Thoughtfree

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The blues needs a singing tenor sax player with a knack for creating catchy themes. Why don't young musicians copy the late, great Junior Walker, instead of SRV? I say this as a guitar player who has perpetrated many hours of "blues" solos in dive bars.



 

Matt Sarad

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I saw Marcus at High Sierra Music Festival as the Saturday night headliner. He was so loud through the pa the rest of the band was drowned out.
It was so painful I left during the first song.
He was at the top of my list that Summer.
 

ravindave_3600

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I saw Marcus at High Sierra Music Festival as the Saturday night headliner. He was so loud through the pa the rest of the band was drowned out.
It was so painful I left during the first song.
He was at the top of my list that Summer.
I like loud, but there's no excuse for "So Loud You Can't Make Out What's Going On".
 

BrazHog

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The blues needs a singing tenor sax player with a knack for creating catchy themes. Why don't young musicians copy the late, great Junior Walker, instead of SRV? I say this as a guitar player who has perpetrated many hours of "blues" solos in dive bars.

But to do that, you would need to be able to sing and to come up with catchy riffs. Easier to just regurgitate some SRV licks, a task which I plan to undertake momentarily.

Now seriously, SRV, the Kings, Robert Cray... all the top blues greats don't just play the guitar, they are quite good singers too. That's something one should consider before/in addition to start regurgitating the aforementioned SRV licks. Being a bluesman means being a complete entertainer.
 

teletina

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SRV wasn't just extra player, his songs were also very good creations so he got through many people .
It's allways how good songs you write !
The same things is with Jimmy and many others !
 

BlueTele

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I love Stevie Ray Vaughan.
His music.
His playing style.
His tone.
His singing voice.

The instruments and effects and amps he used has affected my instrument choices (along with a million other blues and rock players) down to this day.

His battered-Strat-and-black-bolero-cowboy-gypsy image—too often imitated, and never equaled—was a spectacular package to behold.

The background story of a less-handsome little brother living in the shadow of a often-dismissive and sometimes-contentious older sibling resonates greatly with me (personally)…add the ramshackle Oak Cliff childhood and status as an outsider in his own hometown, it becomes even more resonant to me.

His initial professional struggles and failures, followed by unexpected success in a landscape of synths, drum machines and hairspray makes me smile.

The fact that he told an established superstar (David Bowie), “Thanks but no thanks, I got my own thang to do…” when it could have led to a lot of professional exposure just oozes Texas Swagger (which I love).

The fact that his ground-breaking first album was recorded in just a couple of days of studio time borrowed from another superstar (Jackson Browne), along with the tickling of my Guitar Nerddom because those studio session led to SRV discovering a rare and iconic amplifier (Dumble), which shaped his sound even further.

The story arc of alcohol and drug abuse, hitting rock bottom, then redemption through rehab, then making two more (spectacular) albums while sober, overcoming his fear of playing without some chemical help/enhancement is inspiring.

The similar and related aspect of a toxic and occasionally abusive marriage, which fell apart and was followed by a meet-cute story of literally seeing a girl on the side of the road in a foreign country and stopping to introduce himself, is a dramatic rom-com in the making.

The fact that the second album of his sober life was two full-circle moments (reuniting with Nile Rogers, who was instrumental in Stevie’s first professional success on David Bowie’s “Let’s Dance” and—probably more importantly—the first full album of playing with his big brother) deepens the tragedy and inspiration—the romance, if you will.

His untimely death, when on the brink of…well, who knows what…is tragic and painful for fans of his music as well as his bandmates and friends.

Even the melodrama of his backing band moving forward with (first) the Arc Angels and (second) Storyville, with episodes of playing with multiple guitarslingers (Susan Tedeschi, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, etc) littered along the way is interesting and melancholic.

I don’t know why Hollywood hasn’t snapped up the rights to make this into a movie. The entire story is as cinematic as award-winning biopics like The Buddy Holly Story, La Bamba (Ritchie Valens), Ray (Ray Charles) or Walk The Line (Johnny Cash).

