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Have blacks rejected blues?

Bobert 25 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM
GUEST,Zoe Bremer 25 Jan 11 - 01:40 PM
mayomick 25 Jan 11 - 11:57 AM
Andrez 12 Jan 11 - 06:19 AM
GUEST,Neil D 11 Jan 11 - 09:29 AM
GUEST,Patsy 10 Jan 11 - 10:53 AM
GUEST,Wesley S 10 Jan 11 - 09:27 AM
Bobert 10 Jan 11 - 08:05 AM
GUEST 10 Jan 11 - 07:48 AM
Bobert 09 Jan 11 - 12:26 PM
maeve 09 Jan 11 - 12:24 PM
Bobert 09 Jan 11 - 12:15 PM
GUEST,erbert 09 Jan 11 - 12:09 PM
josepp 09 Jan 11 - 11:41 AM
Will Fly 09 Jan 11 - 06:00 AM
Smedley 09 Jan 11 - 05:44 AM
Goose Gander 09 Jan 11 - 05:15 AM
josepp 09 Jan 11 - 01:10 AM
Goose Gander 09 Jan 11 - 12:24 AM
josepp 09 Jan 11 - 12:16 AM
Janie 09 Jan 11 - 12:05 AM
Janie 09 Jan 11 - 12:03 AM
katlaughing 08 Jan 11 - 11:53 PM
Bobert 08 Jan 11 - 11:14 PM
josepp 08 Jan 11 - 10:47 PM
Goose Gander 08 Jan 11 - 05:13 PM
josepp 08 Jan 11 - 05:07 PM
Goose Gander 08 Jan 11 - 05:03 PM
josepp 08 Jan 11 - 03:33 PM
Goose Gander 08 Jan 11 - 03:28 PM
josepp 08 Jan 11 - 03:13 PM
josepp 08 Jan 11 - 02:53 PM
Goose Gander 08 Jan 11 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,jeff 08 Jan 11 - 02:51 PM
Goose Gander 08 Jan 11 - 02:45 PM
josepp 08 Jan 11 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Goose Gander 08 Jan 11 - 01:50 PM
josepp 08 Jan 11 - 12:49 PM
pattyClink 08 Jan 11 - 11:18 AM
Bobert 08 Jan 11 - 08:38 AM
Bobert 08 Jan 11 - 08:34 AM
Desert Dancer 07 Jan 11 - 11:18 PM
dwditty 07 Jan 11 - 08:24 PM
dwditty 07 Jan 11 - 08:20 PM
gnu 07 Jan 11 - 08:10 PM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 07:55 PM
josepp 07 Jan 11 - 07:37 PM
josepp 07 Jan 11 - 07:34 PM
Janie 07 Jan 11 - 07:19 PM
Bobert 07 Jan 11 - 06:17 PM
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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM

Kinda different at Otha Turner's annual "Goat Roast" in Como, Ms, Zoe... Or in band room in Clarksdale, Ms.... Or even the barbershop in D.C. where I played every Saturday afternoon for years... Guess it all has alot to do with the venue...

...and 100...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Zoe Bremer
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 01:40 PM

Just try going to see any pub rock (i.e. blues) band in the UK and see how many Black faces there are in the audience. That says everything.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: mayomick
Date: 25 Jan 11 - 11:57 AM

The Roots are still going strong .

http://vodpod.com/watch/1807260-video-the-roots-how-i-got-over-live-on-jimmy-fallon


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Andrez
Date: 12 Jan 11 - 06:19 AM

Definitely an interesting thread! Thank you too for your input and thoughts about the blues Azizi: another angle on a complex issue.

However being a long way from all the Blues action in the US and the UK here in Australia whenever one of the Blues "greats" come to town I do my level best to get there to try and get at least a little feel for the what the energy of the real thing is (or was) about, as opposed to the modern commercial clones or similar wannabees.

BB King is in town in April and I'll be there somewhere very close to the front row. Long live the King!

