Stand Your Ground
LABEL: Delta Groove Music
RELEASE DATE: May 20, 2016
CATALOGUE NUMBER: DGPCD173
UPC NUMBER: 850021001957
John Long: vocals, guitar, harmonica & 1938 Samsonite suitcase
Fred Kaplan: piano (1, 7)
Bill Stuve: upright bass (1, 4, 7, 10)
Washington Rucker: drums (1, 4, 7, 10, 12)
01. Baby Please Set a Date (3:43)
02. Red Hawk (6:44)
03. Things Can’t Be Down Always (4:08)
04. Stand Your Ground (4:08)
05. Welcome Mat (4:25)
06. No Flowers for Me (3:38)
07. One Earth, Many Colors (3:08)
08. Healin’ Touch (4:25)
09. I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole (2:57)
10. Mop, Bucket and a Broom (3:13)
11. Climbing High Mountains (3:59)
12. Precious Lord, Take My Hand (6:09)
13. Suitcase Stomp (2:17)
Produced by Jeff Scott Fleenor
Stand Your GroundArtist: John LongGenres: Acoustic Blues, Country Blues, Delta Blues.
2017 BLUES MUSIC AWARD NOMINEE FOR ACOUSTIC ALBUM!
John Long was born in St. Louis, Missouri in 1950. Influenced by his older brother Claude, who is a dedicated and accomplished blues musician in his own right, John immersed himself in the blues at a very young age. As many had done before, Long moved to Chicago in the early 70’s and plunged directly into the Windy City blues scene. It was in Chicago that Long met the man he would refer to as his adoptive father, Homesick James. James became a mentor and lifelong friend. Long also attracted the attention of other Chicago blues heavyweights, including Muddy Waters, who declared, “John Long is the best young country blues artist playing today.”
If only Muddy could hear him now. As with fine wine, Long’s only gotten better with age. In 2006, Delta Groove Music presented his first ever national release, “Lost & Found,” which garnered the often reclusive musician a Blues Music Award nomination for Acoustic Album of the Year, as well as accolades by many of his peers. Renowned blues singer and guitarist John Hammond observed, “Johnny Long is worthy of international attention and this record is long overdue for an artist of this caliber. ‘Lost & Found’ demonstrates that a great player is ready to be heard.”
A decade has passed since Long’s critically acclaimed debut and he hasn’t lost a step. “Stand Your Ground” builds on his growing reputation as a “national treasure” by delivering another deep slice of Americana. Long expands on his sound by incorporating what he refers to as “amplified acoustic” (he plays both a modified Washburn Montgomery model archtop and wood Resonator guitar) and keeps time by stomping on a 1938 Samsonite suitcase. The entirety of the album was recorded on analog tape, which bestowed it with a warm, ambient vintage sound, and almost all tracks were captured on first take.
In addition to his solo performances, Long is accompanied by a rhythm section on several tracks featuring Southern California blues stalwarts and “A” list talent, pianist Fred Kaplan and bassist Bill Stuve. Esteemed jazz drummer Washington Rucker was also on hand at the bequest of Long, who added an interesting dynamic to the recordings. Rucker is renowned for his brush work and teaches a master class on the subject at USC, and his resume includes performing with the likes of Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Dizzy Gillespie, Linda Hopkins and Big Joe Turner.
However, the focus of “Stand Your Ground” is clearly on the music and musicianship of John Long. He seems to possess an endless fountain of ideas on guitar, which are deeply informed by an immense variety of influences. One of the things that has always separated Long from the pack is that while many can emulate one or more of their heroes, Long completely inhabits them, yet creates an instantly recognizable sound that is all his own.
It has been said that the blues is the aquifer that feeds all the tributaries of American music. By presenting blues music in a straight, naturalistic way, John Long demonstrates this concept with crystalline clarity. Elements of gospel, country, folk balladry and even sounds reminiscent of the singing cowboy traditions of the west come shining through his music. The irony is by not making concessions towards the marketplace of mediocrity, by not watering down his blues with artificial additives or sweeteners, by simply standing his ground, John Long has created authoritative, ageless music that will endure the test of time.
“Long doesn’t sample the old country blues; he inhabits it.” – All Music Guide
“John Long is what you call ‘the real deal.’ Whether performing solo or with a band he is a tour de force who deftly bridges the present with the past.” – Music Connection Magazine
“Both his guitar and harmonica work are strikingly inventive, and his heartfelt, down home vocals—which feature an incredible range from a deep bass resonance to a stirring falsetto—are heartfelt and genuinely down-home.” – No Depression
“John Long has the pre-war blues sound and feel nailed down tight, and he is able to carry this mood over to more modern lyrics with no awkwardness or feeling that things are contrived. Stand Your Ground works on a lot of levels, including its content, musicianship, and production. If you dig classic blues and want to hear something fresh, Stand Your Ground would definitely be a wise purchase.” – Rex Bartholomew / Blues Blast Magazine