Why is everything that came from the blues...

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
...so much more drum-heavy and rhythmic than the blues? Blues drumming is very straight-ahead/simple, with few fills, and is strictly supportive, not the center of attention. But every other musical style that the blues “gave birth” to has more involved/dynamic drumming, with more fills, solos, etc..
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
A guitar, harmonica, voice. . .relatively cheap--COMPARED to a full on drum set. Let's think about where the blues came from. I think this is a similar reason why bluegrass doesn't have drums hardly at all. Availability, cost. . .the blues originally played by some very poor people I would assume. Much easier to add some drums later on. ?‍♂️ Just an assumption.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Evolution? Why are the neighbors dinosaurs covered in feathers and laying eggs in my yard lol?

Anything that doesnt change becomes stagnant. So we try to continually improve on what already exists. As things grow and get older, complexity starts to weave itself in to where what you once recognized is now completely foreign. Language, math, science, they all follow the same prescription too. No reason music shouldnt as well.
 

opentune

Platinum Member
I'd say the older blues are actually very rhythmic, maybe not Son House, but at least back to Howlin Wolf , Muddy Waters and Chess records stuff. Examples like Mannish Boy or Smokestack Lightnin come to mind. True the drums are not 'featured' but lots of heavy rhythm in there. Fills and embellishment can detract from those songs, the same way too many fills in an AC/DC number don't add anything.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
Evolution? Why are the neighbors dinosaurs covered in feathers and laying eggs in my yard lol?

Anything that doesnt change becomes stagnant. So we try to continually improve on what already exists. As things grow and get older, complexity starts to weave itself in to where what you once recognized is now completely foreign. Language, math, science, they all follow the same prescription too. No reason music shouldnt as well.

But the evolution hasn’t been random. Literally every child of the blues is more drum-heavy than the blues. And every one of those genres gets more drum-heavy over time. And the drum parts get harder and harder. Look at how much harder heavy metal drum parts are today than in the early/mid 70s.
 

larryace

"Uncle Larry"
My thoughts are something along the lines of Ringo. Ringo got a lot of flak for playing too "simply". (ha ha) Blues (not modern blues) with drums are similar. People hear early blues that have drums, and the drums mainly keep time. Of course there are exceptions. Howlin Wolf made his share of exceptions. It's my opinion that the guys who came afterwards wanted to up the game, drumming-wise. (and guitar-wise) But that made it into blues rock, not blues.

With blues, IMO stripped down beats work best. Blues phrasing, which to me means playing a guitar line, then leaving some space before the next emotional statement...that really gets me. Call and response stuff. Build that up to a peak then drop it off the cliff. Dynamics, the building and collapsing of volume, rebuilding etc. for the next soloist, keeping strict time, and authentic-ness...trump fill based drumming. In Blues. It's all about the beat, not the fills. Any fills I use tend to be long tones, press and double stroke rolls, not single stroked tom fills. Unison triplet buildups go well too in the right spots. I'll single stroke for endings, but generally speaking, not during the song

Blues Rock is like Rock to me, anything goes. Blues phrasing is emotional. Heartfelt. Not technical wow factor stuff. It's controlled (to a certain extent) yet highly emotional, that's the beauty of it. Blues have that great balance of restraint and freedom.

It's hard to hold back when playing blues. To substitute it with subtle, even more powerful stuff. It's a real re-thinking of the usual go for broke mentality. Keeping time just plain works.
 
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Bo Eder

Platinum Member
I concur with the idea that “you just didn’t have drums back then”. Heck, it took a long time for the Grand Ole Opry to even allow drums to be played. Then as society got used to it, you got more and more of it. Simple. You notice this has even evolved into music where it’s mostly drum rhythms and almost no chords and harmonies? People push it as far as they can then dial back when society has had enough. Like a big stretching rubber band.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
But the evolution hasn’t been random. Literally every child of the blues is more drum-heavy than the blues. And every one of those genres gets more drum-heavy over time. And the drum parts get harder and harder. Look at how much harder heavy metal drum parts are today than in the early/mid 70s.
Very true. That's the growth I'm talking about.

If one learns all the catalogue of their heroes, their own drumming should become more in depth I would think. You are learning their stuff and involving it with your own. And it would seem that's how we evolve as musicians. We learn from the past and build upon it.

Just my thoughts obviously. At some point I dont think we will be able to go any faster, but we will still be able to shift notes around indefinitely.
 

