Get this crazy baby off my head!


Rory Block


Rory Block - High Heeled Blues - 1981 - Rounder

May be the best contemporary white female blues singer and acoustic guitarist you'll ever hear. Rolling Stone referred to this album as “some of the most singular and affecting country blues anyone—man or woman, black or white, old or young—has cut in recent years.” Check out her greatest album, "Best Blues and Originals".


1.Walking Blues Johnson 2:20
2.Travelin' Blues Delaney, Johnson 2:43
3.Got to Have You Be My Man Block 2:15
4.Devil Got My Man James 2:20
5.Down in the Dumps Wilson 2:58
6.The Water Is Wide Traditional 3:29
7.Since You Been Gone Block 2:13
8.Cross Road Blues Johnson 2:26
9.Achin' Heart Block 2:16
10.Hilarity Rag Traditional 2:01
11.Kind Hearted Man Johnson 3:12
12.Uncloudy Day Alwood 2:33


This was the most blues-oriented release of the three sessions Block issued in 1989 for Rounder; it was also the most concentrated and successful. There were none of the experimental or tentative qualities that sometimes marred the other two dates; Block was in command from the opening moments of her cover of "Walkin' Blues" to the final bars of "Uncloudy Day." Her voice had fire, soul and grit, and she never sounded maudlin or unconvincing, whether doing "Hilarity Rag" or "Devil Got My Man." Her playing was also dynamic and focused, and John Sebastian obviously made a good production partner, as Block got back on track after making records that contained some good cuts but weren't as consistent. © Ron Wynn © 2007 All Media Guide, LLC. All Rights Reserved

The album High Heeled Blues was released in 1981 on Rounder Records as an LP and re-released in 1989 as a CD (Rounder CD # 3061). I was turned on to her by Bob Carlin, the folk and roots music producer/host at the National Public Radio station in Philadelphia where I was news director, producer and anchor from the late 70s to early 80s. Unlike the more sophisticated later recordings, this one has an air of breezy innocence about it, as befits a recording co-produced by the King of Breeze, her longtime friend John Sebastian, the scattered genius behind the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame band “The Loving Spoonful” (“Summer in the City”, “Nashville Cats”, “Darlin’ Be Home Soon”, “What a Day for a Daydream”). Because it is so spare in its production, and because she (and we) were so much younger then, I consider this particular album to be the most successful blend I’ve come across of a white female singer/acoustic guitarist with "real" Delta Blues. This particular CD is an absolute must for blues fans, and should be listened to before going out and getting Rory’s impressive and better-known 1995 award-winning CD mentioned above. In “High Heeled Blues” Block plays some seriously impressive acoustic guitar runs, clean and raw, faithful to the pacing, style and nuances of the original Delta Blues performers. All the songs are 4-bar blues with a couple of 5/4 runs thrown in for syncopated effect. She can sing, too, and is able to switch painlessly to a passable falsetto when she has maxed out the high-end of her vocal range. There's really not a single disappointing cut, with the possible exception of the traditional number "The Water is Wide," a nonetheless beautiful gospel blues song which isn't mixed with proper balance to my taste, especially given how well Rory sings it. But the bulk of the album is Block's stellar guitar work and passionate vocals. Robert Johnson’s "Walkin' Blues", Kind Hearted Man” and “Crossroads Blues” are arranged in authentic Delta Blues style, as is the irresistibly sexy Skip James tune “Devil Got My Man.” Proving that she can not only play the blues but write it, Block has included three truly authentic-sounding original numbers: "Since You've Been Gone," “Achin’ Heart,”and especially the sultry, pulse-quickening “Got to Have You Be My Man” (… “gonna make you sigh and moan.”). And she lets her guitar skill shine through in an arrangement of a thumb and forefinger-driven traditional instrumental number “Hilarity Rag”that brought back visions of Dave Van Ronk.(in terms of arrangement, not looks...duh!) I give a big high-five to “High Heeled Blues.” © nfp2 , June 13th, 2003 © 2007 Ciao GmbH http://cd.ciao.co.uk/High_Heeled_Blues_Rory_Block__Review_5341606
On High Heeled Blues, Rory Block is exactly what a lot of people wish Bonnie Raitt still was: a terrific singer performing mostly folk music and blues with sparse, acoustic accompaniment. Block has had her own brushes with big-time record companies – an overproduced first album on RCA, a fine R&B disc called Intoxication on Chrysalis and an indifferent followup–but she's also played with the Woodstock Mountain Revue and, in 1976, cut an eclectic, largely acoustic LP for the independent Blue Goose label. Returning to the independent world via Rounder, Block has gone back to the roots of Sixties folk music to record traditional songs, blues and gospel tunes (by Robert Johnson, Skip James, the Carter Family, et al.) in very simple guitar, piano and dulcimer arrangements. There are also a few originals. Coproduced by John Sebastian, High Heeled Blues may not be terribly ambitious, but it's thoroughly gorgeous. © DON SHEWEY © Copyright 2007 Rolling Stone


