, but in tone and sound it was a million miles from “My Sharona”; “Flowers Are Red” was a startling ode to non-conformity, a subject much too serious for a pop record at the end of the 1970s; and “Dancin’ Boy” and “I Wonder What Would Happen to This World,” with their bluesy and gospel sounds, respectively, were even farther from what radio stations were playing. Of course, the very attributes that made Living Room Suite seem so dated in 1978 that neither of its singles charted makes it seem completely timeless and enduring today, as a body of music and a personal statement.

The Long Riders – Ry Cooder – 1977 – soundtrack for The Long Riders received a top-notch treatment from Warner Bros. (Japan), who not only did an excellent remastering job, but backed it up with English lyrics to the songs, notes, and a Japanese insert. Cooder was in fine form with this score, using original material, unusual and anachronistic instruments (saz, tamboura, electric guitar), and elements of traditional songs from the Civil War period. As a result, the album can be appreciated as a unique entity, away from the film — and bonded to the film, the music provides grace and power to the onscreen events.

Lonnie Mack and Pismo – Lonnie Mack – 1977 – Country-rock (mostly) from the versatile and unpredictable master picker. Pismo’s members included bassist Tim Drummond and keyboardist Stan Szelest (frequent Mack cohorts), while Troy Seals, Graham Nash, and David Lindley contributed to the product as well

Looky Here – Mike Morgan and the Crawl – 1996 Longtime frontman and vocalist Lee McBee left Mike Morgan’s the Crawl after the recording of Let the Dogs Run. Morgan chose to replace him not with another harpist but with Chris Whynaught, a powerful vocalist and saxophonist. His presence gives the band a stronger R&B edge, which revitalises the group’s Texas blues and makes Looky Here into their most enjoyable record in years

Lost In The Lonesome Pines – Jim Lauderdale – 2002 – Songwriter and vocalist Jim Lauderdale‘s second pairing with bluegrass legend Ralph Stanley retains much of the vitality of 1999’s I Feel Like Singing Today, and if anything, the duo seems to have become more comfortable working together on Lost in the Lonesome Pines. One can only imagine the jitters Lauderdale must have felt working in the studio with one of American music’s true treasures, so the hints of apprehension revealed in the cracks of the earlier album have been brushed away, and the two sound like old pals sitting on a sunlit porch trading songs and licks. The gruff sentimentality in Lauderdale‘s lead vocals provides the perfect canvas for Ralph Stanley‘s high lonesome tenor to colour, echoing the close harmonies of the Stanley Brothers from 50 years earlier. In many ways, this album is reminiscent of the spectacular collaboration between Steve Earle and Del McCoury on The Mountain; both albums paired a respected maverick singer/songwriter with a legendary bluegrass figure, and the results on both are not quite bluegrass and not quite contemporary folk, but both feel just about right.

Rob’s Apothecary – 10

Two for the price of one today.


Treatment: Wrap in clay mud
(makes sense, early form of plaster I guess)


Cajun Treatment: If you burn your finger while lighting a cigarette, stick it quickly behind your ear

Charm for Burns: Read the ‘fire passage’ in the Bible. Those who know these passages never reveal them till their death, for to do so would cause them to lose the power

Today’s Music: (Reviews taken from the All Music Guide)

Just As I Am/Still Bill – Bill Withers – 2003  (first two albums were arguably his best works, his most personal and unaffected music with a distinctive sound by virtue of their lean production, especially his debut, Just As I Am. At the turn of the 1960s into the 1970s, he was a unique presence, as we’re reminded by this Raven Records two-LP-on-one-CD package. Withers‘ first album is otherwise unavailable on CD, and the mastering here brings the audio quality up dramatically, making the listening experience close and intimate, almost like a private studio performance. Withers‘ songs are so personal that they only gain intensity from this treatment — not just the original songs, such as “Ain’t No Sunshine” or “Grandma’s Hands,” but even his cover of “Let It Be.” The only real decision that fans will have to make concerns his second album, Still Bill, which is available in the United States with two live bonus tracks; for anyone owning this disc, buying Sony’s domestic release of that album may prove superfluous. As an added enticement, Raven has also included bonus tracks of “Better Days,” from the soundtrack to the movie Man and Boy, and a version of “It’s All Over Now,” by Withers and Bobby Womack.)

