Your feelings about blues ….

Write them down in the comment block at the bottom….Enjoy…

  1. Les Forgue says:

    Thanks Erwin.

    I have been playing and singing blues since about 1962 A.D.
    Maybe I don’t really know much about the blues, but one thing I think I know, the blues is not just only blues music. The blues music is the language of the blues, but the blues is more than the music. I cannot offer a defintion of what is the blues, I will not even try to do so. But I can say that I had the blues since a child, ten or more years before I betan to play and sing the blues music. On a sweltering summer day when the setting of the sun fails to usher in relief from the stifling heat and you lie in a room looking at the sunset and you feel the world groaning with a silent groan and your soul is groaning silently along with the world, even if you are a 5 year old boy, maybe that is some of what the blues is.
    At the risk of compromising humility, I post here a URL to one of my songs that I sing and play.

  2. Cory says:

    We air Blues & Blues Rock 24/7 on

  3. Miella D says:

    Is it possible in a simple way to summarize one’s feelings for the blues …? I do not think so. There is a wide spectrum of emotions and experiences that strikes one, the very first time that blues music goes into one’s soul, and after that, again and again.
    So it was for me, for about four years ago, I got in touch with the blues through a friend who, among others, played with Jimmy Page in some occasions. This friend introduced the musical form of blues for me, as for example, tunes of and with Seasick Steve and son Henry, then I was hooked.
    I have over the years, come into contact with many talented and great blues musicians, and is building a network of blues friends, what becomes of it, the future will tell.
    Are also helping a Swedish blues band (Sannetorp Bluesband) as administrator, with their profile pages on various music sites, etc etc. I do also have a music group on Facebook, which will include Blues, Rock, Classical and Jazz, for music artists and music lovers, and for some reason it is blues music, which accounts for most of the posts .. perhaps not surprising, for we are many blues lovers, and once we got there …. we want to keep blues music alive!
    So for me is the blues many emotions, contact with wonderful people, positive experiences, a musical form that fit, in all different moods and contexts.


    Susanne Miella Dejenfelt

  4. erwin bosman says:

    Thanks Susanne ! That is wonderful ! Blues thrives on people like you

  5. Sue Rarick says:

    As you know Erwin I take a broader approach to American music and see it all as streams flowing from the same lake. With so much misunderstanding, I thought I’d post some other ideas about the goings on of America that isn’t taught at the basic levels of education anymore.

    As always great articles. But one of the problems we all have is trying to compare history to the present. At the moment I am collecting poems, sonnets and other writings from Southern writers before 1900. This has led me to collect tons of writings by the known and unknown and more importantly opened a window into the world of the South both before and after the Civil War. Because I haven’t relied on modern history books, I haven’t had to deal with some blatant revisionist writings. I mention this in the hopes that it helps your articles soar to even loftier heights.

    One of the problems with history is that there is the dichotomy between local fact and its global context. I like to give the example of the Kingdom of Thailand. It’s present ruling family has been in power since 1782. That same year Holland recognizes the United States. The Illuminati becomes a power in Europe. There is a famine in Japan. China completes the largest compilation of its literature (36,000+ volumes). Mozart’s “Das Entfuhrung aus dem Serail” premiers. The last witch is burned in Switzerland. 3000 people are killed by a hurricane in the Caribbean. Depending where you are located history can be seen differently. !782 was a terrible year if you lived in Japan or were researching their history. On the other hand it was a great year if you were looking at Austria and Mozart’s music. Without a world view history can, and is, distorted by myopic viewpoints.

    Not often mentioned is that North America was a minor market for African slave traders. Most went to the Middle East. The next biggest market was South America. And the reason the Portuguese became the main traders was that they found a quicker route to the Middle East. Saving time and a lot of lost product (slaves). As they expanded their travels to the Americas, the slaves followed. This loss of trade also helped the demise of the richest city in Africa, Timbuktu.

    One of the discoveries was that a lot of Southerners in pre-Civil War times were looking for ways to end slavery. Not often mentioned is that at that time the big money was in the South, not the North. And that although less developed, Industrialization was making headway into the South. And that was having a positive change towards ending slavery. I was surprised to read over and over again how people hated a person that harmed his slaves. They were most often chastised by being eliminated from all social occasions (a devastation in that era). Most plantations were relatively small and were a world of their own. Everyone knew everyone. Slave and master grew up together and in many instances a master’s best friend was his slave. And that slave would give his life to save his master. This is very hard for any modern person to grasp, but is mentioned over and over again by both the owners and the slaves later recollections. It was a society of co-dependence that can’t really be understood by modern people.

