song lengths

Billy Chambless billy@CAST.MSSTATE.EDU
Sun Jul 20 11:58:09 EDT 1997

P.W. Fenton said:

] As someone making "contemporary" Blues, I really FEEL this one.  Where else
] do you find yourself competing with such great DEAD MEN.  Classical music,
] I suppose, may be another example.

Even in classical music, though,  innovation is at least sometimes

] Normally, in popular music, you compete with the past by taking the music
] somewhere new, but in the Blues world that movement better be pretty nearly
] invisible or you will receive the dreaded "NOT" in front of your Blues.

I wish I could identify the point when it became that way. Certainly the
period from the early 1950s to the mid-1970s was a period of dramatic
movement and innovation among blues musicians. T-Bone Walker, Muddy
Waters, Howlin' Wolf, B.B. Kind, Freddy King, Albert King -- all those
guys took the form as they found it, and made their own thing out of it!

I wonder if there was anybody around saying, "Hey, boy, Robert Johnson
never used no amplifier...". Or horn section. Or whatever.

] It's a tough road for contemporary Blues musicians.  Stay on the straight
] and narrow, and you compete with the ghost of Muddy Waters.  Take a side
] road and you risk being out of the game all together.

The ironic part of that is that to really imitate Muddy -- that is, to
really take him as a role model -- you'd have to "take a side road".
Muddy Waters did not slavishly imitate imitate those who came before
him. He was a leader, not a follower.

Wonder why being a leader is frowned upon now?

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