A heated discussion on 'Race, Gender & the Blues'

Steve Ahola steveahola@CA.ASTOUND.NET
Tue May 29 14:55:06 EDT 2012

On 5/24/2012 2:05 AM, chuck 249 wrote:
> The racism is from both sides. I just think that there is an argument
> to be made that the country genre has, with a couple of exceptions,
> been able to lock out the African American artists from having much
> more than crumbs of their country cobbler, while we have been reading
> in this very thread that half of many of the blues festivals acts are
> white...as is often the case when you listen to the various blues
> radio shows.
I think that there is a big difference between the two. White racism
involves hating the blacks while black blues elitism is not based on
hate but on exclusivity, thinking that white blues artists have not had
the experience and heritage necessary to play the blues. Many black
blues singers have white musicians in their bands while I can't think of
any white country artist who has black musicians in his band.

I had thought that racism was dying out in our country but ever since
Obama appeared on the scene and was elected president it has reemerged,
stronger than it has been for 40 years. What is sad is that most kids if
not influenced by their elders are not racist, but welcome diversity.
Racism is not inherent- It is something that is taught to our children

In reading this thread there is one point I would like to add. In almost
every music genre I personally prefer singers who are black; I really
enjoy the depth and timbre of their voices, along with their taste and
sense of pitch and rhythm. For me it is not that white blues singers are
not authentic because of their race- that doesn't really enter the
equation for me- I am just not as knocked out by their voices as I am by
black singers.

Steve Ahola

P.S. Someone mentioned that Taj Mahal was the closest thing to blues at
a recent or upcoming blues festival. He has had his Phantom Blues Band
for many years now; they are a real blues band and very good. Check out
his recent videos on YouTube.

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