Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Damn Right You Should Listen to the Blues!

 Muddy Waters was always playing in the pool room of EHS.

“The blues ain’t nothin’ but a good man feelin’ bad,” according to “Negro Blues,” penned in 1913.

There’s no question about the “feelin’ bad” part. The genre is defined by its twelve-bar tune with the distinctive flatted third and seventh notes on the major scale (producing the “blue” note) coupled with lyrics of misery, injustice, and even sometimes self-loathing. One might, however, question the “good man” part. King of the Delta Blues Robert Johnson was a philanderer who allegedly made a deal with the devil. The lyrics of lustful Muddy Waters are laced with sexual double entendres. Charlie Patton was incarcerated for fighting with his wife. Even if the “good man” part is a bit of a stretch, the blues — manifested in its style, honesty, and humility — is indeed good. And that goodness derives precisely from its Southern character.

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