Iain Cameron's Diary
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2005-01-22 - 1:09 p.m.

I have been talking to Trevor Dann about his research for his ND book, having not thought much about such matters for several months. Trevor mentioned the Cambridge band, Thunderbox, and as luck would have it I got an e-mail from the Thunderbox visionary, Jon Cole. TD also mentioned Guarlinkís book about Robert Johnson and this made me reflect further on the history of the blues, and how complicated it is.

Marybeth Hamiltonís radio programme, the Room Where the Blues was Born, is still up on the radio 3 website. Itís mainly about James McKune who was a pioneering collector old Delta Blues 78s in New York City. He was murdered in the early 70s but some of the people who learned from him such as Joe Bussard have lasted longer. Hamiltonís point is that McKune unearthed the Delta Blues in the 1950s and had he not done so it would have disappeared with the fragile records. - a nicely extravagant thesis and all the more fun because of it.

The Cambridge Companion to the Blues and Gospel gives a more complicated view. Robert Johnson had admirers right from the initial release f his records prior to WW2. Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker spanned the Delta Blues artists who mentored them when they were young and the emergence of electric blues post WW2.

In the 50s blues lost its black audience - just at the point when it began to blend with all sorts of other genres. In CCBG, Dave Headlam distinguishes between four types of blues appropriation in the late 50s and 60s. These are Liverpool Bands, London-based bands like the Stones, Graham Bond , Alexis Korner and Cream; their equivalents in the US liked Canned Heat and Paul Butterfield and the folk/blues movement which included Bob Dylan and had a psychedelic wing on the West Coast. Rock evolved from the second, London based group. Within this fourfold categorisation there is an affinity between groups 3 and 4 in as much as when Dylan chose to go electric he initially performed with Paul Butterfield Blues Band.

Headlam believes that within the second group there is a preservationist wing who treat the blues, especially Delta Blues as something to be preserved in a Museum rather than developed as a resource. The acoustic blues styles are especially prone to preservationism. The rediscovery of old records of the acoustic styles must have helped this trend.
One could place Pink Moon fairly safely in the psychedelic folk/blues wing of this categorisation but the earlier stuff fits less neatly even though the solo guitar techniques can be traced back to that source. One reason for this is its musical sophistication. Such sophistication is sourced most easily in jazz or the types of pop music where blues and jazz have blended such as Tamla and where gospel based keyboard may also be traced..

So Mehldau in Tokyo has arrived - opening with a stunning reading of Things Behind the Sun and then Jarrets himself into a fabulously romantic take on Someone To Watch Over Me.. Paranoid Android goes to How Long Has This Been Going On which exits into River Man. Enough Said?

Seem to have got the portable to play USB to an external soundcard without clicking.

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