Heralded as “a living landmark” (Berkeley Express), “a national treasure” (Guitar Extra), and “one of the greatest living acoustic blues artists” (Blues Revue), Rory Block has committed her life and her career to preserving the Delta blues tradition and bringing it to life for 21st century audiences around the world. A traditionalist and an innovator at the same time, she wields a fiery and haunting guitar and vocal style that redefines the boundaries of acoustic blues and folk. The New York Times declared: “Her playing is perfect, her singing otherworldly as she wrestles with ghosts, shadows and legends.”
Born in Princeton, NJ, Aurora “Rory” Block grew up in Manhattan a family with Bohemian leanings. Her father owned a Greenwich Village sandal shop, where musicians like Bob Dylan, Maria Muldaur and John Sebastian all made occasional appearances. The rich and diverse Village scene was a constant influence on her cultural sensibilities. She was playing guitar by age ten, and by her early teens she was sitting in on the Sunday jam sessions in Washington Square Park.
During these years, her life was touched—and profoundly changed—by personal encounters with some of the earliest and most influential Delta blues masters of the 20th century. She made frequent visits to the Bronx, where she learned her first lessons in blues and gospel music from the Reverend Gary Davis. She swapped stories and guitar licks with seminal bluesman Son House, Robert Johnson’s mentor (“He kept asking, ‘Where did she learn to play like this?’”). She visited Skip James in the hospital after his cancer surgery. She traveled to Washington, DC, to visit with Mississippi John Hurt and absorb first-hand his technique and his creativity.
“This period seemed to last forever,” Block Recalls nearly forty years later.” I now realize how lucky I was to be there, in the right place at the right time. I thought everyone knew these incredible men, these blues geniuses who wrote the book. I later realized how fleeting it was, and how even more precious.”
By the time she was in high school, her family had splintered in different directions. With nothing holding her down, she left home at 15 with her guitar and a few friends—heading for California on a trip marked by numerous detours and stops in small towns. Along he way, she picked her way through a vast catalog of country blues songs and took her first steps in developing a fingerpicking and slide guitar style that would eventually be her trademark.
She recorded an instructional record called How To Play Blues Guitar in the mid-60s (she was billed as Sunshine Kate on the original recording), but then took a decade off from music to start a family. In the mid- and late ‘70s, she made a few records that ran counter to her inherent blues instincts, and the result was frustration. “Eventually disgusted with trying to accommodate a business which never seemed to accept me or be satisfied with my efforts,” she says, “I gave up totally and went back to the blues.” The result was a record deal with the Boston-based Rounder label, which released her High Heeled Blues in 1981. Rolling Stone referred to the album as “some of the most singular and affecting country blues anyone—man or woman, black or white, old or young—has cut in recent years.”
Back in a groove that felt comfortable and fulfilling, Block threw herself headlong into an ambitious touring schedule that helped hone her technical and vocal skills to a razor’s edge, and at the same time nurture a distinctive voice as a songwriter. She stayed with Rounder for the next two decades, making records that simultaneously indulged her affinity for traditional country blues and served as a platform for her own formidable songwriting talents.
The world finally started taking notice in the early 1990s, and Block scored numerous awards throughout the decade. She brought home W.C. Handy Awards four years in a row—two for Traditional Blues Female Artist of the Year, and two for Best Acoustic Blues Album of the Year. Her visibility overseas increased dramatically when Best Blues and Originals, fueled by the single “Love and Whiskey,” went gold in parts of Europe.
Block joined the Telarc label with the 2003 release of Last Fair Deal, a mix of eight original tunes and six compelling covers of early blues and gospel songs—a recording she characterized as “a total celebration of my beloved instrument and best friend, the guitar.” She joined blues soulmates Maria Muldaur and Eric Bibb less than a year later for Sisters & Brothers, a collaborative 2004 recording that captured the rootsy, gospel-flavored synergy of these three veteran performers.
Block second solo effort on Telarc is From the Dust, released in February 2005. Driven by Block’s soulful and fiery guitar/vocal attack and her impeccable rhythmic sense, the new album seamlessly merges distinctive original material from her own pen with timeless classics from some of the great bluesmen of the early and mid-20th century (Charley patton, Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and Son House). The result is a stripped-down recording—unfettered by extraneous instrumentation or superfluous arrangements—that reaches into the core of the human experience and bears witness to it in the most honest and intimate way possible. © Telarc International Corporation www.telarc.com/biography/bios.asp?aid=165


Anonymous said...

Muchas gracias amigo.
Great singer, great music.
Greetings from Spain.

A.O.O.F.C said...

Agradezco su comentario. Disfrute de la música, y vuelto pronto.

bullfrog said...

dead link, will you please re-post, thanks

A.O.O.F.C said...

Hi,bullfrog. Try

Thanks to original uploader