Blues born in the Delta

Window Delta BluesThere has been a lot of discussion based on well founded documentation… that American Blues originated in the Mississippi Delta. It comes as no surprise that Clarksdale, MI is ground zero for the Blues. Many, many Blues artist came from a 50 mile radius of Clarksdale. To people who love the Blues and have studied the Blues, this is obvious. So many music fans, don’t realize that the Delta is where the roots of all music can be traced. Unless you are a historian of the Blues, how could you know. My personal Blues journey has been a larger part of who I am, for quite some time. I loved the feeling I came to when listening to the music. Done well, nothing grabs your soul like that ever again.

It comes from hardship, tragedy and despair. But the Blues can also be sarcastic, make social commentary and point to the problem. Most blues are about relationships. Female relationships dominate the genre. A woman done a man wrong, or vice-versa. The Blues can be a party in the blink of an eye… fun to dance to, make’s a person want to have another drink or two. That’s why you find the best Blues music in bars and juke joints. Still, the Blues were never going to be contained to the Delta. The big urban centers were going to discover the Blues in a big way, sooner or later. As budding new technologies opened up avenues for musicians to sell their music, most of that was but a tease for the black Blues player. Black musicians were routinely cheated out of royalties and ownership of their music. Sometimes by other blacks in the business, mostly by shrewd white businessmen, after a quick buck. Many Blues men found out too late, that the game was rigged. They often passed into obscurity devastated and penniless. Some musicians just got tired of the treatment and simply gave up, moving on to more stable incomes. When the Blues revival arrived in America via Europe, many of the older musicians who were still around benefited. Many of the popular rock musicians of the time (the late 50’s, 60’s and early 70’s) paid homage to the stoic Blues figures who were still around. The Kings (B.B., Earl, Freddie and Albert)  of the business benefited with greater exposure and cross-over hit songs that established them to the mainstream. Particularly, with college kids who were making the connection between American folk music and the Blues. When Willie Dixon coined the phrase “The Blues is the Roots, everything else is the fruits” I wonder, if he was aware of how prophetic his words would be? For another time…

blueshighwaydj@gmail.com

Been a lover of Blues music since picking up on it from the British bands I adored. Cream, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Eric Burden and so many others.

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