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Among this pack of cranks, where nuts are not only tolerated, but a welcome part of the social landscape, (78 collector) Bussard is the odd man out of the oddballs: an unschooled and profane "pure cracker" (in the words of a fellow collector) among a bunch of mostly urbane Northerners - Joe Bussard, story by Eddie Dean, washingtoncitypaper.com

Author Topic: what got you into the blues?  (Read 4124 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;

http://www.wirz.de/music/oldiefrm.htm

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 skiffle....it 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.
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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.
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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.

Bill




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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 »

Offline Coyote Slim

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #15 on: September 29, 2010, 08:54:44 PM »
A mean mistreatin' woman.
Puttin' on my Carrhartts, I gotta work out in the field.

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Offline jostber

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2010, 08:00:23 AM »
This great record:



And then a lot of Howlin' Wolf albums.


Offline Rivers

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2010, 07:26:15 PM »
I've seriously thought about this and come to a conclusion.

It was Lonnie Donegan, no doubt about it. Introduced me to the Woody Guthrie and Leadbelly songbook, starting in 1957, lord I was 5 years old! Incredible. God bless Lonnie Donegan. He should have got a knighthood but his brilliant cover of Battle Of New Orleans probably put paid to that.

Consolidation started during the British blues boom of the late '60s when I started playing guitar as a teenager, specifically almost everything on Blue Horizon records, John Mayall's various storied bands, Savoy Brown. I still love Peter Green's playing on the 'Dog & Dustbin' & 'Mr Wonderful' albums. He could have been a contender if someone hadn't spiked him with acid, what a tragedy that was for art.

Then I started getting acoustic. Jo Ann Kelly's recordings got me chasing down Skip James and acoustic CB in general. Holy Modal Rounders were a goldmine (and hilarious). Mississippi John Hurt live at Oberlin was probably my first 'real' CB album, and that inspired me to work seriously on fingerpicking. During that time I heard a couple of Rev. Gary Davis recordings (I can't remember which ones, Newport perhaps) and it filled me with awe and gave me something impossibly huge to aspire to, since I had no idea what he was doing. This was all before I left home in 1969, future uncertain.

Anyway, that's the honest truth of where I started.

Offline outfidel

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #18 on: October 06, 2010, 06:54:45 PM »
Muddy Waters doing "Mannish Boy" in The Last Waltz. My older brother bought soundtrack when I was 16 or so -- I was hooked.
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Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2011, 11:16:26 AM »
Earlier this year I bored the Euro Weenie 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.
Came across a scan of the booklet to Blues In The Mississippi Night (Sequel NEX CD 122, 1990) and, wondering where at Weenie to place it for posterity chose this topic since elsewhere I say the record got me into the blues.......

When this record first came out, in 1957, Alan Lomax said that it had been recorded "almost fifteen years ago". and he told in the notes of meeting Leroy, Natchez and Sib at a country dance in the South, and recording their conversation about the blues and where they come from early one Sunday morning. In 1948, he had published an article based on the same interview, which told a rather different story about how the recordings came to be made; in this version, the three musicians and Lomax were on the run from the Memphis police, and had made the recordings while hiding out at "Hamp's Place" near West Memphis, Arkansas.

