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There's a relatively new forum for blues enthusiasts, and of course it's on the Internet. Located at "TalkCity.com", this is a chat room devoted exclusively to blues discussions. Only a couple of years old, the room has evolved into a full-blown blues fan club. Aside from the usual casual chat about artists and their music, a visitor can experience some deeper blues activities. Every other Sunday, a blues album is reviewed in depth. Regular visitors to the room are encouraged to pick a blues album, old or new, for the room to review. Those that would like to participate buy a copy of the work and prepare to discuss the artist and each song from that album. The person leading the review also finds two or three web sites on that artist and posts the information on the Talk City Blues Room web page. On the night of the review, the host will lead a discussion about the music as everyone listens to the album simultaneously. After the review, all participants are invited to take place in a trivia game based on information gleaned from the web sites about the artist. Prizes that include cds, cassettes, videos and even such assorted giveaways as homemade salsa and t-shirts are awarded to the top three winners. Everyone walks away with a deeper understanding of the chosen subject, as well as a chance at some reward for their efforts. On Monday nights "lyric trivia" is featured. One person gives a line or two from a blues tune and points are earned by guessing the original artist and the song title. The person with the first correct answer has to ask the next question. The game lasts an hour and a half, and a list of the winners is posted on the Blues Room web page. Every Wednesday night is "general blues trivia" night. A more relaxed version of the Monday night game, where just about any question is fair game, as long as it's blues or blues-related. Many blues neophytes find that this competition is less intense, more fun to play and extremely educational. In general, the purpose of the blues room is not only to discuss "the blues", but to turn fellow blues aficionados onto a new artist or piece of music. Concert performances are discussed, as well as blues magazines and books. People that get to know one another develop friendships which sometimes leads to tape trading, and often meeting together at blues concerts or record conventions. The blues room web page is a nice home-base for people to find out about scheduled events, record releases, blues artist tours, web links and find the postings of trivia winners. People are encouraged to participate and spread the good word about the blues, and even to invite local and national blues figures to visit for a chat. And to top it all off, an annual "Beale Street Blues Fest" has been organized for all visitors to the blues room to meet and have some fun in Memphis every June. Musicians jam into the wee hours and the blues are celebrated in the tradition of the "juke joint".

  Tuesday, January 02, 2001 08:26:40 PM
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