    The one part of history now glossed over is how devastating Reconstruction was. Lincoln once said that he couldn’t allow the Southern States to secede because then there wouldn’t be enough money to run the country. The South was at that time the richest section of the country. This is one of the areas where revisionists have had a field day. After the Civil War, and after Lincoln’s assassination, came the Reconstructionists or Carpetbaggers as they are more commonly known.

    In the period right after the Civil War and before the Carpetbaggers arrived the South was struggling to find solutions to their new world. Some of them included turning the plantations into what amounts to share cropping parcels of land. Some turned the plantations into what amounts to a corporation with plantation owners and former slaves having shares in the plantation. Most odd was the fact that a large proportion of the former slaves stayed on the plantations. Most likely because they had no idea what else to do. But it does raise the question of how bad were actual conditions that most stayed. This isn’t to say that slavery was good. Just that working conditions must have been better than depicted today. Note: I am only talking about working conditions.

    The Carpetbaggers came down from the North along with troops and everything changed. By hook or crook they took over the plantations property and literally chased both former slaves and plantation owners off the properties. Not only did this plummet property values all over the South, but thousands of former slaves were now homeless and left to starve on their own. This led to a huge crime surge (you do what you have to do to keep from starving). And in many ways this could be said to be the geneses of racism that became prevalent throughout the United States in the coming century.

    At the same time the Carpetbaggers registered all the ex slaves to vote. In itself a great idea but in practice totally self serving. They designated who was going to run for office and had this block of new voters vote for the people they suggested. The result was for example taking South Carolina’s debt from 25 million to over 300 million in I believe 5 years. At the same time they had reduced the States worth by 60%. A double financial double whammy. Banks and investors would no longer by South Carolina bonds. The State was bankrupt. And this happened in all the Southern states. When the States were robbed of all that could be taken, the Carpetbaggers left. And they left a South totally devastated.

    This brings us up to the 1870’s and really the dark ages of the South. Here is where the KKK started up in earnest. Here is where the Jim Crow laws were enacted. Here is where racism festered and grew.

    Because of Reconstruction you had wandering bands of displaced people of both races. And just like today small land owners saw their worth drop because their only real possession, land, was depreciated below what they owed. Everyone was mad. Everyone felt betrayed. Well not everyone. The Carpetbaggers left very rich men. But overall there was a lot of smoldering anger once the Carpetbaggers left.

    It’s against this backdrop that the music we have today matured into differing styles. No longer was the South an area where different people intermingled. It had turned into an area of separated races. An area that because of their new level of poverty became us verses them in a struggle to get as much of a dwindling pie as possible for every individual. And it took a century for any realistic change came about.

    What I find most interesting is that American music developed during the pre Civil War period when the races were far more interactive. Any good research into music of that era shows far more similarities than differences. When people use the term European tradition, they are generally referring to the music of high society, not the folk music of the masses. You don’t hear the Irish drums in Mozart’s music. Or that Flamenco music is made up of 14 pieces of music (this number may be off because I am using just memory) and it’s how they interact that makes or breaks a Flamenco artist. Or much about Gypsy music and how it affected the rest of European folk music. Very few of the people living in America at that time were very familiar with “European music”. But they did know their own folk music’s. And it was mainly this European folk music blending with both African and Native American music’s that has created the music we hear today.

    • erwin says:

      Sue, I have the impression that we are going to have a very interesting exchange of ideas. I have now indeed broadened my horizon to include the very start of slavery in the US and as a complete outsider who has never been taught the history of the US in school, most material is new to me. And believe me, my eyes fall open wide.
      I share with you the approach that one need indeed to see things in perspective. One anchor moment I have for myself is for instance that in 1830 Belgium had its kingdom. Another one is that the US had ‘only’ 0.5 million of slaves imported against 15 million in total to the American continent. Another thing is that we need to compare what happened in South America to what happened in North America. Another one : the situation in Virginia was not the same as the one in the more southern states. The slavery as an institution was in fact indeed – as far as I understood – on its way back when the cotton gin was introduced at the the end of the 18th century…
      I constantly keep my eyes open when reading all the stuff I can get for the most dynamical cultural interaction that took place between whites and black before 1865…There was much more exchange than we ever imagined I believe.
      It was Michael Hawkeye who pointed me recently to the fact that some hymn singing is even today shared between some African Americans, Scottish congregations and ….some native Americans (indians).
      There is the constant necessity to always question the generalized statements that are nowadays made about history : the past changes which every new day…
      I’m for the moment preparing an article on the famous Congo Square which will be the occasion to extend somewhat on my provisional conclusions from my early readings. My next step will be a thorough analysis of the black face minstrelsy which (not accidentally) grew popular when the slaves started to get free and blacks started to get afraid and bothered by their presence…Isn’t it so?

