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Classic Female Blues

GUEST,livelylass 28 Jul 11 - 12:56 PM
GUEST,matt milton 28 Jul 11 - 02:28 PM
pdq 28 Jul 11 - 02:37 PM
Will Fly 28 Jul 11 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,livelylass 28 Jul 11 - 03:18 PM
GUEST,Mary Katherine 28 Jul 11 - 05:29 PM
GUEST,mg 28 Jul 11 - 06:00 PM
Crowhugger 28 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM
Fred McCormick 29 Jul 11 - 05:39 AM
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Subject: Classic Female Blues
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 12:56 PM

Listening to some of these ladies recently and when searching for a generic thread, didn't find one.

Wiki sez:

"Classic female blues was an early form of blues music, popular in the 1920s. Popular singers like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith and Ethel Waters were among the first blues artists to be recorded and were instrumental in spreading the popularity of the blues."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Classic_female_blues

And provides a list of Classic Female Blues singers here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_classic_female_blues_singers

Who do you love from this movement and why? Please post online examples of their music if possible.


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: GUEST,matt milton
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 02:28 PM

Is "Classic Female Blues" really common parlance, as opposed to just wikipedia-ese? I hadn't heard the term used in that way - as if it were a recognised movement/genre (ie like Piedmont blues or Chicago blues).

But anyway, I know what you mean.

I've been listening to a lot of Georgia White recently. I've been idly (very idly) trying to work out Georgia's songs "Almost Afraid To Love" (a heart attack of a song), "Strewin' Your Mess" (what a title!) and "Fare Thee Well, Honey" (what an even better title!!) of late. "Holding My Own" would give Finbarr Saunders (he of the 'double entendres') a hernia.

Whoever played guitar on her recordings was a mad genius - he's like a cross between Django Reinhardt, Duane Eddy and Derek Bailey.


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: pdq
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 02:37 PM

People always leave out Mamie Smith but Include Bessie Smith as a pioneer Blues singer.

Mamie had the first vocal million-selling record for any Black person male or female clear back in 1920.

The record companies immediatly took the Black folks seriously as a viable record-buying market. Many later singers would not have had a chance to record without the success of Mamie Smith.


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: Will Fly
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 02:44 PM

Memphis Minnie Douglas - not a pioneer, perhaps, but great in my book.


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: GUEST,livelylass
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 03:18 PM

I don't know Matt - I started listening to a smattering of early female blues singers, and from online searches then discovered that term under which those artists appeared to be boxed under.

Otherwise, for anyone interested in dabbling, some nice person has helpfully created a YouTube playlist here:

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLD8F084A17E42D8CD


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: GUEST,Mary Katherine
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 05:29 PM

Matt: The guitarist on SOME early Georgia White sides was a very young Les Paul.


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 06:00 PM

music box poject has some great blues singers..just go to you tube and search for blues..lead singers or musicians will be women but I don't know if they are classic female style or not since I know nothing about blues. mg


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: Crowhugger
Date: 28 Jul 11 - 06:19 PM

I have a soft spot for Ma Rainey I suppose because before I knew who she was I bought a re-release of her music on LP, just for the heck of it to see what it was all about. So I became familiar with her music first. And my other soft spot is for Bessie Smith. I learned St. Louis Blues from my mother and her version shares some of the rhythms and the enharmonic major-minor key change found in her B. Smith's version, or at least the one I've heard, if there are more than one.

I love many of the piano accompaniments not just of these two but others as well, and can only dream of playing with such fluidity and emotion.


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Subject: RE: Classic Female Blues
From: Fred McCormick
Date: 29 Jul 11 - 05:39 AM

The term classic blues originated among jazz fans, I imagine, in the 1950s. They used it to distinguish between the vaudeville/stage blues of EG., Bessie Smith, and the rougher, less sophisticated blues of say Son House or Muddy Waters.

Like a lot of musical terms, it is founded more in prejudice than objectivity. In this case, jazz fans were extremely conscious of the low esteem in which their music was held by the musical establishment. They hit back by arguing that, while jazz had grown out of slave chants and New Orleans brothels, it had evolved at an astonishing rate into a music which could stand serious comparison with anything which classical music could offer.

In other words, "classic" blues represented an interim stage between those early blues, and highly artistic vocalists such as Billie Holliday and Ella Fitzgerald.

Yes, I know the argument doesn't hold water. But that was the way a lot of people thought in those days. I recently had one old jazz fan tell me that that "jazz is the only entirely original music form which America gave to the world".

I've been wondering ever since whether the guy had ever heard of bluegrass or any of the myriad other music forms which "America gave the world".

I'm also wondering, if jazz is "entirely original", what's it doing using European harmonies, melodies, instruments etc?


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