Cheers,

Andrez


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 11 Jan 11 - 09:29 AM

Hi Azizi.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Patsy
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 10:53 AM

Programmes like X Factor encourage young talent to warble away in the style that sells unfortunately. I don't think it is rejected as such it's just that young black and white kids these days want to get famous and rich quick. Rapping and hip-hop in the UK has become the music for both black and white kids mainly in the inner cities. For them it is important it keeps them off the street and out of trouble, for a while anyway, N-Dubz is a group that comes to mind who are typical of that music culture. I hate it but then it isn't for me thank goodness.

My son ironically has re-discovered blues and has started buying the old names like Hooker and Waters etc. and rejecting the new R&B so perhaps there is hope.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Wesley S
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 09:27 AM

Thanks for sharing Azizi. You've been missed around here.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 08:05 AM

Any day that you're here posting is a great one, Mizz Azizz...

Ol' hillbilly been missin' you...

BTW, I have a book fir you... Not too sure where it is now 'cause I'm packin' up to move and it's packed but when I found it I instantly thought of you...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Jan 11 - 07:48 AM

Greetings.

I'm coming out of lurker mode to make several points for the record(if you will excuse that pun).

Firstly, let me say that in his post to this thread Richard Bridge fairly paraphrased a point that I have made on this forum. However, it's important to me to note that I have never used the phrase "untermensch status" to refer to African Americans or to any other population. Frankly, I had to look up what that word meant & in doing so I learned of its association to Nazism. Let me emphatically state that I am sure that Richard Bridge did not mean anything negative in his choice of that word. I would fully agree with his paraphrasing if he had written that I believe that many African-Americans have avoided and continue to avoid traditional Blues because many Blues lyrics reflect and the history of the Blues reflects what was considered to be and in material terms what was the lowly status of Black folks.

Let me expand upon this by referring to music that is even older than the Blues, but helped birth that music genre. As some here may remember, my principal folkloric interest is English language children's playground rhymes. Because one facet of my interest inevitably involves looking for sources of rhyme verses, I'm often reading the text of and commentary about 19th century or earlier African American plantation dance & play songs and American minstrel songs. Reading the lyrics to and the commentary about those songs is very difficult for me, even when the commentary comes from such well meaning people as the African American chemistry professor Thomas W. Talley, and the White folklorist Dorothy Scarborough. Both of these people were products of that time, and thank goodness, many of their attitudes & conclusions about Black people are decidedly dated. For example, in his 1922 book Negro Folk Rhymes, Wise And Other Wise, the African American chemistry professor at Fisk University Thomas W. Talley frequently refers to African Americans as crude. He refers to "darkest Africa" and makes erroneous statements about African religions and how those religions influenced African American social rhymes & songs that include mention of animals or trees. Also, many of the lyrics of the featured songs in Talley's collection include references to colorism (the in-racial preference some Black people have for light skin complexions, or that some Black people have for dark skin complexions). I also consider Talley's book to be emotionally difficult reading for me because of other stereotypical attitudes about Black people that are reflected in some of those songs.

In her 1925 book On The Trail Of Negro Folk Songs, Dorothy Scarborough regularly refers to African Americans as "darkies" and African American children as "pickaninnies". In my opinion, Scarborough is frequently and probably unknowingly patronizing to the Black folks who shared their songs with her. And the lyrics to a number of the songs in both of those books use the fully spelled out "n word", a word that still makes me cringe whenever I read it or hear it (no matter who wrote it or who says/sings it). Nevertheless, I definitely agree with those persons who consider both of these books as classics, and treasure my copies of these books and thank Thomas W. Talley and Dorothy Scaborough for their important contributions to the preservation of some creative, historically interesting examples of African American dance & play songs.

Another thing-(though this genre of music is also not what many posters to this thread may consider to be the Blues), when I read books like Martin Williams' Jazz Masters Of New Orleans (1967; The Macmillian Company), I often feel both sad and ANGRY at the treatment these early (and later) Black musicians & vocalists received from White folks, including when White individuals and groups willfully and openly expropriated Black creative products. Frankly, because of the depressed and angry feelings I invariably get when I read about American slavery, minstrelsy, early Jazz and early Blues times, for my own well being, I often take breaks from that reading & research. The main thing that gets me about those times is that-in all too many ways- when it comes to attitudes about Black people- nothing has really changed in this nation and in much of the world but the weather. Some people still consider Black folks to be "untermensch".

But, in my opinion, the troubling history of the Blues is only one reason why it appears to me (and to many others) that only a small percentage of African Americans are "in to" the Blues. Some African American church folks may still consider Blues and other secular music to be "the devil's music", and therefore don't listen to it. Some of these religious Black people and other Black people may dislike Blues because of much of that music's sexually suggestive, sexist, and violent lyrics. Other Black people may not really know Blues but may reject it without hearing it (or knowing it when they hear it) because they've accepted the mainstream definition that all Blues music is sad, and they don't want to be sad or sadder. And since (generally speaking) most Black people prefer music that is uptempo, percussive, and danceable, some African Americans may reject the Blues (without hearing it or knowing it when they hear it) because they don't know that Blues (like Jazz) used to dance music. Maybe some Blues and some Jazz still is music for dancing, though for various reasons, dancing has been largely separated from both of these genres.

In addition to all these points, I also agree with the theory that some Black young people may turn their backs on Blues (if they even think about it, which for the most part I doubt) because they consider Blues to be "old fashioned music". But I think this attitude is more than generational, which leads me to my final point:

To use astrology terms, I believe that we African Americans-in general-are more heavily influenced by Uranus than by Saturn. What I mean by this is that, historically and in this present time, most African Americans are much more interested in innovation than in preservation. We love coming up with new music, new dances, new slang etc. Of course, so many of these "new things" are re-workings, re-interpretations, and expansions of old things, which is why it's important that some folks focus on the preservation-some of which is being done right here on Mudcat.

Best wishes,

Azizi


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:26 PM

Thanks, maeve...

Lotta good stuff in there if ya' have time to sift thru it...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: maeve
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:24 PM

Bobert's Blues Thread


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:15 PM

Check out the "Blues" thread I started last year, erbert... Lotta good info there...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,erbert
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:09 PM

..frankly, there's already far too much Blues to wade through to find the good stuff..

Nearly a Century of accumulated 'classic' recordings submerged and almost lost
under a comparatively recent deluge of thousands of mediocre pointless 'me too' blues-copyist LPs & CDs..

It's becoming a chore for even enthusiasts to sift through all the uninspiring dull crap;
and don't even get me started on the pubs full of 'learn the blues by tab'
weekend guitarist vanity jam sessions...


At least Internet 'Blues' blogs are a godsend for anyone seeking informed reviews
and a few choice sampler downloads..


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 11:41 AM

////an argument about certain genres being intrinsicallly superior (e.g. blues is superior to hip-hop) versus a more nuanced view that there is good stuff in all genres if you take time to find it. I would incline to the latter viewpoint.////

I just don't like rap. I heard it when I was still pretty young and didn't like it then. And I'm too damned old to listen to it now. If I saw a guy my age listening to rap, I'd think he was an idiot. Pathetic. Trying to be young again. Rap is a one-hit-wonder factory where you'd better hope you can go into acting after you have your hit. It's really a subset of the teeny-boppers. No matter how good you are, you start getting a bit of age on you and you lose your fan base. You ain't cool no more. I have no use for that. In blues, age is respected as it ought to be.

And Lady Gaga seems to me to be a total basket case. When you see people who have to act bizarre in public to get attention it's because they can't get it any other way. But I agree that Justin Bieber is a vapid schmuck although that's being too kind.

////Josepp, you should stop reading the headlines and listening to the superficial stuff, and understand that in England alone there is a rippling, babbling, current of music that never makes the 'news'. You could attend the annual Bury Blues Festival, the annual Rockabilly Rave at Camber Sands, numerous folk festivals at venues all over the country, acoustic and electric sessions in pubs and clubs, the Donington Park heavy metal-fest...////

Yeah, we have the same stuff in America--blues festivals, folk festivals, ragtime festivals, rockabilly festivals and that's all fine and dandy but the public as a whole could case less what happens to these genres. They want to listen to the worst crap you can think of and pay good money to do it. Fat Possum Records should be a major player in the record-buying market but it will never be anything more than what it currently is. I commend those who founded and run it, obviously people with taste and a vision, but the public is just too stupid to listen in any thing resembling great numbers. One Justin Bieber CD will, in 6 months, outsell their entire repertoire over a 10-year period.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Will Fly
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 06:00 AM

But Britain today doesn't seem to be much better off than America--possibly even worse. So whose going to inject some life into our crumbling music scene?

