View Full Version : The old Blues Cliche
01-13-2001, 08:52 PM
Do you believe the old cliche that you have to have lived a hard life in order to sing or play the blues efficiently?
As a guitarist, I just can't help relying on the blues, whenever I get the urge to write a guitar solo (unselfconsciously), it always comes out sounding very bluesly), I guess because for me it just sounds real.
I mean to a certain extent its really hard to say that every great blues singer has lived everything he/she sings bout. I feel that there are alot of sensitive and emotional musicians who havent necessarily been through the war, but still have the capacity to feel things, (all in all it could be the smallest incident, but everything effects people differently.[/b]
01-13-2001, 08:59 PM
Since I was 19 I've lived with women all my life! Now I'm 36 with no nagging-psycho anti-guitar chick messing with me!
P.S. If there's any girls on this site, I was KINDA being fecetious.
01-14-2001, 02:15 AM
I agree with you that blues can come from different emotions from different people. I dont think ive ever heard a happy blues song (kind of a contradiction in terms), so the lirycs usually deppict unhappy times or events.
It was once believed that sneazing was a way of expelling the devil from the soul (hence the usual reply god bless you), and i think that similarly blues music is a way of expressing and therefore expelling unhappy demons from bad times past.
i remember hearing words to a blues song about a man losing his job, then his lover leaves him, then on top of that his dog leaves him. There cant be a person out there who hasnt experienced something like this, or worse.
So, in my eyes everyone has a blues demon needing to be exorcised
Please pardon my rambling, but as a white british father of two, i have often wondered where my urge and desire to play blues has come from, and so have given the subject much thought.
01-14-2001, 09:15 AM
Being a Brit automatically qualifies you to play the Blues!
If it wasn't for some of your "Homeboys" we wouldn't have had Hard Rock and Metal.
01-14-2001, 10:43 AM
I think what you mean is you haven't heard a slow blues song that is happy. Lots of up or medium tempo ones are. How about Stevie Ray Vaughan Pride and Joy? That counts as a real blues song for sure, BB was willing to play it with him. Not a sad lyric in it.
As for having to have lived the blues, I say definitely not. The only emotion necessary for music is love...love of music. Past that, I don't think that one need to have suffered to have made great music, be it blues or any other style.
01-14-2001, 12:46 PM
I'd say that most blues songs aren't that sad at all. When I'm feeling down I don't play the blues, I usually noodle around some haunting minor-key melody. Listen to the blues scale and compare it to Am, which sounds more sad to you? I find that in comparison, the blues scale sounds almost happy.
I think the blues scale is kinda satirical, it isn't really sad, it's almost uplifting. Maybe that's why people feeling down in the dumps play the blues, not to express sadness but to lift their spirits.
Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of sad blues songs, slower stuff. I think B.B. King made some real sad stuff.
01-14-2001, 02:43 PM
i didnt hear alot of blues songs that made me wanna cry
so i think basicly anyone can play the blues, coze mostly it's ironic not sad music ...
but i still think there are people that can do it better
example: jimmy page
and people who can't
i dont know why it is going that way, but this is how it works... there are people that just don't have that blues feeling , if you know what im talking about...
like britney spears :)
01-14-2001, 05:06 PM
lol yeah Britney Spears... that skank has a lot to sing the blues about (sarcasm).
Speaking of Spears, anyone notice how when she started off her image was "the innocent girl" and now she's just "the sl ut"? Her videos are consecutively getting more and more risque... and did anyone see at the American Music Awards (I think that was it), when she was up at the podium presenting an award or something and all of a sudden she rips off her clothes? I mean c'mon... it's like she's saying "I'm tired of dancing now, so you guys can just ogle at my body". The video Stronger, case in point, she certainly knows how to manipulate her body around that chair.
Sorry, just had to vent! :)
01-14-2001, 05:11 PM
I grew up listening to the blues, and I must say I was lucky enough to have a mom with a fine record collection, :). So I was exposed to all of these very compassionate musicians at a very young age, which has always remained inside of me and has resurfaced more as I have gotten older having more experience in myself and in music. I think to a certain extent the way we are when we get older is a result of what we knew when we were children. And when it comes to singing the blues, we don't necessarily have to suffer in order to sing with enough steam, we just have to spend enough time finding our sweet spot, that special spot inside of us that we arent afraid of, (and arent afraid to acknowledge.)
