Friday, March 21, 2008

The Blues is Where It's At

There really is no other music that I dig like the Blues. Of course, you might expect me to say that being that I'm a Blues DJ who's been on the air for more than a decade.

Believe it or not, there have been moments when I looked at some of the bigger name DJs on the big rock n' roll stations and envied them for their popularity and special perks. However, things have changed from the old days when rock n' roll ruled the airwaves. In fact, they now call it Classic Rock. Kinda like Classic Cars. What they are really saying is "old rock" and "old cars."

I hadn't really thought about any of this for a long time. I was going along doing my radio show twice a month, and I was very happy with that.

Then, one day I had the sudden realization that there really was nothing to envy about any other radio trip. It hit me hard. I realized that I was working with what, in my opinion, is the best kind of music in the modern world and that I am in the best place to deal with it.

Oh, I hear the occasional song that really turns me on, but most of it is geared to younger people. I'm in my fifties, and most of the stuff I hear occasionally on the radio just doesn't cut it in my book. I've been around the block more than a few times and need some music that has been there too.

Don't get me wrong. I have nothing against the music of the younger crowd. In fact, I really enjoy some of it. I just need music that has the depth and experience of the Blues.

I also really love oldies. Although, I sometimes cringe at what they call oldies these days. When I hear a song on the radio from the 1980s and they call it an oldie, I start to feel like an oldie myself.

Anyway, I really like that "old time Rock n' Roll" because I grew up on that kind of music. I feel that a lot of what I like about oldies is the memories that I get when I hear them on the radio. Oldies remind me of when I was young.

Today's Blues, especially the up-and-coming Blues that I play on my show Damn Traffic, is where it's at as far as I'm concerned.

Anyway, a lot of the elements that I like about Oldies has been naturally fused into the Blues. Today's Blues has major influences from Motown, Country, Jazz, old Rock, and just about every other oldies genre. It's always been the nature of the Blues to incorporate other forms of music and change them by improvisation. Improvisation is what makes these songs the Blues. In fact, improvisation defines the Blues and its kissing cousin Jazz.

Another thing that really turns me on is that many old rockers like Leslie West from the band Mountain and Alvin Lee from Ten Years After (remember Woodstock) have taken up with the Blues.

I really believe that many of them are really coming home because many great rockers were heavily influenced by the Blues, especially the electric Blues of the fifties and sixties. It's like Muddy Waters said, "Blues had a baby and named it Rock N Roll."

I really think that the same thing happened to them that happened to me. One day, I opened my eyes and realized that I wasn't missing anything at all being a Blues DJ because it's all happening in the Blues.


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