From Fleetwood Mac and Led Zeppelin to Cream and The Allman Brothers, many of the most commercially successful rock bands started out playing blues music. Classic rock is steeped in the blues. At the onset of an early Rolling Stones tour in the 1960s, Mick Jagger asked about Chicago blues and slide guitar great Muddy Waters. Eric Clapton once revealed he felt compelled to connect the dots in blues music history through his songs.
That crazy diamond and cofounding member of Pink Floyd, Syd Barrett, was a major blues enthusiast. So is Floyd guitarist extraordinaire, David Gilmour. The list of artists who have been influenced by blues music is probably endless. Of course, fans connect with musicians by way of the artists’ songs. That is precisely where Ten Excellent Blues Songs to Remember comes in.
Whether it is an acoustic number, electric done with open tuning, a slide guitar or a cappella, interesting, exciting and unusual blues songs are musically wrapped in different ways. Keeping that in mind, Ten Excellent Blues Songs to Remember draws attention to a small but persuasive cross section of memorable songs. Chapters include a discussion of tracks from Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Son House, Pink Floyd, Delaney and Bonnie and others. But this is just a small slice of the blues pie. Nevertheless, icons as well as lesser known artists deserve equal attention. After all, it’s the songs that tie everyone together.
Age does not invalidate exceptional talent or work. That includes the blues. In fact, a good song will typically stand the test of time. What’s more, while blues music embraces legendary artists like Billie Holiday and Ma Rainey, the same philosophy incorporates the contemporary talents of Bonnie Raitt, Shemekia Copeland and a host of others. That’s the impressive thing about the blues. There is room for everyone. The same message holds true in Ten Excellent Blues Songs to Remember. Chances are you will connect with a song, an artist, or possibly both in one of the chapters. Then again, you might discover something totally fresh. That’s okay too. For some, what’s new is old.
If there was ever a book about blues music that belongs in your library, it’s Ten Excellent Blues Songs to Remember.
Photos: Mick Jagger – Marcel Antonisse/Anefo/Nationaal Archief/Creative Commons (CC); Fleetwood Mac – Warner Bros. Records/Billboard page 86, Jun. 25, 1977/public domain pre-1978/(CC); Syd Barrett – Bojars (own work)/(CC); Bonnie Raitt – Bonnie Raitt, Alan Light/(CC); usage of photographs from Creative Commons does not constitute endorsement by the author/source in any way.