Hans Olson (1973) Western Winds (LP) Joplin Records (3266)

Hans Olson Western Winds 


Joplin Records 3266 

*** noteworthy

While the blues is the foundation of most everything you’ll find me bragging about, the blues at its base really ain’t my bag. If it ain’t authentic, then what’s the point, and if it is authentic, it usually sounds outdated. Of course, plenty of exceptions exist.

But those exceptions usually come from black musicians playing the blues fast, and this cat focuses on the slow to mid tempo. And typically there’s nothing worse than white folks trying to create authentic black blues. It’s like some educated fools digging up the bones of the aborigines, putting them in a museum, collecting the entrance fees and acting self-righteous.      

But there’s something honest about the backroom basement sound on this album. You almost have to dig it. It sounds like somewhere between Captain Beefheart and Bob Seger, Van Morrison and Rory Gallagher, the Allman Brothers and Tony Joe White, and comes straight from the black blues, somewhere between John Lee Hooker and Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee, and the blues appear to run straight through this artist’s heart. He focuses on the slow and midtempo but seems to know when turn up the voltage.

This might not match any of those previously mentioned artists in their primes, but it’s definitely worth a listen if you come across it. It’s apparently his first long player.

Marc Benno (1971) Minnows (LP)

Marc Benno Minnows 

A&M 4303

Produced by David Anderle

engineered by Bruce Botnick
*** noteworthy 
Likely the best offering from this Texas musician, likely for several reasons, including the people who helped create this set of low key bluesy material, including four great guitarists: Clarence White, Jesse Ed Davis, Bobby Womack, and Jerry McGee.

Of course, Benno himself deserves credit for the quality of this set, as he writes all of the songs, sings and plays several instruments–guitar, piano, organ, and marxophone. Perhaps mostly importantly, Benno (fresh from playing on the Doors’ L.A. Woman album) exhibits a frailty that only shows up this album.

While Ambush, the follow up to this album, was likely his most successful commercially speaking, this is the one that comes closest to a timeless classic.

— winch