I Got Nothing But the Blues

The blues genre is a southern treasure originating in Mississippi in the late 19th century. This was a time of high social tensions as the Jim Crow laws were being implemented. The Jim Crow laws required racial segregation which is how the phrase “separate but equal” was coined. The white and black facilities were separate however, they were never actually equal.

This separation did not help the already struggling African Americans. Now officially free many black people would still work on plantations for very little money. The blues genre was composed of musicians, who would sing about their lives and all of their triumphs and defeats.

They would sing using elements of folk music such as work songs and add in their harmonica, guitar, penny whistle or piano. They introduced what is the I, IV, V chord progression which is very common in the blues.

The blues musicians would often play to make money to help supplement their families’ living costs. However, they still did not receive very much money. Some of the important blues performers include Muddy Waters, B.B. King, Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey.

The blues music has influenced R&B, rock and roll, and jazz. I had not realized it before but the blues genre has also heavily influenced country music. The blues had become a great way for the black people to wind down and sing about their days. In some cases, using some comedic relief. This music just reminds me once again how creative black people have always been.

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