CORKY SIEGEL’S CHAMBER BLUES
DAWNSERLY RECORDS 4301
MISSING PERSONS BLUES OP. 26–ONE–TIME WILL TELL OVERTURE OP. 25–LAY DOWN SALLY–ANGEL FOOD CAKE–SHADOWS IN THE SHOE BOX–I’LL FLY AWAY–ITALIAN SHUFFLE/FLIP FLOP AND FLY–GALLOPING HORSES–COUNTER INTUITIVE OP. 24 PART 1–COUNTER INTUITIVE OP. 24 PART 2–THE SKY WILL FALL
Long-time blues fans may remember The Siegel-Schwall Band, led by harp ace Corky Siegel and guitarist Jim Schwall. They were originally based in Chicago in the mid-Sixties, holding down a regular gig at the legendary Pepper’s Lounge. After releasing their first album in 1966 for Vanguard, they headed west to San Francisco, continuing to record until the early Seventies before going on an extended hiatus.
During that time, Corky Siegel had a unique vision–one that would incorporate the blues of Muddy and the Wolf with classical chamber music. Corky recorded three albums of this “chamber blues,” two for Alligator and one for Gadfly Records. His latest set “Different Voices,” continues his path toward melding traditional blues with classical themes. He employs some dazzling special guests throughout this one, too.
One can get a firm grasp on what the concept of “chamber blues” is by listening to the opening instrumental track, “Missing Persons Blues Op. 26.” Corky’s harp spars with the sax of two-time Grammy winner Ernie Watts as the strings pull it all together. Corky takes the lead vocal as pizzicato strings set the tone on a Siegel-Schwall fan favorite, “Angel Food Cake,” while Marcy Levy easily hits the upper-register notes on a fine read of her iconic “Lay Down Sally,” which was co-written by Marcy, Clapton and George Terry.
We had two favorites, too. One of Chicago’s favorite folk trios is The Sons Of The Never Wrong, and they breathe new life into Albert Brumley, Sr.’s traditional “I’ll Fly Away.” Consisting of Bruce Roper, Deb Lader, and Sue Demel, Sue adds a new verse to this Sunday-morning staple. And, what begins as “The Italian Shuffle” with Corky’s harp over the strings, gives way to the mighty Sam Lay’s vocal on a clever segue’ into “Flip Flop And Fly.”
Corky Siegel has composed and performed works for the Grant Park Symphony in Chicago and the National Symphony Orchestra at the Kennedy Center. And, thru the fusion of the music of the legends of Chicago blues he grew up listening to with the textures and sounds of classical music, he is, indeed “the father of chamber blues.” Give a listen to his latest, “Different Voices,” for a truly unique musical journey! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.