Thoughts On The Blues

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Thoughts On The Blues

Postby diana » 16 Jun 2011, 06:41

I've been thinking about this for some time, I'm fascinated by it, and would like to hear what others think.

Apparently the blues is something miserable, something like depression. The blues is what you sing and play when you're down and out. A musician I know said some people think of it as a curse and wish they didn't have to play it, others as catharsis. When I picked up my guitar again earlier this year, and started seriously listening to Rory again, another guitarist friend of mine asked me 'but have you really been down and out?' as if to say, 'if you haven't been in jail or thrown out of your house or had your family murdered you can't really sing the blues'. That's gotta be crap.

So far, my tentative conclusion is that the blues rhythm and scale appeals to certain types of people: people who have either grown up with it, or people with (I'm really conjecturing here) have a certain physiology - a certain physical makeup (and that includes the mental) that makes them very sensitive, passionate, single-minded and somewhat down. If people were assigned keys at birth, the blues person would be given a 'low-key' - they might look at the world in a slightly more morose or dark way, but the childlike passion they also have counters that. The combination can result in great blues. This is just what I've gathered through observing myself and people whose playing I 'get', and who respond to the music the way I do.

What do you guys think?

A note about early influences: The music you're exposed to as a child I think is immensely influential. I listened to a lot of Hungarian, Yiddish, Irish and English folk music, as well as Bach, Mozart and Chopin as a kid and teenager, and it certainly comes through my music, as well as the Hendrix, Cream, Zappa and Rory I heard a bit later. I think I dig Rory's music so much because we had similar influences - on the one hand the raw, pulsating, held-back raunchy blues of John Lee Hooker, Son House, Hendrix, etc, and then the wistful melodies, lyricism and rhythms of the other 'folk' music. Sometimes I'll be listening to Rory play and I'll think of where to go next and that's exactly where he goes! How I love that. I treasure musical connection very much. That's another topic I want to talk about, for another day - why music affects us so much more powerfully than other things.
Music is the best.
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby Leedelta » 16 Jun 2011, 08:56

Interesting, i will post my thoughts soon (gotta head to a James Joyce celebration in The Drunken Poet).
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby innuendo » 16 Jun 2011, 11:20

nice thoughts diana. i agree with what you said but as i said previously somewhere on this forum i personally am not really into blues. i only love rory and a bit of cream, clapton, hendrix and free. i'm more into classic rock and hard rock (old stuff from 70's particulary) and some classic metal from the 80's (saxon, accept, dio, sabbath, judas priest) although some of those bands still make great albums (new saxon album is good but new accept album from last year is great, real old school metal with modern production)
I watched as fear took the old men's gaze
Hopes of the young in troubled graves
'I see no day' I heard him say
So grey is the face of every mortal
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby Jay Jay » 16 Jun 2011, 11:27

innuendo wrote:accept album from last year is great, real old school metal with modern production


Hey Kruno, is it as good as Restless and Wild "Princess of the Dawn" love that track :)

Hi Diana, very interesting theory and thoughts on the blues .. and how Rory and other artist how it effected their everyday life?
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby innuendo » 16 Jun 2011, 11:42

Jay Jay wrote:
innuendo wrote:accept album from last year is great, real old school metal with modern production


Hey Kruno, is it as good as Restless and Wild "Princess of the Dawn" love that track :)

Hi Diana, very interesting theory and thoughts on the blues .. and how Rory and other artist how it effected their everyday life?

new accept album is in their best 5 albums, of course it's not better than restless and wild, metal heart , balls to the walls and breaker but after those 4 it's the best if you ask me. they have 2 videos from new album (one is called teutonic terror and other one which is very new pandemic), new singer mark tornillo is great!
I watched as fear took the old men's gaze
Hopes of the young in troubled graves
'I see no day' I heard him say
So grey is the face of every mortal
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby Micky » 16 Jun 2011, 11:53

innuendo wrote:nice thoughts diana. i agree with what you said but as i said previously somewhere on this forum i personally am not really into blues. i only love rory and a bit of cream, clapton, hendrix and free. i'm more into classic rock and hard rock (old stuff from 70's particulary) and some classic metal from the 80's (saxon, accept, dio, sabbath, judas priest) although some of those bands still make great albums (new saxon album is good but new accept album from last year is great, real old school metal with modern production)


My thoughts exactly innuendo i like all the bands and artist's you have mentioned a particular favourite of mine being PAUL KOSSOFF ex-FREE & BACK STREET CRAWLER. The blues are ok up to a point and of course it was Rory's 'musical foundation block' as we all know but some of it it has to be said is as boring as hell to listen to the blues that is.

