Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Rory Block: Since You Been Gone

How do you learn to do something? You seek out the masters and study with the best. That’s what Rory Block did at the age of 15 – she left home in search of those who perfected the Delta blues and graduated with honors. After completing her home grown studies and working in various clubs, she returned to New York City to ply her talents in the studio. Her first recording was with mentor Stefan Grossman on the tutorial album, “How to Play Blues Guitar.” On this 1967 Elektra release, Block appeared under the pseudonym “Sunshine Kate.” Shortly after the recording was released, Block took a temporary sabbatical from the business.

When she returned to recording in 1975, Block bounced from label to label having recorded one album each for RCA and Blue Goose and two for Chrysalis. Unfortunately, these four albums departed from her blues roots and took her into a more contemporary vein. Although her performance was excellent, these albums were commercial failures. In 1981, Block was prompted to return to her element – the blues, with a contract offer from Rounder Records. The result was “High Heeled Blues” – the first of 14 albums for the label.

The album was produced by Lovin’ Spoonful veteran John Sebastian and includes 12-cuts, with two being original compositions. For today’s Bluesday Tuesday selection, I’ve chosen “Since You Been Gone,” which was penned by Block. “Since You Been Gone” is a testament that Rory Block can do the country-blues with the very best.


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