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Have blacks rejected blues?

josepp 06 Jan 11 - 07:36 PM
maple_leaf_boy 06 Jan 11 - 08:00 PM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Jan 11 - 08:12 PM
Lox 06 Jan 11 - 08:14 PM
Leadfingers 06 Jan 11 - 08:20 PM
GUEST,Goose Gander 06 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM
Bobert 06 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM
josepp 06 Jan 11 - 08:34 PM
GUEST,Goose Gander 06 Jan 11 - 08:37 PM
GUEST,Goose Gander 06 Jan 11 - 08:39 PM
Janie 06 Jan 11 - 08:40 PM
josepp 06 Jan 11 - 08:50 PM
Bobert 06 Jan 11 - 09:20 PM
Bobert 06 Jan 11 - 09:39 PM
katlaughing 06 Jan 11 - 09:47 PM
Phil Cooper 06 Jan 11 - 09:53 PM
GUEST 06 Jan 11 - 10:24 PM
GUEST 06 Jan 11 - 10:24 PM
Bobert 06 Jan 11 - 10:51 PM
josepp 06 Jan 11 - 10:54 PM
josepp 06 Jan 11 - 11:07 PM
GUEST,Goose Gander 06 Jan 11 - 11:12 PM
GUEST,Goose Gander 06 Jan 11 - 11:14 PM
Bobert 06 Jan 11 - 11:17 PM
Bobert 06 Jan 11 - 11:25 PM
Janie 06 Jan 11 - 11:31 PM
josepp 07 Jan 11 - 12:41 AM
Lonesome EJ 07 Jan 11 - 01:19 AM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Jan 11 - 01:52 AM
Gibb Sahib 07 Jan 11 - 05:04 AM
Will Fly 07 Jan 11 - 05:13 AM
Little Hawk 07 Jan 11 - 06:09 AM
GUEST,matt milton 07 Jan 11 - 07:08 AM
Jack Blandiver 07 Jan 11 - 07:33 AM
GUEST,Alan Whittle 07 Jan 11 - 07:42 AM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 08:13 AM
GUEST,Neil D 07 Jan 11 - 08:38 AM
GUEST,glueman 07 Jan 11 - 08:42 AM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 09:09 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 11 - 09:22 AM
Keith A of Hertford 07 Jan 11 - 09:27 AM
Keith A of Hertford 07 Jan 11 - 10:31 AM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 11:16 AM
Richard Bridge 07 Jan 11 - 11:44 AM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 12:26 PM
Taconicus 07 Jan 11 - 01:24 PM
dwditty 07 Jan 11 - 01:57 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Jan 11 - 02:32 PM
GUEST 07 Jan 11 - 05:56 PM
Lonesome EJ 07 Jan 11 - 06:09 PM
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Subject: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 07:36 PM

I'm undecided on the issue. Sometimes it seems that they have but other times my faith gets restored.

I am distressed by the popularity of rap, which I think is largely garbage. I mean, I like the DJs who can operate the turn-tables with lightning speed and all that--it's not easy to do (I tried it once). But I'm not talking about that kind of stuff. I'm talking about the rap that is made strictly to sell millions of copies to idiots who wouldn't know real music if it sodomized them in the shower.

This stuff where you hear this chintzy group of electronic tones that just repeats over and over and over again to a beat so overblown that it shakes the pictures off your walls when some asshole drives by at 3 am blasting it from his car. It has no substance, no soul. How could anyone like it? Kids tell me that I'm just too old and maybe I am but I listen to a very wide variety of music and I am a huge fan of noise and avant-garde artists which most people can't stand. I'm not some out-of-touch old fart who can't change. It's just that this shit isn't music and it has no substance. Anybody could do it because it doesn't take talent.

And this stuff they call R&B today, where did this shit come from?? That's not R&B. R&B is Big Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Louis Jordan, Todd Rhodes, Bill Doggett, LaVern Baker, Amos Milburn, the Ravens, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Junior Parker, Fats Domino, Ruth Brown, Johnny Ace, Big Jay McNeely, Ray Charles, T-Bone Walker, Bo Diddley, Hank Ballard, etc. This new shit doesn't move me at all. It sounds like crap, quite frankly. Real R&B is booty-shaking stuff. I won't waste 2 seconds watching booty shaking to a rhythm box mechanized beat. There's nothing sexy there.