Josepp, you should stop reading the headlines and listening to the superficial stuff, and understand that in England alone there is a rippling, babbling, current of music that never makes the 'news'. You could attend the annual Bury Blues Festival, the annual Rockabilly Rave at Camber Sands, numerous folk festivals at venues all over the country, acoustic and electric sessions in pubs and clubs, the Donington Park heavy metal-fest...

It ain't all in the 'media', mate!


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Smedley
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 05:44 AM

Interesting thread. One of the points that keeps recurring, mostly implicitly, is an argument about certain genres being intrinsicallly superior (e.g. blues is superior to hip-hop) versus a more nuanced view that there is good stuff in all genres if you take time to find it. I would incline to the latter viewpoint.

For example, a point was made that late 60s Peter Green bluesy Fleetwood Mac was better than the 70s soft-rock incarnation - but I'd say both were great **in their respective genres**.

Even in the contemporary pop most contributors here despise, there is work of wit, creativity and power. Lumping in Lady Gaga (who has those qualities) with vapid schmucks like Justin Bieber is foolish - but doing so does go hand-in-hand with the 'some genres can only be bad' mindset that runs through many posts here.

Open ears tend to be advantageous when listening to music.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 05:15 AM

You are an idiot. My point (and it's a very simple and easily verifiable point) is that secular and sacred music in the American South evolved together, and mutually influenced each other. If you don't understand the connection the deep connection between gospel and rock and roll then you don't know much about either. You yourself admitted that they evolved from common roots, then claimed that "rock and roll had nothing to do with gospel." You're doing worse than me.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 01:10 AM

What you said had no point. You got mad about me saying Little Richard quit rocknroll to become a preacher, even though it's totally verifiable, and then insisted gospel music somehow had something to do with rocknroll. Then insisted they evolved side by side, which only proves rocknroll had nothing to do with gospel. Then you say that was your point--which means you contradicted yourself. Then you try to cover it up by hurling insults. You're not doing very well.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:24 AM

"Which brings up the point of exactly what you're trying to say."

Exactly what I said, you numbskull.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:16 AM

Does anyone know if "Out on the Western Plains" may have been a very early blues? I know a goodly amount of cowboys were black and the song is surprisingly blues-like right down to the AAB lyrics.

I was looking at "Pretty Polly" but it apparently can be traced back to Scotland several centuries ago and so it's blues-like nature is coincidental. But I'm not sure about this cowboy tune, which I learned from listening to Lead Belly. I don't know where he learned it.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Janie
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:05 AM

And thanks for the reminder, Kat. Just tuned in!


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Janie
Date: 09 Jan 11 - 12:03 AM

This is the powerful pulsing of love in the vein
After the dream of falling and calling your name out
These are the roots of rhythm
And the roots of rhythm remain

(Paul Simon, Under African Skies)

Bobert, LEJ, and others have said it more eloquently, and Paul Simon ain't a blues man. But he sums it up pretty well.

I am not worried the roots will be lost. They have been, and will be, rediscovered again, and yet again. They continue to be preserved, and there are always some young ones who will eventually go in search of the roots to better understand the whole tree of which they are a leaf or a branch, or even a new species created from natural hybridation.

"Where did I come from" is not a rare question.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: katlaughing
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 11:53 PM

Guest,jeff, thanks for telling us about the bar-b-que. How neat!

dw...not surprised!:-)

I am listening to Max's blues show right now on the radio. Wish he'd come in here and share some of his youthful knowledge which led him to start the Mudcat and be so continually enthusiastic at promoting the Blues. Check out his radio show every Sat. night.

And, I always welcome a chance to give the Carolina Chocolate Drops a plug.


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

Ya'll wanta talk about the blues??? Fine... Let's get it on...

First of all, younginz... What is the blues???

