What is Blues? When we think about the Blues, we often think about a saxophone or guitar player; music from the Deep South, wailing and sadness and perhaps slavery. We think in terms of broken hearts. Does that completely describe what the Blues is? I say up front that I am not an expert on the topic but I believe there has been a mistake made in looking at certain genres of music s we give them too generic of a definition.
Music reflects man. Music reflects man’s religion and music reflects man social actions. If we look simply at the last century we get some idea at how complex music is with respect to trying to identify it.
Over the years we have had a blending of music due to racial blending. Because of this there has been I think a lack of willingness to define in all possible ways the different forms of music. We have two extremes. We had the Deep South Blues from black slaves and we also had the Louisiana blues that was white based as well as Western music and these meshed together and ultimately there was a form of rock and roll that was presented by white singers. The primary one was Elvis Presley who brought Rock and Roll to the fore. It was not possible for black musicians to do that because they would not have been accepted by the public and more importantly they would not be accepted by the publishers. However, white groups, particularly from England listened to black music and played it. When these groups came to the United States they were accepted. Further they used black musicians.
Some of the songs that the Beatles played that were initially done by African-American musicians included “Please Mr. Postman”, “Chains” and “Twist and Shout.” Those of us who idolized the Beatles then began to study those they reflected.
Blues as a genre is difficult to define. Certainly there is the wailing and slow down and dirty tempo but there is also the belting. I have linked to a number of songs that I think compare blues and that reflect Blues.
The first is the comparison of the Beatles and the artists they listened to. Then I have linked to some slow blues guitar “walk.”
After this I have given you a little Joplin, Bad Company, Temps and Atlanta Rhythm Section. It is all Blues. Some is deeper and sadder than others but there is even Blues that has attitude.
It is all music; enjoy it.