Summer is right around the corner, and the weather seems to be getting nicer all the time. Nothing says “Summer” to me more than eating really good barbecue out on my deck. Grilled burgers and steaks are also a summertime favorite, but as everyone should know, grilling burgers is an entirely different thing than slow-cooked BBQ. There are many regional styles of barbecue in America, including styles from Memphis, Kansas City, several from Texas, and many others. In my home area of Southeast Michigan, there is no shortage of good barbecue restaurants. Everyone has their favorite, but no one could argue that Slows Bar-B-Q in Detroit and The Union Woodshop in Clarkston are both really great places to eat.
As far as brews are concerned, I strongly recommend giving your business to a local microbrewery wherever you are. Local craft beers are very high quality, offer a great variety of styles, and generally do not taste like something voided from a Clydesdale’s bladder. There are many people who are more expert than myself to recommend specific brews, so I will just offer up the third joy of summer – the Blues!
Here is a real treasure of a video that features some of Chicago’s finest blues musicians. Having Koko Taylor, Willie Dixon and Buddy Guy all in the same performance must have been a real treat to see live. All three are legends in the Chicago blues scene. In this video they are jammin’ to “Wang Dang Doodle”, a blues classic that was written by Dixon. (Dixon actually wrote this song especially for Koko Taylor.) Faithful readers of Good Music Speaks will remember this tune from an earlier post about Howling Wolf and his famous “Rocking Chair” album.
One of the great blues musicians who spent a good portion of his life in Detroit was John Lee Hooker. This cat made more of a career out of the E minor pentatonic scale than I will ever make out of a whole encyclopedia of scales. John Lee Hooker plays music that is raw, rhythmic, dirty, greasy, authentic and more soulful than anything else I can name. Here is a video of him playing one of my favorites, “Boom Boom”.
I’ll leave you with a quote from bluesman B.B. King:
“Nobody loves me but my mother, and she could be jivin’ too.”
Now that’s the blues!