I’m often asked “Who had the most influence on you as a Blues song writer and musician?” “Who's your favorite?”
Well, in a nutshell, they are questions that are almost impossible for me to answer without giving an extended dissertation on the roots of the blues, country, jazz, rock, etc. Blues has had an overwhelming influence on many different genres of music. And there are many different styles of the Blues. Almost as many as there are different artists performing the Blues. After all, the Blues is music written, played and sang from the heart about real world experiences. Other genres can't help but copy the Blues!
I have been influenced by so many great artists that I always feel like I have to name several so I won’t leave anyone out. Then I always fail to name many of them. I could talk for an hour on any one of my favorite all-time favorite song writers and performers. Even so, someone will always ask “Yeah, but what about ….?” and I’ll say “Right! And him/her too!”
However the names that always come to mind (and they are not listed by preference as I give them all equal weight) include:
Robert Morris (my brother) Frank Morris (my Father) William Earl Maples (my cousin)
Robert Johnson Elmore James Willie Dixon
Howlin’ Wolf Muddy Waters Jelly Roll Morton
Albert King T-Bone Walker Magic Slim
John Lee Hooker B. B. King Eric Clapton
Duane Allman Delbert McClinton Stevie Ray Vaughan
Ray Charles Hank Williams, Sr. John Haitt
Willie Nelson Buddy Guy Robert Cray
Bonnie Raitt Merle Haggard Jimmy Rodgers
I guess the bottom line is, there are just to many to name them all. But these names are the first to come to mind. Did I mention the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt? Him too!
There are folks who will always say “But he/she is/was country, rock, jazz.,” Take your pick. All I can answer to that is, “So what’s you point?”
Maybe I’m a little of each. I like to hope so.
R. J. Morris "Pickin’ Blues!"
[Background] [Blues Man] [Military & Vietnam]