How smart were those early black blues pioneers?

BluesMuse9. Another misconception about the blues is that African Americans in the genre’s early days had no education. The great W. C. Handy, who virtually single-handedly standardized the blues into its modern 12-bar format between 1912 and 1920, had a teaching degree. Handy’s publishing partner, Harry Pace, who went on to found the African-American-owned Black… Continue reading How smart were those early black blues pioneers?

From Russia (and Ukraine) with love. How Sebastopol tuning opened the door to open blues tuning

“It’s like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like you wrote the book on it or something. I think that you could do with a few pics to drive the message hoome a little bit, but other than that, this is great blog. A great read. I will certainly… Continue reading From Russia (and Ukraine) with love. How Sebastopol tuning opened the door to open blues tuning

Did George Bernard Shaw write the world’s first anti-rock music review?

Admittedly, it wasn’t a good review, but one of the earliest descriptions of the wild pre-blues African-American-style music heard in London during 1890 came from no less a source than the celebrated Irish playwright, George Bernard Shaw. The photograph below was taken around the time Shaw wrote his damning account of being forced to listen… Continue reading Did George Bernard Shaw write the world’s first anti-rock music review?

Landmark Blind Lemon tracks recorded 86 years ago this month

BluesMuse 3. Blind Lemon Jefferson, Furry Lewis and The Rolling Stones. This month is the 86th anniversary of the recording of the only two Blind Lemon Jefferson tracks that give us a true picture of the legendary performer’s talent. Known as the ‘Father of the Texas Blues’, Lemon recorded about 100 tracks for Paramount between… Continue reading Landmark Blind Lemon tracks recorded 86 years ago this month

Here’s a top rock & roll track written in 1917

This post was revised on 12 June 2014 due to the original link to the Ted Mulry Gang’s 1976 recording of  ‘The Darktown Strutters’ Ball’ being removed because it was “NOT ALLOWED”. ‘The Darktown Strutters’ Ball’, a song from the year ragtime-jazz split from ragtime-blues, has been recorded by many great artists over the years,… Continue reading Here’s a top rock & roll track written in 1917

When Birmingham UK gave birth to heavy metal

Blues Muse 1. Black Sabbath as they looked back around 1968. It looks like butter wouldn’t melt in Ozzie’s mouth (second right), doesn’t it? Last night, my son was lucky enough to watch the original Black Sabbath perform – thunderously live – in Melbourne, Australia. All the original line-up were there, except the drummer, Bill Ward.… Continue reading When Birmingham UK gave birth to heavy metal

How Blues Evolved

How Blues Evolved An Illustrated History of the genre that gave us jazz, rock & roll, pop and rock music. By Paul Merry Did you know that last year, 2012, marked the 100th anniversary of the first blues sheet music ever published? Unless you are a blues historian, you probably didn’t, because this significant milestone… Continue reading How Blues Evolved