However, with that said, I still see blacks who like the old blues and not always older folks. I know a black guitarist who idolizes Hendrix (actually I know 2) but this one guy, I've known a long time and he said once that while he'd rather listen to Hendrix than the Beatles, he'd definitely take the Beatles over 50 Cent any day of the week.

But then I've heard black blues musicians and DJs and what not complain that blacks have deserted the blues scene and there's some truth in that. You go to a blues show and the audience is mostly white--often entirely white.

Hendrix, after all, was HUGELY popular among white kids and largely distrusted by blacks in his day. There are blacks now who get into him but he was largely distrusted by blacks in his day which he never understood because he was a black man playing the black man's music and it blew his mind that blacks looked down on him for what he was doing.

T-Bone Walker spent the last decade or so of his career wondering where the hell his black audience scampered off to. He wondered if had said or did something to offend them because one day they were just gone and suddenly his audience is white kids who had learned about him and regarded him as a legend (which he was and is). He didn't mind that but he could never figure out why his black audience died on him so suddenly and completely.

Is it just that times changed and tastes changed with them or is there a hostility of many blacks towards blues (and I don't mean the religious folk who thought of it as the Devil's music)?

What are your thoughts and experiences on this matter?


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: maple_leaf_boy
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:00 PM

I don't like rap either. I live next to a convenience store, and some
people leave their stereos on while they're in there. You can hear them
a mile away. Let's say they're 20 years old, by the time they're 30,
they'll be deaf.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:12 PM

I'm bemused by a certain Easter Festival that insists that their young audience want music played at min 120Db - Facebook comments include "If my ears aren't ringing, I want my money back!". Such levels long term will guarantee deafness.

I suspect MLB, that the rest of use are condemned to them still playing such loud levels when they get older, for then they will need to up the volume since they are deaf ....

"It has no substance, no soul. How could anyone like it?"


It's all they know. They have never had a desire or need to stretch, so they will not try anything new.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Lox
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:14 PM

We used to have a poster on here of African origin who went into some depth to explain that in Black youth culture, once something has been done, they are keen to leave it behind and move on to the next thing.

Its away of always beng one step ahead of the stereotype and one step further away from history.

Losing blues in the process is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bath water, but the bathwater was pretty foul and is taking a long tme to bail out.

There are obviously many great and talented current black blues and jazz artists, and many more fans, and the above is a very wide and sweeping generalization, but it is a useful one.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:20 PM

It would seem there are more competent white blues musos these days , and the black guys are into more progressive stuff


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM

I suppose, in the same why that 'whites' have rejected ballad singing (with a some exceptions, of course).

Fat Possum records has done an excellent job documenting the music of blacks who have not rejected the blues. Check out R.L. Burnside, etc.

Or listen to the very much young and alive Blind Boy Paxton (though much of his material is actually pre-blues) . . .

Ragged But Right


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:25 PM

Some have, some haven't...

Take yerself down to Clarksdale, Ms. any Saturday afternoon to the Delta Blues Museum and check out the young black kids playin' that Mississippi groove back in the band room...

'Er stop by Archie Edwards Barbershop in the Washington, D.C. area and check out the number of good black bluesmen, young and old...

Check out Corey Harris, Guy Davis, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Miles Spicer, Phil Wiggins, the Burnsides, Kenny Kimbrough, Terry Bean... I mean, lotta black folk, young and old, still playing their "grand daddy's blues"...

Yeah, lotta white folk (me included) playin' it, too...

Ain't all hip-hop 'er rap... Lotta blues being played, too...

So, no, it ain't being rejected by younger black any more than doo-wop ain't being played by too many young white folks...

Times change... Not to worry... The blues is in good hands...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:34 PM

///So, no, it ain't being rejected by younger black any more than doo-wop ain't being played by too many young white folks...///

Doo-wop is black.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:37 PM

Junior Kimbrough All Night Long


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:39 PM

R.L. Burnside Old Black Mattie


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Janie
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:40 PM

What Bobert said.

I also think there is more to rap and hiphop than most of us old folkies realize. I'm 59 with a 17 year old kid, which means I listen to a lot of music I would not otherwise. He isn't much into rap or hiphop but does listen to some, and after listening with him over time, I no longer reject it out of hand.

