An Album Review and A Recipe for you eyes, ears, nose and mouth- Califonia Edition
By Vivian Ponte-Fritz
The California Honeydrops – “Spreadin’ Honey” (Tubtone Records in Oakland, California) (2010)
The theme for this week of November Music month is my glorious state of California. A place where they say the streets are paved with gold, but hey, maybe the music is golden too!
This album is one that resembles the style of an older time, with a new, fresh and zippy mood. These five guys make good ol’ fashioned rhythm and blues while looking in the mirror and making funny faces. The sunny quality of their sound can be heard across their jazz, blues, rock, folk and soul inspired tunes. Each track on this album is fully fleshed out with a variety of winds, percussion and strings. The voice is also fresh and upbeat, reminding me of Little Richard or Percy Mayield.
This revival of an old country sound is not something foreign or strange in the Bay Area. The Arhoolie Record Label, based out of El Cerrito, has the wonderful collection of old time blues, bluegrass and folk called Hear Me Howling that spans four Cd’s with recordings made by Arhoolie’s president, Chris Strachwitz in the Bay Area in the 1960s. This group of rare recordings is also worth giving a listen. It features artists like Lightning Hopkins, Skip James, Big Mama Thorton, Sonny Simmons and many more.
The Bay Area has been proven to be a hub of the blues revival movement due to bands like the California Honeydrops and record labels like Arhoolie and Tubtone keeping the golden oldies sounds alive. Join in and give em’ a listen and maybe you will be inspired to keep some of your traditions alive too, because in the realm of music it is shame when what is old becomes what is forgotten. I have been gearing up for thanksgiving and I can certainly say I am very thankful for the musical history and inspiration our nation and my home state has provided. I am also thankful, more particularly, for the specific tracks on this stellar California album: Lovin’ Like This (to dance to), It Ain’t Hard to Tell (reminds me of The Beatle’s Her Majesty) and Brokedown (with it’s samba percussion and breakdowns of cowbell-infused solos.)
check them out in their merry spirits in this awesome video:
To accentuate the good ol’ feel of this week’s California post the recipe I am first presenting is the the good sandwich, California style. While there is a constant debate about what this sandwich really is, as seen here, this one seems pretty darn good to me:
If you are looking for something sweeter try out a recipe including one of California’s seasonal fruits! Right now kiwis, apples, pears and persimmons are ready to be consumed.