Diggin': Robert Lee Coleman “Raisin’ Cain”

RobertLeeColemanColumbiaListen: Raisin’ Cain

Robert Lee Coleman celebrated his 68th birthday yesterday. Having the opportunity to work with Coleman has been a privilege; after all, he is, in part, responsible for the fledgling funk and soul sound of James Brown’s Hot Pants and Live at the Apollo and all the earth shattering rhythm guitar playing therein. As a teenager, I poured over these recordings and attempted to emulate them, abusing and overusing my wah pedal, making what I thought was a very funky sound.  A few years ago, I was sent a video of James Brown performing on the Night Train TV show. At that time, Coleman was playing in the band and I watched as he stood there like a statue, not an effects pedal in sight, pouring out that funky rhythm. It was a true revelation.

“Raisin’ Cain” from Robert Lee Coleman’s 2011 Music Maker release One More Mile is a further revelation. It opens with Coleman’s guitar playing a tune that is melodic, fractured, frenetic and astounding. It conjures the vision of a child who has just eaten way too much candy. Coleman’s ornaments sound like teeth chattering, ticks and hickups and then very passionate momentary decisions that take him and the listener in a completely different direction. The overall effect is singular, distinct and deeply funky. It has made him popular with noted guitar builder Paul Reed Smith (who gifted him a custom guitar), Los Lobos, Jimmy Vaughn and others. Listen and find out what we are all drawn to. Birthday messages can be sent to Robert Lee Coleman 3062 Pionono Ave Macon, GA 31206.

— Aaron

Buy One More Mile here!

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