What I have really come to understand is that rap and hiphop are essentially urban grassroots music.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 08:50 PM

I also remember that movie "Crossroads" from the mid-80s. A white kid goes with Wille Brown to find a lost song by Robert Johnson. Of course, the Willie Brown they depicted in the movie never existed. The real Willie Brown was a helluva guitarist and not a harpist.

Ralph Macchio's guitar parts were played by Ry Cooder--white guy. Then they have this guitar battle between Macchio and Steve Vai--two white guys. So Ralph wins and now he's the greatest bluesman of all time or something--some white Italin guy.

I know they did all that because the movie was aimed at a white audience. If I made "Crossroads" it would have been a mockumentary detailing the lives of the old bluesmen, sharecropping, Jim Crow, lynch laws, drinking canned heat, fleeing to Chicago, the birth of electric blues and so on.

But apparently Hollywood felt that such a movie would not likely garner much of a black or white audience although it would become a cult favorite in a few years time.

You can aim a movie squarely at a black audience and still have a very successful movie--ask Tyler Perry. But that no black film makers have really tried or at least succeeded at making a great movie about the birth of blues is telling.

I learned blues mainly from books by Mel Bay, Kenny Sultan and Stefan Grossman so I often wonder where blacks went. But then I'll meet some black guy who plays blues like nobody's business and it seems that maybe it's not so hopeless after all. Then again I met this guy named Robert Jones who used to host a blues show on public radio. He's black but he said he learned blues from Mel Bay's big note songbook. He said that people think he learned it from his grandaddy or something but he didn't apparently. But Mr. Jones lost his blues program which was a real shame but I don't know if it's because people don't care to listen to blues or because they couldn't compete with XM--I listen to Bluesville quite a lot but I miss the old Blues from the Lowlands program that Robert hosted. So I don't know what to think about it.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 09:20 PM

Tell ya' what... Go down to Memphis fir either the IBC (international Blues Challenge) or the W.C. Handy Awards and check out the real blues scene... Lotta black blues players learnt it up from the likes of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, etc...

Couple of blues bands to watch this IBC??? Check out the Bush League outta Richmond, Va. or mah main man Clarence "The Bluesman" Turner outta Washington, D.c... These folks learnt it up the right way... From the old time black blues players...

Sorry you had to learnt it up from Mel Bay... I sho nuff didn't... I learnt it from Sparky Rucker who learnt it from Rev. Davis hisself...


Like I said... Not to worry yer purdy head, Joez... The blues is being handled by both blacks and whites...

As fir doo-wop??? That was blacks and whites, too... Might of fact the best known doo-wopper is Bouzer... And hes a white guy...

Now Bluesville radio??? Yeah, it may be a little tilted toward more white players but it is tilted... If I had me a show it wouldn't be Bluesville... But that ain't a black/white thing... Just different tastes in blues...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 09:39 PM

BTW, joez... I think I woulda liked yer movie, too... Do a little research on the Fat Possum bluesmen and you'll find some interesting stories...

I was at the late Sam Carr's (Google him up0) house about 8 year ago down in Mississippi and he was talkin' about workin' the door at the juke joints... Purdy interesting...

Lotta stuff out there to tell the stories... Alan Lomax got lotta of it recorded back long time ago in the jukes, penitentiaries, on the streets, etc... It's all in the Library of Congress... Hundreds of hours of stories, blues, field hollers...

Lotta good books out, too... "Honeyboy" Edwards has one... Alija Wald...I mean, all that stuff out there...

BTW, you talk about Willie Brown... Couple interesting things about Willie Brown... First, there are no known photographs of him and second, when he died in 1948, he had been playin' with Son House and upon Willie's death, Son laid his geetar down. moved to New York and worked as a porter on the New York railroad...

Like I said. lotta stuff out there...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: katlaughing
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 09:47 PM

Well said, Janie. My girls turned me onto hip-hop and rap...there's a lot of good stuff out there. Some noted in a thread a few years ago. I heard a great interview on NPR, the other day, of Jay-Z. Queen Latifah has some great stuff, too.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Phil Cooper
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 09:53 PM

Listen to Guy Davis' song "Death of Uncle Tom." Hope I got the title right from his Skunkmellow CD.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 10:24 PM

Excellent thread and very informative.
Ad.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 10:24 PM

Oops!! that was me.
Beer


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 10:51 PM

Thanks, Goose Gander, fir them links... R.L. is my absolute hero... I mean, I know that Fred McDowell is like the grand daddy of the "North Mississippi" groove, 'er at least as far as I can track it back but R.L. has more BS to him... That, to me, is part of any live show... But these folks led the way and the folks who we have learned from...

