Blues Revivals, Pop Music Influences

Every few years an individual rediscovers the blues. Pop music, that stuff you hear on the majority commercial radio stations, is a business. The idea is to make lots of money by selling music like it was toothpaste. You find something everybody likes and then have competitive products that are a little diverse but all standard ally do the same thing and even though they taste a little diverse not enough diverse to disturb anyone. That’s pop music.
Now and again the public gets pretty tired of the same old stuff and pop music needs a little kick in the pants. Rediscovering some old form of American music the majority people have forgotten about and bring it out as the next new thing often does the trick. It might be Country or Jazz or Bluegrass, but quite often it is the Blues.
The difference between pop music and type of music like the Blues is that there is a much smaller audiences for the type of music, but that audiences is always truly loyal, keeping it going while others ignore it. Blues, being the truly root of all roots music, is an clear option to secure inspiration from when things are getting a little stale and it’s always there in the background just waiting to be found.
In the 1st half of the twentieth century much of the most popular music has been Blues based or at least heavily influenced by it. From Big band Swing to Jazz to even Country music, Blues played an important part in their developments.
There were many so-called “Blues Revivals” in the final half of the twentieth century. The the majority recent large one was in the mid 1980’s when there was a sudden explosion of new Blues societies and festivals all around the United States. When these revivals happen it again and again means that the loyal fan base of the music is better by the addition of individuals who come from other type ofs who grow to see similarities betwixt what they like and the Blues. again and again times it’s these new folks who determine the direction the music will take in order for it to reach a broad er fans.
The the majority famous example of this has been the birth of Rock and Roll. By the mid 1950’s Blues music had lost much of its original black audiences, which had moved on to Rythm & Blues and early Soul. What seemed like something new has been just a mixing bag of styles taken from Country, Swing, and mostly from Jump Blues and R& B. This is pretty much how all new musical styles come about. When you mix up a bunch of stuff in a pot and cook it awhile, the soup you end up with has tastes from all its ingredients, but there is always one flavor that stands out. Blues is again and again that rich flavor.
In the late 1950’s and early 1960’s another less apparent revival took place with the popularity of Folk Music. This is an frequently neglected but exceedingly vital revival because it has been a time of rediscovery and reconnection with the old guard Blues artists. Young Folk performers were the ones who researched the old country Blues and actually sought out and re discovered a lot of of the old Blues performers. They learned from those originators, wrote about them, got them performing again, and taught others what they had learned through books, tapes, and nowadays videos. They truly “Kept the Blues alive” in every sense of the words.
In the mid 1960’s Blues made an even greater impact on Pop Music when both American and British artists discovered the power of electric Blues through second generation Blues men such as Muddy Waters and Howling Wolf. Rock and Roll and Roll became just Rock and Roll when lead guitar styles based on Blues improvisations came to the forefront. The Blues this time has been the grittier sounding Delta style. Rock and Roll became harder sounding with Blues as it’s base. That has never gone away.
There was another small Blues revival at the end of the 1970’s when the Blues Brothers made Blues hip again. That revival created careers for some new young players and brought some of the old Blues guys back out on the road. It was the availability of all these varied acts that made the revival of the mid 1980’s possible.
Blues has always been a bit of a secret ingredient in pop music and even pop culture. It’s used to revive careers and sell blue jeans. Every once in awhile it gets pretty cool again. Unfortunately, since something being cool is a short-term state of mind, Blues music has again begun to drift into the type of music status with a diminishing fans. Though there are still a lot of Blues Festivals, they tend to lean toward Rock and Roll Blues, leaving the true Blues lover longing for another shot of more traditional stuff. Don’t worry, Blues never really goes away. It’ll be back.

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