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Marcia Ball: Born in Texas, Raised in Louisiana–And She Sounds It

Here is the beginning of Wikipedia’s profile of Marcia Ball:

Marcia Ball (born March 20, 1949, Orange, Texas, United States)[1] is an American blues singer and pianist, born in Orange, Texas but who grew up in Vinton, Louisiana.[1] She was described in USA Today as “a sensation, saucy singer and superb pianist… where Texas stomp-rock and Louisiana blues-swamp meet.”[2] The Boston Globe described her music as “an irresistible celebratory blend of rollicking, two-fisted New Orleans piano, Louisiana swamp-rock and smoldering Texas blues from a contemporary storyteller.”[3] (Continue Reading…)

Alligator Records, Ball’s label, provides more background:

Marcia Ball is a woman with a reputation. The Texas-born, Louisiana-raised pianist/vocalist/songwriter is famed worldwide for igniting a full-scale roadhouse rhythm and blues party every time she strolls on stage. Ball’s groove-laden New Orleans boogie and rollicking Gulf Coast blues have made her a one-of-a-kind favorite with music fans all over the world. But she’s also a master at transfixing her audience with an emotionally rich, passionately sung ballad. The Boston Herald says, “Ball plays masterful, red hot tracks from the Texas-Louisiana border. Her voice can break your heart with a ballad or break your back with a rocker.” (Continue Reading…)

The song above, Play With Your Poodleis as suggestive as the title suggests. The sax player also manages to sample Rhapsody in Blue amidst the semi-lewdness, which is pretty good. It’s a bit before the one minute mark. The notes say that the clip is from the documentary Rocking the Boat: A Musical Conversation & Journey, which stars the great Delbert McClinton. Below is Louella.

The Austin Chronicle ran an affectionate feature about Ball ten years ago, and here is her site.

Here’s What’s Here

The Daily Music Break explores every genre of music, from hip hop to opera. It's simple: Boundaries are dumb. It's all good. Here is more about the site and here is our index:

--A Tribe Called Quest to The Dick Hyman Trio (In other words, A to H)

--Indigo Girls to Queen Ida (I to Q)

--Radiohead to ZZ Top (R to Z)

Reading Music

The stories of the great bands and musicians are fascinating. Musicians as a group are brilliant, but often troubled. The combination of creativity and drama makes for great reading.

Here are some books to check out.

Duke Ellington brought class, sophistication and style to jazz which, until that point, was proudly unpolished and raucous. His story is profound. The author, Terry Teachout, also wrote "Pops," the acclaimed bio of Louis Armstrong. Click here or on the image.

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What else is there to say? Here is the story behind every song written by The Beatles. Click here or on the image.

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The Grateful Dead don't get enough credit for the profound nature of its lyrics. Many of the band's songs are driven by a deep and literate Americana ("I'm Uncle Sam/That's who I am/Been hidin' out/In a rock and roll band" and "Majordomo Billy Bojangles/Sit down and have a drink with me/What's this about Alabama/Keeps comin' back to me?").

David Dodd's exhaustive study tells the story, song by song. Click here or on the image.

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