Always nice to see videos...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 10:54 PM

I don't feel bad learning blues from Mel Bay or Kenny Sultan--I learned it at least. I can listen to any old recording and I know what he's doing and know what tuning he's using and I know what key he's in. I learned a lot from those books. I learned bottleneck from the Stefan Grossman book and, again, I can listen to another slider and I know what he's doing and what tuning he's using and all that. If you read the books and listen to what these guys are saying, you get the hang of it. The rest is up to you. Once I got the rudiments of it down, I can try my hand at John Lee Hooker or Patton stuff without feeling intimidated and totally out of my league (though I may be). The books gave me the confidence to give it a go without any real tutor to help me along.

There's a real bluesman around here (and, yeah, he's black) who likes how I play. When I told him I just fake it after learning it from some books he just shrugged and said it didn't matter. You gotta do what you gotta do if you want to play the blues. I guess that's true.

As for doo-wop, all the earliest bands were black. My favorite doo-wop singer, I guess, is Jimmy Beaumont. That guy could belt it out like no one else. My favorite doo-wop band, though, was the Cadillacs--they knew what the hell they were doing.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:07 PM

I thought Willie Brown died in '52. I could be wrong. I know son House laid his guitar down for a while and I know Howlin' Wolf was really pissed about it. And, yes, I know there are no photos of Willie Brown.

As for Lomax, I have his prison recordings, the Muddy Waters recordings, one called "Negro Blues and Hollers" and I have a shit load of the Speir artists. I think I have a little of everyone--Garfield Akers, Geeshie Wiley, Tommy Johnson, Pig Norwood, Tommy McClennan, Rube Lacey, Henry Thomas, Frank Stokes, Bo Carter, Lucille Bogan, Memphis Minnie, William Harris, Ishmon Bracey. A little of everything. I got a lot of John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, Blind Blake, Son House, Robert Johnson, B.B., Lightnin' Hopkins, Patton, Blind Lemon, Willie McTell. And so on. gotta git what you can git.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:12 PM

R.L. Burnside Shake 'Em On Down


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:14 PM

R.L. Burnside Jumper Hanging on the Line


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:17 PM

Chill, bro...

Ain't no competition here... We just came to the crossroads from different directions...

Ain't about black or white... It's about gettin' into the groove...

I played every Saturday afternoon at an old barbershop in Northeast Washington, D.C. with the old black blues players fir pushing 10 years... Didn't miss 5 jams during them years... Learned alot... That's just my door into the blues...

Different stroke 4 different folks...

Ain't no b-ball game, 'r nuthin'...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:25 PM

"Shake 'um on down" is the shit's ... I heard R.L. do it about 15 years ago... I like his version on, I think, is the "Burnside on Burnside" CD... No matter, he kills that song... I played with his son, Cedrick, as some picnic in Como a lotta years back... It was at the late Otha Turner's (Mr. Othar) Goat Roast... Good player, too...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Janie
Date: 06 Jan 11 - 11:31 PM

josepp,

don't know where you live, but I live in the North Carolina Piedmont. Lots of good things happening with Blues here among the old, the young, and the in-between, and with people of different races.

With nothing to back me up, I venture to opine that there are, in the USA, at least as many young, African-American musicians playing old time or traditional blues in the style of old-time or traditional blues as there are young, WASP musicians playing or singing traditional Child ballads in the style of traditional British Isles singers and musicians.

I think you are making an erroneous assumption that those who do not play traditional music, regardless of traditional genre, do not know, understand or value the roots and influences of the music they play.

This is a folk music site. Almost by definition, those of us who are drawn here have a strong affinity for the older forms of whatever music we like. We are focused on the roots more than the branches. Keep in mind that without the leafy and diverse branches, the roots die.

I suggest, respectfully, that you examine your assumptions.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 12:41 AM

///With nothing to back me up, I venture to opine that there are, in the USA, at least as many young, African-American musicians playing old time or traditional blues in the style of old-time or traditional blues as there are young, WASP musicians playing or singing traditional Child ballads in the style of traditional British Isles singers and musicians.///

I'll bet there are more WASPs doing blues than doing that stuff.

