Stefan Wirz www.wirz.de
Jorma Kaukonen: There was a guy I met, in 1963 named Steve Mann, from L.A. He played the 12-string guitar on Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe", worked with Mac Rebennack [Dr. John], and did a lot of sort of silly pop stuff. But he was a really brilliant fingerstyle guitarist. He would do really complex versions of Ray Charles songs like "Drown In My Own Tears" with all the big band changes, cool stuff.
source: Tristram Lozaw: Surrealistic pillow talk - Jorma Kaukonen's wide world of music
[= God Moves On The Water]
(W. Johnson) 4:11
thanks to Deborah Geddes for first informing me about the existence of that recordand to Mike Perlowin for his support and a deeper insight into the making of that record
Atco SD 33-177 (US 1965)= Atlantic 588034 (UK)
more releases@ discogs.com
notes by SonnyImperial 12292 + 9292 (US 1965)= Liberty SLBY 3058 (UK 1965)= Liberty SML 84051 (Germany 1965)
"You might think that San Fernando, California is a funny place for a blues singer to come from. But this is 1967, not 1920, and a lot of things are changing.
Steve Mann started playing guitar in high school, and in rather short order, music took precedence over history and chemistry. This created some considerable friction between Steve and his family. They thaught that the Music Business was no place for a nice Jewish boy, but Steve left Valley State College and went off playing the guitar anyway.
About the Music Business they were probably right. It's a grim life for almost everybody in it, and the four years that followed were full of the usual stories that any musician can tell you if you catch him on a bad day. Rubber checks, no work, agent's promises that don't pan out, friend's promises that don't pan out, friends that don't pan out. It's a long list. Steve stuck it out anyway.
Some friends led him into the Los Angeles recording scene. Van Dyke Parks, Gene Page, Mack Rabinack [!], Sonny Bono; all used him on sessions. He played electric 12-string on the first Sonny and Cher hits, and made a little money. Bought himself some better instruments.
As time passed Steve became more involved with Negro music, the Blues, and began to write and sing as well as play. A lot of very knowledgeable critics say only Negroes can sing the Blues very well, white cats will never grasp the meaning, and you have to be a Texas sharecropper to sing Texas sharecropper songs.
Steve didn't pay much attention to this line of thought, so here we are with this Blues album. I can't say very much about it; you have to listen to it. If it were possible to speak about music accurately, you could write instead of singing and playing. I honestly believe that there are no lies on this record. The singing and playing are both completely sincere and straight ahead. To carry that thought a little further there is no shuck in these notes either.
I think you will like this record if you dig the Blues, but, if you don't like it after you have paid for it, that's tough, Baby; we got your bread, and that's really the Blues."
inscription by Janet Smith
notes by Dick RosminiCustom Fidelity CFS-1675 (US 1967)
original notesby Dick Rosmini,new notes (Sept. 2009)by Janet Smith = Bella Roma MusicBRM 112 (US 2009)
ATCO SD 33-234 (US 1968)
Atlantic 588147 (UK 1968)
= Atlantic 40168 (Germany 1968)
Terrea Lea discography
notes by Terrea Leaand Rod McKuen Matchbox RecordsMRSA-1
"This album contains ten examples of the guitar artistry of a living legend; a musician who has not played before an audience for almost a decade, but whose name still inspires awe and reverence among guitarists all over the world. Steve Mann is regarded by many to be one of the finest blues singer guitarists of all time. This recording, taped in 1967 shortly before his departure from the public eye, captures him at his creative peak.
Steve differed from most of his contemporaries in that he tried to inject a jazz feeling into a basic folk-blues format. The term "folk music" implies certain musical factors such as the use of traditional diatonic harmony, three chord progressions, very few dissonances or chromaticisms, etc. Steve, however, did not stop there. He experimented with modern chords and even atonal passages on occasion. He was influenced by modern blues-oriented performers like Mose Allison and Lou Rawl[e]s as well as the more traditional bluesmen. One of his biggest influences was Ray Charles. The guitar work on Drown In My Own Tears is patterned after Charles' piano line from his own recording. At the same time, Steve never lost touch with the traditional nature of his music. He understood his idiom thoroughly and was equally at home playing a Mississippi Delta blues (Walking Blues), a traditional folk song (Pallet On The Floor) or a contemporary folk hit (Green Green Rocky Road). His guitar work, always stunning, is especially brilliant on this last number.
Because Steve was best known for his instrumental virtuosity, it is easy to overlook the fact that he was also an outstanding vocalist. Even though his music was largely based on rural southern blues, Steve never tried to sound like a rural Southerner. A city boy, Steve did not pretend to be anything else. Rather than try to imitate a basically foreign tradition, he drew upon that tradition and adapted it to suit his own vocal style. The result is a synthesis of the rural and the urban, the deep South and the West Coast coupled with the kind of emotional intensity which distinguishes the true artist.
Steve was deeply involved with the San Francisco Rock experiments. He played with members of Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead and recorded a thus far unreleased album with Janis Joplin. Jorma Kaukonen paid him a tribute on the first Hot Tuna album with a tune called Mann's Fate. Steve also worked with such notables as Frank Zappa, Taj Mahal, Mac Rebennack (Dr. John), Sonny and Cher, Dick Rosmini, Hoyt Axton, Barney Kessel, Howard Roberts, Van Dyke Parks, John Kay, Gene Page and many others. His own band, The City Lights, received rave reviews and critical acclaim before disbanding. His only previously released record, Straight Life (Custom Fidelity CFS 1675), is now out of print, but Blue Goose Records is preparing an album to be issued in the near future.
