Ben Hunter & Joe Seamans
“Beale Street Mess Around”
Oh My God. When I first hear Hunter and Seamans perform this song, I honestly thought I was listening to the “race” station in the 1930’s. This version fits in perfectly with my recordings of Bessie Smith and Ma Raney. This is the honest-to-god blues. You can feel it in every note in this song. These guys knows what the blues are. Listening, you are transported back to an earlier, much rougher time. As Hunter and Seamans’ website states:
The history of American roots music in the early 20th century could never fit into an encyclopedia. it’s too ramshackle, too rambunctious, too radical. Fiddlers, guitarists, banjo players, and all kinds of folks rambled those early roads, learning from each other, inspiring each other, and pushing the music in new directions. Music constantly switched back and forth across the racial divide, beholden only to the beat and the dance. It’s this fevered period of musical exchange that inspires Northwest roots music duo Ben Hunter & Joe Seamons.
It is definitely time for musicians to quit playing it safe. The blues, if you remember, was subversive at its best, along with folk and country-western. This is the roots of all our music, guys. These two do it perfectly.