Instead of the usual ‘Matcham is a gifted storyteller’ routine, let me tell it to you straight.
The music that first floated my boat and that I always return to when I need a ‘hit’ is the blues. Especially the pre-war acoustic blues of such men as Robert Johnson, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Blind Lemon Jefferson. Culturally, my background in Perth, WA, in the late twentieth century is about as far removed from the lives of those old timers as it gets, yet the music speaks to me like i know it speaks to many others. I put it down to this: One is the easy individualism of these guys. Another is their invention - you can mine their chops for years and still learn something new. The big one though is the universality of their songs. The best of the tunes from this era transcend the circumstances that led to to blues to speak for the entire human condition. A ‘Captain’, for instance, may have been the leader of a chain gang, but also any impersonal force that governs our lives. I don’t believe the poetry of their lines was lost on the bluesmen themselves. Not the great ones anyway.