It's long been known, however, that the only true statement in all this is that Lomax was operating the disc cutter. His three informants were the pianist Memphis Slim ("Leroy"), the guitarist Big Bill Broonzy ("Natchez") and the harmonica player John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson ("Sib"), who had all made careers in the recording industry. Nor did the session take place in the South in the early '40s; Memphis Slim recollected that it was recorded far above the Mason Dixon Line, in New York in 1947. In that year, he and the other two were indeed in New York, for a "Music at Midnight" concert at the Town Hall, which Lomax may have organised. (The bass player, probably Ransom Knowling, who can be heard on some tracks, was most likely part of the concert team also.) The romantic flim-flam and the pseudonyms would seem to have been intended partly to engage the attention and indignation of a illiberal white audience, and partly to protect the three men from the attention and indignation of another, illiberal white audience. Lomax says that he concealed the singers' identities et their own request, end listening to some of their stories, one can well understand it, though it may not be unduly cynical to point out that they all had record company contracts in 1947. (On a BBC radio programme in the '50s, Lomax didn't disguise their names, presumably feeling that the Atlantic Ocean was protection enough.
This record speaks for itself, literally. Nevertheless, a few observations on the musicians, and their songs end conversation, may be helpful. Big Bill Broonzy was born the son of a slave in Scott, Mississippi in 1893, and started out playing the fiddle, which he learned from an uncle, Jerry Belcher, who war, still alive, aged 106, in 1954! It's possible that the dreadful story of the Arkansas Belcher family, slaughtered because one of them married a girl a white man coveted, was about relatives of Bill's. Broonzy made many records, under his own name and as an accompanist, from 1927 onwards. At first, these were aimed at black purchasers, but Big Bill was quick to take advantage of growing white interest in the blues, beginning with his appearance at the 1938 "Spirituals to Swing" concert. He was presented there as having come straight off the farm, and on his first trip to the big city, which was not altogether true, since he'd been based in Chicago for some time; but he then migrated back to Mississippi to see his relatives and do some farmwork, and his rural roots were important to both the man and his music. After World War II, most of Broonzy's recordings were made for white audiences, and he toured Europe extensively before his death in 1958.

He acts as the instigator of the discussion, asking Sonny Boy Williamson to tell what gives him the blues, and skilfully turning the conversation from the "rent situation" that the urban-dwelling Memphis Slim mentions to "the places where you didn't have to pay rent? ... Just on a plantation ..." which Lomax was more interested in hearing about. Broonzy does little singing on the record, trading a few worksongs with Slim, and playing guitar occasionally; but he was also a masterly raconteur, as is borne out by his stories here, whether of the awful violence that could be the fate of blacks who tried to buck the system, or the more lighthearted tale of the obsessional "Mr White" who wouldn't have a black animal on his land, let alone a black man. That story reminds him of the joke about having to call a grey mule "Mister Mule", in line with the supremacist insistence that all whites were addressed as "Mister". (The implication is that the mule and the redneck are equally worthy of the honorific.)

Memphis Slim, born John L. Chatman in 1915 was, like Broonzy, an astute and intelligent man; in many ways he reaped what Big Bill had sown, leaving the USA to settle in Paris and perform almost exclusively for white audiences from the early '60s until his death in 1988. This made him wealthy enough to run a Rolls.Royce, and his life became a far cry indeed from the one that he tells of here. It's difficult to blame him overmuch for turning out e great many rather indifferent records in later life they were his means of escape from the levee camps, which Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples exposed in a 1933 article called "Mississippi Slavery in 1933". Memphis Slim knew about that slavery the herd way, end he and Broonzy describe the poor food and accommodation, the minimal pay and the brutal conditions, with humour and restrained anger.

On "Blues in the Mississippi Night", Slim is the first person heard, with "Life Is Like That", a blues with a structure that owed something to pop music: both this and its philosophising content are typical of Memphis Slim's approach on commercial records. Very far removed from that milieu, though, are his snatches of prison, levee camp and railroad songs; so too is the ballad of the badman, Stackerlee, that he sings in response to Broonzy's tale of murder in Altheimer, Arkansas. The song became an R&B hit for Lloyd Price in later years, but this version has the laconic realism of a police report, matter-of-factly cataloguing the weapon, the location, and the wounds inflicted. Finally, his two piano solos are reminders of what an exceptionally tough pianist Memphis Slim was, bearing down hard on the keyboard from his great height and yet often surprisingly delicate and subtle.

