2HBStrat

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Didn't read the entire thread, so apologies if redundant with this....personally, I think the Blues is in need of more venues, clubs, places to hear the blues. There is certainly enough talent to go around. Same goes for jazz.
Seems to me that if there was a market for blues...a lot of folks who like to hear it...then the bars and clubs featuring it would show up. Bar owners would fill the need if there was a need.
I agree with the early great blues players were great singers. Most of the early blues songs did not have endless choruses of solos. They solos were relatively short and tasty. When playing the blues became an Olympic sport, I lost interest.
True. I think pentatonic wankery has hurt "the blues" even though the greats did stretch out and play long solos in concert.
 

Fiesta Red

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Actually there are two types of music. Those you like and those you don't.
No, because there’s some very good music that I don’t like…technically proficient music by very talented musicians, but it doesn’t move me.

Rush
Yngwie
Yes
Early Genesis
Bonnamassa

…just to name a few.
 
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burntfrijoles

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I was going to say we need a new artist who was true to the spirit of the blues: beautiful, musically eloquent simplicity with a lot of raw emotion, etc, but.......
The more I think about it I'm not sure there is a magic bullet or bullets for the blues.
Music publishing and distribution is so very far removed from what it was in the 80s.
I read somewhere that the number of music venues (not just Blues) has decreased (partially do the global [email protected]) and has not yet fully rebounded.
The amount of music content on social media is overwhelming and it's difficult to wade through it all.
Streaming services offer "curated" content which may direct folks away from discovering or rediscovering blues content.
The blues was dying in the US by the late 50s or early 60s. Mike Bloomfield and a few others helped rekindle some interest. It seems that it was Europe's interest in the blues that really lead to more appreciation by Americans. Clapton, Beck, Peter Green, Page et al not only recorded blues but also brought attention to the masters (all of the Kings, Otis Rush, Howlin Wolf, etc).
Acts like "Roomful of Blues" had faithful followings and they toured a good bit.
There are others of course.
I just don't see anything that will create renewed interest by a large segment of public.
I hope I'm wrong.
 

2HBStrat

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I was going to say we need a new artist who was true to the spirit of the blues: beautiful, musically eloquent simplicity with a lot of raw emotion, etc, but.......
The more I think about it I'm not sure there is a magic bullet or bullets for the blues.
Music publishing and distribution is so very far removed from what it was in the 80s.
I read somewhere that the number of music venues (not just Blues) has decreased (partially do the global [email protected]) and has not yet fully rebounded.
The amount of music content on social media is overwhelming and it's difficult to wade through it all.
Streaming services offer "curated" content which may direct folks away from discovering or rediscovering blues content.
The blues was dying in the US by the late 50s or early 60s. Mike Bloomfield and a few others helped rekindle some interest. It seems that it was Europe's interest in the blues that really lead to more appreciation by Americans. Clapton, Beck, Peter Green, Page et al not only recorded blues but also brought attention to the masters (all of the Kings, Otis Rush, Howlin Wolf, etc).
Acts like "Roomful of Blues" had faithful followings and they toured a good bit.
There are others of course.
I just don't see anything that will create renewed interest by a large segment of public.
I hope I'm wrong.
Blues was never big in the USA in the 50's and 60's. It was only popular primarily with black listeners until British artists copied it and sent it back to us. I first heard blues on the early Rolling Stones records, realized they didn't write the songs, did some research,band learned about Howling Wolf, Muddy Waters, and Willie Dixon, and others. British blues/rock became very popular and became the basis for much of rock and hard rock music
 

teletimetx

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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.

Yeah, no. Close though, and not unsurprising in the Eurocentric tradition of appropriation.

In it's American infancy, it was folk music for sure. Folk music is a global tradition - not just a European one.

Just for example - Armenian, Korean, Tuvan, Lakota, Utari, Jiangnan Sizhu, Balian, Songlines of the Aboriginals, Nadagam in Sri Lanka and on and on and on.

GriotsSambala.jpg

And, in this context, the griots of Sub-Saharan Africa.

If you choose to believe the European folk tradition was important to the Blues, well, believe away. Much stronger links are found elsewhere. The Blues (however you choose to define it) were not created out of thin air. All musicians stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before. Family traditions; the traditions of troubadours, wandering musicians, folk prophets, all or it.

