Bad Temper Joe – The Memphis Tapes (Vinyl)
Format: Vinyl
Label: Timezone Records
Releasedatum: 3 juli 2020

Slowly but surely, blues guitarist, singer and songwriter Bad Temper Joe from Bielefeld, Germany made his way through the musical 21st century. His music doesn’t insist on being suitable for the mass. Still, anyone engaging to the sounds of his Weissenborn guitar will not be able to withdraw from it again.

With his ‘Memphis Tapes’, Joe releases a very special kind of music for all blues fans: an EP on vinyl, with an artistic design (artwork by Gerald Oppermann) and recorded at the famous Sun Studio in Memphis, Tennessee – precisely where well-known blues artists like Howlin’ Wolf, Junior Parker, James Cotton and last but not least Elvis and Johnny Cash have recorded many of their songs.

‘The Memphis Tapes’ presents six songs from earlier productions in a new guise: this extraordinary sound is only possible to be created by the Sun Studio and for a vinyl record. Joe’s recordings will take the audience to the night of February 2nd, 2020, to Union Avenue, where the venerable studio is located: for this time of the year, an unusually warm wind is blowing through the alleys.

Inside the studio, the tape machine is already rattling. A single chair is provided for Joe, who is sitting – like always –with only his guitar on his knees. Some microphones are rearranged and then, behind the glass pane, sound engineer Daniel Crockett is signaling: The recording can begin.

photo credit: Gerald Oppermann

Just the day before, Bad Temper Joe was sitting on stage at ”Orpheum Theatre” in Memphis presenting his songs to over 2000 enthusiastic listeners at the finals of the International Blues Challenge. Joe did not only represent German blues but received official recognition by being the last European standing in den finals. The last couple of days, he had got the Americans excited about his music already at various clubs at Beale Street.
Accordingly, he was well-prepared when entering Sun Studios. In only one night, Joe recorded quite a few of the six songs that are now known as “The Memphis Tapes“.

The results are worth listening to. With his mixing, Henning Strandt makes you feel as if you were there yourself: in Memphis, at Sun Studio, right there with Bad Temper Joe. When singing his country ballad Girl from the East the spirit of Johnny Cash is hovering above the young songwriter.
And when Joe sings about tears and diamonds yet again, not a few of those blues spirits will nod in appreciation. Eventually, Joes takes his audience along to the highway to say goodbye to the grumpy singer- songwriter, who is made solely for a life on the road – but not without having a last dring standing up.

There are only a few musicians, who manage to cast a spell over their audience with such a minimalistic setting. ‘The Memphis Tapes’ proves once again, that Joe is able to do exactly that from the first to the last tone. This EP will not change the world – but whoever engages with the crackling noise from old vinyl, will be able to flee the hectic world and the whirl of today’s times for 30 Minutes.

Side A
01 If Tears Were Diamonds
02 Hell’s Gonna Fly
03 Girl From The East

Side B
01 Homelesse
02 Sleeping Giant Blues
03 Man For The Road