The third member of the trio, Sonny Boy Williamson was born in 1914 and died, the victim of a mugging, in 1948. In his short life, he set the standard and defined the aesthetic for blues harmonica players to this day, developing the Tennessee country blues of his youth into a rocking, amplified music that fore-shadows the classic Chicago blues sound of the '50s. His vocalised harmonica playing and tongue tied vocals were much imitated, but seldom equalled. On this record, we can hear how his singing style was a controlled version of the stammer that sometimes afflicted his speech. He tells the sad story of how he came to write "Good Morning, Little School Girl", his first recording, cut in 1938, which quickly became part of the repertoire of many blues singers. As he says, it was the combination of troubles and drink that gave him the blues, he was universally remembered as goodhearted, but prone to violence when drunk. Bill Broonzy said that every time he got drunk, Sonny Boy would went to tight him or Memphis Slim, though his rages never lasted long. (Listening to the way they tease him when he tells the story about the mule, one can't help feeling that Williamson sometimes had good reasons for coming to blows with the other two.) Sonny Boy sings "My Black Name", which he had recorded commercially in 1941, but he is more reticent than the other two in the discussion, probably as a combined result of his speech impediment and of his being less accustomed to speaking freely before a white man. (As Broonzy points out, if you wanted to cuss out the boss, it was safer to sing it, or take it out on your mule; whites like Lomax, who amazed Muddy Waters by drinking out of the same dipper when they met in 1941, were rare indeed.)

From time to time, music by others is inserted into the conversation by way of illustration. These recordings were also made by Alan Lomax, who had started recording black musicians for the Library of Congress in 1933. Some of the singers cannot be identified - the church service, for instance, could come from almost anywhere In the rural South - but "I Ain't Got Long" was recorded in 1947 et Parchman, Mississippi (and can be heard, along with many other superb worksongs, on Sequel NEX CD 121, ''Murderer's Home"); it seems quite likely that "Berta" and "Don't You Hear Your Poor Mother Calling" come from the same field trip. "Another Man Done Gone" is by Vera Hall (1906-64), from Livingstone, Alabama. She spent most of her life near her birthplace, visited intermittently by researchers who recorded her astonishingly pure, clear and truthful singing. In 1949, she appeared at a concert at Columbia University, New York. and these performances probably come from that time; their echoing acoustic is that of a concert hall.

It must have been a hell of a life to be black in the South when Big Bill. Slim and Sonny Boy were growing up, having to deny your own value as a human being whenever you dealt with a white man, et the risk of being beaten or killed if you decided you weren't going to take any more. What these three men have to say and sing on the matter gives a remarkable insight into those days and ways, and it would be presumptuous of me to try to expound it in these notes; it is also unnecessary, for they tell their stories, which in turn tell the story of a significant part of the black experience, with clarity, wit and power. Not the least remarkable thing about this record is that it ends with a joke that illustrates how the whole system of white supremacy based on oppression and sustained by violence, capable of doing terrible things to its victims, was ultimately absurd. Then they sneek the word "goatshit" onto the white man's record, disguised as s place name! As many blues singers have sung. "You don't know, You don't know my mind; when You see me laughin', I?m laughin' to keep from cryin'." This record reveals some of the reasons for both the laughter and the crying.   Chris Smith

SOURCES
Alan Balfour: Obscure LPs (Blues-Link 3, January/February 1974)
Big Bill Broonzy: Big Bill B1ues (Oak, 1964)
Big Bill Broonzy: letters to Yannick Bruynoghe (Living Blues 55, Winter 1982/3)
John Cowley: review of Vogue VJD 515 (Blues Unlimited 121, November 1976)
John Cowley: Shack Bullies And Levee Contractors part 2 (Juke Blues 4, Spring 1986)
Sheldon Harris: Blues Who's Who (Arlington House, 1979)
Margaret McKee & Fred Chisenhall: Beale Black & Blue (Louisiana State University Press, 1981)
and of course Alan Lomax's notes (1957) to the original issue of these recordings.

« Last Edit: October 23, 2011, 11:31:59 AM by Bunker Hill »

Offline oddenda

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2011, 06:22:57 PM »
The other way... through jazz. Reviews in Down Beat, and Jazz Review (Nat Hentoff's magazine) of blues records (Big Bill in the former, Chess LPs in the latter) started the whole thing off for me.

pbl

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #21 on: October 24, 2011, 04:09:49 AM »
The other way... through jazz. Reviews in Down Beat, and Jazz Review (Nat Hentoff's magazine)
Funny you should mention mags. The guy who gave me the BITMN LP also donated his Jazz Monthly and Jazz Journal 1957-1962 which were full of blues related reading matter. I kept subscriptions to both going until 1970s.