////I think you are making an erroneous assumption that those who do not play traditional music, regardless of traditional genre, do not know, understand or value the roots and influences of the music they play.////

I wasn't aware I made that assumption. Thanks for pointing it out. And when one of you rap lovers wants to blow down my street at 2 in the morning blaring blues at 120 dB instead of that other crap please feel free. And I'd rather not attend a blues festival if I'm going to be there with people walking around with their asses hanging out of their pants.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 01:19 AM

Has anyone seen a group of young black musicians playing any sort of instrumental music in the last ten years? Just asking.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 01:52 AM

The actual percentage of people playing instruments in any 'Golden Age' of the past in any genre you want is probably about the same as it always was.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 05:04 AM

I'm undecided on the issue. Sometimes it seems that they have but other times my faith gets restored.

LOL. Ah yes, this "issue"! I wish you luck in coming to a decision!


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Will Fly
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 05:13 AM

There's another aspect to this which no-one seems to have commented on - which is the younger musicians, black and white, who are taking the blues forms and extending them by sampling them or incorporating the music into different forms.

In the UK we have Little Axe - founded by Skip McDonald - who incorporates the spoken words of Howling Wolf into a modern groove. It's wonderful stuff and I thoroughly recommend it.

In the US there are music communes like Pig In A Can where old black bluesmen jam with young white musicians to create a different environment.

Have a listen!

I'm not a great lover of rap or hip-hop but, for a significant number of young black people, it's their self-expression - their way of staking out a musical claim. We've all done it - just in different ways.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 06:09 AM

The public (in general) are not calling the agenda these days, the mass media and the corporate marketers are calling the agenda.

Accordingly, the sheep eat whatever is put in the trough. At the moment it is mostly Rap, New Country (soft rock with a twang and a stetson), and vapid pop tunes that are being put in the trough. Serious protest and intelligent social comment songs and all kinds of brilliant stuff are being written and performed live by musicians but they are NOT being given airplay by the mass media.

Somebody in the business or the government made that decision. The public did not. They just eat whatever is put in the mass media trough, same as they go out to Walmart and buy whatever is made in Cnina. That's what sheep do. Only these sheep don't even realize that they are sheep. They still think they are "free"!


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 07:08 AM

Has anyone on here heard Samuel James?
Hear him at:
myspace.com/sugarsmallhouse

He's in his early 30s, has recorded two albums, second one came out in mid-2009. He plays blues on a classical guitar and sometimes on banjo.

Someone else already mentioned Blind Boy Paxton.

Carolina Chocolate Drops obviously aren't blues, but they're bluesy roots music.

I think, just as there are more and more black kids playing in indie rock bands (previously the preserve of the white middle class) we're starting to see more Afro-Americans checking out the music of the past. I have to say, I think it corresponds with the rise of an Afro-American middle class and increasing affluence: for the simple reason that hip-hop and soul sell much much better (playing folk and blues isn't exactly a ticket to fame and riches).

Over here in the UK, there's the one-man-band that is Lewis Floyd Henry. Or Errol Linton. But in the UK, it's different again, as black musical heritage is going to be Afro-Caribbean or African. So reggae and ska and calypso are more likely to be yr interests, not blues.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Jack Blandiver
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 07:33 AM

Only these sheep don't even realize that they are sheep. They still think they are "free"!

Once upon a time the media filled the trough with Broadside Ballads and other truly popular songs which have since been reimagined as Folk on account of the extent to which the sheep absorbed them into their culture. Same is true of all Popular Idioms - even Folk if it wasn't for the autistic righteousness that invariably attends it. Music lives & breathes - it does what it does; listen & rejoice.

Doo-Wop derives from Gospel Quartet, leading to R & B and other MOBOs; Zappa celebrated this in terms of pure folklore and Sun Ra was field-recording it Chicago in the 50s and writing songs to suit. Rap was always part of the vernacular narrative scheme and long may it remain so. Tell 'em, about it Tyrone!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e6qbSHKzcmI

*

As for noisy car music, the other day our neighbourhood peace was shattered by booming hip-hop / R&B from a car that pulled up outside our house. Needless to say it was just my darling wife coming home from work, clearing her head after an arduous day with Flight of the Conchords' There's too many mutha uckas uckin' with my shi-


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Alan Whittle
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 07:42 AM

I can recollect talking to several black people - jazz fans actually - who were uncomfortable with that early blues music. It was at a jazz concert in Camden town hall, and I was telling of my enthusiasm for Big Bill Broonzy.

