Blues: The Basics

Blues: The Basics

Blues: The Basics

Blues: The Basics

Synopsis

Blues: The Basicsgives a brief introduction to a century of the blues, ideal for students and interested listeners who want to learn more about this important musical style.The book is organized chronologically, focusing on the major eras in blues' growth and development. Each chapter includes a timeline relating significant social and historical events to developments in the blues. The book concludes with lists of key recordings, books, and videos.Blues: The Basics serves as an excellent introduction to the players, the music, and the styles that make blues an enduring and well-loved musical style.

Excerpt

In the early years of the twenty-first century, the blues-which, to the best of our knowledge, date from the 1890s-have grown in popularity and influence from a little-known regional style found among African Americans to a worldwide phenomenon. The blues are the heartbeat of rock and roll, and they are still played, albeit in another form, by the most advanced jazz musicians. Blues artists successfully tour the globe, communicating beyond the limitations of the English language. A CD reissue of an obscure Mississippi bluesman named Robert Johnson has sold over a million copies, and contains fervent tributes written by Eric Clapton and Keith Richards. There are blues museums, magazines, and numerous books devoted to blues singers, movies and documentary films devoted to the blues, and blues societies all over the world.

What is it about the blues that has taken the idiom from its specialized birthplace to worldwide popularity? There is the fascination of the amazing number of intricate guitar styles that have developed, the soulfulness of the singing that seems to communicate beyond the limitations of a specialized vernacular style, and the expressiveness of the lyrics. The audience for the blues has moved far beyond its original enthusiasts, and the vast number of blues recordings and performances indicate an ongoing and increasing fascination with the music.

In this brief work, we will explore the origins and development of the blues, and how they have evolved to their present popularity. But before we move forward, it might be useful to discuss why the blues seem to be relevant today, over 110 years after they first appeared on the scene.

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