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Patriot07
10-16-2006, 03:18 PM
Well, we have one for Elvis and The Beatles. Why not have one for the musical style that created Rock and Roll as we know it. As long as I can remember, I've always been a fan of the blues. There's just something free about it that just makes it appealing. The screaming guitar riffs, the thundering bass lines and the steady, yet syncopated drumming patterns are all keys to my love of the blues.

Some of my favorite bluesmen are Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton and most of all, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

cadmium_blimp
10-16-2006, 03:21 PM
So far I'm limited to B.B. King, Robert Johnson, and some blues-rock if that counts, but I hope to get more someday. The amount of money I have is in no way equal to the number of albums I wish to buy.

Ilash
10-16-2006, 04:39 PM
Well, we have one for Elvis and The Beatles. Why not have one for the musical style that created Rock and Roll as we know it. As long as I can remember, I've always been a fan of the blues. There's just something free about it that just makes it appealing. The screaming guitar riffs, the thundering bass lines and the steady, yet syncopated drumming patterns are all keys to my love of the blues.

Some of my favorite bluesmen are Robert Johnson, Howlin' Wolf, Muddy Waters, Eric Clapton and most of all, Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Big fan of the blues here but I find your description of the blues somewhat puzzling because while many fit your criteria, just as many don't - including Robert Johnson who heads off your list. I would also say that SRV is by far my least favourite of the artists you mentoned.

Patriot07
10-16-2006, 08:08 PM
Big fan of the blues here but I find your description of the blues somewhat puzzling because while many fit your criteria, just as many don't - including Robert Johnson who heads off your list. I would also say that SRV is by far my least favourite of the artists you mentoned.

That wasn't my criteria or description of the blues. That's just what I really tend to like in blues. And every blues artist has something from that list. Usually the screaming guitar. No one can deny that Johnson's guitar spoke. If you want my description of the blues it's raw emotion set to music.

Also, I'm a die hard SRV fan. Have been for a very, very long time.

DennyK
10-17-2006, 06:26 AM
Patriot, when you get the funds, here's what I recommend you pick up:

Damn Right I've Got The Blues ~ Buddy Guy

The Paul Butterfield Blues Band ~ The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

I'll Play The Blues For You ~ Albert King

Live In Europe ~ Rory Gallagher

Briefcase Full Of Blues ~ The Blues Brothers

Best Of The Shelter Records Years ~ Freddie King

So Many Roads ~ Otis Rush


These are just a few of what I consider "must have" albums, and will also lead you to other great artists. Enjoy the journey.

Patrick Ferguson
10-17-2006, 10:15 AM
Right now I'm listening to a ton of Blind Blake. He's so good it's almost depressing.

Adam Crocker
10-17-2006, 10:27 AM
Briefcase Full Of Blues ~ The Blues Brothers


At the risk of sounding like a nitpicker isn't that less blues and more R&B/southern soul?

Inspite of that I'm inclinded to second these choices, even though I haven't heard a lot of these since I'm familiar with the artists and trust your choice in these cases.

Though I have heard the PBB, a.k.a. the best white blues act ever. (Festooned with Mike Bloomfield, the best white blues guitarist ever.)

Personally, if you want to investigate blues cadmium, the most familiar form of the blues is heavily rooted in the classic Chicago Blues scene of the 1950s and 60s. Much of this scene was defined by the output of Chess Records who had on their roster some of the most important figures of post-war electric blues as well as early rock'n'roll legends Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Chess' output remains among the most influential blues recordings both in blues and rock'n'roll.

The towering figure of this scene is Muddy Waters, who built his legend on his abilities as a singer and bandleader. He had some of the finest players in Chicago pass through his band including guitarist Buddy Guy, pianist Otis Spann, guitarist Jimmie Rodgers, and harmonica player Little Walter Jacobs -- all of whom went onto their own solo careers. (Guy and Little Walter being the most influential.) His songs (often penned by Chess staff songwriter and blues poet laureate Willie Dixon, though last two I listed are by Waters) - "Hoochie Coochie Man," "I Got My Mojo Workin'," "I Just Want To Make Love To You," "Honey Bee," and "Rollin' Stone" -- are undisputed classics (and yes the Stones, who worshipped Chess, got their name from the last song).

That said, while he comes up second in mythological status, I prefer Howlin' Wolf over Waters any day. Whereas Waters' music was slick, sophisticated urban blues Wolf was spare as rough. Much of his songs lacked the instrumental sophistication of Waters' and were primarily driven by biting, eccentric guitar playing of Hubert Sumelin. Meanwhile, in contrast to Waters' relatively smooth singing Wolf had a rough, sandpaper Howl that made Dylan look polite (and Dylan probably got it from him anyways). He was, when not singing great Willie Dixon numbers like "Wang-Dang Dooble," "Backdoor Man," and "Spoonful", one of the blues finest songwriters. Just look at "the Killing Floor" where he uses Chicago's abbatoirs as a metaphor for the pain of a broken heart. (Or give "Smokestack Lightin'" and "Evil" a listen.)

