Kelly, Patrick T. (Patrick Thomas)
British blues guitarists emerging in the mid-1960s incorporated a musical vocabulary which borrowed heavily from recordings of the modern blues’ African-American, postwar originators. Crucial differences in the way the British interpreted this material in their own recorded performances are reflective of deeply embedded aesthetics unique to their European musical heritage and cultural experience. Through the detailed analysis of transcribed performances by British guitarists in comparison to performances by the African-American guitarists they sought to emulate, the syntactical elements of these differences are observable. Using this comparative methodology, this study gathers evidence of the blending of European and African-American aesthetics in sample British blues guitar performances from 1965 to 1967. Placing this musical evidence into context amid the cultural and ideological currents affecting Great Britain during the mid-1960s offers insight to the societal and philosophical forces shaping this influential strand of blues development.