I thnk it something we're only just coming to recognise about English folk music. Sexist language, sexual bragging, glorification of drunkeness, violence to womwen, etc....

You can still hear various characters bleating on about political correctness being bad on mudcat = and god knows some of my songs have been the target of the pc brigade.

I can remember though the sleeve notes of the old Blues Project album, there was an article from The Little Sandy review saying that black people nowadays had discarded this music and were looking forward to a 'Baldwinian future'- whatever James Baldwin promised for the future I can't remember.

Important to bear in mind that that article was nearly fifty years ago now. Times move on and perspectives change.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 08:13 AM

There's an annual event that lasts an entire week at Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia called "Blues Week"... People come from all over to learn from older, seasoned bluesmen... It's called "Blues Week" and I believe than anyone who doesn't think that young people of all races ain't interested in the blues needs to come aqnd check it out... I mean, hundreds of young people, many of them black gettin' learnt up by the likes of the late John Cephas or John Jackson, or Sparky Rucker or Phil Wiggins...

Or, as I mentioned earlier, the "Delta Blues Museum" in Clarksdale, Ms where they have a "band room" where oln any given day of the week there are young black kids, sometimes as young a 6 years old, in there playin' ol' timey blues...

And between these two venues you don't have anyone with baggy pants hangin' off 'um...

I'd also recommend the IBC, International Blues Challenge, which will be held the 1st week of February in Memphis... Lotta young black blues solo and band acts there, as well... No baggy pants there, either...

I mean, as Janie pointed out, when you get into the rural areas of Virginia, NC, WV, Tn, Kentucy and Mississippi you are in some areas where there is a deep appreciation for roots music...

Ain't like somethin' I just heard about... Been there...

But the most amazin' blues get together is, as I pointed out, Mr. Otha Turner's annual "Goat Roast" held in August way back in the sticks outside Como, Ms. where people of all races get down with every conceivable style of blues... Somethin' to behold...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 08:38 AM

At the last Blues festival I went to there was a fair distribution of white and black fans and not a lot of young people of either race. The majority of young black people aren't all that into Blues or Jazz but the majority of young white people I know aren't into Rock and Roll either. The up side is that with hundreds of millions of Americans it doesn't take a majority of people to keep any musical tradition alive.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,glueman
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 08:42 AM

Context is everything. Rap only enters my world through the medium of hatchback cars with a sound system that resembles furniture being dropped and a fleeting vocal line that implies I'm gravely in the wrong somehow.

So long as it doesn't linger longer than the Doppler effect of an enthusiastically driven Corsa and I can live with its accusatory subtext and bass shuffle but for choice, gimme Robert Johnson every time.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 09:09 AM

I used to be anti-rap myself until...

...about 4 years ago when my son came to visit... He lives in Portland, Or., and I knew he was into rap... He'd been here in rural Virginia a few days and I had a performance comin' up that Saturday... That Friday night he surprised me with a 3 minute long rap he had written about his observations of folks around these parts... Now ya' have to consider that my son looks alot like alot of street people in inner cities with body piercin' and black clothes but here he was doing this rap he called "Not much different" (between us) and so I figured, "Hey, why not have him come up on stage and do this rap" and said, "Yeah, lets do it" so...

I started into a traditional country blues song and then slowly moved from strings to percussion using the geetar as a drum as he made his way to the stage and then turned the geetar over and used it exclusively as a drum as he went into his rap and people really did enjoy it... I thought it worked very well, too' 'cause rap, like the blues, can be delivered in many different forms and both have one thing in common and that is they are each a form of Black "folk music"...

I think it's disingenuous to pigeon hole styles of music as music for "just" this or that portion of the population... I think that when we do that we are robbing ourselves...

That's MO...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 09:22 AM

"Sexist language, sexual bragging, glorification of drunkeness, violence to womwen, etc" - sounds a lot like many many types of music, Al.

However, I came to this thread to ponder on one thing. Azizi used to make the point (possibly correctly) that modern African-Americans avoided traditional blues because it reflected their untermensch status in the bad old days: I paraphrase I hope fairly.

