Friday, April 21, 2017

Ep 45 - Song 6: "Sidetrack Lounge" by Bo Ramsey and The Backsliders

"He made his debut in Williamsburg, Iowa in 1973, fronted the Mother Blues Band, and rose to prominence as a soloist when he opened for Lucinda Williams on her 1994 tour. He has produced or played guitar on several of her albums, including Essence, which was nominated for a Grammy Award, and appeared in her band in performances on The Late Show With David Letterman, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, and Late Night With Conan O’Brien and in Wim Wenders’ "Soul Of A Man" segment for the Blues series of Martin Scorsese. He has also produced recordings for Joan Baez, Dave Zollo, Pieta Brown, Iris DeMent, Ani DiFranco, and Kevin Gordon, with whom he co-fronted a band, and worked as a guitarist with the above and with Elvis Costello. He has worked extensively with Greg Brown, including an appearance in 1999 on A Prairie Home Companion, and has been inducted to the Iowa Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, and Iowa Blues Hall of Fame."
- from his Wikipedia page

'Born and raised in the blue-collar Mississippi River town of Burlington, Iowa in 1951, Robert Franklin ‘Bo’ Ramsey not only played a vital role in shaping Eastern Iowa’s distinctive blues-rock hybrid, but has continued in his still-vibrant career as a performer, much-in-demand producer, recording session guitarist and “hired gun” in touring bands of high-profile national acts.

"Ramsey broke out in the early-’70s with the seminal Mother Blues Band, a honking powerhouse which also featured Iowa blues legends Joe Price and Patrick Hazell. In the latter part of the decade, the guitarist broke off to form Bo Ramsey & The Sliders.

"Merging the sounds of his beloved Chess Records blues masters with Rolling Stones muscle and swampy, river basin funk, Ramsey & The Sliders enjoyed a strong following on the Midwest circuit for nearly a dozen years.

"Following a brief hiatus in the late-’80s, Bo began a collaboration/friendship with revered folksinger Greg Brown that continues to the present...

"He’s a fine, evocative and passionate writer in his own right, but his guitar magic is such that he keeps many, many songwriters lined up, waiting for his unmistakable six-string imprint. A long-promised project rounding up Bo’s inspirational nuggets drawn from the likes of Jimmy Reed, Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters remains unfinished, but lurks in the near future.

"Bottom line: this ol’ Iowa boy surely can rock it--always has, always will. For these reasons Bo Ramsey joins the elite Iowa Hall of Fame Class of 2005."
- from his page on the Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame website

"THE YEAR IS 1973; THE PLACE is Williamsburg, Iowa. He steps out onto the stage, straps on his guitar and is greeted by a screaming crowd of … aunts, uncles, moms, dads, cousins, friends and, of course, the bride and groom. It’s a wedding dance. But at the end of it all, he leaves with more money in his pocket than he came with. This is Robert Franklin “Bo” Ramsey’s first gig, and he isn’t looking back...

"Records blues masters to the Rolling Stones and the Beatles, Bo took the sounds he heard, blended them and re-tooled them until he had a sound that no other local player possessed. He worked with several bands during the ’70s and ’80s, but took a hiatus from music for a time during the ’80s to work a day job to pay the bills and support his family. The hiatus would be temporary. The ever-restless and always active Bo Ramsey was continually looking for a way to make his mark, and his living, doing what he loved best; making music. Always the visionary, Bo was driving one day and heard a song on the radio by Greg Brown, another native Iowan who’d made his mark in the music scene. After listening to the song, Bo realized that he could help take Greg’s music to the next level. He contacted Greg, a meeting took place, and a musical partnership was conceived that continues to this day."
- from Nick Stika's article on the Premiere Guitars website

"Bo Ramsey is one of music's unsung heroes -- and he doesn't care...

"A genuine Midwest blues-rock legend, everyone predicts he'd be famous if he left Iowa's cornfields for Nashville's streets of gold...

"Ramsey is flattered. But he doesn't really care.

"'Fame is kind of a loaded word,' Ramsey admits. 'I don't think of playing music in those terms. I'm a firm believer in the music. I go where the music takes me and 99 percent of the time, I'm glad to be there.'...

"'The music itself requires that. There are certain things I shut out because they don't play into the process of recording, performing, whatever. But I also leave the window open for spontaneity or certain things that might come in and affect the music or a song,' he explains.

"'There are so many moments that are very satisfying. It can be a fleeting moment in a performance when everything seems to come together or it can be in the studio, when you get the sound you want.'...

"'Playing live is essential. It's a gauge for me. I may write a song but playing it live is the real test, to see if it's going to fly. You do gain some confidence, but you never get over the fact you're always exposing something about yourself. It's nerve-wracking,' he admits.
- from a Melody Parker article in The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier

Marty Christensen - Bass, Vocals
Jim Dreier - Percussion
Eric Griffin - Drums, Handclapping
Steve Hayes - Drums
Bo Ramsey - Guitar, Vocals
Al Schares - Guitar, Vocals

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