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The Blues

Old 06-11-17, 09:37 PM
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The Blues


I'm sitting here listening to W.C. Clark out of Austin and I had to start a topic on the blues, one of only original American art forms, and my favorite music style. Blues doesn't get its due, it's the most performed style of live music in the world.

I've seen many blues artists over the years, happy to say I've seen such artists as B.B. King, Joe Williams, Etta James, Ruth Brown, The Staple Singers, Sam Moore, Bonnie Raitt, Irma Thomas, The Meters, and lots more I can't remember.

I'm a big fan of the old Atlantic/Stax-Volt artists like Ray Charles, Otis Redding, Sam & Dave, etc, etc.

Sad to say I didn't catch some of my favorites, mostly because I was too young to see them before they died.

Robert Cray is among my favorites.

Feel free to share your favorite blues artists/songs and some of your experiences.
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Old 06-11-17, 11:05 PM
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Re: The Blues

Good idea for a thread.
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Old 06-11-17, 11:14 PM
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Re: The Blues

Growing up in Austin, I saw WC Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Vaughn, and a slew of others all over town. Good times back in the day. Watching them live is just one of those experiences that listening to an album could never replicate. Although, I do love listening to blues from time to time at work.
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Old 06-11-17, 11:36 PM
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Re: The Blues

Originally Posted by E Unit View Post
Growing up in Austin, I saw WC Clark, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Jimmy Vaughn, and a slew of others all over town. Good times back in the day. Watching them live is just one of those experiences that listening to an album could never replicate. Although, I do love listening to blues from time to time at work.
I've seen The Thunderbirds quite a few times (as well as Kim Wilson solo). Kim is one of the best male blues singers/harp players in the world. Jimmy played locally not too long ago but I couldn't afford it at the time.
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Old 06-12-17, 01:00 AM
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Re: The Blues

I might be a purist, but I don't consider almost any of the musicians in the OP Blues. Some of my favorites:

Muddy Waters
Son House
Blind Willie McTell
Robert Johnson
Little Walter
Blind Lemon Jefferson
Howlin Wolf
Leadbelly

I could go on, but for something contemporary I would recommend almost anyone on the Alligator label.
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Old 06-12-17, 01:28 PM
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Re: The Blues

Originally Posted by JasonX View Post
I might be a purist, but I don't consider almost any of the musicians in the OP Blues. Some of my favorites:

Muddy Waters
Son House
Blind Willie McTell
Robert Johnson
Little Walter
Blind Lemon Jefferson
Howlin Wolf
Leadbelly

I could go on, but for something contemporary I would recommend almost anyone on the Alligator label.
So nobody born after 1940 can be blues?

Come on, Ray Charles isn't blues? Etta James, Irma Thomas, WC Clark, etc?

We're still having this argument? The line between Blues/R&B/Jazz is a fine one. To say that someone like Joe Williams isn't a blues singer is just plain silly.

I'm a harp player and could listen to Little Walter all day, but I realize there's more to blues than just that.
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Old 06-12-17, 07:44 PM
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Re: The Blues

Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
So nobody born after 1940 can be blues?

Come on, Ray Charles isn't blues?
I mentioned that I like many people on the Alligator label, most of those were born after the 1940s. Blues music is strongly identified with the people that helped originate/popularize it. The closer you get to modern times, the less of those people there are. If I'm recommending blues music to someone, I start with the classics.

I have never heard of anyone calling Ray Charles blues music, nor would I ever think to do so. If you are going to meld R&B or soul music into blues, you might as well just do away with categories all together.
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Old 06-12-17, 10:26 PM
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Re: The Blues

Originally Posted by JasonX View Post
I have never heard of anyone calling Ray Charles blues music, nor would I ever think to do so. If you are going to meld R&B or soul music into blues, you might as well just do away with categories all together.
Ray Charles is blues for sure. He toured with Guitar Slim, did the arrangements for him on songs like The Things That I Used to Do, etc. His early stuff is heavily influenced by Charles Brown, Nat King Cole, Louis Jordan, etc. If you don't consider him blues I don't know what to tell you.

If you don't think the artists I mentioned are blues, then we obviously have different tastes in music.
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Old 06-12-17, 11:06 PM
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Re: The Blues

Originally Posted by Eric F View Post
If you don't think the artists I mentioned are blues, then we obviously have different tastes in music.
Not nessesarily, just very different ideas about this genre and likely genres in general.
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Old 06-13-17, 09:51 AM
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Re: The Blues

A more recent act is Kaleo.
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Old 06-13-17, 05:27 PM
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Re: The Blues

Originally Posted by JasonX View Post
I might be a purist, but I don't consider almost any of the musicians in the OP Blues. Some of my favorites:

Muddy Waters
Son House
Blind Willie McTell
Robert Johnson
Little Walter
Blind Lemon Jefferson
Howlin Wolf
Leadbelly

I could go on, but for something contemporary I would recommend almost anyone on the Alligator label.
Absolutely great list. I'm not a big fan of what I'd call "beer commercial" blues myself - but the originators of what we think of as the blues are amazing. I don't dislike more modern bluesmen but I have to admit those who sprang from the early half of the 20th century are my favorites. I think "blues" is like rock 'n' roll or punk or jazz - home to about 5000 different subgenres and styles, so it's silly to insist that only one kind of artist is "real" blues. I would have to consider Ray Charles or Otis Redding more "soul" than blues but obviously they're all branches of the same tree.

For more modern blues, anyone on Fat Possum Records is excellent too - some who've passed away recently like RL Burnside and Junior Kimbrough were great north Mississippi hill country figures carrying on that old-time sound.

And if you want to get into the really old, hardcore blues precursors I've got to recommend sets like this Paramount Blues compilation or the American Primitive collection. You'll have to be someone who doesn't mind a bit of hiss and crackle to the old recordings though (to me that adds to the atmosphere).
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Old 06-20-17, 09:21 PM
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Re: The Blues

Some of my favorite contemporary blues artists like Joe Louis Walker straddle the line between blues/soul/R&B. The same could be said for guys like Robert Cray, WC Clark even Jimmy Vaughan.

You can say that about artists like Freddie King, Albert King and Little Milton who were old enough to start out doing "traditional" blues, and then changed their styles to fit the times. Music is not static.

I'm listening to one of Freddie King's last albums right now- Woman Across the River. Not "traditional" in any sense, but still blues in my book.
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