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This page was created in 2005 and was last updated on 8-26-12.
Steven Hill - Salem, Oregon
I have recorded two albums: “The Steve Hill Blues Band” which has 12 songs and “Love In Vain Blues” which has 13 songs:
“Long Slow Train” is an instrumental using guitar and harmonica. I haven’t written any words. The guitar part is the train chugging down the track and the harmonica is the train’s whistle.
“Crossroad Blues” by Robert Johnson. Robert Johnson was born in 1911 and died in 1938 at the age of 27. He recorded 29 songs that will live forever. Robert was a great artist but he lived a rough life. He was poisoned by a bartender who found out that Robert was having an affair with his wife.
That was the deal he made at the crossroad. They say that Robert was always a soulful singer but that he couldn’t play the guitar very well. Then, all of a sudden he could play better than anybody.
Robert was discouraged and didn’t know which way to go. So one day he went down to the crossroad with his suitcase and his guitar and decided he would just catch a ride with the first driver to stop. But nobody knew him, everybody passed him by.
The sun was going down and darkness was going to catch him there. Robert was alone and felt discouraged. Then he saw a man walking towards him and he was afraid of the man but was unable to run away or to fight. The man walked up to Robert and took his guitar and began to tune it. He tuned each string higher and higher until they began to scream and cry so loudly and so sorrowfully that Robert couldn’t stand it anymore and he fainted dead away.
When he woke up the man was gone but his guitar was there. He picked up his guitar and began playing and for the first time he could play all the riffs and melodies that he heard in his mind and he could sing the words the way he heard them in his mind.
Robert found what he was looking for at the crossroad but also what he feared. He found the talent that he had been seeking but he gave up the possibility of a normal life.
What would Robert have done had he lived to be 60 or 70? Would he have had a career like Muddy Waters or Bo Diddley --- blues singers who had hit records during the rock & roll era? Would he have been a rock star like Chuck Berry or Little Richard? Would he have been more like Ray Charles who mastered several genres? Maybe he would have made lots of money and then stopped performing like some of the stars of the 1960’s or the writer J.D. Salinger.
I tried to sing “Drown In My Own Tears” for years and finally kind of got to where I’m happy with the way I do it. Get this straight, I ain’t Ray Charles but somehow I think I do it justice and that makes me ...
“Baby, Please Don’t Go”, “Walkin’ Blues” and “Love In Vain Blues” are three simple twelve bar blues songs that say so much about life and love.
“Reefer Madness” - I have a friend ... well, she’s more than just a friend who is a medical marijuana patient (uses it for glaucoma) and I’ve used a little myself, so this is my statement about the benefits of medical marijuana, which is legal here in Oregon and ought to be legal period.
“Mercy Now” by Mary Gauthier is a blockbuster of a song. It just reaches out and grabs you and makes you want to reach out and help somebody in pain or just find a way to express your own pain.
I love to play the guitar chords for “Nobody Knows You When You’re Down And Out” and I try to play them like Django Reinhardt.
“Louisiana 2005” is an updated version of Randy Newman’s “Louisiana 1927” and “Louisiana Breakdown” is another song inspired by Hurricane Katrina.
“Satisfied Mind” is a beautiful song with a message.
“Talking Tomato Blues” was mostly written by my friend Tim Reed and based on a scribble by my daughter Suzanne. I wrote the music, which is just a basic “talking blues”.
I’m a big fan of Jimmy Reed and enjoy trying to play his songs. “Big Boss Man” also relates to a couple bosses I had my last few years of working for the State of Oregon.
“How Long Blues” by Leroy Carr is another soulful 12-bar blues that is fun to play.
“Mystery Train” is one of several blues songs that Elvis Presley recorded on his first couple albums. Elvis took a little blues and a little country and shook it up a little and that’s how he invented rock and roll.
“Little Wing” is my acoustic version of the Jimi Hendrix/ Stevie Ray Vaughan classic.
“My Bucket’s Got a Hole In It” is a blues song that was covered back in the ’50’s by Ricky Nelson.
“Ramblin’ Blues” is a Robert Johnson song I like to do a little up-tempo. I think it would have been a big hit for Robert in the 50’s if he had lived.
“The Train That Carried Jimmie Rodgers Home” by Greg Brown is a beautiful tribute to the great blue yodeler.
Hank Williams is another country singer I admire as much as the blues legends. “Lost Highway” was also part of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken?”, the great collaboration between The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and several country music legends.
I sang Dylan’s “TImes Are A-Changin’” for a Democrats fund raiser. It’s just as relevant or maybe more so than it was back in the 1960’s.
Jimmy Lloyd Rea was a great blues rocker in the Portland blues scene a few years ago and he continues to perform in and around his hometown of Baker City, Oregon. “Back To Baker City” tells a little bit of Jimmy Lloyd’s story.
“Diddy Wah Diddy” by Blind Blake is a “just for fun” song that has been around a long time and is here to stay.
“One Meat Ball” by Josh White was a song about the poverty conditions that existed in the 1930’s. Well, some of that has come around again.
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