Rory Block?

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Rory Block?

Postby thepeppermints » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:20 pm

I noticed, when reading back through some of the threads, that Rory Block doesn't seem to get mentioned much around here. I'm curious as to what you guys think about her.

Personally, I think she's great. I'd have to say she's one of my favorite contemporary blues artists. I know she was a major influence when I decided to really get into slide guitar and country blues in general. Of course, I also like Ry Cooder, John Hammond, Keb' Mo' and others. I don't know, I just think Rory's really cool. I've seen her in concert a couple of times and I dig her energy.

What does everyone else think?
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Postby allanlummox » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:41 pm

Fantastic performer.

My copy of "Mama's Blues" got constant play for a long while.
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Postby thepeppermints » Thu Aug 16, 2007 9:58 pm

Yeah, when I went to see her in Morgantown, W.Va., I bought a copy of her Robert Johnson instructional DVD. I also have an older two-tape VHS set called The Power of the Country Blues. She's a great performer and a really good teacher.
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Postby texas blues » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:14 am

I have tried and failed 3 times to go see her show. I 've seen a few videos of her. Lawd' have mercy! And the music ain't bad either!!
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rory

Postby thepeppermints » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:58 am

I can related to the failed attempts to see her. After I saw her the first time, she was booked to play another show in M'otown. My wife and I went up, but the show had been cancelled due to inclement weather. I was bummed.
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Postby grady » Fri Aug 17, 2007 5:00 am

I wish she would come around Southern WV or maybe Roanoke, Va.
I would love to see her.
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Postby maxx england » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:22 am

From what I've heard of her stuff, she's too "clean" or "white" for me if that makes any sense; musically, she has the arsenal to play the stuff, but her tone doesn't have the personal warmth I look for.

But that's just a personal opinion, don't get upset about it.
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Postby grady » Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:57 pm

I agree Maxx.
I would go see her but, I can't see myself listening to one of her cd's in my car.
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rory

Postby thepeppermints » Fri Aug 17, 2007 9:00 pm

I disagree with the comment about her being "too white," but I can understand what you're saying. I had a friend say something similar, something about "what's a 50-something white woman doing trying to sound like an old black guy." He didn't like her vocals. It's all personal taste. I find her to be enjoyable.

The "clean" thing is actually one of the reasons I like her playing. You have to admit that some of the old guys had a sloppy style on the guitar (of course many didn't). I think she's taken those old country blues and made a virtuoso art out of it. She's a person whose taken the style to the next level in terms of technicality and skill, in my opinion.

But, again, on both fronts, I see where you're coming from.
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Re: rory

Postby boogiechillun85 » Sat Aug 18, 2007 3:41 am

thepeppermints wrote:You have to admit that some of the old guys had a sloppy style on the guitar (of course many didn't). I think she's taken those old country blues and made a virtuoso art out of it.


Hardly. :roll:
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Postby stratman_27 » Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:56 pm

I agree hardly sloppy. I find thats exactly the part we miss when we try to cover the old masters is the "loose" feel that many people confuse as sloppy playing.
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Postby TheDude » Fri Aug 24, 2007 2:36 pm

:roll: Here we go again... Too white to sing the blues? That's just lame. And too young? Let's not forget that when these "old guys" recorded their music they were "young guys". I mean, Robert Johnson died age 27 so depth and soul definitely have little to do with age. Blind Willie Johnson recorded "Dark was the night, cold was the ground" (soulful anyone?) when he was around 30 years old.

Some of the "new guys/gals" like Rory Block or Steve James, their playing isn't sloppy and sounds very technically "correct", but hey... Some of the "old guys" sounded like that too. Tampa Red and Lonnie Johnson are two excellent examples of that.

That's what's great about the blues... It knows no creed, religion, age or color. It visits all of us.

That's just my 2ct worth. Amen! 8)
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Postby thepeppermints » Fri Aug 24, 2007 9:51 pm

I see many disagree that "some" of the old guys were a little sloppy. Just to clarify: I certainly didn't mean that all of them were when I made my original statment. I just know that I've heard recordings by various artists in which the guitar parts were a little on what I would consider the sloppy side. Again, I know many of them were technically great players and had a clean, tight style.

As for the whole "too-white-to-play-the-blues" thing - I completely feel that race isn't relevant these days when it comes to people playing the music. I think the music now belongs to everyone and anyone who feels inspired to take it up has every right to do so. There just ain't no color to the blues anymore.

All I know is, today I got back my autographed DVD copy of Rory Block Teaches the Guitar of Robert Johnson. I loaned it to a friend who had it forever and, now that I have it back, I'm stoked about watching it again. I had already learned pretty much everything on the DVD, but I just love watching her play the songs and listening to her teach.
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Postby maxx england » Sat Aug 25, 2007 1:03 pm

I think there's a misunderstanding here about the "too white". I find Block is too clinical in her phrasing, both voice and instrument, too much reading the dots accurately feel, and not enough listening for where it really is. Regardless of what life she has lead, I find there is no connection in her intonation with the material at hand, it's technically accurate, but sterile emotionally.

Buit remember, this is just a personal opinion. If you enjoy the lady, go ahead, carry on, life's too short to worry over much about other people's opinions.
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Postby jeffl » Sat Aug 25, 2007 2:16 pm

maxx england wrote:I think there's a misunderstanding here about the "too white". I find Block is too clinical in her phrasing, both voice and instrument, too much reading the dots accurately feel, and not enough listening for where it really is. Regardless of what life she has lead, I find there is no connection in her intonation with the material at hand, it's technically accurate, but sterile emotionally.

Buit remember, this is just a personal opinion. If you enjoy the lady, go ahead, carry on, life's too short to worry over much about other people's opinions.
MAXX: That's the feeling I get from listening to Clapton. I have to admire the abilities of popular blues artists like Block and Clapton-- and I do love their stuff-- but I jus' think there's something about the way some of our Southern U.S. black singers deliver their songs. The ability to cram a whole sentence into a space where a neatly structured phrase would be injected by one of us white guys-- and to be able to do it smoothly-- is just an example of their handle on the craft. It's summed up in comparing Lightnin' Hopkins to Eric Clapton.
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