King Biscuit Time – Sonny Boy Williamson – features Sonny Boy‘s early Trumpet sides from 1951. The original “Eyesight to the Blind,” “Nine Below Zero” and “Mighty Long Time” are Sonny Boy at his very best. Added bonuses include Williamson backing Elmore James on his original recording of “Dust My Broom” and a live KFFA broadcast from 1965.

The Last of the Jelly Roll Kings – Frank Frost and Sam Carr – 2007 – Guitarist and harmonica player Frank Frost was essentially an Arkansas version of Jimmy Reed when he hooked up with drummer Sam Carr in the early ’50s. Carr, the son of bluesman Robert Nighthawk, and Frost worked in Nighthawk‘s band for several years before striking out as a duo in the early ’60s, and when they added guitar player and bassist Jack Johnson in 1962, they became the Jelly Roll Kings (although they wouldn’t use the name for a couple of years yet). Working the Reed side of the street with a distinct Mississippi juke-joint feel, the Kings recorded for the Sun, Jewel, and Earwig labels before Johnson left in the late ’80s — the original trio reunited in 1997 for Fat Possum’s Off Yonders Wall — after which Frost and Carr began working with an ever-rotating cast of guitarists, one of whom was Fred James. James ran tape on the Kings in Helena, AR, in 1998 for an album that was eventually released as The Jelly Roll Kings on Hightone Records a year later in 1999. James also released on his own R.O.A.D. Records a live Jelly Roll Kings set recorded by a Swiss radio crew at the 1993 Lucerne Blues Festival. This collection is made up of outtakes and alternates from the Helena sessions (the first ten tracks) and a few stray songs from the Lucerne gig (the last five tracks). There are no real surprises, since with the Kings what you got was what you got, and that generally meant no-frills Southern juke-joint jams with plenty of harp breaks from Frost. Highlights here include the lead track, “Better Take It Slow,” the spunky “Done with You,” and the majestic and ragged “St. Louis Serenade.”

The Natch’l Blues – Taj Mahal – 1968 – second album, recorded in the spring and fall of 1968, opens with more stripped-down Delta-style blues in the manner of his debut, but adds a little more amplification (partly courtesy of Al Kooper on organ) before moving into wholly bigger sound on numbers like “She Caught the Katy and Left Me a Mule to Ride” and “The Cuckoo” — the latter, in particular, features crunchy electric and acoustic guitars and Gary Gilmore playing his bass almost like a lead instrument, like a bluesman’s answer to John Entwistle. Most notable, however, may be “You Don’t Miss Your Water (‘Til Your Well Runs Dry)” and “Ain’t That a Lot of Love,” which offer Taj Mahal working in the realm of soul and treading onto Otis Redding territory. This is particularly notable on “You Don’t Miss Your Water,” which achieves the intensity of a gospel performance and comes complete with a Stax/Volt-style horn arrangement by Jesse Ed Davis that sounds more like the real thing than the real thing. “Ain’t That a Lot of Love,” by contrast, is driven by a hard electric guitar sound and a relentless bass part that sounds like a more urgent version of the bassline from the Spencer Davis Group‘s “Gimme Some Lovin’.”

Natural Born Days – Tommy Malone – 2013

Nick The Knife – Nick Lowe – 1982 – Following the dissolution of Rockpile, Nick Lowe recorded Nick the Knife with the group’s guitarist, Billy Bremner, and drummer, Terry Williams, accentuating the real reason behind the band’s split — the difference between Dave Edmunds‘ rigid roots-rock and Lowe‘s carefree, funny revisionism. Nick the Knife may work in the conventions of classic rock & roll and pop, but it never sounds enslaved to his roots — any record with a song as infectiously ridiculous as “Ba Doom” can’t take itself too seriously, and that’s the charm of the album. While the songs aren’t as consistently strong as those on Labour of Lust, Lowe contributes a handful of classics, including “Heart,” “Stick It Where the Sun Don’t Shine,” “Too Many Teardrops,” “Burning,” “Queen of Sheba,” “Couldn’t Love You (Any More Than I Do),” and the silly “Zulu Kiss.” And even in its weakest moments, Nick the Knife has a sunny, relaxed charm that makes the album a thoroughly enjoyable listen.

