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Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by charlie chitlin, Jan 19, 2021.
Yep. Atlanta used to back in the 80's and 90's. Not so much anymore though.
I've never been there, but I hear you can get a dose of the Memphis blues again should you ever be stuck there.
Chicago, Memphis and (to a small degree) New Orleans...Austin still has some remnants of a blues scene, just not as dominant as it used to be.
I'm not sure it qualifies as the "best blues town," but...
Back in the '70's Lancaster, PA had a thriving blues scene.
This was mainly due to a professor at Franklin and Marshall College.
He was a big blues fan and started "The Bessie Smith Society," there which brought in major blues acts like, John Lee Hooker, Albert Collins, Sapphire, Gatemouth Brown, Chuck Berry, Ella Fitzgerald and others.
Many of the shows were held at the college, and were sometimes outside and free.
The society died, but it left its mark in the number of local venues and bands performing in the area.
Later, the Chameleon Club there, hosted a ton of blues shows like Roy Buchanan, James Cotton, Johnny Winter etc., throughout the '80's and '90's.
That has pretty much exited, too.
However, the ex-owner of the club puts on a big 3-day "Lancaster Roots" music festival every winter in downtown Lancaster.
And, although it was cancelled last year due to personal issues and this winter due to the virus, it is re-scheduled for this Oct. 2021.
If you're any kind of serious roots music fan, it's well worth the trip to Lancaster, as they get top shelf national blues acts (and other "roots" music acts) that fill the local venues around town during the festival.
There is a website for tickets.
I'm proud to have been a small part of the blues music scene there; and very happy that it still lives on.
We in the St. Louis area have had a good run with it. Blues clubs and festivals. Blues history. St. Louis Blues Hockey team.
Of the cities and towns I've visited, St. Louis is, hands down, the best for Blues, but I've never been to Memphis and have no plans to ever go.
I'd like to tell you St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, but that might just be so 20 years ago...
and, uh, the best? Would you settle out of court for at least an active scene?
Sure, Austin (Gary Clark, Jr. and Carolyn Wonderland [& Pinetop, RIP] to name a few and Fort Worth (I'm talking about Buddy Whittington, here, among others) had some pretty stellar things going on.
I'm not going to say Houston is the best, but at least there are more than a few clubs with active blues and "blues" musicians showing up. Here's the ones I know of:
The Big Easy Blues and Social Pleasure Club (I don't know why it's named after NOLA...) https://www.thebigeasyblues.com/
Shakespeare's Pub (yeah, there's one in Austin, too, or at least there used to be) https://www.facebook.com/ShakesPubHouston/
Dan Electro's Guitar Bar https://danelectrosbar.com/
The Hideaway on Dunvale https://www.facebook.com/hideawayondunvale/
...fudge, forgot Emmit's Place https://www.emmitsplace.com/
and , ok, it's like the McDonald's of Blues, but there is one here, and on occasion a blues act or two might just show up: House of Blues (the Foundation Room) and yeah, there's probably four or five other clubs that have blues acts but not as the main attraction.
There's used to be a joint down in the 3rd Ward that had a blues show every Sunday night with a killer house band, the kind where folks showed up in sharkskin suits and their own portable bars, but that's was at least 20 years ago...or more...
Atherton, California (no, this is a joke)
Jeremy: Clicking on your sig link was the best move of my day. Well done!
Thanks brother. Very appreciated
One way of discerning a blues scene in Chicago, was the switching around of a band's personnel on local gigs, the road, and recordings. Everyone on the scene knew everyone else. Probably true in any city, for any kind of music.
I don't think you have missed much, bypassing Memphis.
From the beginning of 2016 through next month, we've had a place in Shelby County and I've been shocked and sort of heartbroken, how little excitement there was in and around Memphis, as it pertains to the blues. There's some gospel, some country, a boat load of rap and related stuff, some Isaac Hayes/Booker T/Tina Turner kinda stuff, but especially since Mr. King passed on, the blues is basically on life support - if that. And you can try to go to Itta Bena, Clarksdale, Helena, those are sort of "pop up" venues that don't exist except during tourist season. I did see a good blues band in Marianna (AR) one time though.
Highway 61? I don't think so. Critical mass was lost, even before the shutdown. In a sort of way, Nashville and surrounds have functioned as a parasite - draining areas to the west to the point they conked out.
Rand Z, I don't think those fellas will be back
But it's cold there.
OTOH Great Lakes Brewery. I've been wanting to tour it. Hopefully it will open back up soon.
Go to Yoyogi park and ask any Elvis what club to go to.
the only blues that i was aware of in chicago was stuff all around fratboy town. it's not the same as whatever it was in the golden age. a lot of tourist traps.
sort of the same with house. "chicago! house music!"...there's only like one or two spots with legit pedigree left. everything else is just douchebag clubs.
on the other hand, chicago has a really strong jazz scene, much of it in the AACM vein. and there is a direct link between a lot of those musicians with both AACM and european jazz around peter brotzmann, paal nilssen love, mats gustafsson, etc. it's probably an even stronger and more cohesive of a scene than whatever "berklee funk" or "pseudo performance art free jazz" passes for jazz in NYC.
i think people see places like modern day nashville and NOLA and assume that the situation is similar in other historic cities. not really so.
I like Memphis. So do a lot of others. DC area has some creepy blues scenes where you'd be able to find plenty of trouble, but you have to put up with high rents, horrible traffic and general Beltway weirdness. But, you'll certainly find plenty of blues action to keep you busy.
There should be a strong correlation with towns known for good BBQ.
It’s only cold in the winter. And all the buildings have heat. As long as you live on the west side (which is definitely the cool side) there’s not even that much snow. We get a big dump maybe once or twice a winter.