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real blues

Leadfingers 20 Jul 10 - 06:23 AM
mikecardenas 20 Jul 10 - 01:51 AM
Bobert 06 Oct 09 - 04:25 PM
gnu 06 Oct 09 - 02:37 PM
Bobert 06 Oct 09 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 06 Oct 09 - 02:20 PM
Stringsinger 06 Oct 09 - 02:06 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 06 Oct 09 - 09:33 AM
Bobert 05 Oct 09 - 08:44 PM
TinDor 05 Oct 09 - 07:55 PM
TinDor 05 Oct 09 - 07:25 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 05 Oct 09 - 03:49 PM
reggie miles 05 Oct 09 - 03:05 PM
TinDor 05 Oct 09 - 12:03 PM
Bobert 04 Oct 09 - 08:26 PM
GUEST,Tunesmith 04 Oct 09 - 03:47 AM
M.Ted 04 Oct 09 - 02:27 AM
TinDor 03 Oct 09 - 02:57 PM
Leadfingers 03 Oct 09 - 02:16 PM
TinDor 03 Oct 09 - 12:29 PM
GUEST,Neil Lowe 29 Mar 00 - 08:45 AM
Lonesome EJ 29 Mar 00 - 02:13 AM
Roger the skiffler 18 Nov 99 - 04:17 AM
Mark Clark 17 Nov 99 - 11:35 PM
WyoWoman 17 Nov 99 - 01:06 AM
Steve Latimer 16 Nov 99 - 11:58 AM
Easy Rider 16 Nov 99 - 11:06 AM
Lonesome EJ 16 Nov 99 - 10:09 AM
thosp 16 Nov 99 - 02:15 AM
Stewie 16 Nov 99 - 01:33 AM
WyoWoman 16 Nov 99 - 01:05 AM
Stewie 16 Nov 99 - 12:49 AM
WyoWoman 15 Nov 99 - 10:26 PM
kendall 15 Nov 99 - 08:01 PM
WyoWoman 15 Nov 99 - 07:37 PM
Stewie 15 Nov 99 - 06:37 PM
WyoWoman 15 Nov 99 - 02:09 PM
Fortunato 15 Nov 99 - 02:08 PM
Lonesome EJ 15 Nov 99 - 01:30 PM
Jon W. 15 Nov 99 - 12:32 PM
WyoWoman 15 Nov 99 - 11:42 AM
JedMarum 15 Nov 99 - 11:38 AM
WyoWoman 15 Nov 99 - 11:30 AM
Steve Latimer 15 Nov 99 - 11:28 AM
15 Nov 99 - 11:17 AM
Fortunato 15 Nov 99 - 11:06 AM
Roger the skiffler 15 Nov 99 - 11:00 AM
Steve Latimer 15 Nov 99 - 10:43 AM
Amos 15 Nov 99 - 10:21 AM
Brad Sondahl 15 Nov 99 - 10:06 AM
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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 06:23 AM

The question "What is REAL Blues?" has as many answers as the quuestion "What is REAL Folk!" and provokes just as many arguments .


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: mikecardenas
Date: 20 Jul 10 - 01:51 AM

I'm a big fan of authentic country gibberish.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 04:25 PM

The other Hank, gn-zer...

B~


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: gnu
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 02:37 PM

Hank, why do you drank, the way you do?


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 02:29 PM

For the record... Son House's second geetar player was none other than the infamous Willie Brown... "You can run, you can run... Tell my friend Willie Brown"... Legend has it that when Willie Brown died in the late 40s (I think '48) Son House laid his geetar down and didn't play it again until he was coaxed outta retirment in the 60's... But, yeah, Son was fine playin' by hisself... There an excellent video out there of him doing "Death Letter" and "John the Revelator" from the 60's with him alone and he sho nuff bringin' it on... BTW, lotta folks cover "Emprie State Express' (including me) and far as I know this song was written in Son's post-WillieBrown days after he had worked as a porter on the railroad in the 50s... Yeah, I like one man, one geetar just fine... Half the time that's the way I perform... It's cool and allows for more freedom of expression than havin' to lead the band... But no matter... Either way, the blues is still the blues and the blues is mostly celebration... Okay, there are a few weepy blues songs... Skip James "Hard Time Killin' Floor" is purdy weepy as is Blind Lemon's "One Kind Favor I Gotta Ask of You"... Yeah, thems is purdy weepy and lonesome... Nuthin' like some of Hank Williams and alot of them 50s country folks... Yeah, Frank is right... Hard to pin down the "real blues" by saying what it is because of so many styles but one thing it ain't, IMHO, is lonesome music... Heck, alot of the alt stuff today that ain't blues is alot more lonesome than the blues... Counting Crows, Wilco, Uncle Tupelo all have have high weepablity elememtns... Down right depressin' for the most part... Hey, don't get me wrong... There's a time and place for depressin' music... I like to toke up, put on the headphones now and then an listen to that kinda stuff myself... lol... not really on the lol but I do listen to that stuff now and then... I don't much listen to any old Hank Williams, tho, 'cause he's over the edge...

B~


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 02:20 PM

Although Charlie Parker is fanastic, I somehow think that his bebop blues are so far removed from Son House's Jinx's Blues that there is no point of comparison.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Stringsinger
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 02:06 PM

The Cabaret blues of the whorehouses in New Orleans were a different style of blues, many written where the composers were known and played piano behind famous Divas of the blues such as Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and the subsequent "white" popularizers such as Sophe Tucker.

Then you have New Orleans jazz blues by Louis Armstrong and Jelly Roll Morton and others which is played with horns and vocals.

Finally be-bop blues which was
augmented by Charlie Parker coming from another source, the Kansas City horn blues bands such as Jay McShann.

The blues is basically a style of performance not limited to the so-called twelve bar structure. It's apex is through African-American singers depicting
the misery that they were subjected to from slavery on.

There are different styles of blues. The early shout or field holler was a carryover from
Africa via slavery.

The twelve bar blues with singer/guitar player (which often turned out to be a twelve and 1/2 or 11 or 13 bar blues) was popular in the Twenties. It was a rural expression that moved to the city and became "electrified". It was often associated with dancing in night clubs such as on the Southside of Chicago or Harlem.

There were "party" blues as well as sad blues. There was regional country blues such as
the Mississippi Delta or Piedmont style blues. There was bottleneck guitar styles or "teasin" with a knife.

There were big band blues shouters such as Jimmy Rushing and Joe Williams with Basie.

It has taken on different musical forms from basic harmonies to sophisticated complex ones. The rock and roll blues came out of the recording company designation of Rhythm and Blues intended for dancing. Clapton is an outgrowth of that.

There was the "white" adaptation of blues, much of what finds its way into bluegrass and early white country music. There's the talking blues and the blue yodels of Jimmie Rodgers.

If we have a narrow view of what blues is, this is because there are partisan interests in one specific form.


The blues style has been assimilated into American folk and popular music.

Any attempt to pin it down to just one style is futile.

Frank Hamilton


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 06 Oct 09 - 09:33 AM

I know Son used to play in a small ensemble BUT! BUT! BUT! that's not what made him a legend! One man, one guitar and an insensity that would be disapated with the addition of bass, drums etc. That's what we're talking about!


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Bobert
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 08:44 PM

Hey, who said that the blues has to be this lonely thing??? Read Elija White's "Escaping the Delta"... Listen to early Son House... Nuthin' loney about the blues... Nuthin' at all... You want lonely music then plenty of country music outta Nashvile from the 50's and 60's... "I'm so loney I could cry" (Hank Williams)... No, the real blues ain't what ltta folks thin... The real blues is what was played on Saturday night in juke joints where folks would get together and celebrate survivin' another miserable week of workin' in some bad situations, doin' hard, hard labor... But you take the words, "Got a letter this mornin', what do you think that letter siad, saif hurry, hury, 'cause your baby is dead" and you just leave it at that an' don't bother to watch Son House play it or listen to how this story was told... Yeah, if you just take the words it isn't all that different from "I'm so lonesome I could cry" but you can't stop there 'casue that song is rockin'... No weepin' style either but rockin'... That's the way folks who played the "real blues" played because they were telling the stories but that didn't want folks around them to feel bad... Sheet fire... The folks they knowed allready knew of sorrow and apin... No, the real blues rocked out some very bad stuff... They had too... These "real blues" folks didn't have the luxary of callin' "time out' 'er callin' mon and askin' for money or callin' their lawyers 'er callin.... That was the real blues... Folks getting together at the end of the week and rockin' out... The blues had a baby and they called it rock 'n roll... That's true... You won't hear no weepin' in the realo blues... So if ya' want weepin'... If ya want loney, sycik with Nashville, the weepin' lonely capital of the world... Bunch of middle class weepers, too... Didn't have to be in no cotton field come Monday mornin'...

Just MHO, of course...

B~


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: TinDor
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 07:55 PM

GUEST, TuneSmith wrote:

"
I somehow feel that "nice feelin'" and "cookin'" has got to take a lot of the real blues out of the blues!

I'd have loved to have seen Buddy and Junior playing in a Chicago club in the 60s BUT if I really wanted to hear really deep, lonesome, nothing to do with showbusiness blues, I have to take a walk back in time to a street corner in Wortham, Texas...


Tunesmith, who said that true Blues must be lonesome? Im sure Etta Baker never though the Blues of her region was "fake blues" or "lonesome".

Etta Baker - Knoxville Rag (Listen to 2:39->3:15 for her thoughts)


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: TinDor
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 07:25 PM

Reggie Miles wrote:

"Early blues music has influenced all of the performers you've mentioned in your previous post. Some of those performers focused their musical efforts in others stylistic directions"

Reggie, that's part of the reason why I made the comparisons I did. I wanted to see how those artists were perceived which in turn would help me understand the kind of definitions some are using on here when they suggest that there is a "Real Blues"


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 03:49 PM

...there's also a very nice feelin' of gettin' a band cookin' behind you... Listen to the late RL Burnside with his band and maybe you'll get it... Maybe not???


I somehow feel that "nice feelin'" and "cookin'" has got to take a lot of the real blues out of the blues!

I'd have loved to have seen Buddy and Junior playing in a Chicago club in the 60s BUT if I really wanted to hear really deep, lonesome, nothing to do with showbusiness blues, I have to take a walk back in time to a street corner in Wortham, Texas...


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: reggie miles
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 03:05 PM

Early blues music has influenced all of the performers you've mentioned in your previous post. Some of those performers focused their musical efforts in others stylistic directions. For instance, though his early musical efforts leaned toward country style playing, Bill Monroe, via his various musical experimentation and combo combinations, eventually established what is widely recognized as a separate genre of musical expression, bluegrass.

Change is, and always will be, a primary part of the nature of musical expression. Many forms of musical inspiration draw upon the influences of earlier artists. Every musical endeavor can be interpreted, recombined and then reinserted into our collective ears.

Many years ago, while many of my peers looked elsewhere for their musical influences, I began investing my time in finding songs on 78 rpm records. I enjoyed the inspiration that this source of material provided. Discovering long forgotten songs, reinterpreting them and offering them to contemporary listeners, provided me with a unique niche.

About 30 years ago, I was surprised when I heard one of the old songs that I had recently found and reinterpreted being played by my friend's band. Their interpretation of my interpretation of the song was so different from my approach that it took me a while to even recognize what they were playing. At the time, it didn't occur to me that the song would be of any interest to any other player. It was kind of quirky.

I haven't played that song in years. I can hardly even remember the lyrics. I wonder if it's still being played out there in the vast mix and remix of musical soup?


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: TinDor
Date: 05 Oct 09 - 12:03 PM

any opinions on what I posted above? (who is more blues)


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Bobert
Date: 04 Oct 09 - 08:26 PM

Haha...

The "real blues", heh???

Blues. like any other musical form is evolutionary... Yeah, I enjoy playin' one man/one geetar... That's cool and allows me some freedom I don't have when I have a band with me but...

...there's also a very nice feelin' of gettin' a band cookin' behind you... Listen to the late RL Burnside with his band and maybe you'll get it... Maybe not???

B~ (alias Sidewalk Bob)


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: GUEST,Tunesmith
Date: 04 Oct 09 - 03:47 AM

I've always felt that the "real blues" is the deep intense blues of the delta blues singers, and I suppose Son House is the towering example of that genre. Robert Johnson drew his influences from a lot wider area than Son, and embraced more sophisicated atrists such as Lonnie Johnson. For me there is a lonesome quality in the music of one man and his guitar that is lost when other instruments are added, and then when Muddy plugged in ...


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: M.Ted
Date: 04 Oct 09 - 02:27 AM

You should start a new thread for this--this thread is nine years old.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: TinDor
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 02:57 PM

The American Blind Blake


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Leadfingers
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 02:16 PM

Jimmy Rodgers is more of a Country singer , and WHICH Blind Blake do you mean ? The Barbadian or the American ??


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: TinDor
Date: 03 Oct 09 - 12:29 PM

Great post by Stewie and yes, Clapton outisde of his more poppy stuff is a Blues player. By the way, I want to know who ( all responses are welcomed) do you think is more of a "Blues" musician/player and then give a short reason why you picked who you picked.

jimmy rodgers or blind blake

henry thomas or dock boggs

bill monroe or josh white

jimmy page or wes montgomery

leadbelly or frank hutchison

Duane Allman or charlie christian


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: GUEST,Neil Lowe
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 08:45 AM

Stewie...great post, man. I'm going to use it as reference.

It can be argued whether E.C. is a blues guitarist, but the liner notes to "From The Cradle" quote Clapton as saying that's how he essentially sees himself, pop ditties notwithstanding.

Personally, I think he's diluted his style too much over the years to be considered purely a "blues" guitarist. Thirty years ago, maybe.

But what do I know, I'm not God, EC is.

Regards, Neil


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 29 Mar 00 - 02:13 AM

In the light of the "What is Blues?" thread, I thought it might be useful to dredge this one up. It at least saves some of us from having to repaet ourselves.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 18 Nov 99 - 04:17 AM

RE: W.C.Handy, I'd always assumed from reading between the lines that WC probably wrote down, tidied up and copyrighted traditional blues and claimed them for his own as well as writing new ones.
But then every blues record tends to attribute the old favourites to the artists performing them, even though the tunes are the same and the words vary little, he just didn't record them himself,but disseminated them to a wider audience from which we've all benefitted since.
And then again, what do I know, I'm just total flake- official!
RtS


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Mark Clark
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 11:35 PM

An earlier post made reference to W.C. Handy and it reminded me of a question I've always wanted to ask of such a learned assemblage as this. On the Folkways "Lead Belly's Last Sessions" recordings LB is heard to say something like "...St. Louis Blues, oh yeah... we used to sing that when I was a boy... called it St. Louis Song... Wasn't til I got to New York I come to find out W.C. Handy was the man that wrote that song."

I've always wondered about that comment. Is he saying that "St. Louis Blues" was being sung in Louisiana before Handy could have written it? Or is he simply expressing the fact that Handy's song was so widely performed no one knew where it came from?

Thanks,

- Mark


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: WyoWoman
Date: 17 Nov 99 - 01:06 AM

On my recent trip to Memphis, I visited the Music Hall of Fame and I stood *this far* from Robert Johnson's old steel-bodied National.

It was a religious experience.

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 11:58 AM

Further to Easy Rider's post, I read somewhere that one reason that the National Steel Guitar gained so much favour with the people who played the Juke Joints was that it provided better protection if a fight broke out or stray bullets were flying. .


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Easy Rider
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 11:06 AM

This is all much too serious. We have to remember that, back in the 20s and 30s, Southern Country Blues was primarily DANCE Music. It was played, professionally, at Saturday night barrelhouse dances. People got drunk, got into fights, got laid, at these affairs. They had a good time and let off some steam, after a long hard week of back breaking work. To me, this music is mostly joyful and humorous. It swings.

