May 10, 2014

Blues and Rhythm Show 129 on 93.3 CFMU (Hamilton, Ontario)

Swear to Tell the Truth for Tuesday, April 29, 2014 (1:00-2:30 pm)

Our program from April 29th is still available to stream or download until May 26th. The show was a followup to out April 15th program devoted to what we called the prehistory of “The Blues Revival”. In the program we traced the evolution of mainstream interest in the blues from the so-called folk blues of the “rediscovered” artists of the twenties and thirties who suddenly found their music in demand from a new folk-oriented blues audience to the electric blues of the 1950s from performers who had already given up full-time music, like J.B. Hutto, and some who were grinding out a living playing for a diminishing black audience, For all the artists involved the new interest was very different from anything they had experienced before. When Hound Dog Taylor found himself in demand beyond the Chicago clubs he’d been playing, his peers warned him he would now have to subject himself to interviews, nothing he;d had to worry about before. The electric bands, who had to decide to what extent they accommodated or fended off requests from African-American audiences for contemporary soul numbers, now heard shouted requests every night for “Sweet Home Chicago” from their new audiences. 

Whatever the quality of the music the “revival” produced, the shift in the audience demographic changed the music so that even the corners of the commercial music industry that still catered to a hard-core African-American blues audience couldn’t completely escape the influence of the new blues market. On the other hand, the blues revival began a more-or-less systematic appraisal and rediscovery of every stream and tributary of blues history and schools of devotees dedicated to pre- or post-war blues, “classic” or “country”, “electric” or “down-home”, “rhythm & blues” and, eventually, “soul blues”. And in every school could be found a hard-core of purists. 

Of course, there was another aspect to the Blues Revival and that was the rise of mostly white blues players, who did not grow up in the tradition–those for whom blues was a stage in the development of their musical style and those who dedicated a career to a version of the blues. We only touched on this part of the story in this program and our earlier show of two weeks ago. And perhaps we should devote a program to that particular phenomenon, which may not be so well known in detail even if it is an essential part of the history of Rock.

On the Show:

Lightnin’ Hopkins – Mississippi John Hurt – Skip James – Mance Lipscomb – John Lee Hooker – Paul Butterfield Blues Band – Otis Spann – J.B. Hutto – Reverend Robert Wilkins – and others

Listen to the program at FM 93.3 in Hamilton or on CFMU online at cfmu.mcmaster.ca. The program will be available to stream or as a podcast until May 26th.

Contact Us

To reach us with comments or queries, write us at sweartotellthetruth@gmail.com.

You can also follow the program at sweartotellthetruth@nosignifying on Twitter.

Next week (May 6th)

We can say now that our May 6th program was a 90 minute feature devoted to early rhythm & blues sounds. 



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