The Blues were born out of suffering. It began with descendants of slaves in the deep south singing about the oppression they faced as black Americans. Heartbreak, woes of poverty and suffering in general were lamented over tunes which became known as the Blues. This form of music articulated frustration in a way that simple speech could not.
Dissonant harmonies, syncopated rhythms and flattened 5th (or Blues) notes work in tandem with the call & response structure to create music that is cathartic and unifying. This call & response aspect is derived from the oral tradition of African work songs and spirituals sung on plantations.
While emotional expression is ubiquitous across most musical genres, you can make a strong case that the Blues is the most emotive genre there is. The faces of iconic Bluesmen like B.B. King were often wrenched into grimaces as they poured their hearts and soul into the music they were playing.
Enjoy and subscribe to the latest Closer Look above! Scroll down for the individual tracks selected from the Blues of 1970.
The influence of the Blues on rock music in general cannot be overestimated. Iconic rock bands like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin and even Jimi Hendrix formed much of their sound on the foundation of the Blues. Without the Blues, there is no rock and roll.
Since its heyday in the 60’s and 70’s there have been various resurgences of the genre and its popularity. Most famously, Stevie Ray Vaughan revitalized the blues in the 80’s with his blisteringly quick guitar licks. He turned heads with his technical proficiency and the way that he could invoke his emotions like the Blues greats before him. Nowadays, the spirit of the Blues lives on and the torch is carried by people like Christone “Kingfish” Ingram and Gary Clark Jr.
Albert King – Blues Power
Savoy Brown – Sunday Night
Derek & The Dominos- Have You Ever Loved A Woman
Fleetwood Mac- Madison Blues
The Doors- Roadhouse Blues
B.B. King- Chains and Things
Led Zeppelin- Since I’ve Been Loving You
Hot Tuna- Hesitation Blues
Eric Clapton- Blues in “A”
Willie Dixon- You Shook Me
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