Briefcase Full Of Blues – Paul Black

So tonight, as I was looking for something else in the basement, I came across my briefcase of blues  cassette tapes. These tapes are a collection of copied albums, copied CD’s, bootlegs and store bought tapes. I remember buying “Buddy Guy – Damn Right I’ve Got the Blues” at the mall. The Mel Ford and The Fairlanes was a bootleg I made at The Crystal Corner in Madison in, oh my God, 1991. I am going to have to listen to that one soon. The rest of the tapes have plenty of Buddy and Muddy, Howlin’ Wolf, Bobby Bland, Junior Wells and Son House. ”Death Letter” by Son House may perhaps be my favorite Blues song ever. There is also some Clapton and some SRV. All good stuff. When I took this picture though, what I noticed was the Paul Black and The Flip Kings. So I brought the tape upstairs and put it on and sat down to write this.

Now, Paul Black was a staple in Madison years ago. He played at lots of local clubs, like the previously mentioned Crystal Corner and The Club Tavern and I saw his shows advertised in the Isthmus all the time, but never got a chance to go and see him in those days.

However, I eventually saw him at the Big Bull Falls Blues Fest in Wausau Wisconsin. That is a story all its own. Suffice it to say, he was a-mazing. I was blown away with his slide guitar. He played a long scorching set in the afternoon and I purchased this tape after the show. I bootlegged the show too, but the sound was not that great. I wonder if I still have that? Hmmm…

Anyway, the tape “Paul Black and The Flip Kings – Don’t Make Me Get Up” was recorded at Randy’s Recording in Cottage Grove Wisconsin, also in 1991.

This tape was in constant rotation and never far from the tape deck. There were original songs by Paul and some covers too. There is fantastic guitar work and Paul’s gravelly voice plus Westside Andy’s harmonica wailing… every song a winner. I loved, and now tonight re-love it. I’m glad I never got rid of it. I doubt you can find this anymore.

After the Blues Fest Paul’s Madison area appearances seemed to dry up. I didn’t understand how someone that awesome was not cranking shows weekly. Never fear, as it turned out, he was going pro.

King Dollar was released in 1996.

Now King Dollar was and still is in my CD player. It is simply that good. First of all, every song is good, most are great and some straight out give me chills. If you can make it past the weakest song but still good “MooGoo” you will be rewarded with “Malted Milk” a Robert Johnson cover. Shiver. There are 2 Jagger/Richards covers here too, “The Last Time” and “Factory Girl”. Both are dare I say it, better than The Stones version, and I LIKE The Stones. The next chill song is “The Fixer” a Willie Mabon cover. Whoa. “The Hard Way” and “Paulie’s Little Nightmare” Paul Black originals were on the “Don’t Make Me Get Up” tape and are even better here.

The standout on the CD for me is unanimous. The shivers song… “Dead Shrimp Blues” another Robert Johnson cover. When I listen to this, with its minute and 20 second long guitar intro foreplay and deep in your soul hook I want to crank it louder and pout when it fades out. It just doesn’t get much better than this.

Here’s to you Paul Black.

Thanks for the music.


    1. You are quite right! Westside Andy Linderman is on the Harmonica. I’m going to add a shot of the credits from inside the tape top the entry. Thanks for the correction, and thanks for reading. Michael

  1. I remember fondly going to the Crystal Corner to see Paul Black play back in the day. I also have that same cassette as well as the King Dollar cd. I also have the Hey Hey LP he recorded in the eighties, which is absolutely classic! He also did a two night recording session at the Harmony Bar which is on cd. That’s one of my all time favorite CDs.

      1. Chris! Thanks for the info. I called B-Side and I’m having them ship me a copy of the Harmony Bar CD. Can’t wait to hear it. PLUS… I found How How on E-Bay and bought that too. After all this time it’s like Christmas to find out there is more out there. I’ll probably review both eventually on here. Thanks again! Michael

  2. Well, this tape is a real rare stuff and most likely it will never appear in a better form and get lost forever. So sad, unfortunately, I don’t expect that Paul will ever produce anything recorded or take care about any of those old records. But this one has a blues cultural value. Actually it would be right if you can upload those mp3s for public access to save the recording for history, and I myself also really wouldn’t mind to listen to it. Anyway thank you for the great story!!!

    1. Fedor, thanks for stopping in and reading. Paul Black is a favorite of mine. I was able to see him a couple times and taped the shows. Plus I have sought out his old and local releases. There is a CD of his recorded at The Harmony in Madison close to where I live. That one can still be bought if you don’t have that one.

      I have been checking out the website, very cool. I have been searching the bands list for groups that have videos to see what the Russian blues scene is all about. Cool stuff. I love Decio Caetano (flying fingers) and I love the video by Ярослав Помогайкин & 911 Band. I’ll mention in my blog. Thanks for sharing.

      It’s nice to know that Paul is known outside the US.

  3. Joel Paterson, now a guitarist in his own right in Chicago, is the Fats Paterson credited on “Don’t Make Me Get Up”, he played with Paul as a college student at the UW. So of course I have a copy of the cassette.

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