burntfrijoles

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The "Blues" doesn't need anything. It's fine just the way it is. It's the roux of modern music's gumbo. It should be like Latin. It should never change. It's far more than I-IV- V and shuffles.

I've heard countless covers of classics that are true to original but uniquely different. I've heard countless covers of classics are reinterpretations but don't seem authentic and seem bastardized. You make like one or the other or possibly both. To each their own.

A "modern" guitar player who stayed true to the blues was Peter Green. I don't care what he did, his "blues" performances always sounded like blues, not rock. (Green played other things that weren't blues "Green Manalishi" etc).
Need Your Love So Bad's phrasing andtone are quintessential blues. Different from Little Willie John's original but definitely blues. The same could be said of "It Hurts Me Too", "I Loved Another Woman" or any number of Peter's interpretations.

Fenton Robinson had a "modern" blues tune in 1967, "Somebody Loan Me A Dime". It's classic blues but I like the Box Skaggs, Duane Allman cover of it which is very different but still "blues". It's a great example of reinterpreting a blues and remaining true to the form.

Much of blues is call and response. It breathes. It's efficient and creates space. It doesn't need wild flurries to be interesting. Interest can be created with one note.

Hey, people like what they like. If prefer a modernized offshoot of the blues, fine. That's your thing. I would call it Neo-blues.

That's just me.
 

Peter Graham

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Your understanding of blues is fundamentally incorrect.
You are calling it simple because the harmony structure is simple, but it's not primarily about harmony. You're judging it by european standards, and that's a mistake.
Do you think indian classical music is simple because it has no chords at all?

Blues is microtonal melody music, that has adopted chords.

Blues can be taught. It was literally taught to everyone who played it, by someone. Do you think because juliard doesn't know how to teach it, that no one does?

Think about what's at the core of this idea, that blues can't be taught. Really think about where that comes from, and that's all I'll say about it.

I never said the blues was simple just because the harmony structures are simple, as I thought was clear. If it was not, I apologise. I also never said that blues is only about chords or, if I did, it was in a post that was quite clearly just intended as a throwaway gag.

I feel that it is valid to judge blues from a European standard, because blues derives in part from European folk music. Indeed, the canon of blues tunes includes some reworkings of European folk ballads.

Who or what is juliard (this, I suspect, answers your admittedly rhetorical question on that front)?

Insofar as your last comment is concerned, I suspect I don't need to think that hard to get what you are driving at, but by all means come out and say it if you feel otherwise. All I will say in response - and assuming I have caught your drift - is that some types of music are more about expressing the lived experience of the creator than of displaying technical or classical (to use that word in its widest possible context) skill. There are, however, no limitations on what that lived experience might have entailed. You can't teach lived experience even if you can teach one of the musical frameworks that is often used to convey that lived experience. Thus my comment about punk. Unless you are jolly angry about something, it's hard to write an authentically angry song.

Anyhow, perhaps we should leave it at that? I've only just got here and I'm not interested in upsetting or annoying anyone, especially a long-standing member such as yourself.
 

wrathfuldeity

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Good news and bad news.
Good news: I just got turned on to Marcus King, and became an instant admirer.
Bad news: His band will be HERE in Boise Friday ... and tickets are SOLD OUT.
I may have to sob into my beer a while ... 😭🍺
Idk the venue, but I used to just go to my afore mentioned tiny bar and with my infant son and just hang outside. One time Albert Collins came out wondering around on the sidewalk and street with his 100 foot cord and another time one of the bartender ladies scooped up this toddler and he got to hang and drive with Jimmy Vaughan in his tour bus.
 

joe.attaboy

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At the very least, he's gonna have to lose a finger...

Heh, yeah, that's true. I suppose we'll see if he's a real "method" actor on that.

I'm pretty certain there are some very serious thespians would would come up with a way to "lose" a finger to make it as authentic as possible. But, with CGI these days, the creators could do a "Lt.Dan" on his hand, same way they "removed" Gary Sinise's legs in Forrest Gump.
 

DekeDog

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What did SRV and Hendrix have that no one else did? A supreme mastery of the guitar and their own language for communicating it. They played with an intensity previously unmatched, and a depth of emotion that could be felt in every note, and a uniqueness to their melodies and phrasing. There are great blues players, but no game changers. I really didn't relate much to Prince and his music, but he had those abilities and charisma.
 

deytookerjaabs

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The "Blues" doesn't need anything.


Only point I disagree with, the Blues (and music in general) needs more places with a low cost of operating overhead, low cost drinks, and nary a regulation where people can get down for cheap. I agree that it does not, and never did, need stadium rock culture & 80's type guitar gods with top 10 hits to thrive.
 

stephent2

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The greatest value the popular white guy hot shot Blues players have, opinion here,.. is to introduce us to the real deal Blues guys. The guys who every Blues rocker got their inspiration from,.. whether they knew it or not. Anyway you cut it, there's a vast difference between Jimmy Reed and his guitar player Eddie Taylor and SVR or JoeB. Jimmy Reed tells me something I don't know, lyrically, melodically, rhythmically, attitude wise,.. Those other guys are covering ground the originators already laid down. Most of the time not as convincingly. (Johnny Winter of course being one exception).

I'm thankful that I had early Blues as a frame of reference. My uncle gave me Jimmy Reeds Greatest hits on LP when I was 12, Big Boss Man, etc... so every new "blues guy" was filtered through the Black music I found more credible. It's important to give the originators a listen and understand their contributions to the scene.
 