Offline Blind Arthur

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #22 on: October 24, 2011, 06:00:36 AM »
For me, in the early 1990ies. A general interest of how popular music evolved in the 20th century. And one guitar teacher. Showed me the Wolf version of "Little Red Rooster" and a typical Muddy and RJ slide riff. That got me interested. Also looked so deceptively simple ;)

The "Blues Collection" magazine here and the then upcoming Document CDs, plus Red Lick selling the Matchbox LPs for so cheap right then. Plus, I found a few books on the subject (like Tommy Johnson, Red River Blues, Sinners and Saints).

So, a general historical attitude, plus I found and find the music extremely accessible. As if it?s made for me. Far more like the then common "Eurodance". Through my guitar teacher I also met one or two other like-minded people. He is still performing, whilst my guitar has hardly been used for the past 4 years. I?ve become mainly a listener now :)

Summary: Combination of "great guitar teacher" plus "Sinners and Saints" plus the Sony set of RJ.
« Last Edit: October 24, 2011, 06:10:52 AM by Blind Arthur »
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Offline Stuart

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #23 on: October 24, 2011, 08:31:39 AM »
Hearing the music and the availability of LPs. It was so long ago that I can't remember the specifics, but it probably started with the major label releases and then progressed to the reissues which were harder to find.

Offline Roscoe

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2011, 06:37:16 AM »
jimmy reed. 1958.
roscoe
eureka springs ar

Offline wreid75

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2011, 11:27:08 AM »
When I first wanted to learn how to play guitar the only musicians that I knew were older blues players, my uncle being one of them. They taught me how to play and because I was blessed with some talent I picked up on it very quickly.  This was electric blues SRV, Clapton, Cray, Thunderbirds, etc that I was taught.  As I got older I discovered the country blues cats and have been driving my friends and family nuts with what they consider shitty recordings of average talent.............dumbasses.  Some of the country blues stuff is more challenging than SRV and those cats had mad skills.

Offline Oatmeal Jones

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #26 on: November 15, 2011, 11:50:05 AM »
I do no play no rock and roll by Fred McDowell and Electric Mud by muddy Waters. I'm 31 now and in my early 20s both were weird enough to warrant sufficient research. Which of course led into a big giant world that eventually came to encompass old time too.

Offline Riffseeker91

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #27 on: November 17, 2011, 06:22:32 AM »
Greetings to everyone.

Listening to bands like Down, Clutch, and other modern heavy blues bands made me look up their influences and in a matter of couple of years i found myself listening to delta blues, jazz, country blues and ragtime. Nowadays you have to dig to find your roots.

Offline Haans

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #28 on: November 24, 2011, 04:19:11 AM »
I wish I could say something  8) like I learned it all from Mance Lipscomb, but Hot Tuna got me a start in the early '70's. Then as I was learning to build instruments, I met a guy that played it "real". He turned out to be a lifelong friend, we spent the better part of 30 years flyfishing together, and we still maintain a good relationship.
He introduced me to Dave Ray, and it was all over. I've had the privilege of seeing and hearing Dave hundreds of times before he died. I guess that is the cool thing about my introduction to the blues.
I was crazy for 12 strings and still am...
Johann D. Brentrup
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Traditional fingerpicking guitars

Offline Stuart

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #29 on: November 24, 2011, 07:31:13 AM »
Hi Haans:

Over the years I've met a surprising number of people who have been introduced and gotten into the music via Jorma and Jack, so you're not alone. Given Hot Tuna's relatively high profile and visibility, along with their choice of tunes, it's not surprising. Their brand of the Blues may not suit everyone's tastes, but one cannot discount their importance.

I've been a fan of Koerner, Ray and Glover ever since I heard their music back in the 60s. Every time I listen to their first album, I'm always struck how good they were. It's a damn shame that Dave passed on when he was a relatively young man.

