The Strypes are four lads from Cavan, Ireland, ranging in age from 14 to 16, who, in the past few months, have made a big impression in Ireland, England, and beyond.
Listen to them here:
Check out their videos below. They really capture the vibe of the early 60s British rhythm & blues scene, despite the fact that they were born in the late-90s. If you like early Stones, The Kinks, The Yardbirds, The Who, and The Animals, make room in your music library for The Strypes. Check 'em out!
It seems that these lads went quickly from listening to 1960s British blues to the real thing, i.e. Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and other early Mississippi bluesmen. It's a natural progression - you start off with Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg and before you know it, you're reading T.S. Eliot and Ezra Pound. It's only a matter of time before you're trying to read Dante in Italian.
The story of the frenzy for the blues in England in the early 60s is a strange one. What post-war British teens had in common with Mississippi Delta field-workers descended from slaves is hard to gauge. Even stranger is the fact that they were able to turn around and sell the blues back to clueless American teens. Seems like every British band at the time was covering songs like "Spoonful". It's understandable why the songs resonated - rarely have songs evoked such authenticity, grit, and resilience in the face of struggle. It's just that the context seems as far removed as the physical distance between Tunica County (Mississippi) and Essex. I met a middle-aged British man in India a few years back who claimed to have spent a good deal of his high school years smoking dope with Brian Jones at his grandmother's house and listening to Robert Johnson on the record player. Maybe it was true, maybe not, but the fact is, scenes like the one he described were happening all over Britain at that time. Some of those records were hard to come by in England at the time, and knowing those records made one part of a secret underground club that eventually became some of the most popular music in Britain. The blues legacy of bands such as The Beatles, Stones, Yardbirds, The Who are often noted, but its influence was even wider than that. I didn't used to think of Led Zeppelin as a "blues band", but lo and behold, that's how they started. They even had a lawsuit for using parts of old blues songs in their songs and claiming it as their own. I never understood how the Rolling Stones could even try to claim Robert Johnson's "Love in Vain" as a "Jagger-Richards" composition, since Robert Johnson's work was well-known to British music insiders at the time. Similarly, Bob Dylan used part of Son House's "New Pony" in his own song of the same name (later covered by Jack White's Dead Weather) without crediting Son House at all.
Despite all the cultural "borrowing", the British rhythm and blues scene produced some great music, opening the doors for the British Invasion of the US, and inspiring nearly all of the best music of the 60s and 70s.
Now these Irish kids have dusted off their parents' old albums and are doing it again. Could it lead to another blues revival and another British Invasion? Or maybe an Irish invasion this time...
Here's an article from The Guardian (UK) about them:
pictured with Paul Weller...