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Author Topic: what got you into the blues?  (Read 4122 times)

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Offline harry

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what got you into the blues?
« on: September 26, 2010, 01:50:11 AM »
For me it was a record I found in my dad's enormous collection called "Pete Johnson
Master Of Blues And Boogie Woogie 1904-1967"

Took it from there back to Charley Patton and up to Stevie Ray Vaughan.

It's listed on wirz epic website;

Offline Alexei McDonald

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2010, 02:01:38 AM »
Listening to old Lonnie Donegan 78s in about 1983 or so, that was the impetus.

Offline blueshome

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2010, 03:02:29 AM »
 In 1961 I read about Big Bill and Memphis Slim in a jazz history book and found a BBill ep, I was just hooked.

Offline Prof Scratchy

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2010, 03:22:49 AM »
Being given a copy of Fats Domino's recording of So Long coupled with When My Dream Boat Comes Home in 1956, when I was 8 years old. So Long had a great bluesy feel. But it was my absolute mis-hearing of the Dream Boat lyric that took me in the direction of other things: I thought Fats was singing 'Muddy Waters will sing, Of the tender love you bring....' (he wasn't singing that at all - I just thought he was)! Anyway, as soon as I could save up 39/6d I bought the Best of Muddy Waters LP and took it from there. Also, round about 1956/7 we were bombarded with took four or five years, but eventually I made the connection with Leadbelly and bought everything of his I could lay my hands on. Another building block was the fact that I lived near Ilkley, which had once been a thriving Victorian holiday destination with large hotels that were, by the early sixties, going to seed. For a very brief period before someone invented the disco, a couple of these hotels set up blues clubs where you could see (as well as blues based 'beat bands') the occasional touring American act - I got to see John Lee Hooker and Sonny Boy II at very close quarters in sweaty, matt black painted basement bars in 1963/4. Champion Jack Dupree lived ten miles away, so he was a regular too. Although it was extremely difficult to find recorded blues in mainstream record shops in the North (different if you lived in London) a mention must be made of the the Xtra and Ace of Hearts cheapo record labels which were widely distributed and gave access to Champion Jack, Sonny and Brownie, the transcript of their radio programme with Studs Terkel and Big Bill, and on Ace of Hearts there was T-Bone Walker and John Lee Hooker. Another influence was the folk club circuit and - dare I say it - Peggy Seeger. In 1964 I saw her playing Freight Train, and suddenly started watching guitarists' right hands  instead of their left!

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2010, 04:32:20 AM »
Earlier this year I bored the EuroWeenie gathering to death with my route to the blues so I'll keep it to a single sentence. Hearing the 1957 Pye-Nixa LP "Blues In The Mississippi Night" being played at a friends house by his jazz loving father in the summer of 1962.

Offline Mr.OMuck

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2010, 05:24:29 AM »
Red diaper baby fare; Folk music, Leadbelly, Josh White and a Pete Seeger record that had a cut or two of Big Bill. This was probably c. 1961-63? I went looking for more Big Bill and found his record with Studs Terkel Sonny & Brownie. That sunk me. Shortly thereafter I discovered Gary Davis, Lightnin' Hopkins, Big Joe Williams, Blind Willie Johnson, MJH, The Sam Charters compilations and I was gone.
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music.
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Offline Stumblin

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2010, 09:06:17 AM »
About 25 years ago, I was looking for a non-classical finger-picking guitar style. An old buddy of mine played me a Lightnin' Hopkins album, from one of his of his acoustic sessions, Short Haired Woman, Trouble in Mind etc. Having had a relatively limited exposure to any music that wasn't basically heavy rock, I had no idea that such powerful music as Lightnin's could exist. I was hooked. Over the years, I've also become lined. Not looking forward to getting sinkered... B'dm-tsh! I thank you.

Offline Norfolk Slim

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2010, 09:15:38 AM »
3 main landmarks on the road I think.

It started with guitars generally- my Dad strumming at home and teaching me a few chords, taking classical lessons at school etc.  So there was a general enjoyment of guitars and their sounds.

In my mid 20s amidst a general ongoing search for interesting music (I always had considerable disdain for anything very commercial) I decided to buy a Blues compilation as, being interested in guitars and black music generally (mainly rap music at the time though that was fading by my mid 20s...) I figured it might do something for me and I quite liked some John Lee Hooker that I'd got free with a magazine some years earlier.

On that compilation were some songs I now adore including some RJ, and even Lottie Kimbrough.  I didnt really notice them much at the time- the track that blew me away was Sweet Little Angel by BB King.  That was enough to have me searching out the Paul Jones Blues show on BBC Radio 2, as well as BB King Cds.  I bought some instructional books on blues guitar, though never really got to grips with the electric stuff.  I started to get on with Kenny Sultan's one though.

Then, on the Paul Jones show I heard a live performance by Chris Smither (supporting some generic modern chicago act)- and that was the point at which I was really drawn in to acoustic fingerpicked blues guitar. The performance not only thrilled me, but set me on the course to looking up Johnson et al (one of the tunes he played was dust my broom).

Somewhere in the mix was also the dreaded Clapton unplugged cd and the robert johnson songbook cd by Peter Green, but they were probably more peripheral.

