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New to the Blues, recommendations of where to start.


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Initial post: 30 Sep 2011 14:20:49 BDT
lottigee says:
Hi there, I am a newcomer to blues (apologies to purists) after listening to Jeff Bridges new LP and Crazy Heart as well as Hugh Laurie. I'm interested in getting more in a similar vein and expanding my new interest but don't know where to start.
Any ideas?

Posted on 30 Sep 2011 14:39:57 BDT
The History Of Rhythm And Blues 1942-1952 : The Pre Rocknroll Years will get you the original stuff that's in the vein of Hugh Laurie's. Not familiar with Jeff Bridges stuff but if you're just getting into real blues, absolutely essential is something like A Complete Introduction To Chess which will give you an idea of the different sounds of some of the most important original electric blues artists....you can find out what you like and explore further with these samplers.
Earlier than that period is acoustic blues mainly - piano boogies, country blues, ragtime etc.
For later, more recent stuff if that's what you like, I'll let somebody else chime in as that's not my thing - although Peter Green's Fleetwood Mac is also worth a listen.
Good luck, there's so many different styles of blues, and thousands of artists - it's a fun journey and you're bound to find many things you'll fall in love with along the way :)

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Oct 2011 11:45:24 BDT
Says somethuing about the power of the blues that even after lisrening to Hugh's attempts to murder it you are still interested.
I'm not familiar with - as in haven't a clue - the sound of Jeff Bridges.

If you want a bit of blues rock then you can't go wrong with Rory Gallagher as a starting point.
The mighty voice of Howlin' Wolf and that old fav John Lee Hooker fot that matter will you a taste of the more vocal orientated stuff. Muddy Waters for something with more of a swing to it.
For a more modern approach ( and just stick one finger up to the purists) try The White Stripes and Little Axe has a take all of his own.
Early British blues try Fleetwood Mac (talking Peter green era) and John Mayall's Bluesbreakers.

This is only scratching the surface but IMO are good starting blocks that won't fail. (if they do then it's probably not for you)

Posted on 6 Oct 2011 03:54:00 BDT
S. R. Tulip says:
You could equally say that Rory Gallagher and Peter Green murdered the Blues. If it HAS to be white the first three albums by Watermelon Slim and the Workers are excellent and contemporary and maybe a little Walter Trout but really Blues is as black a music form as any except reggae and gospell.
Start with Charley Patton, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Son House, Blind Willie Johnson, Leadbelly or Robert Johnson. They're all pretty much singer and accoustic guitar with, to modern ears, not much to separate them although Leadbelly is more folky. You might want to avoid Robert Johnson cos the teeny's go mad for him with all the myths and stuff.
Mid period is stuff like John Lee Hooker, Lightnin Hopkins, Elmore James and Sonny Boy Williamson ( 1 ) but You're really just waiting for Muddy.
Golden age: Muddy*, Muddys sidemen: Little Walter, James Cotton, Otis Spann. Howlin Wolf*, Sonny Boy Williamson* ( Rice Miller ), BB, Albert* and Freddie* ( all Kings ), Buddy Guy*, Junior Wells, Otis Rush, Bobby Bland, Little Milton. From Bobby Bland all Blues artists had to be Soul singers with a capital S; this includes Albert and Freddie but not BB.
Later cats: Larry McCray, Larry Garner, Sherman Robertson, Joe Louis Walker, Luther Allison leading up to Robert Cray but really only the first 2 albums. Keb Mo's first album only ( a modern twist on old fashioned Country Blues ). Over the last few years I really like Boo Boo Davis and the aforementioned Watermelon Slim but we seem to have moved away from Soul singers ( at least with a CAPITAL S ) with shades of Howlin Wolf.
I have asterixed the people who are absolutely, absolutely essential but you should try some of the early and later stuff too. Particular albums I would check out would be:
Albert King - Wanna get Funky.
Robert Cray - Bad Influence.
Buddy Guy - Breaking Out/ Away ( I never can remember )
If you're still hooked, let the floodgates open.
If you like indie/ Britpop novelty $h!te stick with the whitestripes, or does that make me a purist?