      But in all my enthusiasm to see your most instructive posting, I almost forgot to thank you !
      Speak to you soon,

    • Anonymous says:

      Sue good writing, however I believe you may want to give some references to some of the generalized statements you made ie…”One of the discoveries was that a lot of Southerners in pre-Civil War times were looking for ways to end slavery”…Alot meaning? 2 or 1200?. It almost sounds like it was a majority.

      For those who may not have read much about, they may want to explore thoughts on your findings. You may want to explore the sounds, rhythms what each culture brought to the table (harmony, syncopation, melody, spiritually etc.).

      One of my wonderment’s as I look at Blues as we know it, is looking at music were ever anybody had been oppressed or lived in horrid conditions.

      • Sue Rarick says:

        One of the problems when discussing the pre Civil War South is that it is usually discussed with total disregard of its surroundings. Most people read about the Industrial Revolution and almost all comments are about the North. In fact an argument could be made that the Industrial Revolution started in the South with the use of the cotton gin. The facts are that industrialization was also taking place in the South. And it was this industrialization that was spearheading the movement to end slavery.

        The South, pre Civil War, actually pre Reconstruction was a far different place than the South we read about today. Racism as we define it today didn’t exist. There was an opinion that blacks were inferior, that’s what the learned men at the time said. But there wasn’t the hate some people have today. But in the North people thought the Irish were just as inferior. I find it interesting that a person in the North could house 3 families to a room and have everyone in that room over seven work sunrise to sunset in their factories then go to an Abolitionist meeting about the mistreatment of slaves. Yet that went on up North.

        Against this backdrop of Industrialization and mistreatment of the Irish in the North, a number of Southern leaders realized that there would be a lot of problems with slavery as industrialization took hold. These leaders were for the most part highly educated, had traveled abroad and in many cases their forefathers had been Irish indentured servants. They knew what was happening in the Northern Irish ghettos was not normal behavior for the Irish. They also knew that any further industrialization would involve the slaves.

        I probably should have added it wasn’t for altruistic reasons. After the American Revolution the Southern states had enacted a number of laws pertaining to the treatment of slaves, including housing, food, clothing and medical care. None of these laws affected the treatment of the Irish in the North. As industrialization progressed in the South, labor costs would have been higher in the South if they used slaves. A free African population would lower labor costs. No longer would the laws regarding treatment and well being be in effect.

        On the plus side. Realizing all the problems this would entail some of the leaders of the South were trying to figure out a way to make a smooth transition that would affect everyone the least. Instead we ended up with the Civil War and Reconstruction, which took over one hundred years to get over.

        As for footnotes. I had a professor in college that used to say if you can quote me correctly you can come up with your own opinions. If you can’t come up with your own opinions you can’t quote me correctly. When I make commentaries I follow that rule and use my own opinions from what I have read and studied.

    • Gordon Cole says:

      NIce to see the reference to Native American influence…”The Stomp” dance is the drumbeat of the blues 4/4 time…..

  6. Sue Rarick says:

    Funny you mentioning the minstal shows. I just found a book that is a how to get started in Vaudeville. It was written in the 1890’s and should contain some unique points on blackface acts.

    Here is a point to ponder. The slave ships were later used to bring the Irish famine people to America. They fit more Irish in the boats than they did slaves.

    Always good to read your articles. Danka well.

    BTW I will be in Breda area in May, 2012

  7. Baz Klarnett says:

    Hi Erwin. I got into The Blues at about age 13 at school in the 60’s. Got into what was, then, an R’N’B band, “The Kreed” & been in bands ever since! Have loved the blues, & remember it was the white middle class English guys that exported back to the US what was, “Race Music” over there & not at all popular! Listen to B.B. King talk about Clapton, Beck & The Rolling Stones etc & he reckons Blues owes a debt of gratitude to them for making it so popular!! I have read all the books The Life of Robert Johnson, Alan Lomax studies etc. I have gone off the modern Blues a bit as it seems all anyone is interested in is who is the best guitar player! However I still say “Long live The Blues!” Keep in touch dude. Regards.

  8. Wie irrelevant ist Blues eigentlich?

    Mit den Grammies kommen in jedem Jahr auch vom Mainstream-Radio ignorierte Musikstile zu ein wenig Aufmerksamkeit. Jazz etwa oder Bluegrass und Folk. Der Blues allerdings ist dort fast nicht mehr zu finden. Ist die Wurzel der gesamten westlichen Pop- und Rockmusik inzwischen nur noch eine Fußnote für die Musikindustrie und die Medien?

