Big George Brock | Club Caravan

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Blues: Delta Style Blues: Chicago Style Moods: Featuring Guitar
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Club Caravan

by Big George Brock

Real-deal, electrified Delta blues by 73-year-old, Mississippi-born Big George Brock (harp/vocals) and the Riley Coatie (guitar) family blues band... recorded at Jimbo Mathus' studio in historic Clarksdale, Mississippi.
Genre: Blues: Delta Style
Release Date: 

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1. Houserocker Boogie
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1:50 $0.99
2. Call Me A Lover
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4:13 $0.99
3. Little Baby
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3:01 $0.99
4. M For Mississippi
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3:08 $0.99
5. Honest I Do
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1:49 $0.99
6. All Night Long
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3:13 $0.99
7. Nine Below Zero
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2:56 $0.99
8. Hard Times
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3:29 $0.99
9. Club Caravan
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5:42 $0.99
10. Louisiana Blues
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3:44 $0.99
11. Too Young
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3:58 $0.99
12. Down South
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3:04 $0.99
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ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
My former wife Jennifer and I first saw Big George in the mid-1990s at a juke joint in St. Louis called Climmie's Western Inn. There were no cowboys, and it wasn't an inn, but the owner's name was Climmie. As we walked up to the entrance, we could hear the band running through a fast and frenzied blues instrumental. After a couple songs by the band, a series of bigger-than-life harmonica riffs came roaring through the band stand's PA system with no harp player in sight. Suddenly, everyone's attention was drawn toward the center of the club to the basement stairwell. Out of the downstairs ladies' restroom, up the steps and into the audience came a large man in a stunning 3-piece suit and hat. From that moment on, Big George Brock had both his cordless mic and the audience in the palm of his hand. Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed, Sonny Boy II, B.B. King. He conjured up their sounds and a little of their souls that night. My wife and I were hooked.
A few months later, Big George surfaced again at a blues benefit at BB's Jazz Blues & Soups, also in St. Louis. This time he began the show from the stage, but by the middle of the second song, he had the entire band laying down on the floor with him and the drummer playing a cymbal on top his head. Other times, we saw Big George perform songs from golf carts at outdoor shows, moving floats in street parades, and out front of the club his band was playing in. He's a born showman who learned from the best.
Now in his mid-70s, he's been playing hard-hitting "Delta-went-North" style blues for over 50 years. Born in Grenada, Mississippi on May 16, 1932, Big George spent his teenage years near Clarksdale, Mississippi, before settling in St. Louis, Missouri, in the 1950s. While living in the Clarkdale area, he did back-breaking fieldwork, boxed on weekends, and played the blues. He remembers hanging out at house parties in the Delta where folks like Memphis Minnie would show up.
Even today, he still has relatives in the Clarksdale area, including his blues-playing nephew James "Super Chikan" Johnson and brother-in-law Big Jack Johnson. In St. Louis, Big George owned a series of blues clubs in the 1960s and 70s, including Club Caravan (formerly the Early Bird Lounge) - where his wife at the time was killed by stray bullets from a drunk's pistol - and New Club Caravan. Later, Big George & the Houserockers was the house band at Climmie's Western Inn for 12 years. During his career, Big George has played shows with blues legends like Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Jimmy Reed and many others. Garrick Feldman of the Arkansas Leader has said Big George is "about as good a harmonica player as any of the blues greats, and he knew and played with most of them." At various times, he's had fellow Mississippians Willie Foster, Big Bad Smitty, Terry "Big T" Williams and Jimbo Mathus back him at shows, but most often, you'll find him with one of the best "unknown guitar players" in the biz: Mr. Riley Coatie. Besides his 6-string skills, this native of the Arkansas Delta is also known for his amazing family blues band. Coatie taught his children Tekora, Latasha and Riley Jr. to play in the old classic style that Big George Brock loves. (Note the drummer's grunts on "Louisiana Blues." Talk about feeling the blues.)
In Living Blues Magazine (issue #78), Scott Bock and Jim O'Neal described Big George, saying "His tailored red or green outfits and classy fedora tell you he takes his gigs seriously. There's a lot of Howlin' Wolf in the roughness and depth of his sound ... But he's not an imitator. Brock sings in a straight-ahead style that packs a lot of power." Goner-records.com reviewed one Big George show like this: "Big George looked great in his pink suit and pink hat. We weren't ready for the onslaught to come - furious Muddy Waters-styled blues stomping. It was the closest thing to seeing Muddy Waters in his heyday that I'll ever get to see. I just kept looking at folks who should know, and we'd just nod, mouths open, or shake our heads in disbelief. It just doesn't seem possible that a band today could be that good." England's Blues & Rhythm magazine called Big George's set at Clarksdale's 2004 Sunflower River Blues & Gospel Festival "the real deal."
Big George brought the old-school Riley Coatie band with him to Clarksdale on Saturday, May 7, 2005 and recorded at ex-Squirrel Nut Zipper/ex-Buddy Guy sideman Jimbo Mathus' Delta Recording Studio. You are holding the result of this 3-1/2 hour recording session. The band was recorded "live" in the same small room where performers like Floyd Lee, Jelly Roll All-stars, Duwayne Burnside, Sonny Burgess and even Elvis Costello have recorded. Following Mathus' "future primitive" approach to recording, no overdubs or computer trickery was used. What you hear is what you get, and we hope you like it. - Roger Stolle

P.S. Big George Brock's "Round Two" CD -- the follow-up to "Club Caravan" -- will be officially released on August 8, 2006. His DVD "Hard Times" is currently available at www.filmbaby.com.


