High Congress Presents #2: "Delta Blues" by Joe Cifarelli

Woah! It's Son fuckin' House! Who's your caucasian, Son? Who's your caucasian? Is it...Blind Lemon Lightfoot?

So, in th' next chapter of Lightfoot Plays 'n' Sings Cifarelli I'm proud to stand and step away from the mixing desk at 2:30 AM and present the screamer "Delta Blues" which sounds pretty smokin' to my ears. This is an update, of course, of the old Robert-Johnson-at-th'-crossroads tale.

For this joint I laid a guide guitar and drum box track and took it over to my buddy Greg Aldrich's ProTools loft studio in Amherst and overdubbed a real drum track which, in my McCartneyesque hubris, I played myself. Woah! Holy seventy-five edits, Ball Boy! While there I popped my bass through his lovely old Ampeg rig and tracked bass, combining mic'd amp and direct signal.

Returning to Lightfoot Studios I brought Joe and his Strat and single-12" Mesa Boogie and he proceeded to stink deliciously all over th' thing. Doubled rhythm was put down as well as a whole mess o' leads which sit pretty much in their entirety across the track, coming to the fore in the solo section but prominent throughout in a call-and-response BB King-on-meth sort of way.

Little accents of 16th-note piano pounding were added under the last verse as well as some pretty fractured, distorted organ under the choruses. I also beefed up the rhythm guitar under the choruses to bring out the drum syncopations that single out these sections. Some tambourine and shaker completed the instrumental overdubs. Oh, and I threw in some stunt-slide guitar for a little added outhouse ambience. And some cool plinky-plinky Andy Summers stuff under the guitar break in the middle eight for a little future shock.

Then, god forgive me, I manipulated the first measure of "Love In Vain" by Robert Johnson to fit the intro and snuck some of th' refrain of "Come On In My Kitchen" into the middle eight. It fit, man. That shit's public domain, right? Anyway, I slapped it in in a way that it can be pulled out if problems of legality or good taste should intrude.

Vocals were recorded yesterday in a session that I carefully scheduled to occur after I'd been on stage for 8 of the last 10 nights. This was to assure access to the Robert Lightfoot voice which I've never before gotten on tape to my satisfaction. Time will tell but I'm pretty happy with the distressed, broken, overdriven vocal that might just rank as my own personal "Twist And Shout". Ugly stuff.

I was very inspired by Zeppelin in my production approach and esthetic on "Delta Blues", in particular, of course, the album Houses Of The Holy. I had originally wanted to have a dobro/porch stomping-to-arena-thunder dichotomy and it's definitely there with the hand-clappin', foot-stompin' sections but the whole thing just drives so hard that I ended up underplaying the novelty approach and just let it rip. The interesting rhythm on the break sections consist of me playing the guitar like a percussion instrument along with a quadrupled overdub of foot-stomping and hand-clapping. It's Vintage! We Will Rock You! Hope th' cotton crop don't waterlog this here season! Woah!

It's nice to do something nasty like this once in a while. Just to know I can. There ain't harmony one and there sure as hell aren't any strings. No sir. Enjoy. Bleed from the ears if you must. Mine are scabbing over.


Blogger roxtar said...

Woah indeed! I'm inspired to offer up a new entry for the Malarians' lexicon:

Bacon: It's smoky, salty, sweet, dripping in fat, and in sufficient quantities, it just might stop your heart.

Dude, that shit was like bacon!

9:16 AM  
Blogger fgfdsg said...

This is officially the damn coolest thing I've ever heard, especially since it's so untypical of you.

Whoo hoo!

I like the interpolation of "Come On In My Kitchen" and the added atmosphere and sense of the past it adds. (It also makes me think at least *someone* has been thinking about what I've been attempting lately. LOL)

4:20 AM  
Blogger beyond passionate said...

Hot damn! I love that shit. Great energy throughout.

Being a child of all that blues-based America-to England-back to America music of the sixties, this is what turns my worm.

Thanks for brightening my otherwise depressing day (got the bill for my son's emergency ruptured appendix hospital stay- $27,000!!! Then my wife's car broke down. Think I'll smoke some ganja and listen to this clip again)

10:36 PM  
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