I enjoyed the shop tour and the photos of the instruments. They are beautiful pieces and I'm sure that they sound as good as they look.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2011, 07:33:01 AM by Stuart »

Offline btasoundsradio

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2011, 08:42:14 AM »
I grew up hearing every kinda blues, my pops was exploring an abandoned house in Glen Burnie MD in 1966 at age 12 where he and his buddies were rifling through all the antiques left in this house. Apparently there were clothes, furniture, photos, old medicine bottles. Inside a victrola, he found 2 Blind Willie Johnson 78s, one of them being "Jesus Blood Can Make Me Whole", he took them home and was converted, to the blues of course. From there he obsessively gobbled blues so I grew up hearing and loving all the best country blues. I remember being pretty freaked out by Charlie Patton and Skip James, in good way. These people were messengers to me, especially in my teenage years. They told me it's ok to express a huge range of emotions. At 15 or 16 I tought myself to fingerpick after obsessing over John Hurt. Spike Driver was the first song I successfully fingerpicked. Right after that I heard John Fahey's Blind Joe Death for the first time and my life was altered permanently.
Charlie is the Father, Son is the Son, Willie is the Holy Ghost

Offline Haans

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2011, 01:51:56 PM »
hi stuart!
i'm sure lots of folks got a start from jorma. i really used to like will scarlett too...
thanksgiving was 9 years since dave passed. i really miss him. always liked "snaker's here" best cause it was dave & tony. that's when dave was at his best, just the two of them. floored me that they were soo young and sooo good.
trying to build a really great holzapfel 12 for myself to remember...and never forget.
« Last Edit: November 26, 2011, 01:59:51 PM by Haans »
Johann D. Brentrup
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Traditional fingerpicking guitars

Offline Annette

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #32 on: March 26, 2012, 11:33:52 AM »
On The Road Again by Canned Heat - followed quickly by Vol 2 of Paul Oliver's Story of the Blues LP.

Annette
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Offline WayneS

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #33 on: March 31, 2012, 09:27:18 AM »
Ten years old, crossing the desert at 1 a.m. with my father and brother in a 1953 Chevy, hearing what I remember as Lightnin' Hopkins on the radio.  Lived less than a block from a store that sold race records, largely Lightnin'.  I might have been their only customer for them.  My parents bought me a really awful Stella, and I was hooked.

Offline JohnLeePimp

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Re: what got you into the blues?
« Reply #34 on: March 31, 2012, 11:07:05 AM »
Earlier this year I bored the Euro Weenie 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.
Came across a scan of the booklet to Blues In The Mississippi Night (Sequel NEX CD 122, 1990) and, wondering where at Weenie to place it for posterity chose this topic since elsewhere I say the record got me into the blues.......

When this record first came out, in 1957, Alan Lomax said that it had been recorded "almost fifteen years ago". and he told in the notes of meeting Leroy, Natchez and Sib at a country dance in the South, and recording their conversation about the blues and where they come from early one Sunday morning. In 1948, he had published an article based on the same interview, which told a rather different story about how the recordings came to be made; in this version, the three musicians and Lomax were on the run from the Memphis police, and had made the recordings while hiding out at "Hamp's Place" near West Memphis, Arkansas.