You should try to find an old thread called "How to Sing The Blues". If I find it, I'll refresh it.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 10:09 AM

thosp...although Piaf met the criteria for "ecstacy and desparation" in her vocals, some attention must be paid to the traditional structure of Blues music for a performer to qualify as a Blues singer, otherwise we get into the kind of blurring of definition that leads to statements like "rap is folk". There is necessarily some difference in basic styling so that we might have a common ground for intelligent discussion of types of music.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: thosp
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 02:15 AM

well i'm going to take the plunge(but first -Stewie -what do you sacrafice to your muse(s) to treat you so well?)
now from much of what i've read above -why wouldn't Edith Piaf be considered a blues singer-- or torch singers in general?


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 01:33 AM

WW.

CDNow has them, but under the subtitle 'Early American Women Blues Vol 1 and 2' rather than the actual title 'I Can't Be Satisfied'. Just put 'Yazoo' in the label option. They also have another nice set, which I overlooked, called 'Barrelhouse Mamas: Born in the Alley, Raised in the Slum' Yazoo 2044. These are of women blues singers accompanied by barrelhouse pianists.

Alternatively, you can go direct to Shanachie of which Yazoo is a subsidiary. http://www.shanachie.com/

Regards, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: WyoWoman
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 01:05 AM

Thanks, Stewie. Where can these be gotten?

ww


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Stewie
Date: 16 Nov 99 - 12:49 AM

Just to make a correction, the album by Deborah Coleman that I mentioned is titled 'Where Blue Begins' - 'Do You Want My Love' is one of the tracks that stand out and it stuck in my head.

Also, for those who may be interested in women blues singers on race records in the 20s, I draw attention to the 2 fine compilations in the Yazoo 2000 series. The first 'I can't be satisfied Vol 1' (Yazoo 2026) concentrates on 'the country' and has very rare recordings by relatively obscure artists like Ruby Glaze, Lottie Kimborough, Rosie Mae Moore and others - 23 sides in all. Its companion, 'I can't be satisfied Vol 2' (Yazoo 2027), focuses on 'the town' and features better known artists such as Victoria Spivey, Ma Rainey, Lucille Bogan, Bertha Chippie Hill etc.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 10:26 PM

I honestly don't think color has much to do with the blues now. Soul has a great deal to do with it, however. Everything to do with it. That may be why Stevie Ray Vaughn sometimes doesn't quite reach me with his -- it's more about the showy licks and less about the soul of the music.

(Not that I"m dissin' Stevie Ray Vaughn. His playing is awesome, of course. Just sometimes not quite to my taste as far as the blues go...)


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: kendall
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 08:01 PM

I dont know squat about the blues, but, Jimmie Rodgers once said "The blues aint nothin' but a good man feelin' bad" 'course he was white,so, what did he know?


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 07:37 PM

Well, their profile in the white recording industry was minimal, but the race records were full of women blues singers. The trouble came when they started trying to sing their sass for the white producers wanting to do crossover recordings. The white guys just wanted the women to sing "Poor Me" songs, not the gutsy, strong stuff they were singing on the race records. I had read somewhere years ago that discouragement over all this was partly what drove Billie Holiday to such despair...Does anybody know anything about that?

ww


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Stewie
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 06:37 PM

Many fine post-war women blues singers have been mentioned above - my favourites are Jo-Ann Kelly and Rory Block. I also like Bonnie Raitt and Toni Price (but they don't sing blues exclusively or even predominantly). The Antone's group of women artists is worth investigating - Marcia Ball, Angela Strehli and, best of all, Sue Foley - her 'Young Girl Blues' album is great. Another fine young blues singer and guitarist is Deborah Coleman who recently released 'Do You Want My Love?' on Blind Pig.

My personal focus in respect of the blues, however, is the pre-war material and the 'blues women' there were a very neglected group indeed. A handful of women blues singers, such as the great Bessie Smith or Ma Rainey or Alberta Hunter, are well-remembered today but, except for collectors of pre-war blues, fine performers such as Lil Green, Georgia White, Bessie Jackson, Hattie Hudson, Clara Smith, Kansas Katie, Ethel Waters, Victoria Spivey, Bessie Tucker, Ida May Mack and Ida Cox, remain virtually unknown. This has been slightly redressed with the release of albums of singers like Memphis Minnie and compilations such as the fine RCA Bluebird release 'Better Boot That Thing: Great Women Blues Singers of the 1920s' which may have been deleted already (the Bluebird reissue series itself has been abandoned, probably because the bean counters found that it wasn't making enough) - but progress is slow.

