Blues

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By: Ciara Terry 9.29.19

Blues is essentially music that speaks on the plight of African-Americans in America. Blues originated from negro-spirituals, but it is not a sacred religion. Blues does not have any gospel or christian origins, it is really just songs that African-Americans made to get them through working post-slavery.

Surprisingly, Blues was liked more than whites than blacks. Black people during this era did not want to be reminded or listen to music dedicated to their trials and tribulations. Blues did become a commodity in publication rights, where W.C Andy decided to publish sheet music, and sell it. The man himself, W.C Handy is the king of Blues, who published sheet music and made millions off the publications (also a black man).

Blues also transcended into multiple sub-genres like 12 Bar blues, rag time, jazz, and swing. Groups in the Blues also had to perform in minstrel shows as well in the early stages to survive. But during this era of performing in minstrel shows, black men would have to wear black face and also dance erratically as well (clown behavior).

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B.B King, when you think of Blues you automatically think of him. He influenced Blues and was popular during 1950’s and 1960’s. He influenced the industry where rock bands and other genres of music followed suit.

 

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Bessie Smith was one of the most influential female musicians in this time. She pioneered female musicians in the Blues and early Jazz. She also advocated for equitable pay for her performances against male peers.
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Ida Cox was one of the most influential female musicians in the Blues.