Live from Boulevard Music Bernie Pearl
- Artist: Bernie Pearl
- Format: CD
- Release Date:4/26/2005
Bernie Pearl Live From Boulevard Music Major Label ML011-CD Recorded in live acoustic concert at Boulevard Music in Culver City, California in May, 2002, veteran blues guitarist Bernie Pearl showcases his considerable chops on a eleven classic blues numbers, and one sparkling original fingerpicking gem. Pearl, who learned his licks directly from such country blues icons as Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Fred MacDowell, Brownie McGhee, Rev Gary Davis, and others, has also backed, with his band, such luminaries as Freddie King, Big Mama Thornton, Albert Collins, B.B. King, Charles Brown, and Big Joe Turner. His dazzling, imaginative guitar riffs back a warm voice and upbeat stage presence on this notable debut CD for a man who has a near-legendary status in the L.A. blues scene. Previous recordings with Papa John Creach and Harmonica Fats earned high critical praise and two W.C. Handy nominations. Bernie is backed by Michael Barry on upright bass on all cuts. Nigerian drummer Ayo Adeyemi joins in on cuts 12 & 13. Bernie plays a 1954 Martin 00-17, a late 1930's National, and a Guild F-20 - all unamplified. Bernie Pearl Live From Boulevard Music 1) Introduction by Boulevard Music host Gary Mandell 0:19 2) Night Time Is the Right Time 4:21 Based on Mance Lipscomb's rendition of Roosevelt Sykes' famous tune. Medium tempo, East Texas "steady-thumb"-style piece opens the concert. 3) Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning 3:04 Energetic slide guitar, based on Blind Willie Johnson's religious classic. 4) Shinin' Moon 6:21 Pearl often played this slow love blues with it's originator, Lightnin' Hopkins. 5) California Hustle 2:33 A Pearl original, fast-moving fingerpicking instrumental. 6) I Just Keeps On Wanting You 3:34 Learned from a recording of obscure Louisiana artist Herman E. Johnson. Loosely based on a Kokomo Arnold melody. Medium-tempo slide guitar. 7) Rolling and Tumbling 5:50 Mississippi Delta slide romp on Bernie's National. 8) Trouble In Mind 6:55 Bernie also backed Lightnin' Sam on this slow, haunting Bessie Smith song. 9) Everyday's A Working Day For Me 4:17 A Harmonica Fats song with an original rag-time arrangement by Bernie, with a tip of the hat to Rev. Gary Davis. 10) Jailhouse Blues 4:00 A post-war Hopkins hit, also originated by Bessie Smith, with a John Lee Hooker-like accompaniment. 11) Mojo Hand 5:03 Bernie's reading of Hopkins' landmark hit. Medium Texas country blues. 12) Sweet Home Chicago 5:00 Mississippi-Chicago chestnut energized by African drumming. Echoes of Robert Johnson, Magic Sam, and Johnny Shines. 13) Shake 'Em Down 6:16 Delta slide classic, learned from Mississippi Fred MacDowell, concert encore propelled by Ayo Adeyemi's drum and audience participation. Bernie Pearl - Biography The blues is life itself to Bernie Pearl. A guitarist with an upbeat, finger-poppin' picking style he learned at the elbows of bluesmasters Sam 'Lightnin' Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, Mississippi Fred MacDowell, and others. Yet, Bernie Pearl is no hidebound traditionalist. As music critics and aficionados have said for years, he is a craftsman who packs his songs with melodic interpretations that are new and personal each time he picks up his vintage Martin or National. To hear him tell it, "I'm not a retro player. I'm playing real blues for right now." Bernie, who grew up in the Los Angeles community of Boyle Heights, took up the guitar in the 1950's. Later, at his brother's legendary blues showcase, the Ash Grove, he met, studied with, and often performed with greats like Hopkins, Lipscomb, and MacDowell as well as with Freddie King, Albert Collins, and Big Mama Thornton. Bernie played duets with John Lee Hooker at Gerde's Folk City in Greenwich Village. "They were my teachers," he says, "and it wasn't just music they were teaching. If you took Mance or Lightnin' out fishing you got philosophy, history, and lessons in life". Armed with the teachings of those and other blues icons, Bernie raises the roof with dazzling guitar solos - acoustic and electric - and with his own Bernie Pearl Blues Band, which has backed the likes of B.B. King, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Willie Dixon, and Big Joe Turner. The Bernie Pearl Blues Band has been a popular draw at many of Southern California's best-known musical haunts: the House of Blues, California Plaza Presents, the Blue Café, Disney's California Adventure, and the Playboy Pasadena Community Jazz Festival. Bernie has appeared at major Festivals in Chicago, The Poconos, Vancouver, Portland, and Long Beach, as well as in Europe. A life-long blues evangelist, Bernie began broadcasting "Nothin' But the Blues" on KPPC FM in 1968, making him L.A.'s first all-blues FM disc jockey. He went on to host the blues on KLON and KCRW from 1980-92, helping found the Long Beach Blues Festival along the way. His 15-year relationship with Louisiana blues man Harmonica Fats produced three outstanding CDs, with the unplugged "Two Heads Are Better", and "Blow, Fat Daddy, Blow", each garnering W.C. Handy nominations in the mid-1990's. Bernie applied his studio skills as a producer and songwriter-arranger of jazz-rocking violin pioneer Papa John Creach's critically-acclaimed 1992 "Papa Blues" CD (Bee Bump BBCD 03). As president of Big Time Blues Productions, Pearl was named national "Blues Promoter of the Year" by the Blues Foundation in 1987, and he continues to book, promote, advertise, and oversee blues acts at annual events such as the Big Time Blues Festival and the Blues Harmonica Blowdown. He has taught blues history and blues guitar courses at several area universities, and continues to teach at Cal State Long Beach, as well as privately. His first solo CD, released in August 2002, was recorded in an all-acoustic concert at Culver City's Boulevard Music and is appropriately titled "Bernie Pearl Live From Boulevard Music" (Major Label ML 011-CD). For music lovers tired of market-tested commercial radio and industry-buffed overnight phenoms, Pearl provides virtuosity, country wisdom, a warm voice, and the kind of fingerpicking and slide guitar work that still gets juke-joints jumping. "Making blues music draws from someplace deep," he says. "I'm lucky. It's what I do." "