01-14-2001, 07:27 PM
In my opinion, I don't think that you have to have had a bad life or whatever to have the blues, there can be certain things that get you down and you can draw from that energy. I know a lot of people can look into the eyes of others, step in their shoes if you will, and visualize the pain and suffering that they might be going through at the time.
01-15-2001, 02:16 PM
Woke up this mornin', great big smile on my face, my woman aint' done left me, I aint' got no complaint. - There you go, the worlds shortest blues song, yeah it does'nt sound right with nothing to complain about, does it? Mind you Eric Clapton did alright, a middle class white boy from a leafy suburb of London, no lack of privileges, not a member of a repressed minority, granted he lost his mother at an early age but no real big handicaps, yet when he plays the blues you'd swear he was a young black man from the delta. Maybe he went down to the crossroads for real, I wish I knew for sure cos Legba could have my soul for sure if he could get my mojo working.
01-15-2001, 05:04 PM
I think whats becoming clear here is that blues music as well as any other kind of music means different things to different people.
I know there are variose styles of blues music in a variety of tempo's,some actually on the edge of jazz.
But have to say that for me what tipifies blues is the soulfull expressing of a persons sadness. i dont mean to sound like a manic depressive here but i realy do think
( be it right or wrong )that the origins of blue music derives from opression, povity and general bad times.
i do take the point that i may have generalised a bit when refereing to blues music being all sad, but i think that youll agree that the greater majority of blues is in fact mornful
01-15-2001, 07:18 PM
Originally posted by howie50
Eric Clapton did alright...when he plays the blues you'd swear he was a young black man from the delta.[/B]
Yes, because of Eric Clapton's love for the blues he was able to put himself in the right frame of mind to playing with much conviction, this guys is talented beyond words. (Not just from a technical aspect), hes one of the greatest songwriters Ive ever had the priviledge of listening to, he just has that certain flair to his music, (where you just have to pay attention to what hes doing. Like I said, its all about the little things that life has to offer, (and how we find a way to cope with our imediate reality.)Knowing that everything effects people differently, musicians (blues musicians) should be judged by their level of creativity, instead of who has suffered more.
01-17-2001, 07:48 AM
bout the blues-thang....
....We are all ****'ed up somehow, right? :cool:
Peace n' fiddles
01-17-2001, 04:53 PM
Think about this though. It took him years of experience to get were he's at right now. He plays the blues as well as any of the greats now. I don't think that has always been the case. Clapton has gone through a lot and now that he's cleaned up his blues sound "right."
01-20-2001, 05:30 AM
Eric was playing great blues way back in the 60's, his work with the Bluesbreakers was outstanding, grantd it was mainly loud electric blues with little subtlety, but back then he was not addicted to heroin, he had not lost a child, and he was not at that time hopelessly in love with Patti (Layla) Boyd who was George Harrison's wife. He was a young man on his way to the top, you see no troubles yet he still managed to coax tortured screaming blues licks from his guitar. He's just got a great feeling for the blues, it's inside you and you can't get away from it. I think Eric could take 'Happy Talk' and make it lowdown, dirty and heartbreaking.
01-22-2001, 05:35 PM
There are many happy blues songs. B.B. King's "Sweet Little Angel" for instance, or John Lee Hooker's "Boom Boom". A song doesn't have to slow tempo or be about "My baby done left me" to be blues. It's all about the style. It's the way you sing it and the way the instruments are played. Sort of like the difference between rock and jazz or heavy metal. It's about style. You don't have to be angry or hateful to play heavy metal. It's the way you play the music that makes it metal.
That's my opinion anyway. Of course, it couldn't hurt if your woman just left you for your best friend.
01-23-2001, 01:08 PM
Yes Clapton has always been great, I'm not arguing that. I just feel that in just the last ten years, he's slowed himself down and his blues sound a lot more honest. Like he can now relate to what he's playing.
I think a good comparisson is that kid from Blues Brothers 2000. He's a great harmonica player, but when he sings he sounds ridiculous, he sounds like a little kid, which he is.
01-23-2001, 03:22 PM
You know what i love about clapton?, is his sense of style. All blues men seem to go over the top when it comes to the apparel that they wear. Clapton just comes out in a pair of jeans, sneakers and a nike sweatshirt. He's the casual bluesman. I agree with you his last 10-15 years his blues is more honest. And by him getting older i think that blues voice is coming out a whole lot better.
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