blues signI’ve always been fascinated by how many classic British rock bands and rock artists were inspired by American blues legends from the early twentieth century. The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, The Who, just to name a few.

While legendary blues artists like Lead Belly, Muddy Waters, Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Robert Johnson never really fell into total obscurity with African-American audiences over the decades, many do credit Eric Clapton for raising Robert Johnson out of the mists of time and placing him on the Pedestal of Legends for the world to see and appreciate. Clapton’s famous Crossroads Guitar Festival can attest to this.

Frankly, I don’t begrudge Clapton one bit for inspiring others to look closely and appreciate early American blues artists. Although I will say this: Where are all the women at? They might not have played guitar (on stage, anyway), but let’s not forget Ma Rainey, Lucille Bogan, Coot Grant,  Alberta Hunter, and them.

But I digress…

Nevertheless, I’ve always wondered what could pass for blues in the British Isles? I’m going to take cultural (read: stereotypical) things into account, because in the UK back in the day, they didn’t have cotton fields, Jim Crow, and other things facing American blues legends.

So what did they face? What could get a Brit to sing the blues?

Here’s my take on it.

 

tea-ladyENGLAND

My tea is cold,

And my maid is too slow.

 

Yeah, my tea is cold,

And my maid is just too slow.

 

If I don’t get some hot tea,

This lazy maid will have to go.

 

chippySCOTLAND

Went down to the chippy.

But the chippy was shut.

 

Yeah, I went down to the chippy.

But the chippy was shut.

 

Damn local holiday.

Glasgow Fair, I couldn’t give a fuck.

 

daffy-lambyWALES

My daffys won’t bloom

And my sheep all ran away.

 

Yeah, my daffys won’t bloom

And my sheep all ran away.

 

Damn you bloody English.

There’s no coal mines today.

 

guinness-cloverIRELAND

My Guinness ain’t got a head,

And my wife won’t give me none.

 

Oh, my Guinness ain’t got a head,

And my wife won’t give me none.

 

U2 sang “Bloody Sunday.”

Pretty soon there will be another one.

Advertisements