Be back later...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 10:47 PM

Which brings up the point of exactly what you're trying to say.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 05:13 PM

I did not say that one descended from the other, you dingbat.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 05:07 PM

////Sacred and secular music evolved alongside one another in the American South.////

Exactly! They evolved alongside one another. One did not descend from the other. Both evolved out of field work songs and hollers.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 05:03 PM

Bullpucky. Sacred and secular music evolved alongside one another in the American South. Listen to Pentacostal Holiness music and tell me there's no connection with rock and roll. Elvis loved gospel, and you can hear it in his music. The inflections of Little Richard are the inflections of a country preacher, and vice versa.

And I did not say one led to the other. Linear thinking will not help us tease apart this phenomenon. Instead of A leading to B leading to C, etc., think of music and culture developing and arising together, holistically, if you want to use that word.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 03:33 PM

Well, good for him, but if he'd stuck to rocknroll like he should have, he'd never have had to resolve his music.

And there is no evidence that rocknroll or blues came from gospel.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 03:28 PM

If you think you can draw a line between gospel and rock and roll, then you don't know much about either.

Little Richard managed to resolve his music, his sexuality and his faith. Who are you to snipe at him?

Sorry to jump down your throat, and sorry for the thread drift, but you're wrong about this.

I'd like to get back to blues.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 03:13 PM

////It you think there was something wrong with Little Richard becoming a preacher then you don't know a damn thing about Little Richard.////

I know about to know that he quit rocknroll to attend bible college and then didn't do anything but gospel music for year afterward. I also know enough about him that embarrassed the living shit out of himself with the crap he preached which was incredibly homophobic for a man that is himself gay.

He should have stuck to rocknroll.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 02:53 PM

A good indication of how bad it's gotten: listen to the Fleetwood Mac the public loves so much with Stevie and Lindsey and Christine...

And then listen to that first album when Pete Green ran the band.

That's the difference.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 02:52 PM

It you think there was something wrong with Little Richard becoming a preacher then you don't know a damn thing about Little Richard. The preacher was in him, and it had to come out. The last time I heard him talk about himself, his sexuality, and his faith he said (I paraphrase) 'God knows who I am and he's all right with that.'

As far as American rock and roll (post-Elvis), how about Link Wray, the Sonics, the Wailers and hundreds of other artists?


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,jeff
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 02:51 PM

My wife and I were invited to a bar-b-cue by a co-worker of hers who happens to be black. His wife asked that I bring my guitar as she knew I played. After the food, drink conversation, etc. the cds came on and eveyone danced or played catch w/water balloons.

We were the only white people there and my wife's co-worker turned off the dj booth and asked me to play. You can imagine the intimidation as I was well-versed in country blues, blues, celtic, bluegrass but have never played before an entirely black audience. And certainly never following a DJ set that no one wanted interrupted. We're all outside w/no PA system and I'm sitting on a picnic table. Everyone was looking at me like, "Ok, show us somethin', white boy.'

That being said I kicked it off w/Ray Charles' 'Hallelueah I Love Her So'. It was joy and shouting from the first verse on and every song no matter what the style was met with acceptance and enthusiasm. When I played Andy M. Stewart's 'Donegal Rain' one could only hear me and a nearby highway. Doing a ballad outdoors is a big risk, but there was rapt attention as the lyrics unfolded. I played 'til my fingers bled. About 2 hours...they wouldn't let me stop. Gospel, blues. Motown, Stax...everything. One guy hollered out, "Hey man, play somethin' about you." So, I played an original and it was met w/acceptance as well.

Afterward several youngsters came up and told me they had never appreciated their parents' and grandparents' 'grown folks' music' until they heard me. I was touched, somewhat embarassed and honored. Others thanked me for 'schoolin' their children. I was told several times I was 'a bad man'. High praise. Some of the kids wanted to hold my guitar and I let some flail away and showed others some chords. Who knows what will come of the musical exchange. It was all very human.

The point I'm trying to make is that alot of young people will reject their parents' 'everything' for one reason or another including music as they make their way through puberty, adolescence and young adulthood. It's a natual outgrowth of separation and self-definition. That bar-b-cue was a cultural revelation for me as I rejected Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Patty Page, etc. in lieu of the Beatles, Stones, Hendrix, John Hartford, etc. Then as a more experienced and matured musician I came back to 'the standards' w/a greater appreciation as I learned previously rejected material for 'casuals', etc.

