Can White Guys Sing The Blues?

Discussion in 'The Okie Corral' started by reniram, Nov 5, 2019.

  1. reniram

    reniram

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    Recently read an interview with the late great Muddy Waters. He said that while there are many fine white blues instrumentalists (exact quote was "some of them can play rings around you") none of them can "vocalize like the black man". He had a point IMHO.

    OTOH the late great jazz saxophonist Lester Young said his favorite blues vocal performance of all time was Frank Sinatra's take on "Blues In The Night". Of course Sinatra didn't try to sound like a black man when he sang the blues.
     

  2. Dave514

    Dave514

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  3. Gfive45

    Gfive45

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  4. reniram

    reniram

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    He had the advantage of being a southerner which helps. My favorite all around vocalist in any genre is his fellow Texan Delbert McClinton.
     
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  5. KennyFSU

    KennyFSU

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    Can blue guys sing the whites?
     
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  6. FullClip

    FullClip Native Mainiac CLM

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  7. Bomber Nav

    Bomber Nav

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    I don't like the blues. They make me....sad.
     
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  8. sciolist

    sciolist On the Border

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  9. oldmick

    oldmick

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    Wow, what about Eric Clapton or Stevie Ray Vaughan? And I thought Joe Cocker was black the first few times I heard him sing. I’m sure I could name more if I took the time.
     
  10. varget

    varget

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    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  11. HollowHead

    HollowHead Firm member

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    I thought Popa Chubby was black and not a Jewish kid from the Bronx. HH
     
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  12. reniram

    reniram

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    Got every one of their albums. Butterfield was amazing on harp as were Bloomfield and Bishop on guitar, but Butterfield could not (as Muddy Waters said) "vocalize like a black man". Hell, you can hear the difference on the very first album when drummer Sam Lay took the vocals on "Got My Mojo Working". It's still a great album with one of my favorite versions of "Mystery Train".

    Edited add that Buzzy Feiten was unbelievable as a 17 year old guitarist in the band on the "Keep On Moving" album and at Woodstock.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  13. longhair

    longhair

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    I've known two local blues musicians that could. Both were white and didn't sound white or black, just blue.
     
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  14. Wizzz

    Wizzz

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    I love blues music...anyone could sing or play an instrument with blues music. I appreciate it so much more because I play and sing.

    Other countries have their own versions of the blues with different tones and instruments.

    I can listen to blues music all day every day.
     
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  15. reniram

    reniram

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    Even in the US. The original country music (not the country pop pablum of today) was the white man's blues (and like Al Anderson sang "It didn't come from outer space, it came from the South") :)
     
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  16. Walk Soft

    Walk Soft

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    Yep.

    View: https://youtu.be/4WXYjm74WFI
     
  17. Borg Warner

    Borg Warner

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    Well, muddy has a point, but BB king said about Peter Greene, "He has the sweetest tone I have ever heard. He was the only one who gave me the cold sweats" --of course he was "only' talking about his guitar playing, but Peter Green could sing the blues, too. And I think to either sing of play the Blues, you've just got to have soul.

     
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  18. Berto

    Berto woo woo

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    IMO Muddy was more referring to where the blues came from vs the actual nuances of their vocal style. Many bluesmen of the Chicago or Mississippi Delta types were rightfully ambivalent of British white dudes copping their licks.
    ....but Clapton was the real deal, his roots, upbringing and early life were hard times and he gained the respect of those guys.
    So yeah, white guys absolutely can.
     
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  19. 3glkdog

    3glkdog

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