Saturday, December 17, 2011

What is it with all this keeping the Blues alive BS!!! - Bman's Rant

First off I have to ask what is this all about? Why does this question even exist? It is my understanding that Blues Music started in America around 1900 and that it was a derivative of native African culture. Due to the racial conditions present at the time, field hollers, spiritual music and the like was the basis for the black culture and it's music. Blues music evolved from actual feelings inside of a person rather than catchy melodies and lyrics contrived to get airplay on the radio or to sell records. It was conceived to give comfort to those that sang, played and enjoyed it. At this time it was not at all accepted as a form of entertainment outside of the group of people who had been involved with it.... mostly slaves and workmen. It wasn't until WWI that white audiences began to become exposed to this music through the likes of W.C. Handy and Bessie Smith among others.

As free blacks started to immigrate north to the larger cities in search of work, more and more white audiences were becoming exposed to this terrific music but it was still not broadly accepted. Ok. Now lets look back. It has been around a minimum of 40 years to this point with basically no audience and it survives just fine... this is where my question of "Is The Blues Dying" comes in. It's hogwash!!

It took the likes of John Mayall, Peter Green (Fleetwood Mac), the Yardbirds, the Rolling Stones and other British rockers to tell America to wake up and smell the coffee. They produced an updated version of the traditional black blues and audiences were listening. It was this introduction that was the beginning of rock music as we know it. Sure there
was Elvis copying Big Mama and JLL but rock music came out of a real love for the blues. Musical sessions with Howlin Wolf, Muddy Waters, Otis Spann and others caused an awakening of consciousness of this great music.

It didn't hurt that the introduction of the new Blues Music, being a deep rooted feeling music, coincided with the "album rock" explosion that occurred in the early mid sixties. Guitar players went from making 3 minute songs to expanded 8 minutes songs to play longer instrumental interludes... yes...the blues music fostered that. Look at Led Zeppelin I or the Allman Brothers Live at The Fillmore. These albums are as a result of the adaptation of Blues Music. A broad acceptance of music that was actually constructed for people to listen feel...rather than to hear as background music... like "How Much is that Doggie in the Window"... specifically created as a catchy tune for airplay.

Music runs in cycles. Kids don't want to listen to what their parents listen to...that's not at all cool! The 60/70 generation now has grand children. They are discovering music with meaning as they start to grow up.

What is perceived as the "death of the blues" is just hype! Do you hear anyone worrying that hip hop is going to die? No one cares... that's a good start. But my point is, what is "popular" is called pop music. It is designed for 13 year old kids. It was bubblegum... it died...or did it (Lady gaga and Madonna). The music played on the radio is what ever the music industry thinks will sell. The primary buyer is a little write little kid stuff (nursery rhymes) and sell a bundle... then all you have to figure out what kind of rhythm to put behind it to dance to and you've got it made. But it's all crap!

When the 60's generation got old (got out of college and had kids) album oriented music "died" ...relegated to the "classic rock" station. But then if you've ever heard classic rock... it's really the pop music from the era. It's the worst of the pop rock guys. That's not saying they never play anything good.... but it's mostly the stuff that sold the most albums...which is to say... the pop portion of the market.... "How Much is That Doggie in the Window" but sung by Journey (where's Beavis and Butt-Head when you need them?).

There was a short interlude in the 80's when Blues Music made a huge impact. It took Stevie Ray Vaughn to hit the scene with his take no prisoners attitude and flaming guitar licks to wake people up... and it spread across the generations. People stopped listening to Ozzie (who once had a decent band called Black Sabbath) and said...WTF is this? SRV is great!

There are a lot of really great blues music players out there right now. I am looking for them and trying to expose you to them. The question isn't will the blues die... it isn't when will the blues die. It is, who will be the next great Messiah of blues music who will again awaken the "sheep" to the music we listen to everyday.

Lets face it...if you ask the average person what kind of music they listen to their replay will be blah blah radio. They don't have a clue. You could play anything and tell them it was good and they would listen to it.

