Blues vs. Bluegrass

Ever since both genres of music have been in existence, players of both have been in constant denial, as to how similar the genres actually are. I’m, of course, talking about Blues and Bluegrass players. The genres are very similar, yet nobody wants to admit it. Let’s examine this a little further.

First, just look at the phrasing. This is, without a doubt, the biggest similarity. I’m talking about the lyrical phrasing. For instance, here’s an example of Blues phrasing:

From Robert Johnson’s “Rambling On My Mind”: “I’ve got rambling. I’ve got rambling on my mind. I’ve got rambling. I’ve got rambling on my mind. I hate to leave my baby, but she treats me so unkind.”

Here’s an example of Bluegrass phrasing:

From the traditional song “Roving Gambler”: “I am a roving gambler. I’ve gambled all around. Everytime I meet with a deck of cards, I lay my money down. Lay my money down. Lay my money down.”

There are repeated lines, and repeated words within the phrasing of both.

Second, and almost more importantly, the song structures and topics are usually the same. Both of the genre’s best songs are about death, hard lives, love gone wrong, etc.

So, next time you listen to either, just remember: you’re listening to both!

Robert Johnson “Rambling On My Mind” : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLISvtk8GvU
Roving Gambler, sang by my late, great friend Walt: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HoU-3Z65u2Y
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