Nilsson Schmilsson – Harry Nilsson – 1971 – Nilsson had a hit, a Grammy, and critical success, yet he still didn’t have a genuine blockbuster to his name when it came time to finally deliver a full-fledged follow-up to Nilsson Sings Newman, so he decided it was time to make that unabashed, mainstream pop/rock album. Hiring Barbra Streisand producer Richard Perry as a collaborator, Nilsson made a streamlined, slightly domesticated, unashamed set of mature pop/rock, with a slight twist. This is an album, after all, that begins by pining for the reckless days of youth, then segues into a snapshot of suburban disconnectedness before winding through a salute to and covers of old R&B tunes (“Early in the Morning” and “Let the Good Times Roll,” respectively), druggie humor (“Coconut”), and surging hard rock (“Jump Into the Fire”). There are certainly hints of the Nilsson of old, particularly in his fondness for Tin Pan Alley and McCartney melodicism — as well as his impish wit — yet he hadn’t made a record as cohesive as this since his first time out, nor had he ever made something as shiny and appealing as this. It may be more accessible than before, yet it’s anchored by his mischievous humour and wonderful idiosyncrasies. Chances are that those lured in by the grandly melodramatic “Without You” will not be prepared for either the subtle charms of “The Moonbeam Song” or the off-kilter sensibility that makes even his breeziest pop slightly strange. In short, it’s a near-perfect summary of everything Nilsson could do; he could be craftier and stranger, but never did he achieve the perfect balance as he did here.


Rob’s Apothecary – 9


Treatment (said to cure): Wipe the legs of child with a greasy towel every day

Today’s Music (note all reviews taken from the All Music Guide)

Love ChroniclesAl Stewart – 1969 – the second album is most renowned for the 18-minute title track, an autobiographical recount of different love affairs with guitar by Jimmy Page. That track was also quite controversial for its day in its use of the word “fucking” at one point in the lyrics, though that’s not typical of the tone of the composition. It’s actually not the best of the six songs on the record, which saw Stewart wisely discard the orchestration of his debut in favour of fairly straight-ahead folk-rock backing. “Ballad of Mary Foster” is Stewart‘s best early song, as a two-part suite neatly divided between brusque cynical commentary on a bourgeois English family and the introspective musings of the ravaged wife. That second part bears considerable similarity in melody and tempo, incidentally, to sections of the far more famous Stewart song “Roads to Moscow.” The rest of the album has additional solid vignettes in the standard gentle yet detached Stewart mold, the best of them being “Life and Life Only,” which exploits his knack for insistent, repetitive minor-keyed hooks.

Louisiana BluesRobert Pete Williams – 1967 – Great blues artists need not be virtuoso musicians of the sort proudly paraded around by genres such as jazz and classical music. When expression and emotion are the main requirements — and real expression and emotion, not just professional stage dramatics — then playing one million notes per minute or having the most perfect sound on earth becomes much less important. But this is all a way of building up to the opinion that Robert Pete Williams is indeed a virtuoso, making him one of the most exciting country blues musicians to ever record as well as one of the most musically interesting. Again, it isn’t a matter of playing a lot of notes, but how he plays them. Within a single passage he will sometimes employ three or four brilliantly subtle techniques — for example, a run played with the strings slightly muted followed by a clever punching of the rhythm with a single staccato chord. He creates passages of notes in which each one is played with a slightly different feel, an intricate and difficult accomplishment that few blues artists even think about, let alone do. He also rarely repeats himself, does fascinating things with the harmonic structure, and in each song evolves a relationship between guitar and voice that is stunning. On his “I’m Going Down Slow,” for example, his blues lines utilize syncopation and offbeat accents that are more commonly associated with the blues inventions of jazz giants such as Charlie Parker, not country blues artists who are thought of as more primitive in their concept. Is that notion ever wrong! “Ugly,” also known as “Grown So Ugly,” is one of the most powerful songs ever from the country blues tradition. It is also easily this artist’s most famous number due to a cool, but eventually inferior, cover version by Captain Beefheart, one of the few times the Captain took on something he couldn’t quite handle. The only real quibble with this set, and it is very small, is the missed opportunity for a good album cover. Someone at this label had strange notions of design when Takoma’s handful of blues releases came out. The small photo of the artist on the back cover with his scribbled signature would have been a much better choice if enlarged to fill the front cover than the awful artwork that is featured. Whatever. Put a paper bag over it, but just listen to it.

