Archive for the ‘Blues’ Category

“By now there must be in the world a million guitar virtuosos; but there are very few real blues players. The reason for this is that the blues–not the form but the blues–demands such dedication. This dedication lies beyond technique; it makes being a blues player something like being a priest. Virtuosity in playing blues licks is like virtuosity in celebrating the Mass, it is empty, it means nothing. Skill–competence–is a necessity, but a true blues player’s virtue lies in his acceptance of his life, a life for which he is only partly responsible.”

Stanley Booth

(For more, go  here.)


… If the novelist is not sustained by a hope of money, then he must be sustained by a hope of salvation, or he simply won’t survive the ordeal. People without hope not only do not write novels, but what is more to the point, they don’t read them. They don’t take long looks at anything because they lack the courage. The way to despair is to refuse to have any kind of experience, and the novel, of course, is a way to have an experience.

Flannery O’Connor

Or, for a salvation plea you can dance to, there’s this…

Excellent article by Luc Sante on the origin of the blues. Sante reviews books on the blues by Lawrence Cohn, Alan Lomax, Stephen Calt, Peter Guralnick, and Alan Greenberg and along the way writes excellent capsule histories of early blues players Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson, Leadbelly, and others.

It’s always intrigued me that the classic blues line has five stresses, just like Shakespeare’s blank verse. And the blues, of course, like Shakespeare, is full of ghosts, murders and tragic love. Sante says some one person intentionally invented the blues–it didn’t just evolve. A blues Shakespeare, one we’ll never know…