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Author Topic: Band known for displaying Confederate flag gets "Mississippi Blues Trail" recognition
Crimson Mask from FL
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I think somebody beat him to the punch this time.

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So long from the Sunshine State!

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Haystack Kowloon
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I think Lynyrd Skynyrd would be in the top 5 greatest southern rock bands. But I agree, but even without the flag issue, they shouldn't be part of this, or any list honoring blues musicians. I don't consider blues based hard rock to be "blues music".

Because the blues have so many links, just about any rock band/musician could be worked into a honorary blues format. Even Black Sabbath. So consequently "the Blues", which has a very literal meaning, has turned into something else. The real blues, "folk blues" (old acoustic), is treated as a sub-division of "The Blues", as it's forced to take back seat to the electric guitar.

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K. Fabian McClinch
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quote:
Originally posted by Haystack Kowloon:
I think Lynyrd Skynyrd would be in the top 5 greatest southern rock bands. But I agree, but even without the flag issue, they shouldn't be part of this, or any list honoring blues musicians. I don't consider blues based hard rock to be "blues music".

Because the blues have so many links, just about any rock band/musician could be worked into a honorary blues format. Even Black Sabbath. So consequently "the Blues", which has a very literal meaning, has turned into something else. The real blues, "folk blues" (old acoustic), is treated as a sub-division of "The Blues", as it's forced to take back seat to the electric guitar.

Agreed, although this can be a minefield in and of itself, even when we're talking about Black musicians themselves. The "authenticity" debates in the blues world can be incredibly vicious and exhausting, and they usually tend to arise from white aficionados who consider the blues they first encountered on record -- "folk" blues, electric 12-bar postwar Chicago-style blues, or whatever -- to be the only "authentic" blues there is. It's come to the point now where white folks are telling Black folks what "real" blues is, which is a pretty astounding thing when y'think about it.

Today, in the Black community, artists whom a lot of people might consider "soul" singers -- Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Denise LaSalle, Latimore, et al. -- are considered "blues" artists. Among younger listeners, the contemporary genre alternately known as "soul-blues" or "southern soul" -- actually an amalgam of styles that incorporates elements of modern R&B and hip-hop, and often relies on synthesized tracks and beats (which, for the record, I do not prefer, but I've had to learn to live with it) -- is considered "blues." At least outside the South, most white "blues" fans despise that stuff.

This guy is a major draw on blues shows in the South:


So is this guy:


. . . and this lady:


Nine out of ten white folks never heard of these people, and 85% of those who HAVE heard of 'em would never consider them "blues." But they pack civic centers and casino auditoriums and show lounges and draw standing-room only crowds to festivals -- almost 100% Black audiences -- throughout the south.

[ 07-13-2019, 10:38 AM: Message edited by: K. Fabian McClinch ]

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"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Four shots ripped into my groin, and I was off on one of the strangest adventures of my life." (Max Shulman)

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Haystack Kowloon
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quote:
Originally posted by K. Fabian McClinch:
quote:
Originally posted by Haystack Kowloon:
I think Lynyrd Skynyrd would be in the top 5 greatest southern rock bands. But I agree, but even without the flag issue, they shouldn't be part of this, or any list honoring blues musicians. I don't consider blues based hard rock to be "blues music".

Because the blues have so many links, just about any rock band/musician could be worked into a honorary blues format. Even Black Sabbath. So consequently "the Blues", which has a very literal meaning, has turned into something else. The real blues, "folk blues" (old acoustic), is treated as a sub-division of "The Blues", as it's forced to take back seat to the electric guitar.

Agreed, although this can be a minefield in and of itself, even when we're talking about Black musicians themselves. The "authenticity" debates in the blues world can be incredibly vicious and exhausting, and they usually tend to arise from white aficionados who consider the blues they first encountered on record -- "folk" blues, electric 12-bar postwar Chicago-style blues, or whatever -- to be the only "authentic" blues there is. It's come to the point now where white folks are telling Black folks what "real" blues is, which is a pretty astounding thing when y'think about it.