Jimmie’s quote sums it up pretty good:

“The world misses his music, but I miss my brother.”

Not to diminish Jimmie’s relationship with Stevie or his pain, but a lot of people feel the same way, myself included.

Having said all that, there is a second aspect to Stevie’s death that I think goes just as deep and has affected the music (blues) I love so much.

Stevie’s death was a severe blow to the music world, but more so to the blues world in particular. He led the charge, the revolution, the resurrection of Blues music as a viable and profitable product in the 1980’s. His success led to wider recognition for artists who’d been around and playing music for a long time—folks like Robert Cray, whose smoother delivery and sweeter sound belied his ability to *Bring It* when the time came, and his brother’s band, the Fabulous Thunderbirds—who’d already made four of the finest blues albums in history, yet been released and relegated by their label because mainstream success eluded them. The attention given to Stevie led to attention being given to Jimmie and Kim Wilson, who were given another chance, and delivered in spades throughout the rest of the decade.

The whole Austin Blues scene—centered especially around Clifford Antone’s namesake club—was already firmly established by 1983, when “Texas Flood” was released…but the success of the disc brought more national, and eventually international attention to the scene. It grew exponentially, but still seemed to stay true to its roots. Clifford’s habit of mixing new young blood with old legendary players (like putting the T-Birds behind Muddy Waters, putting Stevie onstage with Albert King and later, dropping Sue Foley off to play with Buddy Guy and Albert Collins) continued to foster new growth while strengthening old roots, to great results. The Texas Blues scene became so dominant that a mainstream movie set in Chicago (Adventures in Babysitting), used a Texas Blues guy (Albert Collins) for an important scene, instead of drawing from the local Chicago talent that was undoubtedly available.

The Dallas and Fort Worth blues scenes (close in geography but distant in style and personnel) grew greatly as well; Houston’s pre-existing scene benefitted along the way.

Blues had a scene that could be a worldwide focal point. All was good.

However, there’s some evidence that the whole thing started crumbling when Stevie died.

Just like an old tree doesn’t die just because a limb or two cracks, it wasn’t an immediate collapse. There was great blues and blues-based music made—in Texas and elsewhere—after Stevie’s death (and there still is).

The first big problem was that a lot of people decided that somebody—anybody—needed to fill Stevie’s boots…and the second big problem was that a lot of guitarists tried.

I’m not criticizing the Vaughan-a-bees for their musicianship. Anybody that can reasonably cop SRV’s licks obviously has some talent, aptitude and ability on guitar. But by copying him note-for-note, lick-by-lick and tone-for-tone, those copyists are missing what made Stevie so revolutionary.

Stevie Vaughan copied, borrowed and stole from everybody (as all good musicians do), not just a singular source. He could have made a (reasonable) career just copying Hendrix (like Ernie Isley and Robin Trower and Lance Lopez have done)…he also sounded so much like Albert King that Nile Rogers told David Bowie, “Man, I didn’t know you wanted that on your album—if I’d known, we could have called Albert himself!” (I’m paraphrasing, don’t @me).

But Stevie wisely took a plank or a brick or a shingle from each of his heroes’ homes and made his own castle.

Listening to an album you’d hear traces of Lonnie Mack or Buddy Guy or Hubert Sumlin or Kenny Burrell or Otis Rush or Howlin’ Wolf or the aforementioned Albert King and Jimi Hendrix—or a dozen other influences…but he also sounded exactly like himself, like all those flavors were being blended up in that beat-up Strat and spewed out through a pair of Vibroverbs.

His music was impactful because it sounded familiar, but it also sounded fresh.

He was embraced by his forebears and old-time blues fans was because they could hear his respect for and homages to themselves and their peers.

He was embraced by newer blues enthusiasts because it wasn’t a fourth-generation rehash of what they’d been listening to all their lives.

Stevie sounded like old blues, but with a second gear.

But nowadays, when I hear “Latest Vaughnabee X” I think, “Not bad…now show me your second gear.”

Some have grown into it—they started out with him as a major (or even singular) influence, and matured as a musician to where his influence is still heard, but has become a piece of the puzzle rather than the whole picture.

Some have never grown beyond it, and seemingly never will. They’re not just stuck in first gear, some have put the car in park and they’re just idling.

The problem this phenomenon (“finding/becoming the next SRV”) created is that blues and blues/rock stagnated for 20 years. There was little or no growth, overall, and a large number of marginal blues fans have grown tired of the genre…and since the money isn’t made on the hard-core fans, but rather the (larger) mainstream demographic, festivals, clubs and even regional scenes have shrunk, suffered or died.

The hardcore fans (such as me) are still there; I’ve branched out and explored sub-genres that I was aware of but not well-versed in (North Mississippi Hill Country Blues artists such as Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside, as well as their acolytes such the North Mississippi All-Stars and The Black Keys). Artists such as Eve Monsees and Mike Flanigan have come into their own, and I’ve also continued to follow the folks who were around during Stevie’s lifetime—Derek O’Brien, Lou Ann Barton, the recently deceased Denney Freeman, Sue Foley, and of course, big brother Jimmie.

But I love the style and the art form, going as far back as Bessie Smith and Sylvester Weaver and on through Robert Johnson and Son House and Charley Patton and on through Muddy and Wolf and BB and…you get the point. I love blues, and I’ll keep listening to it.

So what is needed?

Well, in a way we need what we’ve been searching for—another Stevie Ray Vaughan…

No, not yet another person who plays like him, but a player who combines all the cool elements of their forebears and puts out a different-but-familiar sound that’s enjoyable across the board.

I was hoping it would be Gary Clark, Jr and Eve Monsees.

Mr. Clark has done a lot, and received a lot of mainstream attention, but his influence hasn’t become as wide-spread as SRV’s was…

I love the fact that Mr. Clark has re-opened Antone’s nightclub and Mrs. Monsees-Buck (yes, she married the Fabulous Thunderbirds’s original drummer, Mike Buck) is now proprietor of Antone’s Record Shop, but their musical influence is far from the mainstream, in total.

Blues needs a new revolution, a new scene, a new explosion…and us blues fans need it now!
I wish my memory was better, but this amazing kid has popped up on my Instagram...one of those guitar sites I follow. He looks like a clean cut kid straight out of "Leave it to Beaver" or "My Three Sons", but the kid is the next Stevie Ray...as long as he doesn't "over do it" with the screwed up tense facial expressions like Joe B. and others...I am so sick of that. Stevie Ray even took that a bit too far at times IMHO. He is still only playing small clubs, but in a few years, he'll be this generations Kenny Wayne Shepherd or Stevie Ray.

But...here is the thing...the "true thing" to me about the Blues. While being a Blues guitar virtuoso being able to rip it up is impressive, "Blues" (IMHO) is about "the voice", "the singing", and the emotion with which it is sung. Think about all of the great Blues artists...go back as far as you want. Most played guitar and/or harmonica. I'll start with who was most familiar to me: Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. King, Lightnin' Hopkins, Sonny Boy Williamson, Leadbelly, Jimmy Reed, Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Bobby Blue Bland, Skip James, Slim Harpo, Albert King, Son House, John Lee Hooker, Little Walter, Buddy Guy, etc. What were they all about? What made them great? "Their voices." Look for voices, and less so guitar players. Some of the greatest Blues voices couldn't even play guitar very well or keep rhythm (example: John Lee Hooker - his "inability" to keep proper time and chord changes was his trademark, yet, but it was all about his voice...that gravely, scratchy, lived-a-hard-life "one bourbon, one scotch, one beer" voice).
 
