I’m not sure what it is about The Blues. They certainly don’t make me sad. Something visceral I think. And as I’ve improved as a guitarist, I’ve also come to appreciate that what sounds at a glance like simple music is a multi-layered, multi-faceted mirroring of the human voice and of course the human condition.
The first time I properly noticed the Blues was in a roundabout way, through Gil Scot Heron’s Get Out Of The Ghetto Blues, which I listened to, along with all his other work a lot in the 90s. But I think the roots go back somewhat further to a childhood hearing Billie Holiday, Leadbelly, Nina Simone, Mose Allison and later Jimi Hendrix, as played by parents and grandparents. So all that just sat around in my head for years, waiting for the moment!
So where to begin with exploring the blues? Well I started with B B King, and really that’s not a bad place to start is it? I hung out in record shops, read books and sleeve notes, trawled through catalogues, borrowed cassettes from the library. I’m kind of glad I did it the old fashioned way but how amazing that with a few clicks we can now have it all in an instant.
From Memphis Minnie to Ana Popovic, Son House to Rory Gallagher, different styles, different eras, different continents: here’s a short collection of Blues. I’m pretty sure you’ll want to add some more, so let us know what they are.