Today, in the Black community, artists whom a lot of people might consider "soul" singers -- Johnnie Taylor, Tyrone Davis, Denise LaSalle, Latimore, et al. -- are considered "blues" artists. Among younger listeners, the contemporary genre alternately known as "soul-blues" or "southern soul" -- actually an amalgam of styles that incorporates elements of modern R&B and hip-hop, and often relies on synthesized tracks and beats (which, for the record, I do not prefer, but I've had to learn to live with it) -- is considered "blues." At least outside the South, most white "blues" fans despise that stuff.

This guy is a major draw on blues shows in the South:


So is this guy:


. . . and this lady:


Nine out of ten white folks never heard of these people, and 85% of those who HAVE heard of 'em would never consider them "blues." But they pack civic centers and casino auditoriums and show lounges and draw standing-room only crowds to festivals -- almost 100% Black audiences -- throughout the south.

These are nice to see. I admit I haven't heard of them, but they certainly contradict the idea that only white people listen to the blues.

I also have to admit that I have a pretty strict view on the term Blues in relation to musical style. I actually don't see Blues as being a style of music genre, but rather a style of song. I think when the style first came about, before it was even given the title "the blues", and before black musicians were concerned about preserving it as a genre, it was performed by musicians who sang songs involving social condition. So in addition to that, they also may have performed other types of song, love songs, songs with sexual innuendo, etc. Of course through time, particularly when music became more categorized, anything a blues artist performed was considered a blues song by default.

For instance, I don't consider "Back Door Man" a blues song, but rather a song suggesting sexual encounter not directly associated with any particular social condition. A rich, spoon fed white man can sing the song without any racial or social controversy. And many of the white rock bands that play songs from artists considered "blues artists" choose to cover their songs that use sexual innuendo, as it goes perfectly with the white hard rock alpha-male image they try to portray. There's some exceptions like "Gallows Pole", and "When The Levee Breaks" done by Led Zeppelin, "Born Under A Bad Sign" by Cream, etc. But it was Robert Plant I believe who stated that their white audience couldn't relate to blues songs conveying social/racial difficulties. But took to the sexual innuendo tunes no problem.

So getting back to Lynyrd Skynryd, as much as I like their music, I do see the violation honoring them in association with the "Mississippi Blues Trail". The Confederate flag would be part of that violation. And also, they're simply not a blues band in any shape or form, except playing a style of music that can be loosely associated with the blues. But as I said, even Black Sabbath could be given some sort of honorary blues artist award.

I would see it a gross violation in giving "The Doors" honorary blues status as well. But, if their cover of "Back Door Man" won some award proclaiming it to be the greatest recording of this song, that might be a different story. I might not agree with that, but not in relation to the term/definition of the blues itself.

To be clear, I don't claim to have the proper definition of the style. These are strictly my opinions.

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K. Fabian McClinch
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I don't consider Skynyrd a blues band either, by even the most flexible definition. (And they ain't even from Mississippi!)

The term "blues" originally referred to the emotional state of sadness or melancholy (it derived from the British expression "blue devils," which basically connoted someone wrestling with personal demons).

Ironically enough, the first song to be published with the name "Blues" in it was "Dallas Blues" in 1912, by a white fiddler and bandleader named Hart Wand. The versions I've heard actually sound more like ragtime than what we'd now consider 12-bar blues. W.C. Handy came in next with "St. Louis Blues," which did adhere to the 12-bar AAB lyric structure. That structure, more or less, is what most folks think of when they hear the word -- ask any musician to play "a blues," and that's what you'll get.

But it never was that simple; a lot of blues artists, from the old Mississippi founding fathers to the present day, have written and sung material that droned in a single chord throughout, or used melodic ideas borrowed from pop music and other sources. For just one of innumerable examples, the song "Since I Fell for You" is universally praised as one of the great "blues ballads" of all time, and it's not a 12-bar blues at all. Neither, for that matter, are such classics as Howlin' Wolf's "Spoonful," Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen," and any number of masterpieces by Skip James. And that barely even begins to scratch the surface.