Reviews


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Dan Zielinski

Full-Tilt, Raw , Rough-Hewn
Terrific stuff! Reminds me of Papa George Lightfoot, a harp player/wailer from the 50's and 60's. Seeing Big George live must be a treat!

Roger Stolle, Cat Head Presents

New "Round Two" CD available soon on CDbaby.com!
"Round Two," the much-anticipated follow-up to Big George Brock's award-nominated "Club Caravan" CD (above) will be available by mid-July 2006 at CDbaby.com and through Burnside Distribution, so please watch for it. It features special guests Hubert Sumlin (Howlin' Wolf's guitarist), Lightnin' Malcolm (featured on XM Radio) and Levan (as seen in "Hard Times" DVD) as well as current band members Bill Abel and Ben Wells. More info at www.cathead.biz. Radio deejays should email roger@cathead.biz to request airplay copies. Also, Brock's tour dates so far this year have included Vicksburg, Clarksdale, Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago, Italy and Switzerland. For future dates, go to www.cathead.biz. Thanks for your support!

Dieter Stribny

Back to the early days
This is a must for lovers of real blues! A killer album. Down to earth music from a much underrated artist. Harmonica blues at its finest. I truly love this album and I can recommend it unreservedly.
A blues fan from Germany

Andria Lisle

a must-have for fans of harmonica blues
Roger and Jen had been priming me about Big George for months -- talking about his club in St Louis, and his super-tight back-up band. The first time I saw him play (at a tiny juke in Clarksdale, MS), I was blown away -- I thought I knew what to expect, but George's stories about bear wrasslin', his GIANT hands, his Howlin' Wolf-like presence, his ability to get down and writhe across the floor, and, of course, his prowess on the harp, exceeded my expectations. With this CD, George -- and Roger & Jen, who released it -- have again gone above and beyond to deliver an even dozen songs that are above par with most of the blues albums released this decade.

crawlinkingsnake

...outstanding REAL Blues music.
Seems to be everything it has been touted to be...great vocals and harmonica, outstanding REAL Blues...it don't get much more real!

Mark Thompson - President - Crossroads Blues Society


This is the real deal - downhome Blues. You don't get to hear many discs like this any more. Wish there had been more of George's harp playing but the band provides strong support. Riley Coatie is a fine guitarist who resists the urge to play anything more than what is necessary. Can't wait to hear more from Mr. Brock and from the Cat Head label.

Billy Hutchinson Blues Matters magazine UK

50's real deal old school blues
BIG GEORGE BROCK & the Houserockers, Club Caravan
Cat Head Presents
This is the debut label release from Cat Head, the delta blues & folk art store in Clarksdale, and recorded at Jimbo Mathus’ Delta Recording studio. Big George Brock was recently the subject of a lengthy interview in Living Blues magazine, and is to be filmed by Robert Mugge & Ty Warren at Ground Zero for a new film documentary to be titled “Native Sons” that will also include Willie King, Little Milton & Bobby Rush. Brock was born in Grenada, Mississippi in 1932, sharecropped, did some boxing and played his blues at the weekends near Clarksdale as a young man. Big George moved up to St. Louis where he would go on to own a clubs, and continue his career. George is still well connected in the delta having James Super Chikan Johnson as his nephew & Big Jack Johnson as his brother-in-law. The music is 50’s real deal blues, and has been recorded in the same vane; in fact it’s a perfect accompaniment to Southern fried chicken & cold beer. George has come up with an album with original songs apart from four Chicago covers from Muddy Waters, Willie Dixon, Jimmy Reed, & Sonny Boy II. The recorded line-up being Big George Brock vocals & harp, with Riley Coatie on guitar and the rest made up of Riley’s family in which Riley Jnr. on drums stands out! If George sounds just like this live I’m sure he would be a scoop to book. The music shows some signs of appropriation in that Elmore James, Magic Sam. Lightnin’ Hopkins muses are grafted or re-worked at times. The last track has George sounding like Muddy doing an ad for the Cat Head store – reminded me of the old radio sponsored ads. Juke style music predominates, with a smatter of Chi-town (M for Mississippi could have been done on Maxwell St.), and it is not prettied up and sanitised. This is definitely Old School, and the bell is ringing out for playtime.
Billy Hutchinson

Vern Melvin

The CD matches the hype!
Cathead and Big George can be justly proud of this CD. Down home electric blues that sounds every bit as live as intended. I'm a serious blues music fan who might not have had the opportunity to enjoy the tremendous talent that is Big George were it not for this effort by Cathead.

Vern Melvin
Fort Pierce, FL

Keith

Great CD!
Folks, if you are the type of Blues fan that longs for the old sounds that Muddy and Wolf and maybe the Hoodoo Man CD that Junior and Buddy did, you need to get this CD and add it to your collection. There is no way to fake this kind of sound, you just have it.

Georgia B. Bedk/Brock


I live in Detroit Michigan and Iam the daughter of Big George, Ive had the pleasure of singing with Big George and the Houserocker, I remember the times, when I visted my father caravan the perfomance was great. As a child I really didnt like the blues until I heard the Houserocker Band. I wish Big George and the Houserockers success.


Bea.





Georgia Beck/Brock
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