Offline CF

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2010, 09:56:11 AM »
Doors covers of Howlin' Wolf, Hooker & Muddy tunes would have exposed me to the music & then the whole Complete RJ from the early nineties. I could have been one of those who stopped at Johnson (most did) but my university had 'Nothin' But the Blues' (Cohn et al), some P. Oliver in the stacks & MS John Hurt, Son House, Vic Spivey, Tampa Red, plus Billie Holiday, Armstrong, Ellington records in the media library. And, most of all, PLAYING Blues music is what I think helped me understand & appreciate it at a different level & got me deeply 'into' the music.
Stand By If You Wanna Hear It Again . . .

Offline Rambler

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2010, 10:14:56 AM »
Rock to blues, like so many others. Rootsy rock. That got me into guitar.  Going to open mikes got me into urban blues/r&b.  When I moved up the country, I gravitated toward country blues. A local club used to get Paul Geremia up for a weekend. I went looking for some slide tips and got hooked into the whole Piedmont thing. As anyone will attest, once you get into it, there's no end to it.

« Last Edit: September 26, 2010, 10:21:57 AM by jkinnama »

Offline whigski3

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2010, 12:00:44 PM »
When I was about 15 years old (1971), I remember my cousin buying a copy of the LP SKIP JAMES TODAY! from a yard sale for $1, we put it on the turntable, expecting it to sound like Cream...we just sat there with blank stares on our faces. Picked up THE GREAT BLUESMEN on Vanguard around 1973 - good variety of performers including Skip James, listened to this 2 LP set a lot, and started to "get it." Purchased FRANK STOKES DREAM on Yazoo in an attempt to learn "Turn your Money Green" which was in Stefan Grossman's Book of Guitar Tunings, the sound of the 78 transfers, with their limited dynamic range, and the deep Southern/African-American vocals was so strange; my parents hearing it come from my bedroom, didn't know what to think of it. Also around this time first saw Paul Geremia, who lived in the same state I did, at a coffeehouse playing "Statesboro Blues" and "Crossroads" as can be imagined, very overwhelming for an impressionable teenager.

Coincidently, I was about 15 when I heard Son House on a Saturday afternoon on the radio while I was sitting alone at our picnic table. He was from the same state (MI) as me too.  It didn't take me long to "get it", but it took me a number of years to really "find it"--I had no sources or direction.  Years later, I found an issue of Blues Review magazine at my local bookstore, had a Blind Lemon Jefferson cassette  a week later, and I was off and running.


I'm sitting here wondering, will a matchbox hold my clothes...

Offline RobBob

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #11 on: September 26, 2010, 06:20:41 PM »
When but a wee lad, my mother listened to the blues.  Dinah Washington, Sara Vaughan, Ray Charles, and more.  As I took up the guitar I found Sam Charters book and learned about lots of blues guys then found Big Joe Williams, Booker White, Son House, Howling Wolf, Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters and more.

Been listening and playing ever since. 

Offline Mike Billo

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #12 on: September 27, 2010, 07:20:52 AM »

      I was extremely lucky to have had a pretty cool childhood

      When I was a little kid, my Dad would take me with him to a bar in Emeryville (across the Bay from where we lived San Francisco) where his Union held meetings and, every other Sunday, Jesse Fuller would play. He was the first live music I ever heard

      I was discombobulated immediately. I not only wanted to do that too and sound like him.

      I wanted to actually *be* him!! HA!  :D

Offline LD50

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #13 on: September 27, 2010, 09:19:26 PM »
I discovered blues by the classic stepping-stone route: I was a fan of the Rolling Stones & Yardbirds in high school, and so it was logical to check out the people they 'borrowed' from -- thus I found Chuck Berry. Once you discover Chuck Berry, you realize that late '50's LPs on Chess are a good risk, so it was a short hop to Bo Diddley. Once I was converted to Bo Diddley at around age 19 it was a logical next step to check out what Elmore James was all about (since his old Kent LPs were still all over the place back then) and shortly thereafter, Slim Harpo, Howlin' Wolf & John Lee Hooker. By that point I was primed for Robert Johnson's King of Delta Blues Singers. Once you've leapt back to the prewar acoustic guys, the way is wide open for Charley Patton and Blind Willie Johnson. At that point, the conversion was complete, and you can discover super-obscure guys like Sam Collins and Clifford Gibson.   ;)

Anyway, by the time it was all over, I'd quit listening to early Rolling Stones records, tho I still listen to Chuck Berry & Bo Diddley.

« Last Edit: September 27, 2010, 09:22:07 PM by LD50 »

Offline GavinG

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2010, 04:28:34 PM »
The Steel Guitar- Bottles, knives and Steel  cd....many years ago. Well maybe like 20yrs. Canadian blues guitar player David Wilcox, not the folk music guy. The Riverboat Fantasy, Bearcat, Cactus, Something Shakin...etc guy. George Thorogood, Omar and the Howlers, ZZ top.
Then hooked on Bukka and Son House Robert Johnson and Delta style blues. Then reso guitars. then the Pre war blues guys that played Nationals/Reso's.
Now here I am today, taking a stab at my own style of blues/ whatever comes to my mind.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2010, 05:12:38 PM by GavinG »


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