Recent years

Submitted by AWL on 6 June, 2008 - 11:23 Author: Peter Burton

JB Lenoir from the Chicago blues movement in the 1950s recorded several LPs using acoustic guitar, sometimes accompanied by Willie Dixon on the acoustic bass or drums. His songs commented on political issues such as racism and the Vietnam War, which was unusual for this period. His Alabama blues recording had a song that stated:

I never will go back to Alabama, that is not the place for me (2x)

You know they killed my sister and my brother,

And the whole world let them peoples go down there free

White audiences’ interest in the blues during the 1960s increased due to the Chicago-based Paul Butterfield Blues Band and the British blues movement. British bands such as Fleetwood Mac, John Mayall and the Bluesbreakers, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, and Cream performed classic blues songs from the Delta or Chicago blues traditions.

The British blues musicians inspired a number of American blues-rock fusion performers, including Canned Heat, Janis Joplin, Johnny Winter, The J. Geils Band, Ry Cooder and The Allman Brothers Band. Many of Led Zeppelin's earlier hits were renditions of traditional blues songs. But Jimi Hendrix, was a rarity in his field at the time: a black man who played psychedelic rock. Hendrix was a skilled guitarist, and a pioneer in the innovative use of distortion and feedback in his music. Through these artists and others, blues music influenced the development of rock music.

In the late 1960s, the West Side style blues emerged in Chicago with Magic Sam, Magic Slim and Otis Rush. West Side style has strong rhythmic support from a rhythm guitar, bass electric guitar, and drums. Albert King, Buddy Guy, and Luther Allison had a West Side style that was dominated by amplified electric lead guitar.

Blues Incorporated the British R&B band of the early 1960s, although never very successful commercially, was extremely influential on the development of British rock music in the 1960s and later.

The band established a regular “Rhythm and Blues Night” at the Ealing Jazz Club in 1962. This brought together many more fans of blues and R&B music, including Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Brian Jones, Rod Stewart, Paul Jones, John Mayall, Zoot Money and Jimmy Page, some of whom would occasionally sit in on Blues Incorporated performances.

Blues Incorporated was conceived as an informal 'band'; its membership was intended to be fluid. Korners’ Ealing club and the American Folk Blues Festivals in Britain and Europe were a magnet to blues /rock musicians , combining to ensure strong and pervasive links between blues and early rock and roll music.

From the early 1970s, the Texas rock-blues style emerged which used guitars in both solo and rhythm roles. In contrast with the West Side blues, the Texas style is strongly influenced by the British rock-blues movement. Major artists of the Texas style are Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, and ZZ Top.

These artists all began their musical journey in the 1970s, but they wouldn't achieve major international success until the next decade.

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