But there seems to be a bit of a boom in klezmer and so on music. What difference would explain modern African-Americans fleeing the heritage of their oppression, but modern Jews not fleeing theirs, that of the music spanning hundreds of years while they were excluded and/or ghettoised and/or vilified in word? Is the explanation simply the difference between historical slave status and historical non-slave status?


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 09:27 AM

I googled up some images of concert audiences.
They all look very white as far as I went.
http://www.gettyimages.co.uk/detail/85230237/Redferns
http://www.guttersnipenews.com/2010/08/15/salmon-arm-roots-blues-festival-2010/
http://www.modernguitars.com/archives/002078.html


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Keith A of Hertford
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 10:31 AM

http://www.flickr.com/photos/96376965@N00/71577368


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 11:16 AM

From my years not only playing blues but also being around black blues players I have a different take on the ol' blues being the music of oppressed people...

Yes, black people were terribly oppressed but it was the blues that was an important part of their solidarity against the oppressors... It was the the Saturday night jukes and house parties where the blues was played that was their peace... Son House talks about this on a viseo I have of him from around 1964... Even though he is torn with the blues being "the devils music" he knows that on Saturday night it is the music that represents a celebration of surviving another week on Boss Hog's plantations...

Lotta folks who don't know the blues associate it with having the blues... Well, that ain't so... Blues music ain't sad... It joyfull... Country music is alot sadder than than the blues...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 11:44 AM

While I stepped out of the blues a long time ago, Bobert, I think I would have agreed with that. More, even, than solidarity I would have suggested it displayed a defiance, an indomitability and a kind of superiority - but that was then.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 12:26 PM

"Defiance"... Yes, Richard, much better word for it...


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Taconicus
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 01:24 PM

Wow Keith, the images of audiences at the concerts in the UK and up in Calgary look "very white"--who would have expected that! (Is there a smiley for an eye-roll?)

Don't you think perhaps audiences might be expected to reflect the general population where they're held? Perhaps the audience at a blues festival in Biloxi, Mississippi might have a different "complexion"--do you think?


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: dwditty
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 01:57 PM

The Willie Brown confusion may stem from the fact that thewre were several Willie Browns playing Delta Blues.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 02:32 PM

This is strictly my point of view based on observation. Blues popularity probably reached a peak in the 50s and early 60s with Chess Records and the presence on the scene of the Chicago Blues Greats. This popularity was primarily focussed in black listeners. It didn't reach a large white demographic until it crossed over in the mid to late 60s (yes, I know you were into Muddy, Lightnin, Son House, etc way before that...I'm talking about mass popularity). Taking this into consideration, Blues music is the music of people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. Do we really expect that people in their teens and twenties are going to follow our taste in music?
Among blacks, I believe the Blues is Grandpa's music. Hip Hop is what they're listening to. Do you need guitar heroes in Hip Hop? Nope. You have seen Hip Hop acts: one guy playing sample background riffs on a machine, one guy scratching a record, one guy posing and expounding on something, one guy singing during pauses in the expounding, 2 or 3 other guys saying "yeah...come on, come on...". Maybe a drummer. What in this would lead somebody to the blues?
And sorry, Little Hawk, I don't buy the corporate packaging sold to the ignorant masses bullshit. This is dance music, whether you or I like it or not, and that's what young people, especially young black people, want to listen to. It's really no tragedy. Blues won't die, because it has primal power, but it will have to be rediscovered by future generations who will uncover this primal power and mine it like some forgotten mother lode.
The trend toward Hip Hop does bode ill for black instrumental music, and when I hear someone say there's no real difference in black popular music acts today compared to the 70s, for example...well, what color is the sky on your planet?


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 05:56 PM

I would say No: I just heard a re mixed version of "The Thrill is Gone" with a hip-hop mix but the music was Blues Blues is organic it adapts to the situation and experience From Cotton plantations to mid west cities to housing projects,the experiences are reflected in the music
Also we have this incredible crop of young country blues singers: Keb-Mo, Alvin Youngblod Hart, Corey Harris, Chris-Thomas King, Guy Davis (son of actor Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee) and, Eric Bibb (son of folk singer Leon Bibb) The blues is very much alive in the African American Community


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Lonesome EJ
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 06:09 PM

"young" country blues singers...

Keb Mo is 59. Alvin Youngblood Hart is 48. Guy Davis is 58. Corey Harris is 41. Chris Thomas King is 48.

How about that kid, Robert Cray? 57


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