Quick Hits: “The Blues Never Die”, Otis Spann, 1965


As summer winds down and the humidity starts to stick in the way that only August knows how, I’ve been listening to a lot of Otis Spann’s The Blues Never Die record. It’s a perfect back porch LP, a sound that lulls in the background while the ice in your drink slowly melts as the sun beats on. “The Blues Never Die” has a nice hitched gait rhythm to it, a swagger with a slight drawl.

Spann made his name playing with Muddy Waters, and the whole outfit is largely present on this record, with some wonderful harmonica playing by James Cotton. Get the whole record if you have the chance, because there really isn’t a weak song on the album. Just some good simmering Chicago blues.


The Blues Never Die – Otis Spann


Quick Hits: “Buck”, Nina Simone Sings The Blues (1967)



Buck – Nina Simone

“Buck” is a strange entry into Nina Simone’s oeuvre, a booming beat floors a cyclical riff that dances around Simone’s trance-like vocal and wraps things up in a hasty 1:50. The whole album is worth tracking down, a gritty affair with simple accompaniment.  That’s Bernard “Pretty” Purdie, session drummer extraordinaire, with the drum credits on this one. Andy Stroud, Nina’s then husband, has the sole writing credit.