Yamaha Rider

Well-known member
...so much more drum-heavy and rhythmic than the blues? Blues drumming is very straight-ahead/simple, with few fills, and is strictly supportive, not the center of attention. But every other musical style that the blues “gave birth” to has more involved/dynamic drumming, with more fills, solos, etc..
Funk is very groove based and minimal, drum-wise...
 

yammyfan

Senior Member
A guitar, harmonica, voice. . .relatively cheap--COMPARED to a full on drum set. Let's think about where the blues came from. I think this is a similar reason why bluegrass doesn't have drums hardly at all. Availability, cost. . .the blues originally played by some very poor people I would assume. Much easier to add some drums later on. ?‍♂️ Just an assumption.
Off topic I know but this is the reason that soccer (football) is the most popular sport in the world. It's cheap! All you need is one ball and a patch of dirt and 100 kids can play.

Contrast that with hockey or American football and all of the expensive infrastructure and equipment involved and it's easy to see why soccer is so much more popular. It has nothing to do with beauty and everything to do with economics.
 

Old Dog new Cans

Senior Member
Off topic I know but this is the reason that soccer (football) is the most popular sport in the world. It's cheap! All you need is one ball and a patch of dirt and 100 kids can play.

Contrast that with hockey or American football and all of the expensive infrastructure and equipment involved and it's easy to see why soccer is so much more popular. It has nothing to do with beauty and everything to do with economics.

Yes yes yes! Absolutely. Equipment just isn't cheap. Guitars and amps, Golf clubs and green fees. (y) (y)
 

johnwesley

Silver Member
Evolution? Why are the neighbors dinosaurs covered in feathers and laying eggs in my yard lol?

Anything that doesnt change becomes stagnant. So we try to continually improve on what already exists. As things grow and get older, complexity starts to weave itself in to where what you once recognized is now completely foreign. Language, math, science, they all follow the same prescription too. No reason music shouldnt as well.
That's what I was going to say. Congratulations for beating me to the punch.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
And drums and cymbals were usually pretty beat up in early 1900s-they would collapse under a metal drummer of today . Equipment and playing - Things have evolved . Progressive rock and metal drum parts are becoming like athletic feats it seems at times.
Hold on about playing any faster. Now Musk has implanted a computer chip in a pig that will likely fuse with AI ( I always said you can’t make a silk purse from a sows ear but once again- I’m wrong. Pigs are smarter than dogs and the dang thing will probably take over the world lol. Anyways implant a chip and electrodes in muscles you could by pass the limitations of axonal conduction of current with wireless control so then limit would fall on muscle. Should speed things up though- probably already experimenting with athletes. No one would be looking for computer chip implants to enhance performance.
Music wise though things evolve complicated the old wild type trait of the blues keeps popping up to evoke simpler so it’s not lost just taking a back seat ( cryptic) till suddenly it will be a craze- who knows?
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
Isn't it the same with jazz, country, rock and roll, and R&B (originally gospel music)?
Late 40s very early 50s rock n roll was often just a light double time shuffle.
 
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C.M. Jones

Well-known member
@bud7h4 hits the drum in the center of the head. The drum-intensive phenomenon isn't unique to modern blues; it has surfaced in almost every form of music, and it isn't limited to drums. For example, contemporary country, which isn't true country at all in my opinion, involves far more aggressive drumming, as well as metal-like guitar riffs, than the delicate genre that gave birth to it. George Strait's song "Murder on Music Row" depicts this grim transformation. Behold the following stanza:

For the steel guitars no longer cry and fiddles barely play,
But drums and rock 'n roll guitars are right up in your face.
Old Hank wouldn't have a chance on today's radio
Since they committed murder down on music row.


The twenty-first century is tumultuous. It cherishes assault. These qualities prevail in today's music.

 
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C.M. Jones

Well-known member
Music reflects the masses of society.

The mainstream is dead to me, driven by everything except what matters to me.

There's enough music out there to keep me busy the rest of my life.

The one solace is that we can embrace what appeals to us and shun the rest. I have no problem with heavily distorted, dynamically explosive music. It just doesn't appeal to me in a country context, where I'll forever cling to a classic (or at least neotraditional) sound. Most genres in our era -- and country is no exception -- are attempting to incorporate every other genre. The offspring is a music-by-committee monstrosity. Setting out to please everyone usually means no one will be truly happy.
 

Push pull stroke

Platinum Member
The one solace is that we can embrace what appeals to us and shun the rest. I have no problem with heavily distorted, dynamically explosive music. It just doesn't appeal to me in a country context, where I'll forever cling to a classic (or at least neotraditional) sound. Most genres in our era -- and country is no exception -- are attempting to incorporate every other genre. The offspring is a music-by-committee monstrosity. Setting out to please everyone usually means no one will be truly happy.

Have you watched the Trolls World Tour movie? It sort of addresses the “pop bastardizes other genres” issue.
 

Rock Salad

Junior Member
I would bet anything that when those old time folks used to play for a crowd there was all kinds of percussion sound going on, boots on the wooden floor, clapping and drunks beating on boxes. It's just not on the records.
 
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