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Re: Blues, How Do You Do?

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:15 pm
by Adam Blake
alister prince wrote:Zeplin are a rock band.

As most of us here probably know, Zeppelin started out of a touring commitment that Page had on his hands when the Yardbirds fell apart on him. Once he had Plant, Jones and Bonham in place he hardly had time to write and rehearse a set before setting off on tour so they would jam on blues riffs while Plant would sing whatever blues lyrics or old rockabilly lyrics that popped into his head. Thus were born those plagiarised songs on the first two Zeppelin albums. Unlike most of us here, I enjoy them, but I wouldn't call them blues!

Re: Blues, How Do You Do?

PostPosted: Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:05 pm
by Rob Hall
Adam Blake wrote:the first two Zeppelin albums ... I enjoy them

Me too
Adam Blake wrote:but I wouldn't call them blues!

Me neither

Re: Blues, How Do You Do?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 1:05 am
by Adam Blake
Sorry Rob, I got sidetracked by Led Zeppelin (and not for the first time).

What you were talking about before: I think r'n'b has always referred to black American pop music. I know this brings its own problems - are The Supremes r'n'b just because they were black? Is Dusty's "Son Of A Preacher Man" NOT r'n'b because she was white?

But this brings me to your other point - this business of codifying things that can't be codified. I remember my last music teacher going through a Stockhausen score with me and how we both of us ended up laughing hysterically at the incredibly minutely detailed instructions. His take, and I wasn't going to argue, was that the Germans love to nail things to the floor and label them. (My Dutch friend laughed at this and said the Dutch like to nail things to the floor, label them and then tell you how much they cost.) But this approach fails almost immediately when applied to music from non-European and/or oral traditions.

With the blues, I wasn't being facetious when I say I try to listen with the heart. I think if you listen to the music enough, you start to respond to it on an emotional level, and all that pseudo-academic labelling just goes out of the window. Like for instance, this evening I felt a need for Tom Waits singing "Somewhere" - off the "Blue Valentines" album. Of course that's not a blues, it's not even arranged in a bluesy style, but he sings it as one, and you respond to it accordingly. Or at least, I do. (I listened to the whole album in the end. How do you take it off? One of my favourites.)

Re: Blues, How Do You Do?

PostPosted: Wed Jun 10, 2015 10:33 am
by alister prince
Adam, you've introduced the word 'listen', the salient point. What is (any form of) music for? Obviously to listen to. I differentiate between listening and hearing. Years ago PaulOliver (calm down!) described blues as being a bit like African sculpture - at first glance, to the uninitiated eye, it often looks (very) similar. Get to know it a bit and you soon get to recognise how diverse it all is. Put simply - listen. Once you start doing that you start to be moved by the music, it becomes an emotional relationship which is enhanced when the performer puts their emotions into it. Viz Tom Waites. Why we have these debates is because of our strong emotional relationship with the music. One of my crits of Clapton is (in my view) his lack of emotional commitment to the music. Simply, I've never connected emotionally with anything he's done. Fine technically, but where's the soul?
On another note, the use of R & B and Tamla. I can remember that as a callow youth I was surprised to hear the MC (a Tamla person) of a live review call the music 'rock and roll'. 'Surely R & B?' I thought. I soon learned that it was being called R & R as white audiences at the time would be happy to listen/buy the music and go to shows if it was. What's in a name eh...?