Ultimately, the "blues" is whatever a "blues" musician says it is. (And even THAT gets dicey -- Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis, "soul" singers to you and me, found themselves referred to as "blues" singers by most of their African-American listeners in the latter years of their careers, and they both HATED it.) Denise LaSalle had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the "blues" category, but once she got there she embraced it to the point where she became proud -- even adamant -- about proclaiming herself "Queen Of the Blues":



[ 07-14-2019, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: K. Fabian McClinch ]

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"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Four shots ripped into my groin, and I was off on one of the strangest adventures of my life." (Max Shulman)

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Haystack Kowloon
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quote:
Originally posted by K. Fabian McClinch:
I don't consider Skynyrd a blues band either, by even the most flexible definition. (And they ain't even from Mississippi!)

The term "blues" originally referred to the emotional state of sadness or melancholy (it derived from the British expression "blue devils," which basically connoted someone wrestling with personal demons).

Ironically enough, the first song to be published with the name "Blues" in it was "Dallas Blues" in 1912, by a white fiddler and bandleader named Hart Wand. The versions I've heard actually sound more like ragtime than what we'd now consider 12-bar blues. W.C. Handy came in next with "St. Louis Blues," which did adhere to the 12-bar AAB lyric structure. That structure, more or less, is what most folks think of when they hear the word -- ask any musician to play "a blues," and that's what you'll get.

But it never was that simple; a lot of blues artists, from the old Mississippi founding fathers to the present day, have written and sung material that droned in a single chord throughout, or used melodic ideas borrowed from pop music and other sources. For just one of innumerable examples, the song "Since I Fell for You" is universally praised as one of the great "blues ballads" of all time, and it's not a 12-bar blues at all. Neither, for that matter, are such classics as Howlin' Wolf's "Spoonful," Robert Johnson's "Come On In My Kitchen," and any number of masterpieces by Skip James. And that barely even begins to scratch the surface.

Ultimately, the "blues" is whatever a "blues" musician says it is. (And even THAT gets dicey -- Johnnie Taylor and Tyrone Davis, "soul" singers to you and me, found themselves referred to as "blues" singers by most of their African-American listeners in the latter years of their careers, and they both HATED it.) Denise LaSalle had to be dragged kicking and screaming into the "blues" category, but once she got there she embraced it to the point where she became proud -- even adamant -- about proclaiming herself "Queen Of the Blues":

Yes. Another artist I was thinking of was Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown. He's alleged to have protested Blues purism, and to have incorporated different musical styles into blues music. That might be the case, but it's not the impression I got from an interview with him I read back when he performed at a local blues festival. His issue didn't seem to be with purism, but rather he really didn't appreciate being categorized a blues musician, because he played different styles of music (country, folk, rock,etc.). Of course musicians not wanting to be categorized or labeled is pretty common.

I think from articles I've read, the earliest blues recording artists probably preferred moving into the mainstream pop/standard industry. Of course that's where the money and fame was (although exploiting blues musicians had developed at least in the 40's if not earlier), so that's probably a gimme. But I think this theme carried into the 50's and 60's when rythm and blues came onto the scene. I'm fairly sure this category was invented by white men. I don't know if it was created in the spirit of segregation, or just one of the precursors to developing more genre classifications. I don't think the original R&B recording artists had any desire being placed in a separate pop-category from mainstream pop/standard charts.

But anyway, after watching that last video, I can't help but agree with her.

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K. Fabian McClinch
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Gate was funny about that -- he considered himself a MUSICIAN, first and foremost, and he actually harbored some pretty negative stereotypes about the blues as being lowdown, dirty stuff. He said he saw a lot fights and killings in jukes and lounges where the blues was played, and he made it clear that he wasn't "that" kind of musician (or person).

