Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Tuesday is Blues Day (#1)

That's right, I'm starting another new feature which may or may not continue. The title ought to make the basic idea pretty self-evident, but allow me to elaborate anyway.

Basically, the reason for the general lack of metal reviews so far this month is that for the past couple weeks a good 90% of the music I've listened to has been blues. Now I have actually checked out some new metal albums, and those reviews are forthcoming, but mostly I've found myself focused on blues music. I don't want to take over my blog, though, because I realize that most of the reason people read this at all is because they want to see an opinion on new metal releases. I have therefore decided on a compromise. The rest of the week, this is a metal blog (along with the assorted beard, alcohol, and random other posts I've always made) but on Tuesdays it's a blues blog. I may talk about an album, a frequently covered song, a particular scene or movement or sub-genre, or I may profile a particular artist. It all depends on my mood that day. As far as possible, though, I'd like to try to make a blues-related post every Tuesday.

For my first Blues Day post, I'd like to talk briefly about Lee Conley Bradley (pictured above) who is better known by his stage name Big Bill Broonzy. He's an intriguingly multifaceted figure in blues history, beginning his career in the deep south in the 1920s and ending up in Chicago in the 1950s. On the way, he went from a struggling country blues singer recording primitive tracks not too different from the Delta blues of Charlie Patton or Robert Johnson, to a financially successful artist who recorded with prominent folk musicians and toured Europe.

Over the course of his career, Broonzy recorded hundreds of song, both original and traditional, and many of his recordings would eventually become the basis for hit blues and rock covers. Below, I'll link a few of the most notable examples. I should note that he was not necessarily the original recording artist for these tracks, but he was a major figure in popularizing them. These are only a small sample of his work, which I strongly encourage budding blues enthusiasts to explore further on their own.

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