Remembering The Blues

America’s great national music is the blues.  Without the blues, there would be no rock and roll, and no hip-hop.  The first generation of the blues masters (Robert Johnson) is pretty much the exclusive territory of college professors and fawning Brits, and latter-day giants like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf have virtually disappeared into the catalogs of countless rockers from the 1960s and 1970s.  It’s tough to hear the blues on the radio, too, unless you venture over to the far left side of the FM dial (think NPR). 

No question: the blues is definitely an endangered art form, although not totally extinct.  Modern artists like Marcia Ball and Jimmie Vaughan keep the faith in Texas, and up in Chicago luminaries like Lonnie Brooks (with his sons) and John Primer are fighting the good fight.  You have Elmore James Jr., son of the great guitarist, and David “Honeyboy” Edwards too.  Buddy Guy, Eric Clapton and sometimes John Mayer put the blues on a national stage. 

So let’s celebrate our great national resource with some classic blues artists.  Pay attention, because later this week we will take a look at new albums by some current blues artists and see how they connect to the past.

MP3: I Just Wanna Make Love To You by Muddy Waters

MP3: Knockin’ At Your Door by Elmore James

MP3: Ball And Chain by Etta James

MP3: Hoodoo Man by Junior Wells

MP3: Watergate Blues by Howlin’ Wolf

MP3: Nine Below Zero by Sonny Boy Williamson

2 Responses to “Remembering The Blues”

  1. Here’s a great site -> http://www.howlingwolfphotos.com <- to enjoy 99 wonderful iconic photos of legendary blues giant Howlin’ Wolf (Chester Burnett) … Wolf was my great friend, mentor and music teacher.

    I was his chosen photographer in 1968 and 1969, we met in San Francisco, and I visited him in Chicago. The moving story of our special connection is on my site too. Come see photos of the mighty Wolf in concert, at home and rare portraits only recently made available for public view. (If you would please make a link on your interesting and thoughtful site regarding mine)

    I also played drums and corresponded with Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, and Mance Lipscom. These were irreplacable and uncopyable artists and all were especiallly nice to me.

    And Wolf, loving, progressive and centered (he kept ‘rival’ Muddy Waters going when Muddy was broke and got retirement and healthcare for his band members – back in the day!) and who predicted a black president too, and more) was in many ways beyond the ordinary man, and showed us all how one can transcend childhood suffering, familymisery, poverty and racism and with intention and sense of being true to oneself, evolve into being and representing a force that few can match, though so many wish to imitate and be close to. This is good. Howlin’ Wolf was indeed, as Sam Philips put it upon first hearing him, “the place where the soul of man goes and never dies.”

  2. 30daysout Says:

    Thanks, Sandy! Your site is awesome!

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