Blues and Barbecue: A Playlist For Your Day Off

Chris Green / July 4, 2012
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Barbecue is a cooking style in which meats are slow-roasted over indirect heat and is strongly associated with the American South. Given that the Jim Crow South is also the birthplace of one of the most distinctively American musical genres, the blues, it’s not surprising that the two have a strong association. The sound of a slide guitar has been accompanied with the aroma of roasting pork for more than a century. In fact, many of the Lomax’s field recordings for the Smithsonian were captured at outdoor feasts.

Barbecued meats also play a prominent role in many people’s Independence day celebrations. So, here is a video playlist of blues songs that are food-related in some way from both old and current performers.

Left Lane Cruiser – Pork and Beans

Gritty and noisy Indiana blues duo sing about their love of a plate of pork and beans.

Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Bad – Mama’s Fried Potatoes

Not only does the Reverend like potatoes, but in this video he also shows how they can be used as weapons.

Big Bill Broonzy and Washboard Sam – Digging my Potatoes

R.L. Burnside – Peaches

The great North Mississippi hill country blues artist loves your peaches.

Husky Burnette – Hog Jaw

Husky Burnette playing a suitcase guitar.

Scott H Biram – Downtown Chicken

I don’t think the chickens that dirty old one man band Scott H Biram is singing about have beaks and feathers.

T-Model Ford – Chicken Head Man

Legendary 90+-year old bluesman T-Model Ford declaring himself to be a chicken-head man in Seattle.

Lightnin’ Hopkins – Catfish blues

The Ten Foot Polecats – Dead Shrimp Blues

This awesome band from Massachusetts playing a Robert Johnson song.

The Black Diamond Heavies – Hambone

Raw keyboard + drums blues duo.

Mark “Porkchop” Holder – Mystery Train

The former Black Diamond Heavies guitarist qualifies for this list just for his nickname (and his great playing).

The connection between blues music and barbecued food has survived into modern times and a simple web search for “blues and barbecue” will turn up plenty of BBQ joints with live blues music as well as concerts both small and large. As a matter of fact, this writer has just returned from attending one of the premier underground blues festivals, The Deep Blues Festival. This event attracted performers and attendees from all over the world and was held this year in Bayport, MN… at a barbecue restaurant!  In addition to a stellar lineup of music ranging from solo acoustic blues to punk blues and hard blues rock, admission to this event included three days of delicious all-you-can-eat barbecue. Videos from the festival are just starting to show up on youtube, so here are a few samples of the performances which accompanied the grilled pork, beef, chicken, sausage, and salmon:

Henry’s Funeral Shoe – Coming On Through

High energy pair of brothers from Wales

Purgatory Hill – Now I Wanna Be Your Dog

The classic song from The Stooges performed on cigar box guitar.

Ben Prestage closed out each night

Radio Moscow – Creepin




1 thought on “Blues and Barbecue: A Playlist For Your Day Off

  1. Nice Chris, you used my T-Model vid. That gave me goosebumps when I was up there and he started playing solo.

    See you at Muller’s?

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