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Music Bands, Asia, Russia
Dr. Agranovsky & The Black Bread Band
What are bands made of? Sometimes of haphazard people and stuff bound by a chain of coincidences.

Sometimes they are assembled on purpose, but that's another story. Dr. Agranovsky - man and group - grew out of the Moscow "kitchen blues".

This story started in 1972, when Agranovsky brothers (parents off on vacation) had their home open for part-time-job-most-time-rambling musicians and Moscow hippies, singing, smoking, playing, drinking, making direct takes on a mono tape recorder.

The first listeners-friends, girls, and neighbours-got their kicks.
Such kitchen blues happenings, this place or that, became part of a life style, to last for 25 years.

In between, Alexey "Doctor" Agranovsky played solo, including three years in Ethiopia and two in Germany (where he had contracts on research and teaching; by the way, his stage nickname reflects his Ph.D and D.Sc. degrees).

He says he saw the First Blues grooves in the Abyssinian mountain crests of Shewa, and the morning was metered out in the ritual drum beats from the Coptic church of the nearby town of Hagere Hiwot (meaning Holy Water). Africa... green cloth draped over the knee of the hill... And what's blues if not experience? Got another definition? OK, the essence is what you've got to say.
Well, that was the background at which one could hear the rattle of that chain of coincidences. Doctor once got a phone call from an old (though young and pretty) friend Veronica, with an invitation to come to the "Cry Baby" club and "play and sing something".

Doctor called his old-time session partners and the team assembled as water drops on a frying pan. On a rainy night of November, 1994, the club audience saw and heard "Dr. Agranovsky" for the first time.

In the middle of the show some people came and took away their drum (an important one), in the end two strings tore on the next guitar, taking away a piece of Doctor's skin; yet nothing could take away the success.

The bad luck was that on the way home Veronica broke her leg (she's all right now). Until 1998, the team regularly appeared in Moscow clubs.
In 1995 Doctor published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA (vol. 92, pp. 2410-2473) a paper describing a plant virus resembling (in the microscope) a rattlesnake.

He mailed a reprint of this paper to Martin, Tennessee, to a country and blues singer Rattlesnake Annie, who had impressed him by her performance of the "Blue Flame Cafe" in the famous movie "The Other Side of Nashville".

They exchanged friendly letters until in May 1997 she flew in to Moscow and delivered several superb concerts backed by "SV & Dr. Agranovsky".

Just before returning home (hopefully not so smoke-filled as the Moscow clubs, which she kept complaining on) Rattlesnake Annie sang Gershvin's "Summertime" in a jam on the Russian TV channel (featuring Golutvin on acoustic guitar, and Doctor on an electric Gibson unplugged by some bastard having stepped on the guitar cable).
Early in 1999 Doctor launched a blues project of his own, Chernyi Khleb (The Black Bread). The repertoire was based on blues and spirituals in original language, as well as the own songs in Russian.

Their music comes from the roots; in nearly chamber style, they drive in their point without electric agressiveness. Generally speaking, the sound and the stage image of the band tend to the air of the old-time blues bars.
In 2001, the first recording of Chernyi Khleb & Dr. Agranovsky, called "Tic", saw the light. It was recorded at the MMS studio, released by Otdelenie Vykhod, and came out round, in plastic case, with a gloomy booklet.

It contained 12 songs, mostly cover versions of rarely performed blues.
Chernyi Khleb of 2004:
Doctor Agranovsky: vocals, guitar
Michail Olshanitsky: keyboards
Valerii Seregin: bass
Nikolai Balakirev: drums

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