Take someone like white American 'blues legend' JOHNNY WINTER. When Johnny was playing fast, fluid blues/rock in the early/mid 1970s with a second 'rock guitarist' on stage with him he was 'very exciting' to listen to and to watch but when he switched to ''straight blues'' from the mid-1980s onwards the guy's become a BORE (Sorry Johnny i'm actually a 'long time' fan of yours believe it or not).

Another overated boring BLUES performer was SRV (Stevie Ray Vaughan) from the 1980s. Granted the guy could PLAY but apart from being a HENDRIX 'rip off' there was always something about him that i couldn't get into also i never liked his 'guitart tone' either.
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby mac » 16 Jun 2011, 13:11

Hi Diana, I dont think you have to be miserable to play the blues, I think as you say the scales and structure are just great to play, slow it down and its blues, speed it up its rock'n roll.
Saw an interview with Rory ( maybe on rockplast dvd ) when ask about being white and european, but playing blues.He said something on the lines of...you dont have to be black and from the south to play blues, you have to play it with feeling and when singing blues you have to be able to convince an audience....ye gotta sell it to them, but ye gotta sell it to yourself first.
I play a bit, but I'm afraid I'd be a very unconvincing blues singer.Maybe thats because I'm an optimistic person, or maybe just because i'm not a good singer :)
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby Mandyl » 16 Jun 2011, 13:34

Hi Diana

Thanks very much for such well thought out post, I can see what you mean. I seem to remember reading somewhere that it did affect Rory (and it's mentioned in a couple of his lyrics) but I listen to a lot of 'old' blues i.e. Muddy Waters, Lightnin' Hopkins, Bessie Smith (my favourite female blues singer), Howlin' Wolf etc. and there is a lot of humour there too. They know what they're doing and how to make fun at themselves and the genre. That also appears in Rory's lyrics I think.

I may be wrong but I think Hellcat is an example, it Seems To Me (!) it's a play on Hellhound On My Tail which is a Robert Johnson song. A lot of blues music and Rory's music makes me smile - that can't be all bad! The blues is about feeling bad and hurting there's no doubt about that but I think it also looks at the lighter side of life, to me that makes it the 'centre' of music, having said that I also love rock with a mixing of folk and country too. Maybe that's why I love Rory's music so much!

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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby Micky » 16 Jun 2011, 14:00

Three of Rory's songs in my mind that 'dragged slightly' was his three SLOW BLUES numbers - WHAT IN THE WORLD, SHOULD''VE LEARNED MY LESSON & HOODOO MAN (BLUES) thankfully Rory dropped these slow blues numbers later on in his musical career.

In an early interview that Rory gave he told the interviewer that he ''preferred his blues rocked up'' so do i Rory.
Last edited by Micky on 17 Jun 2011, 06:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Thoughts On The Blues

Postby Simone67 » 16 Jun 2011, 14:03

Hi Mandy,(and Diana)

..very well said,I absolutely second your opinion !
The Blues can quite often be,to put it into my own words, like a Tragic/comedy soap- opera ! It would have to be too,wouldn`t it,otherwise all of those Blues performers,those famous, as well as those totally unknown,would have to all be top candidates for collective suicide,hey?!- Black humour,or "gallows poles humour"`regularly has me kind of giggle away to myself as I listen to it !

Best example:" Born under a bad sign"...if I had no bad luck,I´d have no luck at all ...
BB.King :...I bought you a real fancy dinner,and you said,thank`s for the snack..I gave you seven children,and now you wanna give them back... :D :D there`s always a bit of tongue in cheek in a lot of those songs,like Elmore James stuff and so on. I love èm !!! ;)
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