The blues, along with jazz, of which it is an essential part, is one of the most significant US musical forms of the twentieth century. Emerging in the rural South around the turn of the century and first recorded in the early 1920s, the musical form’s characteristic feature is of a direct lyrical confrontation with the joys and hardships of individual existence.
A literary and musical form…a fusion of music and poetry accomplished at a very high emotional temperature…these are different ways of describing the same thing. A gigantic field of feeling…that’s a way of describing something enduring, something that could be limitless. How much thought can be hidden in a few short lines…how much history can be transmitted by the pressure on a guitar string? The thought of generations, the history of every human being who’s ever felt the blues come down like rain.
-Palmer, R. (1981). Deep Blues. NYC: Penguin.
The Al Harris Library is hosting a new display on Blues Music. Stop by, take a look, take a listen.