Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Chuck & Jim Owston: Goin' Down Slow

Today’s selection serves three purposes – it is an acoustic number – so it satisfies our loose definition of “Traditional Tuesday,” it is a blues number – which allows for its inclusion during blues week, and finally it is shameless self promotion as it is a cut that features my brother Chuck and me. “Goin’ Down” slow was recorded in August 1975; however, due to its length it was never released on the vinyl edition of the album “Nite Owl Blues.”

Original LP cover photo from 1975

This acoustic blues number written and originally recorded in 1941 by St. Louis Jimmy Oden achieved greater fame in 1962 when Howlin’ Wolf released the song. Since then two dozen or so blues and rock artists have recorded “Goin’ Down Slow.” This version was recorded with only two microphones – one serving as a guitar and vocal mic and the other for harmonica.

 Original issue label

Chuck is playing his National Duolian steel bodied resonator guitar made in 1931 and sings while I play harmonica. I had only been playing about a year at that time – but I am generally pleased by my performance – not something I can say about all of my recordings made during the two days I was there.

In 2004, Chuck found a dozen tapes from the session including the original album master, alternate takes, unused tracks, and outtakes – which through the miracle of digital editing could be salvaged. The result was a reissue of the original LP with eleven new cuts interspersed throughout.

Reissue cover from 2005

I had the opportunity to edit, coproduce, add a bass to one song, and do the cover art for this release. The reissue took a nearly a year to produce – just in time for the 30th anniversary of the album’s original release. For more about this reissue, see NiteOwlBlues.com.

I remember on a trip to Pennsylvania with CDs of the reel tapes and sitting in my car with Chuck listening to “Goin’ Down Slow.” We both marveled at this track and wondered why it never included on the original release. It became one of the new 11 cuts appearing on the CD reissue appropriately named “Nite Owl Blues – Revisited.” I hope you enjoy this cut.

1 comment:

  1. Just informed by my brother Chuck that Sunday was the 35th anniversary of the finishing of the original album. The last song recorded for "Nite Owl Blues" was "Red House" and was record on 10/10/1975.