It's long been known, however, that the only true statement in all this is that Lomax was operating the disc cutter. His three informants were the pianist Memphis Slim ("Leroy"), the guitarist Big Bill Broonzy ("Natchez") and the harmonica player John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson ("Sib"), who had all made careers in the recording industry. Nor did the session take place in the South in the early '40s; Memphis Slim recollected that it was recorded far above the Mason Dixon Line, in New York in 1947. In that year, he and the other two were indeed in New York, for a "Music at Midnight" concert at the Town Hall, which Lomax may have organised. (The bass player, probably Ransom Knowling, who can be heard on some tracks, was most likely part of the concert team also.) The romantic flim-flam and the pseudonyms would seem to have been intended partly to engage the attention and indignation of a illiberal white audience, and partly to protect the three men from the attention and indignation of another, illiberal white audience. Lomax says that he concealed the singers' identities et their own request, end listening to some of their stories, one can well understand it, though it may not be unduly cynical to point out that they all had record company contracts in 1947. (On a BBC radio programme in the '50s, Lomax didn't disguise their names, presumably feeling that the Atlantic Ocean was protection enough.
This record speaks for itself, literally. Nevertheless, a few observations on the musicians, and their songs end conversation, may be helpful. Big Bill Broonzy was born the son of a slave in Scott, Mississippi in 1893, and started out playing the fiddle, which he learned from an uncle, Jerry Belcher, who war, still alive, aged 106, in 1954! It's possible that the dreadful story of the Arkansas Belcher family, slaughtered because one of them married a girl a white man coveted, was about relatives of Bill's. Broonzy made many records, under his own name and as an accompanist, from 1927 onwards. At first, these were aimed at black purchasers, but Big Bill was quick to take advantage of growing white interest in the blues, beginning with his appearance at the 1938 "Spirituals to Swing" concert. He was presented there as having come straight off the farm, and on his first trip to the big city, which was not altogether true, since he'd been based in Chicago for some time; but he then migrated back to Mississippi to see his relatives and do some farmwork, and his rural roots were important to both the man and his music. After World War II, most of Broonzy's recordings were made for white audiences, and he toured Europe extensively before his death in 1958.

He acts as the instigator of the discussion, asking Sonny Boy Williamson to tell what gives him the blues, and skilfully turning the conversation from the "rent situation" that the urban-dwelling Memphis Slim mentions to "the places where you didn't have to pay rent? ... Just on a plantation ..." which Lomax was more interested in hearing about. Broonzy does little singing on the record, trading a few worksongs with Slim, and playing guitar occasionally; but he was also a masterly raconteur, as is borne out by his stories here, whether of the awful violence that could be the fate of blacks who tried to buck the system, or the more lighthearted tale of the obsessional "Mr White" who wouldn't have a black animal on his land, let alone a black man. That story reminds him of the joke about having to call a grey mule "Mister Mule", in line with the supremacist insistence that all whites were addressed as "Mister". (The implication is that the mule and the redneck are equally worthy of the honorific.)

Memphis Slim, born John L. Chatman in 1915 was, like Broonzy, an astute and intelligent man; in many ways he reaped what Big Bill had sown, leaving the USA to settle in Paris and perform almost exclusively for white audiences from the early '60s until his death in 1988. This made him wealthy enough to run a Rolls.Royce, and his life became a far cry indeed from the one that he tells of here. It's difficult to blame him overmuch for turning out e great many rather indifferent records in later life they were his means of escape from the levee camps, which Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured Peoples exposed in a 1933 article called "Mississippi Slavery in 1933". Memphis Slim knew about that slavery the herd way, end he and Broonzy describe the poor food and accommodation, the minimal pay and the brutal conditions, with humour and restrained anger.

On "Blues in the Mississippi Night", Slim is the first person heard, with "Life Is Like That", a blues with a structure that owed something to pop music: both this and its philosophising content are typical of Memphis Slim's approach on commercial records. Very far removed from that milieu, though, are his snatches of prison, levee camp and railroad songs; so too is the ballad of the badman, Stackerlee, that he sings in response to Broonzy's tale of murder in Altheimer, Arkansas. The song became an R&B hit for Lloyd Price in later years, but this version has the laconic realism of a police report, matter-of-factly cataloguing the weapon, the location, and the wounds inflicted. Finally, his two piano solos are reminders of what an exceptionally tough pianist Memphis Slim was, bearing down hard on the keyboard from his great height and yet often surprisingly delicate and subtle.

