Charles Matthews BLUESMUSE25 If you’ve read my earlier blogs, you’ll know it was a German who wrote the first African-American-inspired song after hearing slave music in Virginia in 1795; and his English wife who first performed said song in Boston in 1799. Some 20 years later, another English performer turned up in America and did… Continue reading THE ENGLISH COMEDIAN WHO SPARKED THE BLUES
Watch Dumb Ways To Die on the link below: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IJNR2EpS0jw Here’s a link to an interesting jingle aimed at saving young lives. Alternatively, it could be viewed as a waste of dosh by an organization with more money then sense. Whatever it is, it’s just another example of how Australia is becoming more and… Continue reading Dumb Ways to Die: a short commercial break from blues
BLUESMUSE24 In 1928, the former Ma Rainey and Butterbeans and Susie accompanist, Clarence ‘Pinetop’ Smith, recorded his renowned boogie piano track, Pinetop’s ‘Boogie Woogie’. A 24-year old Alabama comedian and piano player, Pinetop enjoyed one of the first-ever boogie hits with this number, which was hugely responsible for popularising the style we now know as… Continue reading It’s the first boogie woogie hit but is it rock & roll?
How I remember the Stones UPDATED SEPTEMBER 12 2016 I’ve been around the block so often, it only cost me 7/6 (about 37p or 50c) to watch the original Rolling Stones play in the local cinema. I say watch because, except for Little Red Rooster, (it was 1964, I was but a boy), you couldn’t hear any songs… Continue reading The most unexpectedly brilliant blues guitarist I ever saw
Sorry to impose a plug for my new book on you here, folks, but it’s finally available on the Amazon links below and I can’t contain my excitement. Getting all those old blues photographs and illustrations, many of them quite rare, into Kindle format, has been like trying to stuff an elephant into a mouse… Continue reading HOW BLUES EVOLVED Volume One is now available
BLUESMUSE22. TAKE A LISTEN ON THE LINK BELOW Updated and reformatted March 31st 2017 Chuck Berry (God bless him) is one of the finest lyricists known to rock & roll. Chuck also plays inimitable, dynamic, guitar-driven old-school rhythm & blues. Except Chuck’s style isn’t quite that inimitable. That’s because, in April 1949, sounding very much like the Chuck Berry… Continue reading The Chuck Berry-style guitarist six years before Chuck Berry
“He (Lonnie) certainly had a presence: the blog points are well considered. Sadly, his grace and subtlety marginalized him.” @steviegurr May 19, 2015, California. “Thank you, Paul. I enjoyed reading the writing on Lonnie Johnson you wrote. I agree he and Big Bill get overlooked.” bryanhimes @bryanhimes June 20, 2013. While I can’t agree with the blues historians… Continue reading Why Lonnie Johnson was the most influential blues guitarist of all
Updated 7 June 2016 This was the first post where I was searching for the earliest rocking blues songs – songs that could be considered rock & roll as well as blues. I finally found 20 songs of this type that I have included in my book, America’s Gift. Here are my first six from… Continue reading Rewriting rock & roll history
Before Muddy (Waters), before Buddy (Guy), before even Howlin’ Wolf, there was a white kid from Chicago’s outer suburbs recording electric blues guitar in the Windy City. His name was George Barnes and he was almost certainly the second guitarist ever to record electric blues commercially. And judging from the number of instruction manuals he brought out in… Continue reading This 16-year old white kid wrote the book on blues guitar
BLUESMUSE18 Johann Graupner The world’s first public performance of African-American-influenced music most probably occurred at the Federal Street Theatre, Boston, in 1799, but not quite in the manner the time-worn myth or Wikipedia portrays. According to popular legend, one of the era’s leading classical musicians, the German oboist, Johann Christian Gottlieb Graupner, is said to… Continue reading The English woman who sang the blues in 1799.