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Blues Time Machine
Fri October 28, 2011
"I Ain't Superstitious" but the song is spooky
For Halloween, a spooky blues that influenced a generation of rock musicians.
“I Ain’t Superstitious” is a bridge between the acoustic blues of the South and the electric blues of Chicago.
Another of Willie Dixon’s great compositions, it has familiar images, and a modern sound with more pop style than traditional blues of the time. Howlin’ Wolf recorded it in 1961, with prominent guitar from Hubert Sumlin, who was a huge part of Howlin’ Wolf’s sound, with his angular, slashing style.
Here is a wonderful video of Hubert Sumlin talking about and playing his guitar:
Forward to 1968. Blues had a baby and they named it rock and roll.
With Jeff Beck on guitar and Rod Stewart on vocals “I Ain’t Superstitious” became a rock radio staple, and 40 years later they performed the song live:
Before Lonnie Brooks made Chicago his home base, the Louisiana native was playing guitar with Zydeco great Clifton Chenier. He brings a fresh sense of that regional rhythm to his 1979 recording of "I Ain’t Superstitious."
Chicago guitarist Melvin Taylor recorded the song in 1997. He has wide range of sounds, influenced by the blues/rock of Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan, but also by jazz guitarists like Wes Montgomery and George Benson.
Here are the full versions of “I Ain’t Superstitious” tracked through time:
Howlin’ Wolf: “I Ain’t Superstitious” 1961
Jeff Beck: “I Ain’t Superstitious” 1968
Lonnie Brooks: “I Ain’t Superstitious” 1979
Melvin Taylor: “I Ain’t Superstitious” 1997