electronic translators, electrical exam prep, scanners, spy gadgets, dvr, hidden cameras, weather radios
Bookmark and Share
Products Articles  Book Reviews  Brainpower Newsletter Contact Us      Home  Search

Blues: White boys play the blues--the white boy blues

All Factfile Articles

White Boy Blues

Edited by

We all love the Blues. Some of us think it's a racial thing, that only African Americans have enough soul to sing the Blues or to play the Blues.

Well, that's all wrong. Maybe white men can't jump, but "white boys" can sing and play the Blues. And oh, so fine. Real soul.

Yes, The Blues. We often think of the great black artists, whose music reaches deep into the soul. The kind of music that gets your body moving and your heart humming. Sure, many black artists do Blues right. But let’s not forget their white brethren. You can see them in action in clubs all across America.

But if you don't want to travel, find a video that does it for you. In the video White Boy Blues you’ll see and hear the world’s finest white Blues artists—sometimes playing and singing alongside their black brethren, sometimes not. People who love the Blues kind of music don’t bother with color. And they don’t deny that some women do Blues just fine. It's not a gender thing, it's not a race thing.

Good Blues music is good Blues music. And White Boy Blues is just good Blues done by people who happen to be "white."

Join us for The White Boy Blues, and go on a video tour of Blues performances across the USA. It may be true that White Men Can’t Jump, or it may not. But we do know white boys can sing the Blues. You see, the Blues don’t care what color you are. The Blues transcends color, does away with hatred, and brings black and white together. True Blues devotees just want the best Blues music. Color doesn’t matter. After all, it’s the listening, not the lookin’ that makes the soul-shakin’ experience of the Blues what it is.

The Blues

By Cathy Richey, the Cathy Factor

When you think of the blues, you might think about misfortune, betrayal and regret. You lose your job, you get the blues. Your mate falls out of love with you, you get the blues. Your dog dies, you get the blues.

While blues lyrics often deal with personal adversity, the music itself goes far beyond self-pity. The blues is also about overcoming hard luck, saying what you feel, ridding yourself of frustration, letting your hair down, and simply having fun. The best blues is emotional. From unbridled joy to deep sadness, no form of music communicates more genuine emotion.

The blues has deep roots in American history, particularly African-American history. The blues originated on Southern plantations in the 19th Century. Its inventors were slaves, ex-slaves and the descendants of slaves - African-American sharecroppers who sang as they worked in the cotton and vegetable fields.

It's generally accepted that the music evolved from African spirituals, African chants, work songs, field hollers, rural fife and drum music, hymns, and country dance music.



The blues grew up in the Mississippi Delta just upriver from New Orleans, the birthplace of jazz. Blues and jazz have always influenced each other, and they still interact in countless ways today.

Unlike jazz, the blues didn't spread out significantly from the South to the Midwest until the 1930s and '40s. Once the Delta blues made their way up the Mississippi to urban areas, the music evolved into electrified Chicago blues, other regional blues styles, and various jazz-blues hybrids. A decade or so later the blues gave birth to rhythm 'n blues and rock 'n roll.

No single person invented the blues, but many people claimed to have discovered the genre. For instance, minstrel show bandleader W.C. Handy insisted that the blues were revealed to him in 1903 by a street guitarist at a train station in Tutwiler, Mississippi.
During the middle to late 1800s, the Deep South was home to hundreds of seminal bluesmen who helped to shape the music.

Unfortunately, much of this original music followed these sharecroppers to their graves. But the legacy of these earliest blues pioneers can still be heard in 1920s and '30s recordings from Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Georgia and other Southern states. This music is not very far removed from the field hollers and work songs of the slaves and sharecroppers. Many of the earliest blues musicians incorporated the blues into a wider repertoire that included traditional folk songs, vaudeville music, and minstrel tunes.

Without getting too technical, most blues music is comprised of 12 bars. A specific series of notes is also utilized in the blues. The individual parts of this scale are known as the blue notes.

When the country blues moved to the cities and other locales, it took on various regional characteristics, the St. Louis blues, the Memphis blues, the Louisiana blues, etc. Chicago bluesmen such as John Lee Hooker and Muddy Waters were the first to electrify the blues and add drums and piano in the late 1940s.

Today there are different versions of the blues. Forms include:

  • Traditional county blues - A general term that describes the rural blues of the Mississippi Delta, the Piedmont and other rural locales.
  • Jump blues - A danceable version of swing and blues and a precursor to R&B. Jump blues was pioneered by Louis Jordan.
  • Boogie-woogie - A piano-based blues popularized by Meade Lux Lewis, Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson, and derived from barrelhouse and ragtime.
  • Chicago blues - Delta blues electrified.
  • Cool blues- A sophisticated piano-based form that owes much to jazz.
  • West Coast blues - Popularized mainly by Texas musicians who moved to California. West Coast blues is heavily influenced by the swing beat.
  • The Texas blues, Memphis blues, and St. Louis blues consist of a wide variety of subgenres. Louisiana blues is characterized by a swampy guitar or harmonica sound with lots of echo, while Kansas City blues is jazz oriented - think Count Basie. There is also the British blues, a rock-blues pioneered by John Mayall, Peter Green and Eric Clapton. New Orleans blues is largely piano-based, with the exception of some talented guitarists such as Guitar Slim and Snooks Eaglin. And most people are familiar with blues rock.
    One of the best blues songs, (my opinion), is "The Thrill is Gone" by B.B. King. Awesome guitar player, and that song was a huge hit. Johnny Lang and the Kenny Wayne Shepherd band are popular blues rock musicians today, and were inspired and influenced by earlier bluesmen.
 

About Cathy: She and her Doberman Trooper conduct research into all kinds of topics and produce articles like the one you see here. To contact Cathy, write to thecathyfactor@yahoo.com. Get the facts from Cathy, and let the Cathy Factor give you an edge.


 

Blues posters:

 

 

 

Articles | Book Reviews | Free eNL | Products

Contact Us | Home

This material, copyright Mindconnection. Don't make all of your communication electronic. Hug somebody!