Craig Morrison & the Momentz

Craig Morrison & the Momentz

 Montréal, Quebec, CAN
BandRockFolk

Morrison and his Montreal band play vintage rock & roll, blues, soul, folk rock, plus original songs.

Biography

Craig Morrison is an ambassador for music, an ethnomusicologist involved with rock & roll and soul and their roots: blues, R&B, country, folk, jazz, gospel, and pop. Active as a musician, author, and teacher, Morrison started the Momentz in 1985 after moving to Montreal from Victoria, on Canada’s west coast.

In the 1990s on the Quebec blues festival circuit, Craig and his band backed R&B legend Vann "Piano Man" Walls, who received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Rhythm & Blues Foundation for his contributions to recordings of Big Joe Turner, Ruth Brown, the Clovers, the Drifters, Brownie and Sticks McGhee and others on the Atlantic label in the 1940s and '50s. Several of these songs are still part of the Momentz' repertoire.

Craig Morrison & the Momentz have helped to keep rock and roll and its roots alive for more than two decades. They have gigged around Montreal and the province of Quebec, performing in all types of venues: nightclubs, hotels, concert halls, reception halls, radio stations, studios, tents, gazebos, trains, synagogues, outdoor festivals, agricultural fairs, department stores, book stores, subways, hospitals, parks, classrooms, restaurants, and private homes.

For the past 14 years, the band has hosted an Annual Roots of Rock and Roll Concert. Several CDs from these have been released: Live at the Oscar (2006), That'll be the Day: Buddy Holly and Friends Remembered (2009), Stand By Me: Blues, Rhythm & Blues, Motwon and Soul (2010), and Blowing In the Wind: A Musical Tribute to Bob Dylan and his Musical Worlds (2011). The event is held at Montreal's Oscar Peterson Concert Hall, named for the legendary jazz pianist who grew up nearby.

Craig Morrison wrote what has been called the definitive book on rockabilly, Go Cat Go! Rockabilly Music And Its Makers (University of Illionios Press), as well as an encyclopedia called American Popular Music: Rock and Roll (Facts on File). His Ph.D thesis, called Psychedelic Music in San Francisco: Style, Context, and Evolution, is available on amazon.com. Craig teaches Rock And Roll And Its Roots as well as Pop/ Soul And Its Roots at Concordia University. His research includes interviews with over 100 musicians, including blues mandolin legend Yank Rachell (who first recorded in 1929), pianist Joe Hunter (one of Motown's celebrated Funk Brothers), and pioneers of many early styles, from country gospel and R&B to rockabilly and psychedelic folk rock.

Lyrics

Two Needles

Written By: Craig Morrison

1) There ain't much to tell
I never knew him well
too many things were left unsaid
he went by the name of Handsome Ned

2) There ain't much to see
It was a tragedy
A city cowboy looking for some kicks
A rockabilly junkie with an overdose fix

My needle still plays his 45s
But for his needle he'd still be alive

3) There ain't much to say
It just happened that way
One of the needles tracks a record
The other one tracks your skin
I'm listening to his music now
And I'm still wonderin'

When Captain Vann Plays the Blues

Written By: Craig Morrison

1) I’ve got a piano playing buddy, and he's here tonight
His skin is black and his beard is white
He can still play the blues dirty or pretty
Just like 40 years ago back in New York City
On hundreds of records and thousands of nights
Piano Man Walls made everything alright
Raise your hands children, time to jump and shout
When Captain Vann plays the blues he'll knock you out

2) He used to play in the church and on the radio
Toured the mining camps and the medicine shows
He did "Shake Rattle and Roll" with Big Joe Turner
And wrote "Chains of Love," a real slow burner
On hundreds of records and thousands of nights
Piano Man Walls made everything alright
Raise your hands children, its understood
When Captain Vann plays the blues it sure is good

3) He played with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee
The Drifters, the Clovers, Ruth Brown, and me
Yeah he inspired me a lot and my fingers are itchin'
To play that song we wrote one night in his kitchen
On hundreds of records and thousands of nights
Piano Man Walls made everything alright
Raise your hands children, time to jump and shout
When Captain Vann plays the blues he'll knock you out

Song For New Year's Day

Written By: Craig Morrison

1) I'm blowing bubbles over the rainbow
I found in my blue heaven
Singing rhymes to sweeten troubled times
To survive lost rounds and rise again

2) The joys and tears of another year
Are voices ringing in my ear
Dear friends, dear songs
As long as you're here why don't you stay?

Stay that way I want to say
But everything changes anyway
But better that than standing still
Or coasting endlessly downhill

3) New Year's Eve has gone away
Pushed aside by New Year's Day
Things look different than before
But hopeful eyes must take some rest
To grow more wise, all in good time
But hopeful eyes must take some rest
To grow more wise, all in good time
All in good time, starting New Year's Day

Discography

Craig Morrison & Friends: Blowing in the Wind: A Tribute to Bob Dylan & his Musical World (2011)

Craig Morrison & the Momentz, Vintage Wine, The Never-Be Brothers: Stand By Me: Blues, Rhythm & BLues, Motown and Soul (2010)

Craig Morrison & the Momentz, Vintage Wine, The Never-Be Brothers + guests: That'll be the Day: Buddy Holly and Friends Remembered (2009)

Craig Morrison & the Momentz: Live at the Oscar (Gala Records, 2006)

Craig Morrison & a Couple of Momentz: Live at Zeke's Gallery Vol.30 (2003)

Craig Morrison & the Momentz: Rocket Radio (7 Nights Music, 1999). The CD includes "Boogie Woogie Country Girl," named as one of Quebec's top 10 blues recordings of 2000.

Boppin' In Canada (Nervous, 1991). This British compilation of Canadian rockabilly includes "Gal Named Jo" by Craig Morrison & the Momentz.

Set List

Sets will be drawn from this repertoire:

from the blues tradition
Beale Street Blues - WC Handy
Casey Jones - Furry Lewis
Me and My Chauffeur - Memphis Minnie
Mother Earth - Memphis Slim
Rollin' and Tumblin' - Hambone Willie Newbern; Muddy Waters
Terraplane Blues - Robert Johnson
Trouble in Mind - Richard M. Jones
Who Do You Love - Bo Diddley

classic soul
I Can't Stand the Rain - Ann Peebles
Knock on Wood - Eddie Floyd
Land of 1000 Dances - Wilson Pickett
Soul Man - Sam and Dave
Walking the Dog - Rufus Thomas

vintage R&B
Blue Monday - Fats Domino
Boogie Woogie Country Girl - Big Joe Turner
Good Rockin' Tonight - Roy Bown; Wynonie Harris; Elvis Presley
Just a Little Bit - Rosco Gordon
New Orleans - Gary US Bonds
One Mint Julep - The Clovers
Rocket 88 - Jackie Brenston's Delta Cats (Ike Turner's Kings of Rhythm)

‘50s rockabilly style
Big River - Johnny Cash
Break Up - Charlie Rich; Jerry Lee Lewis
Honey Don't - Carl Perkins
I Got a Rocket