[Dixielandjazz] THE BLUES - Reality vs. perception.

TCASHWIGG at aol.com TCASHWIGG at aol.com
Mon Jul 19 10:32:35 PDT 2004

In a message dated 7/19/04 9:03:01 AM Pacific Daylight Time, 
jazzboard at hotmail.com writes:

> This set me to thinking . . .
> If there is anything which tends to give me a case of the galloping giggles 
> it's listening to a contemporary trad jazz band with one of the sidemen 
> doing the vocal on a "blues" tune.

Now I have to agree with you on that one Bill, as a matter of fact I have 
often gotten a case of FONK from hearing musicians who should have remained 
instrumentalists forever, trying to sing at all, just to avoid hiring a competent 
professional Vocalist who doe that well and does not necessarily play an 
instrument other than their voice.

It's my thesis that the "blues" can really only be sung by a certain type of 
individual. And that individual is certainly NOT a 65 year old white dude 
dressed in Dockers and a knit polo shirt with a band logo emblazoned on the 
front all topped off with a nice new pair of clean white tennis shoes

Although they do not usually dress exactly like this description, there are 
several excellent 60 something White Blues singers who often dress down in 
Hawaiian Shirts and tennis shows and deliver very convincing BLUES vocals.

Eric Clapton, Mick Jagger, Bruce Springfield, Frankie Laine sang a pretty 
good Blues, Tom Jones can sing the Blues, and Locally, (Sacramento, Folsom area) 
Richie Barron, who worked for years with Jr. Walker & The All stars, and Paul 
Wood who did thirty years with John Lee Hooker, learning it from a master.  I 
also know a Big Old Irishman in Florida who calls himself Big Daddy & his Red 
Hot Java Band and he can lay down the Blues with all the passion and feeling 
of Pavorotti at the opera.

Ya gotta go out and hear some folks more Bill, there is a lot of great talent 
outside the Dixieland Music circuit.  Most Dixieland Guys still lead a very 
sheltered life and are missing a world of great entertainment in the process.

Actually it is about time for you to start singing the BLUES, you have now 
just about reached the age of maturity that would make you a Living Legend in 
the perceived Blues World.  You don't count as a Blues Legend till you are 
discovered by the Blues Critics at about 70-80 years of age, then they like to give 
you about a fifteen year run at the pace of a twenty year old.

More than likely the singer is retired from his day gig as a school teacher 
tax accountant and while he may have a nice singing voice and be "well read" 
and "worldly" in his personal life he is, nevertheless, like me, totally 
incapable of singin' the blues.

This part sadly in many cases is indeed the case, and not all of them are 
White guys either, there are plenty of wannabe Black singers in the same 
category, who when they discover that they can't make it as a Balladeer slide over and 
try to be Blues singers however most of them too are not very convincing at 

A really good Blues singer is one that has lived the Blues in one form or 
another like waking up one mornin' and the repo man has done stole yo caddylac 
with yo drums in the trunk so you can't make the gig tonight.  You knows you 
shoulda made that car payment instead of givin' that money to the dope man agin', 
and then borrowing another fifty bucks from the band leader to pay that fine 
lookin' woman you went home wit last night.

Now you got to go home to mamma and them five kids with no milk and bologna 
like you promised to bring home last night after the gig.  When you do git home 
there is an eviction notice tacked on your front door again, and a man 
sittin' in a clearly unmarked police car waitin' for you with a handful of bad 
checks you papered the city with last week.  They haul you downtown to the police 
station and write up a whole bunch of white man lies against you and put you in 
jail again for all those back parking tickets you didn't have no money to be 
payin'.  You ask the judge how he expects you to pay them fines and support 
and feed yo children if he keeps you in jail.  He looks up and smiles and tell 
you "The same way your paying them now sir, but at least you ain't running up 
no more of em while you my guest and I got the car off the streets too."  When 
you get out your gonna owe me more money than that car is worth so you can 
forget about gettin' it back too.

Now Brother Bill that is the makin's of a Real Blues Singer, or some stories 
very similar to it, The Blues is way of life, and the Blues can and does hit 
many folks in different ways yep even White folks get the Blues, Hell even 
Jesus Had the Blues, try hangin' on a cross and drinking vinegar for a day or so 
and see if you don't get the Blues.  That is when he is credited with writing 
that powerful # 1 Blues song  "Father why hast thou forsaken me?" :))

Blues Singers are Story Tellers, and they all have a Story to tell about 
their Blues or others  Blues they know about and have a unique talent of being 
able to put it to music that makes it even more realistic and believable.

Now the accountant for Enron can certainly sing the Blues, Saddam Hussein is 
now qualified to sing the Blues, why Martha Stuart will probably come back 
from prison with a new Blues CD.


Tom Wiggins
I can't sing the Blues either, but I sure can play them.  
I just leave the singin' to somebody more qualified.

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