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A phrase that should live in infamy appears all too often in the Gennett ledgers: "Rejected - too much backwoods" - Richard Nevins, entry on the Shepherd Brothers in R. Crumb's Heroes of Blues, Jazz and Country

Author Topic: need help with a genre description  (Read 616 times)

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Offline arlotone

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need help with a genre description
« on: February 11, 2013, 11:06:05 AM »
Hi folks,

One of my bands is becoming focused on the more pop-oriented blues of Tampa Red, Big Bill Broonzy, and Washboard Sam, which blues musicians would probably refer to as the Bluebird sound. I'm trying to figure out how I would label the band for a more general audience.

Although they were in Chicago and the music is fairly urban-sounding, I wouldn't call it "Chicago blues" -- that brings to mind distorted amplification. These guys had maybe a clean electric guitar but most often a resonator and other acoustic instruments. But I wouldn't call it country blues, either.

I could say "pre-war blues" which is vague enough to cover everything ... although technically we do some post-war music, too. Or "acoustic blues" which is even more vague but at least gets away from the Muddy Waters image. Maybe hokum, which covers the early Tampa Red stuff, but not the later songs. Lately I've just been saying it's a "blues band" and leaving it at that.

I assume that to a -really- general audience, none of these terms means anything, but I'd like to come up with a descriptor that would at least give a general idea to someone who knows something about roots music.

Any thoughts?

-Arlo

Offline Stumblin

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2013, 11:21:48 AM »
How about "Early Chicago Blues?"

Offline natterjack

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2013, 11:51:01 AM »
Urban acoustic blues?

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2013, 12:01:35 PM »
How's about "Big Washboard Tampa Sam"? Or just Bluebird Blues, or "Ensemble for the performance of late early twentieth century African American Rural music recently relocated to an urban environment"? Or better yet why not just call the band "Chitown'36"?....Don't thank me..... :P

My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)

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Offline Stuart

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2013, 12:10:56 PM »
I actually like "the Bluebird sound," or perhaps "That Bluebird Sound." Whatever you come up with or decide on, it's going to require some explanation and will ultimately be defined by the music and the musicians that/who fall into the category or classification. If it's good enough for Blues musicians and aficionados, then why not for a general audience?

Offline cih

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2013, 12:38:47 PM »
big town blues (as opposed to little village blues)

Offline arlotone

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2013, 01:45:54 PM »
Hey, thanks -- I didn't expect so many replies so quickly!

Many of these suggestions would work, so I'll mull them over.

BTW the band already has a name (The Spodee-o's, because we started as a duo playing a few Sonny and Brownie tunes) so I'm just looking for what to call the genre when I describe it to people. We'll record some new videos soon and I'll post them on the Back Porch.

Offline GhostRider

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #7 on: February 11, 2013, 03:10:01 PM »
How 'bout Depression Pop-Blues. I associate these artists with the depression era.

Alex

Offline -

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #8 on: February 11, 2013, 03:45:52 PM »
Pre-War Chicago Blues

Offline dj

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2013, 03:59:37 PM »
Hamfat music.  Nobody will know what it means, but it sure is catchy.

Offline Slack

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #10 on: February 11, 2013, 04:24:03 PM »
Which is not such a bad idea.  When they ask you what Hamfat music is... just tell them they'll have to come hear you play to find out.  ;D

Offline Gumbo

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2013, 01:21:02 AM »
+1 for Hamfat Music.

Yeah. We play that too :)

Offline Parlor Picker

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2013, 02:08:00 AM »
Hamfat gets my vote, as well.  8)
"I ain't good looking, teeth don't shine like pearls,
So glad good looks don't take you through this world."
Barbecue Bob

Offline Bald Melon Jefferson

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #13 on: February 12, 2013, 08:41:17 AM »
Sure, Hamfat is nice.... but I really like how effortlessly Muck's 
EFTPOLETCAARMRRTAUE rolls of the tongue. 

As an aside; for years I told friends that I was tryin to teach myself to play blues guitar...and for years I received scores of Chicago Blues compilation cds and mp3s. Now that I tell-up I play pre-blues, hokum and raggy-time I don't get anymore music samplers...just blank stares.
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Offline ScottN

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Re: need help with a genre description
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2013, 12:23:17 PM »
From Les R Forgue on a different post "down home blues" is what the people in Chicago called it when he was a kid.

 


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