Fw: More 'Death O' the Blues' from Memphis

Ricky Stevens deltabluz@hotmail.com
Fri Mar 18 06:37:14 EST 2005

Memphis is not a stagnant town musically, although the traditional blues
scene is down.

Memphis musicians still make their mark on the gospel charts.

The Three Six Mafia crew (Juicy J, DJ Paul, Gangsta Boo, Project Pat. et.
al.) have turned out an impressive string of gold albums over the past ten

John Ward has built a healthy, expanding soul-blues company at Ecko Records
over the past decade despite a marked downturn in the record industry as a

Could things be better?  Sure.  Is the Memphis music scene dead?  No.
Dying? No.  Changing?  Yes.

>For years now,,we've been hearing about the demise of the Blues scene in
>Memphis,,,,how badly the Local Musicians are treated in their

No prophet is without honor except in his own country.  Show me any city
that pays the local guys as well as the out of town pros from Dover.  I may
be wrong, but I'm not convinced that the Memphis scene is that much
different from any other similar size city.  A few years ago NARAS reported
that nationally roughly 15% of all people who called themselves professional
musicians actually earned the majority of their income from music related
sources.  From what I've seen, Memphis is pretty close to that mark.

his comments highlight the anti-musician drain
>>creativity that Memphis is often criticized for, and which IMHO is killing
>>the blues as well.

Creativity in the blues?  Bite your tongue.  Blues players are expected to
play within tightly defined musical limits as ordained by the keepers of the
true blues religion.  Blues is a genre that is more than a hundred years old
in which players who attempt to play a little differently are labeled as
playing "not real blues". Blues is a genre where musicians are expected to
cop licks from guys who died before talkies were born.  Non-traditional
musicians are demeaned as "blues-rockers" or "soul-blues". Blues musicians
are judged on "authenticity" (whatever the hell that is!) as much as on
talent.   OGive me a break-the leading blues publication has only had one
non-black musician on its cover in its entire history. Tell me again, what
is stifling creativity in the blues?

Get a grip.  Blues is not being killed by the critics at the
Commercial-Appeal as much as it is being smothered from within.

Ricky Stevens
Arkabutla, Mississippi

>From: Grady Musick <jagr68@citlink.net>
>Reply-To: Grady Musick <jagr68@citlink.net>
>Subject: Fw: More 'Death O' the Blues' from Memphis
>Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2005 23:44:59 -0500
>Good one Paul,,
>For years now,,we've been hearing about the demise of the Blues scene in
>Memphis,,,,how badly the Local Musicians are treated in their
>It makes one wonder if things will ever change in a city that proclaims
>itself to be the "Home of the Blues"
>Grady Musick
>----- Original Message -----
>From: "Paul Nunis" <thebluescaster@YAHOO.COM>

>>Just got through enjoying a letter to the editor from Jim Dickinson.
>>While he was specifically responding to one local music critic's smear of
>>an older rock band, his comments highlight the anti-musician drain on
>>creativity that Memphis is often criticized for, and which IMHO is killing
>>the blues as well.
>>(Even though the weekly entertainment paper came out in print yesterday,
>>they haven't seen fit to allow his letter to go up on their web page.)
>>According to Mr. Dickinson, the defamed singer "...Could dance like James
>>Brown on steroids, and hit the double splits off the drum riser, with his
>>arms shooting flames....and sing like a soul trapped in Hell.
>>What can *you* do?"
>>"...The history of Memphis music is peopled with misfits who failed to
>>conform -- artists who would not have had the opportunity to express
>>themselves in other artistic communities.
>>What once made us great is drying up and blowing away.
>>If you're not on the edge you are taking up too much room."
>>I have nothing against those who feel otherwise, but when I saw that
>>letter, and who had written it, I felt like standing up and cheering.

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