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dlew919

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And of course I forget which blue yodel had Jimmie Rodgers and Louis Armstrong. But if that isn’t blues I don’t know what is.
 

dlew919

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And muddy waters was an incredible bluegrass artist and BB King was an incredible C&W musician.

No.
Think more broadly. What kills any genre is applying rigid rules. Did Monroe play Chicago blues? Not really. But he played a lot of blues songs in his style. What springs to mind is ‘sitting on top of the world’. And If we look at themes, hanks ‘my son calls another man daddy’ or even lost highway (neither written by him) fit nicely into a blues framework.

The lesson of the great individualists, whether that be B B, Muddy, Jimi or even miles (or any other) is not to copy them but to find your own style. To get off blues for a second, why is yngwie a millionaire and his copyists not? Back to blues, Hendrix’s best heirs found their own style. So did Dylan’s.

My point is not to include everyone in the blues, though it’s a foundational music for most 20th and 21st century music. But to say that blues is only what xxx played limits it to irrelevancy.
 

VonBonfire

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Think more broadly. What kills any genre is applying rigid rules.
I find it amusing that Munroe or Williams or insert favorite rock guitarist can be called "blues" in a general sense but the reverse can never be true. I'm not applying rigid rules, I'm pointing out a double standard. Because someone absorbs some blues and is blues-influenced or covers one or two traditional type blues songs doesn't make them blues. It makes them blues influenced. This is why blues is essentially a non-entity because everyone wants to shoehorn their favorite artist into what IS a fairly narrow set of parameters that comprises blues or do blues-rock and call it blues. Call me a purist, it doesn't matter. Bill Munroe and Hank Williams will never be blues artists the way Freddie King will never be a country artist even though he did "Remington Ride". It's not discrediting anyone to say so.

Those who know, know.
 

tubejockey

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Bill Monroe was one of the great blues men.
The very first song I remember falling in love with as a kid was "Mule Skinner Blues". I was about 2 years old. I loved the sound of it and looked for more of it. I found it in spades when I discovered the blues, via a band called Led Zeppelin. From there I went back and found other sources such as Muddy, Wolf, Robert Johnson, etc. That mix of sweet, soulful, raunchy passion is still inspiring me.

We sometimes draw too small a circle around what we call blues.
 

Skyhook

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The fact that he told an established superstar (David Bowie), “Thanks but no thanks, I got my own thang to do…” when it could have led to a lot of professional exposure just oozes Texas Swagger (which I love).

Yeah, but he's still eternally playing lead guitar on Bowie's Let's Dance -album, so it's not that they
didn't collab. He just didn't have time to tour as well. :)
 

dlew919

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I find it amusing that Munroe or Williams or insert favorite rock guitarist can be called "blues" in a general sense but the reverse can never be true. I'm not applying rigid rules, I'm pointing out a double standard. Because someone absorbs some blues and is blues-influenced or covers one or two traditional type blues songs doesn't make them blues. It makes them blues influenced. This is why blues is essentially a non-entity because everyone wants to shoehorn their favorite artist into what IS a fairly narrow set of parameters that comprises blues or do blues-rock and call it blues. Call me a purist, it doesn't matter. Bill Munroe and Hank Williams will never be blues artists the way Freddie King will never be a country artist even though he did "Remington Ride". It's not discrediting anyone to say so.

Those who know, know.
Sure. But chuck berry is blues. Hendrix is blues. (And yes I’ve avoided the race discussion and you’re right that some people get shoehorned in. I have deeply considered who is blues. Not every country artist is blues. But some blues artists are country. There’s a deeper discussion to be had as to why the broader public don’t necessarily agree. (And I’m not talking about us. This is good talk.)
 

Dave Skowron

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The radio doesn’t reflect what’s popular, the radio reflects what a handful of people in charge of the playlist want to make popular.

Go round the clubs etc, blues is still alive and well :)
Precisely why we don't hear the likes of Ford, Bonamassa, Herring, Tedeschi-Trucks, Popovich etc. on the radio.
 




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