By and large, these pre-war blues women were tough and uncompromising. Paul Oliver suggests that the aggressiveness of the women singers related directly to their position in black society before the war. In the main, women were more able to obtain jobs than men and therefore became the head of the household. This accounted also for the relatively few women recording artists because recording held no special economic attraction for them. However, the inability of the lower class women to break out of their class gave men the sexual advantage and gave rise to what has been described as a 'defensive hardness' among these women. Rosetta Reitz, who founded a women's blues label (Rosetta Records), suggests that perhaps a counteraction of 'their feelings of powerlessness in world not of their own making' was the underlying impulse for lines such as 'I got something between my legs that would make a dead man come'. Indeed, to sing the 'devil's music' at all required a certain independence for a man in black American society, let alone a woman.

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 02:09 PM

Well, that's the joy of art -- we hear something and get to add our licks to it, whether it's painting, sculpture, tap dance or the blues.

It's all a dance between the basics and the filigree.

WW


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Fortunato
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 02:08 PM

I agree with EJ, Clapton achieved "bluesality" in his version of Crossroads. I have listened to both Johnson and Clapton back to back to hear the influence. If Clapton lives to BB King's 80 years he may play more sparingly. But BB's spare approach is not the only model in electric blues players. T Bone Walker and Clarence Brown have been known to cram a whole lot of notes into a line. And ain't nobody asked do they play 'real' blues.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 01:30 PM

Crossroads as written and performed by Robert Johnson and as performed by Cream(Clapton on guitar)is an interesting example of a Blues taken effectively in two completely different directions. The Johnson version is classic Delta Blues with effective fingerpicking and a dramatic telling of the story. The Cream version is balls-to-the-wall rocknRoll with the most blistering guitar solos Clapton ever achieved, but is it blues? I believe it is, although it has only the faintest resemblance to the original. I believe it achieves the "real blues" label through the passion that underlays both the instumental and vocal performance by Clapton,Bruce and Baker.

I am sure many would disagree, just like the lead guitarist in my band who refuses to profane Robert Johnson with any version we could muster. But I believe that Clapton and the boys paid high homage to Johnson, in spirit, in their version.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Jon W.
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 12:32 PM

Memphis Minnie. She could not only sing but she could outplay any of her husbands.

And I disagree about the 12-bar form being only 30 years old (you didn't really mean that, did you Brad?). Most of the older bluesman used it a lot although they certainly felt free to vary it according to mood. It became necessary to standardize it more when the blues was transfered from a one- or two-musician form to a four or more musician form, so everyone would know when to change chords. Actually that is one of the things I find most appealing about the blues - the virtuosity and intensity of feeling that can be displayed within a very simple structure. The simplicity means that even a beginner can evoke the feeling, but a master can be as expressive as his or her ability allows, still staying within the framework.

Jon W.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:42 AM

And what's the distinction? Where's that dividing line? (I ask myself these questions all the time, knowing there are no actual answers, but trying to articulate a feeling I have about it -- "I know it when I hear it" -- is a fun exercise anyway.)

ww


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: JedMarum
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:38 AM

Eric Clapton is a great guitarist, and performer who has been heavily influenced by Blues. While he may actually play some blues, I would say the lionshare of his music is Rock and that he is one of the major innovatirs of Rock. His blues influence is evident in his rock styles - but I think the majority of his art is just beyond the 'blues' threshold.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: WyoWoman
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:30 AM

Sippie Wallace, Alberta Hunter, Ruth Brown, Big Maybelle, Dinah Washington, and my personal fave, Etta James, honey.

Rory Block is another one of those musicians who is a wonderful guitar player who sometimes plays the blues, among several other musical styles.

And I'm white and definitely can sing 'em, too. Only I was raised in the South and am sort of condemned to always sound "country blues" when I sing ANY blues.

