The weather has no bearing on the blues. They will overtake you in sunny Santa Monica or in the coldest Chicago winter. The question is not if, but when.
I’m not exactly feeling the blues now, but they’re never wholly gone. They wait in a street sign or a supermarket that forever signifies more than my present location; in dreams cut short or nightmares gone too long; or, well, in a song.
This is a round about way of saying that listening to the blues has been the most cathartic listening experience I’ve ever known. During fair weather, they’re a reminder that I’ve made it through. And, during the opposite, they’re an honest voice of commiseration; one that hopes the sun will shine once more.
Now that the platitudes have (almost) been done away with, I offer you this blues mix. I’ve tried to include a few songs that actually pertain to the weather, though some favorites were left on. The mix is all over the map and musical timeline, but know that it begins with Son House and ends with Jack White for a reason. And, for the blues numerologist, the number of songs is purposefully a multiple of seven.
Finally, as you listen, remember that this isn’t necessarily for the winter of now, but one you might know in a few weeks, months, or years. These are songs for solitude, and they should be absorbed with bad whiskey and your preferred smoke. The combination just might thaw your winter blues — however you come to define them and however they come to define you. — Max Bell
1. Son House – Grinnin’ in Your Face
2. Robert Johnson – Crossroad Blues
3. Smoky Babe – Bad Whiskey
4. Big Bill Broonzy – Trouble in Mind
5. Muddy Waters – Cold Weather Blues
6. Albert King – Born Under a Bad Sign
7. Magic Sam – I Don’t Want No Woman
8. John Lee Hooker – I’m Bad Like Jesse James [Live]
9. Howlin’ Wolf – Spoonful
10. Howlin’ Wolf – I Asked for Water
11. Lightnin’ Hopkins – Sittin’ Down Thinkin’
12. Buddy Guy & Junior Wells – In the Wee Hours
13. Albert Collins – Cold, Cold Feeling
14. The Raconteurs – Blue Veins