The Blues Police

The Blues Police are a controversial topic with blues rock artists. Who are the blues police? Are they detrimental to the current blues and blues rock scene, and are they holding back up and coming artists? BRR Editor-in-Chief Pete Francis weighs in.

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4 Responses to “The Blues Police”

  1. Tom says:

    As a guitar player and blues musician for several decades, I have to second this sentiment. I enjoy and have played everything from more traditional blues to multiple hybrid styles of blues, and there is nothing more annoying than the guy after the set who walks up to give you a lecture on whether you should be allowed to have the word “blues” included when describing your sound.
    In most cases these are not musicians who play themselves (although there is this extra annoying sub variety of blues police). I have always thought it a strange piece of psychology that drives someone to cruise around local shows in their city and police the purity of blues music with musicians and fans who are there to enjoy music and have a good time.
    You cant actually prevent people from blending musical styles and calling it what they will. If it bothers you, then why show up? Bizarre…

  2. The Blues Police, the purists telling us we’re not playing blues, we know them. Often their wish to play on stage, maybe even jam (with some more conventional blues artists) on a local scene is driving them. Off course it is much easier with a well a known song or a 12 bar scheme. Sometimes they get confused with distorted guitars or faster beats, believing this is only related to rock, not blues.

    Already Muddy Waters brought lots of ROCK into a song like Hoochie Coochie man, simply played without distortion and without evolved drums and other sounds. The statement of The Rolling Stones should be very clear with their recent blues album: all we did in the last 60 years has been music based on blues.

    Regarding our band The Blues Mystery, how can you not feel the blues of that voice and these guitars: https://youtu.be/109uO2EV6RM

    Iff course we also play songs with more rock or funk influence. And not the police, the audience decides whether they like it or not.

    Have great day and keep on blues rocking!

    • Ed Pauley says:

      “Blues police,” who patrol live music venues simply to enforce a narrow definition of the blues, are detrimental to the genre. They also serve on blues competition panels as jurors with the sole intention of eliminating those who dare deviate.

      These guardians of so-called “pure blues” lack imagination and thus, can’t think in terms of “What if.” I’ve always thought of the classic 12-bar blues progression as a foundation on which to build (not bury) new ideas. Dogmatic thinking will kill the blues. Living things change and evolve.

  3. Ty Curtis says:

    Awesome man spot on!!! Music should be celebrated not policed!!!

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