Steve's health gave way shortly after these recordings were made. He is now living in Marin County, California, where he is slowly regaining his strength. It is our hope that someday he will be well enough to resume his career.
Meanwhile, Half Blind's Choice is proud to present this fine recording as our first release."
(Mike Perlowin, a fine guitarist in his own right, is a former student of Steve's.)
pacific perceptions inc., Publishers of Stonecloud and G. Sack Press
Half-Blind's Choice is a division of Pacific Perceptions Inc.
For Information, write us at Box 2762-D, Pasadena, California 91105
[Company no longer in business !!!!]
Copyright © 1975 by Pacific Perception Inc.
notes by Mike PerlowinHalf Blind's ChoiceHBC-001 (US 1975)original notes by MikePerlowin, new notes(Dec. 2007) by Rick Smithand John Lyon = Bella Roma MusicBRM 111 (US 2008)
inscriptions by Steve Mannand Janet Smith
STEVE MANN Live At The Ash Grove (Half Blind's Choice, P.O. Box [...], Pasadena, Ca. 91105)
Steve Mann is a living legend among blues enthusiasts in Southern California. He quit playing around 1967 but those who heard him never forgot. Rick Smith assembled this recording with his own finances as a labor of love and has provided the history of the blues with a treasured document. Steve Mann's nearly transcendental qualities are quite evident in this superb set that runs from Robert Johnson's "Walking Blues" to Mose Allison's "Parchmen Farm" (segued into a beautiful "Jazz Editions") and "Drown in My Own Tears" patterned after Ray Charles' piano line from his own recording. The original monaural 1/2 track tape of the concert has been preserved as good as possible but the overall sound is only fair. The clarity of the guitar, however, is more than adequate to appreciate Mann's skill.
You have only to listen to the work once to know that human tragedy, a portrait of experience, is much of Mann's theme. Equally tragic is the small circle, who still appreciate this musician's work.
It should grow.
by Stephen M. H. Braitman
Steve Mann 'Live' At The Ash Grove. Half Blind's Choice (available for $5.00 from Pacific Perceptions, Inc. [...] Los Angeles, CA 90025), HBC-001. Of all the white blues artists to come out of the blues revival in the mid-Sixties Steve Mann would have to rank very near the top. Rather than take the "academic" approach, prevalent with so many of the college/student "blues interpreters", Mann seems to have genuinely absorbed the feeling of the idiom, more than merely the correct strums and bends. Stefan Grossman called him "one of the rnost exciting and dynamic guitar players I have ever met," and the cuts contained herein serve only to substantiate that claim; from the laid back simplicity of Mose Allison's "Parchman Farm" to the intricate fingerpicking of Blind Lemon's "99 Year Blues", all have an immediate quality seldom present even in 'live' sessions. The set is marred only by its rough sound quality, but for that matter some of Son House's earliest 78s (when and if they can be found) have a few hisses and clicks themselves.
To date this is the only LP by Mann in print (pending a Blue Goose release), now that he, after years of hospitalization, has had to give up guitar playing.
??? [unreadable on the copy available]
Blue Goose BG 2024 (US 1978)
Blue Goose Records discography
°° Bella Roma BRM 110
inscription by Steve Mann
notes (Sept. 2009)by Janet Smith = Bella Roma MusicBRM 110 (US 2005)
Near Mint NM 0531 (US 2005)
Ivan Ulz' website (Ivan Ulz passed away on October 5th 2017 in Sun Valley, California)
Stanyan SR 10012 (US 1970)
Buddah BDS 5138 (US 1973)
Paul Geremia discography
Flying Fish FF 395
(=) Flying Fish FLY 395 (US 1991) (along with"I Really Don't MindLiving")
Red House CD RHR 101
[= "Arkansas Hard Luck" by Lonnie Glosson, rec. 1920/30s (Conq. 8732), re-rel. 1996 on Yazoo 2018 "The Roots of Rap"
="Talkin' Hard Luck", rec. 1960 by John Cohen (voc, g), rel. 1964 (re-rel. 1978) on "Tom Paley, Mike Seeger and John Cohen sing New Lost City Ramblers", Folkways FA 2494]
Blue Goose Records
A Div. of Yellow Bee Productions. Inc.
245 Waverly Place, New York, N.Y. 10014
[Company no longer in business !!!!]
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® © Yellow Bee Productions, Inc. 1978
Records, on which Steve Mann plays as session guitarist:
(diverse other "Steve Manns" listed in discographies are - to my knowledge - different persons)
more info The Archival Group
In The Incredible History Of The Mothers By Frank Zappa
(Hit Parader No. 48, June 1969, pages 27, 38-29)
Dr. John (Malcolm 'Mac' Rebennack) in his 1994 biography "Under a Hoodoo Moon" reminisces about Steve Mann as follows:
Jimmy Pagano and Richard Saslow
Steve Mann CDs / downloads at cdbaby.com
thanks to Eric Tor for drawing my attention to Ross Altman's Steve Mann obituary at www.folkworks.org