I kind of fall into the group that thinks the Blues aren't in "need" of anything. Que sera, sera. Not to say though, that @Fiesta Red is somehow misguided. Nope, and I share many of his views. But we can't forever be expecting a re-experiencing of some of the thrills of the past.

Some interesting parallels are out there, but not anywhere the same. For example, the tonkori*; an instrument developed by the Utari (referred to as "Ainu" by the imperialism of the Japanese) - and which was almost extinct in common usage until revived in the 1970's. No frets, commonly tuned to a pentatonic scale.

Huh, go figure. Those humans! Endlessly inventive, but arriving at similar behaviors, yet thousands of miles/kilometers apart.

Here's a sample of modern tokori - you don't have to listen to all 8 minutes, but at least hang around for the first minute, so you can hear the drop and the entrance of the tonkori. Good stuff. Blues? Nope, something else. Life goes on.



(OMG! I just noticed this dude be using a 6-string tonkori! The traditionalists will be up in arms!)

* From wiki: The instrument is typically constructed of a single piece of Jezo spruce approximately a metre long.[1] Its shape is traditionally said to resemble a woman's body, and the corresponding words are used for its parts.[citation needed] A pebble is placed within the body-cavity of the instrument, granting it a "soul".[3] The instrument tends to measure approximately 120 cm long, 10 cm wide, and 5 cm thick.[4]

The tonkori's strings are made of gut,[5] deer tendon,[6] or vegetable fiber. While five-string tonkori are the most frequently mentioned, they could have as few as two[7] or as many as six strings.[8] The strings are not tuned in order of pitch, but are instead in a reentrant tuning alternating between higher and lower strings, rising and falling by a fifths in a pentatonic scale, often a-d'-g'-c'-f'.[4][9] A similar style of reentrant tuning a was used by the ancient Japanese version of the koto, the wagon.
[10]
 
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telemnemonics

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I would say that Marcus King can certainly follow in SRV's footsteps. He's playing stuff that we've heard before but also putting his own spin on it and he's young. I would also add that while he's based in the language of blues he also has a few other harmonic tricks up his sleeve, which makes him exciting to hear (maybe not so much like lasagna as someone posted above ;)). Hopefully he doesn't succumb to the excesses that so many before him have and continues going strong. Plus, he can sing his ass off. Stevie wasn't the greatest singer but he made it work for what he did.

At one point after I started playing guitar, I went through both a Hendrix and SRV phase: Had the Strat, univibe, wah-wah and heavy strings, tuned down 1/2 a step. Eventually I moved on because there will only be one Hendrix and SRV. While I love to hear players who sound like either of those two I also love to hear players who sound like themselves - like Hendrix, SRV, Clapton, Beck, etc etc do/did - Every player who has their own sound now at one point in their development sounded like someone else. It's a natural process: imitation hopefully leads to innovation. However, there are too many players now who are happy sounding like someone else.
I saw Marcus King on TV last night as guest artist playing one song with a "reunited" Little Feat.
Lowell was replaced by a younger player who was well schooled and did OK but could not muster the madman he was paid to reenact.

Marcus seemed oddly out of place in that really IMO wide open music.
To me at least, Little Feat is so greasy inviting to any artist versed in Blues basics, you can just rip freely and play anything vicious that comes to mind.

My sense was that Marcus may not be what you hoped for in your first sentence, and instead be what you said in your last about players happy sounding like someone else.
Except rather than one individual he may sound like a patent amalgamation of Blooze guitarists?

Maybe he was having an off night, but I think we see a Blues artist pretty well when playing someone elses Blues and having to improvise their own take on it.
Really really basic key to Blues is we can walk into any Blues with our own Blues and make it work.

Seems like as you suggest "happy sounding like someone else" also applies to primarily rehashing formula guitar and not really connected from soul to sound.

Blues is that, artist connecting from soul to sound.

Pedagogy can crank out technicians who can reenact Blues style music, but seems less able to wire up the students soul to their sounds.
Being a kid he may grow into a wired up soul, but kids do that and SRV was all wired up as a teen.
Reenactment is how we are taught, but it seems like many great artists took care of their learning themselves, which may be a key to growing that soul connection: sitting with just the music and your ignorant desire to be a part of it.
Not to reenact it.
 

telemnemonics

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Yeah, no. Close though, and not unsurprising in the Eurocentric tradition of appropriation.

In it's American infancy, it was folk music for sure. Folk music is a global tradition - not just a European one.