Grand Wazoo Frank Zappa – 1973 – Like its immediate predecessor, Waka/Jawaka, The Grand Wazoo was a largely instrumental jazz rock album recorded during Frank Zappa‘s convalescence from injuries sustained after being pushed off a concert stage. While Zappa contributes some guitar solos and occasional vocals, the focus is more on his skills as a composer and arranger. Most of the five selections supposedly form a musical representation of a story told in the liner notes about two warring musical factions, but the bottom line is that, overall, the compositions here are more memorably melodic and consistently engaging than Waka/Jawaka. The instrumentation is somewhat unique in the Zappa catalog as well, with the band more of a chamber jazz orchestra than a compact rock unit; over 20 musicians and vocalists contribute to the record. While Hot Rats is still the peak of Zappa‘s jazz-rock fusion efforts, The Grand Wazoo comes close, and it’s essential for anyone interested in Zappa‘s instrumental works.

Guitar ManLittle Milton – 2002

Greyhound – Mike Zito – 2011 – Since hooking up with the Eclecto Groove label in 2008, roots/blues-rocking guitarist Mike Zito has been honing his craft, shifting his focus from a hotshot blues six-stringer to a literate songwriter and soulful singer who just happens to be a badass guitarist. On his third release for the imprint, he brings along the talented Anders Osborne (who appeared on his previous disc) as producer/second guitarist/backing vocalist, and together they craft a tough but introspective Southern rock set with strong roots in the swampy sounds that have clearly inspired Zito. Instead of entertaining multiple guests as on his last outing, Zito pares his band to a backing trio featuring Osborne, drummer Brady Blade, and bassist Carl Dufrene, the latter who, like Osborne, has worked with the similarly styled Tab Benoit. From the bittersweet, acoustic-based “Motel Blues” to the chunky “The Southern Side” and the Creedence-sounding title track, Zito looks inward for inspiration, which results in his best, most personal collection yet. The melody of the chorus “Run away, run away/I’m leaving today/There ain’t nothing like the sound/Of a lonely Greyhound” is instantly memorable in its hopeful desperation, a singalong moment when Zito reflects on an earlier time in his life that creates an indelible audio photograph. He shifts to Tinsley Ellis-styled riff rock for the grinding “Judgment Day” and comes up with a stinging, surging rocker whose words of “If I’m going to walk the streets of Hell/I might as well dance” turn the religious sentiments of the song upside down. That spirituality threads through the album but is never overbearing. He recounts a discussion with the man upstairs on “The Hard Way” as Osborne runs his guitar through a processing/distortion unit. It’s perfect for the pounding Zeppelin-style beat as Zito sings with a raw voice that seems as if he’s got a hellhound on his trail. The closing “Please, Please, Please” (not the James Brown tune) is an achingly slow, lost love song that’s as close to pure blues as this album gets. It allows Zito to display his darkly personal singing as well as build a tasty jazz-inflected guitar solo. The upbeat shuffle of “Until the Day I Die” is a sacred inspired love song to his wife that never gets cloying or pretentious and features searing lead guitar. Osborne‘s production is clean and stripped-down but includes subtleties, some audible only in headphones, that show attention to small details and enhance the music without distracting from it. Zito has paid his dues on the road and in the studio to reach the new high standards this album sets in his impressive catalogue. Even though he’s already a journeyman, this release shows he has a rich future as a soulful blues-rocker with something to say and the tools to say it convincingly.

Grateful Heart Blues and Ballads Ronnie Earl and the Broadcasters – 1996 – Perhaps the smartest move a non-singing guitar-playing virtuoso like Ronnie Earl could make was ditching the lame singers who permeate most of his earlier efforts and go with an all-instrumental program. On this outing, Grateful Heart: Blues and Ballads, he surrounds himself with an excellent quartet of players with David “Fathead” Newman on tenor sax, Per Hanson on drums, Rod Carey on bass, and Bruce Katz on keyboards, and the results are simply sublime. Instead of a bunch of Chicago retreads, we are treated to a heady mixture of blues, jazz, soul, swing, you name it, all of it infused with taste, tone and economy. When Earl burns, the results are jaw-dropping; when he slows it down, his choice of notes is exquisite. “Welcome Home,” “Still Soul Searching,” “Drown in My Own Tears” and “Skyman (For Duane Allman)” are just a few of the highlights, but there really isn’t a wasted note on this record to be found. Anywhere.

Half Ain’t Been Told – Otis Spann – 1980 – Super tasty Spann set on Black Cat Records. The vinyl is highly recommended. The same as The Blues of Otis Spann with two additional cuts.

Back Home In New Orleans – Champion Jack Dupree – 1990 – By far the best of Dupree’s three albums for Bullseye Blues, this collection was cut during the pianist’s first trip home to the Crescent City in 36 long years. With his longtime accompanist Kenn Lending on guitar, Dupree sounds happy to be back in his old stomping grounds throughout the atmospheric set.



Rob’s Apothecary – 7 and 8

Oops, I forgot to post yesterday’s sage advice. Wish I had a potion for forgetfulness. So today you get two for one.
BLOOD (Poor or Bad)
Medicine: ‘*Jack Vine tea is the best blood purify you can get. We always made tea out of it when we would be in the swamps’
Medicine: For bad blood, a handful of gum moss, thimbleful of anise seed, a handful of corn shucks, rain water. Steep and take every morning
Application: A poultice of catnip leaves for *chigger boils, or flea boils. Or, an infusion of equal part sumac leaves, sage, and *swamp lily roots boiled down. Add a cup of lard to the strained infusion and boil down until the water is out, and use the salve
Application for ordinary boils: Poultice of mashed jimson weed or mashed elderberry leaves
Or: Pounded okra blossoms and sugar will bring boil to a head
To draw a ‘rising’ to a head. Or draw festering splinters out, beat the skin of the tail of a ‘possum and put sugar on it, and apply
* Chigger mites infest human skin via areas of contact with vegetation, such as pant cuffs or shirt sleeves and collars. They migrate on the skin in search of an optimal feeding area. A common myth about chiggers is that they burrow into and remain inside the skin. This is not true. Chiggers insert their feeding structures into the skin and inject enzymes that cause the destruction of host tissue. Hardening of the surrounding skin results in the formation of a feeding tube called a stylostome. Chigger larvae then feed upon the destroyed tissue. If they are not disturbed (which is rarely the case because they cause substantial itching) they may feed through the stylostome for a few days.
Chigger mites infest human skin via areas of contact with vegetation, such as pant cuffs or shirt sleeves and collars. They migrate on the skin in search of an optimal feeding area. A common myth about chiggers is that they burrow into and remain inside the skin. This is not true. Chiggers insert their feeding structures into the skin and inject enzymes that cause the destruction of host tissue. Hardening of the surrounding skin results in the formation of a feeding tube called a stylostome. Chigger larvae then feed upon the destroyed tissue. If they are not disturbed (which is rarely the case because they cause substantial itching) they may feed through the stylostome for a
few days
Today’s Music (note all reviews taken from the All Music Guide)
3 Hours Pat Midnight – Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson – 1986 ( mid-’50s catalogue for the Bihari Brothers‘ Flair logo is unassailable, with searing rockers like “Oh Baby,” “Hot Little Mama,” and “Ruben” and the blistering slow blues title cut. Unfortunately, this 16-song collection utilises inferior alternate takes on several of the most important titles. On the positive side, it contains both sides of his rare 1959 single for Class, “One Kiss” b/w “The Bear.”)
Zombified – Southern Culture On The Skids –
Yer’ Album – the James Gang – 1969 (debut LP, Yer’ Album, was very much a first record and very much a record of its time. The heavy rock scene of the period was given to extensive jamming, and four tracks ran more than six minutes each. The group had written some material, but they were still something of a cover band, and the disc included their extended workouts on Buffalo Springfield‘s “Bluebird” and the Yardbirds‘ “Lost Woman,” the latter a nine-minute version complete with lengthy guitar, bass, and drum solos. But in addition to the blues rock there were also touches of pop and progressive rock, mostly from Walsh who displayed a nascent sense of melody, not to mention some of the taste for being a cutup that he would display in his solo career. Walsh‘s “Take a Look Around” must have made an impression on Pete Townshend during the period before the album’s release when the James Gang was opening for the Who since Townshend borrowed it for the music he was writing for the abortive Lifehouse follow-up to Tommy. If “Wrapcity (i.e., Rhapsody) in English,” a minute-long piano and strings interlude, seems incongruous in retrospect, recall that this was an eclectic era. But the otherwise promising “Fred,” which followed, broke down into a pedestrian jazz routine, suggesting that the band was trying to cram too many influences onto one record and sometimes into one song. Nevertheless, they were talented improvisers, as the open-ended album closer, Jerry Ragavoy and Mort Shuman‘s “Stop,” made clear. After ten minutes, Szymczyk faded the track out, but Walsh was still going strong. Yer’ Album contained much to suggest that the James Gang, in particular its guitarist, had a great future, even if it was more an album of performances than compositions.

