Friday, July 04, 2008

Retelling the history of Black music: Everything you know about the Blues is wrong

Mark Reynolds writes:
You may think this music was created by poor, broke-down black men in the American South, to be precise the fertile cotton plantations and ramshackle surroundings known as the Mississippi Delta. You may perceive that these men lived in hard times framed by social and economic degradation, disconnected from urban modernity. You may believe these dire conditions invested the music with a mysterious poignancy, a sense of moral and artistic authenticity utterly lacking in the popular sounds of the day.

You might even imagine a certain romance about this primitive early music, as if by the very nature of its otherness, it’s somehow imbued with a purity and closeness to The Truth that all us citified folks can’t even fathom. You’d be wrong about a lot of that. But no worries, it’s not your fault.

For the most part, blacks were not involved in the heroic work of rescuing the black acoustic blues legacy from the passage of time. READ MORE

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