Diggin’: Cootie Stark & Neal Pattman’s “John Henry”

inNewson April 18, 2013

cootieandnealListen: John Henry

I was listening to the local jazz station on my way into work this morning and Kenny Burrell’s “Chitlins con Carne” came on. Kenny Burrell is a jazz guitarist and composer who’s style is deeply influenced by blues and his musical surrounding growing up in Detriot, MI. When I got into work, I trolled across Spotify for more Burrell and found the album Blues – The Common Ground. What Kenny Burrell is referring to in his album title is specifically the 12-bar blues, a standardized chord progression. For almost all musicians, the chord progression is a familiar one and so among musicians who may be freshly acquainted, it is a musical common ground. That inspired to reflect on this week’s Diggin’ by Cootie Stark & Neal Pattman.

Some of the most heartening experiences I have had at Music Maker are helping arrange and make introductions between our partner artists. Smiles and laughs are a guarantee as is great music. Reaching back to Music Maker’s beginnings, Tim has arranged and been there for these marvelous moments with his recording equipment cued up and ready to go. Many magical moments have been captured.

This week’s dig may not be a standard 12-bar blues, but John Henry is firmly in the canon of Country Blues and the two playing, Neal Pattman and Cootie Stark had both been playing it since they were boys.

Tim recalls the first time Cootie and Neal met, their boyhood was long gone. It was at a Blues Revue performance at the Charlotte Blues Festival, a low-key event that happened only once. Nevertheless, it was an important time for Cootie and Neal, upon meeting they were fast friends, exchanging numbers and making plans to play again. They went on to tour 42 cities with Taj Mahal and the Winston Blues Revue. When Neal recorded, Cootie and Taj backed him up. When Cootie recorded, Neal and Taj backed him up. This recording of John Henry in its great beauty shows the great music that can happen as a result of the work of Music Maker, its supporters and the great musicians we partner with.

— Aaron Greenhood


*John Henry is an unreleased track, but albums from Cootie Stark and Neal Pattman can be found here on the Music Maker Store.

*Need more Diggin’ in your life? Check out last week’s Diggin’ here!



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