The Roots Of Jimbo Mathus: From Charley Patton To Charlie Parker
Jimbo Mathus's latest work, Confederate Buddha, was easily one of the most overlooked roots albums of 2011. Don't worry, we sort of slept through it too, but that just means you can make up for that with us by checking him out Saturday night at the Continental Club, with opening act Shinyribs.
Photo By Robyn Friday
You more than likely know Mathus's name from his work with the now-defunct Squirrel Nut Zippers in the '90s and Buddy Guy in the early '00s. The Zippers' album Hot was one of the weirdest things to come out of the '90s, and it's single "Hell" and it's accompanying video was an injection pure oddity that hadn't been seen on the channel since at least Oingo Boingo.
Along with his band, the Tri-State Coalition, Mathus recorded the Creedence Clearwater Revival and The Band-ish mash that is Buddha with an eye on the spirituality of his native Mississippi, framed by the region's blues sound and mythology. "Too Much Water" could be about a natural disaster like Hurricane Katrina, or a romantic match gone wrong. Either way, there will be scars.
This week we asked Mathus to compile a list of the songs that have informed his music since he began his career. Predictably, his compilation was a great overview of the wild and varied sounds that has made American music so great.
"Pony Blues" By Charley Patton
"Just a great dark, tragic story told in a way only Scottish descendants could dream up."
"Little Queenie" Chuck Berry
"Pure rock and roll trash about underage sex."
"I Saw The Light" Hank Williams
"A song of great hope, from one who is hopeless."
"West End Blues" Louis Armstrong
"A masterpiece by a true American hero and genius."
"Where Ya At Mule" Dr. John
"Too funky for words, from The Sun, Moon & Herbs record, which I love. Hard to pick just one from this gumbo pot of recordings."
"Casey Jones (On The Road Again)" James Luther Dickinson
"Pure Memphis interracial mayhem!"
"Red Cross" Charlie "Bird" Parker
"He's my favorite soloist, period, on any instrument."
"In The Hills Of Tennessee" Jimmie Rodgers
"A great sentimental song by the original crazy Mississippi white boy."