The Golden Age of Blues - was there one?

scottcable@AOL.COM scottcable@AOL.COM
Thu Sep 2 22:02:45 EDT 2010


Wonderful and accurate post Dick. There are still some wonderful artists left but for some reason public taste is not what it once was. It is a question I have wanted to ask for awhile.....Has the blues fan base changed so much that what we get is what we get due to the taste of the musics fan base ? I read a lot of moaning in different post on a variety of sights that are saying that the blues is not what it once was....If you look at who is working and selling product on the road it seems that there a lot of people that like the whole blues rock thing ...I personaly dont care for it....I enjoy Americana and all kinds of music but prefer blues to sound a bit more traditional. 




-----Original Message-----
From: jinxblues <jinxblues@AOL.COM>
To: BLUES-L <BLUES-L@LISTSERV.NETHELPS.COM>
Sent: Thu, Sep 2, 2010 5:18 pm
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 
hink 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 
orn in 1935 (same year as Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis) so I was already old 
nough for fresh new Leiber-Stoller hits of the 1950s.
I got to Greenwich Village to see Brownie & Sonny, Jesse Fuller and Josh White 
n the late 1950s and I was a newspaperman and almost 30 years old when The 
ooftop 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 
o take care of their work. So I was listening to the music as done by the 
riginators, not the second generation.
I heard Arthur Crudup sing "That's All Right, Mama" and "Mean Ole Frisco," Skip 
ames do "I'm So Glad," Fred McDowell do "You Go to Move," Big Mama do "Ball and 
hain" and countless others.
I met Muddy when he was just turning 50 and B.B. King was about 42 when I first 
et him.
The fact that I want to stress here is that a few of us were acutely aware that 
e were seeing giants performing an art form at its highest level. That's 
mportant because we could take it all in and know "This is as good as it's 
oing to get. Remember this moment because it is never going to pass our way 
gain."
Son House (among others) was incredibly difficult to work with because hiding 
is alcoholism and getting great music from him was a job that took intense 
ocus and effort. But I realized just how great he was and knew that I had 
ndertaken 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 
rings chills.
I met Bonnie Raitt when she was in college and when we would go to see Muddy, he 
ould 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 
lues artists of all time to Europe for a number of years and that should be 
ecognized as being a "Golden Age" for that audience.
There was a time when Son and Skip and Booker and Lightning and Mance and 
ississippi John and Sleepy John and Robert Wilkens would all share the same 
estival stage just like there were nights when you could see Junior Wells, 
efty Diz, Otis Rush, J.B. Hutto, Little Walter and a bunch of others on the 
outh Side.
I have artists that I really enjoy hearing today and I make it a point to go to 
heir shows.
It's just that I heard the Big Boss Man sing "Big Boss Man" and it'll never be 
s good as the real thing.
Again, this is not intended to be a "been there, done that" post. By coincidence 
f birth year, I think that I was fortunate to watch the parade of "The Golden 
ge of Blues."
Dick Waterman
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