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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Musical (forgotten) treasure - Jo-Ann Kelly

She was a swan in duckling feathers... I enjoyed, loved, followed and cherished Jo-Ann Kelly and her music for decades, now... I own many of her discs and sought-after collaborations with Tony McPhee, her bro Dave, Fred McDowell, Son House, Sam Mitchell, Pete Emery and many others.

She's a swan, because she's so gifted as a singer, you get the same SOOO deep surprise as when you listen - for the VERY first time - to, say, Skip James, Son House or Muddy Waters... unique, sincere, straight, market and technically unaffected and unpolished voices... well, how, HOW can such a gentle, UK-born, blonde hair cute, eye-glassed girl sing THIS way!!!???!!

She has most surprising blues voice and attitude who ever existed outside the plantations... she's Memphis Minnie re-born.

In the years, she collaborated with ALL the greats - she was also asked... pressed to join-in Canned Heat as a singer, which she declined - BUT, to my very own opinion, the true zenith of her craft and art is represented by her voice with self-accompaniement of her (Zemaitis) 12 strings acoustic guitar (like in J-A- K. on Open label or Do It! with Pete Emery) and, always with the mighty (Stella) twelve strings, then played by the late, great Sam Mitchell on Stefan Grossman's How To Play Blues Guitar Vol. 2 on Kicking Mule label, in Nic Kinsey's glorious analog beauty.

Also on Stefan Grossman's Country Blues Guitar are some gems, always sang by Jo-Ann, with Stefan or Mike Cooper on guitar... her voice is so bluesy, raw and rural, powerful and straight to listener heart to soon bring tears to the eyes.

My personal Jo-Ann's playlist would include - at least - 30 to 35 different tunes from ALL her records... I fortunately never took my time to do so, 'cause such an evenience would be, simply, TOO MUCH for my soul - i.e. listening all in a row to Mrs. Kelly's highest peaks, without the, sometimes, welcomed lesser tracks which sort-of are giving some breathe to the next superb one... and so on!

I strongly suggest everyone who's - unfortunately - unaware of Jo-Ann Kelly's art, to browse Stefan Wirz's superb site (see a.m. link...) and, at least, listen to Stefan's (or other WEB sources) sound-clips... loosing in - maybe - the best music ever played and recorded, period...

R.I.P., dear, so long-gone, yet unforgotten and deeply missed, Jo-Ann... hope and trust you'll be jamming with John (Fahey), Skip (James) and all your friends... there, above all... in the blue(s) sky.

I love you so...

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