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Blues is about tradition and personal expression.
At its core, the blues has remained the same since its inception. Most blues
feature simple, usually three-chord, progressions, and have simple structures
that are open to endless improvisations, both lyrical and musical. The blues
grew out of African spirituals and work songs. In the late 1800s, southern
African-Americans passed the songs down orally, and they collided with American
folk and country from the Appalachians. New hybrids appeared by each region, but
all of the recorded blues from the early 1900s are distinguished by simple,
rural acoustic guitars and pianos. After World War II, the blues began to
fragment, with some musicians holding on to acoustic traditions and others
taking it to jazzier territory. However, most bluesmen followed Muddy Waters'
lead and played the blues on electric instruments. From that point on, the blues
continued to develop in new directions -- particularly on electric instruments
-- or it has been preserved as an acoustic tradition.
Detroit blues is blues music played by musicians
resident in Detroit, Michigan, particularly that played in the 1940s and 50s.
Detroit blues originated when Delta blues performers migrated north from the
Mississippi Delta and Memphis, Tennessee to work in Detroit's industrial plants
in the 1920s and 30s. Typical Detroit blues was very similar to Chicago blues in
style. The sound was distinguished from Delta blues by its use of electric
amplified instruments and a more eclectic assortment of instruments, including
the bass guitar and piano. The biggest Detroit blues performer to achieve
international fame was John Lee Hooker, as record companies and promoters have
tended to ignore the Detroit scene in favor of the larger, more influential
Chicago blues. The Detroit scene was centered on Black Bottom/Hastings Street, a
The Delta Blues style comes from a region in the
Southern part of Mississippi, a place romantically referred to as "the land
where the blues were born." In its earliest form, the style became the first
African American guitar-dominated music to make it onto phonograph records back
in the late 1920s. Although many original Delta Blues performers worked in a
string band context for live appearances, very few of them recorded in this
manner. Consequently, the recordings from the late 1920s through mid 1930s
consist primarily of performers working in a solo, self-accompanied context.
Either way, Delta Blues form is dominated by fiery slide guitar and passionate
vocalizing, with the deepest of feelings being applied directly to the music.
Its lyrics are passionate as well and in some instances stand as the highest
flowering of blues songwriting as stark poetry. The form continues to the
present time with new performers working in the older solo artist traditions and
style; it also embraces the now-familiar string-band/small-combo format, both
precursors to the modern-day blues
visit often for more Blues News!
All Music Guide
www.allmusic.com and reprinted with
full credit to their efforts.
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