Archive for the ‘Post War Blues’ Category


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:

Memphis Slim s Parisian Love Affair.pdf


Author: Portia K. Maultsby

Source: Journal of Popular Culture, 17:2 (1983:Fall)


“One of the most innovative and generative forms of music that evolved from the 1960s Black Power Movement served to elevate the consciousness of an African heritage among black Americans. This music, coined “soul,” established new trends and direction for the tradition of urban black popular music. Performers of soul music, in communicating the philosophyof the Black Power Movement, promoted the black pride or self-awareness concept. Their African-derived fashions and hair styles encouraged an identification with the mother country while their song lyrics advocated national black unity. Through their texts, soul singers not only discussed the depressing social and economic conditions of black communities but they also offered solutions for improvement and change. The overall awareness of an African heritage on the part of black performers influenced the conscious and unconscious revival and intensification of musical concepts that represented standards and aesthetics understood by the black community. The intense and emotional nature of songs performed by these musicians captured the new spirit, attitudes, values and convictions of blacks that later altered the social, political and economic structures of American society. Soul music, in the 1960s, served as a vehicle for self-awareness, protest and social change. In the 1970s, it provided musical resources for the evolution of new forms of American popular music. The sociological and political significance of soul music in American popular culture will be examined from three perspectives: 1) its use as an agent for advocating social and political change; 2) the path it paved for the acceptance of black music in an unadulterated form and 3) its impact on American popular culture. Since soul music is a by-product of the Black Power Movement, it will be discussed in this context. Soul and the Black Power Movement The foundation for the Black Power Movement was established by the Civil Rights Movement, which was an outgrowth of the Montgomery, Alabama, bus boycott of 1955-56. This boycott later proved to be the first of a series of organized efforts on the part of blacks to protest the “second-class” citizenship that defined their status.”



Author: Larry Birnbaum

Source: Down Beat 48, no. 7 (Jul 1981): 20–23, 64–65


“To casual listeners, as well as many aficionados and even scholars, the blues has assumed an almost mystical aura. Timeless and eternal, the blues is thought to spring from some ancient reservoir of “pure” Afro-American culture. Diverted from this supposedly unpolluted source, it has been debased by unscrupulous promoters and popularizers, so that the “real” bluesman is scarcely able to make his music heard.”



Author: Pete Welding

Source: Downbeat. – Vol. 43 (1976): no 9, p. 19-20


“Howlin’ Wolf, the powerful Mississippi born singer who was one of the major shapers of the electrically amplified modern blues style that has been so dominant an influence on all popular music since his time, died January 10, 1976. of complications arising from a kidney disease for which he was being treated. At the time of his death he was 65 and had been active as a blues performer for more than four decades, first as an itinerant singer-guitarist at simple back country entertainments in his native Mississippi and Arkansas, and fromthe late 1940s as a recording artist, radio performer, and leader of one of the first electric blues ensembles to achieve national prominence.”



Festival Program booklet, Ann Arbor Blues Festival 1970



Author: William “Big Bill” Broonzy

Source: The Jazz Record, March 1946, n° 2


“The first time I tried to play anything was in 1914. It was a home-made fiddle and I couldn’t play it right away. That was in Arkansaw near where the Mississippi and Arkansaw rivers come together. I had first heard a home-made fiddle played by a blues singer we knew as See See Rider. Don’t know his name- everybody called him just See See Rider, because he used to sing a blues by that name. Later on Ma Rainey made a record of that tune, but I first heard it down around my home. I never saw anyone else play a home-made fiddle except See See Rider. He was born and raised in Redale, Arkansaw, and he played for everybody around there. Hearing him made me want to do something too.”


Author: Scott Wilkinson
A Thesis Presented for the Master of Arts Degree University of Mississippi – August 1998


“This thesis attempts to demonstrate how white involvement affected the blues revival in America from 19s1 to 1970. Although the blues is a product of African-American culture, the music and its performers did not receive wider recognition until a coterie of white enthusiasts assisted in attracting a larger audience. In order to determine the impact that these revivalists had in interpreting the blues for other devotees, the thesis analyzes the movement from five different perspectives. First, the study of earlier revival movements where whites had taken interest in older black musical styles suggests that the blues revival is merely another example of a

recurring historical phenomenon unique to America. Second, the differing interpretations of the blues by the two largest groups of white enthusiasts involved in the movement demonstrates that their differing analyses of the music were not purely objective. Third, the recording of the blues before and during the revival reveals that whites have always been involved, to one degree or another, in the production of the music. Fourth, analysis of the discovery and

rediscovery of blues singers makes evident that the whites involved in such expeditions did not always find what they had expected. Fifth, an assessment of the venues at which discovered or

rediscovered bluesmen appeared shows that such environments had an effect on how they performed and how the audience reacted to them.”