Rob’s Apothecary – 5

A short one today. If anyone knows the secret verse then please let me know
There is a secret verse in the Book of Ezekiel which, if read, will stop bleeding

Today’s Music – June 17th. (note all reviews taken from the All Music Guide)

Emotionalsim – The Avett Brothers– Released March 15th. 2007 (Americana with attitude is the best way to describe the Avett Brothers‘ music, a sublime blend of folk, country, hillbilly, and blues, swirled through with pop, rock, and a touch of wry punk. In their dreams, it all sounds perfect, but not so much so, they think, when they awake. “Yeah, you deserve the best,” they bemoan, not just some “Hand-Me-Down Tune.” Well, regrets, we’ve all had a few, and the Avett Brothers more than some. But if you’re going to be filled with “Shame,” best to offset your remorse with an incredibly infectious melody. Besides, life is short, and since we’re all going to “Die Die Die,” we might as well live and love while we can, even if that does just occasionally mean the band must shrug off “All My Mistakes.” And love is the paramount emotion of Emotionalism, be it too young (the bouncy “I Would Be Sad”), Spanish-flavored (“Pretty Girl from San Diego”), blues-flecked (“Living of Love”), or exuberant (the British Invasion-styled “Will You Return?”). However, of the many marvellous romantic-themed numbers, the most striking is the romantic tale “The Ballad of Love and Hate,” whose opening line, “Love writes a letter and sends it to Hate,” immediately grabs your attention. Elsewhere, the band explores other emotions, like the nervousness that infects the otherwise jaunty “Paranoia in B-Flat Major,” or the amusing attempts of the band to shrug off the attentions from cities around the country: “Salina” begins in fingerpicking style but ends with evocative classical piano and cello, and “Pretty Girl from San Diego” also shifts tactics from Spanish guitar to a big rock finish. From lullabies to the contrarily rousing singalong party piece “Go to Sleep,” the Avett Brothers pick their way through America’s folk styles, and deliver them in ways you’d never expect, all wrapped around lyrics, sometimes wry, sometimes dead-serious, but all delivered with the band’s signature intensity. A fabulous album from a band that just keeps getting better.)

Every Second A Fool Is Born Lucky PetersonApril 19th. 2011 – (The son of blues guitarist and singer James Peterson, Lucky Peterson was born to the blues. He was a child prodigy Hammond B-3 organ player and, mentored by one of his father’s friends, the great songwriter, bassist, arranger, and producer Willie Dixon, Peterson was still only five when he scored an R&B hit with the Dixon-produced “1-2-3-4,” the novelty of it all landing him appearances on The Tonight Show, The Ed Sullivan Show, and others, and his debut album appeared in 1969. But then Peterson discovered the electric guitar, and by the time his Bob Greenlee-produced Lucky Strikes! album appeared in 1989, he was a triple-threat multi-instrumentalist who managed to fuse R&B, jazz, gospel, funk, and rock with the blues. This set, released in 2011 by JSP Records, is a fine example of Peterson‘s joyous fusion approach to the blues, and features plenty of his beautiful and emotionally searing guitar leads, as well as some pretty good piano and organ, too.)

Family Treethe Staples – 1977


Rob’s Apothecary – 4


Feed roasted rat to a bed-wetter

Feed parched pumpkin seeds with salt for bed – wetting

Me, I think I’ll take option two

Also decided that I am going to keep a record of what music I have been listening to on a day to day basis.

Music Playlists
Friday – June 16th
  • Richard Thompson – Acoustic Classics – Released July 22nd. 2014 – Solo acoustic reworking of 14 well-loved songs
  • Rory Block – Ain’t I A Woman – Released 1992 – Her 11th Album
  • Guitar Shorty – The Alligator Years (Best Of) – Released 2013
  • Art Neville – All These things
  • Drive By Truckers – American Band – Released 2016
  • Neil Young and Crazy Horse – American Stars ‘n Bars – Released May 27th. 1977
  • Big Bill Broonzy – One Beer, One Blues – Released July 4th. 2011
  • Bo Diddley – The Black Gladiator – Released June 1970

Check out the lyrics to Big Bill Broonzy’s song GET BACK

This little song that I’m singin’ about,
People, you all know that it’s true,
If you’re black and gotta work for livin’,
Now, this is what they will say to you,
They says: If you was white,
You’s alright,
If you was brown,
Stick around,
But if you’s black, oh, brother,
Get back, get back, get back.
I was in a place one night,
They was all havin’ fun,
They was all buyin’ beer and wine,
But they would not sell me none.
They said: If you was white,
You’s alright,
If you was brown,
You could stick around,
But as you’s black, hmm, hmm, brother,
Get back, get back, get back.
I went to an employment office,
I got a number, I got in line,
They called everybody’s number,
But they never did call mine.
They said: If you was white,
You’s alright,
If you was brown,
You could stick around,
But as you’s black, hmm, hmm, brother,
Get back, get back, get back.
Me and a man was workin’ side by side,
Now, this is what it meant:
They was payin’ him a dollar an hour,
And they was payin’ me fifty cent.
They said: If you was white,
You’d be alright,
If you was brown,
You could stick around,
But as you’s black, oh, brother,
Get back, get back, get back.
I helped win sweet victories,
With my plow and hoe,
Now, I want you to tell me, brother,
What you gonna do ’bout the old Jim Crow?
Now, if you is white,
You’s alright,
If you’s brown,
Stick around,
But if you’s black,
Hmm, hmm, brother,
Get back, get back, get back.

Rob’s Apothecary – 3


For insect bites: Soak whole balsam apples in whiskey. Apply the apple to skin

Charm for snakebite: If bitten near water, beat him to the water and dip the part bitten. That will remove the poison and the snake will die instead of you.

Charm: Cut open a black hen, and while she is still jumping hold her over the bite. When the chicken has stopped fluttering the poison will be gone

Medicine for Snakebite: The juice of plantain banana leaves applied to the wound

Charm: Have a *snake doctor suck the bite

Treatment: Burn a reed and let the smoke rise into the bite

* South Midland and Southern U.S. a dragonfly. Down South, the African American people believe the dragon fly brings dead snakes to life, and they call it snake doctor

Rob’s Apothecary

Yesterday was my first post from the book Gumbo Ya-Ya. I guess y’all know what Gumbo is, right? So, what is Gumbo Ya-Ya – it translates as “everbody talks at once”.

Today’s affliction is:


Charm: Make nine* knots in a tarred rope and tie it around your waist.

Charm: Belt of snakeskin

*If you stick along for the ride you will find that the number nine appears many times

Superstitions – Sickness

Rob’s Apothecary

I have been re-reading the book GUMBO Ya-Ya (Folk Tales of Louisiana by Lyle Saxon, Edward Dreyer and Robert Tallant. It was originally published in 1945 and is now in its sixth printing (2012) Fascinating reading but a little politically incorrect for our time.
Anyway, I have decided to share (on a daily basis) some Superstitions regarding Sickness – (Medicines, and Charms to Cure and Prevent).
Each day you will get (in alphabetical order) a charm or medicine to help whatever affliction you may have. If you can’t wait until your affliction is listed them please contact me. For a small fee, I will see what I can do!

Today’s Affliction:


A charm (or fetish) to cure asthma is made of the victim’s hair tied up in red flannel, which is then placed in a crack in the floor
Medicine: Make a tea of the root of the wild plum cut from the sunrise side. Cut and boil two hours in an iron pot. Give two tablespoons three times daily.
Folk practices: Wearing a musket skin, fur side in, on the chest
Smoking jimson weed – Datura stramonium, known by the common names jimsonweed or Devil’s snare, is a plant in the nightshade family. It is believed to have originated in Mexico, but has now become naturalised in many other regions.

Fact: In ancient herbal medicine, Jimsonweed was used internally to treat madness, epilepsy, and melancholy