A scrapbook of blues

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #12

Blues is, and always has been, music about the tapestry of life.

I feel lucky to have such a rich stream of inspiration that brings me much enjoyment, as a reader, writer and a listener, as well as a DJ and a dancer.

Being part of a wider community of blues musicians and dancers makes my life considerably more interesting, and I feel lucky to get to travel to different places to play beautiful music for people to dance to.

One of the things I love most is that feeling of complete immersion that I get from blues music and dance. DJing and dancing allow me to be in the here and now; it almost feels ike a meditation practice for me at times.

My Blues Journal

I write long-hand most mornings and I have a special journal that I take away with me to blues weekends. This morning I was looking back through that journal, plus another one that I took with me to MezzJelly Blues in New York this summer.

I was inspired to begin a blues scrapbook this year, to collect writings and music notes, tickets, passes, postcards, photos and other memorabilia. I feel quite excited to do that. I’ve already decided that I need to buy a new hardback journal especially for that purpose.

That idea, in turn, has inspired this post today.

I was going to write a different post, but this idea found its way into my imagination and I had to give in.

Memories of 2017

I would like to offer you a window into my world through a scrapbook of notes, photos and people who’ve inspired me in my blues world this year.

Here we go:

Continue reading

Ray Charles | Hard Life & Success of a Blues Genius

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #11

Written by Brooke Filsinger

Ray Charles by Greg JoensKnown as “The Genius” the world over, he was simply “Brother Ray” to friends and fellow musicians.

He was a musical pioneer in every sense.

It would be impossible to classify him in a single genre. He was on the cutting edge of the development of soul music in the 1950s and integral to the integration of country with other styles during the 1960s. In an effort to have his listener ‘feel’ his message, he filled his recordings with slurs, glides, shrieks, wails, breaks, shouts, hollers and more.

In addition to being one of the first African-American musicians to be granted artistic control which allowed him the freedom to crossover into mainstream pop, he was also offered a large annual advance, higher than usual royalties, and the almost unheard of ownership of his masters.

But despite his ingenuity, he wasn’t immune to the changing times – he experienced ebbs and flows as popular tastes changed, although he never stopped re-inventing what his music could be.

Frank Sinatra believed that he was “The only true genius in show business”.

We knew him simply as Ray Charles . . . but there was nothing simple about Ray Charles or his music.

12-days-christmas-lights-opacity
Listen to All songs in this article:

Continue reading

Let’s hear it for the girls! Celebrating Blues Women

12 Days of Blues-Mas 2017 | Episode #10

Written by Claire Snook

Ahhhh, the blues. There’s something about this music that has captured the imagination and interest of millions of people across the world and decades. The idea of a lone man with his guitar, hobo-ing around the Mississippi Delta or playing in the dark clubs of Chicago and New York, trying to make ends meet with their music is an established one that runs deep in modern culture.

That image was hugely reinforced with the rediscovery of blues in the sixties, with encouragement from promoters to appeal to a new audience, and it worked. The careers of many bluesmen were relaunched and they got to travel the world, playing the music they’d written and sung twenty or thirty or even forty years earlier.

Obviously great to see these musicians finally recognised!

But what about the women?

Women in Blues Continue reading