Just for example - Armenian, Korean, Tuvan, Lakota, Utari, Jiangnan Sizhu, Balian, Songlines of the Aboriginals, Nadagam in Sri Lanka and on and on and on.

View attachment 993576
And, in this context, the griots of Sub-Saharan Africa.

If you choose to believe the European folk tradition was important to the Blues, well, believe away. Much stronger links are found elsewhere. The Blues (however you choose to define it) were not created out of thin air. All musicians stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before. Family traditions; the traditions of troubadours, wandering musicians, folk prophets, all or it.

I kind of fall into the group that thinks the Blues aren't in "need" of anything. Que sera, sera. Not to say though, that @Fiesta Red is somehow misguided. Nope, and I share many of his views. But we can't forever be expecting a re-experiencing of some of the thrills of the past.

Some interesting parallels are out there, but not anywhere the same. For example, the tonkori*; an instrument developed by the Utari (referred to as "Ainu" by the imperialism of the Japanese) - and which was almost extinct in common usage until revived in the 1970's. No frets, commonly tuned to a pentatonic scale.

Huh, go figure. Those humans! Endlessly inventive, but arriving at similar behaviors, yet thousands of miles/kilometers apart.

Here's a sample of modern tokori - you don't have to listen to all 8 minutes, but at least hang around for the first minute, so you can hear the drop and the entrance of the tonkori. Good stuff. Blues? Nope, something else. Life goes on.



(OMG! I just noticed this dude be using a 6-string tonkori! The traditionalists will be up in arms!)

* From wiki: The instrument is typically constructed of a single piece of Jezo spruce approximately a metre long.[1] Its shape is traditionally said to resemble a woman's body, and the corresponding words are used for its parts.[citation needed] A pebble is placed within the body-cavity of the instrument, granting it a "soul".[3] The instrument tends to measure approximately 120 cm long, 10 cm wide, and 5 cm thick.[4]

The tonkori's strings are made of gut,[5] deer tendon,[6] or vegetable fiber. While five-string tonkori are the most frequently mentioned, they could have as few as two[7] or as many as six strings.[8] The strings are not tuned in order of pitch, but are instead in a reentrant tuning alternating between higher and lower strings, rising and falling by a fifths in a pentatonic scale, often a-d'-g'-c'-f'.[4][9] A similar style of reentrant tuning a was used by the ancient Japanese version of the koto, the wagon.
[10]

I listened to Sub Saharan African tribal music and tried to play it quite a lot.
Specifically the Folkways recordings made before the tribes got westernized or whatever we scholars choose to call it when origin arts mix with outsider arts.

America certainly had mostly European music influences from the start, plus Afro Caribbean music from trade and even pirates as early as the 1600s.
But Sub Saharan Africa seems to have had pretty pure origin music when those Lomax guys showed up with their portable tape machines.
 

VonBonfire

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My sense was that Marcus may not be what you hoped for in your first sentence, and instead be what you said in your last about players happy sounding like someone else.
Marcus has a ton of soul but I wouldn't consider him a blues player at all. I've seen him do a blues with some other guys and you could tell it wasn't really his specialty to play straight 12 bar type stuff.
 

cousinpaul

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Let's turn it around. On his "Feels Like Rain" album, Buddy Guy covers James Brown, John Hiatt, Marvin Gaye, and others. Does this make him any less a bluesman? I find the 12 bar litmus test a little ridiculous.
 

VonBonfire

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Let's turn it around. On his "Feels Like Rain" album, Buddy Guy covers James Brown, John Hiatt, Marvin Gaye, and others. Does this make him any less a bluesman? I find the 12 bar litmus test a little ridiculous.
His whole career has been blues albums so it doesn't make him not blues to do one album of soul and r n b covers. Also blues/soul/RnB are musics you will find lumped together at your local BB King's blues clubs on a given night of performers. You won't see dudes doing Hendrix and Cream or Led Zeppelin covers in those places all night long. That Buddy commonly does Voodoo Child live doesn't make him a rock artist either.

The litmus test is what has an artists career consisted of as a whole? Willie Nelson released Milk Cow Blues, an album of blues. It's a good album. But sorry Willie ain't no blues artist, just an artist who released a blues record once. People take it as a sleight against their favorite artists but it's not that way at all. Pentatonic soaked guitar-hero solos isn't blues. It's just blues influenced music. There is a difference and if you can't understand that difference it's probably because you aren't really familiar with blues as a genre.
 

telemnemonics

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Marcus has a ton of soul but I wouldn't consider him a blues player at all. I've seen him do a blues with some other guys and you could tell it wasn't really his specialty to play straight 12 bar type stuff.
Whether or not Marcus can play the Blues is secondary though to what I was saying about his seeming unable to create basic Blues based parts that fit a Little Feat tune.

The larger discussion here seems to be about where guitar band music, mostly Blues based guitar music like Rock etc, where it is going vs if it is really GOING anywhere.
Not all of us spoke the this larger topic, but along with Blues, guitar band pop rock is no longer a vital core of the pop music scene.
Blues kind of started that and stayed near the core of pop guitar band music for a longass time.

I was surprised that a seemingly promising young player had so little individuality to express in a wide open music landscape.

When musicians follow formula taught to them, and when much of Blues and guitar bands in general are more reenactments of past successfuly guitar band styles?

That is when guitar bands are kind of dead and we instead have animated guitar band wax museums.

I dont assume Marcus is the president of guitar band futures, but I commented on one slice if pie held out for judging.
 

Peter Graham

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Yeah, no. Close though, and not unsurprising in the Eurocentric tradition of appropriation.

In it's American infancy, it was folk music for sure. Folk music is a global tradition - not just a European one.

Just for example - Armenian, Korean, Tuvan, Lakota, Utari, Jiangnan Sizhu, Balian, Songlines of the Aboriginals, Nadagam in Sri Lanka and on and on and on.

View attachment 993576
And, in this context, the griots of Sub-Saharan Africa.

If you choose to believe the European folk tradition was important to the Blues, well, believe away. Much stronger links are found elsewhere. The Blues (however you choose to define it) were not created out of thin air. All musicians stand on the shoulders of the giants who came before. Family traditions; the traditions of troubadours, wandering musicians, folk prophets, all or it.

I kind of fall into the group that thinks the Blues aren't in "need" of anything. Que sera, sera. Not to say though, that @Fiesta Red is somehow misguided. Nope, and I share many of his views. But we can't forever be expecting a re-experiencing of some of the thrills of the past.

Some interesting parallels are out there, but not anywhere the same. For example, the tonkori*; an instrument developed by the Utari (referred to as "Ainu" by the imperialism of the Japanese) - and which was almost extinct in common usage until revived in the 1970's. No frets, commonly tuned to a pentatonic scale.

Huh, go figure. Those humans! Endlessly inventive, but arriving at similar behaviors, yet thousands of miles/kilometers apart.

Here's a sample of modern tokori - you don't have to listen to all 8 minutes, but at least hang around for the first minute, so you can hear the drop and the entrance of the tonkori. Good stuff. Blues? Nope, something else. Life goes on.



(OMG! I just noticed this dude be using a 6-string tonkori! The traditionalists will be up in arms!)

* From wiki: The instrument is typically constructed of a single piece of Jezo spruce approximately a metre long.[1] Its shape is traditionally said to resemble a woman's body, and the corresponding words are used for its parts.[citation needed] A pebble is placed within the body-cavity of the instrument, granting it a "soul".[3] The instrument tends to measure approximately 120 cm long, 10 cm wide, and 5 cm thick.[4]

The tonkori's strings are made of gut,[5] deer tendon,[6] or vegetable fiber. While five-string tonkori are the most frequently mentioned, they could have as few as two[7] or as many as six strings.[8] The strings are not tuned in order of pitch, but are instead in a reentrant tuning alternating between higher and lower strings, rising and falling by a fifths in a pentatonic scale, often a-d'-g'-c'-f'.[4][9] A similar style of reentrant tuning a was used by the ancient Japanese version of the koto, the wagon.
[10]

Great post, although your opening swipe about Eurocentric appropriation wasn't worthy of the rest of it. All I said was that IN PART the Blues derives from the European folk tradition. That does not mean a) that the Blues is not American folk music, b) that European folk music is the main influence on the Blues or that c) nowhere other than Europe has a folk tradition. I never said any of those things and to insinuate otherwise is disingenuous at worst and a straw man at best.

I am, however, genuinely grateful to you for the information about the tonkori. Very interesting stuff and I am absolutely going to check that out further. Thank you.

I also completely agree with you that the Blues does not need anything. Quite so
 




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