So, I think it's a matter of exposure in the right venue or context that sets the lightbulb off, regardless. And it would seem it's not a rejection of the blues out of hand in as much as it's a lack of relevance to a given, young black person's experience and perception as the world relates to them and vice-versa.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 02:45 PM

Paul Wine Jones Rob and Steal

Paul Wine JonesNobody But You

Blind Boy Paxton Frankie Medley


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 02:41 PM

I'm not content just to listen to the past. It's our culture that's at stake here. The last time this happened was the late 50s when the all rocknrollers dried up: Elvis went in the army, Little Richard became a preacher, the plane crash that killed Buddy, Bopper and Richie, Ray Charles and Fats started doing country, Chuck Berry went to jail, and Bill Haley, Eddie Cochran, Gene Vincent and Jerry Lee Lewis all fled to England and Eddie would die there in '60. All you had for the most part were the lightweights and the white imitators who made a killing off swiping black folks' material and getting played on stations that wouldn't play the black artists whose stuff these white artists were swiping.

What happened next? It's called the British Invasion. But Britain today doesn't seem to be much better off than America--possibly even worse. So whose going to inject some life into our crumbling music scene?


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: GUEST,Goose Gander
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 01:50 PM

Ed Archer used to make similar comments about the blues and young blacks on his radio program on KPFK in Los Angeles. But what can you do? Specific forms of folk music reflect specific times and places, when conditions change the music changes. I don't like most popular music, but I am immensely grateful that so much great music is available now, on recordings and in live performances. Think of it as an amazing recipe lots of people used to know, and now only a few still cook it. You can mourn the passage of time and inevitable change and decay, or you can enjoy your sweet potato pie.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 12:49 PM

We used to have a blues program on NPR in the 90s, not sure if it was "Blues After Hours" but the host was a black man with a really thick rural accent, he was hard to understand at times. But one morning, he was asking, "Why have the black boys laid the blues down?" He went on that most of the people picking the blues up were "white boys" (and increasingly girls--some pretty good white girls playing blues guitar these days) and he said there was nothing wrong with whites picking up the blues, "I just want to know why the black boys layin' it down." Some here might have heard the same broadcast.

So, it doesn't seem to me that blues is doing just fine. It's like the ragtime festivals, sure, you go there and everybody there loves ragtime and there's even little kids playing it on pianos and guitars and what not and that's great--but it is certainly NOT representative of the population or even close to it.

Will ragtime and blues survive? Yeeeeees. But they will survive in little pockets here and there but largely absent from the mainstream and it's the mainstream I'm primarily concerned with. Catholics always tell me that they were taught that "the road to hell is wide" and I think this is a prime example.

And the same goes for rock music. You know it's getting bad when you go on youtube to see some clip of a great rock song and the comments say something like, "My dad used to listen to this and these guys really rock. How come we don't have music like this anymore?" You didn't hear that in the 70s about Sinatra or something. Kids then had no interest in the older generation's music because there was so much going on in their own. Now? And this isn't just one or two clips, it's rampant.

On an Iggy Pop clip, somebody said if it wasn't for Iggy, we wouldn't have the stuff we have today to which someone else said, "Don't say that, we don't have anything today."

Something has to give. This can't go on. You can't satisfy the entire public with Justin Bieber or Lady Gaga or Taylor Swift all the time. And you can't team Bieber up with B. B. King and think you'll do anything other than make it worse. Something has to give.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: pattyClink
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 11:18 AM

While there is some interest in blues by black audiences in Mississippi, there is not as much as one would expect. The reason the kids play at the center in Clarksdale is there is such concern about this generation ditching the blues that there are special government art grants to conduct classes to be sure kids get exposure to their own heritage.

Delta blues was folk music, and like 'white' folk music, has been largely left behind by a population which is hell bent on fillin their ears with shiny pop crap. Fortunately there are still festivals and juke joints which carry the torch and a small population which values the 'real thing'. But it is worrisome and if you talk to any older blues musician they are quite concerned about how many will carry on after them.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 08:38 AM

BTW, Elijah was one of the "instructors" at "Blues Week" in Elkins, WV., this past summer...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 08 Jan 11 - 08:34 AM

Good book, D.D....