Little Walter for his part went on to become the most influential harmonica player in the blues, practically defining modern blues harmonica playing with its slashing lines and warbling vibrato. He was rivalled by fellow Chess stablemate Sonny Boy Williamson II (not to be confused with Sonny Boy Williamson I, whom he stole his name from). Williamson was sort of the old man of chicago in a genre dominated by older men (at least those in middle age during the fifties). Born earlier than most of the men I have listed he tramped up across the US south where he married Howlin' Wolf's sister, taught him harmonica, and played with Robert Johnson on the night of his last gig. He also stole the stage name of a blues performer from Chicago who was the first to turn the harmonica into a solo instrument. Yet Williamson kept it after beating Sonny Boy I in a harmonica duel. He went to incredible lengths to hoard money, food, and drink due to his experiences with poverty and went back home to die just as he found stardom in great Britain.

Sonny Boy had a more vicious, direct attack than Walter, but he also stood out as a songwriter. Never relying much on Willie Dixon, Williamson's songs often eschewed common structures and phraseology of blues songwriting and used autobiographical lyrics and stinging wit.

As for listening to them, there are a number of compilations available of their work. A good place to start are the 50th anniversary single disc sets that Chess released of their work in 1997. Still in print, with great sound, and widely available. After that there are various albums and comps that it takes time to sort your way around, though Chess also released boxed sets of their work for the more involved. Of these your best bets are probably those for Muddy and Wolf which are three discs long and have the most material.

Jonathan Bogart
10-17-2006, 12:10 PM
Mm. To me, calling the Chicago blues of the 50s the definitive version of the blues is analogous to calling Michael Jackson, Prince, and New Edition the definitive version of soul. Just because every blues player (or r&b singer) since has walked in their shoes doesn't mean that's the best place to start, or that we should limit ourselves to that particular flavor.

I love the blues of the 20s and 30s and 40s. Mostly I love the variety of blues forms available when it first swirled up out of the black underground on to record: country blues, female blues, jazz-band blues, string-band blues, piano blues, blue yodels, folk-blues, and of course Delta blues. (Mississippi John Hurt, Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong's Hot Five, the Mississippi Sheiks, Pinetop Perkins, Jimmie Rodgers, Leadbelly, and Charley Patton, respectively, are the essential artists.)

And as the blues developed and went urban in the 40s, you have T-Bone Walker's electric swing, John Lee Hooker's modal boogie, Count Basie's big-band stomp (especially with Jimmy Witherspoon singing), Professor Longhair's rolling New Orleans jive, and Lightnin' Hopkins' down-home Texas free-association.

And there's also Tin Pan Alley's showbiz version of the blues (which isn't to say the "real" black blues weren't show business too, in their way), of which the best songs had lyrics by Johnny Mercer ("Blues in the Night," "One for My Baby") and were interpreted by stone-cool cats like Frank Sinatra and Peggy Lee.

But more than anything, I think, I love the fact that there were literally thousands of blues artists recording for tiny labels during this period, some of whom only cut a few records, some of whom cut hundreds, all of which remain almost entirely obscure except to historical-release fetishists like myself. For the first fifteen years or so of the existence of jazz on record, almost everything played in the form was blues: that is, they used blues changes, if not the usual verse structure. They remain intertwined: some of the great blues artists of the 50s and 60s are John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, and Nina Simone.

Adam Crocker
10-17-2006, 12:19 PM
Mm. To me, calling the Chicago blues of the 50s the definitive version of the blues is analogous to calling Michael Jackson, Prince, and New Edition the definitive version of soul. Just because every blues player (or r&b singer) since has walked in their shoes doesn't mean that's the best place to start, or that we should limit ourselves to that particular flavor.

*Exasperate sigh*


Personally, if you want to investigate blues cadmium, the most familiar form of the blues is heavily rooted in the classic Chicago Blues scene of the 1950s and 60s.

I was suggesting it more as a good, relatively familiar jumping on point given his experience with the more well known blues and blues rock acts rather than "definitive". I was planning to get further into earlier styles in subsequent posts. (And really? Isn't that comparison a bit off? Wouldn't B.B. and SRV be more comparable to MJ and Prince, while Muddy could be more comparable to sayyyy Motown?)

However, I do think you did a very good job of concisely summing up the kinds of blues available, particularly the earlier, pre-electric styles.

cadmium_blimp
10-17-2006, 12:43 PM
I saw a documentary on Howlin' Wolf once and it had some pretty interesting stuff. "Smokestack Lightning" was featured in the documentary and it sounded pretty cool. If I remember right, it had a pretty catchy riff.

Jonathan Bogart
10-17-2006, 12:51 PM
I was suggesting it more as a good, relatively familiar jumping on point given his experience with the more well known blues and blues rock acts rather than "definitive".
Oh, I know what you were doing. I just wanted to nip any wrong impressions in the bud.