I'm actually not even sure whether a lot of the early bluesmen even called themselves that. Charlie Patton referred to his blues recordings as his "swinging" records (as opposed to his gospel sides, which he claimed to be the ones he valued and esteemed most highly). The tag "Blues" was often added to song titles by record labels; in other words, Robert Johnson probably called his song "Cross Road," and the label made it into "Cross Road Blues" to sell copies of the record. I'm not sure if the same thing held true for the "classic" blues singers like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, et al.; Ma Rainey called herself the Mother Of the Blues, and Bessie called herself the Empress Of the Blues, so it's pretty clear that they, at least, embraced the term. But remember -- in their day, they were considered high-class stage/Vaudeville entertainers, so "Blues" would have had a rather different connotation than it came to have when it began to be associated with low-class jukers.

But yes, you're right -- blues artists have wanted to be "mainstream," in terms of popular recognition and money, since the beginning. They were always professional entertainers, not just "folk" primitives, and they always played what their audiences wanted to hear (e.g., Robert Johnson played polkas and country songs like "Tumblin' Tumbleweed," Patton sang songs he adapted from Vaudeville, even the young Muddy Waters cranked out fare like "Red Sails In the Sunset" for his plantation audiences; there's a handwritten copy of a Memphis Minnie setlist that was discovered a few years back, and it has everything from "My Desire" to "The Woody Woodpecker Song" (!) included on it.

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"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Four shots ripped into my groin, and I was off on one of the strangest adventures of my life." (Max Shulman)

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K. Fabian McClinch
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. . . and yes, Denise LaSalle was the Queen. Koko Taylor was called Queen Of the Blues while she was alive; Ms. Denise settled for "Queen of Soul-Blues" until Koko passed away. Several women claimed the crown after that (most notably, Shemekia Copeland), but in the South, and among most Black listeners, Denise LaSalle was and is the Queen.

Not sure whether it's appropriate to mention this here, but she and I were working together on her autobiography when she passed. We didn't get as much done as we'd hoped, but we finished enough for the book; it should come out sometime next year (University of Illinois Press).

Her birthday is tomorrow, July 16 . . .

[ 07-15-2019, 12:07 PM: Message edited by: K. Fabian McClinch ]

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"Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang! Four shots ripped into my groin, and I was off on one of the strangest adventures of my life." (Max Shulman)

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King Francis
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quote:
Originally posted by K. Fabian McClinch:
. . . and yes, Denise LaSalle was the Queen. Koko Taylor was called Queen Of the Blues while she was alive; Ms. Denise settled for "Queen of Soul-Blues" until Koko passed away. Several women claimed the crown after that (most notably, Shemekia Copeland), but in the South, and among most Black listeners, Denise LaSalle was and is the Queen.

Not sure whether it's appropriate to mention this here, but she and I were working together on her autobiography when she passed. We didn't get as much done as we'd hoped, but we finished enough for the book; it should come out sometime next year (University of Illinois Press).

Her birthday is tomorrow, July 16 . . .

very kool....please let us know when its out.. my dad was a huge fan and introduced me to her. I had the pleasure of seeing her in a smaller setting, wish I could have seen her in Ann Arbor in 72(?).

[ 07-15-2019, 01:05 PM: Message edited by: King Francis ]

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When I said that was the most ignorant thing I ever heard, I didn't realize you were still talking.

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Haystack Kowloon
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quote:
Originally posted by K. Fabian McClinch:
. . . and yes, Denise LaSalle was the Queen. Koko Taylor was called Queen Of the Blues while she was alive; Ms. Denise settled for "Queen of Soul-Blues" until Koko passed away. Several women claimed the crown after that (most notably, Shemekia Copeland), but in the South, and among most Black listeners, Denise LaSalle was and is the Queen.

Not sure whether it's appropriate to mention this here, but she and I were working together on her autobiography when she passed. We didn't get as much done as we'd hoped, but we finished enough for the book; it should come out sometime next year (University of Illinois Press).

Her birthday is tomorrow, July 16 . . .

Yes, definitely as King Francis said. That will be a great read.
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