[Dixielandjazz] Re: THE BLUES

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Mon Sep 29 21:07:08 PDT 2003

In a message dated 9/29/03 4:08:01 PM Pacific Daylight Time, 
barbonestreet at earthlink.net writes:

> I'm with you, Nancy. The American and the West African in Mali were 
> speaking the same language as I heard them jamming. Musically I thought there was a 
> definite relationship. I also thought the American reed (like in bamboo) 
> player and his
> drummers sounded quite a bit like their African fore bearers. For my ears, a 
> clear link to the music of the Blues and the African Roots.

If you listen closely the rhythm being played by the drummers behind the reed 
player is definitely the New Orleans Second Line beat.

I saw a group of three drummers and two flute players in Spain last summer 
playing a set of traditional songs,  they used very tiny drums however and small 
silver flutes.

They did however get very boring after fifteen minutes of it.

Take us back in history to the fife and drum corps used in the early Military 
in this country.

Corey Harris and the African guy were definitely into the same music, and 
even their guitar playing sounded similar.  They discussed the music of Blues as 
portraying lost love and or suffering which was the same in both countries.

The only difference I heard was the language.

Now I loved Rebecca's comments about it sounded Middleastern to her, well 
Africa do be the Middleast I do believe, or at least Southern Middle east.

Since she is a die hard Dixieland listener, I can understand why she as a non 
player, punter would not necessarily hear the similarities.  If you are not 
into the early Blues that style of Blues can be a bit boring.

I like to refer to it as storytelling with a little of accompaniment in or 
out of tune.

I think there will be more on John Lee Hooker as the series progresses. Maybe 
even tonight. Unfortunately though, I do not think the series tells us why 
the BLUES has a mostly "White" audience today. Barbone Street played 2 Blues 
this year and like OKOM Festivals, the audience was almost exclusively white. 
The bands were evenly split between black and white.

I agree, there will and should be a lot more about John Lee Hooker coming 
since he is considered to be one of the greatest Blues songwriters.  John 
definitely took the Blues to another level with his first Big Hit  "Boogie Chillun" 
and "Boom Boom" both classics in the Blues world.   I think John with a couple 
of others took Blues out of the Folk Music stage and into dance music and 
discovered all those kids wanting to dance, both Black and White. 

He influenced Elvis Presley, Eric Clapton, Van Morrison ( with whom he became 
great friends) and Mik Jagger and the Beatles, but that will probably come 
out later in the series.

 John actually became a balladeer on some of his songs while never losing the 
roots of the Blues.  He did have a way with songs, he could always sing what 
he could not say because of his stuttering problem, which disappeared when he 

Don't expect a lot of Jazz mentions in this series. Sure, Bessie Smith and 
some others will be mentioned, she was a Blues singer. The series is about BLUES 
which is a distinct musical genre from Jazz even though there may be some 

I agree, this is the Blues turn to tell their story and I expect it will be 
held pretty close to the chest, lest some Jazz critics try to steal what little 
media thunder the Blues has left.

JAZZ had it's program with Burns, this is not a reprise, but rather a very 
different musical story.

Yep, but I hope it does not take that long ugly curve to White Blues at the 
expense of the old Blues cats.

There is a time and a place for all of it, and it is too bad that most Blacks 
no longer want to play the Blues, with a few exceptions like Corey Harris, 
Taj Mahal, and Keb Mo.

Check out a little sung cat from New Orleans  "Snooks Eaglin"  Blind guy who 
sings his Ass off and has some good recordings out.  He stole the show at the 
SF Blues Festival a couple of years back.

Johnny Adams was one of my personal favorites, along with Albert Collins, and 
unfortunately  they both died on me in the past five years just when we were 
getting solid tours in Europe for $5,000. to $10,000.  a day too.

Most people do not know it either but, Hank Ballard was a great Blues Singer, 
but he wanted to be ROCK & ROLL again at 70 years old and turn on teenage 
girls again, he was definitely stuck in a time warp, and always trying to record 
a new version of the Twist which he was sure would catch on again.    Same 
with James Brown, only James can't sing, only holler and dance, that's why he 
fired Hank Ballard as one of the Famous Flames, ( Hank sang better than James)

Cheers and "Boogie Chillun"


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