A conversation starter I use sometimes: if you had to listen to only one narrow genre of popular music for a road trip / year / decade — basically, for a very long time — what genre would you choose? Now, you will certainly tire of that style, so you’ll need a chaser. Pick a second genre of music to complement your first choice.
For me, it wouldn’t be Blues. My shot would be early ’90s rock; Grunge, GNR. My chaser: ’70s pop such as ABBA and various mellow US/UK acts such as Little River Band and Christopher Cross. Levity to relieve the heaviness.
Still; sometimes there’s a perfect moment for Blues. Such a moment described in an earlier contemplation on music:
I once passed through a town in northwestern Tennessee, humming Dwight Yoakam’s “Thousand Miles From Nowhere” as I drove. This was midnight, 1995. With a cigarette in my hand I searched for radio stations, hoping to get lucky and catch Bob Seger’s “Turn the Page” but instead, found a vintage Blues song. I left it on because the ghost of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who still watches over his folk in that little town, listened with me and because that recording, which lasted as long as the night, was a different kind of Clair de lune.
I know nothing about music but it’s my favorite blogging subject. Blues were developed by blacks reinterpreting Scots-Irish folk ballads. White artists who did great work in the genre:
- Stevie Ray Vaughan “Texas Flood“
- Led Zeppelin “Since I’ve Been Lovin’ You“
- The Black Crowes “Seeing Things for the First Time“
The Crowes’ song above… I linked to a live performance. You decide if it works for you. It’s very passionate. A consummate performance by the entire band. The studio version is a great obscure song of the early 1990s.
- Izzy Stradlin “Shuffle it All” (solid rebound after getting fired from Guns N Roses; my often-played song in 1992)
And this one below. It’s by Czesław Niemen. Here is an older post with some background on him and my favorite of his songs, “The Flowers of my Land.” He’s best remembered for his Sixties’ hippie aesthetic along with signature jazz- and blues-inspired music. Most of his music is in his native language, but he also recorded three albums in English.
“Why Did You Stop Loving Me” — I discovered the song a couple of days ago. A free-flowing twelve minutes of experimental, psychedelic Blues from the late ’60s or early ’70s. It starts out conventionally for the first minute-plus, and then: