[Dixielandjazz] THE BLUES
TCASHWIGG at aol.com
TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Tue Sep 30 14:50:11 PDT 2003
In a message dated 9/30/03 9:41:10 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
jbeebe at centurytel.net writes:
> I missed the opening show but caught the second show last night. This
> one was very lame. boring...just meandered around staying too long on a
> particular artists. Interrupted by some white guy shreiking.
> I started dial twiddling.
> Jim Beebe
I agree with you Jim, it was quite boring last night, however I did enjoy
getting a look at JB Lenoir and his music.
My worst fears were quickly realized however when they kept switching to lame
shreiking White guys with absolutely no soul or relatable emotion totally
bastardizing his songs.
That is in a nutshell in my opinion is what drove most Black Americans away
from the Blues. Every white guy with a two dollar guitar started trying to be
a Blues singer, and most of the White guys plying the craft today are terrible
They all think they have to play it louder and faster, and get falling down
drunk and scream the lyrics. They rarely give the music room to breath, but
insist upon playing it as if they were some Heavy Metal Rock band, and at full
volume in small clubs like they are auditioning for the opening spot of a major
Festival ten miles away.
What they lack in real talent they try to make up for with volume and
absolutely no dynamics.
Blues turned into Rock & Roll, then into Heavy Metal, and Country & Western
has now turned into Rock & Roll with a Southern accent, while most popular
forms of Jazz is turning into Elevator music.
Watching the White producers in the background in the studios Tells the whole
story folks, their attitude and emotional expressions tell it like it was,
they were there recording those artist strictly for exploitation and did not
have for the most part any clue as to what the hell they were listening to, nor
did they often care about the artist or his music let alone what caused him to
I especially liked the part when they finished the 18 song recording
session on Rick James and then gave him a contract to sign, asking him if he wanted
cash or a percentage. He took the $40.00 cash and a train out of town,
knowing full well he would never see a percentage.
Just watching all the White groups trying to interpret the simplicity and
emotion of the Black Songwriter singers gave me the Blues, put on some Billie
Holiday and got an injection of the real thing. The White groups for the most
part are recording the songs today again with absolutely no emotion or thought
as to what the song is or was written for, but rather just to record it because
it was a standard or classic Blues tune that their record label owns the
publishing rights to.
I would hope that many of you on the list would take the time to absorb the
entire story of the Blues imbedded in this series, intentionally or not by the
producers, there are life messages that come screaming through as you watch if
you open your eyes and ears to the whole picture. This is the music that
shaped much of our Culture, and was exported all over the world as our ONLY
contribution to World Culture. Example was the film footage from the Norwegian
couple, that turned out to be the ONLY film of J.B. Lenoir if (I recall the show
correctly last night.)
Unfortunately, and this will get me flak for certain, the same thing happened
pretty much with Dixieland music from New Orleans, the Record companies
started recording more and more White musicians playing it their way and the sound
of the original Dixieland changed drastically and became very sterile, as much
of it remains today.
That is why groups like Preservation Hall Jazz Band are still popular,
because the world is Starved for that real raw Black emotional sound of the
musicians soul that made the music what it is in the beginning of the era. It was not
Broke, so why did White American Players and Record companies think they had
to FIX it?
The record companies decided they had to fix it because White Americans
would not buy Race Records, and they quickly realized even back then that Black
Americans were indeed a minority and did not have enough money to make any real
profits from selling their music. Hence clean it up and don't make it sound
so Black and the White folks of America will buy it. White artists like Elvis
Presley and Hank Williams proved they were correct.
Tom "I ain't Black but I am Blue" Wiggins
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