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2011 09:16:13 BDT
Brass Neck says:
This might be a good place to start - The Perfect Blues Collection Box Set - 25 albums for about £1 each all in card replica sleeves but latest remasters with extra tracks as per the individual release. One or two 'is that really blues?' choices, eg Elvis & Little Richard, but a cracking historical survey overall;

1) Bessie Smith: The Bessie Smith Story
2) Big Bill Broonzy: Big Bill Blues
3) Little Richard: Little Richard And Buck Ram
4) Mahalia Jackson: Live At Newport 1958
5) Chuck Willis: Wails The Blues
6) Elvis Presley: Elvis Presley For Lp Fans Only
7) Jimmy Witherspoon: In Person
8) Robert Johnson: King Of The Delta Blues Singers
9) Sonny Boy Williamson And Memphis Slim
10) Aretha Franklin: Unforgettable - A Tribute To Dinah Washington
11) Son House: Father Of Folk Blues
12) Johnny "Guitar" Watson & Larry Williams: Two For The Price Of One
13) Champion Jack Dupree: Anthologie Du Blues Vol. 1
14) Otis Span: The Biggest Things Since Colossus
15) Johnny Winter: Johnny Winter
16) Percy Mayfield: Sings Percy Mayfield
17) The Johnny Otis Show: Live At Monterey!
18) Willie Dixon: I Am The Blues
19) Hubert Sumlin & His Friends: Kings Of Chicago Blues
20) Taj Mahal: The Real Thing
21) Muddy Waters: Hard Again
22) Stevie Ray Vaughan And Double Trouble: Texas Flood
23) Keb' Mo': Just Like You
24) Etta James: Life, Love & The Blues
25) Buddy Guy: Blues Singer

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2011 16:32:34 BDT
Do yuou actually have this Brass? Does the sound live up to it?

Have some of this stuff already but at the price, if it is quality sound, well worth a punt

In reply to an earlier post on 8 Oct 2011 21:58:56 BDT
Last edited by the author on 8 Oct 2011 22:00:26 BDT
Brass Neck says:
I don't have this but I do have both of the Perfect Jazz collections. Like them it's from Sony and so just like the Original Album Series (and unlike the WEA boxes of five) you get the latest remasters with extra tracks where appropriate as per the latest individual release. The only difference is the cds are in card lp repro sleeves to fit in the box and there's a booklet thrown in. You really can't go wrong at the price.

In reply to an earlier post on 14 Oct 2011 13:58:21 BDT
P. Woolley says:
I think that if you're new to the genre the best way to start is backwards from the present. You can work back to the earliest guys as you go. Also take no notice of the "must be black" boys or the "guitar stranglers"

Try these:-
Guitars - Duke Robillard, Ronnie Earl, Robert Cray, Buddy Whittington, Jimmie Vaughan, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Johnnie Basset
Loud Guitars - Luther Allison, Joe Bonamassa
Piano - Paddy Milner, John Cleary,
Acoustic - Guy Davis, Rory Block, Keb Mo, Saffire
Innovative - Otis Taylor, Mighty Mo Rodgers
Harp - Charlie Musselwhite
Rhythm & Blues - Big Town Playboys

Good hunting

In reply to an earlier post on 15 Oct 2011 18:59:24 BDT
Last edited by the author on 15 Oct 2011 19:03:53 BDT
S.R.J says:
Hi Lottigee
Gotta admit I'm a little bit confused, sometimes it seems to me you aint talking about the blues. Well certainly not so far as Mr Bridges is concerned, and definitely not the Crazy Heart album, which whilst very good indeed is not no way blues, so................... if the Crazy Heart album does it for you , then try some of Ryan Binghams stuff or some Ryan Adams perhaps.
S.R.J

Posted on 17 Oct 2011 21:09:38 BDT
Heebablob says:
Heyyy - check out *all* of Robert Cray's catalogue, not just his 'Bad Influence' disc as he's been making great albums for 30 years! He's got the lot - supreme guitarist, great voice, fine songs....the keeper of the flame!

Only a passing mention of BB King? Tch tch, he's the king of the blues. Such class and soul in all he does.

Robben Ford is a great blues guitarist with a long and formidable career - not forgetting he played with Joni Mitchell and Miles Davis when still a young fella! He has made some very satisfying albums.

Look out the cool jazz/blues genius of Mose Allison, the urban fire of The Butterfield Blues Band (Guitarists Elvin bishop and Mike Bloomfield - wow!) and the modern power groups like Gov't Mule and Little Axe...

Don't forget the ladies, either - Etta James, Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton - some belting tonsils there!

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2011 21:39:51 BDT
Well I mentioned Little Axe as a modern approach but power group???????????????????? , On the discs i have he is so laid bcak i think they went and buried him and he didn't even notice

In reply to an earlier post on 17 Oct 2011 23:59:52 BDT
Heebablob says:
Well, true - Little Axe isn't about volume for sure, but has lots of latent power! Incorrect of me to bracket Skip McDonald's brooding dubby sampled blues with the rawness of Gov't Mule :-)

However, we are here (I hope) to chat and swap likes & recommendations, so am not sure that my 'sinful day' in that coupling was really deserving of twenty question marks in admonishment...?

