Imitation Blues

Rich Gonzalez rgonzale@SOLEIL.ACOMP.USF.EDU
Sat Jun 27 17:27:26 EDT 1998

Bill, in a couple of recent posts, comments rather lugubriously:

>This preference (for X) seriously bothers some people.


> Charles, I knew when I wrote this that some people would try to pick
> it to death. You are the first.


> I was feeling the way I was feeling.  Perhaps you should spend some
> time considering it before you fire off a snap judgement.

Ah, the mantle of the martyr...

But here's the concept of his recent X posts that interests me:

Bill sez:

>In some cases, this (Y) can be really good, but not quite as
>satisfying somehow as the music X was. Which it no longer is.


So, Y music may actually be good music, for what it is.


This does not imply that the the music Y is bad, or that the musicians who
play it are bad.

Sounds to me like Bill is saying Y is just not as qualitatively good
(whatever that means) as X. And that it never can be.

Bill, I think that's what some folks like Chuck sense in your comments. The
notion that X is significantly  better, purer, or more right than Y, or Z or
any other letter. And that it always will be. Furthermore, that anyone who
likes Y or invests emotional and intellectual energies in it is somehow
shamelessly uninformed, uneducated, or simply wayward. In any event, you can
look down your nose at 'em because, well, they're not dealing with the "real

Bill, no one wants to obstruct your preference for anything. I don't recall
that ever being an issue. This is just an old fart rhetorical trick. We just
can't handle your sly, sneaky-pompous implications that X is better than
anything else. I'm sure it is for you. That's wonderful. What a wonderful
body of music and culture and feelings to revel in and appreciate. For a
lifetime if you so choose. But it isn't a zero sum game. X can be great and
Y can be just as great or greater. Or X can be greater than Y. Nobody will
really know. But you have ALWAYS posted in the vein that X is better, truer
and purer than Y. And have NEVER allowed the possibility that Y is just as
good as X, or could be some day. Sounds elitist to me.

 You yourself admit that when new musical developments come about
(computerized drums, sampling) that you hate it and don't see why musicians
use them. You aren't exactly in the innovator or early adopter categories
when it comes to new stuff. And you don't miss many opportunities to diss
unworthies like a certain English guitar player (you seem compelled to
mention the connection between him and drugs) or a certain  red headed
singer (cheekily hinting that she can't play or sing but rather is really
part of the after recording session "fun").

So I take your heartfelt feelings with a grain of salt. I can't help but see
it through the filter  of "here goes the 'real blues' fellow again." I like
the conceptualization of the music you love as being X. And you can
certainly believe that X is really, really special. But perhaps you could
define it. That would be illuminating. Would you define X for the list?
Or will you come back with the "It's indefinable" bit?

Maybe you and some of the other old farts on the list ought to create a new,
purer, more isolated list---no Y people allowed--you could have a check for
"inner conceit" at the subscription could call it  BLUES-X.

Then X can kinda permanently fade away through the extinction of its
isolative, die hard adherents. And the rest of us will probably be the worse
for it, because you could have taught us so much.



Rich Gonzalez
University of South Florida
Tampa, FL USA

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