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Author Topic: Whose the best blues artist?  (Read 1788 times)
jox51
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« on: July 04, 2005, 10:26:00 PM »

My vote goes for RJ and RGD.

These guys were wizards of music and were ahead of the game in their time. There stuff is original and easy and prfoundle edgy to listen. Its what the blues is all about.
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Barefoot Rob
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« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2005, 12:43:40 PM »

?????Who are these guy's?
TOOOOOO many of the old master's to pick just one.
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« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2005, 12:49:47 PM »

I am guessing he's thinking Robert Johnson and Reverend Gary Davis.


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« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2005, 04:26:42 PM »

Took me a second too, but I would bet you are right on both counts. Hard to argue with those two choices. I love the Reverend's work in particular. Johnson's influence is undoubtedly the parallel of Satchmo's in the Jazz world.
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damianip
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« Reply #4 on: July 06, 2005, 08:14:28 PM »

While I love the Reverend, he abandoned the blues by the early forties. His influence went far beyond blues, so I would be hesitant to name him as a definitive blues artist. Like Blind Willie Johnson, he shaped and influenced blues players more through his gospel work rather than defining it through the direct playing of the blues.

RJ, on the other hand, was a brilliant synthesizer. He must have had great ears and memory: he stole from the very best of his contemporaries (Hambone Willie Newbern, Charlie Patton, Willie Brown, Son House) to develop a style which made him a legend in a very short time. However, I'm wondering if he would be so revered if Clapton had found someone else to idolize.

For my money, there was no better blues singer than Son House for sheer emotion and powerful delivery.

Beyond that, it's hard to really name a definitive "best". A personal favorite of mine is Robert Pete Williams who was just way "out there" in terms of phrasing and composition. However, others may find his interpretation and style lacking in "purity".

If I had to pick one, I'd go with Skip James. However, that would ignore hundreds of other artists who have be criminally ignored already.

Paolo
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« Reply #5 on: July 06, 2005, 09:53:35 PM »

I vote for Little Brother!!!
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« Reply #6 on: July 07, 2005, 10:58:54 PM »

Vocals
Billie Holiday
Etta James
B B King

Influence
Robert Johnson
Muddy Waters
B B King

Guitar
Albert Collins
B B King
T Bone Walker

Albert King and Freddy King aren't to shabby in any of the above categories

Harp
Sonny Boy williamson
Mr Downchild
King Biscuit Boy

And who can forget the man himself
All the way from Chicago Illinois
Mr James Cotten
 ^_^

Just my 2 ¢
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jox51
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« Reply #7 on: July 07, 2005, 11:40:10 PM »

While I love the Reverend, he abandoned the blues by the early forties. His influence went far beyond blues, so I would be hesitant to name him as a definitive blues artist. Like Blind Willie Johnson, he shaped and influenced blues players more through his gospel work rather than defining it through the direct playing of the blues.

RJ, on the other hand, was a brilliant synthesizer. He must have had great ears and memory: he stole from the very best of his contemporaries (Hambone Willie Newbern, Charlie Patton, Willie Brown, Son House) to develop a style which made him a legend in a very short time. However, I'm wondering if he would be so revered if Clapton had found someone else to idolize.

For my money, there was no better blues singer than Son House for sheer emotion and powerful delivery.

Beyond that, it's hard to really name a definitive "best". A personal favorite of mine is Robert Pete Williams who was just way "out there" in terms of phrasing and composition. However, others may find his interpretation and style lacking in "purity".

If I had to pick one, I'd go with Skip James. However, that would ignore hundreds of other artists who have be criminally ignored already.

Paolo


I just saw a DVD with Son House playing Death Letter Blues and another song there, man that man can sing the blues. I know what you mean, his voice was so raw and his guitar playing was so messy; when it all adds up, he was a mean blues player. Ohh and they didnt look so rich neither, it looked like they took him off the street corner and took directly to the studio.
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Ratishna
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« Reply #8 on: July 08, 2005, 03:30:35 PM »

The best blues player?  He's the one you never heard of, who never got recorded, who never made any money, and who just played on the local street corner.  He had the blues.

E. Shoaf
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2005, 07:11:26 PM »

Robert Johnson. Muddy Waters. Howlin' Wolf. Willie Dixon and a white guy from Texas named Stevie. And I like Bob Dylan too.
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« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2005, 12:27:49 AM »

I like Duke Robillard quite a bit! :GRN>
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« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2005, 03:33:41 PM »

Not one mention of Buddy Guy? Of the still living he can't be too far behind BB.
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jambrose
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« Reply #12 on: July 30, 2005, 01:50:57 PM »

A great thread that holds the promise of much lively discussion.! Too many for me to decide, I'm with Unclrob. And my brain is not up to making a list this morning, not even for groceries of which I need to really do.. I'll leave it there...my 2 cents. I think I'll play by guitar for a while now.
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« Reply #13 on: August 13, 2005, 11:55:13 PM »


 I don't think that their Is a best---some just continue to take It a little bit farther
than they found It! Excluding all purists of course,the blues just seem to get better
each and every passing year.If we constantly live our music In the past,then there
Is of course no hope for intovation and Improvement In the future!!!

        Mike
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« Reply #14 on: August 15, 2005, 06:23:56 PM »

I don't think that their Is a best---some just continue to take It a little bit farther
than they found It! Excluding all purists of course,the blues just seem to get better
each and every passing year.If we constantly live our music In the past,then there
Is of course no hope for intovation and Improvement In the future!!!

        Mike

Yup.  There's no such thing as the "best" when it comes to blues, or any other type of music.  There are those who were blessed with raw talent, some of which ascended to what we think of as the pinnacle of ability, but music is so subjective that there is just no way to say that one bluesman was better than another.  How can you say that RGD was "better" than Blind Blake? Or Robert Johnson was "better" than John Hurt?  Better at what?  It just doesn't work that way, at least not to me.   I'm just happy that we have the recordings we have.  Just think, these players were probably just the tip of the iceberg.  How many were never "discovered"?  How many styles did we lose along the way?  Each of the artists we discuss brought something a little different.  Some developed techniques that were not easily duplicated (RGD, Blind Blake).  Some developed techniques that were more accesible, yet the emotion or passion or blues underlying the technique is what's  difficult to duplicate (John Hurt, Skip James).  Regardless, I love listening to them all.  They have all enriched my life.   

This is not a rant, though it might sound like one.  I just can't see arranging these artists into some subjective ranking scheme.  They weren't competing, they were just trying to get by, and although music was a vehicle for many of them to put food on the table, it was also much more than that.  And it still is.  If you want to talk about favorites, that's one thing, but the "best" blues player....I guess I just can't get my head around that.  Okay, I'm fine now.....      
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« Reply #15 on: August 15, 2005, 07:07:17 PM »

"If you're happy and you know it ... "  :rolleyes:
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« Reply #16 on: August 15, 2005, 08:00:11 PM »

yeah...I'm having a day..... :UND>

sorry to rain on the party.....
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ducktrapper
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« Reply #17 on: August 15, 2005, 08:29:05 PM »

It's always best to ask for favourites than ask who's best. Favourites are a matter of taste and aren't worth arguing about. The best? Me of course!  afro
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« Reply #18 on: August 15, 2005, 10:31:44 PM »

Huddie Ledbetter aka Ledbelly
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« Reply #19 on: August 30, 2005, 02:40:19 PM »

hows about john lee hooker?  his vocals on most his recordings scare the crap out of me.  also muddy waters as far as being an overall god-father, and then johnny winter and stevie ray as far as later guitarists taking the blues to another level as far as interpretation goes.
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