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View Diary: The Evening Blues - 3-27-13 (45 comments)

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  •  I was kind of late to the scene, having missed... (6+ / 0-)

    ...the sixties 'blues revival." By the time I was almost old enough to see some shows (late 1980s) there were still some good ones left. The first big name I saw/heard was Honeyboy Edwards, then Jr. Wells, Albert King, Frank Frost, Larry Davis...lots of legends at my first couple festivals.
    This summer we are having Johnny Winter play at the festival I work with now, and it has definitely occurred to me that the former young guns of blues music are now elder statesmen.

    •  Love the Blues (7+ / 0-)

      More in this music diary I wrote last year - Music for Saturday Night: Nothing But the Blues.

      What the Blues Are All About



      The blues forces us to deal with the realities of life.  The woman who "done me wrong," the death of friends, the strong allure of drink, smoke, and other vices.  Yet at the same time, while in the fray of dealing with so much trouble, the blues points us to the hope of things to come. That glorious Sunday morning when all will be made right and salvation will surely come.  link

      When you think of the blues, you think about misfortune, betrayal and regret.  You lose your job, you get the blues. Your mate falls out of love with you, you get the blues. Your dog dies, you get the blues.

      While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity.  The blues is also about overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and simply having fun.  The best blues is visceral, cathartic, and starkly emotional.  From unbridled joy to deep sadness, no form of music communicates more genuine emotion.

      • Traditional county blues - A general term that describes the rural blues of the Mississippi Delta, the Piedmont and other rural locales.;
      • Jump blues - A danceable amalgam of swing and blues and a precursor to R&B.  Jump blues was pioneered by Louis Jordan.
      • Boogie-woogie - A piano-based blues popularized by Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, and derived from barrelhouse and ragtime.  
      • Chicago blues - Delta blues electrified.
      • Cool blues - A sophisticated piano-based form that owes much to jazz.
      • West Coast blues - Popularized mainly by Texas musicians who moved to California.  West Coast blues is heavily influenced by the swing beat.
      • The Texas blues, Memphis blues, and St. Louis blues consist of a wide variety of subgenres.  Louisiana blues is characterized by a swampy guitar or harmonica sound with lots of echo, while Kansas City blues is jazz oriented - think Count Basie.  There is also the British blues, a rock-blues hybrid pioneered by John Mayall, Peter Green and Eric Clapton. New Orleans blues is largely piano-based, with the exception of some talented guitarists such as Guitar Slim and Snooks Eaglin.  And most people are familiar with blues rock.


      "Book Review: Getting the Blues: What Blues Music Teaches Us About Suffering and Salvation" - Blog Critics.  "A Brief History of the Blues" - All About Jazz.  Sketch credit: Dave Mott's Sketch Blog.

      •  cool graphic... (6+ / 0-)

        it is a curious thing that it seems that some of the most beautiful music ever created has been created by horribly oppressed people.

        i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

        by joe shikspack on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 06:06:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  In that respect, (4+ / 0-)

          the Blues really is a metaphor for the indomitable human spirit, isn't it?  

          Certainly, people of all races have experienced the blues (both the music and the feelings) and musicians of all colors have played blues music.  But jazz and blues music must be considered original to African Americans, borne out of "the irrestistible impulse of blacks to create boldly expressive art of a high quality as a primary response to their social conditions, as an affirmation of their dignity and humanity in the face of poverty and racism" (Norton Anthology of African American Literature 929).  
          •  absolutely... (4+ / 0-)

            it is likely that we could identify folk music from many cultures which performs much the same function, though i would venture to say that when the music of those cultures came here to america and got mixed together in our "melting pot" (a metaphor for the appropriation of ideas amongst musicians) all sorts of interesting new expressions came to be.

            i'm part of the 99% - america's largest minority

            by joe shikspack on Wed Mar 27, 2013 at 06:53:41 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

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