Playing 'real' country blues

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Playing 'real' country blues

Postby rcwilk » Tue Dec 30, 2014 7:35 pm

Hi,

I occasionally run across interviews where the older Delta country blues guitar players complain that the newbies just aren't getting it. Has there been any research on just what that real-Delta sound might be that newbies aren't getting?

Thanks for any advice.

RC
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby jellyroll baker » Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:59 am

I imagine it would sound something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kQmbg97UeE
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby rcwilk » Wed Dec 31, 2014 5:03 pm

So, would you say this might exemplify the undefinable something of country delta blues? Would you include R L Burnside?

RC
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby allanlummox » Tue Jan 06, 2015 6:50 pm

Any attempt to "quanitfy the unseen" is going to disappoint, but the element within blues performances that is often identifiable as such is the presence of rhythmic similarity to west African music.

[youtube]http://youtu.be/S6V3q-djJD8[/youtube]

http://youtu.be/S6V3q-djJD8
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby LesFromChicago » Tue Jan 06, 2015 8:59 pm

rcwilk wrote:Hi,

I occasionally run across interviews where the older Delta country blues guitar players complain that the newbies just aren't getting it. Has there been any research on just what that real-Delta sound might be that newbies aren't getting?

Thanks for any advice.

RC



Hi RC.

First, Happy New Year to you and all.
Second, I think your implied premise is flawed. Just because "older Delta country blues guitar players complain that the newbies just aren't getting it" that does not necessarily mean that the country blues as performed by the complainees is any less real than the country blues as performed by the complainers.
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby rcwilk » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:36 pm

allanlummox writes :Any attempt to "quantify the unseen" is going to disappoint, but the element within blues performances that is often identifiable as such is the presence of rhythmic similarity to west African music.


Right, quantification may just be a snipe hunt, but qualification seems to lead me to grok deeper. The point about west African music is a good one, there may be mysteries there brought over and into early blues, as well as some structural techniques.

Although, I can imagine an experiment. There is a blues event, and one of two guitar players is said by the group to 'get' it, while the other playing at the same times "doesn't get it." I imagine playing a tape of that event back and studying it closely would reveal some structural items. If not, then 'getting it" would remain completely in the world of subjectivity and just be a personal experience. Since the group playing will agree or not agree (if they agree, I'm saying) then it needs to be somewhat objective (unless psi is involved! ) .

Many thanks for Ali Farka Touré - The River --- I imagine this is the kind of music from which Delta blues emerged (Particularly the R L Burnside stuff in the first couple of tunes), though Ali is more instrumentally diverse than what I hear in early Delta.

RC
Last edited by rcwilk on Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby rcwilk » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:46 pm

LesFromChicago wrote:
rcwilk wrote:Hi, I occasionally run across interviews where the older Delta country blues guitar players complain that the newbies just aren't getting it. Has there been any research on just what that real-Delta sound might be that newbies aren't getting? Thanks for any advice. RC


Hi RC.
First, Happy New Year to you and all.

Second, I think your implied premise is flawed. Just because "older Delta country blues guitar players complain that the newbies just aren't getting it" that does not necessarily mean that the country blues as performed by the complainees is any less real than the country blues as performed by the complainers.


Yes, thanks, Happy New Year - wow, who in my peer group would ever have imagined that I would make it to 2015? ha ha

Right, the 'real' in question was just something I recall them saying (sorry I can't find that reference - maybe someone will recognize it, as it is often quoted in blues history books). As you say, that doesn't mean they have a privileged access to the REAL while other players they don't like don't have that access. Hopefully, all musicians will at some time access their own groove.

However, I didn't mean to set up a competition between old and new - I just wanted to know more about this 'thing' that the old Delta blues players felt they had access to (real or not). Was is just a social/group feeling and ~no~ outsider could ever get it until brought in and felt to be part of a socio-cultural group, or was it actually a way of playing that with careful consideration, might be acquired by 21st century blues fans?

Stay Real,

RC
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby rcwilk » Sat Jan 10, 2015 6:58 pm

jellyroll baker wrote:I imagine it would sound something like this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kQmbg97UeE


Yes, I think so as well.

RC
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby allanlummox » Sun Jan 11, 2015 12:37 pm

If you find the "magical element" in your idealized country blues, it will be a rhythmic element - essentially a matter of how the musical time works, of how the music "swings".


In the meantime, there are pages and pages of circular discussion on this very topic in the archives on this very site.


The real square deal is to listen to music that you like, play music that you love and interpret it as yourself. All the music that got you to that point will come through in the final product, and that's who you are.
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby rcwilk » Sun Jan 11, 2015 7:27 pm

allanlummox wrote:If you find the "magical element" in your idealized country blues, it will be a rhythmic element - essentially a matter of how the musical time works, of how the music "swings".
In the meantime, there are pages and pages of circular discussion on this very topic in the archives on this very site.
The real square deal is to listen to music that you like, play music that you love and interpret it as yourself. All the music that got you to that point will come through in the final product, and that's who you are.


Yes, good advice. I might even find that magical thing and find I ~don't~ like it. ha ha

RC
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby allanlummox » Mon Jan 12, 2015 12:03 pm

Very possible. Plenty of people find old country blues difficult listening.
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby texas blues » Mon Jan 26, 2015 6:13 am

allanlummox wrote:Very possible. Plenty of people find old country blues difficult listening.


That is true.

Not quite in tune guitars,

Poor sounding recordings.

The beat floatin' all over the place.

But then, some hear it and get all that.

Sometimes its just a lick or a certain riff heard in the context of that old blues tune

that rocks you and makes the hair on your arms and neck stand up when you hear it.

Other times it might be the tone of that slightly out of tune guitar that gets you.

So many had that goin' on.

Charlie Patton, RJ, Blind Lemon, Son, Bukka, et.al...

They all had it.

The sad 'thang is not being able to listen to them actually do their 'thang in a live situation

accurately.

These guys were not just blues musicians but real entertainers.

Charlie Patton whippin' his guitar about.

RJ, stompin' out a blues and the juke joint rockin' and shakin' some ass.

Son House clawin' at that guitar and bangin' on it all drunk 'n sheeit.

Recordings have only minute and at times ephemeral snippets of what was.

But from that came inspiration.

To sleep, perchance to dream.

And from those dreams came rock 'n roll and modern music.


And Muddy is still my favorite entertainer.
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby JLHooker » Mon Jan 26, 2015 1:36 pm

King of the Blues!!!
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby texas blues » Wed Jan 28, 2015 8:10 am

JLHooker wrote:King of the Blues!!!


jajajajajajajaja...

Which one's Judas?

John Lee?

No way.

Have mercy!
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Re: Playing 'real' country blues

Postby Lo-Fi » Thu Jan 29, 2015 8:28 pm

For me it was when I was living in Natchez, MS. My house backed up to a Southern Baptist Church that had been there since Reconstruction. Every Wednesday night the ladies would have choir practice. I would go sit on my back porch, often with a guitar in my lap, listen and quietly play along. They eventually noticed me on one of their breaks and invited me in. I can't explain it but listening to those songs expressing outright joy one moment and then the sorrow of a hard life tempered by the hope for redemption the next really hit me hard and took hold of me in a way that no recording or video could. Hey, it was Mississippi and as been said, you ain't been kicked in the head till you have been kicked in the head by the Jackson police.
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