Document Records - Vintage Blues and Jazz

Blues Feedback Number 2

Blues Feedback Number 2

Davide Styles

My first exposure to the Blues was in the early 1990's.  From a young age I had been interested in music, but felt alienated from mainstream "pop" and struggled to find a musical home.  As a keen guitar player I had developed an interest in Rock music, but soon that changed.

I would like to tell you that my Blues initiation was, on a hot sultry Delta night, driving down Highway 61, when I stumbled across the most wonderful music I had ever heard, emanating out of a steamy Juke Joint. Unfortunately the truth is a lot less romantic. It was on a wet, winters evening, in my mum's lounge, near Eastbourne.

A TV program called Rock Steady was showing brief highlights of an Eric Clapton concert from the Albert Hall. It was one of his Blues only nights and I immediately became absorbed by what I was hearing. Until now the Blues to me was the stop time rhythm of the Heineken advert and one or two cheap compilations, but this seemed different and I was fascinated by the fact that something that seemed so simple structurally, could be so moving.

I had to find out more about this music, where it came from historically and socially and I was desperate to discover who originally created it.  Who were the early protagonists ?

Scratching away at the surface, I soon discovered names like, Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, B.B King. Digging a little deeper the name Robert Johnson sprang up, but not believing the hype regarding this particular mythological figure, I had to dig deeper.

It was here that I discovered my musical utopia and my addication !  Charlie Patton, Tommy Johnson, Skip James, Blind Lemon Jefferson.  Names of musicians who created the Blues in the very early days of recording.

Many of them were straight off the farm and had direct exposure to the cruelty and harshness of the American South in the early part of the 20th century.

They played the Blues to ease their pain, entertain an audience that they could relate to and perhaps earn a dollar without having to break their backs in the hot cotton fields. All very different from the recording stars of today.

Little did they know that they were laying the foundations for the development of generations of musicians that followed them. From Son House to Muddy Waters and from Muddy to the Stones and beyond.  For me this is where the heart of the Blues can be found.

Thank you for that piece of feedback Davide.



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