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Blue Country Heart

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Audio CD, June 11, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

(2002/COLUMBIA) 13 tracks - deluxe packaging For years now I have had this dream in my head: to got to Nashville and record great, old country sogns with some of America's finest bluegrass musicians. Songs from back when country borrowed extensively from its across-the-railroad-tracks accomplice, the blues. It all came true last January, when my compadres and I courted some of the best tempo, balance, musicanship, and mood from the first chord struck to the fade on the very last note played. When I listen to the finished songs with my eyes closed... it fills my blue country heart. - JORMA KAUKONEN, April 2002Medium 1
  1. Blue Railroad Train
  2. Just Because
  3. Blues Stay Away From Me
  4. Red River Blues
  5. Bread Line Blues
  6. Waiting For A Train
  7. Those Gambler's Blues
  8. Tom Cat Blues
  9. Big River Blues
  10. Prohibition Blues
  11. I'm Free From The Chain Gang Now
  12. You And My Old Guitar
  13. What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?

Singer and guitarist extraordinaire Jorma Kaukonen was a devoted aficionado of early-20th-century rural music long before he cofounded Jefferson Airplane in 1965 and Hot Tuna some years later. On his new solo album, Kaukonen has found an imaginative setting to remind listeners how a fusion of styles and influences from both black and white musicians defined American country music in its formative decades. Included here are gems, both familiar and obscure, by the likes of Jimmie Rodgers, the Delmore Brothers, Jimmie Davis, Cliff Carlisle, and other country musicians who were clearly inspired by their blues cousins. Backed by the Nashville All-Stars, a supersonic string band comprising bluegrass masters Sam Bush (mandolin), Jerry Douglas (Dobro), Béla Fleck (banjo), and Byron House (stand-up bass), all playing on vintage 1920s and '30s acoustic instruments, Kaukonen revives and vividly reinterprets these blues-drenched country classics for a new generation of listeners. --Bob Allen

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (June 11, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000658AR
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #148,015 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 48 people found the following review helpful By George Walsh on June 12, 2002
Format: Audio CD
Blue Country Heart
Jorma Kaukonen
Jorma Kaukonen's new CD, "Blue Country Heart", (Columbia Records) is warm, passionate and extremely enjoyable. Jorma's numerous fans (as well as newcomers) will find this CD essential listening. Jorma's gentle vocals and acoustic finger-picking guitar are right up front in the mix and the guest musicians who contribute dobro, mandolin, fiddle & banjo add a superb dimension. The old-timey songs swing, and are guaranteed to keep you grooving. Jorma, a legendary guitarist and member of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame, was a founding member of Jefferson Airplane. The Airplane ascended to the Top of the Charts in 1967 (with Grace Slick's vocals) on the hit singles Somebody To Love and White Rabbit. Jefferson Airplane performed celebrated concerts at the Fillmore East (NY) and Fillmore West (SF), played on the Ed Sullivan show and were on the cover of Life Magazine in 1968. Jefferson Airplane, before mutating into Jefferson Starship, played all the major concert events of the 1960's, including: Monterey Pop Festival, Woodstock (1969) and Altamont. Jorma left the Airplane in 1972 to pursue a more roots/blues-based form of music with "Hot Tuna" and also began a career as a solo performer. On "Blue Country Heart", Jorma Kaukonen shines on 13 "old timey" songs, including "Just Because", which was made famous by Elvis Presley in 1955 on the Sun Records Sessions. The opening song, "Blue Railroad Train", was originally recorded by The Delmore Brothers, who are one of the architects of early blues and rock. "Blue Country Heart" was recorded in Nashville in the Spring of 2002.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful By John S. Ryan on August 27, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I assume any reader of this page will probably know who Jorma Kaukonen is. (Just in case, though: it's pronounced YORE-ma KOW-ko-nen, he used to play with the Jefferson Airplane, and he founded Hot Tuna with his pal and co-Airplaner, bassist Jack Casady.)
I don't think he's capable of recording bad music, so you can't go wrong with any of his stuff. But this CD is probably the best one he's released in two, maybe three decades.
The plot: Jorma's settin' around Fur Peace Ranch here in Ohio, playin' some old-timey country blooze with some friends. (Actually, the CD was recorded in Nashville. But there are lots of photos from the ranch, and the music has that nice front-porch-jam-among-friends feel.) The outcome: a laid-back hippie hoedown.
Still not sold? All right -- the friends Jorma is jamming with are Jerry Douglas (resophonic guitar), Sam Bush (mandolin and backing vocals), and Byron House (bass), and Bela Fleck sits in with his banjo on two of the tunes. _Any one_ of these folks would be sufficient to guarantee a maximally cool CD. But _all five together_ . . . oh, my. I'm just glad I lived to see the day, that's all.
(On the off-chance that you haven't heard of these people, search for their names at your earliest convenience and prepare to hear some of the best music you've ever heard. Also check New Grass Revival and Strength in Numbers, both of which feature some of the same personnel. While you're at it, look for David Grisman, Tony Rice, and any of the various acoustic releases by Jerry Garcia and his friends -- not only the Dead but also Almost Acoustic and Old & In The Way.)
Anyway, they just don't come any cooler than Jorma; on the Coolness Meter, he registers somewhere around Willie Nelson and J.J. Cale. He's very good at this acoustic stuff and he's been doing it for a long time. Put this baby on your CD player and set yerself down on the porch.
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By Rick Devore on June 28, 2002
Format: Audio CD
This is Jorma's best album since his great album "Quah" from the '70s. The singing, playing, material and production are top notch. EVERY song is a gem.If you are a fan of Jorma, you must have this CD. If you're not familiar with Jorma Kaukonen's unique approach to American roots music but you enjoy acoustic, folk or bluegrass, you should add this disc to your collection because it blows away all other new recordings in the aforementioned genres.It's impossible for me to describe the music on this CD. You must hear it for yourself. It's pure musical magic that is very rare these days. Although I'm a longtime fan of Jorma's work, I would be floored by this music even if I had never heard of him.The time has come for the world to know Jorma!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By C. P. on August 5, 2004
Format: Audio CD
Anyone familiar with Jorma Kaukonen will know that he has been playing this type of music off and on -- mostly on -- for many many years. Here he not only gets to display his own virtuosity, but he can do so in a way that is true to the music, something that wasn't always the case when he played in rock-oriented bands. Blessedly teamed with stellar bluegrass musicians, the band comes off as sharp and confident in this first-class recording. The sound comes through clear and pure, but not "produced", all the while maintaining an aura of witnessing a bunch of friends sitting on the porch, jamming on a Sunday afternoon. This recording is the closest thing I've heard to date that captures the essence of old-time musicians and musicianship back before music became an industry and a commodity.

PS: I see a previous post that disparages this recording based on the color of the artist's skin. I'm not sure of his motive, but the inference is that this record should be dismissed based on a belief that only one race 'owns' or can 'legitimatly' play the blues. The blues may have started in the Mississippi Delta, but it borrowed freely and cross-fertilized from all popular music at the time. Whether the idea for the blues originated from specific conditions by a specific group is irrelevent -- the blues represents the blending of creative forces throughout the country. Just as the blues have evolved past its roots as field chants, it has become first an American institution, and now an international one. Any musician can tell you that where ever he goes on this planet, if the people have heard about America, they want to hear him play the blues.
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