Dylan, the Brits, and the Blue-Eyed Soul

Ive learned that blues is hard to define. In Craig Werners article “Dylan, the Brits, and the Blue-Eyed Soul” the message conveyed is that blues can’t be pinned down with a simple definition. Bob Dylan, Muddy Waters, and The Rolling Stones are three of the main artists depicted in this article but I don’t believe any one them are more “bluesy” than the other. Dylan was famous for challenging himself and his fans by straying away from folk, his initial musical choice, and adding electric guitar. Why was Dylan harassed for this? Werner tells how the “British bands felt none of the aversion to rhythm and volume that drove pacifist Pete Seeger into a violent rage when he threatened to cut the electric cords plugged into Dylan’s guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival.” Blues isn’t confined to one musical form. It could be about politics like was thought initially about Dylans “Ballad of a Thin Man”, but its just as likely to be about the sound and how it makes you feel. When questioned on the subject of war Dylan responded satirically “ How do you know, that I’m not as you say, for the war?” Dylan’s work also shows the heart of the artist and portrays the struggles he endured. Werner states “It isn’t about the consolidations of philosophy or the dodge of ideology. Its about how it feels to be existentially adrift, a broken piece of a fallen world.” Dylan work was a new blend of blues. The Rolling Stones were another band that redefined Blues. Werner points out “They introduced black music to multitudes of white americans who didn’t know John Lee Hooker from John Hope Frankin. “Their songs hit hardest in the vanilla suburbs and cream-of-wheat heartland, where American teens lacked exposure to the real thing.” The Stones were just one band that covered songs from other Blues players.Their first U.S. Single was Muddy Waters “I Just Want to Make Love to You”. The relationship between Mick Jagger and James Brown is a perfect example of the interaction between the British rockers and their black idols. Brown describes the Stones as “Brothers” and even revels in the immediate impact he had over Micks performance on the T.A.M.I show. This mixing of types of blues as well as the the impact of the british invasion on blues cannot be overlooked, and “the nation was on the verge of a fundamental change”.

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