Okay, it kinda drags ina few places but Elijah is quite the blues historian...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 11:18 PM

Just thought I'd link this short thread from 2004 with reviews of Elijah Wald's book, "Escaping the Delta: Robert Johnson and the Invention of the Blues", as food for thought (fuel for the discussion?).

We picked up a copy recently and I'm about to start it.

~ Becky in Long Beach


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: dwditty
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 08:24 PM

Rats: TRY AGAIN


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: dwditty
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 08:20 PM

lol, does it count if sometimes when my kids play my recordings for their friends, the friends think I am black? LISTEN


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: gnu
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 08:10 PM

LEJ... don't be afraid.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 07:55 PM

Well, yeah, josez...

General trend is not only black kids not interested in the blues but white kids, too... I mean, no argument there... Not too many interested in lotta music...

I reckon where we might have a difference of opinion here, and maybe not, is a sweeping statement that "blacks rejecting blues" which ain't so...

I agree with EJ... We saw a resurgence of interest in the blues in the 60's but like many waves it's gone back out... Actually, that resurgence was of mostly white folkies... Heck, Son House was home in his apartment in New York having not played geetar since 1948 when in 1963 the folkies found him, plied him with a little lubricant and got him back playin' again...

And yeah, unless you are a blues player you'd think that no one likes it any more, especially younger black folks but that ain't the whole story...

I've presented a number of places where young black bluesmen are learnin' it up and into it... Archie Edwards Barber Shop, the IBC, W.C. Handys, Delta Blues Museum just to name a few...

I mean, unless yer into the blues purdy heavy then ya' ain't gonna know about these venues and if that's the case then, yeah, might be real easy to *assume* the black folks have "rejected blues" music... Just ain't that way, at all...

I mean, face it, because of the internet and CD's and downloads and YouTube and, and, and there are more style of music out there that are easily accessible so that does kinda spread the interests out...

B~


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 07:37 PM

Don't worry about it, Janie. My replies are often on the aggressive side. Bear with me.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: josepp
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 07:34 PM

Bobert, it's not the performers I'm talking about. You'll find black performers doing everything from blues to opera. It's the general population. I was in my 20s when I first heard rap. I hated it then, I hate it now. But that's not going to stop the general trend. It's been around way too long now and it is part of their lives, their upbringing. It's here to stay.

I think we have to accept that blues has lost relevance in the lives of the general black population and that whites are more likely to listen to and perform it these days.

Some black kids might find it again as they grow older but most won't. That's how it is.

It's equally true that rock music is disappearing--of course rock and blues are closely related. The combining of blues with other forms does not appeal to me but it's likely the only way it will survive in the public mind, the only way it will have a niche.

We seem to be drifting towards mediocrity--where taking the time to play an instrument seems too much to ask. Rap is instant gratification. We seem not to have patience anymore--we went it right now and it better be right now. RIGHT NOW!!!! And as technology keeps speeding the world up that's not going to change. Soon right now won't be fast enough for them.

I think Guitar-Hero is the stupidest thing ever. Why not buy a frigging guitar and learn to play it?? Be a real guitar hero. But look at its popularity. It's taken the place of air guitar. It's fast, it's fun, and buying and learning to play a real guitar is not. It's really sad.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Janie
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 07:19 PM

It is a good conversation you have started here, josepp. This is turning into another of those "why I love Mudcat" threads where I learn alot from people sharing not only information and knowledge, but different perspectives.

Also, your reply to my post down thread sounded as if I may have offended you. That was not my intention, but I apologize if that was the effect.


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Subject: RE: Have blacks rejected blues?
From: Bobert
Date: 07 Jan 11 - 06:17 PM

Well, if ya' wanta see the new batch of youngin's then yer gonna have to head down (up, over) to Memphis for the IBC... Won't be any shortage, I can assure you of that... Last year they hosted over 120 bands/soloists... These are the up-and-comers... And a good number will be black performers...

B~


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