In reply to an earlier post on 18 Oct 2011 09:51:45 BDT
Only 20? I thought it was much more, should've gone to specsavers!!

Posted on 20 Oct 2011 22:52:53 BDT
Mr. P. Giles says:
Get a Howlin Wolf compliation

Posted on 22 Oct 2011 18:45:59 BDT
Robert Johnson! This music is life enhancing/changing. I've been listening to him for over 40 years and I still love him. I've just bought the centennial edition for the improved sound and, if you've not got any RJ, that's the place to start. I envy you not having heard him and coming to him for the first time. I'd willingly have my memory wiped just to be in that situation. He was the best - no question.

In reply to an earlier post on 22 Oct 2011 21:09:06 BDT
Sj Brooke says:
The Real Folk Blues/More Real Folk Blues Muddy Waters
Fathers And Sons Muddy Waters
Just dive straight in, lottigee

Posted on 8 Nov 2011 14:11:26 GMT
j`eff says:
I started playing "Blues" on guitar many years ago and still learning as it were,however,Ultimateguitar.com is brilliant for tab and reference from 12 bar blues to Steely Dan and Stevie Ray Vaughan solos,give it a try

Posted on 8 Nov 2011 14:22:36 GMT
j`eff says:
Just to add onto my previous comments, log onto the Hoochie Coochie Mancunian,He must be the best busker in the UK and man can he play and sing Blues mostly gigging in the middle of Manchester on Saturday afternoons.Listen and Enjoy

Posted on 11 Nov 2011 03:17:05 GMT
al-gee says:
John Mayall - Jazz Blues Fusion

Delta Souls - A Trip to the Roots of the Blues

T-Bone Walker - Very Rare

Muddy Waters - The Woodstock Album

Sunnyland Slim - Slim's Shout

Freddie King - Larger Than Life

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Nov 2011 07:06:02 GMT
Carradale says:
Love a good blues but not fanatical in the same way I am perhaps about jazz.
Been listening to some Jimmy Reed recently which i really enjoyed. Where does he stand in the scheme of things?

In reply to an earlier post on 11 Nov 2011 21:22:38 GMT
Last edited by the author on 11 Nov 2011 21:23:59 GMT
Brass Neck says:
A great original, big influence on the Stones. Rampant alcoholic who later developed epilepsy which went undiagnosed for years cos his docs thought it was the DTs, leading to poor memory which meant that in later years he needed regular prompts ('Eddie Taylor would relate how he sat directly in front of Reed in the studio, instructing him while the tune was being recorded, exactly when to start to start singing, when to blow his harp, and when to do the turnarounds on his guitar. He also appears, by all accounts, to have been unable to remember the lyrics to new songs -- even ones he had composed himself -- and Mama Reed would sit on a piano bench and whisper them into his ear, literally one line at a time. Blues fans who doubt this can clearly hear the proof on several of Jimmy's biggest hits, most notably "Big Boss Man" and "Bright Lights, Big City," where she steps into the fore and starts singing along with him in order to keep him on the beat.') but such a languid, lazy laidback way wiv der blooz ...

Posted on 19 May 2012 15:13:20 BDT
P. ROBERTS says:
If you are new to the genre, then the best way to start is with a good reasonably priced anthology of which there are many on Amazon. Then decide after several plays what your preferred artists are and search them out on the web. These days it could be better to just download individual tracks, but that doesn't give you good insight into particular artists. Often vinyl and cd's come with extensive liner notes which give invaluable information re the artist and recordings.

Posted on 20 May 2012 11:29:50 BDT
[Deleted by the author on 20 May 2012 11:30:17 BDT]

Posted on 20 May 2012 11:31:38 BDT
first get yourself some work and money troubles...yeah,ok good
now find out your lady is permitting entry to a back-door man of some variety,
throw in a bit of hassle with the law and a bit of a booze problem...

yes ? damn straight you got the blues

Posted on 27 May 2012 22:56:01 BDT
bookworm says:
Joe Bonamassa and Beth Hart album "Dont Explain"
anything by Taj Mahal
Eric Bibb (not all but some )great blues guitar on his albums
Ruthie Foster
Keb Mo
and a brand new contender Oli Brown ,this young man is phenomenal
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Discussion in:  blues discussion forum
Participants:  27
Total posts:  46
Initial post:  30 Sep 2011
Latest post:  20 Dec 2014

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