Author: Valerie Wilmer
Source: Downbeat, 37 (Aug. 6, 1970), 15, 32.
ALTHOUGH THE UNIVERSAL APPEAL of jazz has never been in dispute, the vocal blues presents an obvious problem of communication. People have the blues the world over -from Watts to Johannesburg they’ve felt the jackboots of oppression and the heartache of lost love-but can they really share in the down-and-out feeling of rejection when it is recounted in a language both musically and literally alien? That a middle-aged Memphis-born blues man bas worked consistently in Europe since 1963 is incongruous enough when you consider the almost insurmountable language barriers, but the fact that he can also move the people to tears is little short of remarkable. Consider the facts: