Coming up on Sunday October 27th is an afternoon/evening of Sydney (and Newcastle) artists covering some of their favourite country songs plus they’ll play a few of their own. Inner Western (FB Event) is happening at the Petersham Bowling Club from 2pm. Ahead of the show we’ve asked some of the artists appearing to choose a favourite country cover by another musician and tell us what makes it special to them.
First up is Newcastle singer/songwriter James Thomson who received widespread acclaim for his debut album and who is adding final touches to its anticipated follow-up.
Boz Scaggs ~ Waiting For A Train (by Jimmie Rodgers)
It’s not possible to talk about country music without talking about the blues. If you have any interest in playing those styles of music and you don’t know the songs of Jimmie Rodgers; then you’re kidding yourself.
Rodgers seamlessly blended blues, cowboy songs, mountain music, ballads, Jazz, hokum, rags and created an incredible synthesis of American music up until that time; country music. He was a poor railway worker who left that line of work in his teens because he decided he wanted to be a star. Before Cash, Tubbs, Frizzell or Hank Williams there was the singing brakeman and he was a star. He was Howlin’ Wolf’s favourite singer of all time and one of Loius Armstrong’s first recording gigs way back in 1930 was playing trumpet on a Jimmie Rodgers record called Blue Yodel #9. He always had incredible arrangements for all his songs and his voice, songwriting, guitar playing, yodeling, persona and story are still so powerful.
This is a brilliant version by Boz Scaggs of one of Jimmie’s most popular songs called Waiting on a Train. It’s taken from Boz’s second (self titled) record (which is a great record while we’re at it). He really nails this one; the vocal part, the yodel, the phrasing and the arrangement are beautiful – it’s one of the best Jimmie Rodger’s covers there is. It helps when the Muscle Shoals rhythm section are backing you too I suppose. It’s ragged but the whole thing is so tight in that groove. That’s Duane Allman on the slide guitar too; doing a great job of recreating that Jimmie Rodgers signature sound. Jimmie would have been proud.
Here’s Thomson with the beautiful song 2am Blues: