The Golden Age of Blues - was there one?

Chuck hhs249@GMAIL.COM
Thu Sep 2 19:46:54 EDT 2010


Jimmy Reed performance clip via Youtube.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BhRZha7ULWg&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Sent from my iPad


On Sep 2, 2010, at 4:26 PM, Erika <rikkito@AOL.COM> wrote:

> Thanks for this post Dick.  I am so envious of your musical experiences and at the same time grateful to hear and learn from you each time we meet or when I read your posts.  I get it. ( I only get to hear Jimmy Reed on my iTunes and it gives me chills.  Cannot imagine what it would be like to have heard/seen him live.
> So thanks, and keep on keepin on.
> 
> 
> Erika
> 
> 
> -----Original Message-----
> From: jinxblues@AOL.COM
> To: BLUES-L@LISTSERV.NETHELPS.COM
> Sent: Thu, Sep 2, 2010 11:50 am
> Subject: Re: The Golden Age of Blues - was there one?
> 
> 
> I really hope that this does not come across as arrogant or self-serving but I 
> think that I lived through a Golden Age of Blues.
> 
> It had nothing at all to do with me other than the coincidence of birth. I was 
> born in 1935 (same year as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis) so I was already old 
> enough for fresh new Leiber-Stoller hits of the 1950s.
> 
> I got to Greenwich Village to see Brownie & Sonny, Jesse Fuller and Josh White 
> in the late 1950s and I was a newspaperman and almost 30 years old when The 
> Rooftop Singers had a huge hit with "Walk Right In," written by Gus Cannon.
> 
> I was involved in the rediscovery of blues artists and formed a booking agency 
> to take care of their work. So I was listening to the music as done by the 
> originators, not the second generation.
> 
> I heard Arthur Crudup sing "That's All Right, Mama" and "Mean Ole Frisco," Skip 
> James do "I'm So Glad," Fred McDowell do "You Go to Move," Big Mama do "Ball and 
> Chain" and countless others.
> 
> I met Muddy when he was just turning 50 and B.B. King was about 42 when I first 
> met him.
> 
> The fact that I want to stress here is that a few of us were acutely aware that 
> we were seeing giants performing an art form at its highest level. That's 
> important because we could take it all in and know "This is as good as it's 
> going to get. Remember this moment because it is never going to pass our way 
> again."
> 
> Son House (among others) was incredibly difficult to work with because hiding 
> his alcoholism and getting great music from him was a job that took intense 
> focus and effort. But I realized just how great he was and knew that I had 
> undertaken the responsibility of getting him before an audience.
> 
> I heard Jimmy Reed sing "Oh, Baby, You Don't Have To Go" and the memory still 
> brings chills.
> 
> I met Bonnie Raitt when she was in college and when we would go to see Muddy, he 
> would always sing "She's 19 Years Old" for her as his next song.
> 
> Remember that the American Folk Blues Festival brought some of the greatest 
> blues artists of all time to Europe for a number of years and that should be 
> recognized as being a "Golden Age" for that audience.
> 
> There was a time when Son and Skip and Booker and Lightning and Mance and 
> Mississippi John and Sleepy John and Robert Wilkens would all share the same 
> festival stage just like there were nights when you could see Junior Wells, 
> Lefty Diz, Otis Rush, J.B. Hutto, Little Walter and a bunch of others on the 
> South Side.
> 
> I have artists that I really enjoy hearing today and I make it a point to go to 
> their shows.
> 
> It's just that I heard the Big Boss Man sing "Big Boss Man" and it'll never be 
> as good as the real thing.
> 
> Again, this is not intended to be a "been there, done that" post. By coincidence 
> of birth year, I think that I was fortunate to watch the parade of "The Golden 
> Age of Blues."
> 
> Dick Waterman
> 
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