Influenced by the post-WWII blues of the American South, Ian Anderson (not to be confused with the leader/flutist of Jethro Tull) helped found the Bristol blues scene of the 1960s. In 1969 he released Stereo Death Breakdown, his only full-band LP with the Country Blues Band. Fledg’ling has reissued the album, remastering it and adding two of Anderson’s contemporary tracks. But just because John Peel spun Stereo Death Breakdown frequently doesn’t mean it’s an astonishing document that needed to be retrieved from the vaults.
Anderson hails from Weston-super-Mare, which is as culturally dissimilar to the Mississippi Delta as anyplace on the planet. The cultural disparity is obvious: Anderson’s music comes off as an asinine reproduction. In the liner notes, Anderson notes, “To me now, it seems that in trying and failing to become something else, we accidentally created something local, of its time.”
Cultural appropriation is a common trend in music, but with acts such as the Beatles, the Pretty Things, and the Rolling Stones, the imitation of American R&B was channeled through a uniquely British sound. On the other hand, the country blues scene of 1960s Britain was nothing more than a feeble facsimile. I’ll listen to Sleepy John Estes, Robert Pete Williams, Charley Patton and Mississippi John Hurt instead.