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Well I would holler murder, but I was born to die - William Do-Boy Diamond, The Shaggy Hound

Author Topic: The Blues Vocal Tradition or why don't we sing like they used to?  (Read 9755 times)

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Offline Blue Poodle

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  • Kill it, Kid.
Re: The Blues Vocal Tradition or why don't we sing like they used to?
« Reply #60 on: July 25, 2010, 03:26:45 PM »
The old country blues singers that we know of were mostly pros, which I take it to mean that they were the best of their generation.  Given that they performed in acoustic settings, they had to be able to play and sing loudly in order to heard, and to be successful.  So, not only was there a selection for best appeal and talent, but maybe more importantly, a selection for performers with the best volume.

Performers today just don't have the same requirements.  If you play or sing quietly, using a microphone, a pickup and an amp will often allow you to get away with singing quietly and introspectively.  Although everyone has some natural ability to sing, singing the blues like the people we admire is a technique that has to be learned.   Without that kind of training and learning, it's hard to duplicate the wide open, full-throated, field holler sound of a Son House.
All the world loves a lover, but a lover doesn't always love love.

Offline jugblowr

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Re: The Blues Vocal Tradition or why don't we sing like they used to?
« Reply #61 on: August 25, 2010, 08:04:02 AM »
Important discussion here.  I'm a bit late to the party, but at least I made it.

When I work up a song, I go to the source and really dig into it and try to absorb the vocal phrasing and inflections.  Then I try to make these work in my own voice.  I'll sing the song over and over, without a guitar, searching for the right way to do it in 'my voice'.  I'm not trying to duplicate the original version, but I'm trying to channel it well enough so that someone who knows it will appreciate what I'm doing with it. 

I think this music really works best when it's out on the edge, beyond the comfort zone.  I am trying to find my way into the song, rather than trying to make it fit me.  When I play out with a group we set up a condenser mic, gather around it and play.  This adds some pressure to me as the lead vocalist, but it keeps the band and the audience more engaged.  There's nowhere to hide, so we've got to do it right!


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