The blues music is alive and well!! We can't do anything to change public opinion.
What we can do is support the artists who are trying to do something different. Those artists who spend their time and energy playing music that isn't "Pop" because they love Blues music... and because we love Blues music. I suspect nobody goes into playing blues music because they think they will make a fortune. Look at

Joe Bonamassa. Here is a guy who has as good a chance to be the next blues leader of his generation. He is doing all types of crossover experiments to try to find an audience. Good for him. It's good for the genre. I have people calling me and asking "Hey have you heard of the Joe Bonamassa guy"? When I tell them I saw him in a club with less than 100 people 10 years ago they are astounded. But Joe is finding his way.

Blues music is alive, well and strong. Embrace it, turn your friends on to it. Don't be surprised when they don't get it. I don't get Madonna ... but she's rich beyond all imagination because she knows how to sell. I've seen Jeff Beck and Albert King in clubs so small that you could meet everyone in the place in 10 minutes. Try doing that at a Jeff Beck concert now. Jeff is my main man so I am thrilled for him. Is Jeff better than he used to be? Hell no! People are waking up. He gave people a reason.

Blues music is alive an well. Don't worry that it isn't popular. When it gets popular it becomes watered down and uninteresting... just listen to a few ZZ Top albums from the middle years... but they made money.

No slam on ZZ Top.... but I'm glad they are back doing the real deal!


  1. everyone must find their own truth and embrace it.that includes music and entertainment.

  2. I agree. That is why I am on my own personal quest to explore the music available. The likelihood that the media will feed something that I love to me to me is low. Hopefully someone else enjoys something that I turn up

  3. I like John Mayer, with his album "Try!" deserves a mention.

  4. Can John Mayer play the blues? His 20 billion fans seem to think so!!

    Bman's Blues Report: Out Of My Mind - John Mayer

  5. Great blog post... I hear you 100%! I've been listening to the blues and blues rock ever since my high school days (I still own my John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, John Mayall LP's and more.) And I still listen to them on a daily basis to this day.

    There has been many and still are many great blues artist out there, well known and not so well known (It's unbelievable how many are in the latter category... it's endless.) In this era that we are in today, with all this technology at our fingertips, it's unbelievable all of the outstanding blues artists that I've been able to listen to that I wouldn't have if not for this technology.

    With that said, I'm still kind of waiting for the next SRV to come. I thought that Joe Bonamassa was going to be the one for years until just lately. I kind of feel he is kind of veering off from the blues somewhat. Not that it's a bad thing but in regards to blues music, his music has become such of mixture of so many things. I really enjoyed his old stuff more than what he is producing today. That's just my opinion.

    I saw Joe last month here in Boston and although he was a great and I enjoyed it, he didn't have me out of my seat or anything like that. He didn't give me that feel'n...know what I mean? Then again it was just one concert. As you know Joe is a phenomenal guitarist and has been for quite some time(he has 14 CD's out now). But in my mind for he to become the next SRV or like others before SRV, I think that he has to get back down to the roots of blues music a bit more than he has of late.

    In ending, I just want to say I always enjoy reading what you have to say and share. Thank you much and a very "Happy New Year" to you.

    "The Blues are and always will be alive!" ☺ ~PeAcE~

  6. Thanks for readinng and thanks for your comments...Happy New Years and lets keep Blusin"!

  7. Alive like a dolphin is alive frolicing in the water or alive like a lichen? Alive like relevent or alive like hanging around? Can it thrive with new energy or it just an outlet for younbg players on their way to better things, or those too old to rock and roll?

  8. I think that gets back to the question of what alive is. To me alive is people enjoying deep meaningful music. To others it means being played on the radio incessantly.I haven't heard Skip James, Son House or Robert Pete Williams played on the radio except on a specialty show ...ever! But I have heard SRV fact it's hard to avoid hearing him. Joe Bonamassa is getting a lot of air with even having full length concerts broadcast on tv multiple times. Possibly your question is... when will blues music be in vogue again. I say when the next blues man falls out of the sky who is over the top good.... Joe Bonamassa is gathering a good following.

    I don't think that blues music has ever been "the thing" in my lifetime although blues based music was very popular with the British invasion in the 60's and 70's.

    As far as radio play...I think that the sirius radio blues stations are quite popular. I think what we are experiencing is that the masses will listen to whatever is on the radio... I mean, classic rock is the same 100 songs nationally played over and over again. I like classic rock..but I can't stand a classic rock station. It's like the worst music of the 60's and 70's...the "Hits". Led Zeppelin is still widely loved... and they aren't likely to make a comeback.... but then they are blues based too. Just my opinion