Purists

Joel Fritz willie_mctell@comcast.net
Fri May 2 14:56:36 EDT 2008


I've seen a couple of situations where people abuse the genre labels for 
their own selfish reasons.  A few years ago I uploaded a few of my tunes 
to Broadjam.  The idea of the site is to get exposure as a reward for 
reviewing others' work.  I spent a couple of weeks reviewing stuff 
listed as "blues"  before I gave up.  About 90% wasn't.  I don't mean 
that it was blues-rock or jazzy stuff with blue notes.  Styles I heard 
included easy listening, introspective singer/songwriter, modern 
country...People listed tunes as blues because they could do multiple 
genres.  Naturally a lot of them picked as many as they could.  On a 
social networking site with creative arts pretensions I belong to they 
had a music contest.  I listened to each song identified as "blues."  
Same thing as Broadjam.  I got into an argument with one guy who made up 
a genre name for his song.   It was kind of fun.

I'm a purist, I guess.  I like what I like.  I can see where Otis 
Taylor's music could be called blues.  I don't care for it much. I feel 
the same way about a lot of artists.  I think SRV was a fine blues 
guitarist but his singing drives me nuts.  

I think of blues the same way I think of baroque or New Orleans music.  
All three are styles of music that can be put into categories that are 
fuzzy around the edges.  I don't think blues is going to re-invent 
itself as blues.  It's all right with me if it doesn't.  There are still 
people doing great work in the form.  

Walter Potter wrote:
>  -------------- Original message ----------------------
> From: "E. Willett" <Unklegeo@msn.com>
>   
>> I'm in a bit of a quandary over this issue.  I like a lot of the newer, younger 
>> guys, but I think there's a line where the music isn't Blues any more.  Does the 
>> artist saying it's Blues make it so?  
>>     
>
> When we formed the Apalachee Blues Society I put a blurb in the bylaws that said something like "for the purposes of the society, blues is defined as music that the artist call blues and the audience accepts as blues." That leaves things pretty wide open in that "What artist?" and "Which audience?" become questions at times. But that was rare. What I was trying to do was head off nasty, society-rending arguments over just what is blues. It meant that at times I had to smile and nod in an official stance when I didn't personally think the music was actually blues. But I think the definition worked  the vast majority of the time. We did some good.
>
> We put it all out there for people to hear, but I made my own personal judgments about what I liked. There's a certain "band" that uses bagpipes in what it claims to be blues that comes to mind. "Sucks" is what came to my mind. Actually "sucks" is what came to almost everyone's mind because they cleared the room! But I did get to hear a lot of great music during my time with the society.
> --
> Walter
>
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>   

-- 
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