Elmore James - Stranger Blues

Elmore James

Stranger Blues

Fire Records

Release Date: December 6th, 1959

Words by: Whaley Big Jesus
March 25th, 1962

Set up a few microphones in the room and hit record. Then when the band are done hit stop. Let them play it through a few times if they want, then grab the best take and put it on wax.

That's what I imagine the entire process to entail when it came to the recording session for a track like Elmore James', 'stranger blues'. Leaving no time for anyone to over think the whole thing and apply the cut and paste capabilities of later technologies.

Elmore just cut it live and went home. Simplicity and spontaneity ruled the day and that's what made these early blues recordings so great: rawness prevailed. There are no clean edges, there's just raw energy and an amazing display of musicality on this recording. Both elements of which went on to hugely influence most white boy rock and roll bands of the 1960′s. Does anyone else hear a close relation between the guitar riff here and the one from The Doors' 'Break on through'?

More so than any direct melody or guitar line however, tunes like this one and artists like Elmore James, influenced the approach of 60′s rock bands. They told bands like the Rolling Stones, Cream, the Doors etc etc. to do away with the gloss happy studio sound of the 1950′s, and to focus on the true energy of any given performance.

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