The Continuance of Black Resistance Through The Blues

The creation of the blues was a continuance to the resistance carried in Jubilee Quartets. Although, African Americans were now taking the opportunity to further present themselves to the world, ridding themselves of ignorant stereotypes developed by White Americans. Blues gave blacks the opportunity to differentiate the idea that African Americans had no substance. The platform of free expression facilitated introspection, passion, and intensity – characteristics African-Americans were believed to lack. Blues primarily consisted of a solo female performance or a solo performance accompanied by a pianist or guitarist and was often extemporized. Although, as the genre grew, electric guitars, organs, and horn sections were incorporated This genre differentiated from previous genres as writers focused on human issues and self reflections while instruments involved accented the performer. Popular forms of blues were the “twelve-bar blues”, a stanza produced using the I, IV, and V chords of a given instrument.  

Mamie Smith was one of the most influential vocalists of this genre as she was the first to record her music commercially. Popular songs “That Thing Called Love” and “Crazy Blues” allowed her ‘vaudeville’ career to flourish in the 1920s. Smith’s exposure enabled many African-American jazz artists to record their music as well. Further advancing the musical presence of blues in the 1940s and 1950s, another musician who called himself Howlin’ Wolf was one of many artists to incorporate the amplified microphone and electric guitar into blues. 

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