Here's a question: Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee did a song "Hot Little Cookie" (actually may be "You Bring Out the Boogie In Me") that is upbeat, cute. Now, I've only heard them referred to as "blues artists." But what's THAT song? It doesn't sound bluesy at all.

And Saffire, The Uppity Blues Women, does a couple ("I Want my Money Back" and "Middle Aged Blues Boogie") that are pretty saucy, not at all lowdown and feelin' bad all over.

So, what's the relationship of boogie-woogie to the blues? And what about some of those songs with suggestive lyrics that we've mentioned in previous threads? A lot of them aren't feel-bad songs, but they're definitely blues.

By the way, one of the things I notice about white boy blues players such as Stevie Ray Vaughn and Eric Clapton is that they tend to go sailing off into the pyrotechnics of outrageous guitar licks more than the black blues players. I mean, B.B.King kicks ass, but he never adds one more lick than is necessary. Any thoughts on that?

I LOVE this thread. Thanks for starting it, JB.

WyoWoman


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:28 AM

Can a white, English, woman have the blues? Joanne Kelly was the real deal.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From:
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:17 AM

other women? Victoria Spivey in the golden era, later Big Mama Thornton, in the UK Ottillie Paterson, Beryl Bryden & Dana Gillespie. Odetta dabbled at times as did Rosetta Tharpe in her secular moments...
RtS (Damned right I got the blues)


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Fortunato
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:06 AM

From the above it would appear that only men play or sing the blues. Since I am a player not a ethnomusicologist I will challenge others to help us with the history of great women of the blues. I will offer the following:

Ethel Waters, Billie Holiday, Koko Taylor, Ma Rainey Help me out here folks. Oh and that part about who can sing the blues. Well I'm white, and I can, Jack.

Fortunato.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Roger the skiffler
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 11:00 AM

Dabbling in the blues has been popular with many other guitarists whose work is mainly in other genres: Chuck Berry, Mickey Baker, Ike Turner and Jimi Hendrix come to mind.
RtS (white boy* lost in the blues)
*poetic licence, "white old fogey" doesn't sound as good!


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Steve Latimer
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 10:43 AM

Don't know the Jon Spencer band, but I sure have mixed feelings about Clapton. I had given up on Eric years ago, felling that he had become a middle of the road pop star, then he released "From The Cradle", a blues CD which I quite enjoyed. I don't think of Eric as a bluesman though, I see him as a good guitarist who is capable of playing many styles quite well, the blues being one of them. But he just doesn't move me the way Son House, Bukka White, Lightnin' Hopkins, Mississippi John Hurt and Johnny Winter do.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Amos
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 10:21 AM

The pathos is the diagnostic trait. You can trace the form through ragtime and chain gang chants into African tribal traditions, but the form won't tell you the blues. The traditional 8-bar and 12-bar blues forms, usually played in E or A, are completely set aside in some of the greatest cuts from Bessie Smith's Barrelhouse Blues number,for example; but there is no mistaking the down-deep protest against pain that is the real earmark of blues.

One couplet says the blues ain't nothin but a low down dirty shame. Another says it is a ten-dollar woman hooked up with a two dollar man. You won't get far defining it in any cut and dried way, because it is a hot, volatile, shifting voice of deep feeling. But, however this occurs, it is always the blues. That underlies all the musicological parsing and gives you the deeper grasp of what it is. Then you'll see it in thousands of forms from gospel to rock to Coltrane, unmistakably.


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Subject: RE: real blues
From: Brad Sondahl
Date: 15 Nov 99 - 10:06 AM

Stewie's appraisal is great. I would add that blues grew out of, or along side of, ragtime, and a lot of the early blues musicians mixed rags and blues in their repertoire. In fact, the early blues was not "stereotyped," it had a wide variety of forms and progressions. Only in the last 30 years has the blues come to mean a 12 bar I IV V progression like those you hear on beer commercials... I associate that kind of playing with BB King, although he was able to rise above his own set style on occasion. "Nobody loves me but my mother, and she could be jivin too..." Brad http://www.camasnet.com/~asondahl/music.html


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