The third member of the trio, Sonny Boy Williamson was born in 1914 and died, the victim of a mugging, in 1948. In his short life, he set the standard and defined the aesthetic for blues harmonica players to this day, developing the Tennessee country blues of his youth into a rocking, amplified music that fore-shadows the classic Chicago blues sound of the '50s. His vocalised harmonica playing and tongue tied vocals were much imitated, but seldom equalled. On this record, we can hear how his singing style was a controlled version of the stammer that sometimes afflicted his speech. He tells the sad story of how he came to write "Good Morning, Little School Girl", his first recording, cut in 1938, which quickly became part of the repertoire of many blues singers. As he says, it was the combination of troubles and drink that gave him the blues, he was universally remembered as goodhearted, but prone to violence when drunk. Bill Broonzy said that every time he got drunk, Sonny Boy would went to tight him or Memphis Slim, though his rages never lasted long. (Listening to the way they tease him when he tells the story about the mule, one can't help feeling that Williamson sometimes had good reasons for coming to blows with the other two.) Sonny Boy sings "My Black Name", which he had recorded commercially in 1941, but he is more reticent than the other two in the discussion, probably as a combined result of his speech impediment and of his being less accustomed to speaking freely before a white man. (As Broonzy points out, if you wanted to cuss out the boss, it was safer to sing it, or take it out on your mule; whites like Lomax, who amazed Muddy Waters by drinking out of the same dipper when they met in 1941, were rare indeed.)

From time to time, music by others is inserted into the conversation by way of illustration. These recordings were also made by Alan Lomax, who had started recording black musicians for the Library of Congress in 1933. Some of the singers cannot be identified - the church service, for instance, could come from almost anywhere In the rural South - but "I Ain't Got Long" was recorded in 1947 et Parchman, Mississippi (and can be heard, along with many other superb worksongs, on Sequel NEX CD 121, ''Murderer's Home"); it seems quite likely that "Berta" and "Don't You Hear Your Poor Mother Calling" come from the same field trip. "Another Man Done Gone" is by Vera Hall (1906-64), from Livingstone, Alabama. She spent most of her life near her birthplace, visited intermittently by researchers who recorded her astonishingly pure, clear and truthful singing. In 1949, she appeared at a concert at Columbia University, New York. and these performances probably come from that time; their echoing acoustic is that of a concert hall.

It must have been a hell of a life to be black in the South when Big Bill. Slim and Sonny Boy were growing up, having to deny your own value as a human being whenever you dealt with a white man, et the risk of being beaten or killed if you decided you weren't going to take any more. What these three men have to say and sing on the matter gives a remarkable insight into those days and ways, and it would be presumptuous of me to try to expound it in these notes; it is also unnecessary, for they tell their stories, which in turn tell the story of a significant part of the black experience, with clarity, wit and power. Not the least remarkable thing about this record is that it ends with a joke that illustrates how the whole system of white supremacy based on oppression and sustained by violence, capable of doing terrible things to its victims, was ultimately absurd. Then they sneek the word "goatshit" onto the white man's record, disguised as s place name! As many blues singers have sung. "You don't know, You don't know my mind; when You see me laughin', I?m laughin' to keep from cryin'." This record reveals some of the reasons for both the laughter and the crying.   Chris Smith

SOURCES
Alan Balfour: Obscure LPs (Blues-Link 3, January/February 1974)
Big Bill Broonzy: Big Bill B1ues (Oak, 1964)
Big Bill Broonzy: letters to Yannick Bruynoghe (Living Blues 55, Winter 1982/3)
John Cowley: review of Vogue VJD 515 (Blues Unlimited 121, November 1976)
John Cowley: Shack Bullies And Levee Contractors part 2 (Juke Blues 4, Spring 1986)
Sheldon Harris: Blues Who's Who (Arlington House, 1979)
Margaret McKee & Fred Chisenhall: Beale Black & Blue (Louisiana State University Press, 1981)
and of course Alan Lomax's notes (1957) to the original issue of these recordings.


Wow, I didn't even know about this - pretty cool to hear Sonny Boy Talking... however little he does

as far as I can figure most of it is here (plus some wonderful singing by Mr Lomax himself):

http://research.culturalequity.org/get-audio-ix.do?ix=recording&id=10323&idType=sessionId&sortBy=abc
...so blue I shade a part of this town.

Offline Gumbo

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