And actually, I think the comparison I made is pretty good, especially when you look at the timeframe. (Actual blues born in 20s and 30s, reach a commercial peak with Chess in the 50s vs. actual soul born in 50s and 60s, reaches a commercial peak with electro-soul in 80s; in both cases, it mutates into something else -- rock & roll, hip-hop based "urban" music, afterwards.) In terms of quality, or what I'd actually prefer to listen to, maybe not.

Adam Crocker
10-17-2006, 12:59 PM
I saw a documentary on Howlin' Wolf once and it had some pretty interesting stuff. "Smokestack Lightning" was featured in the documentary and it sounded pretty cool. If I remember right, it had a pretty catchy riff.

Sumelin's riffs usually are quite catchy.

Anyways Chicago blues is the way to go if you want something more familiar to B.B. and SRV, though I also left out Texas Blues guitarist T. Bone Walker who probably had the most formative influence on electric blues guitar playing. He's influenced a lot of the performers in Chicago, nevermind outside of the city.

And now I want to make a point that I came up with when I first read the thread, but that Jon's post as ressurrected...


Some of my favorite bluesmen are...

What is a bluesman anyways? I've used this term myself, but I've never questioned it til now. I mean from the list suggested by patriot it means blues singers. But back in the twenties and thirties the most popular blues singers were women, often accompanied on piano rather than guitar. What about guys like Roy Buchanan who were more known for guitar prowess than vocal prowess and often relied on other singers for their albums?

Adam Crocker
10-17-2006, 01:01 PM
Oh, I know what you were doing. I just wanted to nip any wrong impressions in the bud.

Whoops!


And actually, I think the comparison I made is pretty good, especially when you look at the timeframe. (Actual blues born in 20s and 30s, reach a commercial peak with Chess in the 50s vs. actual soul born in 50s and 60s, reaches a commercial peak with electro-soul in 80s; in both cases, it mutates into something else -- rock & roll, hip-hop based "urban" music, afterwards.)

Good point. I was actually thinking more in terms of overall commercial exposure. It seems that more people these days probably listen to Jackson and Prince than Motown, just as more listen to SRV and BB than Muddy, even if all are prominent, common entry points for their respective genres.

Sanagi
10-17-2006, 03:28 PM
Semi-random tangent: I'm taking a history of popular music course(total filler class) and the textbook offers the most pointless visual aid I've ever seen in its chapter on the blues. It shows a music staff with D-flat on it, with the caption "A blue note in the key of B-flat." Kind of like a math book showing a big picture of the number five, with the caption "X, if X=2+3." But hey, if you ever need to play a blues scale in B-flat, now you know what two of the notes are!

Clint Barton
10-20-2006, 08:39 AM
Anyone ever listen to Keb' Mo'? Whaddaya think?

I'm a big fan of SRV, Gatemouth Brown, Paul Butterfield and many others previously mentioned.

However, Keb' Mo's music and lyrics define Delta Blues for me. I enjoy the way he's been influenced by Black Gospel music. I even try to play like he does.

My dream is to one day be Keb' Mo'. :)

Jonathan Bogart
10-20-2006, 09:05 AM
Anyone ever listen to Keb' Mo'? Whaddaya think?
I think of him as the black Dave Matthews.

Sorry, you did ask.

Ottmeister X
10-20-2006, 10:36 PM
I just got done watching the Lightning In A Bottle DVD. Wow. Some of those performances take your breath away. Highly recommended to anyone that likes the blues.

As for the Robert Johnson comment, trying to figure out how he wasn't part of the blues. Maybe I read that wrong.

DennyK
10-21-2006, 01:57 PM
At the risk of sounding like a nitpicker isn't that less blues and more R&B/southern soul?

Inspite of that I'm inclinded to second these choices, even though I haven't heard a lot of these since I'm familiar with the artists and trust your choice in these cases.

Though I have heard the PBB, a.k.a. the best white blues act ever. (Festooned with Mike Bloomfield, the best white blues guitarist ever.)


You may be right as far as The Blues Brothers go, and thank you for the kind words.

Adam Crocker
10-26-2006, 11:15 AM
Anyone ever listen to Keb' Mo'? Whaddaya think?

[...]

However, Keb' Mo's music and lyrics define Delta Blues for me. I enjoy the way he's been influenced by Black Gospel music. I even try to play like he does.

Never got around to really checking out his stuff though I did do a run-through on AMG of his albums. Based on the sound samples I must admit that I am puzzled by your characterisation. Certainly his early stuff sounds like Delta Blues (albeit a more modern, slick take), but everything from the third album on sounds like slick blues-pop with soul and jazz-pop elements.

That said you play blues guitar? Who are your influences? (Besides the aforementioned Keb' Mo'.) What kind of guitar(s) do you play? How long have you been playing and when did you get into it?