Last Updated
September 18, 2020
Ric's Blog

Aug 14/14 - Blues rock, Rockin' the Blues

There is no other genre of music that owes a debt of gratitude to blues other than classic rock. I’ll define the classic rock term as the period between 1963 and 1978. While you might want to argue with those years, to me they are THE best years of recorded music and I feel lucky to have had them as my life’s musical soundtrack.

Flashback to 1958 and Muddy Waters visit to England. He showed up with an electric guitar (which was necessary to be heard over the drums/horns of the then current jazz/blues bands of the day) “Turned up to ten” the audiences were aghast as Muddy wailed away on his Fender guitar! Young musicians who heard it knew that this was cookin’ and were inspired to play like this. Some of the first and eventual stars to adopt playing the “new” American style were John Mayall,  Eric Clapton, the Animals and members of the Rolling Stones to name a few. Listen to any of the mentioned artists first few lps and you will have to agree that they are mainly blues. As their music progressed these bands started evolving to a more rock /R&B sound, playing to packed clubs, patrons danced the nights away.  It seemed that the electric guitar was the catalyst for these bands as the Yardbirds, Fleetwood Mac (led by Peter Green on guitar),Rolling Stones, the Who and more became popular. When these bands eventually toured the United States, they influenced a myriad of young, soon to be musicians feeding them a diet of British versions of American blues!

Early adopters of the “new” blues-rock in the U.S. included Canned Heat, Mike Bloomfield, Paul Butterfield, Steve Miller and countless others. When Bob Dylan “plugged in” at the legendary Newport Folk Festival, he employed the Butterfield blues band to back him. The blues influence is evident in lot’s of classic rock from both sides of the pond. Consider the following list, I’ll bet you know and like a few of these bands; Ten Years After, Led Zeppelin, Rory Gallagher, Savoy Brown, Foghat, J.Geils, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Cream, Free, Humble Pie, George Thorogood, Chicken Shack, Groundhogs, Crowbar, Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyd and Z.Z.Top just to name a handful and classic rock to be sure.

Bands and musicians from this era that were more blues than rock include the likes of Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Fabulous Thunderbirds, Roy Buchanan, Gary Moore and last but not least, Canada’s own Downchild Blues Band. Fast forward to today and we have another stellar crop of players like Kenny Wayne Sheppard, Joe Bonamassa, Gov’t Mule, Warren Haynes, Robert Cray, Derek Trucks and his wife Susan Tedeschi. With blues and blues/rock in their hands I’m confident that future generations will still be inspired to take up the mantle and provide great music in the years to come.

The following is a list of “Sweet Sixteen” blues/rock recordings that I can recommend ;

Howlin’ Wolf – London Sessions

John Mayall – Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton

Fleetwood Mac – Peter Green’s Fleetwood Mac

Johnny Winter – Johnny Winter

Stevie Ray Vaughan – Sky is Crying

Allman Brothers – Fillmore East

Led Zeppelin – Led Zeppelin ( 1)

Savoy Brown – Looking In

Mike Bloomfield – Super Session

John Baldry – It Ain’t Easy

McKenna Mendelson – Stink

Yardbirds – Five Live Yardbirds

Rolling Stones – England’s Newest Hitmakers

Ten Years After – Cricklewood Green

Marshall Tucker Band – Where We All Belong

ZZ Top – Tres Hombres

The above list is not complete nor in order of preference, just listed off the top of my head. Each lp has stellar blues- rock songs.

Hope you enjoy the 16th annual Southside Shuffle, show all the bands your appreciation, party safe and stop by our booth, we’ll have a great selection of blues for ‘ya



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