Let’s find out why we like the blues first, so we can all be on the same page. Shall we define the Blues so we can take it from there? Well, I really can’t do that with much confidence at all. Suffice it to say the only other music style that pulls as much emotion from me would be Opera. This in no way diminishes Rock or Jazz or their ability to move me, in any way. It’s just that, to me, the Blues and Opera are slick, poignant, raw wake-up punches in the face that I can’t avoid. No other emotive grooves possess such a grip, nor do any elicit such wide ranging emotional responses from me. So, there’s where I am with the Blues. That fat sound makes me wanna move, fuck, pummel, grow, stomp, cry, shout it to all my brothers and sisters or maybe sit and shake a little at the profundity of any choices that went south – or even that helped me soar.
Maybe you have a different interpretation? In any case, as it’s me sitting here hitting the keys – we’ve defined the Blues. We have also inadvertantly laid out why we enjoy the Blues – because you and I both know that music isn’t just a bunch of monkeys pounding on the bongos. It’s in the trees and the water and horns and birds; it’s every heartbeat…and the folks around us that know it and can hear the music everywhere meld their own internal grooves with it and there you go, thumping, pulsating, rockin’, smarmy blues all over the place, just drop the needle or take a walk.
That’s why we like the Blues; because we like all the above and we like feeling that. In fact, we can’t do without it, whether someone is laying it down or we’re immersed in the Blues of the Earth as we make our way through. We like the Blues because it’s in us and it is all around us, it is the music of us.
This morning I dropped the needle on some Big Mama Thornton, it’s playing now. It’s a reissue of her Sassy Mama! album on Vanguard originally released in 1975. I’m not listening to it as much as I am being held by it. There it is…I had been waiting to crack this album open and I couldn’t wait any longer. Man it is thumpin’. Oh, man is it…hold on, now…there it is…
What was I writing about? See? I can’t even….she’s right behind me, with her band. The fat blues grooves are spilling out all over the room, leaking into the forest. I don’t think anything listening can be held accountable for anything that happens while Big Mama Thornton hands it to us. I’m done, man, I can’t even keep in my chair…
Big Mama Thornton – Sassy Mama! Fucking run, man. Run to it, find it, drop the needle, succumb….The Blues.