Stage Fright

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Re: Stage Fright

Postby Annie Elliott » 20 Apr 2016, 20:21

I love it when we have these conversations. It really gets me thinking about all kinds of things.

There is a big discussion in the black community these days (or a renewal of the same discussion probably) about white appropriation of black culture so the topic is very timely. I found this article which I thought offered some insight. You have to read it all the way through to get it, at least I did.

http://bluesisblackmusic.blogspot.com/2 ... blues.html

Issues of culture and race aside, this comparison came to mind - a 16 year old girl who just fell in love for the first time sings a blues song, probably with a lot of feeling, but still she's only singing a blues song. That girl as a 45 year old woman with three children, a miscarriage and a husband who left her for another woman is singing the blues.

Thanks everyone for a really fun thread. BTW CiaSeattle thanks for introducing me to John Hammond.

I donate to these good folks regularly and find a lot of wonderful music and musicians through them http://www.musicmaker.org.
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Re: Stage Fright

Postby ailish78 » 20 Apr 2016, 20:48

Yes! Thank you for this Cynthia :)
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Re: Stage Fright

Postby RobertaSparrow » 20 Apr 2016, 22:33

Annie Elliott wrote:I love it when we have these conversations. It really gets me thinking about all kinds of things.

There is a big discussion in the black community these days (or a renewal of the same discussion probably) about white appropriation of black culture so the topic is very timely. I found this article which I thought offered some insight. You have to read it all the way through to get it, at least I did.

http://bluesisblackmusic.blogspot.com/2 ... blues.html

Issues of culture and race aside, this comparison came to mind - a 16 year old girl who just fell in love for the first time sings a blues song, probably with a lot of feeling, but still she's only singing a blues song. That girl as a 45 year old woman with three children, a miscarriage and a husband who left her for another woman is singing the blues.

Thanks everyone for a really fun thread. BTW CiaSeattle thanks for introducing me to John Hammond.

I donate to these good folks regularly and find a lot of wonderful music and musicians through them http://www.musicmaker.org.


This thread has veered considerably away from the original topic of stage fright, and on to Rory's interpretation of what is the blues, and from there on. I suppose at this point I ought to move it to its own thread to continue. So later today I will likely do that, not to stifle the discussion, because it is quite interesting, but more to just make it a little easier to keep this very large, very dynamic forum from getting too hard to navigate.

But to get back to the topic at hand, Rory undeniably had a very good feel for the blues.

I have relayed this story once before, but here once again- My mother grew up in Los Angeles in the 30's up to 1990, in the heart of a very diverse part of town, grew up hearing the blues, and she loved that music. When I was a little girl my parents always had the radio on, and I grew up hearing a constant mix of 40s and 50s music, mostly blues, R&B, 50's rock, and country. My mother's favorite was the blues.

A couple of years ago, before dementia completely took her mind, I had to drive her from her nursing home to the doctor. She wasn't able to talk, wasn't quite sure who I was, and pretty much just sat emotionless in the passenger side of the car. I switched on the iPod through the radio and set to shuffle. The 'pod shuffled to one of Rory's old Taste recordings, and suddenly she smiled and spoke, "I remember this." Of course, what she remembered was most likely a much older version of the song, and most likely not done by the very young Irishman that she was at that moment listening to, but Rory's interpretation was oh, so true to the original spirit of the blues. Rory's beautiful voice and guitar managed to cut through the tangle of errant circuits of nerves in my mom's brain and brought her out of that blackness for a brief few moments, and she began to talk about the music she used to hear when she was young, most likely by the same musicians Rory had heard in his own formative years as a child listening to Armed Services Radio in Ireland in the 50s.



This music originated in the African American community, as did jazz and rock and roll, and I am very proud to claim it as American, although it has long since been given to the rest of the world. Its roots will always be American, African American to be specific, but to say that other cultures and people from other nations can not properly embrace it, own it, make it their own is doing a disservice to this American art form. It is like saying only a person of Japanese lineage can express themselves in Haiku, or only a British actor can truly interpret a Shakespearian passage in its iambic pentameter.

Blues, as any art form, lives and evolves, grows out of its roots but always retains those roots, and that is why it remains viable and relevant.

One of my pet peeves about Rory's lack of recognition here in the United States is the rather dismissive attitude of so-called traditional American blues institutions in ignoring Rory and his very real contributions to the genre, IMO a type of prejudice since Rory was Irish. Although it was not culturally his music, he made it his own with his own interpretation, and you can hear his Irish roots in his way of playing it. He not only embraced it as his own, but he spread it almost as gospel to the rest of Europe. For this he deserves recognition in the land that birthed the blues. Yet he is largely ignored.

An excellent example of this is the Blues Foundation out of Memphis, TN where the so called "Blues Hall of Fame" is based.

http://blues.org/

They make absolutely no mention of Rory Gallagher in any of their official recognitions.

That is the logical conclusion of the line of thinking regarding the accessibility of the blues outside of its African American roots, and I cannot accept that. Artistic expression lives and evolves as it is accepted and embraced by other cultures and further interpreted by other people. It was a creation of African Americans, and merged into mainstream America, and from there to the UK where it bounced back to us in the so-called British Invasion.

It is the cycle of life put to music, and too human to be confined to one culture, one geographical location, or one generation.

Just my opinion.
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Re: Stage Fright

Postby CiaSeattle » 21 Apr 2016, 00:39

Annie Elliott wrote:I love it when we have these conversations. It really gets me thinking about all kinds of things.

There is a big discussion in the black community these days (or a renewal of the same discussion probably) about white appropriation of black culture so the topic is very timely. I found this article which I thought offered some insight. You have to read it all the way through to get it, at least I did.

http://bluesisblackmusic.blogspot.com/2 ... blues.html

Issues of culture and race aside, this comparison came to mind - a 16 year old girl who just fell in love for the first time sings a blues song, probably with a lot of feeling, but still she's only singing a blues song. That girl as a 45 year old woman with three children, a miscarriage and a husband who left her for another woman is singing the blues.

Thanks everyone for a really fun thread. BTW CiaSeattle thanks for introducing me to John Hammond.

I donate to these good folks regularly and find a lot of wonderful music and musicians through them http://www.musicmaker.org.


Hi Annie...I'm so delighted to see you are a contributor to MusicMaker foundation as well! I mentioned them in an earlier post, along with a link to the Toot Blues documentary, here it is again for the newcomers:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBILt-LEnp0

For anyone who hasn't watched the documentary or visited the website Annie linked, please do, it's well worth it!! Every time I watch the documentry, I can't help thinking...man, I bet Rory would have loved this!
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Re: Stage Fright

Postby capo » 21 Apr 2016, 04:13

Well, I was going to comment on this thread, but as usual, Cynthia has stated it better and more eloquently than I ever could! Plus, thanks Annie, CiaSeattle, ailish78, and all for such a interesting and educating dialogue. You all make such insightful comments. I can add nothing. Peace.
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