Bob Wills - bluesman?

Tom Freeland thf4@WATERVALLEY.NET
Fri Jun 12 13:21:01 EDT 1998

On 12 Jun 98 at 10:42, Barry B. Bean wrote:

> >I've been listening to some early Bob Wills sides, from 1935.  This band
> >was essentially a bunch of white guys doing black music, much of it
> >blues.  There are very strange elements of things like "yowser" and
> >black slang imitations.  I'm wondering about this.  Maybe some members
> >of the group know more about early Bob Wills, his influences, and his
> >position at the time.  It seems like another example of white musicians
> >copying black musicians (albeit with great gusto and much musical
> >ability).    TJ
> Its worth noting that for the first 1/2 of the century there was a
> tremendous amount of give and take between black and white music,
> and the division between country music and blues was often solely a
> marketing decision by the record company (based on the color of the
> performers and the intended audience.

Wills and his former bandmate Milton Brown were influenced by blues
in literally countless ways, from the fact that Bob Dunn, Brown's
steel guitar player who *invented* country electric steel guita'r
discovered electric steel when he saw a black player with an
improvised rig in the early 30s, to the song selection (Mississippi
Shieks songs, etc.).  There is a good book by Tony Russell on the
subject of whites and blues and country music, not to mention a
chapter in NOTHING BUT THE BLUES and a two-cd anthology on Sony
devoted to this topic.

Tom Freeland

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