Cadillac_Mike

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I agree. By that measure Beethoven's 5th Symphony and Bobby Goldsboro's "Honey" are both blues.

Americans have a habit of expanding definitions until they mean nothing.

So I guess Blues is limited to whoever pushes the plow in the 1920's when they couldn't afford tractors.... By that measure then SRV isn't blues either because they had tractors in the 80's.....
 

Peter Graham

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It could be argued that "rap" is not music. It is talking and machines making noises.
It is not melodic and difficult to define IMHO.
I dare say that people may have said much the same thing about the blues, back in the day. I was assured by my elders that what I liked wasn't music either. Just noise.

My guess is that if Robert Johnson was a young man today, he' d be a rapper
 

Jackroadkill

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It could be argued that "rap" is not music. It is talking and machines making noises.
It is not melodic and difficult to define IMHO.

Or you could argue that it was the only way that disenfranchised people who didn't have access to expensive instruments had to make music.

I dare say that people may have said much the same thing about the blues, back in the day. I was assured by my elders that what I liked wasn't music either. Just noise.

My guess is that if Robert Johnson was a young man today, he' d be a rapper

Absolutely.
 

bgmacaw

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I've got a bad feeling about this thread...

starwarsbadfeeling.gif
 

Rowdyman

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Not necessarily an either / or:
Yngwie has tons of chops and can't play blues.
John Lee Hooker didn't have tons of chops and could play blues.
Billy Gibbons has chops AND can play blues.
Interesting thread!!
Not trying to spoil the party,, and I am not really a 'fan', (of Yngwie),,, but,,,,,

I'll bet ya whatever's in my wallet that Yngwie can play a mean mess of blues,
and very well,,,, when and if he chooses.

Regards, RM
 

Rowdyman

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I disagree. The blues is very far from easy, but it is simple. Its simplicity derives from its underlying structures. Musically, its owes a certain debt to the European folk tradition, with which it shares that simplicity of structure. I don't know a great deal about the African music that lies behind the blues but that might also derive from a similarly simple folk tradition.

But that doesn't make the blues easy. The inherent simplicity of the framework allows acres of space for very personal expression. And it is that personal expression, manifested through the lyrics, vocal style or playing style of its proponents, that makes the blues such a powerful and dynamic musical force. What is more, that personal expression cannot be taught. It can only be lived and felt. This is why blues is not easy.

This also makes blues different from other musical genres, which can be taught, to a significantly greater degree. By way of example, I grew up listening to metal. Metal guitarists are perfectly capable of injecting emotion and feeling into their playing (and of course, the best ones do), but pantomime has always been a big part of metal. Part of the pantomime is - or has become - the ability to do lots of flash stuff up at the dusty end of the guitar neck. That flash stuff is technically difficult to do, but is less reliant on space than is the blues and much less reliant on intense personal expression.

I know you didn't like my gag about chords, but that gag was made out of affection, not mockery. This is all just my opinion and I fully and happily accept that many won't share it, but for me it is more difficult to be a credible punk guitarist than a credible metal guitarist. You can, given enough time and assuming you have some natural skill, learn how to play a fancy guitar solo (which is a key part of playing metal). By contrast, you can be taught the chords you need to write a punk song in about five minutes. Yet no-one can ever teach you how to write a two and a half minute, rage-filled anthem (which is a key part of punk). If you don't feel it, you can't do it.

So, I can play along with pretty much every song ever written by the Petrol Girls, the Damned or the Ramones. But I could never have written any of them. Same goes for the blues. One can copy Son House or Muddy Waters, but that isn't enough to make you a bluesman (or blueswoman).

None of this, incidentally, is an argument for blues exceptionalism. Neither is it intended to denigrate metal. I like the blues and I used to like metal, but what I really like is indie, EDM and low-fi droney stuff, with a sprinkling of folk music to taste. But it is to argue that simplicity can be a very Good Thing.
In my humble experience I have noticed that most guitarists that I have heard, played with, and in most cases enjoyed and respected as players, who make statements like,
"blues is boring", blues is too simple", etc., usually can't play blues worth a sh*t!

RM
 

cousinpaul

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I was encouraged by Lil Nas X's "Old Town Road" which dropped in '89 to massive chart success. It's a country/blues/rap mash-up with clever lyrics. If a blues artist had put that out, I doubt it would have escaped the "blues" category. I haven't followed his career and have no idea if Nas will continue to pursue that direction but the song's crossover success proves there is an audience waiting for a fresh take on roots music, which might include the blues.
 

Peter Graham

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In my humble experience I have noticed that most guitarists that I have heard, played with, and in most cases enjoyed and respected as players, who make statements like,
"blues is boring", blues is too simple", etc., usually can't play blues worth a sh*t!

RM
Yes indeed. For all the reasons stated in my previous posts, I don't think blues is easy. And it most certainly isn't boring.

In the interests of full disclosure, I absolutely cannot play blues worth a sh*t. I wish I could, but I can't.
 

DekeDog

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There seems to be a misconception here, and on other guitar forums, that the Blues must be dominated by Blues guitar players playing pentatonic/blues scales. Blues are a sub-genre of jazz, and both developed at about the same time. It's not important to me that Bessie Smith, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Lester Young, etc. even had bands with guitars. And if the only Blues I knew were Robert Johnson, Elmore James, and Howlin' Wolf, I'd probably think Kenny Burrell, Wes Montgomery, and Grant Green were playing something else.
 
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