Let’s Talk About The Blues

Introduction to The Blues

 At the end of the 20th century a new type of music was emerging out of the deep south, The Blues. It was completely different than the black music that came before it, in their musical characteristics and singing topics. Blues did see a rise in popularity in the 1930s due to the Great Depression, in which at that time hardship was not only exclusive to black people.


History of the Blues

 The blues originated within the Mississippi Delta and as quoted by David Evans, “coincided with the hardening white resistance to black social and economic progress in the form of the Jim Crow laws and the institutionalization of racial segregation, disenfranchisement of black voters, lynching, and other forms of terrorism.” It served as a wake-up call for African Americans that the once “attainable” American dream was not directed towards black Americans. The blues served to speak about the pain and hardship that has befallen African Americans since slavery.

Songs Of the Blues Genre

Lyricism In The Blues

As David Evans stated in his text, Blues, “Blues lyrics are extremely frank and almost exclusively concerned with the self, though in relation to others. They are not only sun primarily in the first person, but when directed toward another person or about someone else.” In a sense, rather than Blues artists simply talking in chronological order about the oppression of black people, they spoke out about the emotions within those events; such as slavery and reconstruction. Sometimes the Blues may not just sing about slavery or reconstruction, but a hardship that the artist might be going through and they can often contain humour just as they can contain seriousness.


EXAMPLE FROM TEXT - Furry Lewis "Creeper's Blues"

“I woke up this mornin’, and i looked up against the wall.

I woke up this mornin’, and I looked up against the wall.

Roaches and the bedbugs playin’ a game of ball.

Score was twenty-nothin’, the roaches ahead

Score was twenty-nothin’, the roaches ahead

Roaches got to fightin and kicked me out of bed.”

Artist of the Blues

  • Ma Rainey
  • Willie Foster
  • BB King
  • Blind Lemon Jefferson
  • Robert Johnson
  • Mamy Smith

Instruments of the Blues

  • Harmonica
  • Banjo
  • Guitar
  • Trumpet
  • Bass
  • Washboard

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