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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Prime Time's House of Blues

    I honestly don't care if no one else even bothers to click on the link. The blues is the first, most enduring love I've ever had in music and I'm starting a thread for it. It might just be me writing pseudo-columns on various aspects of the style of music that kicked off most other popular styles, but if anyone does feel like spending a bit of time talking about blues - or blues-rock, rock and roll, soul, or jazz, or anything that conceivably be related - then this is a good place to do it.


    Right, so it's not the best known name in the history of the genre but I've been listening to a bit of Skip James lately. The thing that really gets me is that a lot of his stuff was written in the 1930s and basically forgotten about until he was brought back by the rock n'roll boom and the increased interest of the early 1960s, when he started recording music again. It's a great story just in that regard. But what strikes me is how modern the 1930s stuff sounded. The shift in Blues to blues rock that you get in the late 1960s suddenly makes a lot more sense listening to Skip.

    Here's a song first recorded in 1931 for anyone curious. I really do think you can pick out a lot of later influences and I'd bet a lot of people writing in that great creative burst had had James on their turntables at some point. Sound quality of the recording aside, I genuinely can't get over the fact that this is recorded so early.



    If you're interested in some of the technical points, James often played guitar with an open D minor tuning, which I think is what gives it that heavier, deeper soulful tone that you don't always get. He's also using a lot of fingerpicking which plays in well to the bit of slide that you can hear.


    Anyway, hope someone enjoyed that. If not... well, I'll probably do it again anyway.

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  2. #2
    Embracing Emptiness The Dude's Avatar
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    Really good. The vocals on this recording seem a little too loud compared to the guitar though.

    I have mad respect for some of those blues guys, BB King, Howling Wolf, Leadbelly etc

    I don't know much else, but if you wanna post more vids/links that would be cool!

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I'm sure I'll do just that.

    In the meantime, I think you're right about the levels but remember just how much recording music was in its infancy. In Blues in particular, a lot of it was point a microphone at someone and not a lot more. But he did re-record it in the 1960s when the audience came back, and in many ways this is a higher quality recording.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNftrsCMiQs

    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Been a while since I've posted anything in here so thought I'd get it moving again with this video of Lighnin' Hopkins playing Baby, Please Don't Go. It's a pretty great video because the sound quality on the guitar is still good enough that you can hear all he's doing, but because of the way it's shot you've actually got a great look at all the various techniques he's using with both hands.


    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  5. #5
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Another video in here, one of the 'three Kings' of electric blues, Freddie King. This is from the CD that had his last recordings in the 1970s. Would have been a lot more famous like Albert and BB, I think, if it weren't for the fact that he was the hardest partier of that generation of Bluesmen and his early death as a result.

    He's still very much a blues guitar player but I think you can hear why he was a popular performer with the rock/blues crowd of the 1960s, and had a big influence on guys like Clapton and... well, pretty much anyone who came after, really. Very slick combination of the Chicago and Texas styles.


    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  6. #6
    Embracing Emptiness The Dude's Avatar
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    I really liked the last song by Freddie King. The intro solo was just blues heaven.

    Its a shame it always happens to so many great musicians. I'll go the same way, just without any good music. I think if I could wave a magic wond and become a great blues player I'd quit everything bad I do.

    Enough of the rant, that was awesome.

  7. #7
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Ok, so here's a short one. Stormy Monday by T-Bone Walker. It's not a guitar-dominated track but there's still plenty of guitar in there. As you might expect, considering this was a song that the Allman Brothers used to love to play live. And T-Bone Walker was an incredibly influential guitar player. All those tricks that Hendrix picked up like playing the guitar with his teeth or behind his head were almost certainly learned from watching Walker do them first. This is also the song that BB King claims made him first pick up a guitar.


    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  8. #8
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    A lot of what I've posted in here so far has been all much of the same sort of thing so far, so for a bit of variety.... now for something completely different.



    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  9. #9
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    So this is a song that most people know the version by Ram Jam, but I think listening to the original can put a rather different spin on it. Definitely like a whole other song.




    And how about some of most soulful harmonica you'll ever hear from Sonny Boy Williamson...



    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  10. #10
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    Just in case you thought the blues was all just dead guys... here's something a bit more contemporary from Jonny Lang, who you'll be familiar with if you saw Blues Brothers 2000.



    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  11. #11
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    In a similar vein to the previous, here is Seasick Steve, who is probably one of the most popular Blues acts around nowadays (at least here in the UK). He's playing on Jools Holland show. It's a modern twist on the blues but there's a lot of the older sound in there, including playing slide guitar. That's always been a style that's a favourite of mine, although I've never been much good at playing it, no matter how much time I would spend practicing trying to sound like Elmore James.


    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

  12. #12
    Embracing Emptiness The Dude's Avatar
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    It's crazy to think that some of the old school Blues is nearly 100 years old, as a lot of the time is better than some of the stuff coming out today.

    I dunno but to me that's quite a head trip, but I'm glad it's endured.

  13. #13
    Super Moderator Prime Time's Avatar
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    I agree.

    Anyway, if anyone out there hasn't seen the guitarist Jeff Healey before, he's certainly worth a look. He's blind and learned to play unlike anyone else I've ever seen. Style is still fairly familiar to some other big names, strangely, but it's still pretty cool. This is the title track from an album of 1988.


    "The worst moron is the one too stupid to realise they're a moron."

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