    Schon vor Monaten hatten einige amerikanische Webseiten, die über Blues schreiben, bekannt gegeben, sich nicht mehr mit den Grammies zu beschäftigen. Ursache war die Entscheidung des vergebenden Gremiums, in Zukunft dem Blues nur noch eine der begehrten Auszeichnungen zukommen zu lassen. Versteckt in der Kategorie der amerikanischen Roots-Musik findet sich da der Preis für das beste Blues-Album. Vorher hatte der Blues zumindest zwei Kategorien oder noch mehr. Ist das eigentlich angemessen, wenn es für jeglichen Sonderfall von RnB, Pop, Videos, Solo-, Duo,….. -performances eigene Grammies bekommt? Nein, meinten die Bluesblogger und Bluesmagazine. So kann man mit dieser Musik einfach nicht umgehen. Denn so wird man der Bedeutung des Blues für die Entstehung und Entwicklung sowohl von Rock und Soul als auch des zeitgenössischen RnB und Hiphop niemals gerecht. Eine solche Entscheidung ist einfach völlig ignorant und arrogant. Man könnte sie verstehen, wenn es bei diesen hochgelobten Musikpreisen lediglich um Verkaufszahlen ginge. Doch das ist ja nicht der Fall: Anders als der deutsche “Echo” sind die Grammies ein Kritikerpreis. Und wer Musikkritik betreibt dürfte so eine Entscheidung niemals unterstützen.

    Aber Blues findet halt in der medialen Öffentlichkeit nicht mehr statt. Es sind nur noch Spezialisten, die darüber schreiben. Es sind Enthusiasten, die noch immer in dieser Musik ihre musikalische Audsdrucksform sehen. Und sie sind bereit, auf das schnelle und große Geld (gibt es das in der Musik eigentlich wirklich noch?) zu verzichten und statt dessen jahrelang auf der Suche nach dem eigenen Ton und Stil zu verbringen. Es sind zahllose Musiker, von denen man außerhalb ihrer Heimatregionen kaum etwas hört, auch wenn sie selbst großartige Alben veröffentlichen. Es sind Musiker, die jahrelang durch Clubs und Kneipen tingeln. Und die mit Programmen wie “Blues @ School” Kindern und Jugendlichen etwas über die Wurzeln der heutigen Popmusik beibringen. Bluesmusiker, so müsste man es eigentlich ausdrücken, sind so etwas wie Denkmalschützer oder Restauratoren für die bildende Kunst und Architektur. Und die Bluesfans? Auch das ist eine spezialisierte und kaum marktrelevante Gruppe. Zeiten, als Bluesalben auch in den Popcharts auftauchten, gab es lange nicht mehr. Und ein neues Bluesrevival ist nicht in Sicht. Und so haben auch Petitionen und Proteste gegen die Grammies nichts genützt.

    Schlimm auch, dass die Nominierungen für das Bluesalbum des Jahres von einer gewaltigen Ignoranz zeugten. Es wurden Alben nominiert, die zwar gut sind (“Low Country Blues” von Gregg Allman beispielsweise) aber eben nicht die wirklichen und unerwarteten Glanzpunkte des Jahres. Und gewonnen hat mit “Revelations” von der Tedeschi Trucks Band eine Scheibe, die mit bekannten Namen glänzt, die aber ansonsten 2011 im Vergleich höchstens gutes Mittelmaß war. Da kann man die Grammies als Bluesfan wirklich nur noch ignorieren. Und statt dessen berichtet man über die Blues Music Awards oder ähnliche Spezialpreise. Obwohl man damit leider den Blues eben niemals aus seiner Nische heraus bekommt.

  9. Donnie says:

    Hi folks. I ama Donnie from São Paulo, Brasil. I feel as if there was a Blues Radio playng inside my head 24 hour a day…

  10. H. Reed says:

    My introduction to the blues was hearing harmonica on an 80’s punk album and finding out what that sound was and almost in an instant I picked up the UK Chess release double album of Sonny Boy Williamson and the rest as they say is history!
    The Blues to me from Blind Willie Mctell,Son House and Sonny Boy to name only a few to Duster Bennetts ‘Jumpin at Shadows and right through to William Clarke ect is that raw, emotive,sexual,violent,caring, not caring, wants and needs expressed in millions of types of Blues songs that in a way is me!!! And that’s the Blues…

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