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Friday, January 30, 2004

R & B = Rhythm & Blues –Does it?

This is my Friday Gripe - Now correct me if I’m wrong but in January 1963 the greatest Rock ‘n Roll band in the world – The Rolling Stones – prior to their famous independent gig at the Crawdaddy club (where they met Andrew Loog Oldman, and the rest was history) were billed as "Rhythm & Blues Excitement, every Monday and Thursday with the Rolling Stones". The Marquee international Jazz Club was dubbed at the time “The Headquarters of Rhythm & Blues.

Keith Richards and Brian Jones influences at the time were Bo Diddley, Elmore James and Chuck Berry whilst Mick wanted to emulate Jimmy Reed and Alexis Korner and Bill Wyman was true blues, influenced by true blues men such as Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker and BB King.

Now to my point - how come today’s artists such as Craig David, Beyonce Knowles, the Black Eyed Peas, 50 Cent and even – God forbid – Victoria Beckham are classed as R & B acts? Have I missed something here? Reggae is Reggae, Rock is Rock, Latin American is recognizable, Jazz is – well something indescribable – and The Blues always started with “ I woke up this morning – De de l’ de De”. But today any black or club artist seems to be labelled as R & B.

Does this therefore mean something different today like MOBO - Music Of Black Origin? They even have R & B awards but I never see nominations for Gary Moore, Eric Clapton, Pete Green. Have a look at the top 50 R&B acts chart here there are very few original names : Santana, Al Green and Barry White are just the few that I would put into the true classification.

Can someone please give me an explanation –is the new R & B just a classification of any music that does not belong to the previous 4 decades?


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