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Blooz vs. Blues


Not sure this has ever been discussed but what is the technical difference when using these terms as applied to musicians?

Blooz(e) = what all amateurs play, despite skill level?
Blues = only what recorded professionals play?

Or is it only on the perceived quality of the style played? Eric Clapton = blues. EVH and Brian May's "bluesbreaker" jam on the Starfleet Project = Blooz?

Or is just "old guys playing over I-IV-V?"

I first saw the term used, strangely enough, in a rather uninformed review of SRV's "Texas Flood" in Guitar Player/Guitar World or GFTPM. This was way back, and there was actually an apology printed after: "Sorry, we weren't really listening..."
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if you want to play the Blues you have to pay your dues, if you want to play the Blooz you just have to play.

Tim Bowen

For a lot of guys of my vintage, it was Zeppelin, Cream, Mayall, Yardbirds, Roy Buchanan, Stones, Butterfield, Bloomfield, Savoy Brown, etc. first, and then going back to their predecessors from there. *

When the topic of minor blues comes up, I probably did learn more from Led Zeppelin ("Since I've Been Loving You", "Tea For One") and the jazz guys ("Mr. P.C.", "Stolen Moments", "Midnight Blues") than I did from the elder statesmen of blues per se. That said, there's no shortage of minor blues on the seminal 1965 Junior Wells Chicago blues record, Hoodoo Man Blues. I will unapologetically admit however that I like my minor blues more toward the harmonically sophisticated side.

I dig blues but am not married to it. It's a lot like pancakes for me. I do a local blues show every other Sunday, but don't play strictly guitar at these gigs; also play some lap steel and even mandolin ("Key to the Highway"). I have never used the term "Blooze" as anything other than terms of endearment, but might take another look at my usage if the connotations are considered to be derogatory.

When SRV came around in the 80's, there were a lot of folded arms and virtual clipboards keeping score in backs of rooms at my gigs when a blues was called. I enjoy certain degrees of reverence and authenticity, up to a point, and then I'm ready to let it breathe and not be policed. I like the way a guy like Jeff Beck can "hot rod" the blues ("Brush with The Blues"), but listen to how straight he plays it @ 1:08 here:

* As a youngster, I was always taught by my musical elders and mentors (of various stylistic leanings) that, no matter the genre, a more comprehensive education and a deeper understanding could be had by going back a generation or several decades to study. Like every respectable snot-nosed, pimply-faced kid, youthful rebellion was always in mind, but I did respect my elders and I did do what they suggested. I guess this is why I'm somewhat taken aback when musos are uncerimoniously dismissive of "their father's music".

Kingsley Fats

I would put Clapton (mostly) into the Blooze class.

Paying your musical dues has nothing to with picking cotton or having no shoes it is about learning from the past & understanding the legacy that came before.

There are plenty of Blues players that are amateur. There are plenty of Blooze players that are professional.

Blues is about nuance
Blooze is about rocking out.

A good way to learn to understand nuance - listen to material that features Fred Below on drums

BTW There is nothing wrong with Blooze (Blues Rock) just as there is nothing wrong with Blues. Just as there is nothing wrong with liking one or the other or both. They are just two different beasts


Silver Supporting Member
Blooz (at best) is a self-depreciating laugh at immigrants to the genre. Non-native speakers are all welcome.


Senior Member
This old Onion article sums up blooze pretty well: Affluent White Man Enjoys, Causes The Blues

"Blues music is all about pain: It's about losing your job, your dog dying, and your woman leaving you for another man," he continued. "Listening to the blues, I can almost imagine what it would be like to experience one of those things."
Love the Onion. Classic.

Never heard the term "blooze" used in any serious way until just now.


Blooz is a perjorative term intended to denigrate and disparage either/or the entire genre or the practitioners of Blues.
That's how I tend to feel about the term, too, although I think "blooz" usually just means "blues played poorly." It's as simple as that.

It seems like the term is most often used by people that don't like or listen to blues, but I suppose it's also used by purists that think any blues created after 1979, or deviates at all from their conception of what the genre 'should be', isn't any good.
Blooze: often characterized by but not limited to, plodding rock beats, weak vocals, and histrionic guitar playing. "Songs" are basically just excuses for soloing. You can have blues without guitar, but you most likely can't have blooze without it. In fact, if the guitarist uses a pedal- he's most likely playing blooze.

The blooze player knows every SRV, Led Zeppelin, Cream, Allman Bros, etc album from front to back. Skip James, Son House, Jimmy Reed, or Arthur Cruddup may elict a blank response.

If you don't "get" Jimmie Vaughan, you might be a bloozeman.

Blues: "I'm a blues singer."
Blooze: "I'm a blues player."
Blues: Elmore James
Blooze: Foghat


Silver Supporting Member
In the 60s the blues took two different directions. Some people continued to play something like the greats of the past. To be in this camp, it wasn't necessary to play exactly the same; it was necessary to respect the history and the values that those greats exemplified. There were and there remain a lot of options. Country blues, Chicago blues and Jump blues are all styles of blues and if you play in any of these traditions you still play blues. The second direction was inspired by a love for the blues but became a form of rock that took blues as its point of departure. But it emphasized heaviness rather than swing, flash and busyness rather than subtle phrasing and timing and volume rather than dynamic excitement. It's this second form of blues rock that people usually mean when they talk disparagingly about blooz. The evolution of this style has taken it further and further away from the roots of the music to the point where newcomers probably don't feel the need to go back further than Led Zep for inspiration.

I'm not personally interested in playing in this second style but I still occasionally enjoy listening to some of the early players who developed it, just as I still enjoy most early forms of rock (and some later ones.) I knew which direction I was taking the minute I discovered that you can't solo on a boogaloo and swing. That was it. Back to early T.Bone Walker for my blues. Make no mistake; I like funk, I just don't want to play it, at least not as my main style. But that was when i left pentatonics, huge bends, sustain and volume behind. Others went a different way. There are more of them than there are of us, so people sometimes think that the blues just is blues rock. Whether you like blues rock or not, that is a mistake nobody should make.


Senior Member
"Blooz" is a pejorative used to describe the music played by the TGP stereotype of the middle-aged, rich, white men in tan pants and bowling shirts who bring their $5k guitars and $5k Dumble clones to play "Mustang Sally" and "Brown Eyed Girl" every week at the local blues jam.

"Blooz" is also used to describe "fake" blues by those who consider themselves to be "real" blues players.


From what I can see, the use of the term blooz is just another pathetic attempt to browbeat people into accepting spurious notions of authenticity.

People trying to gain some warped street cred through mockery is an old and tired rhetorical move.

The Captain

Senior Member
This old Onion article sums up blooze pretty well: Affluent White Man Enjoys, Causes The Blues

"Blues music is all about pain: It's about losing your job, your dog dying, and your woman leaving you for another man," he continued. "Listening to the blues, I can almost imagine what it would be like to experience one of those things."
I know this was a spoof, but it's the common view. Yet, the blues shuffle was developed so the dance-beat of the song could be heard above the hubbub of people partying in jook-joints.

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