Thursday, October 6, 2016

Almost Forgot About This One...



A year or so ago, I was watching the documentary Genghis Blues. It's about a blind American musician, Paul Pena, who discovered the distinctive and unusual art of Tuvan throat singing (in which the performer generates a root note while singing one or more notes above it simultaneously) while playing around with a ham radio. Pena taught himself how to sing that way, and eventually wound up in the land of Tuva, a place so distant that it bills itself as the geographical center of Asia, to meet and perform with other throat singers.

Pena had a strong rhythm and blues background, and at one point in the film, he sings in the Tuvan style while playing the blues on guitar. That alone makes Genghis Blues worth watching, but I also found out from this film that Pena wrote and recorded the classic rock tune "Jet Airliner" in 1973, about four years before the Steve Miller Band covered it and walked away with a top ten hit. The SMB version is good, but I think Pena's original is better. A little slower in tempo and a whole lot funkier. It's really hard to listen to this song and not want to dance.

Enjoy...